RE: [lpsf-discuss] 26) The most crucial gap in politics

Excellent point, but I think the catch is in the word "permissible." I
would agree that it was not permissible to trespass, which is precisely
why I would owe compensation. We (including libertarians) have tended
to think of "permissible" as meaning permissible with impunity. That's
always the issue with government actions: Whether the government has
the "right" to wiretap, for instance, is implicitly taken to mean that
it's not liable for damages. Liberals, of course, will object that that
just means that rich people can go around bopping people over the head
for the fun of it and buying them off.

Maybe I'm missing something, but your focus on whether something is "permissible" feels to me like splitting hairs. I don't insist that it be called "permissible" for government agencies to initiate force against innocent people by compelling them to stand trial, and I certainly feel no need to assert a government "right" to take such an action (only individuals have rights), so long as it is understood that this is *going* to happen, and that the appropriate response to it happening is not to insist that governments be abolished altogether (since as you concede, no social arrangement can prevent the initiation of force from occurring in such scenarios), but to demand that governments provide appropriate compensation to innocent people who are forced to stand trial against their wishes.

Yours in liberty,
        <<< starchild >>>

Excellent point, but I think the catch is in the word "permissible." I would agree that it was not permissible to trespass, which is precisely why I would owe compensation. We (including libertarians) have tended to think of "permissible" as meaning permissible with impunity. That's always the issue with government actions: Whether the government has the "right" to wiretap, for instance, is implicitly taken to mean that it's not liable for damages. Liberals, of course, will object that that just means that rich people can go around bopping people over the head for the fun of it and buying them off.

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From: lpsf-discuss@yahoogroups.com [mailto:lpsf-discuss@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Starchild
Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2006 4:01 PM
To: lpsf-discuss@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [lpsf-discuss] 26) The most crucial gap in politics

Michael,

I like the flagpole scenario, and have often used it in discussion myself. I had forgotten or didn't know that it originated with the Liberty survey.

My own actions in that situation would be the same -- I would force my way into the apartment rather than fall to my death. According to Gene Callahan, it would appear that neither of us are anarchists:

"Anarchists reject the notion that it is permissible to employ violence against someone who has not themselves committed an act of aggression, no matter how much one wants to get that innocent person to cooperate in forwarding one's desired ends, and no matter how important one believes that end to be."

Because we would choose not to fall to our deaths, we obviously have a lot more in common with Stalin than with true anarchists!

Yours in liberty,
<<< starchild >>>

Thanks, Starchild; good questions.

Clearly no social arrangement can prevent the initiation of force from occurring. But the security agency wasn't forcing the accused to cooperate, in the sense that they would punish her if she failed to. But people who elected not to participate in the network of security or insurance agencies would be responsible for their own protection--a risky proposition if you've made some enemies, rightly or wrongly. And nonparticipation is a good way to make enemies. A private security agency might initiate force in some instances, in gathering evidence or bringing someone to trial. Liability, however, would tend to limit these actions to cases where they were pretty sure they would get a conviction. (If compensation were due, say, a rapist for invasion of his privacy in collecting evidence, it would surely be less than that due a person wrongly accused.) I think there's a meaningful contrast to be made here with the socially sanctioned initiation of force under a government.

With non-socially sanctioned initiation of force, I think the market would set a rather high price on it in general, but not in all cases. There was a famous Liberty survey in the '80s which asked readers about the "flagpole" scenario: You fall off the balcony of a high-rise condo, and miraculously catch the flagpole projecting from the balcony of the neighbor a floor below. The only way out is through his apartment, and he won't allow you to trespass. A remarkable number of respondents said they were morally obligated to drop to their deaths. I would force my way into his apartment and let an arbitration agency decide how much I owed him. I'm betting it wouldn't be much.

From: lpsf-discuss@yahoogroups.com [mailto:lpsf-discuss@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Starchild
Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2006 6:04 PM
To: lpsf-discuss@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [lpsf-discuss] 26) The most crucial gap in politics

Michael,

Thanks for your response, and the gracious compliment. Let me say however, that you illustrate exactly what I'm getting at -- an anarchist system would also involve the initiation of force. Consider the options in the scenario you have described:

(1) The accused shoplifter doesn't cooperate. For this hypothetical, let's say she's innocent, meaning she is perfectly morally justified in not cooperating. You mention "survivors," implying she might even be killed as a result, and that her family or friends would have no further recourse (at least as far as social mechanisms were concerned). Is a system that would hold as an acceptable outcome an innocent person being killed over a shoplifting dispute, with no consequences for the killers, a just system?

(2) The accused person does cooperate. She appears in court, and is acquitted and duly compensated for her trouble and loss of privacy. But if she only cooperated because she feared being killed if she failed to cooperate, how is this different from the government sending her a summons to appear under force of law? Seems like essentially the same level of force-initiation to me.

And of course when governments legally compel accused persons to stand trial, that does not preclude those found innocent from being compensated for having their violating their rights violated and their time imposed upon. Indeed I would insist upon such compensation under a system of limited government that initiated force against people accused of crimes.

I do not see how we can get away from a system that allows some initiation of force. Of course this wouldn't "officially" happen under anarchy, but only because *nothing* happens "officially" in an > anarchy.

I have to wonder to what degree this lack of official status for force-initiations makes anarchy an appealing "clean hands" option to libertarians because they are operating from a nationalist mindset in which they feel more guilty for the actions of the state than they would for similar actions committed by others that were just as socially accepted, but done without the official imprimatur.

Yours in liberty,
<<< starchild >>>

Thanks, Starchild; a thoughtful and well-phrased message, like all your others.

I do assume there would be a lot of people without a protection agency or insurance, just as there are many today without insurance, mainly those who have less to protect. I don't think it's necessary to compel a court appearance, or cooperation with the system, however; I would expect self-interest to take care of that. If they didn't cooperate, they (or their survivors) couldn't collect against anyone who aggressed against them--including, notably, the person with a grievance. If the accused is found to be innocent, then they (forgive the plural) are due compensation for their trouble by the accusing agency, as well as for any privacy incursions in the course of evidence collection.

What makes me pessimistic about anarchy is not so much that it couldn't work, as that it wouldn't be allowed to. We came pretty close under the Articles of Confederation, but big business was immediately pressing for a strong central government with the power to levy uniform, national tariffs. It would appear to take an enormously educated, independent-spirited populace to resist that.

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From: lpsf-discuss@yahoogroups.com [mailto:lpsf-discuss@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Starchild
Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:54 PM
To: lpsf-discuss@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [lpsf-discuss] 26) The most crucial gap in politics

In advocating voluntary government, I am not defending the initiation of force. I am saying that no one has come up with a realistic plan for preventing it altogether, so we should opt for the solution that appears to offer the best prospects of *minimizing* its use. I'm trying to work this into his wife-beating analogy, but I don't think that analogy is broad enough to cover it. I believe that a system of small, voluntarily-funded governments is as close as one can get in practice to his ideal of non-aggression, at least in any world largely resembling ours.

For instance, what happens under anarchy to people who don't have protection agencies? When they are accused of committing crimes, how are they brought to justice? Not being under contract, they would have no agency to work out some kind of deal with the agency of the alleged victim. If someone accuses such a person of shoplifting, she might simply say, "I didn't do it. I'm not going to go to court. You're just harassing me." Now she might be innocent, and she might be guilty. But without a mechanism to compel her to stand trial, then what? Death feuds over shoplifting charges? A mechanism to compel people to appear in a neutral court strikes me as the lesser evil.

Yours in liberty,
<<< starchild >>>

LewRockwell.Com
by Gene Callahan

"While I am perfectly willing to cooperate with anyone who shares a
political objective with me, I believe the above conception, that
minarchists and anarchists are practically indistinguishable aside from a
minor and practically irrelevant disagreement is profoundly mistaken. In
fact, when it comes to what I regard as the most vital political question
of them all, the gulf between minarchists and anarchists is immense,
whereas that separating minarchists and, say, Stalinists is relatively
small: Anarchists reject the notion that it is permissible to employ
violence against someone who has not themselves committed an act of
aggression, no matter how much one wants to get that innocent person to
cooperate in forwarding one's desired ends, and no matter how important one
believes that end to be. Minarchists, to the contrary, defend their right
to initiate aggression in any circumstance where they see the use of
coercion as being really, really useful. The difference between minarchists
and totalitarians is one of degree ..." (04/11/06)

http://www.lewrockwell.com/callahan/callahan154.html

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