But Then We’d Have Anarchy!

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I think it’s a false argument that opposition to authoritarianism in all its forms equals advocacy of anarchy.

To understand why, it is necessary to make a distinction between aggressive violence (almost always morally wrong) and defensive violence. Most of what the government does today falls into the category of aggressive violence; e.g., taxing us to redistribute money for myriad purposes, controlling otherwise peaceful human interactions, etc. Therefore, we who oppose aggressive violence would like to see most of what government does done away with and society returned to a voluntarist basis; that is, people dealing with one another freely and openly as they desire (or not) with the only rule being, the prohibition against aggressive violence.

The original Constitution tried to put all that into words, but failed in part because of vague, imprecise language (examples include the clumsy wording of the Second Amendment, and of course the infamous “general welfare” clause, which has been the source of endless mischief) and also because it did not explicitly state, among other things, that the federal compact among the states was voluntarily entered into and could be voluntarily left if the people of  any state decided the compact no longer functioned as intended or in the best interests of their state, as they defined those interests.

Anarchists usually favor the elimination of all government, which they see as the primal evil that inevitably escapes whatever shackles (such as the Constitution) are placed upon it. While I tend to agree with that, and wish we could exist with no government at all, I also accept that the only way that will ever work in the real world is when everyone is both committed to and practices the doctrine of the non-initiation of force. Which of course, will probably never happen. What I mean is, laws against murder or theft and the need of a system to statutorily define such criminal actions, investigate criminal offenses, pursue, try convict and incarcerate criminals, etc., would not be necessary at all in a hypothetical village comprised of the people who live the principle of no first-use of violence. Anarchy – the absence of any government at all – would work. There would be no crime, hence no need for criminal laws and so on. Everything else could be handled by discussion and mediation.

Wouldn’t it be nice?

But the reality is there are and probably always will be bad people – grifters and criminals. Hence, I concede the need for a minimalist government – that is, for what I call “the rule of law.” A bare-bones mechanism, explicitly defined, for dealing with those who commit aggressive violence. I also concede the need for some sort of organized defense against other nations. Nothing like we have now – which is a sick parody of “defense.” Just a viable mechanism for warding off aggressive violence directed our way by other nations (see Switzerland).

But how would this be funded without resorting to aggressive violence and so obviating the whole exercise?

I see two possible ways.

First, equalizing trade tariffs applied to the goods produced in un-free countries such as China. “Free trade” with un-free countries is an oxymoron. Libertarians, among whom I count myself, often have a blind spot on this one. But they should object to “trading” with countries (and companies) that exploit people – that is, countries and companies that use aggressive violence against citizens and workers. Imposing a tax (a tariff) on the goods produced thereby to take the profit out of the exploitation of slave (or semi-slave) labor is both a sort of admonishment against such practices as well as a way to make the aggressor pay to fund a genuinely free system (our hypothetical one) while also providing an inducement to encourage them to become more free, too.

Second, a general sales tax. While I agree it’s not perfect and does impose a few infringements on absolute liberty, it is orders of magnitude preferable to an income tax  (or tax on property) since there is no personal obligation to pay and even when one does pay, the burden is very light and also anonymous. The government no longer demands an accounting of your income; you are free to pay as little as you like – or nothing, if you like.

We would once again be free to actually own our homes and land.

Provided the operations of government are strictly limited to the maintenance of the rule of law and legitimate national defense, the amount of money necessary would be trivial relative to the cost of government today. I doubt it would amount to more than (at most) 5 percent of average person’s income.

Everything else would be handled on the basis of free exchange; of individuals working together by mutual free agreement to pursue happiness as they each define it – free of any threat of coercive violence. It would not be anarchy – that is, free of all government. But we would be free of most government – the bad part. For most people – that is, people who do not commit aggressive violence – government would be almost invisible. A near non-presence. It would play next to no role in our lives; more precisely, it would play no negative role in our lives. It would not be watching us, threatening us or controlling us in any way – so long as we continued to refrain from committing aggressive violence ourselves.

This is, essentially, the vision of Ron Paul. A society based, not on coercion and its threat but on voluntary cooperation and peaceful persuasion. A society in which each of us would be free to pursue happiness as we each defined it, so long as we don’t cause harm to our neighbors.

A society of live – and let live. 

It might not be absolutely perfect but it’d be a damn sight better than what we have now. It is the tragedy our times that so many Americans reject this vision – and prefer to live in a society strictly controlled and regimented, based on violence and its threat. One in which each of us views our fellow man as the wolf views  a sheep – or as the sheep views the wolf.

Where we are not free to really live – let alone to pursue happiness. And will never be, until we reject the fundamental evil of human history – the urge to control and dominate.

The acceptance of violence as a tool for human interaction and the basis of human societies.

Throw it in the Woods?


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  1. There was a discussion I had with my father – one of the few people I can disucss politics with, BTW, so I end up referencing him a lot – and the issue was voting. Universal franchis not a good idea.
    I’m sure you’re waiting to find out why… 😉
    Goes to the taxes. Eric has a decent idea with taxes being sales tax, because that’s avoidable if we choose.
    My father suggested a tax based on income as a good alternative, though. If you don’t earn anything, you don’t vote. OTOH, if you pay income tax, you have some “skin in the game” as it were, and should be allowed a voice in how things are done.

    I like that because it allows us to tie together voting as a privilege and taxation as a necessity. It deprive the indolent of controlling where our tax moneys go, though it has the inherent problem of us being catalogued and taxed, period.

    Someone else online has talked about a nation, FRONA (absed on the US – it’s an idealistic thought-exercise, Federated Republic of North America, I think) and suggested similar – but added the number of votes be tied to the amount paid. So the wealthier get mroe say. Not so sure about it, but the concept could bear some examination, if people could be moral. With a people as corrupt as those now in power – no chance.
    But our governmental type was intended for a moral people… Not for the vermin most sheeple are.

    • Ummmm. The Founders used the idea of only property owners (and male ones at that) being allowed to vote. It is still in effect to this very day. Only the Government owns property and therefore chooses its own members for the Club. No matter the parcel size or sizes, you got one (uno?) vote.

      All RIGHTS flow from property Rights/ Lose your property Rights and you have NO Rights, only privileges. My have we fallen for the FIAT FREEDOM Bullshit…..

      This nation has spent its inheritance in a wild spending spree of theft by inflate deflate fiat living…

      Our “POOR” Grandchildren will disavow us for doing this to them. We failed to fight when it was possible to fight with little Blood shed. The coming piper will be paid in full with much Bloodshed.

  2. Eric,

    You are fundamentally wrong.

    What you are saying is aggressive violence is wrong, except a little bit of it. It is like being a little bit pregnant. Don’t you realize that by allowing 1% sales tax you concede 100% of principle of Liberty? Don’t you understand that the only thing you have a right to tax is what ACTUALLY belongs to you. You have no moral right to “tax” your neighbors property; you can only tax YOUR own. Thus, if government claims the right to tax you at 1%, it is claiming to OWN you 100%; because, again, one can ONLY rightly tax what he OWNS. The government does not own us, nor the stuff we sell, therefore it has exactly ZERO moral right to tax us or our sales.

    Also, since you, individually, have no moral right to tax your neighbors transactions, neither does the government; because the only legitimate authority it has is what YOU delegated to it, and you cannot delegate an authority you do not have! Where does it get this authority to collect sales taxes? From you? How can it get it from you, when you, yourself do NOT have it?

    Now, your concern is for law and order and national defense. All these are much better taken care of via Free Market. Please read:
    State or Private-Law Society

    The bottom line, you cannot promote non-aggression principle, the very heart of Liberty, by violating it in the same breath! It is ABSURD in the extreme. It is ENTIRELY self contradictory and nonsensical. Above all it is UNJUST!

    Free, voluntary interactions among people can take care of maintenance of JUSTICE, infinitely better than the UNJUST aggressive violence of taxation can ever do! Don’t you see that?

    Please check out:
    Honest Money Constitutional Amendment

    P.S. I really enjoyed your “Winning Arguments” essay. Brilliant! Now, learn from yourself, and eliminate the gaping and blatant contradictions in you position! You owe yourself this much!

  3. Good sir, after 165 comments I doubt you’ll see this one.

    The problem I see with your article is not in its scope, but in only one detail. There is criminal investigation, prosecution and punishment not because there is government, but because there is a demand for that service.

    Government has taken upon itself the provisioning of that service in these United States (and most other places), but there is no existential requirement that such services be provided by a government.

    The Hanseatic League, for example, was a voluntary association of international trading companies and individuals who, because there was no “international law”, created what we would term today a “Uniform Commercial Code”, adjudicated privately and enforced through boycott.

    While any firm could simply leave and go it alone, rulings were generally accepted, fines paid, etc.

    There is no reason why a community must have a monopoly provider of criminal services. As I recall, even in the show Perry Mason, he had a private investigator on his staff that did the job that police supposedly do, with insurance investigators, “private eyes”, “bounty hunters”, all of which remain in business because they do a better job even today than government agents with the same duties.

    Eschewing coercion is not just a saying, it is a principle of action. So far, I have seen no action that government “provides” that cannot be dealt with better through voluntary interaction of interested individuals.

  4. You say you are a minarchist because there will always be bad people and grifters. Is the govt the only entity that can address that issue? Who addresses the bad people and grifters in the govt itself? If the people themselves address the bad people and grifters in govt, why stop there? If people are concerned enough with their own welfare that they organize a govt and pay taxes, why wouldn’t they be this concerned with their welfare and organize privatized security without the govt?

    • You’re right that the necessary prerequisite is a critical mass of “good people.” Absent that, the rest is irrelevant. If you have enough good people, you can have a viable minarchist republic. If everyone or nearly everyone is good, then you can have anarchy (no government/peace-keeping at all because it’s a moot point0.

      • I’ve said before, any society that can maintain a minarchy doesn’t need it.

        Once there is a monopoly institution of coercion, power will accrete until it is no longer “min”. For that is exactly what happened in these United States. The Constitution for the United States was as “minarch” as anyone could want, yet it failed to remain so.

        As Lysander Spooner said, “Either the Constitution authorized all this abuse, or it was powerless to stop it.”

        • “The Constitution for the United States was as “minarch” as anyone could want, yet it failed to remain so.”

          As is true for all human societies that tried liberty to date. There is no contrary example.

          “As Lysander Spooner said, “Either the Constitution authorized all this abuse, or it was powerless to stop it.”

          Also correct.

          The lesson to take from this is that no matter what we do, they always win int he end, it seems.

            • How about decades?

              The American republic was such a place, once.

              It is the only example we have of an enduring and mostly free country.

              Imagine it’s 1820. The government is a non-presence in your life. Or a benign, even positive presence, because it is restricted to its one legitimate function, that of keeping the peace. This lasted, mostly, from circa 1787 to 1865 and even after the conclusion of the War for Federal Supremacy, most people still enjoyed a mostly free life for another several decades. Even by the standards of 1980 America was a mostly free country.

              I’m not justifying the growth of authoritarianism; I regard it as inevitable. For me, the question is one of working towards the most freedom for the most people within the context of human nature as it is. I’ve already elaborated on that at length, so I won’t do so again.

          • Lysander was correct, but the Constitution was DESIGNED to produce this result, given time. The Articles were removed, and the Constitution erected in its place.
            Something not even my parents – 30+ years prior in the educational system, in private schools – didn’t learn. Still DON’T WANT to learn.
            The problem in the system is the human. 😉
            The system works as designed…

          • I think people cannot accept they believed a lie. Thus they double down on it on attack those who point out the lie.

    • You are right Wolv!
      If all men are good, then no state is needed.
      If most men are moral but some men are not, then you do not want to have a state because statism has no real solutions for handling bad people other than the threat of violence.
      If most men are immoral, then you do not dare have a state because such power is magnetic to them!
      If all men are evil, then we are doomed anyway, and we might as well spend our own money for our own pleasure rather than allowing the state to mistreat us using our own money!
      Summary: No state is ever needed!

  5. Eric has conceded about one thousand times that he cannot guarantee his system will work perfectly, or that it can be all things to the people who refuse to accept that there will always be a silverback leading the troop.

    All I’d like to see in return is for one of the rigid no-compromise libertarian absolutists to admit they cannot guarantee their vacuum of government will remain the only vacuum that nature does not abhor.

    I asked the question days ago, why will one become ten, but zero somehow cannot? Lberns1 thought stating a preference for zero over one was an answer, but it was actually a copout. Does someone out there have an answer for this?

    • Having Eric in charge somewhere would be like the arrival of an actual functioning human NotSure in the movie Idiocracy.

      At least he understands that Brawndo the thirst mutilator is NOT WHAT PLANTS CRAVE because it has electolytes and stuff.

    • Thanks, TOG –

      In matters human, it is nice to desire the ideal – foolish to expect the perfect. Consider friendships – or better yet, marriage. I don’t have a single friend who doesn’t sometimes annoy me (and I am sure vice-versa). And I’d have never gotten married if I’d held out for the Perfect Woman: She does not exist, either.

      Likewise, neither does the perfect human society. Stomping feet and holding breath and insisting on that or nothing means you’ll end up with exactly that – nothing.

      I’ve got some great friends and a fantastic wife. I’d also like a good society, one in which most people are good people and the bad people are kept in check, to the extent possible, by a system of mostly good civil and criminal laws, enforced by mostly good peace-keeping.

      All of that is doable and realizable.

      Anarchy – that is, a society in which there is no organized peacekeeping, just people sorting it out themselves and maintaining their liberties and their peace, isn’t.

      • I have addressed this manner of “no organized peacekeeping”.

        Surface rights form the rational basis for a proper rent-charge on a certain geography based on the claim of a group to have transformed the land therein into a “civilized space”.

        Their claim is to “Uphold Right”, being “That which is consistent with the facts of reality to the best of our knowledge.”

        Upon this claim, such an institution could not run off and violate peoples’ rights because it would be violating its ownd charter. It could not inhibit the actions of others without explicitly corrupting its own stated claim on causation.

        Claim on Causation is Right or Wrong.

        They Cause “Civilization?” Ok, let ‘them’ Own it as a Property of our Existence, and it will become part of the natural order that defines an Anarchy…

  6. Rather than make a bunch of replies I’ll do one long one across the thread branches.

    Different ideas about things… keep in mind these are all examples that are imposed on people by force by control freaks. That is the people who establish the state in the first place. Honor killings? That’s just a control freak family structure based in violence. It’s illegitimate from the get go. Age of consent? It’s just another arbitrary one size fits all decision of the state. Either an individual act was a violation of someone’s rights or not. Without the state it would require dealing with such things as individual cases instead of state formula. State formula is how we get the absurd notion that a 17.5 year old is somehow damaged by having a relationship with an attractive 24 year old.

    As to street gangs. What are street gangs? Street gangs are a small group which controls a given territory by using violence and fear there of. What does that sound like? A government. Street gangs are little governments or governments that aren’t quite fully formed.

    What are the forces that we expect to keep these criminal gangs at bay? They are a small group that controls a given territory by using violence and the fear there of. So it’s just a different gang, but one most people side with.

    Either way, it’s a state. Now one could find a way to construct protection through hire or the people themselves. That would allow freedom… for awhile. Until the protection became a profession and then slowly over time they take over.

    At an early age I learned that institutions would not, could not protect me and the people in them had no desire to. Because of this I don’t fear not having a government because I know the institution of the state doesn’t protect me and won’t. They’ll sell us all out in heartbeat if it profited them. Hell some of those in government will gladly push the button and destroy the lives of millions if it made them a few bucks.

    The protection of the government against street gangs or other dangers is an illusion. I’ve seen neighborhoods dominated by such forces… government owned land. Housing projects to be specific. Government couldn’t and wouldn’t stop the street gangs. Government can’t make a bad neighborhood good but it routinely makes good neighborhoods bad with various policies and laws.

    The problem with being stateless is stopping someone else or some group from imposing a state. The existing dangers the state supposedly protects us from it doesn’t. It has no reason to exist except for its own existence and those benefiting from it. The question isn’t how to get by without a state, the question is preventing a state from forming.

    Now to the deterioration of society. Are we not looking at is the state attacking society? It is those who control the state using the state to break down education, breakdown people’s roots, destroy anything that is competition to the state. The state makes itself needed.

    • “The question isn’t how to get by without a state, the question is preventing a state from forming.”

      Brilliant observation, Brent!

      Put another way, a system of peacekeeping is necessary to prevent what we call “the state” from being conceived. A minarchist republic is as far as history reveals and I can tell the best human contrivance for achieving that, at least mostly.

  7. Lots of food for thought here. You’re right, Eric, in that a minarchy is probably the only viable option. The only problem with it is, as others have brought up here in one form or another, that the vast majority of the sheeple, both in this country and around the world, do not subscribe to or abide by the Natural Law. Neither anarchy nor minarchy will work unless the majority abides by and respects that law.

    I need not remind everyone reading this (but will here, just for the sake of illustration) that all we need do is look around us to see that our neighbors, coworkers -hell, even probably most of our immediate family- are of the proto-Clover variety. Ultimately, for that reason, it’s all a moot point. Even if they grasped the concepts we advocate here, most of humanity is so steeped in statism and is so dependent on government and the institutions it has spawned to manage and nurture key aspects of their lives that they would be repelled by the idea of liberty and self-reliance. That’s what either an anarchy or minarchy would require, and most people, especially today’s “Amoricons” want no part of that.

    • “Neither anarchy nor minarchy will work unless the majority abides by and respects that law. ”

      You make an excellent point, sir – hat’s off to you!

      I should have made it myself in the article as well in the subsequent posts. You’re absolutely correct that absent at least a large enough number of “good” people to keep the “bad” in check, no form of less (or no) government is going to stand much of a chance.

      We have to change minds before we have any hope of changing government – much less getting rid of government.

  8. Cause Owns Effect. (google it in quotes to read more about it)

    Violence is a Violation of Right.

    A Claim on Causation is either Right or Wrong.

    A Right is a Right Claim on Causation.

    I have the Right of Self Ownership.

    I Cause My Actions, I Own My Effects.

    Anyone who wishes to Violate these Rights is Wrong if they claim their actions to be Right.

    And so, to the author Eric:

    Violence is Violence. Defense is Defense.

    Violence is Wrong, because it infringes on Right.

    Defense is Right for upholding it.

    Justice is the recognition of reality and our best attempt to discover things that have happened in the past.

    If you wish to Own your Self, you cannot disown your effects.

    Therein lies the basis for a rational society.

    The criminal, the one who wishes to Cause Harm and disown it, disowns himself in doing so.

    And thus, if he should wish to “Own up to it”, the process of taking back what he owns may be a difficult one.

    This is why we have the court. This is why we make compacts with our neighbors. This is why these agreements must be explicitly made and voluntary in nature, down to the last person.

    Those who do not wish to sign on to a code of some sort, an agreement of law and order to which one binds one’s self and in turn receives the identification for having done so, will not be trusted.

    Today, in the current State of Affairs, we allow all to walk with the impunity of an unwritten, unseen, unmade and impossible agreement for it never having been in the first place. We allow anonymity of the masses, and wonder how con men get away with it. All the while telling each other that it is someone else’s job to take care of it.

    Representation, Consent of the Governed, Social Contract? These are contradictory evils which must be destroyed before the blindfolds they create send us all to an ignorant man’s end.

    Represent your self, or explicitly find someone to do it.

    Govern your body, without its consent. There is no other way, it has no choice in the matter. You do- use it. Be not governed by others, for this is impossible. Your brain does the thinking, no one else can control you.

    A contract signed under duress is null and void. I doubt there could be more duress than society’s might.

    I will not sign anyone else’s name to any agreement. Such an act is fraud, forgery. This is my word, and mine alone.

    No one else will sign my name to any agreement. Such an act is fraud, forgery. It is my name, and mine alone.

    I Proclaim:

    I Own My Self. I Cause My Actions. I Own My Effects- the good, and the bad. I will do what I can to be Right in Action, Right in purpose, and stay on the Good side in my daily activities. This I can say, and this I agree to do for the rest of my life.

    I take this oath to myself, and in it is the only thing any one needs to Hold Me under the Bond of my Word. I cannot contradict this statement without giving up my body.

    Now tell me your system places better bonds on the actions of men while ensuring their freedom to pursue their ends peacefully.

    Perhaps no system really is perfect.

    0 * System = Perfection ?

    William TM

    • I agree with all this – especially your last line, that no system is perfect.

      The men who created the original American republic came close, though.

      If we could re-create such a system today, government would be a non-presence for most of us (the non-criminal) and a positive presence in the sense that it would be a presence for the criminal.

      • Eric,

        Along with most others on this earth miss my point when I say that:


        That is, perfection is without a system to define it.

        All these other people posting about how “ideal” or “perfect” is somewhere other than here.

        Ok, so, if “it” (the ‘ideal’, or ‘perfect’) is supposed to be better than the current state, how is it any better if it is infeasible in our universe?

        How is the infeasible better, let alone perfect?


        Things are perfect as they are, even in their perceived imperfections.

        Cold is not a perfect description, but it is perfectly related to hot (as in, it is opposite or relative in a consistent direction).

        30 degrees farenheit isn’t ‘perfect’ either, but it is perfect for knowing whether it will snow or rain or be somewhere in between.

        Some measure of atomic movement would be getting pretty close to “perfect”, but DO YOU SEE MY POINT?

        So many people here are talking about nothing. Stop it.

        The ideal is the real, because unrealistic or infeasible things are not very worth while searching for, are they?

        So. Stop searching for the perfect system outside of this place.

        Search within it.

        Cause and Effect happen. Do they not?

        Remeber the playground? “Take it back” pretty much sums up the basis for the common court system…

        Cause Owns Effect- that is a gem for all of you, but go ahead and caste it aside as if it were meaningless.

        Within that statement exists the basis for judging others and morally taking their bodies into captivity.

        If someone caused an effect and claimed not to, they disown themselves. That is not a system, that is reality.

        Those who are dependent on the current way will quickly find a new river to float down. All we must do is demand that our fellow men recognize Cause and Effect.

        Recognize: There is no consent of the governed.

        Recognize: There is no social contract.

        Recognize: We do not have to recognize a court if we never agreed to have it try us. It is a kidnapping body if it has no reason for taking us that exists within our own actions- not the lack thereof, and we will not be complicit in the fraud it seeks to perpetrate.

        Recognize: You exist. Start acting like it.

  9. “It’s a very small price to pay, in my opinion, for the peace (again, for the most part) we’d have and the liberty that would be protected.”

    1. Why does your opinion matter any more than anyone else’s in a free society?
    2.Peace for “the most part”? It’s not even a net gain. The violation of rights and violence perpetrated on society by the state and it’s “peace-keepers” far outweighs any peace they might be a part of if any.
    3. Show me one example of any society with “peace-keepers” that enjoys liberty? Not the U.S. Not Great Britain Not Germany or France. Been there, done that.

    Maybe your definition of liberty is “free enough”. I don’t know. But any gov’t at all regardless how small must by nature engage in criminal activities to exist and so by existance cannot be a part of a free society.

    I hear your ideal, but again: the concept of gov’t has been fiddled with for thousands of years. Let’s put it in our rearview and move on. I promise you, you will not come up with an innovative, never before thought of way to implement gov’t. And that’s ok, because it’s wrong.

  10. “Can you give me an example in real life of a society – beyond the small-scale village – that enjoyed liberty in peace for any length of time without a system of organized peace-keepers?”

    Come on Eric. That “causation by association” argument is more like something I’d expect to hear from a statist.

    There is no logical or historical argument that can be made that having a system of organized peace-keepers benefits society in any way; keeps the peace or makes them any safer. Which analogy should we consider? The TSA keeps us safe in the air. The FDA keeps our food safe. The NTSB keeps us safe on the streets.

    The UN has peace-keepers in a number of places around the world; how peaceful and liberated do you think those countries feel right now?

    I don’t think it’s genuine to apply all the reasoning you normally do to the fallacy and violations of gov’t but yet advocate a “little” gov’t. Those same fallacies and rights violations still apply.

        • I don’t mean to suggest that your points are invalid; far from it. You are absolutely right in pointing out that our limited government grew into FBI/NSA/TSA and all the rest of the alphabet soup from hell.

          I just don’t think it had to be that way, and to me the number one reason why is the false promise of democracy. We need to restore the republic. If we accept that our intended system of government requires a moral and educated populace, and the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, handing influence over the levers of power to the immoral, uneducated and negligent was only going to turn out poorly.

          To sum it up in as few words as possible: there’s the way we think the world ought to be, and there’s the way the world is.

          All Eric (presuming I can speak for him) and I are saying is there are children among us living in never-never land, and without direction they’ll tear up the place, as children do. We need a law enforcement structure in place to police negative freedoms. It’s up to people like us to make sure it doesn’t climb out of the box we build for it.

          • Exactly so –

            It’s also what most of the Founders believed – and argued.

            Assuming a constitutional republic and assuming most people (or a critical mass of them) are liberty-minded, the small and limited functions of peace-keeping are not just benign but beneficent – for all the reasons TOG just laid out.

          • Why is it these people were not able to keep from tearing up the place in their communities, but now that they are in a law enforcement structure they are? In fact they are in charge of the place per se.

            Still not getting the magical powers that are bestowed upon people once they are put in the peace-keeping system.

            And if those in the system are the kind that would try to climb out of the box, why are they part of the system? Doesn’t that indicate that they do not like the box we put them in and cannot be expected, while in the box, to do what’s desired of them? And if we must take the time and incurr the costs of remaining ever vigilant over them, then why don’t we just do it ourselves? Why the middlemen?

            Which is more efficient? To hire someone to pick the apples and you sit and watch them because you don’t trust him or to pick them yourself? In the first case you have to pay the picker and incurr the costs of your opportunity cost of having to supervise the picker.

            • “Why is it these people were not able to keep from tearing up the place in their communities, but now that they are in a law enforcement structure they are?”

              Let’s talk specifics; actual real-world situations.

              Was the above true in America after the founding of the republic? Were communities “torn up” by state-anointed thugs? Or were they for the most part peace-keepers who kept civil order and dealt with criminals, thereby protecting most people’s liberty and rights?

              There are no magical powers bestowed on people who become peace-keepers. There is no perfection on this earth. All we can hope to achieve is the possible – and the better.

              The American republic was “better” – by far than any other system of enshrining rights and protecting them that I know of.

              Would I like a perfect society? Perfect people who all behave decently? Who wouldn’t? But it does not exist; it cannot exist. It will never exist.

              Do I like it? No!

              But my likes are immaterial. Reality is.

          • “Was the above true in America after the founding of the republic? Were communities “torn up” by state-anointed thugs?”

            Yes. I believe we’ve discussed the Whiskey Rebellion. US President Number 1(under the Constitution). And “Militia Law” was enacted to ensure friends and neighbors had a chance to become part of the mob, adding another very dangerous level of tyranny to the monopolist scheme that is all government.

            That said, I’m firmly in the agree to disagree camp. I’m not changing your mind, and you’ve basically conceded that the men with guns will attack if you don’t pay the tax to live and this is acceptable. So long as said tax is low. An arrangement that, to me, will always be compromise and serfdom.

            • The Whiskey Rebellion stomp down was egregious. But, again, this sort of thing will not go away just because what we call “the state” goes away. Instead of official violations of our rights, we’ll have unofficial violations – but the difference is that the unofficial sort grow rampant immediately rather than gradually.

              The bottom line starting point is people. Get rid of the maggots – the dumb people, the sociopathic people, the people who want to live off others by force, etc. – and you’re all set. Peacekeeping (civil and criminal) becomes irrelevant. The state can, to mock Lenin, wither away.

              But I accept (and can’t understand how you can’t) that good people are always in the minority – even in the nest of times. It is therefore a continuous struggle to hold the line, to keep the bad in check. If the good can do so – by erecting a system of peacekeeping to hold the bad in check, you can have a pretty good society for awhile. Absent the system of peacekeeping controlled by the mostly good people, we all drown and the serfdom you and I abhor becomes extreme and comprehensive.

              That’s the way the world actually works.

              I’m with you in terms of the philosophical ideal. I’ll work for it my entire life. But I won’t scorn the realizable and doable in the meanwhile.

          • It isn’t about how many bad people there are. It’s that the government doesn’t do anything about them, never has, and now finally admits it. It’s goons have a very nice financial incentive to make your life hell, and anyone else they see.
            A roving band of street punks doesn’t get $80’000 a year each specifically TO go on the prowl for more victims to loot, whose most intimate personal information is conveniently located in a number of databases on a computer in their car. Riots, rapes, murders, and genocide still go on with government. And they are the best ones at it.

    • It’s a legitimate question. The premise underlying the anarchic position is that it is possible to have a society of people in which those people are secure in their rights without an organized system of peace-keeping. I’ve not come across such a society so far – have you?

      Look, I agree with you in terms of what I’d prefer, ideally. But that ideal is premised on something that does not exist; i.e., a society of entirely or almost entirely reasonable, aware, intelligent and peaceful people. The reality is we have millions of people who are none of those things; who are dumb, or unreasonable or just violent thugs. Hence the need of a system of peacekeeping, civil and criminal. The alternative is pure pie-in-the-sky. It has never existed, because it cannot exist – or at least, not for very long. Internally, it would be man vs. man – or rather, reasonable man (few) against unreasonable man (many). Externally, such a society would very quickly be taken over by an outside gang (i.e.. another country) organized for that purpose. Whether we like it or not is beside the point. It is the way the world works. Right?

      Hence my challenge. Nothing statist about asking for objective proof to support a claim.

      Again, we’re arguing what amount to silly trivialities. I suspect you’d be extremely happy in the minarchist system. I know I would. The keeping of the peace would impose no inherently negative obligation or impingement on liberty that I can see. And while it’s not perfect, or immune from being abused, the same is true to a much greater extent when there is no mechanism for keeping the peace, civilly and criminally – when your rights depend on “just you” (or your crew) to protect – and others (and their crews) may and likely will have different ideas about that.

      • If you have a moral society you don’t need a gov’t, of any kind. If you have an immoral society, you don’t dare have a gov’t of any kind.

        Anarchist, volunteerist, minarchist, blah blah. How about just everyone mind your own business? Make your own decisions. Don’t violate other’s rights. Defend your rights when they are violated. And not just by “a crew” how about by contract, or arbitration or social pressure or economic pressure? Or yes if need by as a group.

        You know what’s funny is, that is exactly what the gov’t does. It uses “a crew” to impose it’s rule on us and you advocate it, yet, even though we outnumber the gov’t’s crew 1000:1 or more, you believe we cannot do the same thing effectively.

        The gov’t is us, we are the gov’t. Anything they can do we can do, so why do we need them?

        I’m just not getting how when you put people, moral or immoral, into a centralized peace-keeping system they somehow have abilities that we as a society don’t.

        • “If you have a moral society you don’t need a gov’t, of any kind. If you have an immoral society, you don’t dare have a gov’t of any kind.”

          I agree – but there is no such thing as a moral society. Only moral (and immoral) individuals. And I hope we can agree that immoral (and simply stupid) individuals exist – lots of them.

          “Make your own decisions.”

          Agree 100 percent.

          “Don’t violate other’s rights.”

          Also agree – unfortunately, there are plenty of others out there who don’t agree.

          “Defend your rights when they are violated.”

          Nice idea in principle. But not everyone is capable of doing so. Who will defend their rights?

          “And not just by “a crew” how about by contract, or arbitration or social pressure or economic pressure?”

          Tell that to MS-13, the Crips… or just the sociopath down the street…

          “Or yes if need by as a group.”

          Whose group? What happens when my group has a different notion than yours? Are these ad-hoc groups less prone to violent excesses and abuses than an organized system of peace-keeping under a constitutional republic?

        • How about just everyone mind your own business?

          Because they won’t. I don’t know if there are any other ways we can put this.

          And not just by “a crew” how about by contract, or arbitration or social pressure or economic pressure? Or yes if need by as a group.

          I guess I’m just having a really hard time seeing how this differs all that much from what we’re advocating. There is no more tyrannical organization on the planet than a community or homeowners’ association. The only thing keeping them from turning their guns on you, is the guns of government. How are you so sure said group will conduct itself any differently than what we have now?

          • I also said one should defend his rights when others won’t mind their own business.

            Because a community or HOA is a free choice one gets to make. He knows exactly what he’s getting, how much it costs, the terms of the agreement, he is represented and has a real voice and redress of greviences and can leave at any time.

            Quite a big difference from any gov’t function wouldn’t you say?

          • Well frankly my own experience with HOAs hasn’t been so positive. They tend to enforce their rules on an arbitrary basis. Just like government. That’s why I say I don’t see what the big difference is between a tyrannical community and a tyrannical state.

            In a nation of 50 states free to make their own decisions except in matters of foreign policy and coinage of money, one also has the freedom to move.

            It’s not any more likely that all of the states will adopt the same unpopular policies than it is that every community or HOA in the land will do the same thing.

  11. Another fallacy is that our society would be total chaos if not for the gov’t “keeping the peace”. Then ask yourself: if murder were not against the law, would you or anyone you know be out killing people? Of course not, and I think it’s safe to say that goes for the majority of the people in our society. So the gov’t can’t say they are “keeping the peace” in a society where the majority are peaceful people.

    And what about all those people in prison for murder? The gov’t wasn’t able to “keep the peace” there. Those people killed others; that’s why they’re in prison. Fair to say they are the minority?

    So the gov’t doesn’t have to keep the peace with the majority and can’t keep the peace with the minority, so I’m pretty sure the majority of the people + the minority of the people = all the people.

    And what is the state when it comes to “keeping the peace”? A bunch of people with guns. A minority of the people charged with protecting a huge majority.

    The concept is ridiculous. It makes much more sense for everyone to arm themselves, come together as a community and do what the gov’t says it’s doing but can’t: protect themselves.

    • Can you give me an example in real life of a society – beyond the small-scale village – that enjoyed liberty in peace for any length of time without a system of organized peace-keepers?

      Laws exist not for you and me and most of the people posting here. You are quite right that I’m not a murderer for reasons other than it being against the law.

      Laws against murder (and so on) exist to deal with them. The people who are not like us.

      And they outnumber us.

  12. That One Guy on February 22, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    You said:

    “The minimum age of sexual consent in Mexico is 12.

    Some people who are adherents of Islam believe their religion allows them to kill their daughters if they dishonor their families.

    How do you integrate these people into a stateless society based on European social mores?”

    That question has no real meaning.

    No one is responsible for integrating anyone into anything, with or w/o a state.

    I hear that a lot from the liberals: there is a social problem, there is a perfect solution for every social problem and the gov’t must be involved in that solution. Therefore, we will take everyone’s money by force and force everyone to adhere to our solution whether you agree or not, whether it affects you or not.

    There is not a perfect solution for any social problem, the best we can do is be as just, moral and efficient as possible. Any involvement on the part of the state will necessarily decrease that social welfare.

    • It certainly does have meaning and is very relevant to the society you envision. This is the reality of our land today. How do you expect your stateless society built on social cohesion at the community level to function, when the reality of contemporary America is there is no social cohesion? What do you do with people that don’t share your ideas? Why do you assume they’ll accept your live and let live policies?

      It’s not 1789, when the main difference was between different sects of Protestantism, and there were hardly any Catholics in the US, let alone Muslims. These are important questions that libertarians, who seem to be very uncomfortable as a whole about discussing group dynamics, need to consider if they want their ideas to have a viable future.

      • Agreed our culture has to change but what incentive does anyone have to change? It’s like the welfare argument: why would someone go to work at minimum wage when they can get more from welfare? So what’s the problem here? The incentive structure. People say that w/o welfare people would be dying in the streets. Really? Then why are we giving them welfare if they never plan on taking responsibility for their own lives ever again? That they would rather die in the streets than work?

        Yes culture is different, but it’s different for a reason. If there were no gov’t do you believe that our culture would remain the same regardless of the consequences or they’d learn to work together, or perish?

        Gov’t is a huge part of that culture change. Political correctness, civil rights legislation, affirmative action, frivolous discrimination law suits, minimum wages, welfare etc…

        Get rid of ALL those things and more and see how quickly the culture changes.

  13. I 100% agree with you on Anarchy. I call myself a volunteerist because they tainted the word “Anarchy”. They’ve redefined it to mean chaos, which makes the assumption that without a government there would be chaos.

    On that point of redefining words, I have to respectfully disagree that ” infamous “general welfare” clause, which has been the source of endless mischief” is vague. Once again, they redefined that word. If they took it for what it means, we all would have to benefit equally from whatever the government does. Consider had they worded the second amendment as follows though “Every action of the Federal Government must benefit all citizens equally”. Current politicians would change the word benefit to mean give and citizens to mean poor.

    • Amen, Jeff.

      Such a simple (and cool) concept. I hate the idiot left-right “debate” we have in this country. The real debate is about controlling others vs. live and let live.

  14. Problem is you have a majority of the people “working for the government” i.e. “milking everyone else for a living”. These people fight tooth and nail to keep the statist system going growing.

  15. I disagree on a couple points. First, yes of course there will always be bad people in our society, but the existance of gov’t, regardless how small, has never, cannot and will not protect us from them so gov’t serves no purpose. That responsibility has been, is now and forever will be ours, and our community’s. As for a judicial: that too can be done at the community and/or business level via contracts, arbitration, insurance and reputation.

    As for restricting free trade with companies in countries that are not free in an effort to coerce them to change how they behave: that’s no different than being a gov’t. If the morality of Chinese society and the morality of American society are such that American companies find it profitable to do business with Chinese companies and vice-versa then who is anyone to tell them what to do?

    Americans are well aware of the working conditions in China and if they are not then it’s their responsiblity to find out if they care. But if they know and they value the product more than the working conditions of Chinese workers then that is their decision to make.

    And a sales tax is nothing more than still paying tribute to the gov’t to get their permission to purchasing anything in our economy.

    If people are not civilized, intelligent, moral enough to figure these things out on their own at the individual and community level and live peacefully with one another then what good can come of taking a subset of these uncivilized, stupid, immoral people and centralizing money and power with them? I think our current situation has answered that question.

    We need to either figure it out or be slaves. Those my friend are the only two choices.

    • “…the existence of gov’t, regardless how small, has never, cannot and will not protect us from them so gov’t serves no purpose.”

      Here’s where we disagree. If government is restricted to keeping the peace, then a very valuable purpose is served. Yes, I know – and accept – that it is impossible to restrict government to just keeping the peace; that it will inevitably abuse its authority. The question (to me) is one of limiting to the extent possible the mischief that can be done. It will never be ideal or perfect – but it can be pretty good, or at least, pretty benign. That is the point I’m trying to make. It is a way to control most of the worst impulses of the worst people most of the time. It worked pretty well here in these United States for a full generation (70 or so years) and even after 1865, relatively speaking, better than anywhere else in the world for a long time thereafter.

      • How can the gov’t keep the peace Eric? If a mugger is pointing a deadly weapon at me should I ask his permission to call 911 so the gov’t can come protect me or should I have a gun of my own? If a burglar is breaking into my house? If someone is trying to steal my car? Unless everyone has a personal “cop”, it’s only going to be dumb luck that a cop happens to be coming by when you need protection.

        The gov’t’s no better after the fact either. How many crimes every really get solved? So they can’t keep the crime from happening nor can they solve it. So, in what aspect do you believe the gov’t can “keep the peace”? It’s a ridiculous proposition to begin with which is why it fails. A community, however, knows its people, knows its resources, knows its territory and is always present. Me and my neighbor are going to be there a hell of a lot faster than the gov’t. Such things already exist in the form of community watch programs and homeowners associations.

        Never mind being able to “limit” them, because that’s impossible.

        • So, in a multicultural society populated with folks who have wildly different opinions of what is right, just, and moral, how do you maintain the integrity of your community while holding fast to the non-aggression axiom?

          Government simply reflects the character of the men of which it is comprised. Taking it away, or renaming it something else like community watch or homeowners’ association, doesn’t change the character of men. These things are still an invitation to power over others. This impulse is deeply instinctive and in some is overwhelming.

          Government is simply another word for power. And some humans will always rise to power over others, no matter what you choose to call it.

          • I cannot think of one ‘wildly different opinion’ of what is right and what is wrong that is something that should be law. These are all things control freaks want to impose on other people. That even works in the reverse sense with things like honor killings. It’s just a control freak mechanism that shouldn’t be law.

            The problem of a stateless society is the control freak nature of many people to impose their views on others. The minimum of property rights is in general agreement across all societies except for those who wish to control us and feed off us.

            • I think we can agree on the big ones:

              No killing people. No beating people up. No raping people. No threatening to kill/beat/rape to coerce people. No stealing. Respect the sanctity of property, of person, of political expression, of free association.

              This would result in a very free society – and secure in its freedoms, as the founders described it.

              The rest is small stuff, isn’t it?

          • The minimum age of sexual consent in Mexico is 12.

            Some people who are adherents of Islam believe their religion allows them to kill their daughters if they dishonor their families.

            How do you integrate these people into a stateless society based on European social mores?

            • “How do you integrate these people into a stateless society based on European social mores?”

              Absent getting them to agree with Western concepts of the worth (and rights) of the individual, I don’t think you do.

              It’s one of the reasons why “multiculturalism” is a fiasco.

          • There is no perfect solution. No Utopia. So what’s the most just, moral solution?

            Right and wrong are not opinion. I have “Rights”, if you violate them then you have done something “Wrong”. That’s Right and Wrong. Pretty clear.

            But if you live in a community and someone is breaking into your house and you call your neighbor for help and he doesn’t see anything wrong with that and so won’t come help you then you can move from that community. You can find more like minded people to live amongst. Your neighbor though, has every incentive – as does the whole community – to help one another since if my neighbor needs help one day and he didn’t help me then I can certainly choose not to help him. Everybody is better off working together.

            That’s where the intelligence comes in. If you live in a community not intelligent enough to understand that then there’s not much you can do about it, but forming a gov’t only makes the problem worse.

            I think a lot of the problem is that people keep trying to tweek the concept of gov’t. They still believe in it if only they could find just the right combination of this and that and just a little more of the other. They continue to bang their heads against the wall but can’t figure out why their head hurts. Well there you go: the intelligence of society.

            There is a problem and gov’t is not an option. So…let’s start figuring out what is and just let the gov’t thing go once and for all.

            • “Well there you go: the intelligence of society.”


              If society were composed of reasonable, intelligent people then the problem becomes a non-problem. But so long as we have more than an ample supply of not-so-bright people and unreasonable people, containing them is a necessity. I support organized peacekeepers – a system of civil and criminal codes and enforcement – to that end. Within a small scale (village, town) you’d want one system, not several competing ones. The same goes for a country, composed of many villages and towns. Until our geneticists can fix human nature and remove stupidity and the urge to do violence from the genome, we’re stuck with this.

              It’s a very small price to pay, in my opinion, for the peace (again, for the most part) we’d have and the liberty that would be protected.

  16. You write: “But they should object to “trading” with countries (and companies) that exploit people – that is, countries and companies that use aggressive violence against citizens and workers.” Policing the world again – in your image? Here is a libertarian thought for you: Mind your own business!

    • This is freedom of association. It’s not an aggressive attempt to influence the affairs of another country. It’s a voluntary decision to withdraw from conducting business with them.

      • Eric suggests that gov’t tarrifs “should” – that word is a red flag for one person wanting to impose their will on others – be used to affect foreign companies in accordance with what someone thinks “should” be done. What someone “feels” is right.

        The only just, moral and even economically efficient solution is to allow all companies to freely choose to do business with whom they please and if American consumers freely choose to buy from them then everyone is better off. It is immoral and a violation of an American’s rights for anyone to impose their morality about China via taxation, given that all taxation is theft. Furthermore, Americans are worse off economically due to the higher prices and eventual decrease in market competition.

        I agree with Geb on this. Mind your own business domestically and internationally. Improve the world through education and setting a good example, not by punishing successful firms and successful consumers with taxation and limited choice.

        • Yes I understand what the rigid ideology of libertarianism says about this. I think the whole premise of this article and ensuing discussion is it’s not right about every single thing, just like every single other ideology.

          Fanatically opposing the depradations of government at home but doing business with people who get over on others through government power overseas makes you a hypocrite.

          Nothing anyone can say is going to change my mind on that front.

        • “The only just, moral and even economically efficient solution is to allow all companies to freely choose to do business with whom they please…”

          Really? If yes, then explain how this is different from me grabbing someone off the street, chaining them up in my basement and forcing them to make sweaters, then selling them for a “low, low price” … and you knowingly buy them. That’s morally acceptable? You think that’s ok? Doesn’t violent the principle of non-aggression?

          It’s hardly immoral to “control” assholes who abuse people. Or do you think it’s “controlling” to lock up thugs because I “feel” they are bad people?

        • Don, you are of course right in your measured comment expanding a bit on my ‘mind your own business’. Our friend eric goes off the rails at 7:26pm in reason and language. Sad.

  17. I think Eric might be confusing government with governance. Anarchy is the absence of the State. It does not follow that all anarchists oppose voluntary governance.

    In the absence of the State, I expect panarchy to ensue: a free market of competing legal societies with their own set of laws governing disputes between members of the same society.

    Where there is a dispute between members of competing societies, side agreements between those societies will govern.

    Ireland, prior to Cromwell, had something resembling panarchy. A person who was more than a menial labourer could join a tuath. Judges were not appointed by the State because there was none. The brehon (private judges) were hired by the disputants to help resolve their dispute.

    The State is evil because it extorts money and governs the people without their consent. No good can come of evil.

    All practising Christians, Jews and Muslims are anarchists. The Book says: Thou shalt not steal.

    • It’s an interesting point – but does human nature (the inclination to control, to misuse force) disappear when the state disappears? Governance amounts to the same thing, ultimately; that is, rules imposed by some on others. I concede that abuse is inevitable in any human society. To me, the more important question is what kinds of rules are imposed? If the state/governing body is charged with keeping the peace then the rules are benign, arguable positive.

      I don’t have much use for cops – that is, men who hassle people for “speeding,” or not wearing a seat belt, or because they like to ingest a substance that has arbitrarily been decreed illegal.

      I don’t have any problem with peace officers – that is, men who go after violent thugs on behalf of those who can’t. Who protect life and property.

      That’s the difference as I see it.

      • Human nature won’t change just because the State disappears. However, the State won’t disappear unless a substantial number of people reject the State. There has to be a change of mind.

        Governance isn’t the same as government, because the former is voluntary. If you don’t like the laws of Society “A”, you can join “B” or form a society of your own. Or decide not to join any society.

        Panarchy is no more a perfect system of governance than the free market is a perfect system of economics.

        The USA was a grand experiment in minimal government. The experiment has failed miserably.

        • All the more reason for local, community “governance”. If you don’t like a community you can move. It’s also easier to influence local gov’t if you have a grevience.

          But if you have a federal or state gov’t then where are you going to go? To another country? To another state? How are you going to air your greviences? By voting? Plz.

  18. This must be one of the most involving, passionate, and erudite discussions of minarchism vs. anarchism on the ‘net!

    Fantastic stuff, thanks to everyone.

    Eric I’ve had to concede your point; given how things are right now, we should all be striving for what Ron Paul wants: a simple return to Constitutional government. In its true form, that would mean government about 95% smaller than it is today. I’d be ecstatic!

    That said: I still believe ideally in anarchism. I just don’t think we’ve evolved enough to make it sustainable today.

    But dear God, give me liberty! The suffocating fog of government stifling my every move has me pacing like a caged lion.

    We’re not alone. There’s a massive awakening under way; the pendulum will swing. The very fact that they (the Elites) are rushing their plans so dramatically, ramping up the police state so obviously, is a sign of their desperation and awareness their days are limited.

    I believe in some measure that the old guard of the Elites–David Rockefeller, Evelyn de Rothschild, Queen Beatrice, Queen Mum (that haggard old dried-up bitch), and their super-annuated minions have become impatient. Their slow, implacable progress toward world government has worked so well, but it’s been set back decades by various delays…and they’re losing patience.

    This latest rush to consolidate will destroy their plans.

    • Amen – on all counts!

      I really enjoy the back and forth here; it’s as good for the brain as running five miles is for the body.

      On Paul (and liberty): We must – as Franklin said – hang together. If we get to “95” percent, dealing with the last 5 percent will be easy.

      It’s dealing with the 95 percent that’s going to take some sweat…

  19. Eric sez: “Liberty never endures … [Anarchy] would probably work if people were not as they are; or rather, as most people are as they are. But they are as they are.”

    In a nutshell, freedom takes work.

    I watch the people around me as I go about my life, so oblivious, so unconscious, and I want to ask them, What is it that you think is safeguarding your freedom to buy that blouse, eat that meal, browse that library shelf, listen to that song, use that carwash? What bulwark are you relying upon? Do you even know?

    Freedom takes work, a truth that the great majority of Americans, especially modern Americans, have never absorbed.

    • There is a school of thought – which I agree with – that describes the process as cyclical.

      It begins with a bold group of settlers who move into a new area. These people are by default independent types, “can-do” types. They have little tolerance for can’t-do types. The population is also diffuse enough that few conflicts arise, or are more avoidable. If you don’t like your “neighbor” – who lives on the 100 acre spread five miles away as the crow flies – well, you and he just avoid one another.

      Then, the original group’s independence and industry leads to economic good times. This breeds complacency, especially among the younger/subsequent generations. They come to think of such things as food/shelter as obvious givens that just are – and to which everyone is entitled by dint of their existence. Liberalism (modern usage) is born. Now enter the opportunist political sociopaths. They exploit the naivete (and stupidity and moral obtuseness) of the former. Viola, authoritarian government is born.

      The nut of the problem is how to maintain the desire for liberty that the original group possessed as time goes by and economic life improves and population density increases.

  20. Tor sez: “Have your wife or other household women and dependents sew a new flag and fly it high in your front yard.”

    Sew your own flag, you sexist pig. 😮

    • Ideally I will sew a flag for myself and post it online, as you ask. For now, an attempted explication…

      The gamble with aggressive writing is it is a permanent for good or ill.

      4 fathom 5 thy fathers lie. Those are stars that were their eyes. And nothing of them doth fade, but that suffers a sea change.

      All the agism, sexism, and strengthism of my father has been a type of hormesis, which makes me stronger and better. I don’t know that mine can say the same. Time will tell.

      To me, male letters are the consonants. They have a beginning and an end, but no middle.

      Female letters are the vowels. They are what gives life and meaning to the consonants.

      English superficially looks to be male dominant. 21 male and 5 female letters. I think in spoken reality though, there are many more vowel sounds than consonant sounds. Both are important.

      I know academically, Mexican Spanish has 24 vowel sounds and 20 consonant sounds. So much for machismo.

      Please indulge my reckless use of English. It is spoken in a yooper dialect and sounds a lot more folksy and tame than appears here with all this crisp precise WordPress kerning.

      My wife is an Ishtar type and excels at creating things from any raw material, including fabric. It seem to me more a badge of excellence, not subjugation. Certainly Shakira She Wolf and Huntress Diana types among others are equally valid non sewing archetypes.

      Maybe what is useful is developing a libertarian correct speech code. As long as it is freely chosen, and on gross violation, it can get you banned from privately owned property.

      When one trespasses, one can walk into the woods. And there learn to see something and say something about the forest and trees, the flowers, birds, and bees.

  21. Nobody has brought up the problems with Eric’s consumption tax proposal, but Murray Rothbard correctly and completely dealt with these problems in the article at http://mises.org/daily/1768 in which he famously pointed out that any consumption tax is “a payment for permission-to-live.”

    It just won’t work, Eric. Using such a tax lays the groundwork for future tyranny. Reconsider. A central government that does little, spends little, and so needs little. Property tax, income tax, consumption tax: Provide the government with the ability to tax its own people, even a little, and the tax, however small at first will grow because it has always been so that wishes become needs over time.

    • Hi Larry,

      I agree with you – everything lays the groundwork for future tyranny. There is no perfection on this earth. So the question becomes, which less perfect system gives us the best shot at securing most of our liberty for the longest time. I submit that a strictly limited constitutional government fills the bill. And I have evidence to support that contention. We had it. It existed.

      Anarchy is unworkable (never existed in history outside of hunter-gather groups and very small communities) because it doesn’t factor in the reality of human nature. It makes no compromise to its theory – which is fine for academic discussion, essential for math and science. But when it comes to organizing human society, the insistence upon ideological perfection just doesn’t accomplish much – other than cause us who agree on almost everything to fritter away our energies arguing over minuscule infringements upon absolute liberty (such as an inconsequentially small sales tax to fund a system of civil/criminal law and national defense) instead of focusing on the truly horrendous abuses.

      Yes, I know. Even those minuscule concessions – a strictly limited government that is charged only with maintaining the peace, funded (minimally) by a hardly-felt sales tax or tariff – inevitably leads to the USSA as we have it today. Perfectly true. It is inevitable. Because of human nature. Liberty never endures, so the best we can hope for is cyclical reasonably free societies vs. various foms of authoritarianism.

      Anarchy is no more immune to the same abuses and flaws that beset minarchist constitutional republics because all are run by and peopled by flawed human beings. But anarchy is less tenable, less enduring – and in fact, purely theoretical precisely for these reasons. It would probably work if people were not as they are; or rather, as most people are as they are. But they are as they are. And as long as that’s true, and as long as we have a society that’s not limited to a small band of hunter gatherers or a village, we’re going to need some objective (to the greatest extent feasible) system of civil/criminal law, as well as national defense.

      • Eric,
        Human values can change radically. You are forgetting that chattel slavery was forever and always a part of human societies everywhere. Not just in the US, but literally everywhere. People thought that since it had been around forever then it’s gonna stay around. But then what happend? Poof! As an acceptable institution chattel slavery is gone from the planet in practically a blink of the eye. Now only the worst of psychopaths living under rocks will chain people and force labor (never mind the on-going fact of political prisoners, that’s the state’s doing of course). If humans are and forever will be as unchanging and wicked as you believe, then this form of slavery *as an institution* would have never perished. The reasons for the demise of slavery are complex, but that’s beside the point. Your assertion that human values cannot change for the better, and radically so, is false.

        Now, if there was a societal shift to view the state as the rapacious soul-sucking parasite that it is and always will be then we can eliminate tax slavery from the land, among other insults.

        (I also believe that your other stance regarding market failure in private security and courts is also untenable, as I’ve argued here already, apparently unconvincingly. There has been a lot written on this point by others much smarter than me though so I’ll leave it to them to convince you).

        • Mikehell, you forget that in places like Namibia and throughout the Middle East slavery is still alive and well, although “officially” illegal. You also seem to ignore the fact that Unicor (a.k.a. Federal Prison Industries) essentially pays slave wages to its “employees” that “volunteer” to “learn skills” (usually caged for consuming some substance the state deems unacceptable) that “reduce recidivism.”

          The list goes on, none the least of which is tax slavery which you do mention. In my case alone, up front implied gun-in-your-face wage taxes amounted to nearly one fourth of what I earned last year. If you factor in the cumulative taxes paid down through the production process of everything we consume, sales taxes, imposts, excises and tariffs, the actual tax burden is more on the order of 70-80% (not including tags, titles, registrations, professional licenses, etc.). When I see some crew-cut thug in a Crown Vic blow past me at 80 in a 65 or some Welfare Queen loading her EBT card bloated grocery cart with beef she’ll sell for cigarette money, why should I give a shit whether the people behind this rip-off wear government or civilian costumes? Involuntary servitude is the same regardless of who puts the sign in front of the plantation.

          Too many people seem to believe there is some distinction between the humans that run government and the humans that run private institutions. Humans invariably get in cahoots with each other to produce some form of what we now have: fascism. The operative word here is humans. The best you can hope for is to give any one group as little control as possible over as small an area as possible, whether it is in the public or private sector. Most people (not all, just most) will take advantage of you if you let them.
          This is why anarchy only seems to work at a village / tribal level. Once you get about 10,000 (or fewer) people together in one spot, cliques form and select leaders. The leaders with the most aggressive/coercive predispositions take the reins “for our own good” and with their cronies proceed to live off the rest of us.

          With private courts and police forces (run by insurance companies, am I right?) they will eschew competition, merge with and or buy out their competitors in favor of cartelization; it’s the line of least resistance. Over time these people will build a corporate empire that will rape, pillage and plunder with the best of government thugs. The problem is human nature and its inherent laziness, lust, greed, jealousy and deceit (did I miss anything?). We ignore this sad historically provable fact to our peril, the wonderful utopian free-market theories of our finest minds notwithstanding.

          • I point out one glaring example of where human societies have improved and you can’t accept it nor ponder it’s deeper significance. No wonder we’re stuck in a statist world.

            • We’re arguing over minutia. Hell, I’d be ecstatic just to get the country back to the relative liberty we had circa 1985. Would I prefer a perfect society in which everyone got along, or at least, agreed to base all their interactions on reason and the principle of the non-initiation of force? Certainly. But that’s not going to exist until we get rid of dumb people and violence-inclined people. So the question becomes (again, I am repeating myself): which is more likely, given reality, to preserve the most liberty for the most people? An anarchic system in which individuals/groups of individuals enforce their own codes of conduct, including civil and criminal codes? Or a minarchist system in which there is a single, mostly fair, system of “peace-keeping,” with codified rules of conduct governing civil law and criminal law – all based on the principles of non-initiation of force and mutual respect for one another’s rights?

              I know (again) I am (you’ll say) contradicting myself because on the one hand I am advocating for the non-initiation of force yet on the other defending an institution whose very nature is force.

              And, you’re right. It is the paradox of human existence.

              People are imperfect – hence, we have (and need to have) imperfect institutions. I’d rather have one less-than-perfect system of reasonably just laws based on recognition of property rights, right to free association, to work and pursue happiness as we each deem appropriate than multiple conflicting systems of individuals and groups, each arguing among themselves (and enforcing among themselves) their own conceptions of “just” law.

              The system set up by the founders was arguably the best system for protecting liberty that ever actually existed. Unlike Plato’s communism or anarchic systems – which either have never existed in actuality or which have resulted in much less liberty when people have tried to bring them into existence.

          • No, Mikehell, it’s not that I “can’t accept it nor ponder its deeper significance”. I just understand that societies, companies, governments, even individual lives are cyclic. Sometimes things get a little better, sometimes a lot worse but there are things like gravity and human nature that never change. I’ve stood on the side of Liberty since I was a teenager back in the ’70’s. I’ve written letters, button-holed congress-critters, donated to “the cause”, etc. I’d love nothing more than to tell you “Yep, we licked involuntary servitude in all of its nasty forms. Hooray, we’re freeeeee!” Yeah, wouldn’t that be great; it just wouldn’t be true. The struggle for Liberty is an ongoing intergenerational journey and when we think we have finally caught up with it, the pendulum seems to swing the other way.

            I fully understand that all Lincoln did was move some of us from a few smaller plantations onto one huge plantation under the aegis of federal supremacy. I didn’t have anything to do with building that foundation, so don’t try to blame any of this statist dystopia on me. Now maybe you live a subsistence lifestyle out in the woods on state forest land and don’t pay a dime into the system; thus you can honestly say you’re “free”. Otherwise (and I suspect this is true since you have Internet access) you’re in the system one way or the other. You either work and produce (or you have inherited wealth) some of which is taken from you (or your trust fund) under the implied threat of force or you’re on the dole (even if you “work” for the government it’s still at “our” expense). If you work in the private sector and pay in one cent of wage or “income” tax, you’re serving involuntarily (i.e. enslaved). If you make so little in wages you claim the Earned Income Credit and get back more than you paid in, you’re a state sanctioned thief. Regardless, if you’re on the dole in any way, you will most probably support certain candidates and policies to keep your “benefits.” You’re still on the plantation because you know you have to vote a certain way to keep the rest of us feeding you; along with giving up a whole host of liberties in exchange for your mess of government pottage.

            We’re still stuck in this statist world, not because people like me see things for what they are at their basest level, but because other people mistakenly believe b.s. like we’ve “abolished slavery”, this is “the land of the free”, that paper is actually money and you can spread “liberty” and “democracy” with M4 carbines and Predator drones. Despite the depredations by “my” government, I still manage to live a comfortable and happy life as a de facto involuntary servant of the state. But whether I’m sweating in a tobacco field or living a relatively comfortable existence up “in the big house” does not change the fact that I labor for the benefit of people that would not receive one thin dime from me if they didn’t have men with guns that I know will come take it by force. That, sir, is slavery. The fact that slavery is still alive and well along with the very real probability that this world is headed for a major crisis (I recommend that you read Strauss and Howe’s “The Forth Turning” if you haven’t already) isn’t going to change just because we choose to take mainstream historical fallacy, paint a happy face on it and trot it around the arena claiming it’s “da trufe.”

          • Slavery, Serfdom, what-have-you has never gone away. It merely changes form or evolves. In the late 19th and early 20th century the company town developed. That’s the model that has been in play since then.

            From the top down the ‘owners’ will run our lives, keep us moral, etc and so forth. From this we get eugenics, prohibition, the war on drugs, drug based symptom treating “health care”, etc and so forth. Fascism merges this company town mentality into the state.

            Sure our cages are better. We aren’t whipped for disobeying massa. But everyone knows the conesquences just the same. Most people who know the system for what it is won’t even be as vocal as we are. Same as the days of serfdom and slavery.

            The more things change the more they stay the same as the old saying goes. Back in the old days a slave could run away off the farm and be free, at least for awhile. Today? The whole planet is the farm. Traditionally slaves when loaned out got to keep half their income for themselves.. the burden of the lord on the serfs was about a 1/3rd. What is our burden today?

        • Values? Sure. Point conceded. I don’t think I ever said otherwise. But Human nature? Not so far.

          See Boothe’s post above; he already answered the rest for me!

  22. Certainly id disclosure on a private property blog is a proprietors property right. Freudian slips unmask my own deep rooted clover complex instilled by 18 years of Catholic Schooling. Perhaps no Indian will emerge to carry me away from the Nicholsonian Cuckoo’s Nest I wish to fly over.

    I meant only in context of the emerging Web 3.0 where cyber clover double plus do godders tirelessly slave to kill online privacy safeguards and get an attagirl on America’s Most Wanted Bloggers dot gov.

    Dreams of My New Founding Father…

    Today I announce my resignation as the 44th President of the United States.

    I wish to be called Barackeicki Obamakama. The birthers were right insofar as Hawaii was an illegitimate conquest of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893. The real day of Infamy more infamous than 1941.

    My wife Michellelani, daughters Sashakuawa and Malialeia, and myself wish you all Aloha and God Speed.

    We wish to depart our former land we call Leviastan may God bless her bountiful star spangled realms.

    We have purchased our own northern Polynesian island we have named Rino. That is the name we give de-horned Rhinos after we sell their horns to the Chinese for $200,000 each. These gentle mascots will live full and happy lives and this years millions, next years billions, and the trillions afterward will be sent to you as our tribute and so the CIA may relent from releasing its mountain of defamatory intel it holds over my head in perpetuity of all the mistakes and crimes it has documented during me and my families lifetime.

    We will live only under the Hawaii Code of Conduct and work as community organizers to restore the Hawaii kingdoms to their rightful states of sovereignity and dignity.

    Those are the audacious hopes and dreams of my Father for which I pledge my life, fortune, and sacred honor to.

  23. I can’t add any more to this discussion besides recommending a short, concise read called “21 reasons why statism is a radical and radically incoherent theory.” Google it. The article deals with many of the contradictions of statism that are being raised here.

  24. A well regulated militia can mean creation and maintenance of localized e.m.p and permanent adulterating agents for all your devices, precious metals, and valuable substances wherever they are at your command alone.
    Peaceful self defense of live traps and restraining devices to thwart and hold all trespassers and aggressors of any stripe unharmed but not free to use their ballistic weapons.
    Delivery of declarations can be performed the same way as the Boston Tea Party, without even destroying one iota of property.
    Anonymously and disguised as Indians I believe.
    Reparations are still owed to the British East India Tea Company by consenting voluntarists and can be held on the books as still owing, by any group of true patriots.
    What are the Gibson Guitar raids, Megavideo raids, Full Tilt Poker raids, and countless others, if not further illegitimate Intolerable Acts, no different than that of King George?
    Have your wife or other household women and dependents sew a new flag and fly it high in your front yard.
    Leave a display of your laws and bylaws at all entrances to your personal realm.
    A thousand islands across the globe of Polynesia, which in Greek is merely Poly Nesos. Many Islands of freedom.
    In Ancient Babylon 90% of property was privately owned. Take a look at the Gates of Ishtar at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. New York is sad prison camp compared to the freedoms that once prevailed in Mesopotamia for thousands of years.
    Go on a diet of all propaganda. Wikipedia has the news you can use in many languages. If its lacking, sign up and add your own there.
    If we want to start small, pass a constitutional amendment for the US to release the Aleutians and the smaller Hawaiian islands besides Oahu from our clutches. How ever people end up living there, we pledge our forebearance and an end to our interference at least on those few islands. No exceptions.
    The Monroe Act on these territories can be modified to preclude any organized force beyond the level of individual defensive weapons.
    We spend 48% of the worlds defense dollars. NATO Allies spend another 20%. China is 8% and Iran is 2%
    Otherwise Dr. Eiffel’s marvelous Cantilevered Statue of Liberty should be modified to hold a giant napalm flamethrower. Aggrieved peoples of the world can purchase plots to artistically portray whatever they feel America has destroyed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the amount raised will exceed 15 trillion and our deficit would be gone.
    Mahalo? Or am I just Tripping Dixie?

  25. What we have now is totalitarianism. A state that recognizes no limit to its authority, regulates every aspect of life wherever feasible and profitable to its unending increase in power.

    On this first day in the month of Pisces in the 235th and final year of captivity on Martha Custis Washington’s dower plantation – White House – the sovereign nations do rise together to proclaim their Sui Fiducia – Self Rule.

    A new brotherhood of hundreds of millions arises against totalitarian enactments – they rule the newly privatized roads. Helmets and safety are optional products and services. Special paths are built for drunks and children of all ages to drive. The pure platinum ro-ad is the coin of their transportation realm.

    All child support, class actions, welfare transfers, social security pyramids schemes, health mandates, permissions and licensing, prohibitions, measures and standards are nullified for anyone living west of the Missippi or within the former states of the Confederacy during the War of Northern Aggression.

    A foreign legion of Bikers, Smugglers, Counterfeiters, Crips, MS13s, Bloods, Kings, Moonshiners, Smiths, Rappers, Hackers, are to be dispatched as paid mercenaries to reclaim and deny use of advanced technology by hostile parties including our canals, dams, power plants, extraction facilities, highways, and military goods.

    Street militia administer and tax our major cities and patrol the casinos, brothels, nudist baths, and blood sport arenas, their coins are pure silver.

    Millions of indiginous American Americans reclaim their stewardship of all federal lands west of the Mississippi. Their new wampum is the 42 gallon barrel of oil.
    Millions of the 420 cartel declare their new currency the 1/100 1/10 and 1 ounce Cannabis.

    Millions of laborers from the Americas are free to come and go from the right to work sunbelt states. All other coins of the Americas are in use here.

    Gypsies, Amish, Hasids, Farmers, Ranchers, Hunters, Trappers, Fishermen, Wildcatters, Prospectors, are free to work and subsist off any and all waters and lands for a commission to the holder of occupant title. They transact in an electronic commodity basket known as the Colonial.

    Within these next 12 zodiacal months. Africans, Chinese, Mormons, Hmongs, Muslims, Christians, and all other peoples demand to live in their ancient traditions as free peaceful citizens of foreign allegiance and philosophy in whatever land they purchase and improve.

    Myself, I declare myself a netizen. An internaut. My physical body and life I hold sovereign and choose to pay tax and be held accountable only through a registered Electronic Autonym. The wanton undue disclosure of my IP address or nexus location of my devices I declare as an act of war. I ask to be addressed only as tormunkov. Addressible at yahoo.de – Yahoo Deutchland.

    If captured for some political rule violation not a natural law, I solemnly pledge to destroy all personal property and to be only a burden, unwilling to labor or cooperate with any and all captors by force. I will give only my email address and email name, not even a name, rank, or serial number.

    Sui Fiducia. Certainly there is an unstoppable majority ready for an irrevocable exodus.

    Anarchy is when you use positive force to overcome a regime and then some other force group takes over and your violent efforts become their spoils.

    Self Rule means a life apart with private culture unknown to outsiders. A band of doomsday preppers with their own language, currency, calendars, and customs, never disclosed to outlanders who passively accept religious and political dominions of any kind.

    Sui Fiducia. My friends.

    • Zowie!

      I especially like this part: “If captured for some political rule violation not a natural law, I solemnly pledge to destroy all personal property and to be only a burden, unwilling to labor or cooperate with any and all captors by force.”

      It’s a little after 7 am now. I woke up a little while ago with this thought rising: “…and I’ll burn my house to the GROUND before I let the State get its filthy hands on it.” God only knows what I’d been dreaming a nanosecond before.

      I would not, in the end, wish to live quite as Tor delineates in his passionate oration. It sounds wearing, maintaining a level of enduring and ongoing pugnaciousness, not to mention a wee bit psychologically totalitarian its ownself. But I like the underlying theme of “A new brotherhood of hundreds of millions aris[ing] against totalitarian enactments.”

      Yes, indeedy.

      That’s about what it’ll take, too.

  26. ATTN: Who was the member we have here that lives in Brazil or Mexico? I’ve been trying to research on locations to move to and remember talking to you, but can’t recall where it was that you lived.

  27. Eric,
    Given that your minimal state still possesses the monopoly on writing law and executing the law, how will you expect the state to rule in cases involving itself? Certainly the system will immediately become corrupted since, by definition, there is no competing systems of justice where the populace can seek redress.

    Many other points but this is the biggie.

    • I don’t – quite the opposite. I expect the state (those who control it) will eventually abuse the system. This always happens – and would happen in an anarchist society, too – but it’s beside the point. The best we can hope for is something better – not something perfect. And no matter what we come up with, it will always be temporary, human nature being what it is.

      Hence, I’d rather push for less government (doable) and keep no government as a nice ideal to have.

      • Aw come on, Eric! You’re throwing in the towel because you believe that free markets in justice could never happen and that even if they did happen they would get corrupted anyway? Is that what you really believe? If so, I think the onus is on you to explain why markets would fail us in the realm of dispute resolution* despite the power of markets are in other contexts.

        Ok? Go!

        *remember that the key ingredient in an anarchist society is not perfect humans but merely the option of withdrawing from any and all contracts (including dispute resolution contracts) without the threat of violent retaliation. Without the option of secession you slide back to tyranny.

        • If you seek redress for a grievance you have against your neighbor, and he subscribes to a different police service and court system than you do, what incentive would they have to hand you over and lose that revenue? I think it’s far more likely that your cops and his cops will end up shooting it out in the street.

          If you subscribe to a free market provider of justice and security that is one of many, their motivation is going to be to protect you in order to keep you on the subscription rolls. If this organization gains a reputation of turning its subscribers over to competitors it won’t last long as a profit-making operation. It will lose subscribers to providers of justice and security who protect their subscribers from having to redress grievances against them at all costs, up to the value of their subscription of course…

          • TOG,

            I’m in agreement on this one because it’s completely logical. And we have a living example in that our increasingly for-profit law enforcement is one of the great evils of our time. Yes, there has always been an element of “revenue enhancement” when it comes to government law enforcement. But the straw man in re anarchy is that this would disappear under anarchy. If anything, it would be much worse. I’d rather have a slightly rapacious government law enforcement than a fundamentally rapacious free market/private law enforcement system.

          • TOG,
            The marginal economic effects of violence in a free market are negative. Otherwise you’d see today’s armed private security agencies fighting it out for customers, insurance companies resorting to violence and fraud to avoid payouts, MickeyDs and BK spiking each other’s burgers with arsenic, and so on. How much more could these businesses raise their prices by literally killing the competition? Profit margins are already razor thin in most markets so there’s just no incentive to resort to violence*. Moreover, many customers would drop the agency as soon as they discovered what violent thugs they were (unless they have a state-sanctioned monopoly like Blackwater).

            This is the real, existing world I’m talking about here. There’s nothing hypothetical about it. We mostly live in this world already. All anarchy is is the expansion of market power to all realms.

            *Note that the “businesses” where the marginal effects are high and violence is indeed rampant are……guess where?…..drum roll, please…..those where the state intervenes the most! Witness the emerging Narco-states and the violent gangs that inhabit state prisons.

          • Eric, you are correct in the present system where for-profit law enforcement is evil. But it’s evil because of the state. Insiders get the contracts. The state gives them power. That’s why it’s bad.

            Remove the state and the ability to do evil without consequence vanishes. Now they risk their businesses, they risk their employees. Their employees aren’t as likely to do bad things when it’s perfectly acceptable for their intended victims to kill/injure them in self defense. So many problems evaporate without state power being granted.

            • I’ll go farther: Any human institution is prone to abuse (and evil) because humans are involved. Hence, the idealized perfection of anarchy is a sort of political unicorn. It’s nice to think about it, but until we can excise from the human genome both stupidity and psychopathy I think we are doomed to endure at least some control mechanisms in order to preserve what we might call “the good life.” This is, I think, what the Founders (or the best among them, anyhow) hoped for. They created a system that provided stability and order while also preserving individual autonomy and liberty. Not perfectly. But a damn sight better than virtually any other form of human society that has ever existed – of which I’m aware, at least.

              The anarchism vs. Libertarian minarchism debate is counterproductive because we’re arguing among ourselves over the abstract possibility of eliminating the most minor, inoffensive, dwindling 5 percent presence of government power (which in the context discussed is almost entirely benign) rather than joining forces to combat the suffocating, soul-killing and often outright literally killing us 95 percent of government power.

              Yes, I understand the argument that admitting any government authority opens Pandora’s box. I agree. But freedom is (historically) ephemeral, even assuming the best case starting point.As the founding generation fades away, subsequent generations grow ever more complacent, ever more accepting of (or even demanding of) more and more government. Before you know it, USSA. I get that.

              But the anarchic alternative strikes me as far less viable, much less enduring. So I go with the option that seems better – in the sense of being realistic and realizable – rather than demanding an abstract best that probably is unattainable given human nature and the realities that implies.

        • Hey Mike,

          I threw in the towel over human nature a long time ago!

          The problem is simply (and tragically) that not everyone is like us. In fact, most people are not like us. This is going to sound very arrogant, but I’ll rely on the evidence all around us (and upon the evidence of history) to support me: Most people are not especially bright; they don’t reflect and think as we do here. They’ve never developed a conceptual faculty – and may not be capable of developing one. They don’t read, they don’t consider principles or metaphysics or anything much beyond what’s for dinner and what’s on TV and when does the game come on. They don’t care about ideas such as the principle of non-initiation of force – hell, they’ve never stopped to consider it and probably aren’t capable of considering it as we do. Then there are the outright dumb people. Think of Clover. Recall the erudition of his posts here. Such people are not reachable. Ever check out the bell curve? It is frightening. Now sprinkle in the criminal elements and the psychopathic elements.

          So, again anarchy is a pleasant idea – in an ideal world composed of enlightened individuals who don’t need laws (at least, not criminal laws) and who could resolve ordinary civil-type disputes among themselves or via some form of free market mediation, perhaps.

          But that’s not the world as it is. The world as it is if filled with conflict and I fear, always will be. I don’t expect coercion and corruption to ever be eliminated – and I grant that having any form of government will admit these into our lives. Or certainly won’t eliminate them.

          But neither would anarchy.

          The question thus becomes, which is more likely to secure the most liberty for the most people: a system of everyone on his own, or relying on ad-hoc free market systems of police/enforcement that would be just as prone to corruption and abuse as their government counterparts – only now we’d have multiple conflicting systems? Or a single system charged with keeping the peace?

          The latter has worked; it is achievable. It’s not perfect, of course. Far from it. But it’s a straw man argument to point to an anarchic alternative that has never existed (a strong indication that it never could exist given human beings as they are) and which would be just as subject to the same corruptions, and arguably in more virulent form, again given the facts of human nature.

          The key is not free market police/courts. It is restricting what government can do.

          If it is limited, as it once was, to protecting the true rights of individuals (internally) and the country itself from foreign attack, then such things as peace officers and civil/criminal courts are, to my mind, the best of all possible worlds given the reality of human nature on this earth.

          The anarchist counter-argument will be that it’s not perfect; no doubt, I concede. And I further concede that by granting government the authority to use force, that force will inevitably grow and in time become abusive – just as it has in our own case. Again, granted. But anarchy would not do any better, I suspect – and probably, much worse, much sooner.

          The American republic was stable for almost 100 years – not a bad run. It might have endured another 100, had Lincoln never been born.

          In any case, we have a historical example of a pretty damn good system that worked, for the most part.

          And “for the most part” is the best we can aspire to.

          To expect the perfect is unrealistic. To demand it – and scorn anything less as worthless, even evil – is foolish.

          • Eric, you see shitty people and you want a monopoly state. I see shitty people and I want market anarchy. We’ve made the same observation and reached completely different conclusions. How can that be?

            I know how to settle this once and for all. You pull your bestest rod up to the line and I’ll pull my ’96 POS Accord along side and we’ll race it out. Winner takes the claim of having the perfect solution to all that vexes us. You up for it?

            • I’m all for anarchy in everything but the maintenance of civil order and criminal law. I explained the reasons why at length – and would add Boothe’s most apt and factually unassailable observations about the way private law enforcement works. As bad as government cops/courts can be, turning these necessary functions into an overtly profit-making business is a disastrous idea. Remember, the SA was a private security force – and so is today’s Blackwater (or Xe or whatever it’s called now). A standardized (government) system of civil/criminal courts, peace officers, etc., at least has to pay lip service to acting in the public interest, not the interests of making as much money as possible. This is a natural check on abuse. It does not eliminate abuse; nothing does or can. But we had a decent system in this country for a long while and I doubt many of us here would have had any issue with 99 percent of civil/criminal laws (or the peace officers charged with maintaining them) which existed say circa 1787-1865. Even into the early part of the 20th century, for that matter.

              Bottom line: If government is limited to keeping the peace (which includes adjudicating contractual disputes as well as criminal law) and national defense, then most of the problems we decry take care of themselves. Not all of them – and by no means perfectly or permanently.

              But, surely better than for-profit enforcement by multiple “competing” privately-owned/operated entities, some of which will not share our ideas about ethics.

          • Mike, I think you are ignoring a big difference between law enforcement/criminal justice, and insurance underwriting and fast food: guns. They change the equation. I understand your point about the marginal effects of violence, but this isn’t the same as McD’s poisoning BK’s burgers or Southwest mechanics stealing into Alaska’s hangars at night and sabotaging their 737s. Violence IS the business of law enforcement/criminal justice. That tendency cannot be removed from that function by privatizing it.

            I can’t add much more to this; I agree with Eric that we need to return as much as we can to the founding principles of the United States (when “they were,” not “it is or was”), and I’ll go one further and say that I believe very strongly in restricting suffrage, because frankly too many in this country have proven they can’t be trusted with the responsiblity of that institution. It’s a travesty that the votes of the brilliant folks here are cancelled out by what is referred to in some circles as the Free Shit Army.

            Still floored by the level of discourse here; feel like a boy among men sometimes…..

            • “I’ll go one further and say that I believe very strongly in restricting suffrage, because frankly too many in this country have proven they can’t be trusted with the responsiblity of that institution.”

              I’ve thought about this a lot. No question, the franchise is much abused. One possible remedy might be to make the franchise conditional on property ownership, or at least, on having paid taxes. Such a “check” might go a long way toward limiting the mischief and outright evil of the current system, which is an open free-for-all in which “vote for me” means “I’ll give you this.”

              Mind, the above would be within the context of a constitutional republic, so even those who could not vote could not have their right to own property, or any other rights, rescinded or impinged. The government would be confined to its proper essentials – and perhaps limiting the franchise would help preserve that state of affairs for a bit longer than has heretofore been possible.

              Just thinking out loud…

          • I offer a question, when have laws ever stopped criminals and psychopaths?

            I believe they don’t and have never done so. Laws only work on people who really don’t need them in the first place.

            That’s part of why government is or becomes a criminal organization.

            Think of it, people who drive fast and reckless do so even though there are laws. Those of us who would drive fast responsibly were never a problem in the first place. The drug war, prohibition, etc and so forth… if laws actually worked then they would do something here except increase profit margins.

            The law works under the assumption that fear of punishment will keep the criminal minded in line. But the criminal minded generally do not think in such a manner. They either aren’t afraid or don’t concern themselves with consequences.

            Another fine example, gun laws. They don’t prevent criminals from being armed at all. They only work on people who weren’t a problem in the first place. Criminals go outside the socially acceptable behaviors and laws don’t stop them.

            Look at a bad neighborhood. Have laws ever made it into a good neighborhood? Have cops ever made a bad neighborhood good? Have cops or government preserved a good neighborhood? Never. It’s all based on the people living there. What makes a bad neighborhood good are people who pioneer and rebuild it. Never the state.

            As far as crime goes I doubt a stateless society would be any worse off. Probably better off because the one thing that does put a damper on crime is the victim fighting back. That’s what they fear, not the law.

            • They don’t. I agree.

              However, having standards in place for dealing with both civil and criminal matters seems to me an essential prerequisite for a stable and enduring free society. At least, when that society is larger than a village or town (and even then).

              It worked here rather well (for the most part) for a goodly number of years.

              How would the anarchic alternative work? We don’t know because we have no example to which we might refer. So it’s entirely theoretical – and, I submit, based on a premise that doesn’t exist out in the real world: A population of enlightened, bright people who live their lives in harmony based on reason and rational self-interest. In the real world, there are lots of average people – and lots of outright dumb people. People you literally cannot have a conceptual discussion with; who cannot appreciate (must less accept) a principled argument. The Feelers and Believers. The Clovers.

              Such people do, I think, need the structure of external rules – ideally, one set of them, applied to all. They may not understand the concept of private property as an ethical principle but they can understand that if they steal your car, they can expect to be imprisoned for it. Could an anarchic system provide such punishment too? Certainly. But it would be uncertain and subjective; one group’s idea of “justice” vs. another’s. The same would go for everything else, too. It would be very hard to establish uniform standards, or even an approximation thereof. And that would lead to a predictable uncertainty and chaos, anathema to the stability necessary for an enduring free society.

          • I like the concept of a weighted vote; I think I read about this idea in a Walter Williams column.

            Everyone gets to vote. That way nobody can claim to be fully excluded from the system. But weight would be added to your vote according to your contributions to society, such as business ownership, property ownership, taxes paid, jobs created, etc.

            All the talk about “the rich” paying “their fair share” is a coin that has another side manifested in the unfairness of the “one man, one vote” way of doing things.

          • The most mechanism that needs to be developed IMO is one to prevent the formation of a state, of a government. People think that laws are needed to prevent street gangs and such from taking over, but in reality they are just different forms of government ruling a tertitory. As to clovers and everyday disputes I believe that far more studied minds in the field have worked that out. There are also historical examples I recall being mentioned. One that I can name off hand is that of the somali culture. The current problems there come from the imposition of a state and other states interfering with them and their property. As I understand it they are traditionally stateless.

            So clovers need structure. Structure can come from a variety of non-state sources. In education, belief systems, etc and so forth. It is just that we have grown up in a era where structure comes from the state. The state being violence and use of force. It doesn’t have to be that way. A clover brought up in a culture of statelessness would be molded to that way of life and probably defend it as vigoursly as he would defend today’s status quo. Would he be able to conceptualize any better? Perhaps not, but by societal structure he would know it was wrong to steal, etc and so on. If needs fear, being cast out, no longer accepted by the society alone might do it. Remember a clover won’t come up and pull a gun on you he uses what is socially acceptable to do it, the state. Take away the state he left without a socially acceptable mechanism of theft.

            I think a system that isn’t based on violence can be achieved. The details to get to that point I don’t have worked out fully. However, I know one thing, moving the society towards being more violence and fear based is unworkable. It needs to move in the other direction. Somehow we got along just fine just a few decades ago without the state threatening us at every turn. Now the slightest thing can result in prison time, large fines, etc and so on. Violence decivilizes. Sure, stateless and ideal but its one we should be working towards instead of running away from.

            • “However, I know one thing, moving the society towards being more violence and fear based is unworkable. It needs to move in the other direction. ”

              Here we’re agreed 100 percent.

              We can quibble about the remaining 5 percent or less of government that I tend to favor and which anarchists oppose. But getting rid of the other 95 percent would amount to heaven on earth, just about.

        • We’ve seen what are arguably “free market” solutions in law enforcement and even military intervention. Let’s see here: Blackwater (now Xe, name changed to protect the guilty), Pinkerton, Wackenhut (now G4S), CCA, etc. Now you might argue that these aren’t truly “free market” organizations because of our current fascist – pseudo-socialistic system. Nonetheless, they are the logical result of allowing companies to profit from others’ misfortunes.

          As CCA (a so called “private” prison operator) recently pointed out, their business model and profitability could suffer if the drug laws were relaxed. Hmmmm. Care to guess how folks that depend on putting in a cage for a living will lobby? And if there is no central or state government, folks like this will indeed get to together and cook up a plan to herd, fleece and if need be slaughter the rest of us. It won’t matter if it’s done in the “private sector” or “officially”. The results for most of the populace will remain the same.

          Much of what government does to it’s populace is at the behest of large corporations. Look at what the railroads had done to my ancestors, the Plains Indians, by the government. James J. Hill had already proven that a railroad could be built privately, purchasing the land as you go and not slaughtering the natives. But other private interests found it much easier to enrich themselves by cutting a deal with the government, fleecing the taxpayer (sound familiar?) to compensate for their poor management and killing anyone that might get in the way. That was with a government in place that still upheld the Constitution considerably more than it does now.

          The dictator Lincoln was a railroad lawyer (read that “corporate” lawyer) and he himself profited greatly from what was going on. That includes buying land in Council Bluffs, Iowa and then establishing that point as the eastern terminus for the railway after he was instrumental in passing the Pacific Railroad Bill. We call that insider-trading now and it seems to still be going on in the halls of Congress right now. As long as we have humans on this planet, we will have corruption. That means the best we can do is, as Eric has so eloquently explained, have some form of limited government and attempt to remain vigilant in keeping it pruned back. Once it becomes overgrown, like a peach tree, it consumes too much and produces small and bitter fruit at best.

          No government at all sounds good, but would shortly become the worst form of tyranny. The reason is that anarchy is nothing more than the pure substance from which one derives democracy: every man for himself. And we have more than enough dead specimens stored in history’s big jar of formaldehyde to prove that democracy’s death is usually as violent as it’s life is short.

  28. The commerce and general welfare clauses have always perplexed me. I’m certain that the Framers didn’t envision them ever being widened from small foggy passageways into the busy brightly lit six lane freeways to additional governmental powers that they have become today. But that doesn’t explain why they didn’t at least see enough potential for abuse to include a few limitations on the exercise of those powers. Yes, the major failing of the Constitution is vagueness but no document, no matter how perfect, will protect liberty for long if the masses don’t rank freedom as a high priority value.

    • It seems to me that the holes were created by changes in the language over time. I’ve read a few articles that went into the language of the late 18th century and with the meaning of words at that time the meaning was fairly clear. As the language changed the holes opened.

      Was the change in language deliberate? Were things intentionally misnamed or described incorrectly to get them through thus changing the language in the process?

      The biggest holes were made in changes in meaning of ‘regulate’. Use the 18th century meaning of the word and some of the biggest holes close down. Also the grammer has been distorted over time making the other holes. I am unsure how that could be prevented. Language can be very tight and then all it takes is to change the meaning of the words.

    • Some argue – and I agree with them – that the Constitution was deliberately intended to achieve federal supremacy, not merely a more consolidated federal union. Their chief point in support of this claim is the absence of any specific elaboration of the voluntary nature of the federal union, or of the right (an acknowledged commonplace at the time, just like unrestricted citizen possession of arms) of secession from the union in extreme cases.

      Hamilton and the other Federalists were open authoritarians who craved a mercantalist, consolidated empire with a dictatorial central government.

      Lincoln saw to it Hamilton’s dream was realized.

      • “Some argue – and I agree with them – that the Constitution was deliberately intended to achieve federal supremacy…”

        I lean that way, too. However, I know of nothing in the Constitution that proscribes secession. Indeed, Although the document says nothing in re, 10A surely implies that the right to secession, along with many other unspecified prerogatives, is reserved to the states, .

        • Agree – but the fact that it’s absent, even if implied, opens a big door. Or rather, closes it. This is just what Lincoln did – and using just that argument (i.e., “perpetual union”).

          The elimination (or rather, demonization) of the right of secession eliminated a major “check” on federal authority, in principle as well fact.

        • One of the many myths taught to school children is that Lincoln has been made a national deity for his strong leadership in fighting evil slaveholders and “preserving the union” – as if that is the is the primary function of the Constitution and the cornerstone of our way of life. God only knows how horrible life would be today if the south had been allowed to secede blah blah blah.

          The south was actually playing by the book while Lincoln, on the other hand, assumed broad new unconstitutional powers to stop them. Some say the war was all about revenue.

          • It was all about revenue. In his Inaugural Address, Lincoln endorsed slavery where it existed and promised to support an amendment to the Constitution enshrining it in perpetuity – provided only that the South would remain in the union. Lincoln – and most Northerners – had no use for blacks. They resented them as competitors for white labor and regarded them as inferior. Not my opinion. Read Lincoln’s own words.

  29. Not to start an errant sub-thread about the Constitution, but…

    Eric, you’re right about the unintended (and avoidable) mischief begotten by the “general welfare” clause. I speculate that the mischief was simply unforeseeable, even to the brilliant minds of the drafters.

    However, the Second Amendment is well-worded and -constructed. The preamble imposes no condition, but merely articulates the drafters’ principal justification for the main clause. The latter could not be clearer as to who (“the people“) holds the right. And the prohibition against infringement thereof is absolute. It took decades of government school edukashun to graduate generations of people who could not understand or accurately construe simple, unambiguous wording in the language of the realm.

    No, the problem with the Second Amendment is not its wording, but the fact that it is fundamentally anti-authoritarian. And those in government who labor mightily to squash it understand that perfectly well.

    • For me, the key to understanding the intent of the 2A is to put the 2A in context. That is, if the founders intended for firearms to be “regulated” in the modern sense (that is, controlled) one must explain why no such regulations existed or were even proposed following ratification of the Constitution (and for 100 years thereafter) and also why virtually every adult (and adolescent) male openly possessed firearms without any permission slip or restriction of any sort.

      The problem (for the intellectually honest, albeit ignorant) is the archaic phraseology about “well-regulated” (18th century sense) and “militia” (by which today is commonly meant an organized military force along the lines of the National Guard but which in the 18th C just meant citizens capable of bearing arms).

      • Hamilton in Federalist No. 29 clearly states that one purpose of the militia is to check the ability of a professional army to do violence against the populace:

        “The attention of the government ought particularly to be directed to the formation of a select corps of moderate size upon such principles as will really fit it for service in case of need. By thus circumscribing the plan it will be possible to have an excellent body of well trained militia ready to take the field whenever the defense of the State shall require it. This will not only lessen the call for military establishments; but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights and those of their fellow citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army; the best possible security against it if it should exist.”

        • Eric and TOG: IMO, trying to divine and achieve consensus over the preamble (“a well-regulated militia, etc.”) plays right into the hands of those who would gut 2A. Again, the preamble, as worded, imposes no limit or circumscription on the independent clause (“…the right of the people, etc.”). So noodle all day over the meaning and context of the preamble. But take the operative clause to the bank: it is without ambiguity or condition.

          I would further speculate that the 2A’s guarantee of the right of the people to keep and bear arms left out articulating the obvious premise of self-defense because it would not have struck brilliant, educated men of the time as necessary to put in writing.

          If someone had proposed including it, the drafters would probably have uttered the 18th Century equivalent of “Well, duh!”. In any case, the absence of any verbiage re self-defense in no way erodes or negates the right as written.

          • This is a good point, opponents try and trick people into narrowly defining their freedoms, to get them to agree to restrictions on a piecemeal basis. That “gun rights” organization the NRA supported the 1934 and 1968 anti-gun legislation by agreeing to targeted bans and licensing, as though compromise would settle the issue once and for all.

          • I understand – and I agree. But my point was that the language/usage is 18th century and so subject to misinterpretation (deliberate and benign) in the same way that “all men are created equal” is. You and I know perfectly well that the men who wrote the latter did not believe in the equality of human endowments, or merits, but rather in equality before the law, or possessing equal human/political rights. Similarly with regard to the 2A. The “militia” and “well-regulated” references are prone to misinterpretation today because the general usage of terms such as “well-regulated” and “militia” is different today than it was 240 years ago.

            Just saying…

          • I think what it boils down to is the Founders never envisioned that forces within the country would twist the language of the Constitution against it in an effort to radically alter our society.

            They didn’t consider the reality of fifth columnists.

            • Franklin did! (Remember his comment about ” a republic… if you can keep it”?)

              I take the view that nothing lasts forever – not even the Earth and sky (apologies to Kansas) much less countries or even peoples. The US, as a mostly limited republic, had a good run of about 75 years; it remained reasonably free for another 40 or so after that – and a tolerable mildly authoritarian (internally) state until the 1980s or so. Now we are in the red giant phase – a blossoming all-out police state, with an increasingly degenerated mob clamboring over each other for the scraps.

              My hope is merely that something better will arise again after the now inevitable collapse.

          • There is great hope in the future, but it’ll be a while.

            The immediate future will probably be dystopic, but the history of Western Civilization follows a mountain climber’s path uphill to greater and greater heights. Look at it this way.

            Imagine Western Civilization as a mountaineer. It begins the climb and fights its way up the mountain to a peak, which represents the height of a First Stage of Civilization.

            But then it starts climbing down the other side through a mist that obscures all view, which is the passage into a Dark Age.

            However, sooner or later the mountaineer hits the bottom of the slope, only to find another one rising up before him. So he begins to climb again.

            The slope eventually rises out of the mist and reveals itself to be the side of an even taller peak, which is the Second Stage of Western Civilization.

            The mountaineer ascends THAT great height and then begins his descent and re-ascent.

            Wash, rinse, repeat. The history of the West.

            History says that each stage of Western Civilization is higher than its predecessor, with Dark Ages in between.

            The United States was just the most recent and highest stage.

            Look at the progress toward freedom, justice and achievement the Hebrews, then the Greeks, then the Romans, then the Medieval Europeans, then the people of the Renaissance, then the English and then we made.

            Each stage of Western Civilization outstripped it’s predecessors.

            Yes, we have a Dark Age in front of us.

            But just imagine how the next Stage will shine, even if we won’t get to see it.

            Have faith.

            I’ll conclude with one further thing, that each stage of Western Civilization has contributed One Profound Idea to the Great Continuum.

            The Hebrews gave the world the concept of a Monotheistic God.

            The Greeks invented Science.

            The Romans developed Codified Law.

            The Middle Ages saw Christianity and its values establish the foundations of the modern world.

            The Renaissance reactivated the ancient concepts of Science and Law.

            The English created Representative Limited Government.

            The United States confirmed the fact that Liberty is the key that unlocks the genius of the individual.

            And perhaps the next great Idea is to safeguard that Liberty by preventing the State from Making Laws.

      • The issue with interpreting 2A is that in the founder’s frame of mind, “the right of the people” was a necessary element to win the revolutionary war.

        I the founders had not access to the very same weapons as their government, they’d be incapable of overthrowing this unjust government.

        Scary thought maybe, but one worth pondering: I’d argue the founder’s would beleive the citizens to have acces to ANY AND ALL weapons avaialable to their government. Yes – even nukes.

        Some, if not most, people think 2A has something to do with the right to hunt deer or the right to defend yourself from a “private” criminal. These were certainly secondary concerns considering they just won a war against the most powerful military at the time.

        Seriously, you think Jefferson was ever thinking “Sure, the citizens should have pistols, but why would they ever need such a big cannon?”

        “Big cannons” have changed in the past 235 years.

        • “Scary thought maybe, but one worth pondering: I’d argue the founder’s would beleive the citizens to have acces to ANY AND ALL weapons avaialable to their government. Yes – even nukes.”

          It’s only scary because of the existence of Clovers and psychopaths.

          What I mean is, I wouldn’t lose any sleep at all if Dom or you or Brent or Booth possessed an arsenal of automatic weapons, RPGs, whatever – because I know they’d never misuse them (that is, use them for aggressively violent purposes).

          I fear the possession by governments of these items far more – based on the known fact that governments routinely use them to commit aggressive violence.

        • Wow, you folks haven’t left me much to add to this thread (and that’s a good thing). It is my understanding that in some cantons in Switzerland you may (or at least recently, could) own a Howitzer, but it is subject to the same restrictions and permitting as owning a handgun. Simple economics would prevent most people from owning cannon or even automatic weapons. Most of them are very expensive and even more costly to feed.

          So obviously some deep concern by the ruling elite that Newport News, Virginia would start laying siege to Hampton over a zoning ordinance would be unfounded. The real concern would lie in the ability of the average Joe or worse yet, let’s say Roanoke deciding the federales can take their income tax and EPA rulings and shove them. Clearly the restrictions have been placed (and agreed to by ranking members of the NRA either as government sycophants or naively believing compromise was “reasonable”) to protect the government thugs from us.

          Let’s face it, the bright, shiny, freshly painted surplus APC’s the federales have been passing out to local cops like gold stars in a first grade classroom will only withstand a .50 BMG round (coincidentally the biggest thing we are allowed to own).

          So the bottom line is, the central government will give the local “boyz” some hand-me-down “toyz” to carry out the work assigned to them by D.C. The hardware will be good enough to stop your average deer rifle. But should some of the “county mounties” wake up and take their oath seriously, they aren’t well enough armored to take on the federales themselves (what with drone fired missiles, close support aircraft and “real” tanks). Pretty smart if you ask me; just extremely un-Constitutional.

          • Memory serves you correctly, Eric.

            The Swiss are a giant porcupine. Peaceful–but don’t touch!

            Swiss gun politics

            A Nazi general met with a Swiss general, and told him to let the Nazis pass; after all, what would Switzerland do if 100,000 German troops just walked over them? The Swiss general replied “100,000 of our citizens would go out, shoot once, and go home”. The Nazi general, blustering, said he’d send 200,000 troops. Unfazed the Swiss general replied “Then our citizens would have to shoot twice before returning home.”

            Our American concept of gunmanship and citizen defense was modeled on the Swiss.

            • The Swiss model seems pretty solid!

              I’ve read about how the Swiss handled the Nazis – even to the extent of using Swiss 109s (bought from the Nazis) to check violations of Swiss airspace.

              I also like their “small is good” nation-state. I’ve always been inclined toward the Jeffersonian view that bigness inevitably leads to badness.

          • @Eric “I also like their “small is good” nation-state. I’ve always been inclined toward the Jeffersonian view that bigness inevitably leads to badness.”

            This was the original concept of (at least some of) the framers for a limited Constitutional Republic comprised of the several Sovereign States. Of course the dictator Lincoln did a thoroughgoing job of destroying the de jure federal government in favor of the nationalist monstrosity we are currently burdened with. Apparently “we” have come to believe that some organizations (e.g. government, banks, car makers, insurance companies, etc.) can become “too big to fail.” Quite the contrary; organizations often become too big to succeed; at which point failure is both healthy and necessary. What the PTB are currently engaged in is keeping clinically dead organizations on life support for the benefit of the parasites that inhabit them. But worse yet, as the free market struggles under the weight of carrying Leviathan’s mouldering corpse, more parasites are attempting to attach themselves to it!

            Breaking up the empire now and letting the parasites either become productive members of a new decentralized society or suffer the consequences of non-productivity would be indeed be painful. But not nearly as painful as letting this fiscal/political charade run its course will be. Instead of taking our medicine now, “we” are letting more and more of “them” attach themselves to the government teat, which is feeding them nothing more than a saline solution of fiat credit. This will inevitably lead to a systemic collapse the likes of which we’ve never seen before. For those of us still on the fence, now would be a good time to put away a little fuel, food and fortune for the coming “rainy day.” Taking a lesson from the Swiss by investing in semi-precious metals (i.e. copper jacketed lead) along with the means to deliver them would seem prudent at this point as well.

        • You don’t need a ‘big cannon’ – just ask George Washington or Ho Chi Minh how their ‘ragtag bunch of insurgents’ defeated what was then the mightiest military empire on Earth. Give the federal monster enough ‘flies to swat’ and the whole three-letter agency tyranny comes straight on down – as any horse can tell you, you can only swat so many flies away in any period of time.

          • The Judge is one of the few high-end advocates of liberty to have (well, to have had) a national megaphone. It is a tragedy that he was effectively silenced. I hope it is just a temporary setback.

    • The problem of the “interpretation” of the second amendment is that lawyers have been allowed to “lawyer” the meaning of words, and the “educated” have been allowed to change the meaning of words. A very good example of this is what has happened to the word “gay”. If you now describe someone as “a gay person” the phrase has a totally different meaning than it did 50 years ago.

      • John:

        The word gay began being used as a codeword in England way back when in a “speakeasy” fashion, since homosexuality was illegal there, then. So no out gay clubs, you had to really use the ol’ “gaydar” as it’s now called, approach the person in a regular setting and ask “are you gay?” as a codeword, and it worked as one precisely because it *was* a word in common use.

        Just another unintended consequence for which you can thank the perpetrators of prohibitions of consensual personal behaviour. Driving something underground always adds weird wrinkles to it, referring to same-sex intercourse as being “gay” being but one of them.

        Agreed on the 2a thing though. Bottom line is people in power do what they want and feel free to give flimsy, intelligence-insulting “justifications” and legal “findings” because they know we can’t do anything about it. They know it’s all about action and that we’ve rendered ourselves unable to defeat them, but they toss us some constitutional window dressing for those of us who need to save face.

  30. I have no problem with tariffs provided that they are applied equally and are low. It is after all a constitutional way to fund government. However, the idea of the government using tariffs to socially engineer and especially social engineering in other countries makes me uncomfortable.

    The current trade situation with China is only possible because of fiat currency. Under a hard money system, Chinese consumers would have to consume American goods at a rate equal to American consumption of Chinese goods. At the current trade imbalance, Americans would soon run low on gold and silver coins. When that happens, the price of American goods would go down and the price of Chinese goods would go up.

    When Ron Paul ran for president on the Libertarian ticket in 1988, I didn’t understand why he talked about central banking and the gold standard so much. Now I can see that much of the bad things that have been done by or happened to the United States has been funded by or at least enabled by fiat currency. The destruction of America’s industrial base, trade with china, nation building, the welfare state, the drug war, and the list goes on.

    Money may not be the root of all evil, but fiat money seems to be at the root of most evil.

    • Ah, THANK YOU Toldev!

      That is exactly right. Trade imbalances exist because of fiat money and central banking.

      Like a salt and water solution, if the water leaches across a semipermeable barrier, it will eventually equilibrate–and the system will not tolerate an imbalance.

      Just so, hard money like salt keeps the system in equilibrium.

      But the banksters know this; they’re playing the oldest con to the hilt, this time for world domination…and it’s based on a total deception.

      I’m going to print some pretty pieces of paper. Then I’m going to convince you they’re valuable, and “loan” them to you at interest. I’ll keep loaning until the amounts you “owe” are unpayable–then I’ll demand the collateral in lieu of the “debt”. That is, I’m going to steal everything of value in the country…and then the country itself. Witness Greece.

      Net effect? Something, for nothing.

      It worked so well in the third world–it’s the game the World Bank, IMF, etc have been playing for decades in South America and Africa–that now they’re playing it in the first world.

      Guess what? Most people are stupid enough, and their politicians rapacious enough, that they’re going to fall for it.

  31. I like this ‘I Have A Dream’ speech much better than the original!

    I recently learned the term ‘minarchist’; it sounds like that’s what you are, Eric. That’s what I am, really. I’ve never been convinced that anarchy could work, probably not conceptually, and most unlikely in any modern — that is, developed — nation, speaking practically. Even if a benevolent cloud wafted over the country while we slept tonight and everyone woke up passionately committed to your dream, it would still take half a lifetime to implement — partly because of the natural contentiousness of human beings. A hundred thousand strategic questions would arise.

    And without that benevolent cloud, returning to reality, a large part of that half-lifetime would be wresting the statist-minded away from their beloved state. As Judge Nap recently said, even in the original Revolution, only a third of the people even wanted separation from England proactively.

    There would still be Clovers on the streets.

    So, yes, much better to bite the bullet and admit that minimal government is essential to a functioning society. And that would be okay with me. There are functions in society I’d gladly pay for so as not to have to mess with them myself.

    I also see a necessity in a court system to include, in addition to the means of trying miscreants and criminals, a means of mediating contract disputes. Even well-intentioned people suffer honest misunderstandings.

    (And, oy, referencing my comment above, reforming tort law would alone require decades and the de-fanging of thousands of lawyers. It makes one dizzy to even think about.)

    On the matter of free trade: I have always had great trouble with that one, that is, deciding what constitutes a free vs. un-free country. First, in your dream, who decides whether a country is un-free? You may say it is obvious, but your obvious may not comport with my obvious, and there we are, stuck with another definitional conundrum.

    But even more to the centrum of my dilemma is this: If I, the US, refuse to trade with you, China, because of something you’re doing with your people, isn’t that forcing my beliefs onto you via economic sanctions? Be I never so humane in my beliefs as to how people should be treated, a little voice always whispers: It’s none of my business how other countries operate. I may condemn the forcing of children to work in factories, but it’s flat-out not my business if other countries do it. Harsh (and my less objectivist human side can hate it all it likes), but libertarian is libertarian. It is not ‘libertarian for me but not for you, you big meanie’.

    Just some off-the-cuff thoughts.

    I love that you wrote this, Eric. I thank you on behalf of freedom-loving people everywhere. A necessary first step to the elimination in America of socialism and Bernankeism and globalism and that whole wretched blackhearted bolus of -isms that is so very hateful to the natural human ideal is the articulation and spreading of the ideas in your essay.

    • Thanks, Gail!

      I agree on the necessity of civil courts; should have made that clear in the article.

      On trade: Free trade means trade between nations with equivalent (free) systems. It seems pretty obvious to me that China (as an example) is not free and so “free trade” with it is not only oxymoronic, but amounts to supporting aggressive violence by rewarding it financially. How to define a “free” vs. not-free country? Simple. A free country is one in which the rights of the individual are respected, in which ownership of self and property are recognized and in which violations of individual rights are criminal.

      I do think it is our business, as individuals, to refrain from doing business with or otherwise sanctioning thugs. And so, it is our business as a country to likewise refrain from doing business with or otherwise sanctioning thug regimes.

      Notice, too, that this is nothing like “regime change” or other actively violent efforts to impose our will on other nations. We just decline to be involved with them. If they want to send their products here, then we tax them an amount proportional to the cost of what such goods would cost to produce in a free country – eliminating the incentive to exploit people and not putting free workers and free employers at a competitive disadvantage.

      • “If they want to send their products here, then we tax them an amount proportional to the cost of what such goods would cost to produce in a free country – ”

        Ah! That works for me, too. I thought you meant total embargo. That solves my problem of forcing my way onto another country. This way leaves open their option to continue their mistreatment; they just have to pay for it.

        That’s the American way!

        Of course, you’d have to arrive at agreement as to reasonable cost of the good being produced in a “free country”, and what “free” means, etc. There would probably have to be some degree of arbitrariness to it. But then the un-free country could elect not to trade under those conditions, anyway. So problem solved either way. Or addressed, at least; no guarantee that it would translate to better treatment to the oppressed people.

        • I’ll assume here that you’d be one to make the argument that Eric’s minarchist state will eventually lead to tyranny, as all government would.

          Let’s look at governments on a zero-to-ten scale, zero being the anarcho-capitalist’s government-free utopia and ten being the totalitarian state from hell that would make Stalin look like Jefferson.

          Eric’s talking about a state that’s a one on this scale. Hard-core libertarians argue that eventually this one would slide over to the ten through the slow creep of government tyranny….

          …but why do the hard-core libertarians assume that the same thing won’t happen to the zero?

          • I see no exception in history to the rule that all forms of society eventually devolve into tyranny. Am I incorrect?

            My point being that history is cyclical because human nature is eternal and even the best society eventually deteriorates because of complacency, the rise of Clovers, etc.

            So why insist on the perfect – which is unattainable and wouldn’t last, anyhow?

            I’d be very content with the so-called “minarchist” society outlined in my article. I also think it’s more capable of realization – and would last longer if realized – than an idealized anarchic system, which I doubt could ever be realized given the reality of human beings as they actually are (the Good, the Bad and the Ugly) and which, even if realized, would very probably quickly disintegrate or be destroyed. The fact is we have no example in history of a successful anarchic society beyond the scale of the village or township.

            But we do have examples in history of successful (and reasonably long-lived) minarchist societies, in which people were mostly free – or at least, vastly more free than Americans are today. I’d consider it an epochal improvement if Americans could enjoy the liberty they had as recently as 1960 or even 1980. Ideal? Perfect? Of course not.

            But I’ll take better over worse any day of the week.

          • lberns1 didn’t answer the question.

            And I agree with all of it, Eric. Actually I kind of chuckled when I saw this article because in my first experience with your site I made the exact same argument and much of the community crawled up my ass.

            So ready yourself.

            • I’m with him (and other “no government” philosophers) in spirit. It’s a great romantic ideal. But it founders, in my view, on the shoals of reality.

              Friendships, for instance, are essentially anarchic in that you associate with someone without formal, external rules. You simply choose to associate with a person because you’ve come to know them, like them and so, trust them. But what happens when your circle of acquaintance grows beyond your group of friends? You know you can trust Mike, because you grew up with Mike, or you’ve known him for years. But what about this new dude, Steve? He just bought the land adjacent to you – and is claiming the property line is 100 yards over on your side. It’s not realistic to imagine you can just go have a beer with Steve, whom you don’t know, and hash it out informally between yourselves – as you could probably do with your friend Mike.

              Maybe Steve is a dick. What now? With a minarchist government, you have the means (structured and objective) to deal with it. You can take your plat to the county courthouse and prove that the boundaries are here rather than there. Then instead of you (or you and your gang of friends) going over to see Steve and maybe administering some rough and over-the-top correction, you simply show Steve the plat, or the court shows it to him – and Steve backs off.

              One can have, I think – no, I know we can have (because we have historical, factual examples) a stable, enduring minarchist government that mostly preserves rather than takes away individual liberty. With anarchism, we have no historical or other real world working example. Perhaps this is because it can’t work. Probably because such a society would very rapidly descend into “the rule of the stronger.” Your life would be spent guarding your possessions – and your life. It would be a short, unpleasant life.

              America circa 1820 would have been a damn fine place to live. Government played virtually no role in the lives of the citizenry. A man could probably live his entire life without ever dealing with it at all. No direct taxes; real ownership of property – no government interference in your private affairs, provided you weren’t actually causing a real and provable direct harm to some other person. Meanwhile, your property and person were respected – by law. People were obliged to respect them. The government, too. Thus, you were secure in your person (and property) in a way that we can hardly imagine today.

              It existed. It must have been as close to paradise as people ever got, this side of the grave.

              I’d take it – gladly.

              Wouldn’t you?

          • The answer, One Guy, is that I’d rather take my chances with the zero.

            So, Eric, I live in your minarchist society. Am I free to drop out, and not participate? If not, and I refuse to comply, would you be OK with having me marched off in a manner similar to the trail of tears that happened in the 1820’s to the Cherokee who were on this land long before our ancestors were? That was around the time you suggest would have been a damn fine place to live (unless you were of African decent, or an indigenous person).

            “The fact is we have no example in history of a successful anarchic society beyond the scale of the village or township.”

            means that because there are no examples, it shouldn’t be tried.

            • Well, I see only one potential infringement on your (and my) absolute liberty in the minarchist society I envision: The sales taxes/tariffs that would be needed (probably) to fund the court system and national defense. Is it ideal? No, of course not. But it would be a minuscule and indirect infringement. Provided the government is held to specifically limited functions (as was successfully done in America for a good number of years) the amount of the tax would be a pittance; something to object to as a question of principle perhaps but certainly not an onerous imposition as income and property and other taxes are today. I personally would not object to paying say 5 percent of my income in the form of sales taxes that go toward supporting a system of civil and criminal courts and national defense. If you did not support this, you could of course decline to buy the good taxed. I know, I know… if you operated outside the system (not as a buyer but as a seller of products) and evaded the tax… the men with guns will come for you – and I get that. And I don’t like it, either. I wish there were some alternative. I’d love to live in a society of perfectly principled people who lived by the rule of non-initiation of force. But that’s a fantasy. The reality is a good portion of humanity is not willing to abide by the rule of non-initiation of force (and other nations, too). I see no way to hold these elements in check, to create a civil environment in which people are secure in their persons and property, etc., without civil/criminal courts and national defense. Not once you get beyond the level of a small group of people at any rate – a village or maybe a town. The fact that we have no example of a sustainable anarchic society shows it probably can’t survive, even assuming it could be created. Reason? It destroys itself from within or it is clubbed to death from without by a stronger group (or nation) that doesn’t give a fig for the rule of non-initiation of force.

              What I am arguing for is something analagous to living in America circa 1820 when government was a non-presence for most people, most of their lives – or a benign presence with definite positive advantages, such as the aforesaid mechanisms for uniformly and objectively dealing with contract arbitration and criminal justice and the protection of individual and property rights.

              It was a pretty good scene, wouldn’t you agree?

              The broader point being, such a system has existed, has resulted in tremendous freedom for most people – and so is (in my opinion) certainly worth respecting and emulating.

          • “The broader point being, such a system has existed, has resulted in tremendous freedom for most people – and so is (in my opinion) certainly worth respecting and emulating.”

            It’s interesting to discuss, but pointless seeing that we aren’t even anywhere near a minarchist society, let alone where I’d like to be. I guess if/when we find ourselves there, then we can hash it out.

            • Granted, not now.

              But within living memory, or almost, such existed. We had it, but we pissed it away. As human beings, collectively, always seem to do. And therein lies the rub. In any age, there are always people like us who want real liberty, but we are always in the relative minority – and so liberty is a historical anomaly. Recall that even during the Revolution, a majority of the colonists were loyal to the crown or wanted a rapprochement with the crown.

              Societies seem to inevitably degenerate into a collectivist/authoritarian prison. Because most people are collectivists and authoritarians. It is what they want.

              If we want a 100 percent free society, with no organized system of peace officers or courts, we must figure out a way to either change human nature or somehow limit our 100 percent free society to like-minded people.

              I’d love for that to become reality – or even possible.

              Since it’s not (as far as I can see, based on the evidence all around us) I prefer a practical alternative that has been shown to work pretty well (though not perfectly), which provides almost 100 percent liberty for everyone (or at least, everyone who abides by the rule about not initiating force).

              That is, a limited constitutional republic such as we once had.

              Paraphrasing Churchill: All forms of organized society are shitty. The individual – especially the individualist individual – will always lose something of his absolute liberty in any society.

              But a constitutionally limited republic is the least shitty of them all. It is the one in which the individual – including the individualist individual – is most at liberty and most secure in his liberties.

              I am all for striving for no-government (anarchy) as an ideal; maybe we will realize it someday. But for the present, let’s work toward less government, which will mean more liberty.

              Let’s not allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good. We’re on the same side. I may be more cynical (and so, practical) but we both share the same ideal. We ought to work for it together. In the end, we may achieve the ultimate – a society that is completely free. But it will take time and to get there, we’ll need to take our victories as they come, imperfect though they may be.

          • Eric, I used to be a hardcore progressive about 20 years ago. I went from that to Libertarian a couple of years after Clinton was elected. I’ve pretty much run the course of trying to use the system to initiate change by working on political campaigns, protesting, running for office, jumping around waiving signs, writing elected officials, you name it. I’m done with that fucking shit. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the Libertarian Party nominating drug warrior Bob Barr as their 2008 Presidential nominee. There was no where else for me to go afterwards. I’ve since come to the conclusion that using the system to change government is just not an option for me anymore, and that I cannot go back. I now see government, in every permutation, as evil and repressive. So you can have your Constitutional Republic. I want nothing to do with it. But like I said, we are nowhere near even that.

            So in the meantime, in an effort to get us to the point where I’ll tell you I want nothing to do with your system, I’ll be happy to align myself with individuals who are closest to my ideology, and help continue to apply some philosophical Roundup to the state worshiping Clovers of the world.

            Peace Ⓥ

            • We’re on the same side!

              Bottom line, we have to change minds before we can change anything. Neither a minarchist republic nor an anarchic system stands a chance in hell of coming together before we can somehow get enough people to see that liberty is right. That it is wrong on every level to threaten people with violence – most especially in order to simply take from them to give to another, or to compel them to live a certain way “for their own good.”

              That’s where we must start.

              It’s too bad we can’t figure out a way to gather together like-minded individuals – and throw the Clovers in the woods. Then we could have the anarchic system you favor (and which I would, too, if we could make it “just us”).

          • “It’s too bad we can’t figure out a way to gather together like-minded individuals – and throw the Clovers in the woods”

            Actually, there is such a thing:

            Free State Project:

            It is a mixture of like minded, liberty oriented individuals who have the common goal of achieving a free society. I know what it’s like being the loan wolf howling in the empty darkness. When the time is right, I plan on making the move.

            The guys who host Free Talk Live moved their entire operation from Florida to New Hampshire, and have been outstanding spokespeople on behalf of the project.


            • I’m hip – and, I like it. But they’re still stuck paying taxes to the federal government, still stuck with Obamacare, etc.

              What we really need to do is enlist a genius physicist and get him to design us a Dome of Impermeability (or some such) that would enable is to buy a chunk of land (a large chunk), get all of us within its borders and all the Clovers out – then engage the Dome and declare ourselves free, independent and sovereign. The dome would shield us from any aggression, even nukes.

              I’m only partly kidding… this is pretty much the only way we’re ever going to get all of what we want. And even then, eventually, some of us would give birth to future Clovers… and the cycle (downward) starts all over again…

          • What we need are spacecraft. Real ones. The kind that exploit properties of the universe to travel very long distances in short periods of time to get off this rock. 🙂

          • One of my co-worker buddies came up to me today (he keeps up with our sites) and was like “who the fuck is this clover asshole? I’d like to drive up to where he’s at and beat his fucking ass!” I was like dood, you need to take a ticket.

            • Ha!

              One thing Clover – and Clovers generally – just don’t appreciate is how much hate they have created. Most reasonable people don’t really give much thought to what “Joe” does so long as “Joe” doesn’t bother them. But most people despise bullies and busybodies; the annoying neighbor who narcs on you to the HOA because you have an unregistered car parked inside your own garage… the shithead who demands we “buckle up for safety”… and all the rest of it.

              I would not want to be one of these people when the wheel turns….

          • @dom on February 22, 2012 at 3:34 am :

            Just make sure your co-worker has a clue stick. Clove has a need for a clue stick judging from his writings here and on clover cam.

          • “I’m hip – and, I like it. But they’re still stuck paying taxes to the federal government, still stuck with Obamacare, etc.”

            I have to do that anywhere, so I might as well do it around people are in line with my thinking. Even then you have to choose your battles. Some there don’t pay their taxes. I’m certainly not yet in the position to take that route even if I lived there.

            But they do challenge quite a bit of stuff, like pointing out the absurdity of state run beer/wine/booze stores while marijuana is illegal. The divert folks from checkpoints. They break silly little laws like the one forbidding people to hold puppet shows. One time a group was playing poker out in the open using pennies, and nickels. Cops were standing there and did nothing. Some run for office, won, and are now influencing policy. The real beauty is that they don’t back down, and it is very frustrating to the NH Clovers.

            Check out Free Keene. They are always coming up with creative ways to challenge the state, and it’s enablers.


          • Myself, i DO think even “zero” would turn into tyranny, just as it wasted no time doing the moment we crawled outta the primordial muck, and likely even before that!

            My saying: Government (meaning “anyone forcing anyone to do anything against their will or refrain from doing anything not directly harming another, in an ‘official’ capacity or otherwise”) isn’t necessary, it’s *inevitable*. Tyranny follows wherever humans tread and that’s always been the name of that tune, and i’m the first to admit that my libertarianism flies in the face of the life process itself in that respect and i made that connection at a very young age – thankfully young enough not to have contributed further to the problem:

            My solution, which i implore any true haters of tyranny (not to mention non-consensual dragging of another into your pathetic earthly drama!) to consider joining me in, was to pronounce humanity a Clover Race early on and do my part to give it the stomping-out all clovers deserve by refraining from procreating. It was the only truly peaceful way i could think of to fight back. Your kids may be tyrannised, but mine never will, not due to some selfish breeding-instinct-gratification fest on my part. I see life as the selfish imposition of one’s “xerox instinct” upon a hapless innocent it is, same as the governments the pathetic condition renders “necessary”.

            The enemy is US, my friends. To me, “conceding the need” for an *evil*, “lesser” or otherwise, as part of the human condition, reads more like an indictment of humanity than an endorsement of government, even though intended as the latter.

            Just think: somewhere, back in the ooze, your dna may have mingled with that of a CLOVER and could be LATENT and awaiting genetic expression with that cutie across the bar, remember that next time you’re outta condoms, or decide against that vasectomy or ligation!

            Feel like jumping outta yer skin yet?

            • Hey Susan,

              You have touched on bedrock. The religious call it “original sin” and while I’m not religious (though I am open-minded enough to know I have no idea and neither does anyone else) it’s hard to deny the fact of humanity’s fundamental baseness. Even the “best”of us have to really work at it – and are still prone to doing the wrong things.

              But the flip side, the really sad side, to what you have written and espouse (and I am guilty here, too) is that it is arguably precisely because the more intelligent, thoughtful people are outbred by the less-intelligent, not-thoughtful people that the world is as it is.

              Consider two specific things: Militant (that is, deranged) religious belief and sports worship. Both are almost entirely self-perpetuating in that the fervently religious and the jocksniffers almost always have kids and when they do, those kids are always marinated in an environment of religious absolutism and sports-worship from the moment they pop out of mom – and so become just like mom (and dad) as adults. Hit return, new paragraph.

              Ignatius Loyola (Jesuit) is credited with saying something along the lines of “Give me a child for the first ten years and he is mine for life.”

              Quite so.

              Human society has become fundamentally dystopic. The worst elements have every incentive to breed – and breed profligately. The better elements are saddled with numerous disincentives to not reproduce at all and (being rational) don’t.

          • Eric: Good Point about the genetic loading of “the bad” because the truly just and empathetic are restrained from breeding by the Golden Rule.

            Also VERY good point about the sports teams. Governments play hard on that “team” mentality to get people to go to war, like it’s a big game and you root for your team simply because they’re your team. Hate to say it but that’s another evolutionary mechanism, helps sort the strong/smart from the weak/stupid, which is why, “if there were no teams (ie: reasons to fight) we would find it necessary to invent them”..

            ..or something like that..

            And then there’s those types who balk at putting twinscrew blowers on engines with ITB’s, but i say SCREW the ITB’s, it’s forced induction, use a plenum the engine wont know the diff!

            People and their orthodoxies, man… i’m just glad i drive an e36 and don’t have to worry about all that drama.. ya know?

            Back to your topic and to give you a nod, here’s something else, which i’ll admit to since we’re admitting to things: although the “philosophically actualised” me can no longer condone minarchy, i’d likely have never even pondered the matter at length as i have were my only exposure to government a minarchist one.

            The above sentiment was expressed over on the Free State Project board, where the minarchy/anarchy debate rages pretty much 24/7, and when i read it i thought, yes, it’s true, if not for government’s militant regimentation and radical social taboo obsession – in other words if *Woodrow Wilson* had never happened – i’d probably have just paid my taxes, enjoyed my sewer system and been done with it, but they had to go and GET MY ATTENTION by FUCKING with me (compulsory “education” for starters, which felt to me at age 6 like a combination of being jailed and being drafted and told “it’s my job”), and now that i have a chance to THINK about it, why yes, as a matter of fact, “these whole PROCEEDINGS are out of order!”.

            Subtracting compulsory education and Prohibition would have probably delayed my deconstruction for a decade or two at least. But school’s what really did it for me. Traumatic as hell, no way it could be spun to me as anything but the prison it was, and it pretty much let me know who the enemy was (whoever was making me go, this “truant officer” bully my parents kept threatening me with…. HE was the problem…)

            and he still is.. the mentality that supports the truant officer is the problem.

            • This is really top-drawer… I mean, the quality of the posts/discussion ( Clover excepted, naturally).

              I, too, began to awake after exposure to government schools. I use the word exposure very deliberately. I attended private school up to fifth grade. As a result, I was already thinking by the time I was put into the government school (as opposed to memorizing and reciting). I was also way ahead of my contemporaries in most subjects, due to the fact that in government schools, the pace is dictated by the slowest rather than the brightest – the reverse of the dynamic in a good private school.

              Exposure to government schools was thus rather enlightening – but not in the way intended. I became anti-authoritarian at a young age; I began to question orthodoxies – to ask why … and why not? The latter two items, of course, never cross the mind of a Clover (as intended by government schools).

              George Carlin once let loose a magnificent rant about “public” education in the U.S. He said the object was to create an army of obedient workers. Just like Huxley’s Gamma Machine Minders.

              A few of us manage to escape our conditioning – which has the predictable results.

              More’s the pity!

          • That One Guy:

            “…why do the hard-core libertarians assume that the same thing won’t happen to the zero?…”

            All I can say is this, Guy: I am a sovereign state. It ain’t happened to this “zero” yet. I suggest everybody playing around with “anarchy” read this essay (pdf):


            Article (eric): “…I concede the need for a minimalist government…”

            No such animal. Monopoly is monopoly. Monopoly upon violence is tyranny. Each monopoly must be dismantled before it is put in place.

            “…a bare-bones mechanism…”

            Good luck. Seems I’ve heard all this before. A shyster by the name of Tom Jefferson is often quoted as having had the same fantasy. At least Jefferson can be credited with having had a decent vice-wizard named Burr. Burr had a disagreement with another criminal named Hamilton and shot his ass.

            That’s good politics in my book. Sam

      • I would rather it be the companies and/or businesses that determine whether trade is done. Since it is companies and businesses that do the business and not the Governments. That way it would be the consumer who would be taking a more active role in how the products he purchases are produced. You could tell the company you do business with to not do business with a company in a certain country till they treat their workers better. The Government could inform the public which countries treated their workers better. Or you as a consumer could do the work yourself and tell other people about what you found.
        I prefer Anarchy to Government anyday. One thing to check on if you want is the ‘Tri State Manifesto’. A form of Government described in the Out of the Ashes. A good book, the rest of the series goes down hill in my opinion. It is based on Common Sense law and Responsibility for your actions.

        • I am in agreement, with two exceptions: One, we end the despicable fiction of legal personhood for corporations. Corporations have no rights. Two, we consider getting rid of corporations, period. They are inherently sociopathic and so, at odds with a free society; perhaps a free society’s most threatening enemy. Businesses are better, perhaps not in terms of maximizing “revenue” but certainly in terms of conduct and customer service, when they are run by accountable individuals or families.

          • Eric: agree 100% about nixing the “corporate shield”.. i mean, limited liability? WTF? The very idea of it circumvents free market mechanisms. Talk about a license to ill…

            That, bailouts, all part of that mentality of giving the aristos mulligans on the public nickel, and the elimination of bankruptcy for individuals just showed the dichotomy in their own view of things. Mind you i don’t support it period, but the fact they kept it for corporations but denounced it for the individual spoke volumes.

            Supply-side assholes, basically.

            • Yup!

              I’m very pro free-market, which is why I (like you) object to what amount to special legal protections/exemptions that distort market corrective mechanisms. “Too big to fail” is another example. Right now, the Happy Talk is, “look at how well GM is doing!” Well, sure. Hand me a few billion dollars and probably I’d do ok, too. Promise me that if I am incompetent and screw it up that I can always use the police power of government to force people to “help” me try again and maybe I’ll do better the second time. Meanwhile, we’ll never how many new start-ups never got started, how many innovators never innovated – because of the opportunity costs of government intervention on GM’s behalf.

      • Eric,

        I don’t know if you have heard of or read anything by a gentlemen named Murray N. Rothbard. He wrote many books, but one in particular fits this discussion: “For a New Liberty”. This book touches on government-free society, not law-free. Basically, all laws would be based upon property rights. I don’t want to get deep into this, for it will take a long time. Most of his books are available on the web, free of charge, in pdf format. Also, a great book on “private law” is “The Enterprise of Law” by Bruce Benson. Between these two books, this should explain how a market based society could, and should, work. Obviously, there will be situations that are not standard and that adjustments would have to be made. Hence a market society and not a planned society.
        I have just come across this website today and am liking it so far. I have, in the last 6-7 years, shed my “patriotic” leanings in favor of freedom. I no longer look at the US flag and feel proud (and I am an 11 year Army Veteran). I look at the US government and see a bully. Pushing everyone around and if they fight back, call them a terrorist. I forsee martial law coming; probably when the stock market takes another dump (maybe next year).
        I too, see no difference in the two major political parties. I just see corporatists, sychophants of big banking, large corporations, etc.
        Thanks for the website. I will visit often.

        • Hi Paul,

          Thanks – and welcome!

          I’m very familiar with Rothbard; and I share his ideal of a stateless society – I just don’t think it will ever be realized due to the facts about human nature, which inevitably corrupt all forms of human society, call it “government” or “free market.” This is why I prefer a constitutional republic limited (to the extent possible) to peace-keeping, which takes account of human nature (again, imperfectly, but still pretty effectively) and provides the most freedom for the most people.

          It’d certainly address 95 percent of the concerns most of us here have, at any rate. And at that point, we can deal with the remaining 5 percent!

          • It’s interesting, eric, that you included the parenthetical “…(to the extent possible)…” ‘Cause it ain’t. History proves that time after time after time. I’ll repeat what I wrote in another reply a minute ago: monopoly is monopoly, and monopoly upon violence is tyranny.

            We’re about to witness directed economic global meltdown — with a new, fiat “money” (global “currency”) to be trotted out to “solve-the-problem”.

            It’s a fun time to be alive (I’m 80) — but not for faint-hearted mini-statists.


        • “I forsee martial law coming; probably when the stock market takes another dump (maybe next year).”

          I agree. It’s the logical progression, isn’t it? Remove Constitutional protections, greatly increase surveillance, kill the Internet, martial law.

          I don’t know that the stock market will be the trigger, though. I think it is more likely to come from a multi-currency failure. I’m a bit out of my element here, but I get the impression that the stock market is becoming less relevant in that regard.

          As for a Constitutional republic with limited government, that actually could have been possible to re-achieve, maybe, were it not for the dumbed-down and propagandized population. You can therefore argue that of all the recent Presidents, Jimmy Carter was in a way the most damaging over the long term, since the fed Dept of Education was his bright idea.

          I run into, as I’m sure you do, people who are uninformed, but are smart enough to know something is very wrong, very bad. They are frustrated, anxious and fearful, even though they can’t define the source. They have the sense to know there’s a bad moon rising. I believe these people can be reached, although I’m not sure how effectively.

          On the rare occasion when I find myself in conversation with this sort of person, I have their attention when I address one or another of the topics discussed here. I’m never sure how much what I say is penetrating, but more often than not, they appear to be listening attentively rather than just waiting for me to stop talking so they can talk.

          These people want to know. That is why I’m not entirely despairing. Almost, but not entirely.

          It’s also why I avoid characterizing “the people” as sheeple. It’s not true. Many are, but not all by any means. What very many of them are is pissed, and darkly muttering.

          • If I had to bet on the trigger, I’d bet on the coming US-Israeli attack on Iran. It will trigger economic Armaggedon – and may be combined with an “attack” here, either in revenge (understandable) or a false-flag attack (also understandable, from the standpoint of TPTB).

            What will be the reaction of most people? They will cheer the imposition of “strong leadership.” They will want to tear to pieces anyone – like us – who questions government policy. We will not merely be labeled “unpatriotic” this time. We will be labeled treasonous, or enemies of freedom, or some such.

            The only upshot is that – perhaps – it will mean the end of the centralized Leviathan, along the lines of the implosion of the old Soviet Union. But that could just mean the end of one big tyranny and the rise of scores of little (and just as brutal) tyrannies.

          • @Gail–

            I’m running into SO MANY people who are waking up; they’re in various stages, like a sleepy teenage kid at 6am. Some groggy and confused, others wide-eyed and absorbing everything.

            I run into them everywhere; just two days ago in the grocery store I was wearing my anarchy t-shirt with the stylized Molotov cocktail logo. A man and his wife stopped me to read the phrase on the back–

            no sense of humor when it comes to totalitarianism

            They loved it, and engaged me on a long winding rant about the Fed, 9/11, the police state…a summary of What You Should Know Circa 2012. I was thrilled!

            While we were talking, another woman overheard and stopped by briefly to say “right on”.

            There’s an awakening. It may not be fast enough to avert the disasters that are coming, but I have VERY high hopes for the reconstruction.

            It seems history is cyclical but ascending; that is, freedom on each cycle takes one step back, but during reconstruction two steps forward.

            We’re gradually learning as a species that we’re not apes; we don’t need a bunch of bellowing ape alpha-males running around pounding their chests and beating the crap out of their “lessers”.

    • Wow, Gail!

      Your intellect is promulgated in the apprehensible grace of your writing.

      I want to read more! About anything!



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