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Author Topic: Objections to the non-aggression principle  (Read 5221 times)
NghtRppr
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February 22, 2012, 05:28:46 PM
 #61

its not enough to say the roof on a house is leaky; you have to offer a way to fix it or a way to replace it with a better roof

A leaky roof is a poor analogy because there are no moral or ethical implications. As chrisco correctly points out, saying we should stop doing something immoral, even without suggesting an alternative, does make sense. I don't need to tell a rapist how he's going to get laid. I do know that he should stop raping though.
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Hawker
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February 22, 2012, 05:37:15 PM
 #62

its not enough to say the roof on a house is leaky; you have to offer a way to fix it or a way to replace it with a better roof

A leaky roof is a poor analogy because there are no moral or ethical implications. As chrisco correctly points out, saying we should stop doing something immoral, even without suggesting an alternative, does make sense. I don't need to tell a rapist how he's going to get laid. I do know that he should stop raping though.

That is an even worse analogy.  Rape is a clearly understood concept and all are agreed its bad.  Living in a democracy is also a clearly understood concept but no-one really thinks its bad.


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February 22, 2012, 06:23:37 PM
 #63

That is an even worse analogy.  Rape is a clearly understood concept and all are agreed its bad.  Living in a democracy is also a clearly understood concept but no-one really thinks its bad.

Your analogy had nothing at all to do with the morality of human interaction. Our analogies have everything to do with the morality of human interaction. Government is an entity which mediates human interaction, and claims to be moral doing so. How is it possible that our analogies were worse than yours?

I also dispute the claim that rape is a clearly understood concept and all agreed it is bad (rape is common in many places of the world, and the line between rape and consensual sex is fuzzy in many cases). I would agree if you had made that claim about slavery, except that is a fairly recent development. There was a time when many people considered slavery to be necessary and perfectly moral. Did that make it so?
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February 22, 2012, 06:29:49 PM
 #64

Oh, the fact that we are "hostages" to authoritarian people like you, we already know very well.

All we can do is complain, argue, try to move to less authoritarian places, try to support ideas/projects that might reduce the power of such people (like bitcoin, seasteading, Free cities etc) and so on.
I have no hope - and I believe most libertarians neither - of ever become a truly sovereign individual. Maybe in a very distant future that will be a possibility, but we'll be all dead by then. I have much less hope of ever seeing a world without intentional murders. That does not mean I will support a "minimum rate of murders" because "it has always existed", "society can't be organized without it" etc.

That sounds like an admission that NAP is not realistic. It's one thing to pine for a society where it will work, and in theory it could work if the society was small and all were fervent NAP believers, but it simply isn't workable in the real world.

So, we've been asking the same question to you guys over and over. How do you make NAP work? And we finally got an answer: it won't work, accept in small isolated communities.
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February 22, 2012, 06:37:29 PM
 #65

That sounds like an admission that NAP is not realistic. It's one thing to pine for a society where it will work, and in theory it could work if the society was small and all were fervent NAP believers, but it simply isn't workable in the real world.

So, we've been asking the same question to you guys over and over. How do you make NAP work? And we finally got an answer: it won't work, accept in small isolated communities.

You're reading too far into it. It merely means that right now most of society has accepted the state's proposition that it is acceptable to initiate the use of violence. This, of course, is because that acceptance is necessary in order for the state to exist. However, the state's use of violence always comes back to bite it's citizens, and the hope is that by spreading the message of NAP, eventually people will say "enough", and refuse to tolerate a state any longer.
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February 22, 2012, 06:38:37 PM
 #66

That is an even worse analogy.  Rape is a clearly understood concept and all are agreed its bad.  Living in a democracy is also a clearly understood concept but no-one really thinks its bad.

Your analogy had nothing at all to do with the morality of human interaction. Our analogies have everything to do with the morality of human interaction. Government is an entity which mediates human interaction, and claims to be moral doing so. How is it possible that our analogies were worse than yours?

I also dispute the claim that rape is a clearly understood concept and all agreed it is bad (rape is common in many places of the world, and the line between rape and consensual sex is fuzzy in many cases). I would agree if you had made that claim about slavery, except that is a fairly recent development. There was a time when many people considered slavery to be necessary and perfectly moral. Did that make it so?

OK.  Point taken.  there is nothing worse than an analogy that is meant to make things clear but actually obfusticates; my leaky roof analogy did that so please ignore it while I try to myself clearer.

I think we are both agreed that society is far from perfect.

We both know that there is violent chaos if the present system breaks down.  In London, a city that has been at the heart of a strong state for over 1000 years, it took all of 30 minutes for riots and mayhem to start once word got out that the police were not going to protect property last summer.  The same is true for every city.

If you want to remove the state, you have to offer a way to protect people from this violence and chaos first.  

So how do you do it?  

NghtRppr
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February 22, 2012, 07:23:13 PM
 #67

If you want to remove the state, you have to offer a way to protect people from this violence and chaos first.

I have to? No, I don't.
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February 22, 2012, 07:38:05 PM
 #68

If you want to remove the state, you have to offer a way to protect people from this violence and chaos first.

I have to? No, I don't.

Correct. You won't have that responsibility. And you might not have the resources. In fact, you almost certainly won't have the ability or resources to protect even yourself from certain individuals and their followers. You'll just hope that such individuals don't take a liking to your neck of the woods.
chrisrico
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February 22, 2012, 07:41:43 PM
 #69

OK.  Point taken.  there is nothing worse than an analogy that is meant to make things clear but actually obfusticates; my leaky roof analogy did that so please ignore it while I try to myself clearer.

I appreciate your willingness to concede that the analogy is unfit.

I think we are both agreed that society is far from perfect.

Yes. I would say it is fundamentally flawed.

We both know that there is violent chaos if the present system breaks down.

Actually, I believe that the present system is chaotic, and that you mistake top-down chaos for order.

In London, a city that has been at the heart of a strong state for over 1000 years, it took all of 30 minutes for riots and mayhem to start once word got out that the police were not going to protect property last summer.

First of all, can you please provide a citation for your claim that riots began after "word got out that the police were not going to protect private property"? My understanding is that the riots began after police killed Mark Duggan.

Second, in what way is this not a condemnation of the state? These are individuals educated in the state's educational system, taught implicitly and explicitly that it is sometimes acceptable to initiate violence against others. Is it any wonder that when faced with socio-economic hardship, they turn to violence?

If you want to remove the state, you have to offer a way to protect people from this violence and chaos first.

So how do you do it?

You are convinced that a violent monopoly is necessary in order to maintain peace, and that chaos is in fact order. I have no idea how to convince you that this is completely self-contradictory if it is not immediately obvious.
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February 22, 2012, 07:52:15 PM
 #70

...snip...

First of all, can you please provide a citation for your claim that riots began after "word got out that the police were not going to protect private property"? My understanding is that the riots began after police killed Mark Duggan.

Second, in what way is this not a condemnation of the state? These are individuals educated in the state's educational system, taught implicitly and explicitly that it is sometimes acceptable to initiate violence against others. Is it any wonder that when faced with socio-economic hardship, they turn to violence?

If you want to remove the state, you have to offer a way to protect people from this violence and chaos first.

So how do you do it?

You are convinced that a violent monopoly is necessary in order to maintain peace, and that chaos is in fact order. I have no idea how to convince you that this is completely self-contradictory if it is not immediately obvious.

What we have now is orderly societies all over the democratic world.  If these states are not peaceful orderly societies, then there has never been an orderly society and I dread to think what you would call societies like Syria or Iraq. 


If you define what we have now as "top down chaos" then its a bit pointless talking with you.  Why not agree to use words as they are commonly understood?

chrisrico
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February 22, 2012, 07:58:20 PM
 #71

What we have now is orderly societies all over the democratic world.  If these states are not peaceful orderly societies, then there has never been an orderly society and I dread to think what you would call societies like Syria or Iraq. 

If you define what we have now as "top down chaos" then its a bit pointless talking with you.  Why not agree to use words as they are commonly understood?

For thousands of years, the world has been run by states under the assumption that a few given power at the top of the pyramid can provide outcomes that benefit all the rest. That brings us to today, where you state that the world is far from perfect. How much more power must be given to the few in order to generate a more perfect outcome? Is it not possible that the underlying assumption, that order can be created from the top down, is invalid?

Anyway, as you said this discussion is pointless, so I shall not expend any further effort replying.
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February 22, 2012, 08:08:52 PM
 #72

What we have now is orderly societies all over the democratic world.  If these states are not peaceful orderly societies, then there has never been an orderly society and I dread to think what you would call societies like Syria or Iraq. 

If you define what we have now as "top down chaos" then its a bit pointless talking with you.  Why not agree to use words as they are commonly understood?

For thousands of years, the world has been run by states under the assumption that a few given power at the top of the pyramid can provide outcomes that benefit all the rest. That brings us to today, where you state that the world is far from perfect. How much more power must be given to the few in order to generate a more perfect outcome? Is it not possible that the underlying assumption, that order can be created from the top down, is invalid?

Anyway, as you said this discussion is pointless, so I shall not expend any further effort replying.

Any conversation where someone is using words out of their agreed meaning is pointless. 

For 1000s of years, people have wanted to have a society where they feel safe.  We currently have that in a great many countries.  A single state monopoly on violence and people being able to vote on how that power is exercised have proved to be good things. 

You keep saying there is an alternative.  Do you not have a way to articulate it?

NghtRppr
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February 22, 2012, 10:50:57 PM
 #73

If you want to remove the state, you have to offer a way to protect people from this violence and chaos first.

I have to? No, I don't.

Correct. You won't have that responsibility. And you might not have the resources. In fact, you almost certainly won't have the ability or resources to protect even yourself from certain individuals and their followers. You'll just hope that such individuals don't take a liking to your neck of the woods.

The market supplies for our demands of juice, jump ropes and jet engines. What makes you think that the market won't supply for our demands of justice? Serious analysis please, not "ZOMG roving gangs". That's just FUD.
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February 23, 2012, 02:48:00 AM
 #74

If you want to remove the state, you have to offer a way to protect people from this violence and chaos first.

I have to? No, I don't.

Correct. You won't have that responsibility. And you might not have the resources. In fact, you almost certainly won't have the ability or resources to protect even yourself from certain individuals and their followers. You'll just hope that such individuals don't take a liking to your neck of the woods.

The market supplies for our demands of juice, jump ropes and jet engines. What makes you think that the market won't supply for our demands of justice? Serious analysis please, not "ZOMG roving gangs". That's just FUD.

Your analogies are laughable. The very definition of justice pertains to fairness, equity and the upholding of law. Please show where orange juice and jet engines are products in which individuals expect the same from.
chrisrico
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February 23, 2012, 03:15:38 AM
 #75

Your analogies are laughable. The very definition of justice pertains to fairness, equity and the upholding of law. Please show where orange juice and jet engines are products in which individuals expect the same from.

Your fatal assumption is that you assume justice is an objective thing. It's not, it's subjective; what I consider to be just you may not. Orange juice and jet engines are the same way... what I consider to be good OJ, you may not. Thankfully, there is not a single monopoly supplier of orange juice or jet engines, so competition allows the satisfaction of diverse demands for those products. Unfortunately, in every geographical region, there is a single monopoly supplier of justice. In the United States, that means justice looks like this.
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February 23, 2012, 05:19:10 AM
 #76

We must coerce people into respecting each other's rights.
In a completely free society, we must assume the potential of infinite diversity. If we don't, our prejudices would prevent us from respecting the uniqueness of everyone's needs. This would make society quite unfree by definition.

By infinite diversity, you are referring to individual rights. Why are you claiming individual rights have infinite diversity?
By infinite diversity, I mean that each person's needs and wants are unique. For the sake of evolution, that's a good thing. It's also possible that a person's needs are so unique that others cannot understand them. This is why I'm skeptical of any generalizations that libertarians make about the way people behave.

Creating government means a one-size-fits-all solution which destroys all demand for private contract resolution institutions, and also prevents innovation in this theoretical industry which could exist if not for government.
Not so. We do have private arbitration. And people are free to criticize court rulings with reasoning that could influence future rulings. Government services do not imply monopoly.

Rights are a construct created by man to relate to his fellow man. The tribe, through social interactions, agrees on the rights of it's members. They meet another tribe with slightly different rights, but the amazing thing is how similar they are! This is because to survive, one set of rights is better than another.
Even if this is true, each tribe would develop under its own unique circumstances, requiring different customs for survival. There are also customs where no single practice is clearly better than another.

Aggression is fundamental to survival.
If someone needs food, and has no way to get it without killing or stealing, why shouldn't he do so? Without this basic survival instinct, humans would not have survived long enough to invent property rights.

I have to agree with this point, but if he tries to kill for food, he may be killed himself. He is initiating aggression and that cannot be justified morally, but that would not stop him or anyone else if that was the ONLY option. But let's ratchet up the scenario, what if without a $75,000 hospital procedure you will die, is it then justified to steal? Of course not. Will people do it to survive? Yes.
Of course it would be justified to steal. I wouldn't expect anyone to sacrifice their life only to uphold property rights.

The question is how should we address this concern we have of starving people. Should we try to find a real sustainable solution to the problem, or should we force every person to throw in some money to give to people who need food. If you look at the result today in any meaningful way, you will see that force is not working as hunger in America has increased significantly.
Citation needed. If you're refering to the rich/poor gap, that can easily be explained by the vast majority of power being consolidated in corporations. Yes, that is a use of force, so you might be partially right.

Finally, if government is so inherently evil, how does it arise in the first place?

The body of people in society share the same moral principles and government enforces those principles. At first government serves the people, but the opportunity to take control and exploit the vast reserves of power government has is just too hard to pass up. Eventually nefarious entities gain control of the power center and all hell breaks loose (a few decades or centuries later). Once the body of people line their moral philosophy based on universal ethics, government is exposed as the fraud it is and can be cast aside. Until that happens let's learn the ways of peaceful interaction, and let's constantly expose the violence that is often hidden in interactions.
Well, I'm all in favor of exposing stuff, but there will always be people that are more powerful than others (making government an inherent feature of society), and they will make mistakes, so I'm certain that some violence will always be necesary.

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February 23, 2012, 07:37:42 AM
 #77

If you want to remove the state, you have to offer a way to protect people from this violence and chaos first.

I have to? No, I don't.

Correct. You won't have that responsibility. And you might not have the resources. In fact, you almost certainly won't have the ability or resources to protect even yourself from certain individuals and their followers. You'll just hope that such individuals don't take a liking to your neck of the woods.

The market supplies for our demands of juice, jump ropes and jet engines. What makes you think that the market won't supply for our demands of justice? Serious analysis please, not "ZOMG roving gangs". That's just FUD.

Its important not to get into magical thinking here.  Whether its "the market" or "the fairies" its silly to say that stuff you want will just happen and that bad stuff is the fault of "the state" or "the trolls."

For example, the market doesn't meet your demand for health care and it never can.  So you have no reason to say a market in goons is a good replacement for a police force.

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February 23, 2012, 07:57:21 AM
 #78

I don't have near enough time to respond to everything that's being said, so I probably won't be posting anymore. But I couldn't resist this:

If I might offer an analogy, its not enough to say the roof on a house is leaky; you have to offer a way to fix it or a way to replace it with a better roof.  You rightly point out that modern societies are not perfect.  The problem is that you don't offer an alternative that is better.

[snip]

Let me offer an analogy for why your criticism is flawed. In the time when slavery was a widespread institution, it was a valid criticism to say that slavery should be abolished, even if you did not offer any alternative to how the things slaves did would get done. In the same way, anarchists of various stripes say that the state should be abolished, even though we do not (and cannot) tell you exactly how the things government does will be accomplished. To think that one person or one small group could tell you that is the pretense of knowledge, and is one of the reasons that centralized institutions like states fail at their goals.
Sure, if all the cotton was produced by slaves, we could find a way to get by without cotton. Just like if we abolished copyright, we would find a way to survive without lame-ass movies coming out every week. It would be tough, but at least the strongest among us would survive.

HOWEVER, if we abolished the state, a new one would simply take its place. This is because every society has structure, and some people are creative enough to use that structure to seize power.

If we try to make a concious decision about what form that new state will take, we will either make the world a better place, or we will learn from our mistakes (hopefully both). Either way, it's a net plus.

If we merely abolish the state and then go about our business, some people would seize power and we'd be oppressed all over again. We'd break even, at best.

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February 28, 2012, 07:42:34 AM
 #79

If there was no state, you think one would just 'slip' in? I think I'd notice if a government slipped in and started taking my money. But it's okay as long as they buy something with it and let me use it right?

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February 28, 2012, 09:07:27 AM
 #80

If there was no state, you think one would just 'slip' in? I think I'd notice if a government slipped in and started taking my money. But it's okay as long as they buy something with it and let me use it right?

If there was no state, you will have armed militias financed by foreign states. One of them will control the area you live in and you will either comply with it or be killed by it. 

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