The following letter was received in response to my recent article about the arbitrariness of speed limits (The Speed Limit Cargo Cult; see here). The author is a deputy sheriff, currently active. He disagrees with the article and wrote the following detailed “reasons why.” He asked that I print his comments in their entirety, which I am happy to do. He also asked for my responses to the questions he asks, and I will honor that request as well. I encourage readers to respond to my comments as well as the deputy’s.
I am a deputy with the Sheriff’s Office in a midwestern state and occasionally read your articles. I recently read your article that argued that speed limits are not necessary.
I consider myself a libertarian, but not an anarchist. Traffic enforcement has been one of my duties for 14 years and I am more enthusiastic about it than most cops. I believe most cops do not like to write tickets, and although I don’t like writing tickets either, I believe it is necessary. I believe that in the absence of traffic laws, some people would drive very dangerously, not realizing the consequences of their actions until after they were involved in an accident. Just as with criminal law, there are unscrupulous people that would take advantage of a WROL scenario – think Katrina.
My reply: First a clarification. I did not argue that speed limits are unnecessary; I argued that enforcement of typically arbitrary speed limits absent some other objective factor indicative of dangerous driving (such as loss of control, striking another vehicle, etc.) is unjust. Merely driving faster than a number posted on a sign is no more necessarily dangerous than not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign when it is clear there is no oncoming traffic and thus it’s safe (though illegal) to proceed. What I object to is totemic worship of statutes as opposed to dealing with people who’ve actually caused harm.
More broadly, generalizations cannot justify committing aggression against individuals. If I wrote that it’s acceptable to treat all blacks as presumptively criminal because a large number (percentage relative to population as well as in real terms) are criminals, you’d (hopefully) see this as unjust. The same applies to “speeding” – which is by no means the same thing as “driving dangerously.” As I wrote in the article, inattentive/unskilled drivers operating at or below the posted limit may be far more likely to lose control of their vehicle or strike another vehicle (or pedestrian) than the “speeding” but alert and skilled driver. Punishing the latter simply because he “broke the law” strikes me as unfair on its face. Certainly at odds with the Libertarian position that in order for their to be a crime (properly speaking, in terms of right vs. wrong) there must be a victim. A real person actually harmed. No victim – no crime.
Restraint – and punishment – based on hypotheticals (i.e., “someone” might) is dangerous because it is in principle unlimited. There is almost no human action which is free from risk, which could conceivably result in harm for any of a variety reasons (and not necessarily due to any willful negligence or recklessness). We now have a society much like the former East Germany or the old Soviet Union, in which people are stopped and searched at random and without any individualized probable cause. In which little children and the elderly subjected to invasive violations of their most intimate areas by costumed strangers. And why? Because “someone” might be a “terrorist.” The same principle at work.
I have come to believe that traffic enforcement is necessary and by my estimate, approximately 1 in 10 drivers don’t deserve to be on the road. As a libertarian and a believer in smaller, less-intrusive government, I have been searching for the argument why I should not enforce traffic laws, so I read your most recent article with interest. I am still not convinced.
My reply: I understand that you believe it is necessary; that does not mean it is necessary. Libertarians do not believe in committing aggression against peaceful people who’ve caused no harm to anyone. Yet that is what you’re doing when you enforce a law because “it’s the law” – and not because the action at issue has caused a tangible harm to any person. Who, for instance, have I harmed by ignoring a “no right on red” law – assuming I make my turn with due caution, having slowed/stopped and ascertained no cross-traffic was present? No one. And yet, this is not a viable legal defense. If I am ticketed, the judge will state: The law is the law.
“Speeding” – as such – is nothing more than exceeding an arbitrary velocity decreed to be the legal maximum. Most posted limits do not represent the maximum safe speed on that road for all drivers under all conditions. In fact, the posted limit is usually well below the average flow of traffic – in technical terms, below the 85th percentile speed, which is supposed to be the basis for establishing speed limits but which is rarely adhered to. If it were adhered to, most highway speed limits (where the limit is currently 70 and most traffic is operating at least that fast) would be 80-85.
I’m sure you speed routinely, as virtually everyone does. Like Prohibition, we all know it’s a con. Many cops will openly admit this. They know they are being made to collect taxes via tickets. It’s degrading to them – and it’s unjust to us.
I noted that many of the comments posted to your article had people that said they did not want motorists speeding in residential areas where kids might be playing. I agree with this argument as well. I give more latitude on highways, as much as 15-20 mph above the limit depending on the area. Be warned that most cops will write tickets at 10mph above the speed limit, regardless of the area.
My reply: Two things here. First, the assumption that posting limits will deter the willfully reckless – which is akin to arguing that laws prohibiting civilian ownership of firearms deters crime. There are laws on the books prohibiting all sorts of things, yet these offenses continue to be committed.
Second, the assumption that there is a “right” speed – and it must be obeyed, period.
If 25 is “safe” does it not follow that 15 would be even “safer”? And can it be objectively proved that either speed is necessarily unsafe for everyone?
And if not, how can you justify punishment?
Driver A (not the greatest wheelman, with poor vision and reflexes) might be a real hazard at 15. Driver B (excellent reflexes, well-trained, alert) might be in more control of his vehicle – more able to avoid the proverbial kid running into the road – at 35 MPH than Driver A at 15 MPH. Why must Driver B be punished because Driver A (as a “type”) might be unable to handle his car safely at a given speed? As I asked in my article, why must there be a one-size-fits-all standard when we could instead hold individual people accountable for what they do – and not treat them as if they’d done what others have done (or “might”) do?
Again, we get to this business of punishing people for running afoul of decrees – not because they’ve actually harmed anyone. The former principle results inevitably in a police state; the latter in a free, tolerant society that only holds people accountable when they’ve harmed someone else (or their property). Which society would you rather live in?
Finally, you’ve admitted to anointing yourself arbiter of “appropriate” speed. Not enforcing “the law” – but being “the law” yourself. According to what you feel is right. You feel that, in some cases, 15-20 over is ok. What if I feel differently? Which of is right? Of course, you can enforce your feelings at gunpoint. I cannot (and would not).
I mean no offense, but what gives you the right to be The Decider? The fact that you admit to not always enforcing the speed limit is pretty compelling proof that you know at least sometimes, “the law” is BS.
I also believe that the attentive driver will be able to avoid “speed traps” by continuously scanning the road and sides of the road for potential dangers/problems. When I see a driver that is speeding, but they also immediately see me and slow down before I can clock their speed, I don’t worry about stopping them because I know if they are paying enough attention to see me, they will also see the child that runs in front of their car chasing a ball.
My reply: This is neither here nor there as regards the rightness of “speed traps.” You are saying, basically, that your subjective judgment (and “the law”) is what justifies stopping a motorist at gunpoint and hitting them with a financial penalty. I don’t see the logic of this – assuming the Libertarian premise of not committing an act of aggression against a person who has done no harm to anyone. The “child running in front of their car” is a hypothetical designed to evoke an emotional, not rational response. What if there is no child? What if the child runs out in front of the driver doing the speed limit (who assumes this is the “safe” speed and so isn’t paying as much attention to his driving as perhaps he should have?) and hits the child regardless?
I also give more latitude to driving enthusiasts, such as yourself, who are driving well-maintained vehicles and are aware of the environment they drive in. I am glad that you pay close attention to your driving but I can assure you that a significant number of motorists do not. These are the motorists that need to be told exactly how fast they can drive, etc. I’ve had motorists pass me in no-passing zones, over the speed limit, while I am in a marked patrol unit. Yes, there really are people that stupid!
My reply: But “the law” does not recognize such distinctions, even if you personally do. And what tends to encourage better driving? Expecting drivers to drive responsibly – and holding them accountable when they, as individuals, do not (as evidenced by having caused harm)… or laws that presume incompetence (even when there is no evidence to support such a contention in the case of specific individuals; i.e., they merely violated “the law”) and thus tend to dumb down the driving population? I am all for getting the bad drivers out of circulation (people who are incapable of controlling their vehicle at any speed) but this is not to be accomplished by punishing the good drivers whose driving cannot be faulted (except that they may be “speeding” or violated some other arbitrary law).
For the record, I subscribe to almost all libertarian views. I believe in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I don’t believe in no-knock, swat team raids on residences, drug laws, etc. I don’t ask to search people’s cars unless I think they have been involved in a crime. I don’t ask people their business, such as where they are going, unless I am trying to determine if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I believe I am a public servant and I have to answer to the public. I can assure you that I receive numerous requests for speed enforcement in neighborhoods where people live. Nobody wants cars driving fast where they live. I know I don’t want an out-of-control car driving through my living room either.
My reply: Do you refuse to man random “safety” checkpoints? Have you ever participated in enforcement actions against any non-violent “drug” user? Do you insist that people “buckle up” for “safety”? Please be honest. My object is not to insult you. It is to get you to confront the reality that a great deal of the work you do is anathema to the Bill of Rights, let alone Libertarian notions of self-ownership and non-aggression. I don’t doubt that you receive numerous requests for speed enforcement. Those requests do not mean it is right to enforce. Just as the fact that some people think it’s ok to cage people for consuming various arbitrarily illegal “drugs” and actively support caging them doesn’t make it right to cage them.
You posit the “out of control car” straw man argument. It is of a piece with cries over “dangerous guns.” That is, because it is possible a few reckless/criminal will behave recklessly/criminally, no one (except, of course, those employed by the government) can be trusted to not behave recklessly/criminally. If you think about this some, hopefully you’ll come to see it’s as silly as it is unfair.
I have also read some of your articles in which you bash law enforcement officers. Most people that I work with in law enforcement are good people. Unfortunately, most of the good officers I work with don’t put a lot of thought into what they do. If a law is on the books, they enforce it without regard to our Constitution or Bill of Rights. I admit there are also bad officers that like to dominate the public. These are the sociopaths that enjoy making other people miserable. Believe me it is no fun working for them when they become supervisors either! They comprise about 10 percent of law enforcement and they make a bad name for the rest of us.
My reply: See my points earlier about the increasing frequency of grotesque abuse of power by police; no worse than that. Because it’s not “abuse of power.” The government has conferred legal authority upon cops to abuse people – and many cops are doing just that. I deal with this subject at greater length here – and hope you’ll take a few moment to look it over.
Mr. Peters, I would be thrilled if you would print my email response in its entirety along with your response. I’m particularly interested in your response to my comparison of anarchy on the public road to without-rule-of-law situations in which criminals take advantage of the weak when law enforcement is not around.
Bear in mind, in re your last point, that the courts have openly stated that police have no specific obligation to protect any individual citizen. They are to enforce the law. That is their job. You may have heard the saying, “When seconds count, a cop is just minutes away.” The fact is most of us, if ever confronted by a violent thug, will be on our own – with cops showing up afterward to do the paperwork and perhaps pursue the suspect.
Final thought: I personally support peace keeping; i.e., holding accountable those who commit acts of aggression against others. I do not support anything that entails committing acts of aggression against peaceful people who’ve not committed any act of aggression to warrant defensive violence.
Hence, I am opposed to most of what goes under the name of “law enforcement” in America these days. We no longer live in a free country.
And that is a tragedy.
Now, let the comments flow!
Throw it in the Woods?
When it comes to speed limits on any particular stretch of road. I think the only correct verbiage should be:
You make a good point.
It ought to be our obligation to always drive safely – defined as maintaining control of your vehicle and paying attention to your driving. If you’re unfamiliar with a given road, it’s prudent to not drive as fast as you otherwise might if you were familiar with that road. Etc.
Signs can serve an advisory purpose (e.g., Sharp Curve Ahead) but probably the overall skill/attentiveness level would rise if people were expected to expect changing conditions and to be ready for them.
Also, realistic posted speeds, determined by traffic engineers instead of ridiculously low, overly conservative posted speeds, determined by bureaucrats would also help.
Ridiculously low, overly conservative posted speeds merely cry wolf. Drivers wind up automatically adding on 10, 15, 20 mph to the posted speeds.
Riding Around Quito Ecuador
10 Days in Ecuador on a Motorcycle
Kawasaki KLR 650 – $125 per day + 12% tax
Avoid active volcanos and Columbian border exclusion zone. They harbor Julian Assange in their embassy, why not throw a few bucks their way?
“They harbor Julian Assange in their embassy”
Hey, that’s right. Almost forgot that it was Ecuador.
Any nation that does that, can’t be all bad.
How sad that Amerika has come to this.
I know I’ve said it before ad nauseum. But it still boggles my mind. Many of us libertarians did in fact consider America the “land of the free… ” only a couple of decades ago. We were not “Blame America First” types.
But no one with any honesty can evade the ugly reality. Amerika has swiftly degenerated into an Orwellian police state.
What can you do? Absent the USSA the world’s doing pretty good.
Officer shoots 14 year old at a party store in Michigan
Police chase OR woman until she jumps off a bridge
Heroes wound San Diego man caught on a cell phone
Having ridden a motorcycle around the entire country of Ecuador and driven in several countries in S. America with little to no traffic enforcement and in many places no actual clearly defined roads, I can tell you unequivocally that the highly regulated traffic system in the US is both stifling and more dangerous.
I’m jealous! How was Ecuador? Always wanted to go to S. America …
L. Neil Smith – Socialist scum of the shire = Free State Project
It’s quite unnerving to listen to someone I admire like Freeman defending and demagoguing such indefensible jackal-boots monkey business.
“The Shire Society Declaration was based on Smith’s New Covenant, but was altered–improved.” WTF? Really.
Let me FTFY:
The Shire Society Declaration was taken without compensation or permission from L. Neil Smith, we: 1) thought he wouldn’t find out, or 2) thought he would let it slide, since we are on the same side.
We are going to continue to use it, without admitting the obvious. Instead we’ll obfuscate our true natures as walking dead parasites of a different kind than the statist kind.
Though parasitical and brazenly collectivist, we take the satisfaction and solace in the fact that we are less violent and coercive than our brother takers-by-force that currently control our society.
Blue Moon 1934
Blue Moon 1961
– It’s essential to realize that everything manmade that now exists, does so because of specific individuals. Once you start aggregating things in anyway, it’s not long before you arrive at the miserable collectivist muddle we now labor under.
Theft or copying of another man’s property against his wishes is a trespass. Embrace anarcho-sophistry or embrace your debt, you know what’s right. The current internet is classic anarchy. One mostly without protection of private property. Hopefully spontaneous markets can arise chaos, and things are going to get better.
Our Fatherland, who art in capitol, hallowed be thy chambers. Thy fiat come. Thy law be done, on earth as it is in legislation. Give us this day our daily bread and circus, and forgive us our crimes, as we report those who trespass against us. And lead us not into incarceration, but deliver us from evil empire. Amen.
Today we are WROL – philosophically we are the walking dead
The Mercy Of The Living – Bear McCreary
Oh all the money that e’er I had, I spent it in good company
And all the harm that e’er I’ve done, alas, it was to none but me
And all I’ve done for want of wit to memory now I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all
Oh all the comrades that e’er I’ve had, they are sorry for my going away. And all the sweethearts that e’er I’ve had, they would wish me one more day to stay. But since it falls unto my lot that I should rise and you should not. I’ll gently rise and I’ll softly call good night and joy be with you all.
If I had money enough to spend and leisure time to sit awhile
There is a fair maid in this town, that sorely has my heart beguiled
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips I own, she has my heart enthralled
So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all
My dearest dear, the time draws near when here no longer can I stay. There’s not a comrade I leave behind, but is grieving for my going away. But since it has so ordered been what is once past can’t be recalled. Now fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all.
A man may drink and not be drunk, a man may fight and not be slain
A man may court a pretty girl and perhaps be welcomed back again
But since it has so ordered been by a time to rise and a time to fall
Come fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all
A Simple Song of NAP – The Parting Glass
Mike Berg Seabrook NH
Mike Berg – Police Brutality Victim
Three Policeman Now On Leave Following Brutality Claims
Published on Jan 6, 2014 by Mike Berg
I was charged with a DWI and tried explaining that I wasn’t drunk and they could be out catching actual criminals. Then after being in the cell for a while waiting for a bail bonds man I was taken out and brought in the booking room to call for a ride.
After calling a ride I was told I could take my phone that I called from and my wallet. As soon as I grabbed my wallet from the table the officer with the glasses came at me saying he never told me I could take my stuff and choked me against the wall then tried to grab the wallet from my pocket.
Once he got the wallet and my phone this is what happened. there was no lawsuit regarding this incident due to the fact that after I found a lawyer, the lawyer took the tapes and disappeared for 2 years.
I finally tracked him down and go this video back, but now I think it’s too late to do anything with it even though I have a permanent lump on the back of my head, chipped teeth, and brain injuries. I plan on talking to a lawyer soon, we’ll see what happens.
“The red – faced cop testified that there had been another vehicle beside me and exactly even with me in the other lane and that the other vehicle had stopped successfully! It was a total fabrication as there was no other vehicle!”
This confirms what I already suspect. Cops lie to increase their chances of winning in court. I’m guessing this is because they know the safety plantation owners are keeping track of their conviction rate. And that they are accountable for the overall harvest results of the plantation owners.
“I consider myself a libertarian, but not an anarchist. ”
However, as mentioned, the officer then sets himself up as “the law” and sole enforcer of his law. Does the officer see himself as a Tyrant? Dictator? Or superimposing his “anarchist” standards outside the boundaries of the law and orders he has “sworn” to enforce?
Otherwise rational points (Eric) outstandingly presented. Well done.
Coming together for common plunder of other people, like the Vikings did makes sense. If successful, this type of government is a net benefit to whoever is a part of it.
As a bonus, they were a very peaceful people, once their raids were completed.
For some unknown reason, Merica loses money even when it wins wars.
– – – – –
I’m unsure how the high taxes factor in, but it seems possible that Britain provided a benefit to the English resident home people.
By organizing and constructing a navy, and then colonizing and extracting wealth from distant peoples, the government may be a boon if its predations are widely distributed instead of only given to a narrow upper elite.
I don’t know much about England, so my impression may not be accurate.
RIP Bobby Buttnugget (Keith Vidal) 1995-2014
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men like Byron Vassey stand ready to do lethal violence to 90 pound schizos with tiny screwdrivers on their behalf.
~ George Orwell
Adolf Hitler Quotes:
“The scream of the twelve-inch shrapnel is more penetrating than the hiss from a thousand Jewish newspaper vipers. Therefore let them go on with their hissing.”
“If you win, you need not have to explain, If you lose, you should not be there to explain!”
“Do not compare yourself to others. If you do so, you are insulting yourself.”
“Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live.”
“Think a thousand times before making a decision. But – after making decision never turn back even if you encounter a thousand difficulties!”
“When diplomacy ends, War begins.”
“It is not truth that matters, but victory.”
“Anyone can deal with victory. Only the mighty can bear defeat.”
“By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.”
“Words build bridges into unexplored regions.”
“I do not see why man should not be as cruel as nature”
“He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.”
“Demoralize the enemy from within by surprise, terror, sabotage, assassination. This is the war of the future.”
“The victor will never be asked if he told the truth. ”
“Reading is not an end to itself, but a means to an end.”
“I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few.”
“The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”
“The art of reading consists in remembering the essentials and forgetting non essentials.”
“The only preventative measure one can take is to live irregularly.”
“The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.”
“Kill, Destroy, Sack, Tell lies how ever much you want. After your victory, nobody asks why.”
“If freedom is short of weapons, we must compensate with willpower.”
“The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it forces those who fear it to imitate it.”
“Woman’s world is her husband, her family, her children and her home. We do not find it right when she presses into the world of men.”
“The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to one category.”
“As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.”
“I begin with the young. We older ones are used up, but my magnificent youngsters! Are there finer ones anywhere in the world? Look at all these men and boys! What material! With you and I, we can make a new world.”
“I don’t see much future for the Americans. It’s a decayed country. They have their racial problem, and social inequality problem. My feelings against Americanism are feelings of hatred and deep repugnance. Everything about the behaviour of American society reveals that it’s half Judaised, and the other half Negrified. How can one expect a state like that to hold together?”
“To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.”
“The Whites have carried to colonial people the worst that they could carry: the plagues of the world: materialism, fanaticism, alcoholism, and syphilis. Moreover, since what these people possessed on their own was superior to anything the Whites could give them, they have remained themselves. The sole result of the activity of the colonizers is: they have everywhere aroused hatred.”
“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.”
“While the Zionists try to make the rest of the World believe that the national consciousness of the Jew seeks a Jewish state in Palestine for the purpose of living there; all they want is a central organization for their international world swindlers, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks.
It is a sign of their rising confidence and sense of security that at while one section is still playing the German, Frenchman, or Englishman, the other section comes out openly as the Jewish race.”
“The German people in its whole character is not warlike, but rather soldierly, that is, while they do not want war, they are not frightened by the thoughts of it.”
“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”
“All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people.”
“Obstacles do not exist to be surrendered to, but only to be broken.”
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC- 224 million endowment 212 employees) is an American nonprofit civil rights organization noted for its legal victories against white supremacist groups.
Its legal representation for victims of hate groups; its classification of militias and extremist organizations; and its educational programs that promote tolerance.
The SPLC also classifies and lists hate groups, organizations that in its opinion denigrate or assault entire groups of people, typically for attributes that are beyond their control.
Don’t underestimate the SPLC. It’s hard to visualize how all the moving pieces of an authoritarian state function when you’re the mouse in a nation filled with mousetraps that’s run by rats.
The strongest and most successful opponents of the post Civil War era and the age of Stalin / federal reconstruction and were the 1st Ku Klux Klan
1st Klan active 1865–1870s. 550,000 members/compare to US population of 35 million
The 2nd Klan 1915–1944. was something different than the first. 3,000,000–6,000,000 members (peaked in 1920–1925 period when US population was 106 million)
And the 3rd Klan 1946-present was yet again different.
Some may recall that Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell considered aligning with the immense KKK-ish base of South-Pov Americans, if only they could come to some kind of ethical agreement.
How the Yankee Dooduls LIe, Propagandize, and Divide and Conquer: Teabagistan.
Enforcement Act of 1871 or Third Ku Klux Klan Act. The act empowered the President to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to combat the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and other white supremacy organizations during the Reconstruction Era.
The act was passed by the 42nd US Congress during the Reconstruction Era and signed into law by Ulysses S. Grant
The Klan was a more legitimate force agent than the US government in the south and elsewhere. People tend to conveniently forget what Lincoln and Grant did, yet make a huge deal of what the South did to try and remain sovereign.
The South was backstabbed and holocausted the same way the native Americans were by the Illegitimate Soviet Government of the Northern Yankee Dooduls.
Now its our turn, if we don’t stand up.
There are thoughtful arguments posted here representing both sides. From a Canadian perspective and experience I will relate that when I asked an RCMP officer why a speed limit was set so agonizingly and ridiculously low on a particular semi – urban stretch of 4 lane highway I received the following explanation: It is set that low because traffic will always travel at a speed 10 to 15 km/h over the posted limit and we will not write any tickets if they don’t go faster than that. If we set it at the higher more realistic limit they will exceed the new limit again by 10 to 15 km/h and that speed would be unsafe because of the left turn lanes and bus stops.
Additionally the local driving regulations state that a vehicle must travel at the speed at which the traffic is flowing in order not to become an obstacle or impediment to the smooth flow of traffic.
No matter how fast one is driving it is virtually impossible to get away from being relentless tailgated – and they don’t write tickets for tailgating, ever!
However, the whole thing is still controversial, because if a cop would write a speeding ticket in spite of all the above the chances of winning one’s case in traffic court are slim or zero.
Yer. In other words, it’s a total scam: they set the speed limits unrealistically low so basically everybody is in violation of them all the time, and then they have you entirely at their mercy. If they want you pulled over for whatever reason: hey, you were speeding! If they need more revenue: look at all that fresh meat!
When we drove through Canada a while ago, I loved that all the signs were in kph instead of mph. I felt absolutely no pressure to obey them, since the numbers meant absolutely nothing to me. They were still equally “the law,” of course, but since I really had no idea how fast I was going in relation to them, I found I cared about them that much less. 🙂
Darien, yes it is a total scam! There is another instant money making scam: Getting a ticket for “disobeying an amber light”, of all things! So here one approaches an intersection at the legal speed limit, the light is green. When one is just feet away from the intersection, the amber light comes on! What to do? Slam on the brakes and slide into the intersection with smoking tires? Or continue safely on? It happened to me. I chose to continue on, of course! Result: Screaming sirens and flashing lights in the rear view mirror and a ticket! 132 bucks plus an 18 dollar victims surcharge! (Nobody knows what that is or who the victim is, but it is charged anyways).
If it is late in the day and they haven’t written sufficient tickets yet so they do this a lot! I went to court to dispute the ticket. The red – faced cop testified that there had been another vehicle beside me and exactly even with me in the other lane and that the other vehicle had stopped successfully! It was a total fabrication as there was no other vehicle!
He swore on the Bible and I swore that I would simply tell the truth – an option for anyone who does not take an oath on some ancient fairy tale – so I started out unfortunately being somewhat handicapped to begin with!
I had my fine waived but I did have penalty points added to my driving record, thereby ruining a ticket free period of over 30 years! Penalty points affect how much one pays for government provided car insurance, this being the only one available here!
It’s things like this that should prove it’s all about selective enforcement that makes for long stretches of ticket free life. I really do think the selectivity is to keep a large segment of the population from ever realizing that the whole thing is a scam and to maintain the illusion that it is about safety and isn’t about these people making a living off the labor of others.
Also the entire idea of running an amber light because one driver stopped and the other did not is absurd. Different cars, different tires, different drivers, different moments they saw the light had changed because of where they were in their scanning of the surroundings when it changed, etc and so on all play roles in the dilemma zone decision. To have such as ticketable only means they are looking for more revenue. Amber was added to the sequence for this very reason, to give time to make the decision to stop or proceed and then execute it.
Also, I’m unclear on this; what on earth is the point of even *having* amber lights if it’s “illegal” to drive through them? Why not just switch the green straight to red?
Fines for going through a yellow light are absurd.
The whole purpose of a yellow light is to provide a buffer period.
If one is too close to the intersection, one is supposed to be allowed through.
If one is further back, too far back, then the yellow lets you know in advance you need to stop.
To impose fines for those nearly into the intersection when it turns yellow, is ridiculous.
But as always, these are merely more insoluble problems made insoluble as a result of the misbegotten concept notion “public property” and “higher authority.”
That is the point, which is exactly as Ann Raynd spelled out. (forgive me on spelling, I can never remember her effing name correctly.)
The explanation is that it is not illegal to drive through an amber light, it is however subject to a fine to disobey one! I am sure that there is a lawyer out there somewhere who could explain the difference, because I sure can’t!
When one is stopped at a red light one counts to four here before moving into the intersection when the light turns green because of the many logging trucks and chip trucks blasting through red lights! They can’t stop and won’t even try to when the light changes from green to amber and three seconds later to red! Everybody living here knows that!
Curiously enough one never sees a vehicle like that being pulled over to get a ticket – commercial vehicles are apparently exempt from the silly law!
Joe the Plumber For America On Keith Vidal
You’ve seen how a cop responds.
Are you going to file and pay taxes this year? Or file and not send a check and let them try to collect. Or not file at all.
Will you sign up for Obamacare, or completely ignore it. And take down your mailbox and have your mail delivery canceled permanently as well?
Are you going to be reasonable with each government agent interdiction, or are you going to lash out and make those vermin’s lives a living hell as much as you dare until they get the message to back down?
Maybe start a scrap business, paying guys at Home Depot and the corner yo cash for street signs and other forms of public property? Or attend Freedomfest in Phoenix for $350 in February and listen to Larken Rose, or find some other way to donate or take action in the cause of liberty?
Would you support the father of Keith Vidal paying a buttnugget to lie in wait for that Boiling Springs Sheriff’s Deputy and gunning that animal down in the street quid pro quo?
When is it okay to shoot?
How will you respond?
Offduty Chicago Cop Hits Little Girl With Motorcycle Then Shoots and Kills Angry Dad
Deputy says: “We don’t have time for this” and shoots and kills 18 year old schizophrenic son in front of his parents.
This is in Boiling Springs, NC population 3,000, south of Wilmington.
What could have been so important, that he decided to openly shoot to kill without even having the usual decency to do it in secret and claim it was unavoidable?
He at least could have followed the usual protocol of instructing the other officers to get all witnesses out of the house, so they he could expedite the encounter with a killshot, yet leave the family its illusion that the police are there to protect and serve.
This officer has no class nor imagination. It would have taken another 45 seconds to get everybody out and then go back in and gun down the nutjob buttnugget and then call it a day, right? America deserves seasoned professional psychopaths, not poor impulse control amateurs.
“I am going to kill you” it’s a form of aggression, the threat of murderous violence.” – this is currently a crime in many circumstances.
Assault and battery are two offenses that seem to always go together, but they mean two different things:
Assault: You commit assault in Nevada if you intentionally make someone feel that you’re about to harm them.
The state must prove that you actually intended to commit the act of assault and that the victim was aware of it.
Battery: Battery is when you physically harm another person. The state must prove that you actually intended to commit the act of battery by unlawfully using force against another person.
There are several defenses to charges of both assault and battery:
Lack of intent: If someone walks in front of you at a golf driving range and is hit by your ball, you are not guilty of assault or battery because you had no intention of harming that person.
Self-defense: If you are walking down the street and a stranger starts to punch you, you are permitted to respond physically in self-defense.
Consent: Players engaged in a contact sport such as football are deemed to have consented to the force usually associated with being tackled.
Assault and battery are both misdemeanors if there was no significant harm and no weapons were involved. However, the penalties become serious under the following circumstances:
You used a weapon
You caused serious injury
You attacked or threatened a hero (member of a protected class – doctors, public employees, police officers, and teachers)
The anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque was the first person to describe himself as “libertarian”. Unlike Proudhon, he argued that, “it is not the product of his or her labor that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature.”
I consider being a freethinker at this point and time more important than being a libertarian. For me that means includes lying whenever necessary to authority and untrusted people, and adhering to common practices of business and property respect as long as violence is not involved, not the higher NAP ideal.
In other words, taking Jon Paul’s $500 which is all the money and property he has in the world is a violation of NAP and violent in that he may not be able to support himself.
Downloading a copy of Ron Paul’s book from an internet site without compensation is also theft of property. It is a customary practice of millions of people, and most likely not a violent act. Some times I pay for media, other times I don’t. This is wrong, and it creates a deficit that will need to be resolved in some manner by somebody. I look at it as a permitted act of agorism. I don’t enforce my copyright of anything, but of course that is a moot point, since what I write has no monetary value.
Ideally, I’d like to see a complete separation between online and physical reality, such that anything is permissible on the internet whatsover in some form, with some kind of safeguards enacted. Also complete separation of online persona and real life persona. Because the internet is a realm of freethought, I might go on another website and help plan and campaign to completely end all abortions in the US, or any other kind of idea, and I wouldn’t consider it a violation of NAP.
Freethought and total unrestrained market includes some kind of Faustslist where a suicidal guy and a cannibal can find each other. Or a prostitute and a rapist can come to a mutual agreement, without the rest of us needing to hear anything about it ever.
I also want to help ensure that any kind of religious society that is desired, be allowed and unmolested. Muslims or Christians can pass any kinds of laws they want in their lands. And I do mean any law whatsoever, no matter how offensive to the majority. Even though religions violate NAP, I don’t see their elimination by government as anything to be desired.
replace state with self-governed voluntary institutions
oppose authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations in all cases, not limited to the state
includes anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, and individualist anarchism
anarcho-pacifism – oppose all forms of aggression, supporting self-defense or non-violence
supports the use of some coercive measures, including violent revolution and propaganda of the deed(kill aggressing industrialists, kill politicians, bomb, kill, rob the rich )
illegalists openly embraced criminality as a lifestyle
Anarcho-capitalism (private property capitalism)
elimination of the state in favor of individual sovereignty in a free market.
deontological or consequentialist ethics
most anarcho-capitalists tend to be against intellectual property, but the issue is not yet settled
common property – the cleared path of a community is the product of labor –not any individual’s labor, but all together. If one villager decides to take advantage of the now-created path by setting up a gate and charging tolls, he would be violating the collective property right that the villagers together have earned
Murray Rothbard founder of anarcho-capitalism:
David D. Friedman, Michael Huemer, Linda and Morris Tannehill, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Frédéric Bastiat, Bruce L. Benson, James Dale Davidson, William Rees-Mogg, Auberon Herbert, Albert Jay Nock, Stefan Molyneux, Herbert Spencer, George H. Smith, Edward P. Stringham, Robert A. Heinlein, John C. Wright, Robert Anton Wilson, Vernor Vinge, Neal Stephenson, Max Barry, L. Neil Smith, Ken MacLeod, Matt Stone, J. Neil Schulman, Thomas Sewell, Sandy Sandfort, Scott Bieser, Lee Oaks.
Freethought holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, or other dogmas. The cognitive application of freethought is known as “freethinking”, and practitioners of freethought are known as “freethinkers”.
Freethought holds that individuals should not accept ideas proposed as truth without recourse to knowledge and reason. Thus, freethinkers strive to build their opinions on the basis of facts, scientific inquiry, and logical principles, independent of any logical fallacies or the intellectually limiting effects of authority, confirmation bias, cognitive bias, conventional wisdom, popular culture, prejudice, sectarianism, tradition, urban legend, and all other dogmas. Regarding religion, freethinkers hold that there is insufficient evidence to support the existence of supernatural phenomena
I agree with you on the paramount importance of thinking for ourselves; I never want anybody to agree with me just because “I said so.” I get annoyed with my wife periodically when she just treats my view as a settled truth instead of doing her own thinking. 🙂
You clearly already know this (you mention it later in this post), but it’s not necessarily a “theft of property” to download copyrighted material. I myself do not hold with the intellectual property conceit one bit.
I’m curious what you mean when you say that religions violate the NAP. Do you mean that they do so inherently — just that religion qua religion is a violation? If so, how so?
Should have been: Even though some religions violate NAP, or may choose to do so once government force is restrained, I don’t see their elimination or forced obedience to NAP as anything to be desired.
Bevin and maybe others know what I mean by witch doctors and their roll in NAP violations, but I’ll leave that proof to someone else.
What I meant is religious minded people have a different outlook than non-religious do. As long as neither forces the other, we can all co-exist. Take Saudi Arabia and it’s morality police.
The Sauds violate the NAP in many ways. No unmarried man and woman can be together in public. That is the law. Adulterers and witches are executed in public. That is their way. I don’t see the need to force them to work towards some world approved outcome or to answer for these things in a rational context. It’s a spiritual matter, it’s tradition, end of story.
I have little in common with people who want to go to the Middle East and fight for women’s equality and their right to western clothes, or driving, or whatever else. That’s just more force. Just so long as they keep to themselves, I’ll keep to myself.
If they want to preach that people like me are going to hell, that’s they’re right as long as they do so on their property.
“Before the Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal in the United States, the pro-life movement in the United States consisted of elite lawyers, politicians, and doctors, almost all of whom were Catholic.
The only coordinated opposition to abortion during the early 1970s came from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Family Life Bureau, also a Catholic organization.
Mobilization of a wide-scale pro-life movement among Catholics began quickly after the Roe v. Wade decision with the creation of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). The NRLC also organized non-Catholics, eventually becoming the largest pro-life organization in the United States.
The pro-life wing of the Democratic Party was also led by Catholic Robert P. Casey, Sr. and other pro-life Democrats including, Sargent Shriver, Raymond Flynn and Bob Casey, Jr.”
As far as dealing with dangerous driving, speedometers are a hindrance, and should all be thrown in the woods.
As far as dealing with the break down of the nuclear family and society, choosing a specific point of warlike escalation about the specific act of abortion is a hindrance, and should also be thrown in the woods.
Ah. Thanks for clearing that up!
I have mixed feelings on intellectual property myself. On the one hand, you’re right that if I download some music illegally, its not the same thing, mechanically, as if I physically took something from you. Then again, fraud isn’t mechanically the same thing as physically taking things either, yet most libertarians view fraud as theft.
I’m a recreational writer. If I were to let you read one of my novels, and you decided to sell it yourself, that would, at the very least, make you an extreme jerk. By contrast, if you want to smoke crack or whatever, or even sell it to willing adults, its no skin off my back. I don’t personally approve of that behavior, but it doesn’t actually have a negative effect on my ability to make a living.
I was watching “Duck Dynasty” with some family once (The show is not relevant here) and at the beginning they had that thing that says “Piracy is not a victimless crime.” It was a government notice, so I laughed aloud and wondered since when the government cared whether something was a “victimless crime.”
I guess at the end of the day this comes down to “what is aggression?” If I steal from you, that’s blatant, obvious aggression. If I do drugs, there is no aggression even though its POSSIBLE I might become an addict and then steal from you to fund my habit. You can’t punish people because of the fact that they MIGHT steal.
Then you get to something like fraud. It wasn’t a voluntary contract, so its clearly theft as well.
IP? I really don’t know. I don’t really think its “Fair play” for you to read my work, copy it word for word, and sell it. In a sense that’s “Stealing” the work that I’ve done. At the same time, it isn’t quite “normal” theft either (Which involves a direct taking of someone else’s property.) And I get that thoughts being able to be owned doesn’t really make sense.
I don’t know the answers here. I really don’t.
The copying of movies and music for personal use is an overblown issue IMO. I estimate that probably well over 90% of the personal use copying and sharing is by people whom the price of ‘free’ is the only price they are interested in the film or music at. If they had to buy it to see it/listen to it they would likely just pass.
It simply takes too much time with bittorrent, the old napster, or usenet to be worth the bother. It is easier for those who want something to just buy it than to spend time hunting the intertubes for a decent copy. The ‘free’ copies aren’t really free, they cost time. So who’s in the market for it? Teenagers. More time, less money. The money isn’t there to buy it in the first place. Other than that it is just people who stumble upon something but wouldn’t buy it either.
Where money is actually lost by the corporations is the same as always, people selling the bootleg copies. It is when the copies are offered for sale, with same convenience as from the source. That’s where the lost sales are.
I pretty much agree with what you’re saying, but I’m not sure how, and in what way, that addresses the principle of what I’m getting at.
As I said, I’m a recreational writer. If I sold you a copy of my book, would you have a right to make a hundred copies and sell them without my permission?
It could be argued that that is essentially stealing my work, since the VAST MAJORITY of the work that goes into producing a book is intellectual. So you’d be making a profit off of my work.
I’m not sure that’s a victimless crime in the same way that smoking some weed or having a consensual interaction with a prostitute is a victimless crime.
I also recognize that the issue you’re talking about isn’t exactly the same as the one I’m talking about. It seems to me that if the vast majority of the work involved in producing a thing is intellectual in nature, it is a form of theft to take that thing and produce a bunch of copies of it and sell them if you are not the creator of those ideas. But I’m not sure of how exactly to quantify “a majority of the work involved” and there are probably some gray areas that would destroy the principle. Hence why I say I just don’t know.
I do have confidence that a free market legal system would solve these types of issues in a more satisfactory manner than government ever could.
My comment was just tangential.
As to what copyrights and patents are, they are only as good as your pockets are deep. That is how much you can afford for lawyers and the court system.
I see intellectual property as primarily another corporatist system where the individual is constrained. the big boys can violate his patents and copyrights and largely get away with it but not the other way around.
I agree that if you let me read your novel and I copy it and sell it, that’s not a very nice thing to do. I disagree that it’s a crime, and it certainly isn’t theft — if it’s a crime, it’s some other type, because it doesn’t share the primary characteristic of theft, which is depriving somebody else of his property.
You have no property rights in “work you’ve done.” It is not a thing. It cannot be owned. If it could, madness would quickly ensue — I, personally, am a cook. If I can claim ownership in “work I’ve done,” then that means that I necessarily become part-owner of everybody who has ever eaten anything I’ve cooked, since my work has been incorporated into their actual bodies. That is obviously incorrect.
In my mind, in order to have ownership of a thing, it has to exist, and it has to be identifiable. You can’t claim theoretical like “pre-ownership” of things that might exist someday, and you can’t claim ownership of anything that can’t be found, like claiming you’ve homesteaded a certain molecule of air and then suing somebody for breathing in your molecule without your permission. So, in terms of a book: you can own an actual, physical book, but you cannot own the “concept” of the book in the way you’d need to to claim intellectual property rights. It is not a real, existing thing that can be identified.
Bob Wenzel, if you’ve ever read his writing on intellectual property, is to my mind quite confused on the subject of scarcity. He claims that intellectual property must be a scarce resource, else we’d all already know everything, as though the fact that air is not a scarce resource implies that every single one of us has all the air there is. Clearly that is nonsense — there is air in China that I certainly can’t claim to have possession of. There might be air on some distant planet somewhere that I don’t even know about. I have to have that air, too, in order for air not to be scarce? No, clearly the information itself is not scarce. What is scarce is *time.*
All this is really just background philosophy anyhow. The core question is this: if I make a copy of your book, you claim I have committed an act of theft against you. But what in fact have I stolen? What do you no longer have that you had before?
I agree that safety is paramount, and that we should not accept any standard that might result in the needless death of even one child or other innocent person. I suggest that we enforce a maximum speed of 15 mph on all roads, at all times, for all drivers. Deaths and injuries would be reduced to almost zero, and think of the savings in fuel costs!
NC – Parents call cops for “help” with their 18 y/o son.
Hero cop shows up, tazes him, then, announcing “We don’t have time for this” executes him while his maggot pals hold the kid down.
I thought those who were out of the big cities could fly under the radar of big gov’t.
California usually sets the trend for other states to follow.
Looks like us country bumpkins might not be as secure as we had thought.
Hi AF, how’s it going?
Hi there FF, good to see you.
I did not read ALL of the comments, so forgive me if this is a repeat.
Eric lays out all of the correct Libertarian principles regarding the non-aggression axiom. All edicts laid out my “law enforcement” that do not involve violations of life and/or property are purely arbitrary. As noted, it’s a dangerous avenue to go down when one begins to make “laws” based on “something could happen”. Of course something could happen, but a society that wants the convenience of driving vehicles, by necessity, implies that we are willing to take a particular optimal amount of bad outcomes as our preferences for getting somewhere in a shortened duration outweigh the potential for negative outcomes. Logically, and laid out previously, if 15 is safe, then 5 is “safer”.
I had a proposal laid out for several statists, not even ones guised as pseudo-libertarians, that not one would take up that will solve ALL of our employment and road hazard problems. We should simply hire more officers like the one that wrote the response and have them ride around with us. This way, we will never have car accidents nor disobey the rightly posted speed limit. We could readily get back to “full employment” and turn our roads from 35,000 persons/year death traps into efficiently ran systems like Obamacare websites. Simply having more agents for the arm of the state is all we need for a perfect society, an understanding of economics most importantly ultimate vs. proximate cause, notwithstanding.
Lastly, Dr. Walter Block has laid all of this out for us in his work on privatizing roads and highways – this is really where the heart of the matter lies.
If it doesn’t move – privatize it. If it moves, privatize it.
A Typical Buttnugget Exercising His Freedom
In re: A Cop – I lived next door to Bobby Buttnugget for nearly eight years. He trespassed on my property, stole my gas and stalked my wife. The cops told me there was nothing they could do about it unless I fenced and posted my property. So I did. Then they told me that since “Bobby” claimed the easement across my property was county road, my fence and signs “might be illegal.” When “Bobby’s” abused dog that he kept tied in the woods to guard his “crop” got loose and bit my son, the county juvenile investigator offered to help us collect the medical bills without going to court. I thought that was nice of him, until we found out he was a crook too. He ended up going to jail for felony stealing. Power corrupts.
In the mean time “Bobby” was indeed running up and down the roads in an unlicensed and uninsured car, driving well beyond his ability while “tweeking.” He had figured out that pot was only seasonal income, but meth was 24/7. He not only produced it but apparently sampled it as well (we watched him push mow a five acre field). But even with all the drug laws on the books, the cops couldn’t do a thing about him. Then we found out he was drawing disability. He could run a tractor, operate a four wheeler and even climb a tree with a running chainsaw, but he couldn’t work. Even with videotaped evidence of his working, the social security administration couldn’t do anything about that either.
I found out he’d been caught with a stolen motorcycle and got a free pass for that too. After I sold my house, which was mortgage free, and moved away I found out that “Bobby Buttnugget and his live in ho “Francine Freerider” were both confidential informants to the local cops! How sweet is that? If you are willing to rat out your customers, you can stalk your neighbors, steal their stuff, tear out corner markers, drive without plates or insurance, fence stolen goods, manufacture recreational drugs and get a free pass for all of it! Is this a great system or what? There oughta be a law against all that stuff. Oh…that’s right…there is!
By the way, when I told some of the local dopers roughly where Bobby’s “crop” was, they came out and actually provided some justice for me by cleaning him out the last two years we suffered through living by him.” I played by the rules and went through the proper channels. Yet I still had my wife terrified, my stuff stolen and ended up having to sell my property and move. There’s your precious system Mr. Cop. The local dopers did more for me than the constabulary ever did because they were too busy protecting their source of info. Put that in your bong and smoke it.
So I ask you, if I’m on a secluded stretch of rural road on a nice day riding my motorcycle well in excess of the posted speed limit, what’s the point of pulling me over and writing me paying paper? Other than revenue collection that is. I haven’t hurt anyone. Now let’s say I figure the fines and insurance premium increases are worth the risk of becoming a gazelle to your cheetah. And let’s say my riding skills are better than your driving skills and you crash killing yourself. In this state, I’m guilty of felony murder. On the other hand, if you chase me and I crash you as the cop aren’t guilty of shit. How does that comport with equal protection under the law?
All the laws in the world didn’t stop my “Bobby Buttnugget” from doing whatever the hell he pleased. In fact the drug laws enabled him to do whatever he pleased with no accountability whatsoever. Speed limit signs didn’t deter him from running around in a hotrod Camaro with no plates either apparently. After what I lived through, explain to me why I should have any faith at all in “the system.” I fail to see how Anarcho-capitalism could be any worse.
I am incapable of conceiving of a world in which there is any viable response to this other than: *damn.*
I would agree on some things with “A cop”. Anarchy cannot exist. Just as I cannot exist in a vacuum, people will form associations and make up rules for the good of everyone. There will always be government because we need some government. For me, the real question is the function of the law. Any law that punishes someone for something they might do is immoral and often stupid.
As it relates to speed limits, I think if we’re going to let the government control the roads, that some speed limits in some cases are legitimate, such as in crowded areas like some school zones and residential areas. There are other rules of the road besides speed limits that could morally be enforced of course.
Still, it is perfectly obvious to me that many speed limits could be eliminated because people have a built in mechanism for self preservation. Some people don’t care anything for others, but almost everyone cares about themselves. Off the road, you may not fear God or respect Man, but on the road it’s usually in your best interest.
I live in a woody area of Florida and storms frequently take out the traffic lights. I’m always amazed at how busy intersections remain efficiently and safely used during these black outs. It’s a very real and powerful example to me how people instinctively form their own rules to get along with others in a beneficial way without government management.
That’s not what “anarchy” means in this context. You’re falling into the trap of assuming that anarchy is pure, unmitigated chaos — you explicitly state, in fact, that the “form[ation of] associations and… rules” would be counter to your concept of anarchy. But it is not at all counter to the anarchy I talk about when I describe myself as an anarchist.
“Anarchy,” as properly understood, is not absence of rules, but absence of *rulers.* It describes a society in which human interaction definitely still occurs, and in which rules definitely still exist, but in which nobody has the right to use violence to compel other people to follow certain rules or interact in a certain way.
Your last paragraph is very interesting to me, and you’re correct that people can live together peacefully without government management. That is exactly the core claim of anarchism. We don’t want to get rid of the order you observe — we just want to get rid of the expensive, violent, useless leviathan plopped on top of it.
Does Webster’s dictionary have about 12 different meanings for the word, ‘anarchy’?
I seem to recall such.
What clarity that is, eh?
I keep thinking of Tor’s observation elsewhere about a limitation or constriction of language.
Perhaps similar constrictions happen with the word, ‘ownership’?
Anyway, when zach says, “Anarchy cannot exist ” he really should consider reading the following to see why he’s absolutely, positively, wrong:
What Is Anarchy?
Anarchy happens every single day, everywhere.
It’s only the scope, that needs to widen.
In the meantime, imho, too many people confuse the word ‘anarchy’ as so many Freedomista’s mean it, with the word, ‘chaos’.
It’s all quite sad.
m-w.com only gives two main definitions ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anarchy ), which are basically “absence of government” and “absence of order.” When we say “anarchists,” we’re going by definition one, but when people use it as a slur, they’re generally using definition two.
I guess I misremembered from a previous conversation on the matter while discussing Fred Reed’s take on the matter elsewhere?
[Crap, that’s really going to bug me about how I came up with that. … I know it came from somewhere!]
Anyway, the ‘Related Words’ at Miriam are enough to send most people into a downward tailspin.
At thefreedictionary, there are 3 definitions.
At dictionary.reference, there are 5 definitions.
How-freaking-ever; Darien. I think you said it best.
Very good choice!
@Zach, I don’t think you understand what anarchy means. It means “no institutional rulers” and it is the state of nature. We would get along just fine without Bohner and Pelosi, I promise you.
Ultimately this cop’s arguments are why we need private roads. Under private roads, “my house (road) my rules” could be the rule of the day. Its likely that we’d see some roads only permitting good drivers like Eric, while others would be more “dumbed down” for the average person. It doesn’t matter.
The thing I admit I struggle with here, and I think this sheriff is in the same boat. Drug laws are INHERENTLY wrong. There’s absolutely no possible argument for drug laws under a self-ownership, NAP oriented world. I have an inherent right, as an adult who has a right to make his own decisions, to smoke crack in my house if I want to. If I want to visit a prostitute, or own a machine gun… ditto. On the other hand, when it comes to roads, you have what I call the “public property” problem, and I’m not quite sure how to deal with it. At the end of the day, however, I’ll side with real people over the fictional “public” concept any day. Have an issue with “speeding?” Drunk drivers? Whatever? Privatize the roads and let road owners deal with it competatively on the market. Enforcing a monopolistic system at the point of a gun isn’t the way to handle it.
That said, these are difficult questions precisely because public property as a concept is not compatible with libertarianism. See Stephan Kinsella (on immigration) here:
Incidentally, Stephan agrees with open borders despite the fact that he wrote this article. I also agree with Eric on the issue at hand. But its not an easy question, for the reasons Kinsella lays out here.
I think the only truly libertarian way to handle existing public property (note: I’m speaking here in terms of handling it as a theoretical construct) is to regard it as functionally equivalent to unowned resources. Since the alleged owner — the state — is an illegitimate, unreal thing, the libertarian is no more bound to respect its alleged ownership than he would be to respect it if I said my imaginary friend owned the road, or that the entire state of Utah was owned by Martians and couldn’t be used without their permission.
This means that, since public property is in terms of libertarian theory unowned, there is no legitimate source of restrictions on usage, and thus no moral imperative to follow any alleged rules. In a private society, of course, the unowned road would quickly become owned (it’s valuable), and thus proper rules established. But since, in the real world, people with guns will prevent any private owner from taking over the road, it remains in a state of effective chaos.
As it has been said: imposition of order == escalation of chaos. The only true and lasting order is that which people build from the ground up.
I agree with your answer, but I wouldn’t say someone who disagrees is not a libertarian.
I wouldn’t necessarily either. I’d have to wait and see what he thinks before I could reach any conclusions on that score. 🙂
In order to claim to be a certain thing, one must be the essential thing. One cannot claim to be a motorcyclist if one does not know how to ride a motorcycle. Can one claim to be a Christian without professing belief in Christ?
Yes, one can claim it – but the claim is absurd on its face.
The essential ethical premise of Libertarian ethics is that it’s wrong to use force against people who’ve caused you no harm. Everything flows from this. To reject the premise in any instance is to undermine the entire ethics. A Libertarian who advocates for aggression is as oxymoronic as a Christian who does not believe in the divinity of Christ.
I guess you would say minarchists are not libertarians either. I disagree. Not because I think minarchy is right ,or because I think the minarchist level of aggression is actually “OK”, but because we already have the term “Anarcho-capitalist” to describe the 100% pure variant of libertarianism you describe. In general usage, “libertarian” more broadly refers to people who generally hold to the NAP and who may or may not hold to it to its 100% logical ancap conclusion.
By your definition Ron Paul would not be a libertarian, and I do not agree with that.
Private roads IMO are some ideal that can only work if everything else is done first.
So long as there is a political process, a government with legal violence, those with political influence and power would quickly use private roads to monopolize for their own benefit. Private roads are just one of those things that needs everything else to be in place first, and even then I wonder about how competition can happen.
Imho, before ‘private roads’ happen, I keep thinking about that emotional image of a, ‘bouncing ball with the child chasing after it’ which the do-gooder’s so often trot out.
Seems to me – if anything – the cop should ticket the city, or the state (or even the neighborhood) for not putting up a boundary between the pedestrians and the street, long before ticketing the speeding automobile driver if they happen to crash into a clueless, mindless, unaware child chasing after a ball.
If I had a field full of cows next an Interstate hyway and I tore down the fence and the cows walked out into the hyway, who would be liable if someone crashed into a cow?
If people want a road through their neighborhood, is there no responsibility on their part?
It’s much like how many hyways have been redesigned with split medians to minimize or eliminate opposing traffic collisions.
In my city, on a road that often had crashes, they built a wall between the traffic lanes which virtually eliminated crashes. Why isn’t the same being done in residential areas where children play, or in school zones?
When a cop gives out a ticket for speeding in these areas, to me, it’s as if they are saying they (the city and all the ‘owners’ of the road) admit they are negligent – and they know there is a problem – but they aren’t going to do anything about it. They’re just going to make money off the situation.
How very grand?
Reminds me of the yellow lines they painted on the floor at the factory I worked at. It was as if the ‘magical’ yellow lines would protect pedestrians from being crushed by the heavy machinery and fork-lift trucks driving by. Management boasted of their supposed high level of safety, when in fact, the yellow lines provided nothing of the sort. It was all just a perception of safety.
In today’s world. a cop writing tickets just promotes that false ideal of safety, which it turn prevents real concrete defensive measures from being implemented. Which means a ticket writing cop is doing more harm than good.
I’ve written this idea out before, I’m getting tired of saying it.
Anyway, I wonder this: Got-damn, seems to me that even the youngest child on a farm is smart enough not to chase after a ball while it goes under a moving tractor. Why are city children so dense to do the same in traffic? … Or is that, ‘ball chasing city child’ a myth?
Having grown up ‘playing around’ a hyway – and on it – I’d say only retards chase after a ball into traffic. If so, doesn’t that say more about the parents than the hyway, or the drivers, or the speed limit?
Insert image of a rattlesnake getting a ticket from a cop for rattling too close to a school zone, here x.
Which sense of governor would you prefer in your vehicle if you wanted one?
1 the elected executive head of a state of the US. an official appointed to govern a town or region. the representative of the British Crown in a colony or in a Commonwealth state that regards the monarch as head of state.
2 British the head of a public institution: the governor of the Bank of England. a member of a governing body.
3 British informal the person in authority; one’s employer.
4 a device automatically regulating the supply of fuel, steam, or water to a machine, ensuring uniform motion or limiting speed.
I would choose number 4, because it could be engineered to work 100% of the time 24/7. Humans whether conservative, liberal, or libertarian, cannot be made that reliable.
It wouldn’t matter how many human governors I could fit in my car to regulate the supply of fuel. Nor what their qualifications or beliefs were.
Human governors are just a form of costumed play and nothing more. They cannot enforce a law. A law is something that is always made to occur in the exact same way. Every time. Without exception.
Gravity is a law. It is the same here, on the moon, or on the surface of the largest known star: Canis Majoris.
A proper government, would be a government composed of engineers, project managers, and maintenance workers. And little else.
It never matters how many drunks and buttnuggets use the elevators in skyscrapers. Nor how irresponsible they act. No one dies, even though these vertical cars are often driven hundreds of feet above the ground.
That’s because elevators are the province of engineers, project managers, and maintenance workers. Not some doofus dressed up like a superfluous safety Santa Claus.
Safety Santa can’t consistently enforce a law, the way an elevator can. It gets you to your destination safely and efficiently every time.
Safety Santa can’t keep kids from running out onto a road. But an engineer could. He could design closed tubes. He could evacuate the air from the tubes so your car could drive at 700 miles an hour cheaper than it now drives at 60 miles an hour under atmospheric pressure.
Safety Santa has to give out gifts. And pretend to be jolly. He needs a childlike population to keep believing in him.
He needs millions of elves to stop private parties from building roads that don’t need him, and will force him to take off his costume and do something productive. He is a fallen spirit, too full of pride to admit his sin.
If you re-arrange the letters of Santa, you get another name entirely. A nemesis of Jesus who somehow has managed to become more important than Jesus. Safety Satans who have managed to become the evil overlords of our entire planet.
I wonder how an honest cop would respond to that suggestion? That the Safety Santa is really nothing more than Satan himself in the guise of a collective benefactor of humanity?
In re the “bouncing ball with the child chasing after it”:
What’s changed is the attitude. I am betting people out there in my demographic (Gen X) and older will remember being told as kids to stay out of the road. To watch out for cars. We were expected to take care of ourselves and not be blissfully unaware morons who expected others to look out for us.
Perhaps that’s why road Clovers annoy me so much.
In Chicago now the clover majority, the safety-mom culture is all furious that the schools are going to stay open this week.
It’s only going to be minus 15 F. WTF? My schools didn’t close when the records were set, minus 29 F. I remember it warming up to minus 15 when I was in grade school!
This is Chicago dammit… is it absolute zero? No? Then get to work/school.
In some areas if a car is driving extremely fast it would be impossible for either the kid or the driver to see the other person in time and act accordingly, whereas if the driver were moving slower, they could. I’d argue in general that the responsibility there is on both the driver AND the kid. If the driver is driving obscenely fast, I’d blame the driver. And yeah, I know I can’t really define ‘obscenely fast’, its a continuum rather than a hard and fast rule. As an extreme example, there’s really no argument to be made that 80 MPH in a residential area is safe, or that 20MPH is dangerous. But again, there are no answers here when it comes to government roads.
The whole thing comes down to whether people will be held individually accountable for their specific actions – or whether “people” will be regimented and controlled not for what they, as specific individuals have done but on the basis of speculation about what might happen to a generalized/hypothetical “someone” who does (or does not do) a given thing.
My position is that the former is inherently unjust because it does not require demonstration of specific harm caused (an actual victim of the alleged “offense”) and, inevitably, leads at the very least to a suffocating busybody-type state in which everyone’s actions are micromanaged by laws and regulations – and at the worst, to an outright authoritarian police state. We are already well on our way to this stage, as just about everyone will concede.
Hence, why defend the “control everyone/punish everyone” model? It is a disaster, as well as simply vicious and ethically indefensible.
Eric, I agree with you. I’m just saying… if some kid got hit in a residential area because some idiot was driving 80 MPH while the kid was chasing after the ball, you can’t really say “Well, he should have stayed off the road.’
Eric – I am of the generation where I was told to be careful and then allowed pretty much free rein as a kid. I rode my bicycle all over the place and understood I was to look both ways when crossing a road, watch out for traffic and if I got hurt it was my fault. When I was twelve I came barreling out of side road on my bike and piled up right into the side of a moving school bus. I broke my arm and totaled the bike. After I got home from the doctor with a shiny new cast on my arm, a couple of men came from the school’s insurance company. They wanted to know how much money we needed for my medical expenses. They were shocked when my dad told them the accident was my fault and they needn’t worry about it. They insisted that they pay something and he politely ran them off, because it really was my fault. That’s called personal accountability and it was already dying back in 1971. If it’s even on life support now I be surprised.
David – That being said, we should teach our children to look both ways and stay out from in front of traffic. Because speed limit or no speed limit there will always be some idiot driving beyond his skill level in places and under conditions he shouldn’t. If you want to survive and have your offspring survive, you practice common sense precautions. The same kid that get’s hit by a tweeked out Bobby Buttnugget at 80 can just as easily get run over by Granny Goodheart at 25 MPH if he runs into the street and she can’t stop in time. A friend of mine just got hit in the passenger’s door by a deer. When one of our coworkers asked him how fast he was going he said between 55 and 60, probably closer to 60. Mr. Law & Order said “See. If you’d been going 55, you’d have missed that deer.” My buddy said “Yeah. And if I’d been going 70 I’d have missed him too.” That’s true, because it’s a matter of two objects attempting to occupy the same space at the same time. Higher speeds can often prevent the collision as well or better than lower speeds, because the window of opportunity to collide is narrower at higher velocities.
Boothe, I’m not advocating for the speed limit, I’m just saying you’re a careless idiot if you drive 80 MPH in a residential community. I agree that what you say about the deer illustrates the absurdity of the speed limit.
I agree with you that people who drive way faster than the conditions warrant are idiots. But they are not *actionable* idiots. Idiocy is not a crime, and is really its own punishment anyway. 🙂
Your story and comment reminded me of something… on a residential street my grandmother’s car was hit by a kid on a bicycle barreling down the sidewalk and into the street. Totally the kid’s fault. Hit the fender over/front of the front wheel. As far as I know there was never a claim made by the kid’s parents, but I fixed my grandmother’s car best as I could for in long as she’d let me work on it. It was declared good enough. So not all hope is lost.
I try to point out the nature of timing to clovers, but they either don’t get it or intentionally ignore it. Faster corrects a timing problem just as well as slower.
Last year I was at a science museum, and I was playing around with some wizmo that times how long you can stay in the air when you jump. So I took a great big leap to try to stay up as long as possible, and some little kid probably six years old tried to run underneath me for lord knows what reason. I had no idea he was there, and, clearly, once I’m in the air… I’m coming down no matter who doesn’t like it.
My elbow came down right on top of this kid’s head and drove him right down to the floor. I asked him if he was okay, and he started screaming and ran off. It’s ridiculous that in a situation like this my very first thought is “I am so sued,” but that’s what so many years of PROTECT TEH CHILDREN has gotten us, hey?
Fortunately for me, his mother was not a horrid person, and didn’t try to have me destroyed for this “offense.”
Glad you weren’t sued…
A few years ago, I was at a Barnes & Noble. They have Starbucks kiosks and I’d gotten myself a cup of coffee to sip while browsing the shelves. I had placed the cup on the floor, was bending down to check something out on a lower shelf, when a young kid (5 or 6 or so) comes running past me. Of course he knocks over the coffee. His Moooooo comes up and – instead of apologizing – scolds me for leaving my coffee cup on the floor.
Darien, your case at the science museum kind of illustrates what I was talking about with the super-fast drivers in residential areas. What you did to that 6 year old wasn’t your fault. It was his fault for being stupid. By contrast, if a kid runs into the road to grab a football and some idiot hits them because they’re driving 80 miles an hour, that’s almost certainly their fault. Which is what I was getting at to begin with.
Eh. I dunno. I’m not seeing how a kid who runs where he shouldn’t is any less at fault for bad things that happen to him because other, unrelated people are behaving differently. Is a child who runs heedlessly into the road less irresponsible than a child who runs under a jumping dude?
Sure, you could argue that I shouldn’t be driving that fast… but you could also argue that a grown-ass man shouldn’t be jumping around on the kiddie toys at the science museum. Either way, you’re making a subjective, emotional distinction — how fast is “too fast?” How old is “too old?” Morally speaking, it’s not clear that any such distinction applies.
Just as a bit of gedankenexperiment: I suggest that the reason you’re willing to ascribe blame differently is largely because the kid in your example is killed, whereas the kid in my story was not. Consider that, given how much I weigh and how small that dude was, the main reason he wasn’t killed was plain, ordinary luck. That accident, with a few variable swinging a different way, could have been fatal. Would that change anything in your estimation? Should I have stayed away because kids could, in a certain situation, get killed?
“If I had a field full of cows next an Interstate hyway and I tore down the fence and the cows walked out into the hyway, who would be liable if someone crashed into a cow?”
Great analysis of the never spoken of problem.
“Anyway, I wonder this: Got-damn, seems to me that even the youngest child on a farm is smart enough not to chase after a ball while it goes under a moving tractor. Why are city children so dense to do the same in traffic? … Or is that, ‘ball chasing city child’ a myth?”
I lived for half a year in a third-world country. I realized very quickly that the children were much smarter than US kids. They were able to be around “dangerous” equipment and not be injured. Most of the kids in the neighborhood I lived in (rural, coffee-growing area) had all 10 fingers and all 4 limbs. And furthermore, even tho’ poverty was everywhere, they all smiled most of the time and were polite and seemed to be truly happy and carefree. I think it was because they all seemed to be confident in their ability to handle situations as they came up.
It has been said the way children are treated and the extended childhood in the USA causes mental illness and most of the youth problems. I picked that up from something I listened too but can’t place it now. It makes perfect sense to me.
The problem is, once an adult, it is difficult to over come the damage even if aware of it.
Americans and many other people treat symptoms, not causes. That’s why problems linger decade after decade. They were never solved. Root cause analysis went undone or ignored. Everything keeps getting tweaked for the symptoms and like Elvis it’s bound to come to a bad end sooner or later.
Ditto that, Brent.
Premise for a Libertarian novel titled Thirteen: A future society in which the NAP is the only law, with immediate and permanent expulsion from the community for advocacy of any act of aggression. Children are exempt until they reach the age of reason – thirteen. On this birthday, they are given the opportunity to accept or reject the NAP. If they accept, they are officially welcomed into the community and are henceforth regarded as adults, and formally invested with the same self-ownership as adults.
And what of those who do not accept the NAP or who advocate aggression against others?
Gotta read the book!
The book lost interest for me with the arbitrary age, and the idea that some pledge would make the difference. I suspect it would be much more effective, and certainly more logical, for the community to admit their youngsters as adult, regardless of age, when they had demonstrated full acceptance of the non-aggression law by their actions and choices for a year, or longer. That, and having demonstrated their willingness and ability to fully support themselves.
These are the requirements for adulthood in the “future society” novel I wrote. It is called “Consequences.” Send me an email if you’d like a pdf copy of it. 🙂
I have sort of given up on the citizenry and believe that expecting the NAP to be the sole governance of society is just unrealistic in the current statist climate. It’s nice to discuss the theory of it, but in the end it seems like just a fantasy.
I think the better approach would be a practical road block to bad laws. The best way I can think of is to have a constitutional amendment (at the fed level and each and every state) which prohibits any law to remain in effect for more than 24 months (or maybe even 12 months). This would keep the legislatures very busy to even maintain the number of laws currently on the books and would subject every law the political process over and over again. Think of how this would effect Obamacare, Social Security, the tax code, Medicare, etc. Many of these laws could not be passed again and again every 1 or 2 years.
I can’t think of any law that I could not live without or would miss. Many states allow constitutional amendments via referendum. This might be the way to start.
Hi Mr. Liberty,
I’m all for practical reforms – and this is a good one. It comports with Jefferson’s idea that no generation has the right to bind subsequent ones – in effect, ruling them from the grave. Also the Biblical concept of the Jubilee – a re-set, if you like.
Amazing circular reasoning here. Who do you propose to decide what are “bad laws,” and why would you propose SS, tax codes and Medicare – much less “Obummercare” as being worth doing?
None of those would be possible without the use of force, theft and fraud to control the population, which is already the problem.
And Eric, I’m shocked that you would consider any of this a “good” thing. It may satisfy the idea of a “re-set,” but is a direct violation of non-aggression and individual sovereignty at every level.
I try not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Of course, I want (and advocate for) absolute non-aggression. But I’ll also be grateful for even small steps back toward a relatively free society; even one that abides (mostly) by the rule of law.
The America of today is a totalitarian nightmare compared with the America of 1985. Was the America of 1985 perfect? Of course not. But I would give almost anything just to get back to that level of liberty.
“I try not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good.”
No, Eric, I can’t say that I agree at all. This might apply if one of the options was “good,” but continued force, theft and fraud doesn’t qualify. “Perfection” is not one of the options in any case. Utopia is not an option at all.
The problem is that you can’t be a “little bit” pregnant. “Limited government” is exactly the same as a “gentle rape.” The “reforms” suggested here are simply not possible as long as a ruling class holds the whip, the reins and the purse strings. Does anyone imagine they would voluntarily let go of any of that to consider this “reform?”
At some point, those who truly want to live as individual sovereigns, to eliminate the coercion, theft and fraud, and to stop participating in that aggression, must come to terms with the fact that they cannot compromise with the “state,” in any way.
As long as we are content to dream of having things a “little” better, we will tolerate the bad. But it will never, ever be the “good.”
I don’t think we disagree, Mama.
The poster was suggesting that all laws be regularly re-voted on in order to remain in force, as a way to check the perpetual growth of the law. I don’t see this as conflicting with our goal of scaling back – and eventually, eliminating all laws that violate the NAP.
So long as we’re consistent in our philosophical insistence on the NAP and self-ownership.
Mind, I am not advocating for any of these NAP violation laws. I am simply not opposing anything that weakens existing ones – and makes it harder to pass new ones.
MamaL, we can’t have perfect all at once. If we even got the chance it would have a very high chance of failure and then liberty will be discarded as a failure for centuries. But if we work towards it, one step at a time, it can spread naturally and astoundingly quickly. Each step could literally be built on exponentially. We could still have liberty in our life time just by hitting a critical mass. Every small step is worth the positive bigger effect it can have.
The powers that be have worked for a century and half or more to domesticate man. Taking a pet, a domesticated animal, and pushing it out saying ‘you’re on your own now’ just doesn’t go well most of the time.
I’d like to know how you would accomplish that, Brent. By what mechanism would you create that gradual change? The 5,000 pound gorilla doesn’t make a good pet…
But I think you are wrong about the rest too. Once liberty set in, I don’t know what could stop it. This is not to say there would not be serious upheaval and problems, of course… Those who refused to live free would suffer, and those who attempted to aggress against others would suffer too.
There just is not any way we’re going to get through this with everyone on board, and everyone happy about it. If we wait for that, hell will freeze over first.
This country has millions of people who are no longer capable of taking care of themselves, don’t have the skills to earn a living, etc and so forth. But they have been conditioned that violence is the solution to any problem.
How do you propose to deal with them when you flip the switch? They can’t buy food and they are angry.
Now if we were lucky they would all die like a small pet dog left out in the woods in winter to fend for itself. But a good many of them are able bodied and armed. I know you’ll just say ‘stay out of the cities’. great.
So you flip the switch, the underclass erupts in riots. Murders, theft, burning cities…. what would people want then? A strong central government with an iron fist to put an end to it. You get wrecked cities and a wrecked economy. And where will people put the fault? On liberty.
You can’t flip a switch. People need to get to a point where they flip it willingly, otherwise we’ll sink into a dark age.
Brent, you are confusing two very different things. NOBODY can merely “flip a switch” and create a free society overnight for everyone. NOBODY, no matter how much they want to do so.
“Flipping the switch” as an individual, to stop supporting and trying to use the “system” of aggression, corruption, theft, etc. IS entirely possible, and is the only thing that will ever produce real change. Each person who begins to understand the evil and destructiveness of aggression, theft, etc… each one who withdraws their consent, their support, their acceptance of the illegitimate “authority” of government to engage in those things… each one brings us a step farther toward real freedom.
Additionally, nobody is responsible for everyone else. Each person is responsible for him/herself and those they freely choose as dependents. It is not only not your responsibility what happens to all those millions, it is impossible for you or anyone to do much about it. You can’t even do much to influence what all of your family, friends or neighbors will choose.
Each person must make their own choices, and take the consequences of their own actions. The fact that this will not turn out well for many of them does not change reality. Utopia is NOT an option.
Wait, isn’t the law of mandatory expulsion from the community for advocacy of aggression in and of itself a violation of the NAP? Advocacy isn’t actually aggression, is it?
Is this actually a real book, or an idea?
Just conjecture, Dave.
I’ve been batting it about – whether it is justified to take defensive measures in response to a statement of intent to commit aggression. If a man says, “I am going to kill you” it’s a form of aggression, the threat of murderous violence. If a man says, “I am going to take your money,” it is a declaration of intent to steal.
In the context of our fictional story, these provide justification to exile the person from the community.
In real life? I’m not sure what the line is. One certainly has the right to defend oneself against the act. To take precautions and make whatever preparations seem reasonable. But I suppose we’d have to tolerate such statements on the “sticks and stones” theory.
Yes, in real life, statements are not aggression, however aggravating they may be.
My theory on threats is that the threat has to be IMMEDIATE. Take the WBC’s belief that homosexuals should be executed. That’s distasteful, but its not an immediate threat. The SPLC’s crap about “sovereign citizens” is similar, but worse because they actually have an “in” with law enforcement whereas the WBC does not. On the other hand, if I walked up to you on the street and pointed a gun at you, that’s a clear intent to commit aggression, an immediate threat, and you can act accordingly.
I’m hovering just about on the edge of full-blown pacifism, myself; I find questions about what situations defensive violence are appropriate in to be one of the biggest challenges in libertarianism.
Also, I should point out: expulsion from the community wouldn’t necessarily violate the NAP, since nobody has any inherent right to be *in* the community in the first place. If by “explusion” you mean that like the village elders will actually tie you up and throw you in the river, yeah, pretty clearly aggressive. But if it’s just made clear you’re no longer welcome, and nobody will associate with you anymore? I can’t find a problem with that.
@Darien- I’m definitely not a pacifist, and I don’t see what’s confusing about “self-defense” most of the time. Pacifism, is, of course, compatible with the NAP, since not using violence EVER certainly means not being aggressive. That said, while pacifism may work as a personal ethical system, I don’t see how it can possibly work systematically, if that makes sense. If its not OK to use violence for ANY reason, than its not OK to use violence to prevent the formation of a State, so than anyone who wants to ignore the rule to not use violence can just form “government” again, and we can’t do a thing about it.
I don’t think that’s a great basis for freedom. I don’t know everything, though. Maybe I’m wrong.
As for expulsion from the community, I guess I assumed it meant not being able to live in that community, which would mean not being able to maintain control of your property in that community, if any, But I’m sure there’s a way you could do it/write it where its just a refusal to associate, which would be fine.
David: no, you’re not wrong; pacifism has significant practical problems just as you lay them out. That is the sole reason I haven’t fully gone over, in fact, but I don’t like it; I’m just not a fan of sacrificing what’s right for the sake of what’s practical.
It’s just generally taken as axiomatic that the use of violence in defense is not wrong. That doesn’t sit well with me. I want some actual reason *why* it’s not wrong, rather than just an assertion based on practicality. So I’m torn between a thing I don’t think is right and a thing I don’t think is workable. That’s why I think it’s a difficult question. 🙂
Editor’s Note: The deputy emailed this and asked we post it.
I have enjoyed reading your article in which you responded to the points I brought up. As of this
writing, I have also read the first 25 comments to the article. This is my response to most of the points
brought up by you and your readers. Please don’t fragment this with your responses in between since I
think it will lose its persuasiveness.
You and your readers questioned whether or not I could be a libertarian since I enforce speed limits.
What I believe and how I act on duty is not relevant to the argument of whether or not speed limits
should exist. Suffice it to say that I consider myself a disciple of Ron Paul, and I am open to reading an
argument that will convince me that enforcement of speed laws contradicts libertarian philosophy.
Mr. Peters, your argument against speed limits appears to me to be more closely aligned with anarchist
views. I respect your view if that is the case, but I disagree. Anarchy is like communism in that it sounds
good in theory, but in practice it doesn’t work.
Libertarians, as I understand the philosophy, believe in small government. Libertarians believe
that government is a necessary evil because in the absence of government (anarchy), the strongest
warlord would become the government and the resulting type of government would most likely be a
dictatorship. Libertarians believe that it is sometimes necessary, literally, to point guns at people and
that is why most libertarians believe in publicly paid police, fire and military.
I believe that traffic enforcement is one of the few legitimate functions of law enforcement. I don’t
participate in checkpoints. Where I work that is funded by the feds and is paid overtime. I chose not
to be a part of that. I also have never participated in the drug task force that exists here. I agree that
chasing drug users is not a legitimate function of law enforcement. Both of these examples, I believe,
contradict the Bill of Rights, which I do abide by. Further, as a libertarian, I believe that prostitution,
gambling, concealed or open carry of weapons and drugs should all be legal. The consequences of
making these activities illegal is the proliferance of organized crime and the resulting violence it brings,
as well as corruption of public officials and law enforcement. These are cases in which the cure is far
worse that the problem the laws were meant to solve.
Traffic laws and the results of their enforcement are on a spectrum between full-enforcement and zero-
enforcement. If the law everywhere said that the maximum speed limit is 15 mph, and society could
afford to post a cop at intervals of 100 feet along both sides of every road, and the penalty for going
16 mph or faster would be the death penalty, there would be very few violations and very few deaths,
injuries or property damage.
On the other end of the spectrum, if there was no enforcement of any traffic laws at any time, there
would be more death, injury and property damage. I don’t have any statistics to prove this, just my
own observations, and it seems like an obvious point to me. The question is where do we, as a society,
draw the line between enforcement of laws and personal liberty with respect to speed limits?
Let’s imagine two different scenarios with two different types of drivers. In the first scenario, there is
no rule-of-law as far as traffic regulations or enforcement. In the second scenario, we have rule-of-law
for traffic as we do today. Now imagine that we have two drivers, Eric Peters and Bobby Buttnugget.
Eric Peters is a responsible driver and drives within his ability. He is a car enthusiast; he takes pride in
his vehicles and his driving ability. He enjoys driving fast but stays within the limits of his own abilities
because he does not want to damage his car or damage anyone else’s car or property. Sometimes, on
wide-open country highways, he even drives at speeds above 100 mph.
Bobby Buttnugget is a different type of driver. He also likes to drive fast but doesn’t have the skill of Mr.
Peters. Mr. Buttnugget isn’t a very responsible person or a responsible driver. He drives an old, crappy
Pontiac Sunfire that is worth about $200. He also uses meth, other drugs on occasion and alcohol, and
he enjoys being under the influence of drugs and alcohol most of his waking hours.
Now let’s put these two drivers into our two scenarios. First, well take a hypothetical scenario that
might happen under a without-rule-of-law situation. Mr. Peters is driving his new $60 thousand dollar
Corvette one day. Little does he know, Bobby Buttnugget is also out on the roadway driving his crappy
$200 Sunfire. Mr. Buttnugget, lacking skills and sobriety, runs into Mr. Peter’s nice Corvette at a high
rate of speed, severely damaging and disabling the Corvette. Mr. Peters watches helplessly as he sees
the crappy Sunfire leave the scene of the accident.
Mr. Peters then calls me to report the accident. I’m waiting at the office since there’s no reason to be
patrolling on the roadways. Mr. Peters tells me what happened and gives me a description of the car
Mr. Buttnugget was driving. I ask him if he was able to see a license plate on the vehicle. He tells me
he doesn’t think the car had a license plate. I tell him that is not surprising since there are no laws to
require registration, licensing or even insurance. I tell him that even if the other driver had been unable
to leave the scene, he may not have had insurance anyway.
What neither I nor Mr. Peters know at the time is that Mr. Buttnugget not only doesn’t have any
insurance since he is not compelled to buy it (he drives a near worthless car anyway), Mr. Buttnugget
doesn’t have any extra money because he spends it all on drugs.
I tell Mr. Peters that there’s really nothing I can do anyway since there are no traffic laws to hold
Mr. Buttnugget accountable even if I do catch him. I advise Mr. Peters that this is a civil issue and he
will have to sue the other driver if his identity is ever determined. I advise Mr. Peters that he should
contact his own insurance company and have them fix his vehicle under his “uninsured motorist” clause.
Mr. Peters is upset at this. He already pays dearly for his insurance since situations like these are so
common under WROL. He knows his insurance will likely go up even higher, but what can he do?
Now let’s look at the same two drivers under our current system of traffic laws. Mr. Peters remains
the responsible driver that he is, although he grumbles about the occasional traffic ticket he gets from
unsympathetic cops. Mr. Buttnugget, on the other hand, is often deterred from driving because he
knows that if he drives without registration and insurance, he’s likely to face a big ticket and have his
vehicle impounded every time he gets caught. He also knows he will face jail time for driving under the
influence. He knows not having license plates on his car, or driving like an a-hole, is a sure invitation to
talk to an officer of the law, and that will lead to big problems for Mr. Buttnugget.
Will Mr. Buttnugget still run into Mr. Peter’s new Corvette since Mr. Buttnugget makes it a point to
drive close to the speed limit since he doesn’t want attention from law enforcement? Well, someday
someone like Mr. Buttnugget will crash into someone like Mr. Peters. But it will happen with less
frequency. And if laws are in place that require license plates, I’m more likely to catch the Buttnuggets
of the world after they run into Mr. Peters. I’m also more likely to be able to deal with Mr. Buttnugget
and get him in line before he runs into one of the responsible drivers like Mr. Peters. In this scenario,
Mr. Peter’s insurance costs will be lower, and he’s more likely to get a satisfactory outcome if he does
have an encounter with a Buttnugget.
I would also like to answer the argument made by Mr. Peters that if there is no victim, there is no crime.
Another way to say this is “no harm, no foul.” I have inferred from the argument that Mr. Peter’s made
that he wouldn’t be too concerned about the neighborhood, teenage boy driving up and down the
street in his high output Mustang where Mr. Peter’s lives while the Peters children play outside in the
front yard. Nor would Mr. Peters be too concerned about the occasional doughnut that the teenager
performs in the street directly in front of the Peters home where the children are playing just a short
distance away. I think most people would be rightly concerned in this example.
Let me bring up some other examples of alarming behavior. If I waved my fists in front of someone’s
face at a high rate of speed showing off my “windmill of fists” coming only an inch from that person’s
nose, should that person be concerned for his safety? But if he suffers no injury, so what?
What if someone points a gun at another person at the conclusion of some kind of traffic altercation,
but doesn’t actually pull the trigger. The gun-wielding person speeds off without having injured the
other person. Would that cause the average person to be alarmed? Is that behavior is okay because the
victim didn’t suffer any (physical) injury?
Both of these examples are illegal where I work. Both are examples of menacing, placing another
person in fear of imminent injury. Similarly, people who have their kids playing in the front yard usually
get concerned when they see the neighborhood teenager doing doughnuts in the street near their
children in his high output mustang. Then they call me and I deal with it.
Should speed limits be higher? Should they be lower? I don’t know and it’s not my job to decide. I do
know that less enforcement of traffic laws means more death, injury and property damage. That is not
a theoretical argument. I deal with the consequences of bad driving every day. Somewhere, at some
time, there is always some kid chasing some ball into the road in front of a car. Let’s up the odds that
the kid will survive the encounter by trying to keep the Buttnuggets of the world off the roads.
Last, I will respond to Mr. Peter’s real point that he wants to deal with people based on the harm they
cause after the fact instead of a priori, I respect that view but there will be more carnage that we will
all have to live with under that system. It sounds good in theory, edging a little closer to anarchy, but
it won’t work as well in practice. If that is the system we as a society choose to live under, I can accept
that. But I don’t believe that is what most people want, especially in the areas where they live. Under
the current system, I have a few tools to try to keep the Buttnuggets in check.
Mr. Peters also made the comment that he doesn’t see a problem with a 911 turbo going 180 passing a
Fiat going 70 on the Autobahn as long as both drivers are paying attention and practicing lane discipline.
This is the point I’m trying to make; there are bad drivers, “clovers” as Mr. Peters calls them, who are
not paying close attention to their driving. When one of the clovers pulls in front of the 911 turbo and
there’s an accident, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is because both drivers will end up dead. I can
assure you that when I’m going to an emergency call with lights and siren, and I’m travelling with “due
regard for the safety of all persons,” as required by law, inevitably there is a driver that will slam on the
brakes in the lane of traffic right in front of me, instead of pulling to the right as they should. Again,
there are morons and jerks on the road. There need to be ways of limiting the destructiveness they can
A Cop: “I have inferred from the argument that Mr. Peter’s made
that he wouldn’t be too concerned about the neighborhood, teenage boy driving up and down the street in his high output Mustang where Mr. Peter’s lives while the Peters children play outside in the front yard. Nor would Mr. Peters be too concerned about the occasional doughnut that the teenager
performs in the street directly in front of the Peters home where the children are playing just a short distance away. I think most people would be rightly concerned in this example.”
This type of comment gets made over and over in discussions like these, and it really bothers me. It belies a misunderstanding of the entire point of the libertarian/anarchist position, which is that it *doesn’t matter* what Mr. Peters may or may not be concerned about. What matters, because it is the only fair, objective standard that can be measured, is whether someone has actually been harmed. Being concerned about someone’s behaviour is not the same as advocating locking that person in a box for that behaviour.
If I lived on a crowded residential street and let my kids play out in the road, I could certainly be concerned about speeding drivers. My recourse might be to tell my kids to stop playing in the road, or request that drivers watch out for children, but I cannot address my concern by doing actual harm (via fines or arrests) to those drivers just because their behaviour makes me uncomfortable.
Cop, you seem to grasp this as it relates to the drug war, though perhaps I’m ascribing the wrong motive to your unwillingness to enforce drug-related offenses. It boils down to the same thing. In the absence of actual, tangible, objective harm that has been committed, there is only the subjective standard of what “someone might” do, as Eric has said. Why do you accept that a statutory, no-harm crime such as the use of illegal drugs should not be punished, but the same statutory, no-harm crime of speeding warrants the theft of a person’s property or freedom?
You have this to say about the libertarian position: “Libertarians, as I understand the philosophy, believe in small government. Libertarians believe
that government is a necessary evil because in the absence of government (anarchy), the strongest warlord would become the government and the resulting type of government would most likely be a dictatorship. Libertarians believe that it is sometimes necessary, literally, to point guns at people and
that is why most libertarians believe in publicly paid police, fire and military.”
I think you are correct; many libertarians have gone this far but are afraid to fully commit. That’s why I think you won’t find too many self-identified “libertarians” here. It’s easy to say that the gross over-reaches of government are unjustified and inherently evil. It’s harder to take a philosophy of refusing to use force against your fellow human being and take it to its logical conclusion. There are many utilitarian arguments (the “necessary evil”) based on this unwillingness to take the final leap, but ultimately, if you are truly examining the idea that doing harm to others is not okay, I believe you will eventually come down on the anarchist side. To admit that using force, coercing your fellow citizens at gunpoint, is okay, even once, is to allow in principle any sort of violation.
I thank you for being willing to post your thoughts here, knowing the reception you were likely to get, and I hope you will continue to examine your position.
Excellent answer, Ama!
The other point Mr. Cop does not seem to understand is that those of us who advocate non-aggression as the highest law are no more interested in “chaos” than he is. He also has an entirely wrong idea about “anarchism.” The honest “anarchist” does not expect to live without “rules,” disregarding others, but only without arbitrary “rulers.” Not no rules, no rulers and no slaves. That means the rules must be voluntary, not imposed. We each own our lives, bodies and property. We are individually responsible for that life, and the consequences of our choices and actions. We expect to live in voluntary association with others, cooperating toward mutual goals.
What we refuse to accept is the bogus “authority” of others to control that life and steal our property. Those who refuse to govern themselves, who come to steal and attempt to control us, we will fight… Self defense, and defense of family and community, is an individual responsibility as well.
You are right, of course. I tend not to dwell on the utilitarian side, because in my experience it’s far more difficult to convince people that an anarchist society would be able to function without chaos than it is to get them to think about the concept of not doing harm to others. The idea that order cannot exist without being imposed by a state is so ingrained in most people (thanks, of course, to the institutions of the state itself) that I don’t believe it can be attacked directly with much success. Get them to understand and accept that using force against others is evil, however, and I believe the rest falls into place.
I’ve been talking to people about this for more than 50 years, and I’ve found that most of folks need to have their false, indoctrinated fear of freedom addressed before they can begin to accept the evil of state coercion. I have learned to stick to the principle of self ownership/responsibility, because if they can see how the coercion damages them first, it is much easier to start thinking about how it damages everyone – without keeping them safe or solving the problems all around them. Since people are invariably motivated by their own interests, showing them how freedom for everyone IS actually in everyone’s best interest is very important.
But that’s the trick… so many people understand their own rights, the importance of their own freedom, but refuse to give up the idea that other people can, should and MUST be controlled…
Sometimes it is a “chicken and egg” discussion, and sometimes it goes nowhere. 🙂
Thank you, ama, for going to bat for me on this.
Your reply is as I would have replied. I hope the deputy gets the point we’re trying to make.
He may have never considered the basic assumptions he’s been operating from – which are inculcated in people from infancy onward and permeate our society. The underlying violence of authoritarianism is rarely dealt with or even acknowledged. Meanwhile, those of us who advocate for peaceful interactions, for respecting other people’s rights – for live (and let live) and for being held accountable when we do cause harm – are accused (in effect) of advocating a sort of Lord of the Flies type of violent society in which people’s rights are routinely violated – a twisted irony if ever there was one!
I think, perhaps, some basic libertarian and Austrian literature is in order, no?
Let’s form a list of short or long but exceptional books as a suggestion for Mr. Officer to enjoy in his time off.
I’ll start with Ron Paul’s Farewell to Congress, 2012, with a Forward by Lew Rockwell: here it is in free PDF version. http://library.mises.org/books/Ron%20Paul/Pursue%20the%20Cause%20of%20Liberty%20A%20Farewell%20to%20Congress_Vol_4.pdf
I’ll follow that up with Anatomy of the State by Rothbard. Short and only 5 bucks paperback. But here it is again, free PDF! http://library.mises.org/books/Murray%20N%20Rothbard/Anatomy%20of%20the%20State.pdf
I assume Walter Block or Hans Hoppe has some specific work regarding traffic laws, but I’m not familiar with it. If someone else does, please post it!
Can’t go wrong with Rothbard’s For a New Liberty ( https://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp ) — it’s not very long as these things go, it’s easily accessible and written for the interested layman rather than the specialist, and it’s available for free on the tubes.
Very good choice, Darien!
I started with Ron Paul because the officer’s professed admiration for him. I think perhaps his “Liberty Defined” would be nice in tandem with Rothbard’s For a New Liberty. Therefore I put it forth and retract my first two, to keep the list short. : )
Good stuff, Zach!
I published the deputy’s letter (and subsequent replies) because I do think he’s well-intended and basically “reachable.”
Now, we’ll see!
Will the officer respond again? Perhaps he is reading and will respond in a few months!
Eric: I agree. Our anonymous “cop” does seem like a decent guy — and who among us can claim never to have been at the “minarchist” stage? Certainly not I. I remember not altogether very many years ago making very similar arguments to the ones he’s making here.
I hope he doesn’t get scared off by the volume of responses, and sticks around. Intelligent, thoughtful people are always nice to have. 😀
Lets hope so!
Unlike Clover and Gil, he seems to be operating from decent motives – and also, seems to have a brain!
Hence, there’s hope ….
Ama pretty much already said everything I have to say. The only thing I have to add is that the unexamined assumption that anarchy can’t work but that minarchy can is one of the last bulwarks in many people’s minds that stands in the way of fully embracing non-aggression.
Anarchy is extremely different from communism. I know you were using that as a rhetorical flourish and not saying otherwise, but bear with me here. Communism we can conclusively state doesn’t work, because it’s based on an economic model — socialism — that has, at bare minimum, one immense, unrecoverable flaw. Communism literally cannot work because socialism literally cannot work, and there is a specific reason why: the calculation problem. Ludwig von Mises laid this out in devastating detail in his book “Socialism” ( https://mises.org/books/socialism/contents.aspx ).
Anarcho-capitalism doesn’t have that liability. Its economic underpinnings are not socialism but capitalism. So if you’re going to claim it can’t work, you’re going to need to explain *why* it can’t work — just invoking a wry comparison to communism don’t cut it. And to head off the number one most popular complaint: no, nobody is claiming that all bad people will suddenly stop being bad in an anarcho-capitalist society. They will still exist, still do bad things, still seek power and seek to harm others. What we’re saying is that, right now in the real world, those are the *exact* people who purport to rule over us, because that giant power structure attracts people like that. We’re saying that, given that evil people exist, it is probably better overall *not* to create a giant apparatus of coercion and destruction that they can gain control of. Since, disproportionately, they will.
This is very closely related to the reason why minarchy, incidentally, cannot work. People are drawn to the government who have the desire (and the ability) to enlarge it, and there is absolutely nothing that can be done to restrain them. No matter how cleverly worded your written constitution is, it can be subverted, worked around, or flat-out ignored — all of which we have seen in practice time and time again. Power cannot be restrained by power. It can be defeated only by turning our backs on it and denying it.
I’ve read some of Eric’s old posts, it seems like he was a minarchist in 2010. I was technically a minarchist until September of last year, but I’ve kind of known that government was wrong a few months before that. Ultimately, one thing that made my conversion easier is I never really LIKED government. I viewed it as a necessary evil when I started. I didn’t like the idea of being taxed and regulated. Oh, I was inconsistent, but that was another issue. Most people actually like at least some degree of government control, which means there’s more to it than just realizing a no government society is absolutely moral or can work.
I was a minarchist myself until… hrm. 2008? Thereabouts. And, to be sure, I had the same roadblock our friend the cop has: I just “knew” that anarchy was an unworkable concept, and that some government would always be necessary.
Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty” (linked elsewhere on this page) was the turning point for me; I came upon it following links from other libertarian sites, and it put into stark relief for me both the hypocrisy of advocating *for* evil as a means of *preventing* evil and the utter uselessness of government as a preventor of evil anyhow.
Of course, back in the mists of time, I was a mainstream conservative. That I once advocated for both the drug war and the war-war is a shame I will bear with me always. Helps keep me humble. 🙂
Morning, Darien –
I traveled the same road, from conservatism to minarchism to rejection of all aggression except in response to aggression (i.e., self-defense).
People who believe it’s not “workable” believe people cannot abide by the NAP, hence force (“the law,” etc.) is necessary Yet many people do abide by it – disproving their belief. That many – even most – do not abide by it doesn’t invalidate the concept. Only a dozen or so men have walked on the Moon. This proves millions could.
I acknowledge that it may be many generations in the future before humanity – most people – reject violence as the basis for their interactions. But just as I believe it is inevitable that there will be many more footprints on the lunar surface someday, so also I believe that, eventually, people will accept the NAP and acknowledge self ownership.
Because they’re right – and you can’t stop right. You can only delay it awhile.
I kind of accepted as an unbreakable axiom that hard drugs “just had to be” criminalized because I believed the message I got that people who used them were simply maniacs who would always commit violent crimes or whatever else. I never supported banning marijunana though (At least not as far as I can remember) because I knew early on that that was an issue that was up for debate and I always wanted to make the government smaller when I felt like it was possible. On the other hand, I still supported war-war because I actually believed the “for our freedoms” and “spreading democracy” argument, combined with a flawed morality when it came to government’s committing murder.
I’d say I really started waking up in 2011, where I would say I was a “near minarchist”, then a minarchist in 2012, than an ancap in 2013.
The drugs were actually the crack in my old conservative position. We’d get in debates about drug policy, and I was the hard-core drug warrior: all drugs should be illegal! Stiff prison sentences! And I was supporting this with arguments that I knew at the time were terrible — ridiculous “national security” claims involving parallels to the Opium War. I figured the problem was that I just didn’t know enough to have the right arguments, and I’d find them later, so for now I’d do the best I could.
But you know what? The more I thought, and the more I read, the more doubtful I got that I’d *ever* find a better argument. And that led me to start questioning everything else I was taking for granted as part of my conservative identity. And here I am!
That horrible formatting made me give up reading after awhile and I skimmed…. so I might have missed some.
What I see above is what I call the one-aspect argument. The argument where everything stays the way it is now but one thing which is changed to full out libertarian. That doesn’t work. This country didn’t become authoritarian over night and it can’t be reformed over night, and certainly just switching off one aspect of the authoritarian system is just going make for an outlet for the Bobby Buttnuggets the authoritarian system creates.
Bobby Buttnugget is largely the product of a system of control. People don’t like being controlled and some people deal with it in different ways. For instance, my release is to write, to explore things intellectually. If we have a libertarian system then the rebelling through actions, through trying to get away with something, will lessen. Ever notice the tougher the laws get, the more cops intrude upon people, the more Bobby Buttnuggets there are?
Much of it has to do with that authoritarian systems don’t make sense. Let’s take the residential road example for instance. In order to be able to select Bobby Buttnugget out on the interstate, it has a speed limit of 55mph, but everyone does at least 70mph. So Bobby Buttnugget, who’s not too bright, decides it’s safe to do 40 on a 25mph residential street.
Or Bobby Buttnugget has been controlled, monitored, etc his entire childhood then suddenly, he’s ‘free’ to make his own decisions…. what’s he going to start doing? Testing limits. Remember, he’s not too bright.
Then what about all the people trained to do what authority says? Simply removing authority is going to break them. They’ve been trained, conditioned their entire lives to do as they are told. They are lazy, they want others to do hard work and make decisions for them. It’s like taking a pet out into the woods and then saying ‘you’re on your own now’.
I could go on. A lot of the sickness in this society is the authoritarian model, and no, over night one aspect libertarianism can’t work. But we can work towards it.
Wait, no, I do have one more thing to say. As regards the hypothetical collision with Mr. Buttnugget:
I had a similar collision just recently, but, rather than the esteemed Mr. Buttnugget, my opponent was a moose. The moose had no visible license plates, was probably not registered or licensed, had no insurance and no extra money (since he spends it all on mooseness), left the scene, was not located by the police, and probably couldn’t have been held criminally liable even if he had been. I had to file with my own insurance company under the “comprehensive” section of my policy.
This is not a hypothetical. This actually occurred. Was a grave injustice perpetrated against me? Should the government require all moose to register and carry visible, identifiable proof? Should the government require moose to carry insurance? Should the moose be sent to jail?
In what way is Mr. Buttnugget materially different from a moose?
You don’t adhere to the non-aggression principle. Therefore… You are not a libertarian.
You are like a beltarian economist calling himself Austrian- http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2013/12/horwitz-responds-sort-of.html
Freedom. Can you taste it?
Truth is the Enemy of the State by Buttler Shaffer quotes this exchange between Sophie Scholl and her interrogator:
I think the above exchange speaks against the statement by the deputy sheriff.
Laws matter primarily to the lawful.
A criminal will commit an act of aggression against another individual whether a law exists against the action or not.
When it was legal to possess other people as slaves, there were people that would never own another individual regardless of the legality of the action.
Laws against hypothetical harm to others are different than laws against actual harm others. One can be objectively measured, while they other cannot.
If people are held to a higher level of accountability for their actions, then they will tend to behave more responsibly.
What will you do if we let you go home, And the plastic’s all melted,
And so is the chrome? WHO ARE THE BRAIN POLICE?
What will you do when the label comes off, And the plastic’s all melted, And the chrome is too soft?
WAAAAHHHHHH! I think I’m gonna die . . .
WHO ARE THE BRAIN POLICE?
What will you do if the people you knew, Were the plastic that melted,
And the chromium too? WHO ARE THE BRAIN POLICE?
Pete Eyre on Brain Police on the Myth of the Rule of Law
Who Are the Brain Police – Mothers of Invention – F, Zappa
– What will Merica do when the labels come off, and their plastic’s all melting and their chrome is too soft?
– What will sheeple do when finally the learn what we long ago knew, that the plastic’s not real, and the chromium too.
That life truly begins, when one sinks or swims, far away from the beach, thought patrols, sand castle prisons, out past the long arm of the brain police reach?
Where I live, there are no police particularly. I live in an unincorporated town in a borough that does not maintain a police force, so the only police presence is from the state troopers, and there are approximately 400 of them to police nearly seven hundred thousand square miles of state. What I’m getting at is: they are almost never around enforcing traffic laws. And you know what? Everything goes by just fine.
The main road through town is posted at 55 mph for most of its length. On my way home from work tonight, somebody blew past me going probably 80 mph. Nobody descended upon him and ruined him for his unlawful actions, and he also utterly failed to cause any substantive harm to anyone. I’m at a loss to understand how that was in any way a bad situation that needs coercive management.
Ditto, Darien –
Very similar here. We have a local sheriff’s office but no police department. Occasional state cop patrolling the main road through the county. Very little presence. I routinely drive much faster than the posted limit – and so do two-thirds of the rest of the drivers. The other third are typically old people and Clovers and these are passed without fuss or muss (if sometimes “illegally”) and to my knowledge, there are few if any real problems (other than a Clover’s anxiousness about the “speeder” who went around him rather than sit patiently behind him as he does 47 in a 55 where traffic flow is 60-65).
I also believe that the attentive driver will be able to avoid “speed traps” by continuously scanning the road and sides of the road for potential dangers/problems. When I see a driver that is speeding, but they also immediately see me and slow down before I can clock their speed, I don’t worry about stopping them because I know if they are paying enough attention to see me, they will also see the child that runs in front of their car chasing a ball.
Sometimes cops haven’t bothered me for this, other times they have ticketed me. Usually depended on what car I am driving. It’s all selective with cops. And really, if there are children chasing balls on interstates and six lane arterial roads through industrial areas at night well the problem isn’t my speed.
I also give more latitude to driving enthusiasts, such as yourself, who are driving well-maintained vehicles and are aware of the environment they drive in.
While all my cars are well-maintained, one has dings and scratches. It’s plain small sedan. It’s invisible to cops. I can drive it faster than my much more capable, much cleaner, much prettier, performance oriented cars which get attention from cops. Although the newer of those two doesn’t get negative attention. It’s apparent cost and such I guess says I am a responsible adult with a good income. I can drive it the same speed everyone else drives instead of the PSL on surface streets.
I am glad that you pay close attention to your driving but I can assure you that a significant number of motorists do not. These are the motorists that need to be told exactly how fast they can drive, etc.
That’s a condition due to the government schools and driver training. It’s also a lowest common denominator american way of doing things. But americans also know only one way to do things, authority and punishment. However when the law, when a system, is structured for idiots, what happens is a better idiot is built. My observation is that people generally form a normal distribution around the expectation. Lower the expectation and the whole bell curve moves down with it.
I have also read some of your articles in which you bash law enforcement officers. Most people that I work with in law enforcement are good people.
Guess what kind of cop I normally encounter? It’s the guy who is needlessly inserting himself into my life to make his performance objectives or to make sure I respect his authoritah. It’s the cop who sees me as someone he can push around. (I am not into displays of wealth, social status, etc. I can be at times indistinguishable from working class poor) It’s not the good cop. The good cop has no reason to insert himself into my life.
I’m particularly interested in your response to my comparison of anarchy on the public road to without-rule-of-law situations in which criminals take advantage of the weak when law enforcement is not around.
Anarchy as you call it works pretty well. You and your fellow cops are rarely around and order doesn’t break down when you’re not. Removing lights, signs, speed limits, etc seems to do the trick in many situations. (it’s been tired and works) Irresponsible people are few and far between but lazy ones are common. Lazy wants authority to tell them what to do or do it for them. Get rid of authority and lazy has to start putting in effort and be cooperative. Life gets better for everyone.
opps, it’s my sedan I can drive the same speed as everyone else. Bad editing on my part.
BrentP, I thought about you yesterday. In traffic with a guy in a ‘Stang GT blending in and headed to the PSL going out of town and got all the looks from the cop. I sorta chuckled and thought about my old baby pickup I could have driven 120 in and not gotten a ticket. Light blue, something you know is slow slow slow so nobody ever thinks to check it’s doing 95. I drove that little pickup WOT everywhere and loved it.
This is good stuff Brent!
If we define speeding as a “wanton disregard” for other people and their property, I don’t have a problem with someone being punished for it. If I’m doing 100 in a 45 zone, it’s a pretty safe bet I’m driving recklessly, 150 in a 70, same thing. Will this yield perfect justice always? Nope. Nothing will, but I would like to see the elimination of most “speed limits” and punishment for true reckless driving. Reckless driving could just as easily be the person doing 40 mph on the interstate.
If we define speeding as “wanton disregard” for stuff, we’re engaging in a bit of airy persiflage and not actually defining anything. You do realise this, yes? There are precisely zero objective measures usable to determine when disregard has become “wanton,” or, for that matter, even when normal, non-wanton “disregard for other people and their property” has occurred.
As it stands, we have speed limits, which are terrible but are at least objective measures. We can know for a fact whether or not we are in violation of “the law.” You would replace this with a system totally lacking in any objective criteria at all, so the police just get to decide according to their whim who is dangerous and who is not? I will pass on this option.
“The law” is an objective, clearcut standard – but of course, it’s just a statutory one.
I prefer an objective standard of harm caused as the basis for holding anyone accountable for, well, anything.
Until harm has actually been caused, the best we can do is argue – subjectively – about possibilities. That someone might cause harm. This strikes me as an insufficient basis for threatening people with violence (the necessary adjunct of “law enforcement”). It is also, if accepted, a principle that will inevitably lead to endless prior restraint meddling in our lives – as is happening all around us.
The problem, as I see it, is getting people to realize that the choice is not between “do anything you want/mayhem/survival of the fittest” and a risk-free/crime-free “safe” society.
Law or no law, there will always be accidents and tragedies and crimes.
The question is whether it’s right – and productive – to treat everyone as a criminal, a priori.
Are we “safer” today – with random checkpoints and warrantless searches and SWAT teams on every corner – than we were in 1960?
Oh, I agree completely — I certainly wasn’t defending speed limits (which I referred to as “terrible,” in fact). I was merely stating that given the binary choice between existing speed limits and Zach’s discretionary “disregard” policy, I’d take the former.
The problem with “wanton” is it’s another subjective opinion.
Is it “wanton disregard” to drive a 911 turbo at 180 MPH on the Autobahn, with Fiats in the next lane over doing 70? Of course not. Assuming the driver of the Porsche is a skilled driver and paying attention, etc. And that the Fiat driver is paying attention – and both are practicing lane discipline.
Presuming this sheriff is still reading:
I was one of those who brought up the speeding in a residential area issue. After talking with Eric on that issue, Eric convinced me I was wrong. His arguments are essentially the same ones he uses in the OP above. I’d recommend reading and considering them.
@Eric- Its not exactly a mathematical science, but I think we all err on a few issues, so I don’t think I’d say that someone who is unlibertarian on a few points is necessarily not libertarian. Its not an exact science, but I’ll generally give leeway on 10% of the issues for those who adhere to libertarianism on the other 90%. There is some weighting here of course. Someone who supports the trillion dollar war in Iraq, or the NSA spying program, would be discounted from being a libertarian on that one ground, IMO. Of course, this is not a mathematical science, and we’ll all differ a little bit in how exactly we weight each issue. Personally, I wouldn’t say having the wrong view on speed limits necessarily precludes one from being a libertarian, particularly because “public property” is an oxymoron, and so knowing how to centrally plan something that should be handled on the market is impossible. Of course, having a wrong view of speed limits plus other deviations might add up to making one not a libertarian, but I wouldn’t say so by itself.
To better explain what I’m getting at, let’s say Ron Paul came out and said that he was OK with speed limits at the state level. Would that stop you from supporting him? It wouldn’t for me. Now, let’s say he changed his mind about the war in Iraq, and he now believes that that’s OK. Would you stop supporting him then? I would. So I think you can see how different issues would be weighted differently, some would preclude one from being a libertarian entirely, but not others.
My much bigger concern with this sheriff is that he seems to think its his business if someone is drunk or under drug influence. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he only meant while driving, and I will still ask: Why? If the person is driving unsafely, you could get them under a different law (reckless driving) and if not, who cares? If the person who is “legally drunk” is driving just as well as a sober person, why do you care?
I’d also like to ask this sheriff, do you enforce the drug laws that you don’t agree with? Do you enforce other laws you don’t agree with? If so, how do you justify this?
All that said, Eric, this seems like a thoughtful guy. Please do post any follow up that occurs. Good stuff.
If a person takes the position that it’s ok to do violence to another person for any reason other than self-defense, then they have conceded to the collectivists/authoritarians everything that makes Libertarian philosophy/ethics different from the ethics of collectivism/authoritarianism. That one exception will inevitably lead to more exceptions – and before you know it, here we are.
You raise an interesting point about “drunkenness” – that (as such) it ought to be irrelevant. If a person wrecks as a result of careless/reckless driving, whether he was soused or not is a non sequitur. Does it change anything at all if he drove carelessly/recklessly but was completely sober at the time?
The legal definition of “drunk” – like “speeding” – is arbitrary. It takes no account of individual variances, including metabolism and ability to “handle” liquor.
Consider an athletic guy who has been seriously lifting weights and training since his high school days. At 40, he is still stronger and faster than many guys half his age.
It’s the same as regards “drinking and driving.” Driver A – excellent reflexes and vision, a naturally attentive driver – and give him a few drinks. He’s still a better driver (more in control of his car) than Driver B – sober, but with poor vision/slow reflexes and a tendency to not pay attention.
I pointed this out to the deputy – and look forward to his response.
Eric, I agree with you at a logical level. We all start somewhere though. I remember arguing for drunk driving laws on RPF a few months ago. I was convinced that I was wrong. Or even… I was a minarchist and not an ancap until September of last year. We all start somewhere.
Libertarians even sometimes disagree with each other on what aggression is. What about intellectual property? What about abortion? What about children’s rights? Not to necessarily debate these issues right now, but if someone takes the wrong position on one of them, does that necessarily mean they aren’t a libertarian?
I don’t know, I guess I’m a little bit more big-tent than some of you guys. To be clear, I’m not saying that being unlibertarian on any issue is ACCEPTABLE. You’re right that it logically leads to being unlibertarian on other issues. Such inconsistencies should be combated. But I won’t say somebody isn’t a libertarian because they get a few things wrong while generally adhering to the philosophy. We’re all human, after all.
The label “libertarian” is not the important point. People who do not initiate force against others are the basic requirement for a free and peaceful society. If we can agree on that, then we can build a working relationship that can include a vast array of differing opinion on pretty much everything else. As long as aggression is on the table as an acceptable option, we’ve got little to work with.
The non-aggressive relationship is the important part. The label, all too often, is mostly a distraction.
Well-said, Mama – thanks!
ML – You and David both have valid points BUT STILL – I would like to know if there is a “Libertarian Handbook” (of Rules ? haha!)?
Perhaps Eric could write one and sell it as a fundraiser for this website.
But seriously – in my view – some arguments on this site make perfect sense and others I find a bit of a stretch. Not to say there may not be a valid reason behind them, but those reasons are not always clearly defined or comprehended – particularly by those of us who aren’t Anarchist’s.
Question – does one have to be a ANARCHIST to be a Liberterian?
So like many others on this site I am listening & learning, but not always understanding or accepting of some statements (none in particular at the moment, but in a general sense) because some one has an axe to grind – BS fly’s from all corners, not just the ones we disagree with or haven’t fully looked into.
GW, the “libertarian handbook of rules” has already been written. It is very simple:
No human being has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, nor to delegate such initiation of force. Every human being has the innate and inalienable right to defend their lives and property by whatever means is necessary.
How individuals and their voluntary communities will work out the details is something only time will tell. There is no – zero – legitimate “authority” to do it for them. Will they do that perfectly, never causing problems or pain to each other? Of course not. Being free does not mean being perfect. Utopia is not an option.
But compare that prospect with the totalitarian “utopia” so many seem to think is a better answer…
@GW, MamaLiberty- I’m with Walter Block that we already have the term “anarcho-capitalist” to describe the purest strand of libertarianism, and so I’m OK with “libertarian” meaning something a little broader, to also cover minarchists and almost-minarchists. What I don’t like is when people, as Larken Rose pointed out, say they are “libertarian” but are really only libertarian on like half the issues. In those cases there is almost always a better fitting label. But I do think minarchists and almost-minarchists (Block calls them classical liberals) can call themselves libertarians.
Now, as to whether that level of deviance is OK, that’s a different story. Ultimately, the answer is no, but we’ve all been there. I’m also willing to work with anybody who at least supports the constitution. That number is rapidly dwindling.
David, that’s pretty much why I don’t even use the word “libertarian” very often. Means too many things to different people, as does “anarchist.”
And that’s OK with me, actually. As long as none of them attempt to force their definition on me, or try to prevent me from defending myself, we can all agree to disagree.
Non aggression and self defense remain the core principles, however they are expressed. I was an active part of the original “libertarian” movement, and participated in the formation of the “LP” platform in the beginning. At that time, the non-aggression and self defense principles were pretty much the whole thing. And then they wandered off into myths and delusions of political solutions.
The myth was that the LP could elect libertarians to office, who would then be able to eliminate government (somehow) from within the system. More than 45 years later, the LP is no more effective at that than ever, and has gradually taken on many of the characteristics of the “system” they started out to overcome. Most who wear the LP label now talk of “smaller government, and “fewer taxes.” I have not talked to any of them in a very long time who still think they could eliminate either. And I truly wonder how much they still want to do so.
Here’s the big thing… Government and taxes of any size or kind cannot be accomplished without force, theft and manipulation (fraud) of those being “governed.” So, the “small government” idea completely violates the non-aggression principle… You can’t have it both ways.
Frankly, I’d be absolutely thrilled if we could even get to the minarchist stage. That would be a LOT of murder, kidnapping, theft, etc. that would be abolished. That said, you’re right that it wouldn’t be all of it, since a minarchy would still have some coercive taxation whereas an anarcho-capitalist society would not. Even an ancap society would have some aggression, but it would never be “legal”, and anarcho-capitalists reject aggression entirely on moral principle.
I don’t usually use the term libertarian either, but for different reasons. I don’t really object to being placed in the same general political category as the minarchists, and in opposition to the collectivists, socialists, neocons, conservatives, etc. What I do object to are the false definitions of libertarianism that either hold to a “fiscally conservative/socially liberal” sort of thing rather than any real committment to the NAP in ANY form, or those that falsely believe that a pro-life position on abortion is incompatible with libertarianism.
It’s been some time since I’ve referred to myself as a libertarian too, and for mainly the same reasons. I don’t really wish to get lumped in with the Cato institute as being a guy who really doesn’t like the income tax but still wants to bomb the hell out of any brown-skinned people who get uppity. Ty Cobb libertarians, we could call them.
I was active in the LP for a comparatively short amount of time, but my own personal understanding grew too rapidly, and I soon realised that I had absolutely no desire to support the crazy things they were putting in the official platform. Also I realised that electoral politics is evil from the get-go, and I wanted nothing more to do with it.
@ ML and David
Thanks for the clarifications – I guess I would have to peg myself as about 80% “Libertarian” and if that excludes me from the “Club” so to speak I am OK with that because frankly I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks (although I will defend the right for you to say it).
What I truly cannot rectify in my mind is the idea of ZERO / NONE / NADA government. By “government” I don’t mean in the form of the monstrousity we have now, but the simplier idea of people agreeing to some set of rules and common good (which can also include common defensive measures).
Maybe I am misunderstanding, but there are so many blanket statements about No Government at all that I just cannot take it seriously – it maybe that those folks making those statements are just spouting off or haven’t really thought it thru all the way – or maybe they are just plain delusional and off their meds.
Suppose we had an idyllic society in a fictional country where everyone lived in peace with no government whatsoever – a Utopia (which ML has acknowledge doesn’t exist). What is to prevent a neighboring country to decide to put together an army and taking everything they want from you? (And there is no way under a system of anarchy that they won’t get it either!)
There is way to much evil and greed out there to allow a truly 100% free society in the manner suggested by some on this site. YES living this way is an admirable goal to strive for (and we all should), but reality dictates that this is not possible – at least not for long.
Myself – I would be happy if the current Government where reduced to 20% of its current self and it jettisoned all the BS Laws / Special Interests / unbridled Spending etc, but I am not willing to say that we don’t need some basic form of ‘Government”.
I suspect that I am not the only one who holds this opinion either. I live in the real world and until I hear some sense of “reality” from hardcore Anarchist I just cannot take their rantings seriously!
GW… People will always organize themselves into groups. If those groups are voluntary associations, agreeing on the rules – ideally being the minimum of non-aggression and self defense – you can call it “government” if you wish, but I do NOT because it is just too confusing. “Government,” to me, means an involuntary association between ordinary people and a group of “others” who pretend (or believe) that they have some legitimate authority to control the lives of everyone else… and that those cannot have any way to opt out of that control. They may move into the control of a different set of rulers, but they can never actually rule their own lives independently.
Now, the voluntary society is not at all impossible. In fact, in many areas of our life we accomplish that fairly well. Unfortunately, most people simply can’t seem to grasp the fact that the autonomy one has in those areas is as possible and necessary in every other. But we seem to be gaining ground in that as the non-voluntary government attempts to control more and more of our lives.
Utopia is not an option, of course. A truly free, free market society would certainly continue to have problems, but non-voluntary government at any level, and of any kind, has only one answer to everything… more coercion, theft and fraud… Would you really be happy with 20% of the murder, war, theft and fraud we endure today? If it is actually possible to do that, why not at least work toward 100% removal of the malignant tumor? Why would you want to leave 20% of a cancer you know would eventually kill you?
Not no rules… no rulers and no slaves.
You presuppose far too much. Nobody here has ever seriously suggested that an anarchist society would be an idyllic utopia. In fact, in another comment on this very post, I lay out that, yes, all the bad people would still be around — they just wouldn’t be able to get control of a giant coercive entity and use it to cause mischief anymore. If you want to be “pragmatic,” that’s an issue you’ll have to get to terms with: why assume that government in any way *reduces* the effect of evil people on society, especially since all evidence appears to demonstrate that it *increases* it?
And why would government in any way make it harder for evil foreigners to come in and “take everything they want?” Do you seriously believe it’s impossible for private individuals to defend their property?
Well said indeed!
Anarchism would eradicate the primary means by which evil people exploit others. That pretty much takes care of domestic predators, the most egregious domestic predator being “our own” government.
That in itself if reason enough. But it is merely the beginning of the story.
As far as defense against foreign predators, Switzerland’s militia hints at how an anarchist society might go about defending itself from foreign aggressors. After all, even Nazi Germany reluctantly chose not to even attempt to invade Switzerland.
Switzerland is of course not an anarchist society. But its militia system offers clues as to how an actual anarchist society might organize itself for national defense.
Also, lest we forget, an anarchist society, by virtue of its freedom, would become extremely wealthy in short order. Its wealth would vastly enhance its technological war fighting ability. It could afford the most advanced weaponry.
Singapore is not an anarchist society. BUT it is a free market society. In the 60s, when it was founded, it was a Third World economy. Now it is number 3 in the world, after Qatar and Luxembourg. Its per capita GDP in 2012 was 60,799 USD, third in the world.
If even Singapore could achieve this, with a tiny population of only a few million, clearly a fully anarchist society with a larger population, would be far more able to defend itself.
Note also that it is inherently dangerous for a policeman to “pull over” any vehicle on a public road, especially busy highways/avenues. In a just world– it would only be done if there was genuine, imminent danger to public safety.
Police “pull overs” immediately create a significant disruption & hazard to traffic flow & public safety:
To “catch” their target vehicle, police vehicles usually exceed legal speed limits… often performing dangerous maneuvers (quick lane changes, high speed overtake of intervening vehicles, etc). Other (‘innocent’) drivers are often startled/distracted by the sudden police speed/maneuvers/lights/sirens.
Once the pull-over is complete, there’s now an inherently dangerous obstacle/hazard on the side of the road for typically 15-25 minutes, disrupting traffic flow & reducing safety. Collisions with pull-over vehicles/persons are fairly common — and it’s especially dangerous for cops themselves, standing next to their target’s driver window.
So the cure (“pull-overs”) is often much more unsafe than the supposed disease of safety violation (speeding, tail-light out, etc).
And since police technology now makes it easy to identify vehicle owners & often drivers — many traffic tickets could just be mailed or hand delivered to “offenders” residence … rather than initiating a dangerous immediate pull-over. Does a burned-out license plate light or seatbelt violation really justify a pull-over?
Of course, safety/rationality seems rarely the primary traffic police concern — it’s more like revenue and general control of the citizen herd (wrangling).
@Duarte – Great post and well said! The whole thing is a damn racket for cops, clovers, and government criminals to drool over. Safety doesn’t have shit to do with any of it.
“Its not exactly a mathematical science, but I think we all err on a few issues, so I don’t think I’d say that someone who is unlibertarian on a few points is necessarily not libertarian. ”
There’s no such thing as a part-time libertarian, David.
Part-Time Libertarians – Larken Rose
Hadn’t seen that one. Great video.
Besides the NAP, should libertarians adhere to the Hippocratic Oath? If we are unable to free some people, should we keep to ourselves in some cases and “do no harm?”
I wonder if libertarianism can be a science? Voluntry?
A Voluntry experiment could be conducted freeing a small indigenous group from more powerful and technologically adept aggressors. It would be a perpetual experiment unless all parties consented otherwise.
Once freed, the formerly oppressed group might themselves be emboldened to begin their own aggressions.
Voluntrists would create a barrier stopping all ongoing aggressions and contact between the parties. Payments would be made to the aggressors to ensure halting of hostilities and predatory behavior.
Field operatives would infiltrate the tribe and guide selected members to act in a way conducive to the goal of forgetting about the existance of advanced cultures.
Sort of like the Prime Directive in Star Trek. Protocols and programs would be undertaken to repair and mitigate a single instance of the breech of the prime directive.
Could the society be returned to a stable state before its forced intervention?
What is the cost of maintaining culture barriers between differing levels of civilization? Can people be rewilded? Can we ethically make them forget about technological society? How long does it take? Are the newly natural people “happier” and well adapted to their new environment?
Would it be ethical to eventually nudge some of the new societies to produce surplus goods useful to the rest of us, as compensation for the “scientific restoration” work?
Can libertarians be a sort of PTB to lesser peoples, provided they strictly adhere to NAP and the hippocratic oath?
Hazda Monkey Hunt and Marijuana Use
Hazdas number about 900 and reside in north-central Tanzania, around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley and the Serengeti Plateau.
Hadza live as hunter-gatherers, much as their ancestors have for thousands or even tens of thousands of years; they are the last full-time hunter-gatherers in Africa.
A Harvard Douchette-Doctor “Studies” the Hazda
Hadza bushmen: Tanzania East Africa 2000
I think the Hazda should send a team of cultural anthropologists to study Harvard intellechewals.
After all, as Ayn Rand astutely noted, mainstream intellechewals cling to remarkably primitive beliefs, including Cargo Cult economic theories bequeathed to them by John Maynard Keynes, John Kenneth Galbraith, and their ilk.
If you took all the cargo cultism out of America, what would you have left?
Mericans love to check the temps because, science. It should be illegal to go outside if the windchill is more than -10. Safety!
Why stop at auto speedometers. Why not chain saw limits. Husqvarnas at 9000 rpm? Deadly and unnecessary! You can cut just fine at 5500 rpm, and it will save gas and prevent injury! More rules = more win!
Praise be to the Kami, that I can vainly attempt to take corrective action by online self-enlightenment. You’re quite a good sport to pretend my Khoisan-Merican gutteral clicking is actual lucid English.
Ayn Rand, what a great freethinker. She only humored her adoring cargo cultists, she never sought the role out herself.
Mericans love John Galt Gulching for Jesus!
Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism
Seen in its true aspect, every activity of daily life—eating, sleeping, .even a Merican’s deluded thinking—is the Buddha’s conduct.
Brief History of Buddhism in Japan
– the first step of recovery from Merican delusion disorder, is to admit you are deluded.
Oh, I completely agree that anyone who takes an entire category of issues (ie. I’m libertarian on fiscal issues but not social issues) is not libertarian. And although I greatly admire Rand Paul and Chuck Baldwin, they are certainly not libertarians. They are small government conservatives.
What i’m talking about is someone who generally embraces the NAP but is in error on a couple of points, not an entire category of issues.
“What i’m talking about is someone who generally embraces the NAP but is in error on a couple of points, not an entire category of issues.”
Ah. I get it.
I lost my respect for Rand after that whole “Snowden and Clapper should share a prison cell” fiasco. I initially defended him when I thought it was a joke, but then I listened to it and he was dead serious. Rand obviously wants to win badly enough that he’s willing to pander to the lowest of the low (Even many conservatives support Snowden) in order to win. Frankly, this country isn’t yet educated enough to elect a libertarian. I’m not going to vote for a panderer just because he’s less bad than the other guys.
I was going to vote for Rand, but he’s simply lost me. He’ll probably win ten sheep in my place, so I’m sure it ain’t hurting him, but I can only play the game so much.
I’m worried about Rand because he could prove to be a very effective neo-con catspaw. The rah-rah flag-humping crowd might very well line up behind him; also the maniacal Israel Firster Christers of the Lindsey Graham Front. These people are fanatics. Book burners. The SA in business suits with the partei pin (American flag) on the lapel.
A Backlash neo-con presidency of this sort could very well be “it” for what’s left of liberty in this country.
I honestly don’t know what’s going on in Rand Paul’s head, but the whole thing about Snowden going to jail for exposing the illegal actions of the US government was just straight out of the neocon textbook. I’m not saying he can’t earn my vote back, but I doubt he cares… he’s too busy pandering to sheep.
I never thought electing Rand would in and of itself turn the country around, but I thought it might be a huge step in the right direction. Now, I don’t think so. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not convinced.
I’m never for electoral politics, and, in fact, I was the guy who thought it would be bad for freedom if Ron Paul were president.
Let me explain this. Ron Paul, whatever his faults, is basically responsible for catalysing the modern liberty movement. He brought a ton of people together, gave them energy and focus, and created the momentum that we’re all still trying to build today. That’s a good thing. But if he became president? I’m very concerned that this would channel all the anger and all the energy of the liberty movement right back into the snare of electoral politics. People would start thinking en masse that, hey, voting really is the answer! Look how much you can change through the system — Ron Paul got elected!
So I find it pleasing that Rand — who, due to his gaming, has a much better chance of being elected — can’t get the liberty crowd behind him.
I go back and forth between being excited about Rand and being ticked at him. I’ve been in both camps and everywhere in between. I find it hard to believe he wouldn’t be better than the other options, but by how much? It seems to me that if he’s not willing to call for pardons of people like Snowden now, he certainly will not help them if he ever comes to power, and that’s a huge issue for me.
While I agree that electoral politics aren’t THE answer, I’d be absolutely thrilled to see Ron Paul in the White House. At the very least, we’d have a President vetoing any expansion of the government. That said, the best aspect of Ron Paul was educational: drawing all sorts of young people, including me, into the liberty movement.
Rand Paul’s position on Snowden suggests two things:
He is either an opportunist – or a poltroon.
He is pandering to the “good Republican” crowd that forms the core of his political support – or he is afraid of them.
Either way, it’s despicable.
It could be forgiven if he actually, genuinely turned around. Believe me, I said worse things in 2010 despite having a spark of freedom in my blood. I was a full blown neocon. Ron Paul pulled me out of it. The thing is, I don’t think Rand could do the same thing for someone who is like I was now. He just doesn’t have the principles. And you’re right, he’s an opportunist. I think he wants to win. Here’s the problem though, I’m not naive enough to believe that he’ll just magically become a libertarian when he gets into the White House. If he wins (I still think this is unlikely) there will always be the “second term” to worry about. The platform he wins on is going to be the absolute best platform we’ll see him govern on, and its likely to be even worse. If he won’t come out for pardoning Snowden now, he sure as heck isn’t going to give Snowden a pardon when he gets into the White House.
If this was the only thing Rand ever did wrong, I’d probably let it slide, however reluctantly. But its not. Rand has compromised on a wide variety of points, and at this point I am not convinced that he’ll be much better than the establishment. Which makes me very, very sad. Because, as much as I agree with ancap principles, I’d be very, very happy just to have a President who didn’t think it was OK to search EVERYONE and to bomb EVERYONE, as well as being fiscally libertarian enough to see the economy actually succeed again. Now, obviously I know that power corrupts and that even someone who gets to the White House with those kinds of principles may not keep them (Hello, Reagan). And I’m not convinced Rand will be any better in that regard.
Part of me wants Rand to get in, so he has a chance (Admittedly, I still think the chance of a good Rand Presidency are a lot better than a good Presidency from anyone else) to either succeed or fail. But part of me doesn’t, because a large segment of the liberty movement will make excuses for him no matter what he actually does, just like conservatives do for Reagan.
I’m gonna keep watching him, but I’m hardly thrilled.
Why can’t I see your avatar, BTW?
When I see a driver that is speeding, but they also immediately see me and slow down before I can clock their speed, I don’t worry about stopping them…
I call BS on this one. If a driver slows down before he can clock them, it means he has no case. The radar is the determining factor in court. If you slam on the brakes and he does “clock” you over the limit you bet he’ll be going after you, because not only does the radar gun say you were over the limit, you even slammed on your brakes.
Good Cop Free Donut:: http://www.reddit.com/r/Good_Cop_Free_Donut/comments/1ucly6/an_active_deputy_sheriff_responds_to_libertarians/
You can create a reddit ID without an email. Just pick a user id and password and retype the password in the boxes on the left. Leave the optional email field blank. You can return to reddit to login with your new ID and promote the NAP among the rank and file internet community.
Reddit signup:: https://ssl.reddit.com/login
As someone who spent hundreds if not thousands of hours working to repeal the 55 mph speed limit, my view of speed limits is that they should reflect what the maximum safe speed of travel for a particular stretch of roadway for the majority of motorists. We can debate on who owns the roads, etc, but we know that traffic law is a state, not a federal issue. We also know that traffic engineers employed by states are taught to post 85th percentile speeds when a speed limit is warranted. Most roadways warrant speed limits, however many don’t. Flat straight country roads with little or no cross traffic should have no speed limits at all. Busy thoroughfares should probably have speed limits that reflect the 85th percentile. It’s that simple.
That cop who replied needs to think about what he is saying and what he is doing if he is truly a libertarian. Some of the crap cops are doing these days is off the charts.
By his reply, I bet that he does enforce checkpoints and whatnot. I don’t see him as crossing his blue line either. He really needs to get out of that mob.
In any case, back to speed limits, their primary purpose is to inform drivers of maximum safe travel speeds. They should be high enough so that if someone gets caught and fined, they actually deserved it.
In the big picture, speed limits are about obedience and conditioning you to worship and obey a metal highway sign. In exactly the same awestruck way a primitive Indian cowers before his chief and his village’s tribal totem pole.
The American Police State is an Ongoing Atrocity
“The chief rule, below which all other rules are mere subsets is this: ‘Do what the man in charge says.”
“The essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view himself as the instrument for carrying out another person’s wishes, and he therefore no longer considers himself responsible for his actions.”
“Behavior that is unthinkable in an individual who is acting on her own may be executed without hesitation when carried out under orders.”
“Although many forms of reward are given out for dutiful compliance the most ingenious is this: the individual is moved up a niche in the hierarchy, thus both motivating the person and perpetuating the structure of authority simultaneously.”
“The net result of this experience is the internalization of the militant social order, that is, internalizing the set of mandatory rules by which social life is conducted.”
That is how we have come to live on a Prison Planet. Most people are engaged in a society-wide game of Cosplay, it is the primary purpose of their life. They never directly pursuit happiness. They engage in the top down enforced Cosplay game in a way they hope will lead to their increased happiness.
Obedience to Authority: An Experiment by Stanley Milgram
I actually agree. Speed limits shouldn’t actually exist. As a matter of public safety, they should just be recommendations.
swamprat, I was just thinking about this yesterday afternoon after following a pickup with a big trailer hauling alfalfa. He was doing the speed limit at 75 and I was too so I just backed off to follow him since I had a turn coming in a few miles. Then a crewcab diesel Ford blew by me at 90 or more as I moved over(2 lane hiway)so he could see around the rig a ways ahead of me. I suppose I should have had a heart-attack but I was only struck by the though of him going above and arbitrary number and causing no harm while the other vehicle and I were both doing the PSL, 20mph above what the PSL used to be posted on that road and the only difference being the hiway was 20 years old and the PSL signs had changed. Law, they can stick it.
Common sense goes much farther than any “law”. I have driven in residential neighbors I was scared to even go 15 mph. I don’t even know what the speed limit might have been there but I assume it was 30mph since I saw no PSL. It would have been likely in some of these areas to have a close call or even contact with a pedestrian since they were mostly below hood height. What’s so hard to understand there probably wasn’t a :”safe’ speed in that circumstance since I once had a child run into my car while stopped. OTOH, while I’ve been doing a mile eating 120 down the interstate with light traffic, I have never had an accident nor really come close. Most people can pick up bright lights coming up behind them even in the glare of summer sun and I can slow down for the bad drivers. Problem solved.
COP: Mr. Peters, I’m particularly interested in your response to without-rule-of-law situations in which criminals take advantage of the weak when law enforcement is not around.
ME: Being as we have no law enforcement, but rather only plantation rule-enforcer “cops” all types of criminals are given free reign to take advantage of the weak in any way they see fit.
Tomorrow, we might read the following in the newspapers:
Michael Bloomberg newly appointed to position of U.S. Energy Czar, announces gasoline to be outlawed throughout the Continental U.S. beginning May 1st. E100 is mandated for use by all commercial and passenger vehicles.
Vehicle Conversion Vouchers and Fuel Stamps are being mailed out next Monday. See energy.gov or your local DMV for more details.
What I’m trying to illustrate is America has no rule of law. Only the rule of COSPLAY. A man is elected or appointed to wear a costume and assume a mantle of authority and that is the end of that.
It’s absurd to argue otherwise.
The question is where have all the rule of law enforcers gone? When will they return and retake control of things? Are our children and grandchildren doomed to a bleak existence under the fearsome jackboots of unrestrained COSPLAYers?
Or will we once again reinstate the rule of law we once took for granted and assumed was our natural state and manner of conducting our society?
For an excellent look at the “rule of law” idea, the following is a classic.
The Myth of “The Rule of Law” http://militantlibertarian.org/2012/02/25/the-myth-of-the-rule-of-law/
The notion of the rule of law would only make sense if the state was an entity external to human interaction, as if it were not made up of human beings but was enforced through some natural or supernatural mechanism. But the state is quite clearly created and administered by acting human beings. It is not some sort of intrinsic mechanism of nature that functions independently of human action, or the result of the will of some deity. The only laws that can be said to rule all on their own irrespective of men are natural laws. But natural law is not something that political systems are based on, as political systems are the synthetic creations of men.
MamaLiberty – The “synthetic creations of men” invariably seem to end up working for benefit the favored few at the expense of the exploited many. This experimental “constitutional republic” has shown itself to be no different than any other state in recorded history. The current militarized police literally prove their status as jack booted thugs on a daily basis with the apparent blessing of the powers that be. I believe it’s more than a coincidence that they often wear black uniforms, “Fritz” helmets (strikingly similar to the Nazi stahlhem and work more as shock troops using CQB tactics and dynamic entry late at night. I’m sure there were plenty of “good Germans” that believed that the Gestapo and the SS were there to protect them and the Vaterland. And there were probably plenty of “good” East Germans that felt the same way about the Stasi. After all, if you aren’t doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide? Right? It’s not your blood or saliva or anus or vagina anymore; everything belongs to the state now it would seem. This is undoubtedly why Jefferson made that crack about fertilizing the tree of Liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants every so often.
If there could truly be a rule of voluntary interpersonal law, it would be best if it were extremely customizable.
While a general definition of NAP is essential, what if libertarians were to invent a manual kanban and electronic version, lets call it NAP+, that is customized for each person?
What you consider aggression and what I consider aggression may be two different things.
What if everywhere we went, we displayed and broadcast our personal NAP code, then we would better know how to deal with each other.
Allen hates profanity. Betty dislikes blasphemy. Carol hates treason. David hates strife. Erick abhors gossip and privacy intrusion.
I could voluntarily edit my speech and actions depending on who was present. In the case of private property, the property owner could make such accommodation mandatory. Maybe even install environmental filters that would prevent each of us from individually aggressing in any way.
Some may find my views on sexuality, abortion, society repugnant. and so forth repugnant. What if there was a way to know in advance what other people found acceptable and I could manually edit myself voluntarily? What if there was a way for each of us to filter the other automatically using technology?
The only issue there that’s really debatable is abortion, and I’ve shared my opinions on it. Maybe a libertarian society would go my way, maybe not, but either way, that issue actually is debated within the context of the NAP. The rest of the issues are clearly not NAP violations, however distasteful you might find them.
Tor – To illustrate your point, I do not consider most speech aggressive. Statements like “Hands up or I’ll shoot” or “I’m gonna kick yer ass!” could certainly be perceived as threatening one with aggressive violence. I only consider direct threats to be “hate speech” which would lead me to take preemptive measures such as leaving or drawing a weapon. Now statements advocating a particular religion or political system or debasing the same, cultural, racial or sexual slurs or jokes, talking about my mama, calling me queer, etc. might be offensive. But in and of themselves offensive statements are not physically violent and should not garner a physically violent response merely for being uttered in public. Now if one follows me off the public sidewalk and onto my private property to persist in harassing me, that’s trespassing and all bets are off. But the problem with Liberty is that you, I and everyone else should be free to say whatever we want, so long as we don’t unjustifiably threaten or frighten others with physical harm, no matter how offensive our speech might be. We also have the right to freedom of association which means we can leave the area, refuse to do business with the venue or shun the individual. But I believe filtering through technology, at least on public property, is just as good an idea as Google muzzling this website.
Nice exchange! I think it’s pretty cool he took the time to email his response and ask you to post it. Still, I’ll never understand why anyone would want to enforces BS technical foul laws and man unconstitutional checkpoints.
Here’s a video from a couple weeks go driving to work.
Officer Safety Tailgates then Hauls Ass:
Good exchange, but the only novelty was the officer doing “lip service” to “libertarianism.” There was no hint of any new approach by the good officer – other than perhaps being willing to turn a bit of a sympathetic eye toward an enthusiast driver who seems to demonstrate he is “paying attention.” But when the chips are down, my strong impression is our officer would never, ever CROSS THE BLUE LINE. If you need to know what that means, you haven’t been paying much attention.
Make no mistake about it: there are no libertarian cops on the payroll. They are, by definition, enforcement agents of the STATE.
I agree with you that the majority of speed limits are set unrealistically low, to generate revenue. But “if” limits were set realistically, I’d agree with the cop that they are needed, and should be enforced.
He writes a pretty reasonable letter. Readers however, should not presume that most cops exercise the same discretion, and respect for the Constitution that this officer claims to have.
How can a speed limit, other than the natural speed limit for each vehicle/driver combination, be realistic?
If speed limits were intended for safety, the government would mandate each vehicle be equipped with a governor that restricts its speed to 75 or 80MPH(not sure what the highest speed limit is in the U.S.).
Traffic laws are just recognition of the fact that the government owns the roads on which we travel. The fact that the government can make laws as arbitrary as it wants is just recognition of the fact that it can steal the money needed to enforce those laws.
Don’t be surprised if Big Brother mandates a governor on all new cars, it’s their next logical step after having all of us tax cattle equipped with GPS trackers. I once had a rental car with one set to 80mph; made it really freaky trying to pass a semi on the highway. Needless to say I never rented from that company again, but I’m sure the govt. version would issue me a ticket and disable my car until I could be re-educated.
At least something like that might push enough people over the edge to make a difference. Any freedom we get back will most likely have to come the same way it did 200+ years ago.
Ford vehicles all come with something called MyKey – which is Beta test rollout of in-car electronic governors.
Last fall, they sent me a Focus so equipped – and the previous journalist who drove the car had enabled the 80 MPH max limit. I did not have the Master Key, so I could not un-enable it.
Like you said, trying to pass a Clover was rotsa fun…
Hi Eric –
The car I had was a Ford Focus, a year or so ago. looks like I’m never going to consider buying a Ford product, though in a few years the Feds will probably mandate that all manufacturers pussify their cars
I washed my hands of GM stuff, too, once they put DRLs and EDRs in all their vehicles.