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Silk Road 2 Hacked, All Bitcoins Stolen (deepdotweb.com)
449 points by nikcub on Feb 13, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 531 comments



This is seriously the most hilarious thing I have read in a long time. Here we have a group of objectivist libertarians who believe that there should be effectively no laws other than the law of economics and self-interest who run an illegal website devoted to the pure greed of cashing in on contraband, and this is what they write:

"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.


I think you have a deep misunderstanding of libertarianism (which is your right of course). Libertarians don't necessarily not believe in laws, they simply don't believe in a monopoly of laws and law enforcers. This is kind of the whole point. Its clear that in your world view "justice" is somehow inexorably tied to government, but there others that disagree (which leads to your confusion in thinking that because someone asks for justice he is necessarily asking for government).

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.


I believe I can make the gloating rant a bit more precise.

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.


I honestly don't get this. If there isn't a monopoly on laws and law enforcement, does that mean that victims of crimes should be able to shop around to get the law enforcement agency that they want? Should the accused?

Is there any historical precedent for anything like this actually working?


There are currently thousands of different sets of laws and legal systems that you can choose to subscribe/submit to.

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.


That doesn't do anything to answer my question about where libertarians stand on the question. I still don't get what a civilization without a "monopoly on laws and law enforcement" would look like.


One possibility is mob rule in the absence of a strong central government - frontier justice, lynch mobs, posses, warlords, the whole thing.

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?


"Laws" and "law enforcement" are just products, similar to any other service. If you can imagine what a civilization without a monopoly on food production, or house cleaning services, or medical services would look like, you should be able to imagine with a civilization without a monopoly on laws and law enforcement would look like.

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.


I don't think laws and law enforcement are products in this regard. There are, after all, certain functional requirements for people to live together in cities and two of these appear to be some sense of private property and protection against violent crime. Another is management of infrastructure.

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.


> 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.


> That said, it is decidedly not what we have now.

Totally agreed.

> ...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.


> There are, after all, certain functional requirements for people to live together in cities and two of these appear to be some sense of private property and protection against violent crime. Another is management of infrastructure.

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.


So, if one can't afford to purchase law enforcement then they'll have to do without? What could go wrong?


What could go wrong with tax-funded, monopoly law enforcement? Obviously, things can go wrong with either. We should concern ourselves with which scenario is better.


Law enforcement is ultimately a license to use violence. Having multiple coalitions or companies selling violence as a product seems like a recipe for a truly nightmarish society.


Multiple coalitions competing for customer dollars will lead to more economically efficient distribution of violence, just like if you replace "violence" with anything else like "bread" or "automobiles."


I think you're describing hit men.


I'm not sure what your point is. It sounds like you're choosing to describe the system as "hit men" because "hit men" sounds scary and bad. But my point was that this system would produce better results.


A state without a monopoly on laws and law enforcement means there is no one to enforce contracts, prevent corporate monopolies, define conflict of interest, right the injustices of the poor, etc. That's basically anarchism which leads to feudalistic society with the wealthy at the top. Feudalism has been tried for centuries and it just doesn't work as well as a state with a monopoly on laws and law enforcement.


In that case it sounds like the cyberpunk future, where a corporations security force is really just an army in disguise.


"Laws" and "law enforcement" are just products, similar to any other service

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.


Why is that an extraordinary claim? They certainly are products. They're things that people want that other people produce. That's not really a statement about history that I would support by giving historical examples. It's simply a plain description of reality.


Why is that an extraordinary claim?

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.


I am giving you an example (present, and historical) of multiple legal systems coexisting, where predators and ordinary people can shop around for the legal system that best fits their needs and desires.

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.


> That doesn't do anything to answer my question about where libertarians stand on the question. I still don't get what a civilization without a "monopoly on laws and law enforcement" would look like.

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.


The idea is called polycentric law and the best resource would be David D. Friedman (Milton Friedmans anarchist son) and his classic book The Machinery of Freedom which describes how such a system would work.


I see a lot of examples, but I'm not seeing a lot of current examples to answer your question. For something recent, look to Detroit. The city's in a shambles, budget-wise and infrastructure-wise -- police response time is in the orders of hours, for emergency calls, weeks, or months, if at all, for non-emergency calls. Effectively, by some estimations, the state doesn't exist.

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:

http://www.policymic.com/articles/44725/this-is-what-budget-...


As another reply has suggested, David Friedman's Machinery of Freedom is an excellent book which describes how private defense, law and dispute resolution might happen.

This video is a good introduction to the ideas presented in the book http://youtu.be/jTYkdEU_B4o


Not in the slightest, but the besetting flaw of libertarians is the belief that history has nothing to teach them save what they desire to learn, and that the existence of government, in one form or another, throughout recorded human history, implies nothing whatsoever regarding the viability of their particular flavor of utopianism.


Do you consider the history of government to be particularly positive? It doesn't seem that way to me.


You can take your pick of places to live without functioning governments. Most of them are probably uninhabited islands or starving regions in Africa, but it's up to you.


That doesn't answer my question. It's clear that essentially every society on Earth is organized by a government. I was asking if that has been a positive thing. Widespread does not imply positive.


If governed regions are worse, why aren't you living in one of the ungoverned ones? Where (roughly) do you live now, and where would you live if moving were free?

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.


> If governed regions are worse, why aren't you living in one of the ungoverned ones?

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.


I meant "protect" in the sense of "protection money." I'd be happy to continue this discussion off-forum. You can probably PM me via reddit.


BTW, I am living in Indonesia now which is far less governed than the US. It is true that it is a one person one vote society for city/state/national elections but these are not actually where most of the real action happens. Neighborhood associations etc. are very much one household one vote (usually the man, but the votes are not secret, and usually the women end up having the real keys to the power there).

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.


I think your question is overly broad, there were and are many types of government and they all had different effects. I don't think it's even simple to answer if one government is a positive or negative.

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 think you can drop "essentially" from your statement and say "every society."

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.


Iceland, in the age of the sagas, 1000-1300 or so. Here is a link to layperson's overview:

http://mises.org/daily/1121


Gathering up your thegns and taking to the hronraede to deal out vengeance with fire and sword isn't exactly my idea of modern justice, but since you're citing the von Mises institute, you're probably not exactly modern.

EDIT: sorry for the Latinate words, but the meodsetla calls.


Well, it's more complex than that because at the end of the day, legal settlements would have to be made, and these were usually arranged between one godhi and another or alternatively with a trial by two juries (needing a "double majority" to reach a verdict of guilt).

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.)


As a recovered misean this is literally the only thing that "anarcho-capitalists" can point to; a tiny period of poorly documented and singularly referenced history.

One data point, in a homogenous and relatively isolated region does not a grand idea make.


That was a good read. Thank you for sharing it.


> Is there any historical precedent for anything like this actually working?

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millet_%28Ottoman_Empire%29


You could just move to another country and you'd be subject to their law. And that's probably because the idea of nationalism became important in the 18th century.

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.


Ask patent trolls about shopping around.


So if some group decided I was a criminal by their standards (say if I insulted them on the street, or something), they could come to my home in the night and summarily execute me?


Your common or garden libertarian will construct all manner of complex arguments as to how that isn't so, but there's really nothing in the philosophy which forbids it.


.. so their answer to a single central government is a multitude of smaller governments? How is that better?


They don't want a multitude of smaller governments they want corporations. corporations with no regulation or oversight other then "If you don't like them don't buy from them! they'll go away really!"


Because it's much easier to move if your government sucks?


You're right. Proponents of polycentric law don't claim that something fundamentally forbids this from happening. But the same goes for proponents of centralized (government) law. What needs to be analyzed is which system makes this more likely to happen.


Ask Somalia.


I'm no expert on recent Somalian history, but I have heard people suggest that Somalia improved during its period of "anarchy," while others contend that it wasn't really anarchy, but rather a battleground of neighboring states and factions battling to be the "one government." Also, Somalia's government before it failed in 1991 was a military dictatorship; hardly something even most advocates of government would advocate.

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1880


Feel free to list your choice of countries without any government and we will see what their quality of life ranking is vs. standard countries with functional government.

Here is a handy chart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_inequality...


Which of those countries doesn't have a government? And which of those countries has a society like what I'm advocating? Note that I'm not simply advocating that we have anything so long as it's not government. I'm advocating a specific alternative to government.


Any examples of countries worth moving to that have these alternatives? Or is this really just a pipe dream?


Do you have any examples of countries where there is no murder? Would you prefer to live in a country with no murder?

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.


> Do you have any examples of countries where there is no murder?

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.


Wow! That's one of the two basic things. "reject the use of force or fraud to compel others except in response to force or fraud."


Yes that's great if everyone abides by your philosophy. But if we're doing that and expecting others to abide by it why is the statement not just "reject the use of force or fraud to compel others". The whole catch 22 is there is no central authority to enforce the philosophy unless you're expecting people to be angels but then you could say something similar about communism being a better system.


And of course, "expecting people to be angels" is what led to $4.3 million worth of Bitcoin being stolen from a bunch of suckers by a con artist.


Libertarians don't expect other to abide by it. Enforcing non-initiatory use of force and fraud is one of the legitimate purposes of the government.


I'm sorry I misread what you were saying as the thread came from one saying government control of force is not rquired as an open market on force is an alternative. I find a libertarian position much more defensible (at least as something that doesn't implode) with a caveat that there is some form of monopoly on force that is external to the market.


Right now, there is one group that can decide you are a criminal by their standards. It's a group that you have virtually no control over, and it's funded via force.


Exactly. I only have to worry about being declared a criminal by one rather than [arbitrary number] of groups that I have literally no control over.


You would have much more control over a competitive market of groups. Your claim is like saying that you'd rather there only be a single restaurant available rather than a group of restaurants, because then you only have to worry about one restaurant poisoning you or otherwise providing bad service.


"You would have much more control over a competitive market of groups." In other words gangs? Are you seriously suggesting that we devolve back to paying protection money to the most "competitive" mafia family? What happens when one family finally emerges as the winner? Whoops... you're back to a monopoly only this time you can't vote them out because they'll murder you.

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.


This libertarian polycentric government system is not like having multiple restaurants to choose from. To me it sounds like you're at one restaurant (the place you live at), and there's multiple cooks, instead of choosing they are going to decide what food is best for you (they all cook different kinds of poison food), and compete with each other over who gets to give you the food.

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)


I don't speak for all "libertarians," but the way I envision it is that it's precisely like restaurants. In other words, anyone can start a restaurant anywhere they choose that offers any services they choose with any restrictions (geographical, etc.), and any individuals can choose whether to pay for any services that are made available to them.

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.


The problem is when it comes to force. I've read a couple of libertarian leaning books after having similar conversations on HN and they all seem to believe that a monopoly won't spring up on force due to market forces and people wisely deciding to pay someone else to stop a company getting to large. It just seems naive, one of the key premises of the free market is that those who do a job better (cost/quality) grow (if they're scalable) because more people want to do business with them. When they have enough force they can leverage that to force to keep competitors out of the market and to force "customers" to pay them. It may not happen instantly but the system is unstable and it only has to happen in one geographical region for that company to have a strong source of income to pour into others to gain market share.

I do not see how this is any better than the admittedly imperfect current system.


It's notable that a role of government is to regulate against monopolies. There is no such thing as natural market equilibrium (which is an underlying false assumption you see a lot) and this is a reason you need external governance for a healthy functioning market. You can argue over quality and whether interests are fairly protected but that's a different question. Also worth considering the history of firefighting which used to be organised along more libertarian lines and was a complete disaster that required centralisation.


You're suggesting that the possibility of market failures justifies government power. Unfortunately, government is also vulnerable to market failures, and I don't know of any argument for why government's market failures (also known as "government failures") would be less common or harmful than market failures.


The difference is that other things also tend to justify government power.

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'm not suggesting the possibility of market failures without government but the inevitability of them, as can be trivially observed by the existence of monopoly regulation. It's strikingly naive to think there is an equivalence between the market and a democratic government - the key difference being one person one vote.


That's certainly a valid criticism, and one that advocates of polycentric legal systems think about a lot. It's pretty clearly that some parts of a "defense agency" would enjoy economies of scale, while others wouldn't. Purchasing weaponry would scale well, while providing local service "on the ground" (e.g. police, detectives, etc.) probably wouldn't. I wouldn't claim to be able to prove that a monopoly couldn't possibly arise, but I don't think anyone can prove that it would.

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.


Sorry this got longer than I thought.

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.


(Note, I'm not dismissing libertarianism, I just want to understand this idea)

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?


> But these muggers are smart, they subscribe to the restaurant that do not do anything to muggers. What happens now?

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.


> You would have much more control over a competitive market of groups.

I'm sorry, a competitive market of private organizations trying to lynch me gives me control... how?


In informal language, the market chooses winners and losers by "voting with their dollars." Obviously, no single individual has absolute control over any aspect of society in either system.


I'm not sure I understand how that gives you personally more control. It seems to give more control to whoever wants to hurt you as he is the one purchasing the services. So with one body of force, I only need to worry about them coming after me, but with multiple bodies, I have less control as any one of them can come after me (even worse, without my knowledge of their existence in the first place). What am I missing?


> I'm not sure I understand how that gives you personally more control.

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.


But you may still be subject to someone else's concepts of justice, with no control over that at all. It removes even the illusion of democratic control and makes you subject to the whims of others, especially if they have more money.


> But you may still be subject to someone else's concepts of justice, with no control over that at all.

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.


If they're the same that doesn't make one superior to the other. QED.


Let's all build private roads and railway systems for every corporate entity while we're at it.


Couldn't they do that as things stand now? Your only protection is that they would not do so for fear of reprisal from the state. Perhaps it could be similarly effective to rely on fear of reprisal from other vigilante groups.


Which other vigilante groups would engage in reprisal though? A theory of deterrence (via punishment) requires a credible threat to retaliate and the means to do so.

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.


I notice you don't question the "everyone is greedy" assertion, however.

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.


no, libertarians don't necessarily believe that justice is attained through the market, but that market allocation of resources is more just than political allocation of resources.

"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.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Seans-Outpost/380918045363634

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.


"everyone is greedy" is not a good characterization of libertarianism; there are plenty of libertarian social benefit groups

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).


Likewise the market is probably a very efficient resource allocation mechanism, but only for economic goods. There are many other types of "goods" out there that can't be quantified in dollars and cents. How much is, say, human dignity worth? Child labor? Sadly they both have prices, but I'd like to think we're better than treating people only in terms of their economic value today.

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).


Likewise the market is probably a very efficient resource allocation mechanism, but only for economic goods. There are many other types of "goods" out there that can't be quantified in dollars and cents. How much is, say, human dignity worth? Child labor? Sadly they both have prices, but I'd like to think we're better than treating people only in terms of their economic value today.

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.


> 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.

This is also clearly the case with centralized government law.


Except that "checks and balances" as designed into systems like the U.S. has worked better at mitigating this than the tribes-and-warlords systems that libertarians would want.

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.


I don't advocate a "tribes-and-warlords" system. I advocate a polycentric legal system which I believe would be better (for the vast majority of people, according to their own judgement of "better") than government systems like the US. I also do not believe that checks and balances work as I presume they were intended to.


Wasn't trying to put words in your mouth, I know you're not in favor of tribes and warlords. My point is more that it is the effect you'd get.

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.


> My point is more that it is the effect you'd get.

And my point is that I disagree. :)


Fair enough. :)


> I don't advocate a "tribes-and-warlords" system.

Please explain to me what prevents it from degenerating into such.


The fact that the market leads to economic efficiency for the participants. Tribes and warlords would not be economically efficient.


How much does economic efficiency weigh in when the burgeoning warlord has an advantage of force?


The problem with most libertarian beliefs is that they are very high-level and most attempts to apply and create a coherent system fail miserably. At their most useful, they can influence the current system to prevent certain undesirable excesses, but as an ideology, it's long on corrections and short on workable alternatives.

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.


Serious question: Would it be safe to say that not all self-professed libertarians agree on the definition of libertarianism? I've suspected this is the case.


Liberals and conservatives won't agree on their defintions either. Communism has been routinely redefined throughout history. A philosophy of society is always a malleable nebulous concept.


Yes, what's most important is that you're for freedom, whatever that means.

Libertarianism = Freedom. Communism = Freedom. Liberals = Freedom. Conservatives = Freedom. North Korea = Freedom. USA = Freedom.

Seriously what country isn't free? Who is against freedom?


Libertarians and communists are probably the only ones on this list who have actually made any attempts to define "freedom" in a consistent and location-independent way?


Libertarians, however, seem mongst the quickest to head straight to the No True Scotsman fallacy.


Because we actually believe in something. Most conservatives and liberals don't have a consistent moral philosophy so there is no point debating them.


I've been trying to narrow in on that consistent moral philosophy for various ism's. I'm not sure I've gotten very close in most cases except the general concept of tribalism. Every ism seems to be willing to bend the rules if it is perceived to be the common wisdom of the tribe.


An ever shifting mire of something which varies from libertarian to libertarian, all insisting the other isn't the real libertarian.


> Libertarians don't necessarily not believe in laws, they simply don't believe in a monopoly of laws and law enforcers.

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.


this little thread is a great example of brainwashed people of all breeds who just cant grasp the concept of liberty. they love to subject themselves to the status quo and its concepts, enforced by others. because it's so beautifully easy. so please, don't poke their world view!


"they simply don't believe in a monopoly of laws and law enforcers"

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.


I've been having conversations on this topic recently with a libertarian who grew up in the Soviet Union. Let's just say, when you've seen laws and law enforcers monopolized by villains, it becomes quite hard to accept that justice is whatever the government and courts say it should be.

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.


That actually alludes to something I noticed recently: Libertarians tend to come from countries with shitty governments, which makes sense. You're likely to be far more suspicious of the idea of government regulation if your government has a history of incompetence and malice than if you come from a country whose government, while imperfect, mostly just works.


That's true, I'm a libertarian from a country with a shitty government (United States)


And you rarely see libertarians here in Canada. 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. It's a solid B- government, and that seems to apply regardless of who's in power. So while you get disagreements on what government should or should not do, you don't really get disagreements about whether or not government is good: it's mostly ok.

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.


> And you rarely see libertarians here in Canada.

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.


Provinces have far less power than states do, at least on paper. The reason education and healthcare is run at the provincial level is because the federal government decided to do it that way as a cost-saving measure. If they decided to change it back, the provinces would just have to suck it up and go along for the ride. Just look at equalization payments for an indication of how little power provinces have.


Local libertarians (I am coming from Russia) are indeed mostly crazy to the point of advocating social Darwinism and Ayn-Randianism as a means to a perfect future of the humanity (??), I was quite puzzled to know the "original" libertarians are quite different from that :)

Just my two commie copeikas...


In a nutshell, in every country there's some number of political positions that have a certain amount of broad political popularity, and these will be captured and represented by some set of political parties. ("Captured" is a bit more aggressive than I really want here, but it really is sort of like a territory thing; positions are malleable and can move between parties over time.) In anything with a voting system that matters, these parties will tend to grab the vast majority of the middle ground. (In the US, the two parties actually play the part of multiple parties in a proportional representation system as in much of Europe; the popular positions are still all covered, but you do get some really bizarre pairings under one tent sometimes.)

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.


"Original" libertarians were French anarchists. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism#Etymology

> 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.


"Ahahahahaah! That's the same as not having laws!"

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)


Mob justice is not law.

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.


And yet mob justice is exactly what we have in US, though sometimes with a legislative session's worth of delay. A constitutional republic protects against mob justice through individual guarantees of property and liberty, and further through strict limitations on the state's power. Our government, of course, has long since managed to rid itself of most of these limitations.


Laws are not perfect. Sometimes you need a revolution (i.e., a mob).


Perhaps citing a television show is not the most credible evidence one can bring to a discussion?

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?


Why is it not credible? That scene illustrates a point even more abstract than the one we are discussing.

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.


To illustrate a concept? Fictional media are ideal, as they can have the facts go however they want. What difference are you hallucinating between citing a philosophical paper discussing a thought experiment, and citing a television show?


You really have trouble with this kind of discussion? I'm not sure what would fix this thinking ... Maybe you should read books or learn thought experiments or just start with basic metaphors ... hrrmphh! I'm stumped!


> (since I cannot reply directly, apparently)

HN hides these links to prevent very quick back-and-forth. Either wait a few minutes or click the 'link' link.


Thank you. I wasn't aware of that.


The thing to keep in mind is that the whole idea of a state is that it is the organizational entity (call it a posse if you like) that has the legitimacy to use force in the first place.

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 just said "lynch mob" like it was a good thing. Try again.


I'd have to say that the law looks like a monopoly to me. If the only way I can avoid being subject to the local law is to move a large distance and that's the only way to opt out how is this not a monopoly, or rather how is it any less the case than it is now?


>Ahahahahaah!... You're killing me my friends. Just killing me here.

You can make the same argument without being an ass about it.


If he were the sort of person that were capable of making this argument without being an ass about it, then this entire thread of discussion would not have been started in the first place. Whether you are a libertarian bitcoin drug dealer, a communist bitcoin drug dealer, or a politically apathetic cold-hard-cash drug dealer, governments don't enter the "I got ripped off, what are my options?" equation. That's just the reality of the business.

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.


There is quite a bit anarcho capitalist bent to a portion of the Bitcoin community and a number of people are going to be prone to pointing and laughing when something like this happens.

Not sure if that makes it right but people will be people.


Sure, anarcho-capitalists are more prevalent in the bitcoin community than in society in general (and I think you correctly identify it as anarcho-capitalist, not libertarian; several commenters here do not seem to understand that there is a difference), but ultimately drug dealers seeking justice outside of the legal system is nothing new at all. The only unique thing that is going on here, as opposed to traditional drug dealing, is that the request is made publicly.

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.


Probably not, because it's not a very good argument.


You are far too easily offended if that's being an ass.


I dunno man. I agree with you on that, of course you're right. But, people have limits not everyone wants to talk at length to a libertarian so mockery is employed.


In a public general-interest Internet conversation, when you reach the limit of your willingness to productively engage, it may be prudent to cease engaging.


I wouldn't write off mockery as unproductive. It's been an element of perfectly productive political discourse since the beginning of recorded political discourse. If done well and in an informed fashion, it ends up dispelling the illusion that any ignorant bit of pseudo-theory someone can conjure up is worthy of the public sphere.


It's funny how me pointing out the stupidity and bullshit of a group of criminals makes me an asshole...

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!


How did "stop being a jackass" turn into "I support the guy who stole the money"?

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[1] 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.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2605957


> 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.

For what it's worth, this is Responding to Tone, or DH2[#]

#: http://www.paulgraham.com/disagree.html


Only if I were disagreeing with some substantive point he made, which I'm not (I'm not agreeing, either). The substantive issue of my comment was his tone. I'm not disagreeing with him or trying to convince others that he's wrong; I'm just calling him out for being a jackass.


> Only if I were disagreeing with some substantive point he made, which I'm not (I'm not agreeing, either). The substantive issue of my comment was his tone. I'm not disagreeing with him or trying to convince others that he's wrong

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.


You can't (reasonably) apply the hierarchy of disagreement to someone who is not actually disagreeing. He's not saying this to contribute to the debate, he's trying to encourage the community to express itself in an appropriate manner. Zed has made it pretty clear that he has no interest in factual debate. Multiple people have tried to point out the misunderstandings expressed in his posts and have been met with accusations of hypocrisy and/or avoidance of the actual points raised. He's firmly in the range of DH0-3. I'll admit I'm pretty new here, but this seems to me like behavior that the community should try to discourage.


"You're being a jackass" != "You're a jackass"

I'm criticizing the behaviour, not the person. If you can't call out poor behaviour, you can't expect civil communication.


> I'm criticizing the behaviour, not the person.

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 respectfully disagree. Nothing is lost by tailoring the tone of your comments to your audience; you're doing so right now through your choice of words. On Youtube, you might have said, "stop being such a fucking pussy", and it would have fit within the expected norms of conversation there.

>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".


> By claiming I'm not allowed to criticize someone's behaviour, you're doing the exact same thing you're condemning me for.

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.


I don't think this discussion is going anywhere productive. If it's alright with you, I'd rather just leave it as is.


It's the condescending way you write that makes you seem like an asshole... i.e saying "Hahahahah" all the time - I don't particularly disagree with your points but the insulting tone is unnecessary, don't you think?


At one point, I wish I could shout like him. There are stuffs that are obvious: it is simple ideas. You speak about it nicely and you get scorned. Then, you doubt, you persist and you discover that you were right: it is now obvious, and still they laugh at you. So maybe, nervously, you laugh even louder.


First off, only my mother gets to tell me to "watch my tone". Random jackoffs online can go fuck themselves if they think they've earned my respect by default, especially if those same jackoffs use political rhetoric to harm and steal from others.

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".


redthrowaway's comment:

> You can make the same argument without being an ass about it.

Your reply:

> 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.


Careful, now. It looks like you're saying that calling something stupid bullshit is being an asshole. Some of us happen to believe that stupid bullshit is a real thing and that there are circumstances where calling something stupid bullshit may be entirely fair and justified.

Try defending against the accusation itself instead of taking the stance that the accusation is always automatically invalid.


Yeah, I wasn't saying that at all.

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.


>It looks like you're saying that calling something stupid bullshit is being an asshole.

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.


> "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.


So is it actually your point that the floor is now littered with fee-fees over the difference between "ass" and "asshole?"


in the immortal words of The Dude - you're not wrong, zed, you're just an asshole. escalating discussions into flamewars by being unnecessarily inflammatory hurts the quality of the discussion for everyone.


But wait Zed you certainly come out "looking like an asshole" quite often. You admit it yourself[1]. It seems to have something to do with your strident polarizing style. Just saying...

BTW - Love your L?THW books. Thanks

[1] http://zedshaw.com/essays/master_and_expert.html


There's no need for the tone you're taking.


All due respect, you're missing the point.

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.


> 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.

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...)


I don't necessarily disagree. It wasn't an attempt to assert that libertarianism is or isn't great, just that if Zed genuinely thinks that most libertarians don't consider 'theft' a crime, then he is badly mistaken.

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.


Well I know it's hard to pin a single definition but I will say I've encountered "libertarians" who were really essentially an/caps and actually did envision a nearly lawless society running on some sort of free market (oh, and strong property rights, always strong property rights).

It's getting to the point that when one says they're a libertarian I'm not even sure what that means at first. :-/


I've had that same discussion recently with my wife, when I think we were discussing Chomsky. In short, I agree, the 'libertarian' umbrella is a broad one, but I think it's as unfair to suggest that libertarianism seriously espouses lawlessness as it is to suggest that democrats espouse NSA spying. Sure, some democrats undoubtedly do, but it's by no means a core policy position.

As for the 'strong property rights' comment, you clearly haven't yet met a libertarian socialist[1]. ;-)

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism


'crime' is not equivalent to 'cause for revenge through the security agency of your choice'.


"literally everyone agrees that 'government should be as small as possible". Coming from Europe, that strikes me as a fascinating American (I presume) statement. From countless conversations I (Libertarian leaning - something which I just discovered in the last few years, did not even know that such a thing existed before that) had in the past in various European countries I found that the size of government was usually completely irrelevant for most people and in fact the majority was in favor of laws, ideas, concepts, movements etc, that de facto would lead to more government and more laws. Sorry for the OT, just fascinated :-)


The concept comes out of something akin to the sibling reply to my comment.

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).


And yet, having been owner and operator of businesses in both the US and UK, the UK government is far friendlier to small businesses than the US government is. Part of the US problem is that government has scaled up so far demographically and geographically that the government does need to be as small as possible at least on a federal level.

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?


..and this my friends is what political discussion looks like.

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.


This guy is an asshole. Just move along guys nothing to see here.


Your comment seems more appropriate for YouTube than HN.

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.


It's not the same thing as not having laws. That's like saying that a competitive market for food is the same thing as having no food.


a war of all against all is not law.


"But without the government, people would immediately start killing each other, and the last person remaining would commit suicide. Heck, I would gladly kill you right now if no one would be watching." - that is your argument, essentially. No, I don't think that would happen. Most people are not evil enough to willingly hurt other people, and most of the evil ones are not courageous enough to willingly hurt other people and risk being shot.


It's also something that has never existed outside Hobbes' imagination


It's rather the opposite, Hobbes's treatise explains why you didn't witness it throughout recorded history. Once a population group got large enough to have to worry about silly things like common property it ended up having leaders/warlords (either homegrown or due to conquest from abroad).

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.


> It's rather the opposite, Hobbes's treatise explains why you didn't witness it throughout recorded history. Once a population group got large enough to have to worry about silly things like common property it ended up having leaders/warlords (either homegrown or due to conquest from abroad).

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.


> Is there any evidence that humans ever weren't large enough to worry about common property?

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.


zedshaw being an asshole. I'm shocked, shocked!


How is he being an asshole? He is exactly right.

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!!"

<time passes>

"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.


Well, he might be right here and there, but he's still being an assohle, and it's not the first time we see him acting as one (I'd wager it's his most recognizable trait).

Being right and/or smart and/or recognized doesn't, and shouldn't, give one an excuse to be a dick.


I don't think he's being an asshole, he just has the gift of being able to phrase his opinion in a way that makes people that disagree with him feel really bad.

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.


> 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 [0]). 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.

[0] - http://hanson.gmu.edu/regprivlaw.html


and he should give a damn about whether you agree or not because... ??


>>How is he being an a__h___? He is exactly right.

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[1] removed from my channel, I'd appreciate it. I reported it as hate-speech like a month ago or something.

1. https://www.youtube.com/user/SMTDDR/discussion

For posterity's sake - http://i.imgur.com/6kpYvcM.png


That's pretty bad. I'll look into it.


Thanks!

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. ;-)


Also take a look at this:

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2802268

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.


http://i.imgur.com/zIWLiyr.png

For some reason, I'm only allowed to report it. =/

EDIT: I was able to block the user, but the comment remains it seems.


I'm finding it quite funny and saw this coming a mile away.


Theft can happen under any form of government, I'm not sure why you would think otherwise.


Yeah, my bank loses all my money all the time. If by all the time I mean "not once ever".


This is an astounding comment post-2008.


Mutual funds and stock portfolios aren't banks.


Fools always laugh the hardest.


A witty saying proves nothing.


Is that recursive irony?


Yes.


Oh, I think the libertarians want something like the old posses that once went around stringing-up cattle thieves, so they would do something to the thieves if they caught them - unless fear of the state prevented this (why they think the state is unjust).

Not that there aren't multitudes of other problems in their schemes.


Zed, I'm sorry, but at this point your comment has jumped the shark. You're full of crap, that's all.

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)


Polycentric Law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycentric_law

+

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.


No, it's more like you use your money and you get your own police force and set of laws and I'll use my own and get the same and then we'll figure out our grievances ourselves. Sounds like a workable system. :)


ah the Frank Zappa method..

for those that do not know the story..

Frank Zappa disarmed someone that tried to shoot him and than refused to call the cops


I think that's a Zappa myth. It's been told various ways, including yours, but also another in which he encourages the attacker to walk with the group Zappa's with to a lake, wherein they then throw their belongings into it, including the gun.


seems like a good thing for bitcoin that this happened. sure - it could be a flaw in the bitcoin protocol. but could just be "there's no honor among thieves".

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.


I don't love libertarians and their ilk any more than you do, but in fairness I have to say this doesn't read to me like a request for government intervention, so much as a "Let's you and him fight" suggestion that the users who got ripped off go after the users he claims did the ripping. The idea, I think, is that if enough jilted users get together to make life miserable for the people who supposedly did the thieving, then it'll be in their self-interest to return the stolen bitcoins and make everything be OK again. Or something.

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.


Which makes me think, whatever happened to the supposed commitment to non-violence/non-initiation of force, of both Libertarians and the new DPR? Yeah, guys, I'm sure the purpose of trying to rally a bunch of people together and find out the real life location of the thief has nothing to do with inflicting any physical harm on them.


Even then, he's saying that all the claims of the new DPR to be peaceful are bullshit, and again that everyone should band together and get him, contradicting the objectivist mindset. Either he's asking the government for help, or asking a pseudo-government lynch mob for justice, and either is hypocritical.


Oh, I don't know about that; I have never seen any philosophical incompatibility between libertarianism or Objectivism and lynch mobs, so long as said lynch mobs are true mobs and not organized by a state actor -- the SA, for example, wouldn't qualify, but some of the Black Hundreds probably would. The "self-interest" idea covers such matters quite handily: it is, after all, quite plainly in one's self-interest not to do things which move his neighbors to organize a lynching bee.

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.


> objectivist libertarians

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.


Stalinists don't like Trotskyists either.


And is there such thing as "Stalinist Trotskyists"?

Also that some similar groups dislike each other does not imply that all groups which dislike each other are similar.


The point is that people on the radical fringe of economic thought are prone to splitterism.


So you agree that Objectivism and libertarianism are split/separate/etc? You agree with me and disagree with the OP?


I think all objectivists are libertarians, but not all libertarians are objectivists.


Links or it didn't happen! I mean hell, if every guy weirdly named Paul or Ron or Rand seems to have read Atlas Shrugged and calls him self a Libertarian, then I gotta go with combining the two.


Not sure if you're joking. It's easy to google, e.g. http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ar_libertari...

> What was Ayn Rand’s view of the libertarian movement?

> Ayn Rand was opposed to the libertarian movement of her time.

Details follow.


We're talking about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_Rothbard libertarians, not classical libertarianism.


What is "classical libertarianism"? Google doesn't seem to know either.


I guess just what libertarianism was from Belsham into the 20th century, before the influence of Rand and Rothbard.

The comment was in response to a statement saying that Rand spoke against libertarianism, which was true.


Can you explain more?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Belsham

> [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:

http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/philosophers...

> 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?


He was the first guy to ever use the term libertarian; so from that point until the late 60's, libertarianism was something Rand was ostensibly against. Most libertarians today embrace the Randian critique of the libertarianism of her day.

In other words, the libertarianism of today is by and large anarcho-capitalism rebranded.


> He was the first guy to ever use the term libertarian

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).


It was a historical reference meant to mark the beginnings of the word in the english lexicon, not as any particular fully-formed ideological system. Like saying "from Stonehenge to the Big Ben" when speaking of English architecture.

In the Venn-diagram of libertarians, Ayn Rand fans, and Murray Rothbard adherents, the area of the cross-section is non-zero.


That's not a very coherent argument.

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.


this is seriously the most hilarious response to a hacker news thread i have seen in a long time. it's got it all;

> 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?

please.


I won't wade into all of the waters here. Not even sure what my opinion is at this point. But, I do have a question:

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.


> If these guys decide to band together to exact some form of "justice" against the thieves, then isn't that a form of "government"?

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.


Interesting. I think that where things start to get gray is when a.) There's a collective vs. individual action/response involved (even in the cases that are defined as "not a government") and b.) when the "crime" involved is not as clear cut as, say outright theft. In the latter case, someone has to define what's acceptable for a given community (i.e. laws) and all parties must agree to it.

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.


I'm not sure that democratic consensus is the same as democratic government. If the Silk Road 2 community grows and its new users have different ideals than the old ones -- maybe they don't support this kind of retribution against thieves, or they're against selling certain goods on Silk Road -- then a government would require new users to abide by the old rules, whereas a consensual arrangement would acknowledge that the consensus has changed.

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.


Haha, Ted Bundy? The ultimate strawman slippery slope argument!

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.


ah, we've gotten to the "i know you are, but what am i" stage already.

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.


Well, in his defense, your Bundy and Armstrong examples are just awful, and the bit about whether X is moral or Y is moral is even worse. You've begged the question of what defines morality entirely and replaced a rational basis for evaluation with the assumption that most people you know would consider one thing "worse" than another.

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.


my rant about hypocrisy had nothing to do with morality, and i wasn't suggesting you accept moral advice from either person. i thought that was pretty clear.

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.


In the sense that we're actually laughing with him, yeah his is funnier.


Yes, you said it so it must be true, but when you read his comment you see that he's actually pointing out deeper hypocrisy in their statements. Most of them are so deeply flawed they can't be recovered.

But go ahead and demonstrate you don't think for yourself by laughing with him being wrong.


Your need to dismissively laugh at views that you do not agree with is highly obnoxious


You're embarrassing yourself all over this thread.


I don't mind assholes when they are smart and correct, but you're just being a dolt.


> "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!

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.


I notice this quite a bit amongst my libertarian acquaintances. They tend to believe in a world built on complete freedom to exercise self-interest provided their self-interests are to be held up no matter the cost or damage to others and society. Once they get burned or outwitted by others serving their own interests, they cry injustice in the world as if it never existed before.


Libertarians believe in a freedom of choice, but not at the expense of others. By your interpretation, murder would be justifiable if it were "serving [one's] own interests." You've missed the distinction.


I get your point, but I think you are missing the glaring nuance here...

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.


Yes he is! In fact he appeals to morality just about every other sentence. It's rather hilarious.


Libertarianism has a lot of morality, it's just a different morality. That morality is to maximize independence of each individual. Obviously that's not a promotion of murder, nor a neutrality against murder (as an example of one moral), it's absolutely against the imposition of one will "unfairly" on another, through violence. It would characterize needlessly violent drug busts by swat teams as such imposition of will through violence.

Clearly, you're an ultra-liberal. That's fine, but you don't have to be illogical, come on.


Hm, but libertarians also believe in the right to free association. I'd say the morality of libertarianism is:

'political power should be viewed with greater skepticism than any other form of indirect power'


Libertarians have a strong sense of morality based on property rights. You might be thinking of anarchism.


Anarchism has a strong sense of morality based on communal rights. It's not strictly amoral (and in fact is very far from it).


I wasn't clear, I didn't mean to imply that anarchism has no morality, just that it isn't based on individuals' property rights. (At least, that's my understanding of it.)


I won't pretend to fully understand it either, but self-proclaimed anarchists that I've talked to online have indicated that they do respect private and personal property. A man could own a baseball bat in the property sense, but a company could not own property at all (or at least, property they expect not to be damaged by an anarchist).


I think you're assuming his appeals to morality is the same as asking for government intervention. In fact, I read this just the opposite, and I would bet this is exactly NOT what he is asking for.


What I find actually amazing isn't your ignorance, your misunderstanding of Objectivism, Libertarianism, and Silk Road denizens. Nor do I find amazing your inability to separate the individual from the collective.

No, what I find actually amazing is that despite all that you still believed you could make a meaningful comment.


Swoosh! Right over your head. This is just so hilarious I can't stand it. Nothing is better than watching a true believer grasp clumsily at his beliefs as they slip from his grasp like a slimy eel.


You keep describing all aspects of this situation as hilarious. It's condescending and not adding anything to your argument. If you're trying to be persuasive, this isn't how you do it.


It is somewhat disheartening to see that you are a long time member with truckloads of karma, and yet you feel free to post these brash, low quality comments. It is a shame I cannot down vote you.


He's actually a good author, speaker, writer, and dev community member. On the other hand, he's also got a pretty acerbic personality and likes profanity a lot.

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.


This is just so hilarious I can't stand it.

The troll doth protest too much, methinks.


I don't imagine everyone that uses the site is libertarian, not all libertarians are anarcho-capitalists, nor are they all objectivists. Some people just oppose drug prohibition, or the banking system, or whatever. Nor was anything in there appealing to the government or any other "hypocritical" thing. This is the kind of comment I would expect to find on /r/politics, not hacker news.


You're reading "justice" here to be synonymous with government action. "Whatever means" = their "community" doing whatever it takes to achieve their goals, period. The author is essentially threatening murder, kidnapping, extortion, or worse and encouraging the members of the site to help make it happen.


The number of strawmen in your argument is staggering.


It's basically a bunch of assumptions and misapprehensions stacked up so he can hate on one of the tribes other than his own.

You know, what passes for politics these days.


Typical libertarian response: why bother refuting anything zedshaw said when you can just attack him personally?


There is no personal attack here.

I am, however, strongly condemning the approach he's taken to discussing the topic.


It can't be strawmen if they're direct quotes. I pulled quotes out that were contradictory to their actually stated philosophy. The whole statement is riddled with them.

In fact, your claim of strawmen is actually a straw man argument (and also so funny).


> It can't be strawmen if they're direct quotes.

It can, if the people you're arguing with now aren't the same people you're quoting.


I can re read the points you made from a libertarian / anarchist tone as well. (I see very little difference in the two).

For example:

- "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.


You're confusing Libertarianism with some variants of anarchism. Libertarians simply disagree about the ROLE of government - not whether it should exist.

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.


> Libertarians simply disagree about the ROLE of government - not whether it should exist.

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.


Fuck off Zed, its just people selling drugs man, get over it. Not everyone agrees with prohibition.

Between you and Miguel Icaaza there's enough 'Bitcoin schadenfraude' to power a small town.


Actually, I am against prohibition too, and against most drug laws, and definitely against applying them disproportionately. I'm an advocate for drug abuse being treated as a medical condition, for the sale of hard drugs only by prescription, and for any laws to be applied the same to whites, blacks, and corporations alike. I'm against famous people getting rehab while poor people get life sentences for possession. I also think softer drugs should be taxed like mad with all the money funneled into education and real research into the harmful effects of drug abuse.

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.


Good points, especially treating addiction as a medical condition.

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.


I also have never done drugs, have never drank alcohol, never smoked

Go for it, it'll either make you less of a tool or cause you a life of suffering. Both sound good.


Have we gotten to the "threaten the dissenter with bodily harm" bit already?


You don't see the hypocrisy of the "they broke the law and stole our money" outcry?

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.


Well, it's more of a 'they are breaking the rules of our community' outcry. Sure some may be crying out for law enforcement to get involved. I agree that those folk are being naive and/or hypocritical.

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.


I'm not a bitcoin culture expert, but I agree that it is a very interesting experiment and exercise. I too am watching all of this with great interest and wonder what kind of culture will emerge.

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.


Libertarianism isn't Anarchism (although there is a faction for that). It is by their own blurbs "Maximum Freedom, Minimal Government". Which, in principle, is pretty easy to believe in. Robbing data/currency is against a fair law of theft, which I am sure most libertarians agree is a necessary minimal law. Live and let live, and don't take another person's stuff, even anarchists probably believe that.


Why is this the top comment? ... Oh, the author.


Likewise disappointed at what passes for discussion on this topic, on Hacker News of all places.


No, because it's funny and points out the stupidity of most objectivist arguments using their own words. It's the same thing when we all found out the original DPR clumsily ordered overpriced hits on people after spouting off that he wanted a world free of violence. The universal thing about most of these people is that if they believe that everyone should only think of themselves then they cannot be trusted, yet people continue to hand them money and fealty. Eventually, as they continue to implement their flawed beliefs and then scam everyone people will start to realize that a self-interested world view is immediately illogical and not to be trusted.

Then again, the ability of many humans to believe completely illogical bullshit is astounding.


Haha, exactly! I'm here at work sitting with a big grin on my face for the last few minutes..Unless Silkroad themselves are lying, which I think is very possible.


Lowercase-l libertarian checking in.

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.


Thanks for this comment. It's disheartening that some will always point and yell, "Hahahaha - all those guys on the blue team. Man, they're so dumb!" like an individual's political philosophy has absolutely no nuance. It's easier when your world view is all Libertarians are Anarchists, or all Democrats are Marxists and Socialists, or all Republicans are racist Teabaggers.


Please stop flaming this thread. We understand -- everyone else is hilariously incoherent in their views


Objectivism doesn't preach that there should be no government, no judicial, and or no police. You clearly don't understand Objectivism. First it has absolutely nothing to do with libertarianism, Ayn Rand was specifically clear about that, and wrote a lot on the subject. It has nothing to do with anarchy; it argues strongly in favor of a government that enforces ethical laws, including property rights (the war on drugs being as far away from ethical as you could possibly get).


Most of these people use libertarianism as a guise. They're drug dealers and consumers. That's it.


Actually they are not saying that they need the government. What they are saying is that for any social enterprise to work, there needs to be honor and trust. And that this person broke that honor and trust. And yes, that is in the interest of the community.


What would be really ironic is if it was a Government agency which pulled off the heist.


Oooooh, I like how you think. Oh! Or, if SR2 was a government sting operation? I smell a movie script.


Great...Zed Shaw is here to bestow his wisdom.


> most hilarious thing...Bwahahahaa!...massive hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness. Amazing.

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.


LOL


Haha You nailed it!!


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