Who and what is libertarian? How libertarian are they?

  So some people did pay even when it was voluntary, just not enough
people to make you feel it was worth your while to provide the product
on that basis?

It had nothing to do with feelings. It had to do with the price of food
and housing. I can't live on $100/year but I can live well enough on
1000x as much that I can continue working on my software instead of
having to find a job (writing non-donation software!). And that is
about the difference in my income levels from the donation to paid
software transition.

Somehow, there were about 10K/year people that were not willing to
donate $10 for something which they were willing to pay $10 to use. Any
theory of donation-based services has to explain this discrepancy and
provide a workable solution to it.

  Feel free (or "think free," if you prefer) to substitute the word
"calculate" for "feel" in my question above. Anyway, if you're making
$100,000 a year, I hope that means I'll be getting a generous campaign
contribution! 8)

Another way of putting this is that people pay when they feel they
ought to pay. If you feel you ought to pay and don't pay, you're
to feel badly.
But if you don't feel you ought to pay, then you can not
pay and still feel okay. So paying only increases satisfaction when
feels one ought to pay. If paying increased satisfaction when did NOT
feel one ought to pay, the world would be a rather different place.

If you add that people generally do not feel particularly inclined to
pay for things without significant emotional gain attached to them,
then I would agree. My point is that there is no significant emotional
gain in donations for mundane things such as national defense or a
court system. Are these things good to have? Of course. Are they things
that people will take every opportunity to avoid paying for themselves?

  I disagree, but I can see there's no point arguing about it with you.
Say you were right. Who wouldn't like to have an autographed photo of
the president, or a nice certificate thanking them for contributing to
the national defense? No reason a voluntarily-funded government
couldn't offer such things to contributors. Government already does
sell naming rights to stadiums and that sort of thing.

I am assuming that voluntary contributions to a limited government
would be public. In such a system there would likely be strong peer
pressure for people to "pay their fair share."

In my experience, I can find no good support for that prediction.
Everyone I have ever known shows a strong interest to pay the least and
get the most. In a very fundamental way, markets are based on this.
Most people *brag* about how clever they are at avoiding taxes. You
might say that this is only because the government has a bad rep or is
coercing people to pay. But this is equally true of products and
services in markets. People brag about getting stuff for free or at
such a discount that the seller loses money - even if they like the
seller. Apple fanatics love to take advantage of sell-at-a-loss deals
on Macs.

  At Burning Man, people brag about the cool things they provide to
others at no charge. Rave promoters often talk up the free parties they

... a substantial
majority of the public currently supports funding government via
coercive taxation. That's why I think voluntary funding of government
would work, where such an approach would not necessarily work as a
means of funding software development or other goods or services.

You are assuming what you are being asked to demonstrate. You're saying
that people would donate because they support taxes. I think the reason
people support taxes is because they know that not enough people would

  Correction; they *think* not enough people would donate. However this
perception is contradicted by the fact that people often say that they
themselves would donate, it's all those evil or irresponsible others
out there who would not.

  As I recall, Michael and I discussed a scenario similar to this:
Someone falls off a 10th floor balcony. As he passes the 9th floor, he
manages to arrest his fall by catching hold of a protruding flagpole.
However the owner of the flagpole is a rather callous individual who
greatly resents intrusion. "Get your hands off my flagpole!" he
demands. Obviously if the person lets go, he would likely fall to his
death. But under libertarian property rights theory, the flagpole
has a perfect right to make the demand and to see it legally enforced.
The best solution in this case, assuming the person who fell wants to
continue living, would be for him to refuse the demand, and perhaps
even to further trespass onto the flagpole owner's property in order
escape his life-threatening predicament. So the best solution is not
always the most libertarian solution.

Ah, but what makes that solution better?

  Common sense.

Are you suggesting that the net happiness of the individuals has
something to do with the "goodness" evaluation of the options?

  I don't know.

Yours in liberty,
          <<< Starchild >>>

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