A small, specific question about libertarianism

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LaserGuy
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:47 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Griffin wrote:Zamfir, it's an entirely different thing. In this example, you can choose to not be part of any libertarian collective or only be part of one you agree with.

Well, the context was 'big government or social spending', which implies the involvement of at least something state-like.

Otherwise it becomes trivial: there are plenty of voluntary collectives where the members pay money to the organization, which then distributes the money back. Depending on the details we call them insurers, or charities, or pension funds, or lotteries, or ponzi schemes, etc. No one calls them 'libertarian social spending', let alone 'big government'.

There's already a hint of this in LaserGuy's example:
Now, say you live in the province of Ontario, and the people there decide that they want to implement a system of taxation, and use those funds to pay for socialized healthcare. You don't wish to have socialized healthcare, so you decide to leave the province of Ontario. You can now form a new province, say, Zamfiria, either with just your own lands, or with your lands and those of anybody else who wants to join you. Or you can decide that you'd rather just join neighbouring Quebec, which doesn't have socialized healthcare. Either way, you're still part of Canada, but now you're in a different commune.


Taken literally, this is just a private health insurer that calls itself "The Province of Ontario". The largest insurer of the Netherlands is actually called "National Netherlands", and membership is completely voluntary. There is another insurer that calls itself the "Kingdom of the Netherlands", and this one puts you in jail if you don't pay, and on an outbound plane if you resign your membership.

I assume that LaserGuy means something more than just a normal private insurance firm. A kind of collective where the membership is voluntary enough to satisfy libertarian sentiments, but different enough from the trivial examples of already existing private organizations.

I am not sure whether this is possible, at least in the current social order. In practice, organizations become either full subsidiaries of a regular state, or they shed nearly of their semblance to a government. Perhaps organized religions fall somewhere in between, but they are hardly libertarian collectives.


Well, health insurance is just an example. And even that is more limited than what I'd said. When I said healthcare, I was thinking in terms of the collective providing the actual care itself--owning and operating the relevant medical facilities and paying the personnel and whatnot. But either way. Okay, so now "the Province of Ontario" is a health insurance provider. Suppose now that the people within Ontario decide that they also want to get into the business of maintaining infrastructure in the lands that they own. Roads and sewers and things, and use that agency, since it's already there, to take care of that business as well. And they decide that, rather than running the agency by referendum on every little detail, they'll just run elections every couple years to have representatives make the decisions about what the agency should be doing. Maybe they also want a pension fund, a "Province of Ontario" school system, and a charity system to help people who are unemployed. Maybe they have local bylaws that people agree to, and create an internal agency to enforce those bylaws. At what point does this object cease being a private organization and become a big government? And why is one acceptable but the other unacceptable?

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:51 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote: At what point does this object cease being a private organization and become a big government? And why is one acceptable but the other unacceptable?


When membership becomes compulsory, and for that reason.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby AtlasDrugged » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:07 am UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:The problem with Libertarianism, as I see it and as the OP defines it, is that there is no universal agreement on what liberty is - and that by claiming a unilateral right to its definition, Libertarians seem to define it in a way stacked in their favour. E.g. property rights are sacred, but there is nothing to address the origin of property in enclosure and bloody conquest. If you can extend the radius of your person to the absurd, you can claim that any threat to your interests is an attack on your personal liberty.

Frankly, it comes across as rather petulant. Libertarians do not distinguish between selfishness (always pursuing the maximization of some metric of personal gain, regardless of any other concerns) and individualism (being true to oneself, making choices). Worse, they are convinced that their selfishness is some kind of supreme moral imperative, and are willing (as the OP points out) to dismiss things that objectively make society better (in the US, the big obvious one is European-style universal healthcare) in favour of their ideal.


The problems that you identify here (if they are problems) aren't unique to libertarianism. Property might be an essentially contested concept, but so are ideas like social justice that the left holds dear (and considers a 'supreme moral imperative'). By what standard is European-style universal healthcare objectively better? Sure, once you decide on a standard it might be obvious that a certain policy is better or worse at meeting that standard, but that initial choice will reflect the values with which you approach the question.To hold political beliefs is to make moral judgements. Libertarians would argue that their principles are both superior in the abstract, and more empirically likely ceteris paribus to lead to an optimal outcome, precisely because they don't impose themselves on people in the same way that others' do: for instance, in a libertarian society I can still choose to live as if drugs were banned by not taking them, whereas in a prohibitionist society I cannot act as if I were under the libertarian policy.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby elasto » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:18 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:
LaserGuy wrote: At what point does this object cease being a private organization and become a big government? And why is one acceptable but the other unacceptable?


When membership becomes compulsory, and for that reason.

How is membership of any country compulsory? People emigrate all the time, both rich and poor. Sure, you have to sell or abandon your land to do so but the alternative - that people can arbitrarily secede from their National Government - would succeed about as well as Communism does in the real world. Feudalism/Balkanisation has been tried and shown to be thoroughly awful for everyone but the richest and most powerful (and, even for them, other political systems likely work much better over the long term.)

AtlasDrugged wrote:Libertarians would argue that their principles are both superior in the abstract, and more empirically likely ceteris paribus to lead to an optimal outcome, precisely because they don't impose themselves on people in the same way that others' do: for instance, in a libertarian society I can still choose to live as if drugs were banned by not taking them, whereas in a prohibitionist society I cannot act as if I were under the libertarian policy.

One thing you have to bear in mind, though, is that even in a libertarian society you can't make your own rules as you wish. Back in the real world, countries impose their principles on each other all the time - either directly, through force or threat of force, or indirectly, through favoured trading arrangements or aid.

If Mexico were to declare the manufacture and sale of drugs legal then you better bet the US would have something serious to say about that.

Yes, if the whole world were to go libertarian and were to agree not to interfere in each other's internal affairs perhaps it could be made to work, but, heck, if the whole world were to go communist perhaps that could be made to work too.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:31 am UTC

AtlasDrugged wrote:The problems that you identify here (if they are problems) aren't unique to libertarianism. Property might be an essentially contested concept, but so are ideas like social justice that the left holds dear (and considers a 'supreme moral imperative').


Nobody ever claims that social justice exists as a concept indepenent of any group that implements it. Libertarians claim property is somehow fundamental.

By what standard is European-style universal healthcare objectively better? Sure, once you decide on a standard it might be obvious that a certain policy is better or worse at meeting that standard, but that initial choice will reflect the values with which you approach the question.To hold political beliefs is to make moral judgements.


Its not a question of values, really. Europeans pay so much less for their healthcare, and live comparably long or longer lives on average:

http://www.google.com/publicdata/explor ... &ind=false

and don't try to pull some BS about environmental factors; Brits drink more than Americans, and the French notoriously smoke like chimneys. The idea that Europeans are living some super-healthy lifestyle that can cause them to spend half as much per capita on healthcare is so absurd I will have to ask you for some incredbily strong evidence to support such an assertion.

Libertarians would argue that their principles are both superior in the abstract, and more empirically likely ceteris paribus to lead to an optimal outcome, precisely because they don't impose themselves on people in the same way that others' do: for instance, in a libertarian society I can still choose to live as if drugs were banned by not taking them, whereas in a prohibitionist society I cannot act as if I were under the libertarian policy.


Not taking drugs in a society where they are legal is not equivalent to living in a society where drugs are banned, because other people may be affected by drugs. This is another flaw in libertarianism; the unspoken assertion that each man is an island, and a refusal to see how the vast majority of a persons actions do have an impact on others. Once again, it comes across as plain selfishness; I'm going to do what I want and screw everybody else. It is no wonder that Atlas Shrugged is mocked as a manual for anti-social teenage boys.

(I myself support decriminalisation, but not to the point of surrendering logic)

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:45 am UTC

elasto wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:
LaserGuy wrote: At what point does this object cease being a private organization and become a big government? And why is one acceptable but the other unacceptable?


When membership becomes compulsory, and for that reason.

How is membership of any country compulsory? People emigrate all the time, both rich and poor. Sure, you have to sell or abandon your land to do so but the alternative - that people can arbitrarily secede from their National Government - would succeed about as well as Communism does in the real world. Feudalism/Balkanisation has been tried and shown to be thoroughly awful for everyone but the richest and most powerful (and, even for them, other political systems likely work much better over the long term.)


Lets take for instance the "social contract," that as a "British" (eugh) citizen, I supposedly am subject to. No one ever showed me this. No one enumerated the rules to me. I never gave my consent to it, nor was I given the opportunity to. That makes it de-facto compulsory. You've hit the nail on the head with regards to emigration, but you've completely missed the part where most states are held together by nothing more than military force and the threat of violence. In no system absent of the threat of state violence would England and Scotland ever have become one entity. in England alone, the North is culturally different from the south enough that in a liberty-maximising model they'd almost certainly form seperate states, even if not soverign. and then the states would get even smaller, Mercia,Northumbria, Wessex, and then hopefully smaller still. If people were free to secede at any time, wed en'd up with better, more proportional government, that more accurately represented the will of the people. Hey, theres even a historical example :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_Commonwealth
http://praxeology.net/libertariannation/a/f13l1.html

(note how things only went to shit with the establishment of a state with powers of taxation. War, impossible without it, profitable with it)

I'd particularly like to take on your point that a system where people were able to secede from the central government would only help the rich and powerful. Thats ridiculous, and pretty much the opposite of what could be reasonable expected to occour. Presently most nations have a parasite class of politicians and financiers skimming off the labour of productive members of society through taxation, predatory lawmaking, and usury. People becoming more self-sufficient, being left alone more, and able to form their own government easily is going to weaken the parasite class, and strengthen the regualr Tom, Dick or Harry. I live in a country run by a cabal of hereditary billionaires at the moment. Not being subject to them would do anything but good for the "rich and powerful"
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby capefeather » Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:58 am UTC

I'm glad that this thread has presented a much saner form of libertarianism than just about every forum I go to, where I could almost swear that they're closet anarchists who can't admit it because they're also staunchly religious or whatever. (To be fair, I have taken a uni philosophy course so I'm aware of Nozick at least.) However, I do have to agree with EdgePenguin a bit in what still trips me up about libertarianism. There's the general idea of being self-interested and communing with other people with similar self-interests. My problem with this is that it seems to ignore the interpersonal impacts of decisions, and even may not have to acknowledge truth and reality. And that is where EdgePenguin's use of statistical data comes into play. I can live with the right to be wrong, but what if I exercise the right to be wrong, when I'm really trying to be right?

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Griffin » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:03 am UTC

In no system absent of the threat of state violence would England and Scotland ever have become one entity

You should probably learn a weeee bit more history here. England and Scotland became one country because it made sense - they both operated under the same monarch, Scotland needed England financially. And then the Scottish Parliament voted to join the British (mostly due to fears of the Catholics regaining the monarchy. And everyone that wasn't Catholic wanted to prevent that from happening, for good reason, though not all wanted to join with England)

I mean, this was pretty much the least "threat of state violence" union between two countries ever. Of all the amazing examples you could have used to demonstrate your point, how did you manage to pull out the one that was outright wrong?

And nothing binds Scotland to England yet - they can still vote to secede whenever they want. Their inclusion in the UK has always been optional.

Ireland would have been a significantly better example.

EdgePenguin wrote:Not taking drugs in a society where they are legal is not equivalent to living in a society where drugs are banned, because other people may be affected by drugs. This is another flaw in libertarianism; the unspoken assertion that each man is an island, and a refusal to see how the vast majority of a persons actions do have an impact on others. Once again, it comes across as plain selfishness; I'm going to do what I want and screw everybody else.]

First: You do realize that this is the exact argument used against gay marriage, right? Do you think this sort of reasoning is actually legitimate?

Second, I've never met a libertarian that refuses to acknowledge that their actions impact others. But not all of their actions impact others in a way anyone should give a damn about - going to the store and buying the last glass mickey mouse cup impacts others, but it would be pretty absurd to pass a law that no one could do so. The modern day nanny-statist approach has the similarly unspoken assumption that your life is not your own, and that you owe everything about yourself to the greater society - or worse, to specific other people.

And libertarians are, pretty fairly I think, utterly disgusted by that idea.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby folkhero » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:57 am UTC

hawkinsssable wrote:
folkhero wrote:One important pillar of libertarian thought that the OP missed is the non-aggression principle which states that aggressive actions like violence, threats of violence, or theft. With the exception that aggression may be permitted in prevention or in response to other acts of aggression.


Actually, a quick question about this - so are you saying that libertarianism is appealing because the non-aggression principle is intuitively appealing?

I can't speak for anyone else, but I find intellectually appealing in terms of how I want people to treat me and how I want people to treat others in the abstract. When making ethical decisions (either personally or what I would want the state to do) I don't use it as a hard and fast 100% of the time rule but more as a giant red flag to make me question my own motives whenever I want to see it violated. I feel like if everyone did this, the world might be a smidgin better off.
hawkinsssable wrote:Things seem to get a little messier and weirder in cases like cross-pollination of different farmers' crops, pollution, infectious diseases, etc. It seems really hard to draw a nice, clear line defining 'reasonable precautions' and 'very dangerous contagious disease' - should people with shingles be quarantined or told to try to avoid touching pregnant women? How about people with the common cold? I don't think where you draw the line is going to have very much to do with the non-aggression principle per se. Spreading around a cold infringes the exact same rights as spreading around a particularly debilitating and harmful disease - if they're equally virulent the only difference is that the deadly disease has worse consequences for those infected. If you're going to draw the line somewhere I think you'll have to draw on some principles and values other than non-aggression.
Under the non-aggression principle, responding to or preventing an act of aggression is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for using force. For example nothing in the non-aggression principle says you can't give life imprisonment to a 15 year old who shoplifted gum, but that's clearly idiotic, unjust and harmful to society. Similarly with infectious disease policy you need some cost-benefit (and possibly some other considerations) analysis to determine what policies to actually enact.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

Griffin wrote:
EdgePenguin wrote:Not taking drugs in a society where they are legal is not equivalent to living in a society where drugs are banned, because other people may be affected by drugs. This is another flaw in libertarianism; the unspoken assertion that each man is an island, and a refusal to see how the vast majority of a persons actions do have an impact on others. Once again, it comes across as plain selfishness; I'm going to do what I want and screw everybody else.]

First: You do realize that this is the exact argument used against gay marriage, right? Do you think this sort of reasoning is actually legitimate?


That would be a guilt by association fallacy. Arguments against gay marriage can be easily dismissed by looking at the exact extent of the effect gay marriage has on straight people i.e. sod all. Don't let that get in the way of your mudslinging at anyone who disagrees with you though.

Second, I've never met a libertarian that refuses to acknowledge that their actions impact others. But not all of their actions impact others in a way anyone should give a damn about - going to the store and buying the last glass mickey mouse cup impacts others, but it would be pretty absurd to pass a law that no one could do so. The modern day nanny-statist approach has the similarly unspoken assumption that your life is not your own, and that you owe everything about yourself to the greater society - or worse, to specific other people.

And libertarians are, pretty fairly I think, utterly disgusted by that idea.


We all owe our lives to lots of things that predate us and were not of our making; sanitation, vaccination, agriculture, the evolutionary conditions that led to humanity and the astronomical conditions that kept Earth safe enough from cosmic nastiness long enough for that evolution to take place. Humility is called for.

I do understand that libertarians are 'disgusted' by the idea that they are anything but self-created masters of their own destiny, but adults in a modern society understand that their existence is largely facilitated by good fortune and the kindness of others, and that they have duties as well as rights.

And ironically, the example you picked to attempt a Reducito Ad Absurdum actually undermines your own argument. Buying things inherently impacts on both the planet and its people. A lot of stuff you buy in Disneyland, to take your own example, is made by near slave labour in China and Haiti. Putting money into this has a small but measurable effect on peoples lives. There is also the cost to the Earth's limited energy supply (which, predating human existence, can hardly be called 'ours' to exhaust in a couple of generations) and the cost of the emissions using that energy caused (which future generations will have to pay to mitigate).

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:12 pm UTC

Griffin wrote:
In no system absent of the threat of state violence would England and Scotland ever have become one entity

You should probably learn a weeee bit more history here. England and Scotland became one country because it made sense - they both operated under the same monarch, Scotland needed England financially. And then the Scottish Parliament voted to join the British (mostly due to fears of the Catholics regaining the monarchy. And everyone that wasn't Catholic wanted to prevent that from happening, for good reason, though not all wanted to join with England)

I mean, this was pretty much the least "threat of state violence" union between two countries ever. Of all the amazing examples you could have used to demonstrate your point, how did you manage to pull out the one that was outright wrong?

And nothing binds Scotland to England yet - they can still vote to secede whenever they want. Their inclusion in the UK has always been optional.


The funny thing is, I was going to use Ireland as the example, but chose Scotland because I know more about the history of the act of union. I wasn't specifically referring to military conquest, more the use of the military to put down riots on both sides of the border. I'm well aware of the darrien scheme, and how the act of union was an attempt by a Scottish monarch and his ministers to secure a bailout of scotland through English funds. The scottish parliament voted to join the english because it was unrepresentative (landowners were much better off under english than scottish law, so of course a parliament made up of rich landowners was in favour of union) and because they stood to gain financially.

"Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.
What force or guile could not subdue
Through many warlike ages
Is wrought now by a coward few
For hireling trators' wages"


Then there was the suppression of the Friends of the People and the Society of United Scotsmen.

Scotland can vote to secede whenever they want, now, but they couldnt for several hundred years, and the electoral comission is doing everything it can to make succeeding on such a vote impossible. I hope they succeed anyway - Scottish independence would be English independance.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Griffin » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:18 am UTC

We all owe our lives to lots of things that predate us and were not of our making;

I'm sorry, just... no. I can't agree with this. A child's existence is due to the actions of their parents, but they do not owe anything, not a single thing, to their parents merely by that act of creation.

I do understand that libertarians are 'disgusted' by the idea that they are anything but self-created masters of their own destiny

(bullshit alert - this has jackall to do with owing people stuff as well)
but adults in a modern society understand that their existence is largely facilitated by good fortune and the kindness of others, and that they have duties as well as rights.

And most libertarians would readily agree with that (everyone I've ever met, at least). So I'm not sure what your point is, here.

That would be a guilt by association fallacy. Arguments against gay marriage can be easily dismissed by looking at the exact extent of the effect gay marriage has on straight people i.e. sod all.

It ideologically isolates many conservatives, leading to a likely uptick in violence as they will react in fear and anger. It is the ultimate sign of their personal culture being under attack by things strange and new. Gay marriage is a huge wedge issue that ignites the conservative base and cements their power. I think it goddamn well does have an effect on straight people.

The point was that living in a society where gay marriage is allowed is not the same as living in a society where it isn't - and a great many people would prefer that second society. Gay marriage is completely 100% about unadultered selfishness - and that doesn't make it any less something that should happen. Even IF gay marriage had a noticeable negative impact (for example, by splitting up a family in arguments, which I've seen happen, creating long lasting enmity), I'd argue that this is a perfect example of the case where they should say "I'm going to do what I want and screw everybody else" - because it's not their fucking problem if other people want to make a mess over it.

If a gay couple knew getting married would cause severe toil in one of their families, do you think they should avoid it to appease those who would be upset by it, then? Do you think they should be forced to by an outside force?
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:57 am UTC

People don't worry about drugs because it might upset others, they worry because addicts can easily wreck their own lives and that of the people around them, and addiction is hard to reverse even if the addict wants to.

If gay sex had the same effects on people as heroin, I would be all in favour of heavy-handed regulation. Luckily, its doesn't seem to have those effects.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:25 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:People don't worry about drugs because it might upset others, they worry because addicts can easily wreck their own lives and that of the people around them, and addiction is hard to reverse even if the addict wants to.

If gay sex had the same effects on people as heroin, I would be all in favour of heavy-handed regulation. Luckily, its doesn't seem to have those effects.


http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=Is01B1
http://www.catholiceducation.org/articl ... o0075.html
http://www.wnd.com/2006/01/34534/

Now they're all wildly biased sources, but then the negative effects of heroin are exaggerated too (with many of them being due in whole or part to the very fact that heroin is illegal).
The studies that the first two sources cite seem genuine.

It's my personal belief that neither heroin nor homosexuality should be subject to regulation by the state, though if a community decided "no addicts" or "no gays" amongst themselves then more power to them.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:10 am UTC

Yes, if I agreed with those sources I would be a lot more worried about homosexuality then I actually am. That's my point: whether an action has significant effects on others is largely a matter of observation and experience, not of principle.
Ormurinn wrote:It's my personal belief that neither heroin nor homosexuality should be subject to regulation by the state, though if a community decided "no addicts" or "no gays" amongst themselves then more power to them.

What's the difference between the power to expel people from amongst you, and regulation by a state? You didn't enter a social contract with the community you were born into either. At some point it's just about smaller states and larger states.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:12 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Yes, if I agreed with those sources I would be a lot more worried about homosexuality then I actually am. That's my point: whether an action has significant effects on others is largely a matter of observation and experience, not of principle.
Ormurinn wrote:It's my personal belief that neither heroin nor homosexuality should be subject to regulation by the state, though if a community decided "no addicts" or "no gays" amongst themselves then more power to them.

What's the difference between the power to expel people from amongst you, and regulation by a state? You didn't enter a social contract with the community you were born into either. At some point it's just about smaller states and larger states.


NB - I'm not actually a libertarian, I just happen to mostly agree with them. You could conceptualise my idea social and legal structure a fluid mosaic of tiny self regulating states that constantly re-form and break away from each other if you like, and in which membership is completely voluntary. In the end though, It's still a question of rights. If you want to say communities have no right to choose who is or is not a member, you're robbing them of their right to assosciation - which is a greater infringement than that of telling a given group that they can't go anywhere they want. It's the same principle that gives me the right to deny strangers entry to my home, or to allow them to, but then ask them to leave when it transpires that they have terrible bad breath. Just extending that principle to communities.

Theres a difference between membership in a community being voluntary, and membership being open to anyone. The former is a pre-requisite to it being a Libertarian community (and one acceptable to me) the latter is not.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:11 pm UTC

What' the difference between that, and the current world? Only the size of the states? What happens in your ideal if some states grow large anyway?

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:03 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:What' the difference between that, and the current world? Only the size of the states? What happens in your ideal if some states grow large anyway?


The outcome if I, and five hundred other people, buy land, create a village, and unanimously declare our intention to secede from the UK, living by our own laws, paying no taxes to the crown, and using our own currency.

Under the current model, we'd be subject to ever increasing state belligerence, culminating in us either being kidnapped and imprisoned by police officers, or murdered by the millitary, depending on how able we were to defend ourselves.

Under a free assosciation model... nothing happens. We go on and live our lives. Maybe our village fails, and we join another state. Maybe our laws and customs appeal, and others affiliate.

Some states growing large isn't a problem, so long as membership in them is completely optional. All a system of at-will secession does is create a market in governance where people will change to the one that best suits them. Actual democracy, rather than an electoral dictatorship. for an example, look at the system of floating Godi in the Icelandic commonwealth - I posted a link earlier in the thread. Iceland remained peaceful and stable for longer than the U.S has existed under this system. It also produced an output of art and literature comparable to ancient athens. The system only collapsed when each Godord could compel membership through the church tax.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ghostbear » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:32 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:The outcome if I, and five hundred other people, buy land, create a village, and unanimously declare our intention to secede from the UK, living by our own laws, paying no taxes to the crown, and using our own currency.

Under the current model, we'd be subject to ever increasing state belligerence, culminating in us either being kidnapped and imprisoned by police officers, or murdered by the millitary, depending on how able we were to defend ourselves.

Under a free assosciation model... nothing happens. We go on and live our lives. Maybe our village fails, and we join another state. Maybe our laws and customs appeal, and others affiliate.

You are missing some significant facts here. Firstly, you still are 100% free to not be associated with the UK. You can get up and leave any time -- you might not be able to afford to do such without drastic life changes, but you are not bound to stay within the UK.

Perhaps most relevant to your example, however, is the fact that when you try to secede from within the UK, you are trying to take property that is ultimately owned by the government. When you buy property, you are are not buying the land and all ultimate rights to it, but instead you are buying the estate in land. When you try to secede with your collection of people, you are trying to "steal" the sovereign territory of the state. You would need an allodial title for your idea to begin to make sense (and even then, there might be further limitations that I don't know of -- I'm not a lawyer or a real estate agent), while all you have is a fee simple. From my reading, this is pretty much universal to common law nations.

Or, perhaps the short version: you can't secede with purchased land, because you never bought the property in full. Your issue is that everyone else has already established their states; the only places where you can avoid being under the jurisdiction of one would be international waters, though even there, you're still subject to international laws.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:46 pm UTC

I see some practical objections, as you can imagine:

- Is the larger state obliged to grant the small-sate citizens access to their territory? If yes, is the smaller state in return obliged to allow access to citizens from the large state? WOuld their be restriction on that access, or could people move between states like they now do within a state?

- If you and 250 people buy half a village, can you still form a state? if you on your own decide to declare your house a state, is that possible as well? Do neighbours have any right on what state they will border tomorrow?

- Is the larger state obliged to accept you back as citizens? What about your children? They will be like you: born in a state they didn't choose to, and in their case even a tiny village. If neighbouring states don't accept them as citizens, they will be far more restricted than you are now. Would you consider that bad as well?

- If one of your fellow citizens commits a crime according to the laws of the large state, on the territory of the large state, are they allowed to arrest him on your state's land? If not: what if I rob a bank, then declare my house a separate state? Does that mean I stay free? What if I start a polluting factory and declare it a free state? At what point is the large state allowed to interfere?

- What if a small state becomes unfree, ruled by a landlord who does not allow the people to leave? That's hardly theoretical after all, it's what the typical little state looked like when they still existed.

- If people outside your little state declare an intention to plunder your state, is the large state obliged to stop them? Are they obliged to punish those people after their deed? What if it is very dangerous and expensive to stop such people, for example because they are from powerful third state?

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:51 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:You are missing some significant facts here. Firstly, you still are 100% free to not be associated with the UK. You can get up and leave any time -- you might not be able to afford to do such without drastic life changes, but you are not bound to stay within the UK.

Perhaps most relevant to your example, however, is the fact that when you try to secede from within the UK, you are trying to take property that is ultimately owned by the government. When you buy property, you are are not buying the land and all ultimate rights to it, but instead you are buying the estate in land. When you try to secede with your collection of people, you are trying to "steal" the sovereign territory of the state. You would need an allodial title for your idea to begin to make sense (and even then, there might be further limitations that I don't know of -- I'm not a lawyer or a real estate agent), while all you have is a fee simple. From my reading, this is pretty much universal to common law nations.

Or, perhaps the short version: you can't secede with purchased land, because you never bought the property in full. Your issue is that everyone else has already established their states; the only places where you can avoid being under the jurisdiction of one would be international waters, though even there, you're still subject to international laws.


What makes the state's claim to that land legitimate? I'm well aware that what i see as justice isn't possible under current law, but thats an issue with the law. That land is only the territory of the "United Kingdom" because they've claimed it and can back up their claim with guns. I personally subscribe to the concept that ownership of land should go to whoever invest's their labour value into that land (i.e those immediately occupying it), but thats not something libertarians generally agree with. Nevertheless, its hard to argue that any state has more of a moral right to land than the people who live on it.

Why should I have to surrender something I have more right to (my home, my property) than the government, In order not to have to be subject to it's laws? Im making the argument "Things as they stand are unfair, this is how things should be" and you're coming back with "But you're missing that things as they are won't allow you to do that" I know. Thats the problem.

Do you also think medieval feudal lords had more right to their land than the peseants that worked it?
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:07 pm UTC

Ormurin, what if people do not agree with you? You claim to have a right to secede, others say you don't. What determines who is correct?

You reject the law as method to decide this question, and you also seem to reject the right of the strongest as arbiter. You appeal to 'rights', but those rights are apparently not the rights that were laid down in the law. Where do those rights come from? No one ever showed them to me, I never signed for them. Can I disagree with them?

In particular: I never agreed to 'rights' that allow my neighbour to start a new country. Why does that not count?

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Bharrata » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:10 pm UTC

I'm just going to record some of my thoughts so far, instead of quote-sniping the whole thread.



To me it appears that the fundamental question Whimsical Eloquence brought up a page back has been lost in the shuffle. Libertarianism has a blind spot when it holds up liberty as the most imperative right of the individual which is restricted by government. That liberty is, of course, the ability and free choice to do as one sees fit with one's property, be it body or external/monetary resources without state interference. The entire idea of property is a byproduct of the State. The notion of private property allows the upper-class, and in some instances lower ones, to have a say in the shaping of the state and a share in its power - it's a distribution of resources in such a way that it is no longer necessary to plan their utilization from a central source.

This distribution has at least two effects. First, it allows for a citizen class who feel invested in the community, by having a say in the governance of resources they are consequently less likely to revolt. Citizenship and property have been intertwined in the Western idea of the nation since the city-states in Greece, where the requirement for citizenship was ownership of hoplite armor and weapons so that if the city were attacked the citizens could jointly protect their property. Secondly, it optimizes economic efficiency as an outgrowth of increased economic choices for the inhabitants of the territory/region, if the society is stable. This optimization is analogous to the transformation to a purely competitive market from a near-monopoly or monopoly market, wherein static efficiency approaches maximal and the potential for dynamic efficiency may be decreased.

What is being increased here are the number of interactions which can be solved economically rather than territorially/violently. This is because the state now has laws about the property, which did not exist as a concept before, within it and can thereby intervene with force when violent transactions rather than economic transactions occur. Resources have been abstracted in concept from the physical things you can defend, to what you can leverage/trade peacefully into more resources (for more trading...and more resources). This transference of conquest to wealth allows for the utility of objects to be better determined and thus the standard of living marginally rises for everyone, and thus the state may attract more citizens who wish to live in the (relatively) violence-free confines of its territorial borders.

Property rights and property are abstract ideas humans have created over time to build the world we live in, but they have no physical correspondence to the reality we've created. They are useful abstractions that allow us the ability to use resources better than we might on first impulse.


The big problem (I have) with Libertarianism is that class struggle is built into the property law system. Going back to ancient Greece there has always been a struggle between the economic have's and have-not's in democracies. The great thing about the property system is every individual can have a say in how they use their resources, but an unfortunate consequence is that some start with waaay more resources than others. One of the benefits of having more resources is that you can hire the best speakers to advertise your POV even if the speaker doesn't agree (who wouldn't say anything for a nice villa in ancient Greece? :D ), or you can pay off others to vote your way. This effectively destroys the equality of each citizen's vote, as one citizen can easily have more influence than 100 of their fellows, not based on the merit of their idea but on the amount of resources they 'own' - and some of those resources may have been acquired unscrupulously in the first place.

The only check on an incredibly rich citizen not becoming a despot in this situation is to go back to the source of their power, the State. Only the State can step in at this point and throw them in jail for trying to subvert the people or say "hey, you've got a little bit too much stuff, we're going to give it to some other people who need it more." The last one is essentially what the State already did when it set up property rights, instead of the King holding all the property, it was divided among his subjects, and everyone benefited. Solon's economic reforms of ancient Athens are an example of the latter "redistribution" of the wealth of the oligarchs to create a more equitable society.

I find it interesting to note that libertarians are predisposed to viewing any government agency as inefficient or corrupt, presumably on the basis that humans with power tend to become corrupt. In what way is the corrupting influence of power solved when it is moved from the hands of government to the hands of private property owners? At the very least I can see and ask questions of those I elect to rule over me, whereas economic rule is much harder to untangle. To say nothing of how great the divide in power and capital is between citizen groups and multinational corporations.


If libertarians want a greater ability to have a say in the government policies that affect them, get rid of Citizens United first, and your vision won't be half as pants-shitting scary as it is at the moment.

If you're into "Liberty" as a philosophical stance, take the next logical step: abolish ownership and emancipate us all. <- I won't be expecting anyone to call for that in the political arena in my lifetime.
Last edited by Bharrata on Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:14 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ghostbear » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:11 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:What makes the state's claim to that land legitimate? I'm well aware that what i see as justice isn't possible under current law, but thats an issue with the law. That land is only the territory of the "United Kingdom" because they've claimed it and can back up their claim with guns.

The land is the property of the state because they own the original and full titles to it, and have yet to grant them to someone else. The guns are the reason nobody has taken that land from them by force -- the legal ownership is completely removed from the state run army. You might say that they own those titles because of their use of force, but in the case of the UK, that was nearly 1,000 years ago, and the only reason the people they took it from had it was because of their own use of force, and so on and so on until you find the first people that ever claimed it as their own.

If you were to try to secede with that territory, then you would be trying to steal it from them: you would be the one trying to take it by force. The reason you don't is because they have better and more numerous force that they can call upon to discourage you.

Ormurinn wrote:I personally subscribe to the concept that ownership of land should go to whoever invest's their labour value into that land (i.e those immediately occupying it), but thats not something libertarians generally agree with. Nevertheless, its hard to argue that any state has more of a moral right to land than the people who live on it.

This is pure ideology with zero reality in it. When you buy a car on loan, you're the one "investing your labor" into it, yet it is not your car until you have paid it off in full. When you live in an apartment, you're the one "investing your labor" into it, yet it is not yours unless you purchase the deed from your landlord (which they may or may not choose to do). When you buy a plot of land, you're the one "investing your labor" into it, yet it is not 100% yours until the state grants you the allodial title, which they may or may not choose to do (which historically, is "not"). Your thought process here would completely annihilate the concept of loaning, renting, or shared ownership, reverting to possession being 10/10 of the law instead of the metaphorical 9/10. It would not work in the real world.

If I rent my home to someone else, should that be forfeit of the property immediately? That's all the current land title system works out to be -- a complicated tenant system. The state grants you some fancy papers that give you exclusive right to do what you want (within some other, pre-established restrictions -- such as zoning laws) while living on their land, and in exchange you pay your rent each month (property taxes).

Ormurinn wrote:Why should I have to surrender something I have more right to (my home, my property) than the government, In order not to have to be subject to it's laws? Im making the argument "Things as they stand are unfair, this is how things should be" and you're coming back with "But you're missing that things as they are won't allow you to do that" I know. Thats the problem.

No, what you said was "Why can't I take my property and do what I want with it?" and my response was to point out that it is not your property in the sense that you imagine it is.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:40 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Ormurin, what if people do not agree with you? You claim to have a right to secede, others say you don't. What determines who is correct?

You reject the law as method to decide this question, and you also seem to reject the right of the strongest as arbiter. You appeal to 'rights', but those rights are apparently not the rights that were laid down in the law. Where do those rights come from? No one ever showed them to me, I never signed for them. Can I disagree with them?

In particular: I never agreed to 'rights' that allow my neighbour to start a new country. Why does that not count?


Crikey, this shit just got theological.

We can argue about this until we're blue in the face, but since we're starting from different epistemeological positions, we're not going to get anywhere*. Broadly speaking I subscribe to a lockean notion of personal property (as distinct from private property) and the idea that individual rights are sacrosanct. These rights are all derived from the idea that what someone does with their own body and their own property is their own business till someone else is hurt. You (going purely from what you've said) seem to believe rights are granted by majority vote. Thats sad news if you're any kind of minority.

I assume you're in favour of abortion rights (since nearly everyone on this forum is). Theres a large chunk of people who disagree with your right to (as they see it) murder an unborn child. This is easily rebutted from a libertarian perspective because your right to do as you wish with your own body is sacrosanct. Why shouldn't your right to do what you wish with your own lands be sacrosanct also?

Theres also a moral element in this to me - the farmer who tills the soil has more right to his land than the financier who owns it. I feel this in my bones. Maybe you don't, in which case I hope to at least persuade you of the validity of my position.

*
Spoiler:
I don't mean this to seem offensive - its just our position as i see it currently.


Ghostbear wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:What makes the state's claim to that land legitimate? I'm well aware that what i see as justice isn't possible under current law, but thats an issue with the law. That land is only the territory of the "United Kingdom" because they've claimed it and can back up their claim with guns.

The land is the property of the state because they own the original and full titles to it, and have yet to grant them to someone else. The guns are the reason nobody has taken that land from them by force -- the legal ownership is completely removed from the state run army. You might say that they own those titles because of their use of force, but in the case of the UK, that was nearly 1,000 years ago, and the only reason the people they took it from had it was because of their own use of force, and so on and so on until you find the first people that ever claimed it as their own.

If you were to try to secede with that territory, then you would be trying to steal it from them: you would be the one trying to take it by force. The reason you don't is because they have better and more numerous force that they can call upon to discourage you.


We're looking at this from opposite angles. To you, the state has the right to the land because they have pieces of paper saying so. To secede would be theft from the state. To me, the people occupying the land have a moral right to that land - they occupy it, rely on it for sustenance, put their labour into improving it, perform economically productive work on it - and its only the ever-present threat of violence by the state that prevents it from being theirs.

You think secession is shoplifting. I think refusing to allow secession is armed occupation.


Ghostbear wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:I personally subscribe to the concept that ownership of land should go to whoever invest's their labour value into that land (i.e those immediately occupying it), but thats not something libertarians generally agree with. Nevertheless, its hard to argue that any state has more of a moral right to land than the people who live on it.

This is pure ideology with zero reality in it. When you buy a car on loan, you're the one "investing your labor" into it, yet it is not your car until you have paid it off in full. When you live in an apartment, you're the one "investing your labor" into it, yet it is not yours unless you purchase the deed from your landlord (which they may or may not choose to do). When you buy a plot of land, you're the one "investing your labor" into it, yet it is not 100% yours until the state grants you the allodial title, which they may or may not choose to do (which historically, is "not"). Your thought process here would completely annihilate the concept of loaning, renting, or shared ownership, reverting to possession being 10/10 of the law instead of the metaphorical 9/10. It would not work in the real world.

If I rent my home to someone else, should that be forfeit of the property immediately? That's all the current land title system works out to be -- a complicated tenant system. The state grants you some fancy papers that give you exclusive right to do what you want (within some other, pre-established restrictions -- such as zoning laws) while living on their land, and in exchange you pay your rent each month (property taxes).


My views on this matter are pretty neatly summed up by Kevin Carson:

For mutualists, occupancy and use is the only legitimate standard for establishing ownership of land, regardless of how many times it has changed hands. An existing owner may transfer ownership by sale or gift; but the new owner may establish legitimate title to the land only by his own occupancy and use. A change in occupancy will amount to a change in ownership. . . . The actual occupant is considered the owner of a tract of land, and any attempt to collect rent by a self-styled [“absentee”] landlord is regarded as a violent invasion of the possessor’s absolute right of property.


What you're saying is that the people who occupy and use the land, invest their labour into it, have a connection to it and make productive economic use of it, should have to pay a deadweight cost to another man by virtue of a piece of paper granted to him by men with guns who will shoot you if you don't comply.

You think the Diggers were the bad guys in their struggle for self determination? What's your opinion on the highland clearances? Should those uppity peasants should have shut their faces and sucked it up? after all, the government had given landowners a deed granting them the common land. Silly things like their use and occupancy of that land being irrelevant.

If mutualist/market anarchist principles were adopted wholesale (I believe there should be allowance made for short-term renting - and most agree with me.) then there would certainly be a massive change in the structure of the economy, but it wouldn't necessarily be a negative one. Right now the rich make vast sums of money while performing no useful work - extracting rents from productive members of society through their artificially-granted property rights. That's a deadweight loss to the economy, as well as a social injustice on an epic scale.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:40 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:We can argue about this until we're blue in the face, but since we're starting from different epistemeological positions, we're not going to get anywhere*.


Yeah, that's possible. At the same time, I am hardly the only person who's not convinced about the attraction or viability of microstates. I don't think centralized government on a scale of dozens of millions of people is a good thing. But we've got it vaguely working, and for all its downsides it solves at least some issues.

After all, on the surface your proposal would create safe havens for criminals, it would bankrupt my pension fund, end the economic safety net my government currently provides, make it impossible to regulate polluting or dangerous industry near me. Just to name a few examples.

So whether you like it or not, you'll have to convince people like me, who don't feel it in their bones, or believe it's sacrosanct. Unless you consider force, which seems both unlikely and against your own principles. And I don't think righteousness will be enough to sell it, you'll need to sell that it's workable as well.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ghostbear » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:24 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:We're looking at this from opposite angles. To you, the state has the right to the land because they have pieces of paper saying so. To secede would be theft from the state. To me, the people occupying the land have a moral right to that land - they occupy it, rely on it for sustenance, put their labour into improving it, perform economically productive work on it - and its only the ever-present threat of violence by the state that prevents it from being theirs.

You think secession is shoplifting. I think refusing to allow secession is armed occupation.

What of the people who put all of their labor into acquiring that 'chiffon de papier'? It's not just a wad of plant fibers -- people had to put their own labor, their own effort and work, into acquiring it. It's not like the state doesn't occupy and rely on that land, or improve it with their own resources. As a resident (particularly if a citizen) of the state you are part of it, the state relies (in part) on that property tax income to pay for its vital functions, and the state will invest its own resources into improving that land and its occupants. When you secede, you're invariably going to be trying to take the roads and streets, the water purifiers, police stations and so on -- the property that the state has been actively and directly improving. What right do you have to exclusive ownership of those? If you don't claim them, then by your argument of complete ownership, the state would have the right to just build giant walls around your property and prevent you from ever leaving; you couldn't even go to your neighbors houses, since those would be blocked off too.

In the end, your attempt to secede is just an attempt to take that land you're on by force as well. If it's bad for you to prevent you from leaving by force, it's equally bad for you to take land yourself by force.

Ormurinn wrote:If mutualist/market anarchist principles were adopted wholesale (I believe there should be allowance made for short-term renting - and most agree with me.) then there would certainly be a massive change in the structure of the economy, but it wouldn't necessarily be a negative one. Right now the rich make vast sums of money while performing no useful work - extracting rents from productive members of society through their artificially-granted property rights. That's a deadweight loss to the economy, as well as a social injustice on an epic scale.

How would you determine "short term" renting? Would it be an arbitrary cut off point (either by default or by logical deduction)? Then landlords, including the state, would just kick everyone off their property before that cut off point arrives -- this would be far, far worse for the people that don't own land, instead of better. Would it be based off of the billing period? Then the state would just go ahead and re-word the terms of all of their property taxes and call it a day -- nothing changes in this scenario, except some legalese. Hell, in the first case, you'd effectively make land ownership a "might makes right" scenario -- people would just go and force people off a plot of land, and if they could avoid reprisal for long enough, it'd be theirs. You'd be encouraging violence.

I also think you're also missing where the wealth derive their continued revenue streams from; most of them aren't going to be doing such through land ownership, but through other properties: stock, patents, copyrights, specific resources, outright capital, and so on. Changing property rights won't go ahead and make those people do more directly beneficial work -- hell, they won't even notice it.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:10 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=Is01B1
http://www.catholiceducation.org/articl ... o0075.html
http://www.wnd.com/2006/01/34534/

Now they're all wildly biased sources, but then the negative effects of heroin are exaggerated too (with many of them being due in whole or part to the very fact that heroin is illegal).
The studies that the first two sources cite seem genuine.


I had a look at those sources, albeit briefly. Ninety Five percent of the apparent negatives relating to homosexuality are about increased incidence of STDs. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone here but men like sex, and when men like to have sex with other men, there is a lot of sex being had and an increase in STD incidence as a result of increased levels of sex. There is no reason to believe that legalizing gay marriage will have any effect on this whatsoever. If anything it might promote the idea of monogamy in married homosexual couples.

There other 5% of the negatives apparently relate to suicide rates and mental illness, which I just felt was absolutely disgusting to present. High suicide rates, especially amongst teens relate strongly to being rejected by society and their peer groups, being made to feel that their sexuality is somehow wrong and something to be despised. Acceptance of homosexuality and the legitimacy of homosexual couples will reduce suicide rates.

Shockingly homosexual couples are different to heterosexual couples and have a different set of issues, fortunately sitting bored out of your mind while your partner is either shoe or handbag shopping isn't one of them. And legalizing gay marriage isn't going to make any of the issues worse if anything it will improve things, potentially a lot.

Now heroin. I think it may be fair to expect that the legalization of heroin could increase rates of use, which would be bad for the person doing said heroin and all the people around them and the people that get their shit stolen.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:07 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:We can argue about this until we're blue in the face, but since we're starting from different epistemeological positions, we're not going to get anywhere*.


Yeah, that's possible. At the same time, I am hardly the only person who's not convinced about the attraction or viability of microstates. I don't think centralized government on a scale of dozens of millions of people is a good thing. But we've got it vaguely working, and for all its downsides it solves at least some issues.

After all, on the surface your proposal would create safe havens for criminals, it would bankrupt my pension fund, end the economic safety net my government currently provides, make it impossible to regulate polluting or dangerous industry near me. Just to name a few examples.

So whether you like it or not, you'll have to convince people like me, who don't feel it in their bones, or believe it's sacrosanct. Unless you consider force, which seems both unlikely and against your own principles. And I don't think righteousness will be enough to sell it, you'll need to sell that it's workable as well.


I'm well aware that a lot of people need to be convinced - I'm just not particularly competent as an orator (or the textual equivalent thereof) - and you seem to be coming from the idea that no-one has inherent rights, which makes arguing my position significantly harder.

I posted a link to the Icelandic Commonwealths legal system, which you might find interesting - theres an example of a stateless society with a highly efficient legal system. Theres also the Xeer system in Somalia for another example. Most societies (certainly your ancestors, if you're native to the netherlands.) practiced customary not state law until fairly recently.

If the transition happened tomorrow, economically, you'd almost certainly be better off. You'd own your dwelling, and the land around it. You'd be liable to pay "Tax" only to those organisations you were a member of. Luxury goods would most likely be more expensive than they are now (at least until the supply chain between states stabilised) but locally produced goods and essentials would become much cheaper (no outlay on rent). I don't know how things are in the netherlands, but here it's next to impossible for a young family to buy a house, since landowners have bought up vast tracts of property to rent, and prices are being kept inflated by the government. That problem disappears, in a system of mutualist land ownership hording land becomes impossible. The barriers that prevent entrepeneurship on your part, or people nearby you, would disappear. More market actors means due to the Ricardian law of assosciation, benefits in society will find their way to you faster and more evenly.

Ghostbear wrote:What of the people who put all of their labor into acquiring that 'chiffon de papier'? It's not just a wad of plant fibers -- people had to put their own labor, their own effort and work, into acquiring it. It's not like the state doesn't occupy and rely on that land, or improve it with their own resources. As a resident (particularly if a citizen) of the state you are part of it, the state relies (in part) on that property tax income to pay for its vital functions, and the state will invest its own resources into improving that land and its occupants. When you secede, you're invariably going to be trying to take the roads and streets, the water purifiers, police stations and so on -- the property that the state has been actively and directly improving. What right do you have to exclusive ownership of those? If you don't claim them, then by your argument of complete ownership, the state would have the right to just build giant walls around your property and prevent you from ever leaving; you couldn't even go to your neighbors houses, since those would be blocked off too.

In the end, your attempt to secede is just an attempt to take that land you're on by force as well. If it's bad for you to prevent you from leaving by force, it's equally bad for you to take land yourself by force.


The usual rule for mutualist law that I've seen is some variation along the lines of "for this place to be legally yours, you (the rights holder) must have spent at least x% of time in the last Y years occupying it"

I don't have much sympathy for absentee landlords, or big businesses that buy up land and rent it back to those who live on it. With ownership based on occupancy, those with vast portfolios of property lose out, and the ordinary people who rely on that property, and who have more right to it, win.

Yes, this means big firms lose their property to the people working in them. Thats a good thing. We go from a top down model at present to one where for a firm to get big, it has to affiliate many small factories, and it can only do this by making conditions for affiliation favourable.

I'll take a different tack - do you believe the American Revoloution was justified? the secession of the South? The English Civil war? The Spanish Civil War? If you side with the state in each position, your views are at least logically consistent, even if they are a bit... evil.

Ghostbear wrote:I also think you're also missing where the wealth derive their continued revenue streams from; most of them aren't going to be doing such through land ownership, but through other properties: stock, patents, copyrights, specific resources, outright capital, and so on. Changing property rights won't go ahead and make those people do more directly beneficial work -- hell, they won't even notice it.


If ownership is based on occupancy and use, then you can't own stock in a company you don't directly contribute to. Intellectual property disappears in any free market system. Don't underestimate the amout of unproductive rent seeking a landowner is capable of either. The funny thing is, you claimed changing property rights wont make the parasite class have to earn their living - and then you reeled off a list oif different kinds of property rights.

When you take state-granted monopoly rights from people, whether it's a monopoly on land they havent earned, or the right to restrict peoples free speech, everyone else benefits.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:35 am UTC

Griffin wrote:and that you owe everything about yourself to the greater society - or worse, to specific other people.
Unless you are some sort of anarcho-primitivist and live some form of palaeolithic lifestyle, you're damn right you do.

Griffin wrote:
We all owe our lives to lots of things that predate us and were not of our making;
I'm sorry, just... no. I can't agree with this. A child's existence is due to the actions of their parents, but they do not owe anything, not a single thing, to their parents merely by that act of creation.
Why can't you?

Griffin wrote:
but adults in a modern society understand that their existence is largely facilitated by good fortune and the kindness of others, and that they have duties as well as rights.
And most libertarians would readily agree with that (everyone I've ever met, at least). So I'm not sure what your point is, here.
You've disagreed twice already in this very post, AND you brought it up in the first place...
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ghostbear » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:57 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:The usual rule for mutualist law that I've seen is some variation along the lines of "for this place to be legally yours, you (the rights holder) must have spent at least x% of time in the last Y years occupying it"

You say this, and conveniently avoid responding to the part of my prior post where I point out why this would work out much worse for the average person. If this becomes the new norm, then land owners (including the state itself) are just going to hire groups of enforcers to forcibly remove you from their property before that threshold is met. They might just shuffle people around between various properties that they own. The end result you want is not what would be achieved; you'd be increasing the power of the wealthy, increasing the extent to which might makes right.

Ormurinn wrote:I'll take a different tack - do you believe the American Revoloution was justified? the secession of the South? The English Civil war? The Spanish Civil War? If you side with the state in each position, your views are at least logically consistent, even if they are a bit... evil.

Civil wars are complicated affairs. They are more complicated than mere land ownership -- the justified ones represent a time where the parent government has failed, completely, to meet it's obligations to the people, and on a large scale at that. The American Revolution in particular is quite complicated for this assessment -- British Parliament had failed to provide them proper representation, yet the underlying grievances were more the state not letting the colony have its cake (defense from French/Natives) and eat it too (not pay for it). The South's attempt to secede most definitely was not justified: they seceded because they were unhappy that Lincoln won the presidential election, over fears that they would not be able to continue enslaving others. It might very well be the least justified large-scale secession of which I know. I don't know much enough about the Spanish or English civil wars beyond their general effects on history to speak much of them, but I expect they also represent a complicated affair.

Ormurinn wrote:If ownership is based on occupancy and use, then you can't own stock in a company you don't directly contribute to. Intellectual property disappears in any free market system. Don't underestimate the amout of unproductive rent seeking a landowner is capable of either. The funny thing is, you claimed changing property rights wont make the parasite class have to earn their living - and then you reeled off a list oif different kinds of property rights.

Considering that we're talking about land property, I think they're quite valid. If you truly wish to upend the entirety of property rights in total, then the end result is going to be a return to an agrarian society. Judging by your other posts, that could very well be something you want and would consider an improvement. I, and many others (I would not hesitate much to say "the vast majority" in fact), would not want that, and would not consider it an improvement. You can make the rich more productive without shoving them into a field with a hoe.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:00 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:
Griffin wrote:and that you owe everything about yourself to the greater society - or worse, to specific other people.
Unless you are some sort of anarcho-primitivist and live some form of palaeolithic lifestyle, you're damn right you do.


No, you don't. If you've paid your debts in full, you have a clean slate. Its completely ridiculous to claim that by virtue of living in the same society as someone, I owe them anything. What claim do they have to my lifesblood? You can't owe someone something if you never consented to the exchange.

nitePhyyre wrote:
Griffin wrote:
We all owe our lives to lots of things that predate us and were not of our making;
I'm sorry, just... no. I can't agree with this. A child's existence is due to the actions of their parents, but they do not owe anything, not a single thing, to their parents merely by that act of creation.
Why can't you?


Theres two meanings of the word owe - theres the weaker one implying that something is due to something else, and the stronger one implying that because of this, an obligation is placed on someone. Either you're using the former definition and Griffin is using the latter, or you have a philosophy with some truly frightening implications.

Ghostbear wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:The usual rule for mutualist law that I've seen is some variation along the lines of "for this place to be legally yours, you (the rights holder) must have spent at least x% of time in the last Y years occupying it"

You say this, and conveniently avoid responding to the part of my prior post where I point out why this would work out much worse for the average person. If this becomes the new norm, then land owners (including the state itself) are just going to hire groups of enforcers to forcibly remove you from their property before that threshold is met. They might just shuffle people around between various properties that they own. The end result you want is not what would be achieved; you'd be increasing the power of the wealthy, increasing the extent to which might makes right.


Ah, perhaps I wasn't clear - It's a negative enforcment. In order for that property owner to maintain his right to that property, he has to be the user of that property for x% of the time. Unless you're suggesting that property owner is going to be making a whistle-stop tour of all his properties, living in each for the minimum required amount of time, he won't be able to own more than a set amount of property without running into a set of complications. Different mutualists have diferent ideas of the practical implementations of land ownership theory - but really, I'd be happy with any system that prevents the ruling class monopolising ownership of land and extracting unproductive rent from it.


Ghostbear wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:I'll take a different tack - do you believe the American Revoloution was justified? the secession of the South? The English Civil war? The Spanish Civil War? If you side with the state in each position, your views are at least logically consistent, even if they are a bit... evil.

Civil wars are complicated affairs. They are more complicated than mere land ownership -- the justified ones represent a time where the parent government has failed, completely, to meet it's obligations to the people, and on a large scale at that. The American Revolution in particular is quite complicated for this assessment -- British Parliament had failed to provide them proper representation, yet the underlying grievances were more the state not letting the colony have its cake (defense from French/Natives) and eat it too (not pay for it). The South's attempt to secede most definitely was not justified: they seceded because they were unhappy that Lincoln won the presidential election, over fears that they would not be able to continue enslaving others. It might very well be the least justified large-scale secession of which I know. I don't know much enough about the Spanish or English civil wars beyond their general effects on history to speak much of them, but I expect they also represent a complicated affair.


To me, all of those secessions were justified, because a nation shouldn't have to recognise a state authority it finds illegitimate. The English civil war was fought by the common people on the promise of land rights - the Levellers and Diggers fought on the side of parliament because it promised to "Throw off the Norman Yoke" - return to them access to the common land. It didnt.

Ghostbear wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:If ownership is based on occupancy and use, then you can't own stock in a company you don't directly contribute to. Intellectual property disappears in any free market system. Don't underestimate the amout of unproductive rent seeking a landowner is capable of either. The funny thing is, you claimed changing property rights wont make the parasite class have to earn their living - and then you reeled off a list of different kinds of property rights.

Considering that we're talking about land property, I think they're quite valid. If you truly wish to upend the entirety of property rights in total, then the end result is going to be a return to an agrarian society. Judging by your other posts, that could very well be something you want and would consider an improvement. I, and many others (I would not hesitate much to say "the vast majority" in fact), would not want that, and would not consider it an improvement. You can make the rich more productive without shoving them into a field with a hoe.


I don't want an agrarian society in the slightest, just a free one. I fail to see how eliminating copyright will lead to a less industrialised society (in fact, it removes on of the major barriers to manufacturing a wide variety of goods.) The people who work in a factory owning that piece of capital doesn't imply that the factory will stop producing goods either. I believe in property rights - I just don't believe that the Baron who owns most of the land in my community has more right to that land than the farmers he extorts. I dont think that Baron should necessarily have to be a farmer, but he should be something other than a flea on the side of a productive economy.

I want a radical decentralisation of power, not a radical deindustrialisation.
Last edited by Ormurinn on Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:18 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby elasto » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:16 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:No, you don't. If you've paid your debts in full, you have a clean slate. Its completely ridiculous to claim that by virtue of living in the same society as someone, I owe them anything. What claim do they have to my lifesblood? You can't owe someone something if you never consented to the exchange.

Whether or not you consented to the exchange, it happened, and therefore you do have some form of moral obligation.

Normally it's not owed to a specific person - normally it's done on a sort of 'pay it forward' basis. Let's take public roads as a simple example: People from before you were born paid their taxes in order to invest in a road system - a road system that you personally benefit from whether you yourself drive or not (eg. your food is cheaper than it otherwise would be if roads did not exist and hauliers everywhere had to transport all their goods across dirt tracks.)

The deal (whether you like it or not) is that people before you invested in public roads that benefited you, and, likewise, your tax money will be used to benefit those around you and also benefit people not yet born.

In case the concept is not familiar to you, it's generally known as 'society'.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ghostbear » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:42 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Ah, perhaps I wasn't clear - It's a negative enforcment. In order for that property owner to maintain his right to that property, he has to be the user of that property for x% of the time. Unless you're suggesting that property owner is going to be making a whistle-stop tour of all his properties, living in each for the minimum required amount of time, he won't be able to own more than a set amount of property without running into a set of complications. Different mutualists have diferent ideas of the practical implementations of land ownership theory - but really, I'd be happy with any system that prevents the ruling class monopolising ownership of land and extracting unproductive rent from it.

Then they'll just force everybody off the land and leave it in ownership limbo. Which they will then enforce as theirs by virtue of kicking out anyone that tries to live on it in the meantime. The problem still exists; I'd argue it's possibly only been made worse.

Ormurinn wrote:To me, all of those secessions were justified, because a nation shouldn't have to recognise a state authority it finds illegitimate. The English civil war was fought by the common people on the promise of land rights - the Levellers and Diggers fought on the side of parliament because it promised to "Throw off the Norman Yoke" - return to them access to the common land. It didnt.

I have a hard time accepting any statement that claims the secession of the south was completely justified. They had consented to be in the USA until they lost an election they had wanted to win. That's not a justification, that's being a sore loser.

Ormurinn wrote:I don't want an agrarian society in the slightest, just a free one. I fail to see how eliminating copyright will lead to a less industrialised society (in fact, it removes on of the major barriers to manufacturing a wide variety of goods.) The people who work in a factory owning that piece of capital doesn't imply that the factory will stop producing goods either. I believe in property rights - I just don't believe that the Baron who owns most of the land in my community has more right to that land than the farmers he extorts. I dont think that Baron should necessarily have to be a farmer, but he should be something other than a flea on the side of a productive economy.

If you don't see how requiring active, direct use to maintain property wouldn't revert us back to an agrarian society, then I don't believe you've actually thought about the full outcome here. Corporations while flawed (the overarching desire for profit at all costs can cause quite a few negatives) are relatively essential for modern affairs; even if we assume that your system would allow for a single individual to own a company (I do not believe it would allow that, but let's pretend it does), then companies would be limited by the concentration of wealth of individuals. Things like the internet -- completely reliant on cables that go through the properties of most individuals -- would be impossible in this scenario. As would roads and trains.

Don't forget electricity -- the reason they're able to put power cables on your property is because the state has the highest level of ownership of that property. Under your system, you could band together a bunch of people to own the properties surrounding someone you don't like, then refuse to consent to allow power to travel to them. Just about the only modern form of mass transportation that wouldn't be upended here is the bicycle, and that's only because they'd be cheap enough for an individual to purchase it in one go -- and even that assumes that there would still exist factories to make them, and that people can still get jobs to make money for a bike in the first place. Reversion to an agrarian society would be completely inevitable here.

I don't know how you did it, but I believe you have managed to take the absolute worsts of capitalism and merge them with the absolute worsts of communism into a single system.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:25 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:Ah, perhaps I wasn't clear - It's a negative enforcment. In order for that property owner to maintain his right to that property, he has to be the user of that property for x% of the time. Unless you're suggesting that property owner is going to be making a whistle-stop tour of all his properties, living in each for the minimum required amount of time, he won't be able to own more than a set amount of property without running into a set of complications. Different mutualists have diferent ideas of the practical implementations of land ownership theory - but really, I'd be happy with any system that prevents the ruling class monopolising ownership of land and extracting unproductive rent from it.

Then they'll just force everybody off the land and leave it in ownership limbo. Which they will then enforce as theirs by virtue of kicking out anyone that tries to live on it in the meantime. The problem still exists; I'd argue it's possibly only been made worse.


If they force everyone off the land, they can't make any money on it. Even then, they'd be required to tour their holdings in order to maintain a right to them, which limits the size of their posessions.



Ghostbear wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:I don't want an agrarian society in the slightest, just a free one. I fail to see how eliminating copyright will lead to a less industrialised society (in fact, it removes on of the major barriers to manufacturing a wide variety of goods.) The people who work in a factory owning that piece of capital doesn't imply that the factory will stop producing goods either. I believe in property rights - I just don't believe that the Baron who owns most of the land in my community has more right to that land than the farmers he extorts. I dont think that Baron should necessarily have to be a farmer, but he should be something other than a flea on the side of a productive economy.

If you don't see how requiring active, direct use to maintain property wouldn't revert us back to an agrarian society, then I don't believe you've actually thought about the full outcome here. Corporations while flawed (the overarching desire for profit at all costs can cause quite a few negatives) are relatively essential for modern affairs; even if we assume that your system would allow for a single individual to own a company (I do not believe it would allow that, but let's pretend it does), then companies would be limited by the concentration of wealth of individuals. Things like the internet -- completely reliant on cables that go through the properties of most individuals -- would be impossible in this scenario. As would roads and trains.

Don't forget electricity -- the reason they're able to put power cables on your property is because the state has the highest level of ownership of that property. Under your system, you could band together a bunch of people to own the properties surrounding someone you don't like, then refuse to consent to allow power to travel to them. Just about the only modern form of mass transportation that wouldn't be upended here is the bicycle, and that's only because they'd be cheap enough for an individual to purchase it in one go -- and even that assumes that there would still exist factories to make them, and that people can still get jobs to make money for a bike in the first place. Reversion to an agrarian society would be completely inevitable here.

I don't know how you did it, but I believe you have managed to take the absolute worsts of capitalism and merge them with the absolute worsts of communism into a single system.


So you can't see how the employees of a factory owning a factory, still have the capability to manufacture goods? Distributing infrastructure amongst people doesn't necessarily lead to it stopping working. The existence of huge megacorporations would be an impossibility under this system, but confederations of suppliers and manufacturers could still exist, and do the same job, except their holdings would be distributed amongst the communities they were a part of. Rather than a massive company owning all the factories, the workers in the factories own them (because of their right to own what they themselves occupy and use) and distribute their goods through a network.

As for power and internet access, your scenario involving cutting off power to someone seems... unrealistic. You'd have to be pretty hated for that to work. Even assuming it did, is giving the state the right to confiscate property on a whim a lesser evil than sopme people not getting internet access?

I fail to see why a railway couldn't work - It'd be owned by the staff and people who lived near to the railway. I've already explained how a factory could work.

Im genuinely bemused at a lot of your arguments - perhaps its because I have presented mine incorrectly. this is a pretty good resource for articles that approximate my viewpoint http://c4ss.org/ I think i cited something earlier in the thread. Heres an FAQ http://c4ss.org/market-anarchism-faq . TBH, I'm aware that my position on personal vs. private property would need some wrangling to get to work - if it could at all. Do you have a more workable alternative to eliminate parasitic rent-seeking?
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:11 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:Unless you are some sort of anarcho-primitivist and live some form of palaeolithic lifestyle, you're damn right you do.
No, you don't. If you've paid your debts in full, you have a clean slate. Its completely ridiculous to claim that by virtue of living in the same society as someone, I owe them anything. What claim do they have to my lifesblood? You can't owe someone something if you never consented to the exchange.
Everything you think, everything you know, everything you do, it is all shaped by the world around you. We're talking about 10-20 thousand years of human development and discovery. How can anyone ever pay that back? In this context was does 'paying it back' even mean?

Ormurinn wrote:Theres two meanings of the word owe - theres the weaker one implying that something is due to something else, and the stronger one implying that because of this, an obligation is placed on someone. Either you're using the former definition and Griffin is using the latter, or you have a philosophy with some truly frightening implications.
Considering that one of the things we owe is 'the astronomical conditions that kept Earth safe...' it would be phenomenally absurd for either of us to be using the second definition.

YOU OWE JUPITER FOR CATCHING METEORS! PAY JUPITER ITS METEOR CATCHING FEES!!! :mrgreen:

I don't know how you did it, but I believe you have managed to take the absolute worsts of capitalism and merge them with the absolute worsts of communism into a single system.
Glad I'm not the only one thinking it. Still, its interesting to see a brand of libertarianism that is simply impractical, rather than impractical and absolutely logically incoherent.

Impractical you can work with and improve.

Ormurinn wrote:Do you have a more workable alternative to eliminate parasitic rent-seeking?
Wiki on Rent Seeking wrote:In economics, rent-seeking is an attempt to obtain economic rent by manipulating the social or political environment in which economic activities occur, rather than by creating new wealth.
All of your suggestions have been about eliminating 'contractual rent'. So what are you trying to eliminate? Rent-seeking, or contracts?

Let's say I own a house. I live there. I hire someone to be a live-in maid/grounds keeper. Do they now own the house because they are the ones working for it?
sourmìlk wrote:Monopolies are not when a single company controls the market for a single product.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:37 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:Do you have a more workable alternative to eliminate parasitic rent-seeking?
Wiki on Rent Seeking wrote:In economics, rent-seeking is an attempt to obtain economic rent by manipulating the social or political environment in which economic activities occur, rather than by creating new wealth.
All of your suggestions have been about eliminating 'contractual rent'. So what are you trying to eliminate? Rent-seeking, or contracts?

Let's say I own a house. I live there. I hire someone to be a live-in maid/grounds keeper. Do they now own the house because they are the ones working for it?


When one guy owns all the land for hundreds of miles around a community, and can pretty much set his rent to the absolute highest that his tenants can afford, do you not see that as "manipulating the social environment in which economic activities occur"? Bear in mind, this isn't even a guy building a block of flats, and recouping his costs by charging rent. Its a guy who owns my county because it was given to him in the norman conquest, and has local farmers in virtual serfdom. He's never even visited most of the land he owns, and hasn't improved it. He's invested nothing in this land, but has a piece of paper saying that those who do have to give him a portion of their earnings.

[quote=Adam Smith]"As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce. The wood of the forest, the grass of the field, and all the natural fruits of the earth, which, when land was in common, cost the labourer only the trouble of gathering them, come, even to him, to have an additional price fixed upon them. He must then pay for the licence to gather them; and must give up to the landlord a portion of what his labour either collects or produces. This portion, or, what comes to the same thing, the price of this portion, constitutes the rent of land"[/quote]

The wiki page you linked actually categorises land rent as economic rent.

If you own the house and live there, you have more right to it than the live in maid because you're allowing her to stay as a "guest" for want of a better term. If you have a house, hire a live in maid, and don't visit in 10 years, I would argue that that maid has more of a right to the house than you.

On the owe vs owe distinction - it does genuinely seem to me that griffin is using the second definition. Since you were speaking in the context of taxes it makes sense.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ghostbear » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:48 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:If they force everyone off the land, they can't make any money on it. Even then, they'd be required to tour their holdings in order to maintain a right to them, which limits the size of their posessions.

No, they can't make as much money off it as they can right now. Under that system, however, it'd be the result that maximized the money they make off the property. The rich would get richer slightly less quickly, but everyone else who isn't well enough off to own property of their own (aka the vast majority of people) would be made to endure forced relocation from their residency every $time_threshold. In effect, the absolute wealth of the rich would go down, but their relative wealth compared to others would go up significantly. It'd be a worse situation for everyone that doesn't own property (unless you enjoy playing musical chairs with your possessions, work, social network, etc. every $time_threshold).

Ormurinn wrote:So you can't see how the employees of a factory owning a factory, still have the capability to manufacture goods? Distributing infrastructure amongst people doesn't necessarily lead to it stopping working. The existence of huge megacorporations would be an impossibility under this system, but confederations of suppliers and manufacturers could still exist, and do the same job, except their holdings would be distributed amongst the communities they were a part of. Rather than a massive company owning all the factories, the workers in the factories own them (because of their right to own what they themselves occupy and use) and distribute their goods through a network.

That only covers existing factories. How do you create a new one? You'll need to get funds, and more than the workers-to-be themselves could provide. How do you apportion the proceeds from the factories that do exist? Does everyone get an equal share, does it vary based on your job -- who decides that? How is that different from shares of ownership, which you yourself said would not work in your system? What happens when you have something too complicated to have the management of such working with a small group? Many goods that are natural monopolies would fall under this realm -- you can't really have a modern processor fall under this system, as it requires the tight cooperation between various groups of people at different locations. If you split them up, they'll have too much divergence and you could easily reach a point where nothing every works. Very few modern industries would work under your system -- we'd be back to the era of tradesmen and guilds.

Ormurinn wrote:As for power and internet access, your scenario involving cutting off power to someone seems... unrealistic. You'd have to be pretty hated for that to work. Even assuming it did, is giving the state the right to confiscate property on a whim a lesser evil than sopme people not getting internet access?

You've conveniently left out all the other things that people would be being denied: electricity, water, gas (for heating), the right to leave their own home, telephone, the local septic system, all on top of the internet. When you actually take into account all of those things, yes, it is most definitely worse than state granted rights of confiscation. Which isn't even fully what we're dealing with either: in the US it's 100% required for there to be compensation or due process of law for property to be taken, and this appears to not be all that different in the UK. I would consider such to be a far, far, far lesser evil to "some people don't like you, now you get to starve to death and dehydrate and go without power and live in your own filth and freeze to death and can't communicate with the outside world and there's nothing you can do about it!". I would consider the right to not be arbitrarily forced to die, alone and in misery, through no actions of your own, to be rather essential for a state to be a good one.

Ormurinn wrote:I fail to see why a railway couldn't work - It'd be owned by the staff and people who lived near to the railway. I've already explained how a factory could work.

The railway needs to go across hundreds of miles to be economically viable -- that would be hundreds of different people's properties. Even if you can get all of those people to consent to it, once one of them no longer owns that property anymore (dies, leaves, etc.), then the next person could just say "no, you can't have a railway here" and force the whole thing to need to be redone. The threat of that would be ever present; it would make railways completely untenable. There would be similar (though less drastic) problems for boats and airplanes -- you need access to airports and docks at both ends of the journey, yet you'd have no way to ensure you would be permitted to use the port at the other end of your journey. Isn't freedom to relocate a very essential part of any free state -- where if you don't like it, you can go somewhere else that you like more? It would almost certainly be near-impossible under your system, let alone the economic and global impact this would have.

Ormurinn wrote:Im genuinely bemused at a lot of your arguments - perhaps its because I have presented mine incorrectly. this is a pretty good resource for articles that approximate my viewpoint http://c4ss.org/ I think i cited something earlier in the thread. Heres an FAQ http://c4ss.org/market-anarchism-faq . TBH, I'm aware that my position on personal vs. private property would need some wrangling to get to work - if it could at all. Do you have a more workable alternative to eliminate parasitic rent-seeking?

That FAQ seems to miss, completely and utterly, that while there are powers we grant to the state, that can result in some abuses, the modern and just state (aka not North Korea-esque places) uses those powers to protect us from far, far worse abuses. Earlier, Zamfir used the example of pollution. When you own a factory, it outputs pollutants into the air that affect everybody for quite a large distance. Without the a governing state, you lose any power to influence them, to prevent them from polluting the air you breath. Without a governing state, you lose the power to prevent them from shoving all their waste into your (and other people's) water system. Without a governing state, you lose the ability to protect yourself against collusion of market players to extort you. Without a governing state, you have no means other than your own, to protect yourself from brigands and marauders. Without a governing state, you have nothing to protect you from the results of Murphy's Law that are outside your control, such as natural disasters.

Does it matter if I have a better solution for eliminating rent-seekers? We could end murder through something akin to nerve stapling, but that would not be a better solution because of the other harms done. Your system might (which I do not think is guaranteed either) end rent-seeking, but it would do so in a way that strengthens the people you intend to weaken, and weakens the people you intend to strengthen. If you want to weaken the ability of a few powerful people to amass more power to influence the lives of those around them, you shouldn't give them a playground where no one is powerful enough to hold them back! You could re-work election laws (first past the post systems are good at shoving out less traditional candidates), rework taxation laws to be more progressive, enshrine more freedoms and rights or limitations on the state in the constitutions or charters of your governing body. You could increase the estate tax to prevent wealth from accumulating in families over generations, without having done anything other than been born to the right parents to earn it. There is a lot you could do, and much of it would have far less cataclysmic effects on people, with the actual potential to make things better in net, instead of worse in net.

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Zamfir
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:16 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:When one guy owns all the land for hundreds of miles around a community, and can pretty much set his rent to the absolute highest that his tenants can afford, do you not see that as "manipulating the social environment in which economic activities occur"?

What completely baffles me: your proposed solution is to allow this guy to declare his own country. How is that going to help?

nitePhyyre
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:12 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:When one guy owns all the land for hundreds of miles around a community, and can pretty much set his rent to the absolute highest that his tenants can afford, do you not see that as "manipulating the social environment in which economic activities occur"? Bear in mind, this isn't even a guy building a block of flats, and recouping his costs by charging rent. Its a guy who owns my county because it was given to him in the norman conquest, and has local farmers in virtual serfdom. He's never even visited most of the land he owns, and hasn't improved it. He's invested nothing in this land, but has a piece of paper saying that those who do have to give him a portion of their earnings.
I don't think so no. At least, not by my reading of it. Unless you are arguing that all forms of ownership, the concept of property itself, is rent-seeking.

Now that I've written it down, I'm pretty sure that is what you are arguing. In one way, I guess I agree. Yet, property has done a lot of good. Without fleshing out the idea more, it just seems like a knee jerk reaction. Property has some minor problems; eliminate all property. Emigration has some problems; eliminate all nations.

Going back a bit:
Ormurinn wrote:I personally subscribe to the concept that ownership of land should go to whoever invest's their labour value into that land (i.e those immediately occupying it), but thats not something libertarians generally agree with. Nevertheless, its hard to argue that any state has more of a moral right to land than the people who live on it.
I imagine your house is hooked up to clean running water? And hooked up to sewage? And hooked up to electricity? And hooked up to gas, perhaps? And that you have access to the roadways? I would also imagine that you haven't been pillaged by roaming Mongol or Viking hordes? That you haven't been invaded by hostile neighbouring nations? You haven't been poisoned by local businesses? That's a bunch of labor the government is putting in there. What do you do? Mow the lawn? Keep the house in good repair(without electrical power tools)?

Who is more deserving?

EDIT: Oh, and maybe we should make a new thread? We are pretty off topic.
sourmìlk wrote:Monopolies are not when a single company controls the market for a single product.

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