Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby 4=5 » Sun May 23, 2010 12:57 am UTC

folkhero wrote:Question for the forum: What do you think of women's only gyms and health clubs? Men's only country clubs?

As long as membership isn't heavily connected with power outside of it I am perfectly fine.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Silknor » Sun May 23, 2010 1:03 am UTC

From the perspective of the law though, how can such a determination be made? And more importantly, why does should your right to form a private club and associate with those you please decrease as you become more powerful or wealthy?
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun May 23, 2010 1:17 am UTC

Silknor wrote:And more importantly, why does should your right to form a private club and associate with those you please decrease as you become more powerful or wealthy?

It doesn't. But you can be critical of something without questioning people's right to do it.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Silknor » Sun May 23, 2010 1:20 am UTC

Maybe I was a bit unclear. My impression was that 4=5 wanted government to restrict such institutions in order to more equal access, equality of opportunity, etc.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun May 23, 2010 1:23 am UTC

I guess we'd have to ask him, but that's not how I took it.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Vaniver » Sun May 23, 2010 1:28 am UTC

Silknor wrote:Vaniver: Do you think discrimination in hiring by private firms is different than discrimination in who they serve? From the point of view of freedom of association and the business owner's property rights and freedom of contract, I'm not sure where such a distinction could be drawn.
No. I think that there is more justification for forcing businesses to serve anyone who will pay them than there is for forcing businesses to adopt a particular hiring standard, particularly since the judicial interpretation of employment law has gotten so bizarre.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Jahoclave » Sun May 23, 2010 1:44 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:Which is still segregation by a different name and is not freedom to live where one wants.
When did that freedom come about? How is it consistent with private ownership of land?

Because A. I think the idea of private ownership of land is kind of bullshit if the government takes it away if you don't pay your taxes... Seems more like private renting of land. But that's a bit of a digression into philosophy and social contract.

At any rate, freedom does come about in the context that what you're arguing for is the freedom to do what you'd like with private ownership, etc... At the same rate, if a minority can't live in a community than he has no effective ability for private ownership in that community.

And quite frankly, if your goal is to serve the public then that means you're serving the public, all of the public. And considering you have to get a business license to have a business, I don't exactly think government regulation on non-discrimination is that far reaching to start with.


And I don't disagree that hiring laws are a little borked; however, that's just the kind of f'ed up stupid legalizees crap you get out of politicians with their heads up their asses these days.

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Silknor » Sun May 23, 2010 2:05 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:And quite frankly, if your goal is to serve the public then that means you're serving the public, all of the public. And considering you have to get a business license to have a business, I don't exactly think government regulation on non-discrimination is that far reaching to start with.


What business has the goal of serving the public? The goal of a business is to profit, serving the public is usually, but not always, a mean to that end.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Vaniver » Sun May 23, 2010 4:30 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:Because A. I think the idea of private ownership of land is kind of bullshit if the government takes it away if you don't pay your taxes... Seems more like private renting of land. But that's a bit of a digression into philosophy and social contract.
And the government can jail me if I don't pay my taxes. Does that mean I don't own my own body or freedom, and I'm just renting it from the government? That's a terrifying way to approach society and justice.

Jahoclave wrote:At any rate, freedom does come about in the context that what you're arguing for is the freedom to do what you'd like with private ownership, etc... At the same rate, if a minority can't live in a community than he has no effective ability for private ownership in that community.
So, it's inconsistent, and you've yet to show why your freedom should have primacy over the freedom that is the bedrock of civilization. Ok.

If I buy a bunch of land, and decide to turn it into a nature preserve, should someone be able to build a house in that forest because he has a right to live wherever he wants? Why not? If I buy land and build a house with a lawn, should someone be able to erect a shack on my lawn because he has the right to live wherever he wants? Why not? If I buy land and build a house on it, should someone be able to break down my door and set up a cot in my bedroom, because he has the right to live wherever he wants?

Jahoclave wrote:And quite frankly, if your goal is to serve the public then that means you're serving the public, all of the public. And considering you have to get a business license to have a business, I don't exactly think government regulation on non-discrimination is that far reaching to start with.
But that's because you're presuming your conclusion. Why do I need a government license to make or sell goods or services? That's a basic infringement on my freedom and property that you need to justify before you can use it as justification for other infringements.

Jahoclave wrote:And I don't disagree that hiring laws are a little borked; however, that's just the kind of f'ed up stupid legalizees crap you get out of politicians with their heads up their asses these days.
You know a lot of libertarians are that way for practical reasons, right? The state works in predictable ways.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Indon » Mon May 24, 2010 2:21 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:You have the fundamental right to safety in your person.

Why does this right cover someone taking my food until I starve to death, but doesn't cover if people refuse to serve me food until I starve to death? Don't both result in murder?

Treating violent force different from leveraged force strikes me as an arbitrary distinction.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon May 24, 2010 2:38 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:You have the fundamental right to safety in your person.

Why does this right cover someone taking my food until I starve to death, but doesn't cover if people refuse to serve me food until I starve to death? Don't both result in murder?

Treating violent force different from leveraged force strikes me as an arbitrary distinction.


Because there is a difference between commiting harm and refusing to help. I'm not allowed to hit someone with my car, but that doesn't mean I am obligated to donate blood in case someone gets hit by a car.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Indon » Mon May 24, 2010 4:51 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:Because there is a difference between commiting harm and refusing to help. I'm not allowed to hit someone with my car, but that doesn't mean I am obligated to donate blood in case someone gets hit by a car.


Those two actions aren't remotely comparable.

A better comparison would be hitting someone with your car, versus nerd sniping, or otherwise nonviolently causing people to be hit by cars.

It's possible to cause people harm nonviolently. Why is this different than causing harm through violence?
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Crius » Mon May 24, 2010 5:18 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:Because there is a difference between commiting harm and refusing to help. I'm not allowed to hit someone with my car, but that doesn't mean I am obligated to donate blood in case someone gets hit by a car.


Those two actions aren't remotely comparable.

A better comparison would be hitting someone with your car, versus nerd sniping, or otherwise nonviolently causing people to be hit by cars.

It's possible to cause people harm nonviolently. Why is this different than causing harm through violence?


We tend to differentiate action causing harm, and inaction that doesn't prevent harm. Choosing not to engage in a transaction is a example of inaction, whereas your analogy is an example of an action, so mmmcannibalism's example is more accurate (the main difference is the shopkeeper would have benefitted from the transaction in theory).

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon May 24, 2010 7:50 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Indon wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:Because there is a difference between commiting harm and refusing to help. I'm not allowed to hit someone with my car, but that doesn't mean I am obligated to donate blood in case someone gets hit by a car.


Those two actions aren't remotely comparable.

A better comparison would be hitting someone with your car, versus nerd sniping, or otherwise nonviolently causing people to be hit by cars.

It's possible to cause people harm nonviolently. Why is this different than causing harm through violence?


So I take it you can't understand the difference between action and non action? There is a clear difference between taking an action that causes harm(like hitting someone with a car) and choosing by inaction to allow something to happen(not bothering to tackle someone out of the way).
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Indon » Mon May 24, 2010 7:53 pm UTC

Crius wrote:We tend to differentiate action causing harm, and inaction that doesn't prevent harm. Choosing not to engage in a transaction is a example of inaction, whereas your analogy is an example of an action, so mmmcannibalism's example is more accurate (the main difference is the shopkeeper would have benefitted from the transaction in theory).


True, that original example isn't quite as good.

A more appropriate example, one more matching the primary topic, is if an institution can not only refuse to do business with me, but also pressure other institutions into refusing to do business with me by, for instance, terminating business deals, refusing to continue supply, and so on.

A demographically racist area of the country isn't going to have just one racist business, but a great number of them, able and inclined to act in collusion to undermine racial integration. But by the libertarian view, that's just peachy.

mmm, you clearly didn't actually read my second example. Maybe you should do that.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Vaniver » Mon May 24, 2010 8:28 pm UTC

Indon wrote:A demographically racist area of the country isn't going to have just one racist business, but a great number of them, able and inclined to act in collusion to undermine racial integration. But by the libertarian view, that's just peachy.
Nobody is saying it's "just peachy." They're saying that market forces are better at dissuading economic racism than government restrictions and at lower cost.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby jesseewiak » Mon May 24, 2010 9:26 pm UTC

Let's see. Waiting for market forces acting to end discrimination in the South from 1866 until the 1960's = Complete and total failure!

Government intervention in the form of the CRA and other laws= The end of discrimination as a rule instead of an exception in most of the South.

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby The Reaper » Mon May 24, 2010 9:34 pm UTC

jesseewiak wrote:Let's see. Waiting for market forces acting to end discrimination in the South from 1866 until the 1960's = Complete and total failure!
You mean at some point in time during that period the market was actually given free and unfettered ability to discriminate/not discriminate at will? I think not.

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby jesseewiak » Mon May 24, 2010 9:47 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:
jesseewiak wrote:Let's see. Waiting for market forces acting to end discrimination in the South from 1866 until the 1960's = Complete and total failure!
You mean at some point in time during that period the market was actually given free and unfettered ability to discriminate/not discriminate at will? I think not.


Right, it was the big bad government that forces businesses to be racist for all that time, not business owners themselves being racist and those in power not caring about that fact because hey, they were likely racist as well.

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Vaniver » Mon May 24, 2010 10:25 pm UTC

jesseewiak wrote:Right, it was the big bad government that forces businesses to be racist for all that time, not business owners themselves being racist and those in power not caring about that fact because hey, they were likely racist as well.
Apparently you didn't know that this actually happened, but now you have no excuse.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby *bird » Mon May 24, 2010 11:57 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Silknor wrote:Vaniver: Do you think discrimination in hiring by private firms is different than discrimination in who they serve? From the point of view of freedom of association and the business owner's property rights and freedom of contract, I'm not sure where such a distinction could be drawn.
No. I think that there is more justification for forcing businesses to serve anyone who will pay them than there is for forcing businesses to adopt a particular hiring standard, particularly since the judicial interpretation of employment law has gotten so bizarre.


Well... forcing a firm to hire everyone will cause it to go out of business. Forcing a firm to serve everyone generally doesn't (buffets and rental places notwithstanding).

That being said, employment law is rather bizarre.

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby jesseewiak » Tue May 25, 2010 12:41 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
jesseewiak wrote:Right, it was the big bad government that forces businesses to be racist for all that time, not business owners themselves being racist and those in power not caring about that fact because hey, they were likely racist as well.
Apparently you didn't know that this actually happened, but now you have no excuse.


I'm well aware of Jim Crow laws. But, the point is that even without those laws, market forces still wouldn't have forced desegregation because all the power and money were in the hands of whites. So, no, even a pure libertarian state would've resulted in the same thing for most of the Jim Crow South because the vast majority of the people with economic power were racist. That's why business wasn't against desegregation because they could make more money off of a segregated populated than a desegregated one and as a result, they wrote the laws toward segregation. Until of course, the evil federal government ended this and destroyed the private right to discriminate.

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby lesliesage » Tue May 25, 2010 12:54 am UTC

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Aetius » Tue May 25, 2010 12:59 am UTC

jesseewiak wrote: That's why business wasn't against desegregation because they could make more money off of a segregated populated than a desegregated one.


What is the mechanism by which this occurs?

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby WaterToFire » Tue May 25, 2010 1:04 am UTC

I'm going to take a guess and say that due to cultural forces, racist whites would be repelled by the perceived insult in being served at the same place and in the same manner as blacks, and so the business would lose many white customers.

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Vaniver » Tue May 25, 2010 1:38 am UTC

jesseewiak wrote:I'm well aware of Jim Crow laws. But, the point is that even without those laws, market forces still wouldn't have forced desegregation because all the power and money were in the hands of whites. So, no, even a pure libertarian state would've resulted in the same thing for most of the Jim Crow South because the vast majority of the people with economic power were racist. That's why business wasn't against desegregation because they could make more money off of a segregated populated than a desegregated one and as a result, they wrote the laws toward segregation. Until of course, the evil federal government ended this and destroyed the private right to discriminate.
See that bolded part? That's the part that's the opposite of fact. It was more costly to run segregated streetcars than unsegregated streetcars. Thus, streetcar owners (who were almost all, if not all, white and most likely contained many racists) fought against the Jim Crow laws.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Dangermouse » Tue May 25, 2010 5:34 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Indon wrote:A demographically racist area of the country isn't going to have just one racist business, but a great number of them, able and inclined to act in collusion to undermine racial integration. But by the libertarian view, that's just peachy.
Nobody is saying it's "just peachy." They're saying that market forces are better at dissuading economic racism than government restrictions and at lower cost.


Which is why market forces successfully ended discrimination in the south :roll:

It is not 'more expensive' to run a whites only bar, or a whites only movie theater, if the white population:

a) overwhelmingly wants these segregation mechanisms in place

and

b) will pay more for them to exist

Both were true in the jim crow south. Honestly, its like libertarians intentionally black out J.S. Mill...

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Indon » Tue May 25, 2010 11:38 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:Nobody is saying it's "just peachy." They're saying that market forces are better at dissuading economic racism than government restrictions and at lower cost.


Why are market forces suited for dealing with problems resulting from nonviolent force when they're not suited for dealing with problems resulting from violent force?

Vaniver wrote:Apparently you didn't know that this actually happened, but now you have no excuse.


So we have one industry in which segregation was not established until it was imposed upon them through a government - and not even because the owners weren't racist, but for logistics reasons.

You've made a fine argument as to why governments should not establish segregation - but we rather already knew that.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Vaniver » Tue May 25, 2010 5:55 pm UTC

Why are market forces suited for dealing with problems resulting from nonviolent force when they're not suited for dealing with problems resulting from violent force?
Because markets operate on the level of 'nonviolent force,' and do so in a way that directly rewards non-racists and punishes racists. Governments, operating on the level of violent force, are only able to indirectly reward non-racists and punish racists- through markets, racism by itself makes you poorer; through governments, racism and getting caught and convicted makes you poorer.

I strongly agree that federal involvement was necessary to remove racism from the political structures and mechanisms of the South; that's part of the 9/10ths of the CRA that Paul agrees with. Markets can't operate while there are significant problems with violent force- if the person who decides to open an unsegregated establishment gets lynched, market forces are being overridden. But I don't think it follows that because markets can't secure their inputs, they can't secure their outputs.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Le1bn1z » Tue May 25, 2010 6:14 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:Which is still segregation by a different name and is not freedom to live where one wants.
When did that freedom come about? How is it consistent with private ownership of land?

I agree that the government should be nondiscriminatory and held to that as much as possible everywhere, because you have to deal with the government. But I don't think that's desirable or possible when considering the general populace. I don't think nepotism should be allowed in government, but I do think it should be allowed in private firms. I feel similarly, but with a stronger dislike, towards discrimination.


A bit out of context, but the Canadian experience might be interesting for those considering this question.

The seminal case on this issue in Canada is called "Re: Drummond- Wren." The full decision is available here: http://faculty.law.ubc.ca/harris/docume ... 20Wren.pdf

It's a totally awesome read. He was a WWII vet with a chip on his shoulder and a serious lack of patience for racism (he'd had to pass through Concentration Camps during the liberation).

Basically, its a decision voiding the right to "Restrictive Covenants," that is, a clause in an inheretance or sale of land or other property restricting its re-sale or transference to "Jews or other persons of objectionable nationality" (read: Blacks, East Europeans or Asians), in other words, one of the (now defunct) pillars of the right to racism in Canada.

In what has to be the toughest smack-down in the history of the Common Law, the Hon Justice MacKay tore this practice to shreds on the basis that:

1.) It is not the responsibility of the courts, the police or the governments of Canada to uphold and defend private bigotry and abuse, contrary to public policy;
2.) That such covenants are divisive of the Nation, prejudicial to the diginity of people both as humans and as subjects of the Monarch;
3.) That the sowing of such divisions amongst the King's subjects is, in fact, a Common Law definition of Treason; (
Paragraph 22: If the common law of treason
encompasses the stirring up of hatred between different classes of His Majesty's subjects, the common law of public policy is surely adequate to void
the restrictive covenant which is here attacked.)
4.) That such treason is destructive of the King's Peace, and is illustrative of an attitude truly to be condemned as dangerous, as illustrated in the (then recently concluded) Second World War, in the atrocities of the Fascists.

Frankly, he's right. We need to understand that social cohesion is a matter of public concern and public right, and that refusal to "play nice" with one's fellow citizens is a truly dangerous path to start down. As a matter of national unity and, ultimately, national security and the security of democracy and liberty, the government has a right and duty to stomp on such thing the first chance they get.

And even if they didn't, MacKay is certainly right to conclude that the courts and police have no place playing enforcer for every KKK wannabe racist in Georgia, no matter how badly the Tea Party wants them to. An owner who's only complaint against a customer or fellow-businessperson is race has no legitimate complaint before the law for which s/he may seek remedy.

As an enemy of the Nanny-State, I'd think that a libertarian would certainly be against the use of police and courts to enforce private racism.

Incidentally, this case led to the Progressive Conservatives adopting the "Bill of Rights" which, among other things, precluded the use of the courts or police for racist or bigoted purposes.

It would be worth it for Americans to consider how Rand Paul would consider enforcing the right to racism in the states, and whether they want their tax dollars going towards such a cause.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Dangermouse » Tue May 25, 2010 6:31 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Why are market forces suited for dealing with problems resulting from nonviolent force when they're not suited for dealing with problems resulting from violent force?
Because markets operate on the level of 'nonviolent force,' and do so in a way that directly rewards non-racists and punishes racists. Governments, operating on the level of violent force, are only able to indirectly reward non-racists and punish racists- through markets, racism by itself makes you poorer; through governments, racism and getting caught and convicted makes you poorer.

I strongly agree that federal involvement was necessary to remove racism from the political structures and mechanisms of the South; that's part of the 9/10ths of the CRA that Paul agrees with. Markets can't operate while there are significant problems with violent force- if the person who decides to open an unsegregated establishment gets lynched, market forces are being overridden. But I don't think it follows that because markets can't secure their inputs, they can't secure their outputs.


Governments don't operate with threats of violent force--there's a vast field of legal scholarship that supports this point. I'd suggest beginning with "The Concept of Law" by H.L.A Hart.

The problem with leaving things up to the market is that the market has no real means of punishment outside of a very nebulous claim that people will "lose money". Not only is this irrelevant at the point where discriminatory beliefs override an unseen and unmeasured 'loss of profit', but decades of US history prove that the market will allow systems of discrimination to exist. If, however, a business which refuses to serve blacks can lose its license, the market gains a rather effective mechanism at eliminating discrimination.

Private institutions constitute a considerably large section of society. In the jim crow south (this is still true in many counties today), the market determined it advantageous to segregate and discriminate. No serious scholar suggests otherwise.

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Vaniver » Tue May 25, 2010 6:42 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:As an enemy of the Nanny-State, I'd think that a libertarian would certainly be against the use of police and courts to enforce private racism.
The 'restrictive covenant' is something I hadn't heard of before. On the one hand, people should be able to write contracts about whatever they like; on the other hand, it limits the ownership of future owners. The ability of someone to permanently direct the use of a piece of property is counter to the idea that ownership can be transferred. I am fine with someone who is unwilling to sell their land to a Jew not being forced to be sell their land to a Jew, since transactions should be voluntary and that desire will most likely be costly if it is material. But I am not fine with that person, through regular economic activity, being able to restrict others. If I buy a car from a racist, I should be able to turn around and sell that car to a Jew- if for no other reason than such arbitrage helps lessen the influence of racism.

I can see a strong argument against any restrictive covenants, but I can also see an argument for them. I think the things they are good for, though, could mostly be absorbed into other things.

Le1bn1z wrote:That the sowing of such divisions amongst the King's subjects is, in fact, a Common Law definition of Treason
This strikes me as an unconvincing justification (for the American / libertarian position) on the basis of freedom of expression; here, you are allowed to stir up hatred so long as you do not instigate violence. There are practical arguments against that position (stirring up hatred often indirectly instigates violence), but I don't think they outweigh the benefits to freedom of expression.

Dangermouse wrote:Governments don't operate with threats of violent force--there's a vast field of legal scholarship that supports this point. I'd suggest beginning with "The Concept of Law" by H.L.A Hart.
What happens to people who don't pay their taxes, or who break laws?

Dangermouse wrote:The problem with leaving things up to the market is that the market has no real means of punishment outside of a very nebulous claim that people will "lose money". Not only is this irrelevant at the point where discriminatory beliefs override an unseen and unmeasured 'loss of profit', but decades of US history prove that the market will allow systems of discrimination to exist.
Unseen or unmeasured? Profit is very much visible and measurable, as are the customers you turn away. No one is claiming the market will entirely prevent racism- they're claiming the market will reduce racism in the best way. Government solutions promise to be quicker, but ask any advocate of government solutions if racism has been eliminated.

Dangermouse wrote:Private institutions constitute a considerably large section of society. In the jim crow south (this is still true in many counties today), the market determined it advantageous to segregate and discriminate. No serious scholar suggests otherwise.
Several serious scholars do, and the great thing about the market (as opposed to the government) is that it is not monolithic. The first person to say "their money is as green as anyone else's" stands to gain- and so the market turns the selfish into allies of under-served minorities.
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Tue May 25, 2010 7:17 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:The 'restrictive covenant' is something I hadn't heard of before. On the one hand, people should be able to write contracts about whatever they like; on the other hand, it limits the ownership of future owners. The ability of someone to permanently direct the use of a piece of property is counter to the idea that ownership can be transferred. I am fine with someone who is unwilling to sell their land to a Jew not being forced to be sell their land to a Jew, since transactions should be voluntary and that desire will most likely be costly if it is material. But I am not fine with that person, through regular economic activity, being able to restrict others. If I buy a car from a racist, I should be able to turn around and sell that car to a Jew- if for no other reason than such arbitrage helps lessen the influence of racism.

I am not sure whether I understand this argument. Property and excludability are deeply linked, so much that ownership basically is the right to restrict others from certain activities, insofar they deal with your property. The right to not let Jews (or anyone else) on your land is just one among a large bundle of rights.

It is not unheard of to split that bundle of rights in some sense and sell only part of them, such as people who sell land within view of their home under the condition that the new owners will not build al large building on it. Or special equity in companies that gives some but not all decision making rights to its holders. I suppose you do not strongly object to such sales with attached conditions in general.

In the example of the condition that land will not be sold on to Jews, I don't think that the attached condition as such is the problem. The problem is that the attached condition is discriminatory, and that making it explicit makes it possible to act on it. When the owner originally refused to sell to Jews that was also discriminatory and objectionable, but there was no way to separate it from the general right to choose when to sell and when not.

In the case of a business thar refuses explicitly or at least clearly to business with blacks (or Jews), it becomes again possible to act on it separately.

Vaniver wrote:What happens to people who don't pay their taxes, or who break laws?

The argument here is more that many laws do not get their power solely, or even primarily, from the possibility of enforcement, even if enforcement can be an essential part of its power. Laws also get their power from being codified social norms, and this is at least as important in their upholding. Most people object to breaking the law even if the chance of getting caught is very low, and it is practically almost impossible to enforce laws that are not seen in that light. Occupation forces for example often require extremely heavy force to hold up even a simple set of laws, while a government that is seen as legitimate can issue many laws that have hardly more than symbolic enforcement.

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Le1bn1z » Tue May 25, 2010 7:21 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:As an enemy of the Nanny-State, I'd think that a libertarian would certainly be against the use of police and courts to enforce private racism.
The 'restrictive covenant' is something I hadn't heard of before. On the one hand, people should be able to write contracts about whatever they like; on the other hand, it limits the ownership of future owners. The ability of someone to permanently direct the use of a piece of property is counter to the idea that ownership can be transferred. I am fine with someone who is unwilling to sell their land to a Jew not being forced to be sell their land to a Jew, since transactions should be voluntary and that desire will most likely be costly if it is material. But I am not fine with that person, through regular economic activity, being able to restrict others. If I buy a car from a racist, I should be able to turn around and sell that car to a Jew- if for no other reason than such arbitrage helps lessen the influence of racism.

I can see a strong argument against any restrictive covenants, but I can also see an argument for them. I think the things they are good for, though, could mostly be absorbed into other things.


The problem here is identifying the remedy. With a restrictive contract, or public store or resteraunt closed to certain racists, it is not the store which is "forced" by the police to accept all comers. Rather, it is the racist who must seek remedy from the courts and law-enforcement. The issue is that private contracts and businesses are enforced and protected by pulbic laws as a matter of public interest. While people mat write whatever contract they please, it only has effect if it is enforced by the strong-arm of the law.

Traditionally, under the common law, there are a few instances where the courts will outright refuse to enforce a public contract:

1.) In cases of Fraud (Fraud vitiates all contracts. If I sell you a car that does not run as advertised, you are not held to the payment plan)
2.) Contracts odious to liberty, law, public order or basic human rights (though the rights language is new). For example, you cannot sign yourself into slavery. The courts will also not enforce a "Essau and Jacob" scenario, where the contract is odiously exploitative of one party, to the point where not reasonable benefit is achieved.
3.) Contracts contrary to "public policy." You can't sign a contract, for example, to overthrow the government. That's an extreme example, but its the basis for laws precluding, for example, contracting people to join a private army, contracts to build something for which one has no permit, you can't sign a marriage contract to become a third wife, you can't contract to work for less than minimum wage etc. etc.

The problem with contracts is that you always, always, always need to think not in terms of the people signing the contracts, but in terms of how the state will enforce its terms. As a public entity, the state ought not to take action wildly contrary to either basic justice and decency or to public well being.

So while it may be well and good for a private person to set up a restrictive covenant on his land, and, indeed he may decide not to sell it if it means selling it to Jews, it would be as odious for the State to act as his enforcer for his private racism as it was for the National State to, for example, enforce the extortionary rents of semi-medieval European Barons, or enforce the rights of slave-owners.

(Incidentally, the reason this isn't an automatic no-brainer for America is slavery. This principle is best exemplified in the decision of Lord Mansfield Re: Sommerset, where in 1772 he declared that there was no remedy in English law to enforce a contract of slavery, because "slavery is odious to the free air of England" and is contrary to Equity and Public Policy. This is the only major case from the Common Law tradition not adopted by the USA during the revolution, and has led to an interestingly different legal approach to law and rights, and is the source for the American traditional love for contract and statute and relative disinterest in Equity. Sadly, we've been drinking the koolaid in increasing quantities in Canada, too...)

Vaniver wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:That the sowing of such divisions amongst the King's subjects is, in fact, a Common Law definition of Treason
This strikes me as an unconvincing justification (for the American / libertarian position) on the basis of freedom of expression; here, you are allowed to stir up hatred so long as you do not instigate violence. There are practical arguments against that position (stirring up hatred often indirectly instigates violence), but I don't think they outweigh the benefits to freedom of expression.


Fair enough. The Commonwealth tradition of laws is predicated on keeping the King's peace (or, currently, the Queen's peace), and is informed by an intimate history of social stife, factionalism and religious violence and warfare. The Queen's laws are meant to guard against such horrors, so these are understandibly of far greater importance in Commonwealth legal and political culture than in the American-libertarian one, which has comparatively little experience. Yes, the Civil war, the KKK, the tension caused by friction between Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement ought perhaps to have alerted America to the very real dangers of allowing such things to fester. But, compared to Henry VIII, the European Wars of Religion, Cromwell, the Pruritan terrorists, the witch-hunts and, indeed, the near extinction of freedom in the face of German racist ideology and the IRA, the American issues were in fact small-fry.

In countries like Canada or the UK, with so many distinct and historically antagonistic groups living together in close quarters, there's a better understanding of the need to make sure we all get along, and the real dangers of failing to do so. Perhaps it will take a few Cromwell-scope disasters for right-wing America to internalise the same lesson.....
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Indon » Tue May 25, 2010 8:06 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Because markets operate on the level of 'nonviolent force,'...

Why don't markets function with violent force, save that they are forced to do so through government restriction?

Vaniver wrote:...and do so in a way that directly rewards non-racists and punishes racists.

I don't think that's at all substantiated. It could be possible, but there's insufficient evidence, and the nature of markets imply that, if possible, it would be possible only inconsistently - that is to say, in some areas the market would punish racism, and in other areas the market would reward it.

Vaniver wrote:Governments, operating on the level of violent force, are only able to indirectly reward non-racists and punish racists- through markets, racism by itself makes you poorer; through governments, racism and getting caught and convicted makes you poorer.

I'd like to hear how your description here meshes with my description of nonviolent force manifesting in collusion used by racists against non-racists. In that case, wouldn't racism enrich individuals?

Vaniver wrote:if the person who decides to open an unsegregated establishment gets lynched, market forces are being overridden.

But what if the person who decides to open an unsegregated establishment just loses his suppliers instead? Isn't that the market functioning as intended, even though the results obviously aren't the desired ones?

I think the prospect that nonviolent force can and is used aggressively to the direct detriment of others, in much the same way as violent force is, is one that needs to be addressed here and is of fairly significant import to the discussion.

Vaniver wrote:I can see a strong argument against any restrictive covenants, but I can also see an argument for them. I think the things they are good for, though, could mostly be absorbed into other things.


Even without a restrictive covenant, an estate can be used to enforce a person's will upon property indefinitely in the same manner, can't it?
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Aetius » Tue May 25, 2010 8:11 pm UTC

Dangermouse wrote:Governments don't operate with threats of violent force--there's a vast field of legal scholarship that supports this point. I'd suggest beginning with "The Concept of Law" by H.L.A Hart.

The problem with leaving things up to the market is that the market has no real means of punishment outside of a very nebulous claim that people will "lose money".


You go immediately from saying the government doesn't rely on forceful punishment to saying a weakness of the market is its inability to use forceful punishment.

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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Vaniver » Tue May 25, 2010 9:41 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:Fair enough. The Commonwealth tradition of laws is predicated on keeping the King's peace (or, currently, the Queen's peace), and is informed by an intimate history of social stife, factionalism and religious violence and warfare. The Queen's laws are meant to guard against such horrors, so these are understandibly of far greater importance in Commonwealth legal and political culture than in the American-libertarian one, which has comparatively little experience. Yes, the Civil war, the KKK, the tension caused by friction between Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement ought perhaps to have alerted America to the very real dangers of allowing such things to fester. But, compared to Henry VIII, the European Wars of Religion, Cromwell, the Pruritan terrorists, the witch-hunts and, indeed, the near extinction of freedom in the face of German racist ideology and the IRA, the American issues were in fact small-fry.

In countries like Canada or the UK, with so many distinct and historically antagonistic groups living together in close quarters, there's a better understanding of the need to make sure we all get along, and the real dangers of failing to do so. Perhaps it will take a few Cromwell-scope disasters for right-wing America to internalise the same lesson.....
Indeed- but I suspect part of the difference is because, for most of American history, if there were groups who hated each other it was possible for them to distance themselves. I mean, many American immigrants were on the losing end of social strife, factionalism, and religious violence and warfare- and that may have informed their approach to keeping the peace, compared to the winners of those tribulations.

Indon wrote:Why don't markets function with violent force, save that they are forced to do so through government restriction?
That's the primary reason; anarchy is bloody. There are secondary reasons why people would choose not to be violent, but they're strictly not true for everyone.

Indon wrote:I don't think that's at all substantiated. It could be possible, but there's insufficient evidence, and the nature of markets imply that, if possible, it would be possible only inconsistently - that is to say, in some areas the market would punish racism, and in other areas the market would reward it.
Perhaps this is a better way to put it: when you behave in a racist fashion, you create a niche. Markets reward people that fill niches. Obviously, not every niche will be profitable to fill- someone who camps out in the desert is not going to find a grocery store springing up to meet their needs- but the niches the market won't fill are, by definition, marginal unless there's some non-market obstacle to filling them.

Indon wrote:I'd like to hear how your description here meshes with my description of nonviolent force manifesting in collusion used by racists against non-racists. In that case, wouldn't racism enrich individuals?
I agree that racists create a niche for segregated services, and reward the people that fill that niche. But when it comes to export industries or to attracting population, racism is a disadvantage. And so while local areas might manage to stay lily white, they would do so at the cost of shrinking and becoming poorer compared to being open (and, while specific exclusive communities might grow and thrive, the overall proportion of communities that are exclusive will decline).

Indon wrote:I think the prospect that nonviolent force can and is used aggressively to the direct detriment of others, in much the same way as violent force is, is one that needs to be addressed here and is of fairly significant import to the discussion.
It can. The response is twofold: first, 'nonviolent force' is an extremely nebulous term, unlike violent force. It's easy to tell if Billy hit Timmy, it's difficult to tell if Billy's choices are deliberately made to reduce Timmy's well-being. Second, violent force is exclusive while nonviolent force is not. The proprietor of a gas station refusing to sell me fuel because he doesn't like me does not preclude me from procuring fuel elsewhere; it may make me worse off but it doesn't coerce me. If my suppliers refuse to deal with me, I can find other suppliers.

It bears repeating: the market is not monolithic.

Indon wrote:Even without a restrictive covenant, an estate can be used to enforce a person's will upon property indefinitely in the same manner, can't it?
Sort of. Le1bn1z gets into this issue- I could, say, sell the mineral rights to my land but not the other rights, or sell my property to someone with the stipulation that they not develop it a certain way, or give my property to a descendant with the stipulation that they only transfer the property to another descendant. We have to decide, then, what constitutes legal provisions of a contract. If I bequeath a million dollars to someone but say it can only be used towards violent revolution against the US Govt., that probably won't make it through probate.

I am comfortable with use rights (I sell you this land and the right to built up to five stories tall on it, but retain the right to build more than five stories) but I'm not comfortable with resale restrictions (I sell you this land, on the stipulation that you not resell it for another five years).
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Le1bn1z » Wed May 26, 2010 1:34 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:Fair enough. The Commonwealth tradition of laws is predicated on keeping the King's peace (or, currently, the Queen's peace), and is informed by an intimate history of social stife, factionalism and religious violence and warfare. The Queen's laws are meant to guard against such horrors, so these are understandibly of far greater importance in Commonwealth legal and political culture than in the American-libertarian one, which has comparatively little experience. Yes, the Civil war, the KKK, the tension caused by friction between Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement ought perhaps to have alerted America to the very real dangers of allowing such things to fester. But, compared to Henry VIII, the European Wars of Religion, Cromwell, the Pruritan terrorists, the witch-hunts and, indeed, the near extinction of freedom in the face of German racist ideology and the IRA, the American issues were in fact small-fry.

In countries like Canada or the UK, with so many distinct and historically antagonistic groups living together in close quarters, there's a better understanding of the need to make sure we all get along, and the real dangers of failing to do so. Perhaps it will take a few Cromwell-scope disasters for right-wing America to internalise the same lesson.....
Indeed- but I suspect part of the difference is because, for most of American history, if there were groups who hated each other it was possible for them to distance themselves. I mean, many American immigrants were on the losing end of social strife, factionalism, and religious violence and warfare- and that may have informed their approach to keeping the peace, compared to the winners of those tribulations.

Indon wrote:Why don't markets function with violent force, save that they are forced to do so through government restriction?
That's the primary reason; anarchy is bloody. There are secondary reasons why people would choose not to be violent, but they're strictly not true for everyone.


Unfortunately, while both these assertions are theoretically strong, neither are wholly borne out by history.

While some Americans and American immigrants could escape to an ever further horizon, like, say, the Mormons, that was never true for the majority of groups or individuals. Blacks, Irish, Jewish, Eastern Europeans of various sorts and Asians congregated in cities or, in the case of blacks, in mixed rural communities. This gave rise to the myth of the "American melting pot." However, you ought to remember that for most people, money is a means to an end, and the market is about getting what you want, not just money. What an awful lot of White Americans wanted, what they wished to spend their money on, was creating a segregated, unequal and unfair country. They wanted to spend money on keeping Blacks and others seperated and firmly subserviant.

Because racist whites held the majority of wealth, businesses interested in themselves played to this market, and were forced by market necessity to be racist, even if some may not have been by inclination.

A Civil War, the Civil Unrests like the Rodney King Riots and the KKK all give lie to any myth that laissez-faire social policy can bring peace to America. In fact, civil rights have been remarkably successful in this regard throughout the first world. In our day and age, its difficult sometimes to remember that this is the first generation in mellenia where Jews have normal rights in major countries, where different Christian denominations can live in relative peace and different races can mingle with ease. Even 60 years ago, this wasn't entirely true. That it is now is not a result of the march of inevitability, but the result of tremendous effort.

On your second point, its worth keeping in mind a couple of other moments from American and world history. In fact, free market types are quite happy to support anarchy and war, if they think the peace will come with them holding bigger bags of money. America, after all, was born of a Capitalist revolution, waged to preserve the economic institutions of low taxes, unlimited slavery and unregulated business. Many people died on both sides so this could happen. The free market drove the eradication of First Nations peoples throughout the Americas. In Ireland, English merchants backed commercial and contract laws that allowed them to keep the Irish subserviant by means of restrictive contract and trade rights. Edmund Burke lost his seat in Parliament because he stuck up for Irish rights in the merchant-dominated riding of Bristol.

Bottom line: the market has a decidedly mixed record on equality rights, because value in the market is decided by those who hold the cash. If they decide segregation is a worthy investment, well.... that's human history.

That's why its so important to be proactive about justice and human rights, and to think about these issues in terms of right and wrong, not merely expedient and inexpedient (the only calculation a market can make.)
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Re: Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, Civil Rights, Libertarianism

Postby Indon » Wed May 26, 2010 3:24 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:That's the primary reason; anarchy is bloody. There are secondary reasons why people would choose not to be violent, but they're strictly not true for everyone.

Wouldn't it make sense to prevent aggressive use of nonviolent force for the same reasons we want to prevent aggressive use of violent force, so long as it is logistically feasible to do so?

Vaniver wrote:Perhaps this is a better way to put it: when you behave in a racist fashion, you create a niche. Markets reward people that fill niches. Obviously, not every niche will be profitable to fill- someone who camps out in the desert is not going to find a grocery store springing up to meet their needs- but the niches the market won't fill are, by definition, marginal unless there's some non-market obstacle to filling them.

Here we're seeing a big assumption - that in the US south, the racists are the niche, instead of the non-racists.

Considering that market power isn't numbers in most industries, but buying power (and the groups most likely to be economically persecuted are the ones with the least buying power), I don't think that's a safe assumption to make, and it was definitely a poor assumption to make in the 1960's.

Vaniver wrote:It can. The response is twofold: first, 'nonviolent force' is an extremely nebulous term, unlike violent force. It's easy to tell if Billy hit Timmy, it's difficult to tell if Billy's choices are deliberately made to reduce Timmy's well-being.

I don't think it's remotely so clear-cut. It's not just the force being used, but the intent in both cases. It's easy to tell if Billy hit Timmy, but it's hard to tell if his intent was to hurt Timmy, or if Billy was defending himself in some way, or if it was just an accident on Billy's part.

Similarly, it's generally (I won't say always, as business activities can get awfully well-obfuscated) easy to detect the use of nonviolent force - "Sorry, we don't accept blacks" is both a clear use of market leverage to someone's detriment, and clearly made with intentional aggression. But the market can produce the same intent-ambiguous situations as with the Billy/Timmy example. If Billy raises his prices in such a way that Timmy can not afford Billy's services, it's hard to tell if Billy raised his prices for that reason, or for another reason.

To summarize, I think the use of force is fairly easily detectable in both cases, and the intent behind the use of force is much harder to detect in both cases - so again, I'm not seeing much of a difference.

Vaniver wrote:Second, violent force is exclusive while nonviolent force is not. The proprietor of a gas station refusing to sell me fuel because he doesn't like me does not preclude me from procuring fuel elsewhere; it may make me worse off but it doesn't coerce me. If my suppliers refuse to deal with me, I can find other suppliers.

I don't think exclusivity even applies to violent force in the way that you describe it with nonviolent force. If I provide a physical barrier against someone, I'm applying physical force towards them, but they can walk around me. If I push someone, I'm applying more physical force towards them, but they can still push back, or go in a different direction. Hell, even if I try to kill someone, they might be able to kill me first, just like someone can go find another supplier.

I think your argument here boils down to how effective each type of use of force is - it's easy to make a highly effective use of violent force (1.Grab club, 2.Apply club to head), but it requires significant leverage to make a highly effective use of nonviolent force (such as a market where non-racism is the non-thriving niche).

This functions as a good reason why government should not 100% micromanage transactions for the possibility of aggression - but it seems that we have two fairly detectable and dangerous types of nonphysical force which should regularly be audited and should evoke a government response to control in the same sense that aggressive physical force evokes government response:

-Systemic nonphysical force, such as the racist-dominated market, in which smaller instances of nonphysical force are used in quantity to the detriment of others, and
-Mass nonphysical force, such as employing market leverage to force others to behave differently or lose money, in which single, powerful forces employ nonphysical force to the detriment of others.

Our current system has some rules to address both of these, but I don't think we really have a unified body of law to deal with the problem, so enforcement is haphazard and inefficient. For instance, a union strike is aggressive nonphysical force. An ideal body of law should be able to distinguish between a union strike that has a valid justification, and one that doesn't, in the same way that the law can distinguish between violent force that has a valid justification from violent force that does not.

Vaniver wrote:I am comfortable with use rights (I sell you this land and the right to built up to five stories tall on it, but retain the right to build more than five stories) but I'm not comfortable with resale restrictions (I sell you this land, on the stipulation that you not resell it for another five years).


Ah, so you're saying that if the right were removed, it would be stripped from the estate mechanism as well. I see.
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