Glass-Steagall as an act of aggression

53 posts / 0 new

Over in the Open Space/Lounge/Feedback section, I was having a conversation and a political issue/question came up I thought might merit some discussion.

I was introducing myself as an anarcho-capitalist, and MEJ asked me what I thought about Glass-Steagall. I replied that I considered it to be an act of aggression. By this I mean that it is an attempt by some people to forcibly control the behavior of another.

My observation drew this reaction from MEJ: "'Glass-Steagel is an act of aggression'... are you kidding?...smoke a little more"

Now, Glass-Steagall may be something with which you agree or disagree, but it seems hard to make the case that it does not amount to one group of people forcibly imposing the manner in which another group of people may behave. This is not a mutually agreed upon arrangement, but is imposed and enforced with a gun.

My question for the board is whether acts such as Glass-Steagall are seen as (possibly justified) acts of aggression?

I hope this is a legitimate topic of discussion and doesn't result in my being banned.

Brutus563
Joined:
Mar. 27, 2011 4:08 am

Comments

By this I mean that it is an attempt by some people to forcibly control the behavior of another.
That's a good anarchist point of view. Extreme libertarian. I can't think that you would think that such a philosophy would survive in a civilized society.

Art's picture
Art
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

In your view, there would be no Stock Exchange or economic regulation, so there would be no laws about the subject of Glass-Steagall. If you are of a different mind and see a place for laws and regulations in Commerce, there is nothing about this particular legislation that violates the principles of State responsibility for there being "an economy." Anarchic barter or community based exchanges are great, but the post is about a particular regulation, not whether a legally structured, enforced and regulated economy with a financial sector was ok.

Extreme Libertarianism belongs in a utopian community or hermit cave. Some criticisms of how states operate is excellent, but I find that there is nothing there in the economics and politics of Libertarians. It is just about people being good together, and that is hard enough in a church.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Art:
By this I mean that it is an attempt by some people to forcibly control the behavior of another.
That's a good anarchist point of view. Extreme libertarian. I can't think that you would think that such a philosophy would survive in a civilized society.

On the contrary, such a philosophy is essential for a civilized society. My own opinion is that is is not civilized for one group of people to aggress against another.

You responded, but did not say whether you consider a law such as Glass-Steagall to be an act of aggression. Do you consider it to be so, or not?

Quote DRC:

In your view, there would be no Stock Exchange or economic regulation, so there would be no laws about the subject of Glass-Steagall.

Hah, thanks for telling me what my view is. Nothing in my philosophy precludes a stock exchange, unless you can point this out to me.

Quote DRC:

If you are of a different mind and see a place for laws and regulations in Commerce, there is nothing about this particular legislation that violates the principles of State responsibility for there being "an economy."

You also responded but did not answer the specific question. Do you consider Glass-Steagall to be an act of aggression? It sounds to me as if you are making the case that there is a place for aggression by the state.

Quote DRC:

Anarchic barter or community based exchanges are great, but the post is about a particular regulation, not whether a legally structured, enforced and regulated economy with a financial sector was ok.

Actually, it wasn't about whether Glass-Steagall was ok. I was asserting that a law like Glass-Steagall is essentially an act of aggression, and I was asking whether or not people agreed with this assesment. Of course, people can then argue about whether or not the aggression is warranted.

Quote DRC:

Extreme Libertarianism belongs in a utopian community or hermit cave. Some criticisms of how states operate is excellent, but I find that there is nothing there in the economics and politics of Libertarians. It is just about people being good together, and that is hard enough in a church.

Perhaps you see nothing there because you're looking in the wrong place. Libertarianism is essentially a moral philosophy. It is about respecting human rights. Of course, there are people who disregard the rights of others. Heck, most people throughout human history have been slaves, thralls, serfs, or peasants. Subjugating one's fellow man seems to be ingraned in human nature, along with many other vices. I just think we can do better.

Brutus563
Joined:
Mar. 27, 2011 4:08 am

I dunno if it was necessarily an act of aggression.. my gripes with Glass Steagall are much different.

I will agree that repealing Glass Steagall was a bad decision, but that's ONLY because we didn't remove the government-created institution that made Glass-Steagall appealing in the first place.

All of the reckless gambling/speculation that banks were getting involved in was only made possible because the depositors didn't give a rats ass what the banks were doing with their deposits. Why? Because the FDIC was insuring them. It didn't matter if the bank got robbed, or the bank owner made a bonfire with everybody's saved cash - the FDIC would step in and make sure nobody lost their savings.

As a result, any incentive that people USED TO HAVE with regards to checking the stability and risk levels of a particular banking institution, vanished. Banks didn't have to compete for business on nearly the same level anymore because there was no potentially catastrophic downside visible to the depositor.

They were given free-will to make high-risk/high-reward bets with their deposits and completely get away with it because they had no fear of the depositors getting scared and asking for their savings back.

The government created the FDIC, which opened up a door that allowed all that greed (which still previously existed, but was contained by natural market forces) to run right through and wreak havoc. So, Glass Steagall was created to try and mitigate the mess resulting from the government insurance of bank deposits.

Cheesebone's picture
Cheesebone
Joined:
Sep. 1, 2010 8:18 am
You responded, but did not say whether you consider a law such as Glass-Steagall to be an act of aggression. Do you consider it to be so, or not?
I do not. I consider it to have been one of the rules of the financials game. Every game needs rules, don't you think? Otherwise, it's just the law of the jungle. I think that humans should have gotten beyond that.

Art's picture
Art
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

To say that Glass-Steagall was enacted to alleviate the failure caused by FDIC is factually incorrect. Glass-Steagall was enacted the year before FDIC in response to the Great Depression, which "natural market forces" had caused.

But to answer your question, I do not think that Glas-Steagall is agressive, in my definition of your term. If I stand on a street corner and yell, "taxi" I expect that someone who stops a car with TAXI written on the side will have a drivers' license, and insurance, and that he will take me where I tell him to; not somewhere else. Under Glass-Steagall if you called yourself a "bank" you had to operate your business in ways that conformed with the ubiversal belief that people had of what a bank is. You could operate in any other way that you wanted, but just not call yourself a bank if you didn't act like one.

"Buyer beware" is good advice, but your position makes it a justification for theft.

doh1304's picture
doh1304
Joined:
Dec. 6, 2010 9:49 am

I agree with David Korten that getting rid of Wall St. is a good idea. I think banking ought to be a regulated utility or state function in the very boring business of providing finance to the real economy.

The point made about Libertarians merely respecting universal human rights begs the question of enforcing these rights against violation or abuse. If humans were angels...

I pointed out that Glass-Steagall is part of a regulated economy where lots of rules tell people what they can and cannot do. Keeping the banks separate from the speculators was a great idea within the system. Removing the barrier was either stupid or cynical.

How having rules implies violence eludes me other than noting the basic premise and its inadequacies. Of course social reality does require more than total voluntarism. Our willingness to commit ourselves to democracy is "voluntary" as is our unwillingness to accept tyranny. We all pay for stuff that serves someone else more than it does us. If we do it right and take care of those who need care, we get a great society. If we do it wrong and let the rich get drunk on hubris, we get a shithole society.

If we don't govern ourselves, someone less qualified will rule over us. I know, it is hard. Democracy is no picnic. You have to work with some real aholes. You have to compromise, even on issues of morality. You don't have to compromise on conscience or your own personal freedom. But you cannot use either to compromise the consciences or freedoms of others.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don't understand these basic rules of civility and keep trying to oppress our fellow citizens. I think they think they are playing by the rules, but they aren't. The politics of conscience offend democracy. Arguing against the full extension of human rights on some "constitutional" or "state's rights" grounds is wrong in so many ways!

Libertarians may be for universal human rights, but I don't hear a lot of Libertarian passion for gay rights laws or to protect women's access to legal and safe abortions. Laws and governing are debated and if you have a problem and it makes sense to others, use the political process to redress the grievance.

If I met a lot of Libertarians on the front lines of social justice and peacemaking, I might have a different image. Where I do meet the people who use this label, I find a range of politics in embryo but not much substance. Governing in a green world will be a different and better thing than it has been in our world of mass mechanical metaphysics. I think there are good reasons to dismantle the industrial state, not to mention the empire. But we need macro coordination of local roots, not just atomization.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote doh1304:

... the Great Depression, which "natural market forces" had caused.

What? You're saying that the enormous growth in the 20's was NOT the result of the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates FAR too low and encouraging too much borrowing at a time when savings was necessary? The Great depression happened for the exact same reason we're in our current financial mess - interest rates are being kept artifically low and encouraging too much consumption.

Cheesebone's picture
Cheesebone
Joined:
Sep. 1, 2010 8:18 am

I dont mind calling Glass-Steagall as an act of aggression. Whatever you call it, I want a lot more of it.

Dr Mario Kart's picture
Dr Mario Kart
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Dr Mario Kart:

I dont mind calling Glass-Steagall as an act of aggression. Whatever you call it, I want a lot more of it.

Frankly, I find the authors whole "agression" argument a bit incomprehensible. Of course Glass-Steagall is agression to banks, but to the little guy who stands to have his life savings gambled away by banksters, Glass-Steagall is his burly protector.

To say that there should be no agression, in the form of enforcable laws, by any group against members of another group is an opinion constructed on philosophical ether, not the terra-firma of reality. Hey, while we're at it, lets debate why every four year old girl should or shouldn't get a unicorn for their birthday.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED
Joined:
Oct. 20, 2010 7:47 pm

@Cheesebone - I agree with your assessment. Removing Glass-Steagall while leaving the rest of the regulations in place caused a moral hazard. Probably a topic for another thread.

@Art - You don't regard a law like Glass-Steagall an act of aggression but rather rules of the financial game. The issues arise around which people make the rules and to which people do the rules apply. One group of people (group A) making up rules, imposing them on another group of people (group B), and then backing these rules up with violence sounds like a violation of the rights of those people in group B. But hey, I asked whether you regard it as aggression, and you don't. I asked, you answered. What can I say?

@Art - Regarding your comment about having rules lest we have the law of the jungle, I suggest that there is a heirarchy of rules, with one rule having prominence over all others. In fact, it is this one rule from which most other just laws spring. The rule is: don't aggress against other people or their property. Any action that is in compliance with this principle cannot be unjust. Any act that violates this principle results in what you refer to as the law of the jungle.

@doh1304 - I agree with you that there are certain assumptions one makes when doing business. There is no reason at all why people could not operate with essentially these same underlying business assumptions but achieve them voluntarily. Inspection, certificaton, and standardization can all be accomplished by people if they want it. It can be done through choice - you, when hailing a taxi, choose to only get into a taxi that bears the "Continually Inspected by Underwriters Labs" emblem. No need to point guns at people and order them about.

And regarding your buyer beware comment, libertarians don't endorse fraud. If an item is advertised to have certain qualities, it had better have them or the seller has committed fraud. Fraud is a trespass on another's property and would be actionable, in that a person would be justified in collecting compensation for the harm.

Quote drc:The point made about Libertarians merely respecting universal human rights begs the question of enforcing these rights against violation or abuse. If humans were angels...

I take it by this that you respect human rights? Would the right not to be enslaved by another be one of the rights you respect? And of course humand are not angels, which is why people must continually defend themselves against aggression, either singly or cooperatively.

Quote drc:How having rules implies violence eludes me other than noting the basic premise and its inadequacies.

When one group of people (group A) makes up rules and then enforces them on another group of people (group B), threatening and using violence to enforce these rule, then yes, I would assert that an aggressive act of violence is happening.

Quote drc:Of course social reality does require more than total voluntarism.

Why is this?

Quote drc:If we don't govern ourselves, someone less qualified will rule over us.

Who is "ourselves" and "us" here? I do govern myself, don't you. "We governn ourselves" is very ambiguous. It could mean, each of us governs ourself. Or it could mean some of us govern others of us. A statement like this, if you don't think about it at all, might slip by without sounding evil, in fact it might even sound nice. Hey, we're governing ourselves. Isn't that nice? But if you mean it in the sense I think you do, then you are simply saying that some people govern (rules, enslaves) other people.

Quote drc:Unfortunately, a lot of people don't understand these basic rules of civility and keep trying to oppress our fellow citizens.

Tell me about it! :)

Quote Dr Mario Kart:I dont mind calling Glass-Steagall as an act of aggression. Whatever you call it, I want a lot more of it.

Unfortunately, I'd bet your dream will come true and you'll get plenty more of it before this is all over.

@Denatured - "To say that there should be no agression, in the form of enforcable laws, by any group against members of another group is an opinion constructed on philosophical ether, not the terra-firma of reality."

Do you understand the distinction I'm making between defensive violence, which is used to protect person and property, and aggressive violence? Perhaps this article on the non-aggression principle might help clarify the difference. Given human nature, it would seem impossible to never have to resort to defensive violence. However, there can be no moral justification for aggressive violence. Unless you would like to offer such a justification.

Brutus563
Joined:
Mar. 27, 2011 4:08 am

I stand corrected. I mistakenly assumed that the most powerful natural forces in American capitalism were greed, fraud, and abuse of power. I forgot the natural power that allows the repeal of a law passed in 1932 to correct the damage done in 1927 that was caused by a law passed in 1933.

I see the light! From now all on I will work for the repeal of the law against murder, and save the lives of millions throughout history.

doh1304's picture
doh1304
Joined:
Dec. 6, 2010 9:49 am

It seems that the logic of Brutus implies that any law or regulation is an act of violence because all laws and regulations are the result of one group imposing rules that another group is forced to follow.

Enough of such nonsense.

MEJ's picture
MEJ
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Exactly, I think the willing embrace of democracy as the alternative to tyranny is the consent required. I think the rejection of democracy or its limitation to "voluntarism" in every regard is a utopian escapism from political and social reality. It is a pipe dream requiring people to "be good." It begs the question of social realism. We are not going to learn to be angels. Setting such a standard is silly.

Your response, willat, indicates that you either do not like democracy or confuse it with the rules governing a very small community of idealists. Politics is about power. Justice and equal access, for example, are about keeping power democratic. You are going to win some and lose some, so you have to have some commitment to the rules and the system in a functioning social democracy where "we" not only decide by majority, we protect individual conscience and freedom in the construction of public policies. Your personal behavior and beliefs will not be legislated, but your conduct toward others and your 'right' to impose your beliefs on others will be constrained.

The "non-aggression principle" is more religious than political in nature. I am solidly for public policies that create peace and justice. I think non-violence is the right political tool to use for change and that violence, even when provoked and used for self-defense, is a political liability. It can be necessary without being "justifiable." It is an important nuance.

I like decisions made by consensus more than by majority votes. But there are times when the process yields a division of thinking and there will be no consensus. Our democracy provides a way to move ahead and allow the results to speak. Or, it would if we had a republic instead of an empire.

The approach taken by the State of Oregon to establish the rules and regs regarding fishing and no fish zones for the Oregon Coast is a model of good government. They brought commercial and recreational fishers, environmentalists, coastal business and residents together in a number of places up and down the coast. They listened. They listened more, and then more and more until the people on the coast had come up with their own processed conversations and consensus. There is a lot of common interest in a productive, sustainable fishery on a coast with tremendous tourist appeal, etc. It is working very well, but could use an infrastructure boost from rail.

People who make decisions to invest in productive infrastructure do put the burden and the profits into the future to some extent as the vote bonds for construction and enact their vision. Is this "aggression" or just the logical consequences of social realism and our human nature? I think the answer is clearly the latter and your premise fails as anything socially real.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Pretty cool. Looks like some of the folks at ZeroGov are actually following this thread. Lots of interesting comments over there. I sure wish they were still able to participate here. Who knows, maybe I'll join the ranks of the banned if I keep up my crazy talk of liberty.

And I would once again invite the boldest among you to venture over to ZeroGov and perhaps explain social realism to all the utopian escapists. The proprietor has given his assurance that you won't be banned, so have at it.

Brutus563
Joined:
Mar. 27, 2011 4:08 am
Do you understand the distinction I'm making between defensive violence, which is used to protect person and property, and aggressive violence? Perhaps this article on the non-aggression principle might help clarify the difference. Given human nature, it would seem impossible to never have to resort to defensive violence. However, there can be no moral justification for aggressive violence. Unless you would like to offer such a justification.

I suppose there are many forms of agression. Would you consider it agression for a very wealthy person to use their money's influence to take from the less fortunate? Obviously, you feel it's agression to do the opposite.

The whole libertarian ideal is based in the right to own stuff, isn't it? It's about "I have mine and nobody should be able to take any of it for any reason", right? What happens, though, when one guy owns everything? Do the rest of us have to starve to death with a big libertarian smile on our faces?

I'm reminded of one of Thoms favorite quotes, "a necessitous man is not free". That about sums up my opinion on the matter.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED
Joined:
Oct. 20, 2010 7:47 pm

I suppose I have to ask, where in history has one man owned everything?

Cheesebone's picture
Cheesebone
Joined:
Sep. 1, 2010 8:18 am
Quote Cheesebone:

I suppose I have to ask, where in history has one man owned everything?

Inasmuch as we were discussing a political philosophy that is hypothetical, I thought it fair to create a hypothetical scenario. The point is, they support-in principle- the right of one person, family or company to own everything, provided it was acquired in a way they find non-agressive. But, it doesn't have to be "everything". If you're the only guy in town with a big store of food, for instance (not everything) your hungry neighbors will be at your disposal. You won't have to defraud them in an overt way. Their need will make them compete for the most minimal existence. To allow people to do that is immoral.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED
Joined:
Oct. 20, 2010 7:47 pm

I would prefer not to seriously talk about the taxi industry, as I commonly rant on the subject in other places, but I think it's appropriate here. On paper the taxi industry is regulated in my city, but because of a sad combination of corruption, ignorince, and racism (in that order) the "regulated" industry works even worse than an unregulated one would.

The purpose of regulating a taxi industry is to match the number of taxis to the number of riders. This guarantees that the individual taxi and its driver make enough money to pay for brakes, insurance, and adequate dispatch systems. Allow too many taxis and they have to cut corners - on brake parts. Then they have to cherry pick their riders - nobody too far away from the center of town, no grocery stores, no old people. Then the dispatchers get corrupt. Then you raise the prices - which only makes things worse. In a libertarian world the taxi / rider ratio would naturally even itself out, but in the real world it doesn't because there is so much more money to be made by running taxis that cannot operate properly, compared to operating responsibly. Maybe you or I wouldn't work under those conditions, but there are lots of people who do. (At least 3/4 of them speak english only to their costomers. Exploiting immigrants is the name of the game.)

By the way, in my last comment I made what I wanted to be a more light hearted sarcastic comment than I think it turned out. I did not intend to insult anyone, and I apologise if I did.

doh1304's picture
doh1304
Joined:
Dec. 6, 2010 9:49 am
Quote D_NATURED:
Quote Cheesebone:

I suppose I have to ask, where in history has one man owned everything?

Inasmuch as we were discussing a political philosophy that is hypothetical, I thought it fair to create a hypothetical scenario. The point is, they support-in principle- the right of one person, family or company to own everything, provided it was acquired in a way they find non-agressive. But, it doesn't have to be "everything". If you're the only guy in town with a big store of food, for instance (not everything) your hungry neighbors will be at your disposal. You won't have to defraud them in an overt way. Their need will make them compete for the most minimal existence. To allow people to do that is immoral.

Well, hypothetically, if I grew another set of arms, could I be twice as productive at work? There's an answer there somewhere, but the fact is that it's not going to happen anyway.

The closest thing to a full-on monopoly that recent civilization has ever seen can be found in the DeBeers Diamond company, but even then when you research how they got to that point, you learn that it was only made possible because they had government restrict other forms of competition and create the environment for their monopoly in the first place.

I'll start this off by saying that I'm absolutely 100,000% pro-choice, but, hypotherically, do Progressives believe that a woman can go have 10 abortions a year? That they'll defend the potential for that to occur? Especially if government were to finance health care for everyone, that means that you yourself would be helping fund this particular womans decision to abort 100 pregnancies per decade. Right? Obviously it will likely never reach that kind of level of absurdity, but the concept still kinda stands. And, truth be told, I think that we'd have a better chance of seeing the same woman axe 10 pregnancies in a year, than we would of actually witnessing a destructive monopoly form under free market principles.

Cheesebone's picture
Cheesebone
Joined:
Sep. 1, 2010 8:18 am
Quote D_NATURED:

I suppose there are many forms of agression. Would you consider it agression for a very wealthy person to use their money's influence to take from the less fortunate? Obviously, you feel it's agression to do the opposite.

For a wealthy person to use their money's influence to take form the less fortunate? I'm not quite sure what this means, perhaps and example of this taking would help me understand your question. But in generally, taking another's property would be a violation of the non-aggression principle, and I would be against it. So, yes, I would consider it aggression for a wealthy person to take something from the less fortunate.

Quote D_NATURED:

The whole libertarian ideal is based in the right to own stuff, isn't it? It's about "I have mine and nobody should be able to take any of it for any reason", right?

Yes, libertarian is based on the right to own stuff. You own your own self and you own the products of your labor. You disagree with this? If so, who then do you say actually owns you and the products of your labor?

Quote D_NATURED:
What happens, though, when one guy owns everything?

I can't say, as it's never happened.

Quote D_NATURED:
Inasmuch as we were discussing a political philosophy that is hypothetical, I thought it fair to create a hypothetical scenario. The point is, they support-in principle- the right of one person, family or company to own everything, provided it was acquired in a way they find non-agressive.

Yes, under anarcho-capitalism, it is theoretically possible that one person could end up as the owner of every single thing in the world. I don't anticipate that is practially possible, so I don't worry too much about it. I worry more about the actual real problems caused by the government.

Quote D_NATURED:
But, it doesn't have to be "everything". If you're the only guy in town with a big store of food, for instance (not everything) your hungry neighbors will be at your disposal. You won't have to defraud them in an overt way. Their need will make them compete for the most minimal existence. To allow people to do that is immoral.

This scenario intrigues me. How did one person acquire such a large store of food? He must have worked pretty hard to either grow it, or to earn the money with which to buy it. Why do his neighbors have such little food? What did they buy instead of food, or what did they do instead of raising food. What did the guy who focused on buying food miss out on buying while he was methodically buying a little extra food each month? What did he sacrifice? Why didn't his neighbors make the same sacrifice. What were they able to enjoy each month while the other guy was sacrificing to put away food? Why did they trade their food away? These are the sorts of questions that go through my head when I am told that one person just happens to have a great big store of food and everyone around him is hungry.

Brutus563
Joined:
Mar. 27, 2011 4:08 am
How did one person acquire such a large store of food? He must have worked pretty hard to either grow it, or to earn the money with which to buy it.
You can probably get a pretty good idea of how that happens by studying the economies of Countries like Namibia, Lesotho and Sierra Leone. These are countries where all the wealth is owned not by just one guy, but a very small handful of families. These countries would be a Libertarian's paradise.

Art's picture
Art
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Art:
How did one person acquire such a large store of food? He must have worked pretty hard to either grow it, or to earn the money with which to buy it.
You can probably get a pretty good idea of how that happens by studying the economies of Countries like Namibia, Lesotho and Sierra Leone. These are countries where all the wealth is owned not by just one guy, but a very small handful of families. These countries would be a Libertarian's paradise.

Yes, conquest. That is the other means by which one aquires property. Quite the antithesis of libertarianism's non-aggression principle.

I believe that Denatured was claiming that following the non-aggression principle would lead to one person owning everything. I doubt this is possible. However, statists conquest could certainly lead to the outcome Denatured fears. Tens of millions of people murdered by governments are certainly a testament to that fact.

Brutus563
Joined:
Mar. 27, 2011 4:08 am
Quite the antithesis of libertarianism's non-aggression principle.
So, with a libertarian Government in place, we would be relying on the good graces of the power people to not practice these "aggressions" against the rest of us. There would be no rules in place to prevent them. Just their good morals. That sounds like a good idea.

Art's picture
Art
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

company.towns were private, owned everything, provided everything.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Art:
Quite the antithesis of libertarianism's non-aggression principle.
So, with a libertarian Government in place, we would be relying on the good graces of the power people to not practice these "aggressions" against the rest of us. There would be no rules in place to prevent them. Just their good morals. That sounds like a good idea.

I'm afaid that a lot of folks on this board are misunderstanding what the non-agression principle actually is. It is not a the blind hope that nobody will practice aggression against the rest of us. It is a theory of politics that tries to set forth rules regarding the use of force. A libertarian society that took the non-aggression principle seriously would not just wish that people would not practice aggression. The people would create organizations and institutions that were designed to protect each other from agression.

Such institutions would perform the functions of defense, dispute resolution, and the settling of damage claims. Different libertarians envision different institutions to accompish these things. Minarchists see these functions performed by some sort of government. Anarcho-capitalists see these functions perofmed by completely voluntary organizations. But of course, these institutions are not actually things with concrete reality. We are simply referring to people cooperating to mutually defend themselves, resolve disputes, and establish rules to settle claims.

What set the libertarian apart from the statist is that they do not exempt the people calling themselves "government" from the normal rules of human behavior to which they hold everyone, nor do they wish to use such an organization as a means to aggress against the property of others. Whatever institutions are established to defend everyone's property rights, these the people involved should not get a free pass to then turn around an attack people's property rights.

You don't want people running around with permission to violate other people's property rights, do you?

Brutus563
Joined:
Mar. 27, 2011 4:08 am

Jeez. My poor little brain has a hard time grasping how this other kind of Government could work in a real world. It's hard enough to hang on to a constitutional Republic (aka, "democracy") like ours. This other kind of Government sounds like a mighty tough structure to design and implement. Please tell us more about how it work.

Art's picture
Art
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Well, look at the unmatched levels of economic growth this country saw during the 1800s, the ridiculous amount of entrepreneurship and explosive economic activities that resulted from it.

Were there big, angry, destructive monopolies ruining everything for everyone? Because there certainly weren't hardly any regulations on these kinds of things.

For a company to reach levels that size in a true free market, where they can't bribe governments to makes things easy for them and hard for their competition, they HAVE to be doing things RIGHT. Providing a good or service that is in demand at prices that the average person can afford. That's simply the only way to survive.They're not going to grow to massive size by screwing everyone over with high prices and/or garbage products & service, because no one will use them. Competition will arise and(and always has) drive lower prices and improved quality.

Cheesebone's picture
Cheesebone
Joined:
Sep. 1, 2010 8:18 am

I'm pretty sure that's the robber baron era you're talking about. Why is it desirable to allow a company to become that big? Is that what we're looking for?

Art's picture
Art
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Art:

Jeez. My poor little brain has a hard time grasping how this other kind of Government could work in a real world. It's hard enough to hang on to a constitutional Republic (aka, "democracy") like ours. This other kind of Government sounds like a mighty tough structure to design and implement. Please tell us more about how it work.

How would it work? Good question. It could work in lots of ways. One simple way woud be for people (through their elected representatives) to simply repeal laws that didn't serve to defend property, adjudicate disputes, and compensate victims of aggression. With these laws repealed, the people calling themselves government would no longer be acting aggressively against the property of others. The people could even establish a new constitution that explicitly limited the government to providing defense, dispute resolution, and property protection, and no other powers. This would be the typical minarchist solution.

Another way would be for people to dispense altogether with a monopoly government and go the anarcho-capitalist route. Here, people revoke the government monopoly on defense and dispute resolution. One possible outcome was describe in The Market for Liberty, by Morris and Linda Tannehill. They descibe a possible system where individuals acquire their defense and dispute resolution services by belonging to a defense association. These associations would act as the agent for the individual and help him defend himself and collect compensation for damages.

Anyway, once people reject aggression as a legitimate form of human interaction, there are many ways in which they can organize themselves to provide mutual self-defense and resolve disputes.

Hopefully my answer points you in the right direction. Of course, I'm only one guy with a limited imagination. You could get many more answers if you posted your "how would it work" question over at ZeroGov or The Liberty Conspiracy. Those forums are filled with people who have done a lot of research on this subject.

Brutus563
Joined:
Mar. 27, 2011 4:08 am
Quote Cheesebone:

For a company to reach levels that size in a true free market, where they can't bribe governments to makes things easy for them and hard for their competition, they HAVE to be doing things RIGHT. Providing a good or service that is in demand at prices that the average person can afford. That's simply the only way to survive.They're not going to grow to massive size by screwing everyone over with high prices and/or garbage products & service, because no one will use them. Competition will arise and(and always has) drive lower prices and improved quality.

I agree with you Cheesebone. What many people seem to overlook is the fact that anyone (including a company) can only receive in proportion to what they give. Unless a company uses the aggressive force of the state to prevent competition or to aquire some sort of subsidy, a company must sink or swim based solely on the value they deliver to customers. Profits are proof of social service, so (again, barring aggression) the more profit a company makes, the more service it is rendering to other people. As I once heard Tom Sowell say, dollar bills should really be called "awards for service". Anyone who acquires them through trade must be providing a valuable service.

Brutus563
Joined:
Mar. 27, 2011 4:08 am

It's astonishing the ease with which these libertarians rope people into having the same conversation over and over and over again. Libertarianism is the greatest ironic absurdity the French Revolution has left us.

The role of violence on the part of the state has been both to implement as well as to redress injustices. We are suppossed to ignore thousands of years of history replete with the character of violence and suppose that if we dissolve all functions of the government which have to do with humanitarian ends that a state of justice will result. This is a completely self serving attitude as it is characteristic of libertarianism to disavow violence from a position of privelege.

Even to take at face value the proposition that the government has its only legitimate function in the maintainance of peace leaves us with a problem which libertarians have not resolved. The parties which are subject to the authority of the government may have legitimate or illegitimate claims of grievances of various sorts; government provides a political solution which is in the form of a compromise. This is in the interest of preserving peace as a value higher even than absolute justice. In other words, if the government is limited in power, in its ability to gather information and to act, a political solution is always by definition one which leaves unresolved, at least for the present duration, the ideological claims to justice of the respective parties involved in the political process.

What is lost on libertarians is that the French and American Revolutions promised that all individuals would have access to the political shere as a means for promoting their self-interest. The political price of maintaining a welfare state is too much of a compromise for libertarians. If they have their way, they are inviting another revolt of the masses.

If we are to maintain a civil society, the only way to limit government is to resolve outstanding questions of social justice. This must be done by redressing the effect of past imbalances as they manifest themselves in the present situation. The question for progressives is "How can the democratic political process be used to arrive at a political solution to the problem of poverty?" Political enfranchisement will be of no use as long as the masses continue to accept the welfare state as an adequate compromise. Please see my blog post "What Does It Mean To Be a Progressive?" if you want to discuss fair political solutions instead of debating the merits of progressivism itself with those whose circular reasoning is based on logic which begs the question of the role of government in political matters.

nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote nimblecivet:

It's astonishing the ease with which these libertarians rope people into having the same conversation over and over and over again.

When you stop pointing the gun at me, perhaps we can stop having this conversation about why you should not be pointing that gun at me.

Quote nimblecivet:
The role of violence on the part of the state has been both to implement as well as to redress injustices. We are suppossed to ignore thousands of years of history replete with the character of violence and suppose that if we dissolve all functions of the government which have to do with humanitarian ends that a state of justice will result.

You've actually hit the nail right on the head. It is precisely when the state are disbanded that a state of justice will result. They must give up their aggression.

Are you one of them, NimbleCivet? Do you wish to initiate aggression against me and others that do not conform to your edicts? The state are deserving of the same derision that is righfully heaped upon slavers everywhere. Treating other people as ones property is morally wrong, and the state regard all of us as their property.

Quote nimblecivet:
Even to take at face value the proposition that the government has its only legitimate function in the maintainance of peace leaves us with a problem which libertarians have not resolved. The parties which are subject to the authority of the government may have legitimate or illegitimate claims of grievances of various sorts; government provides a political solution which is in the form of a compromise. This is in the interest of preserving peace as a value higher even than absolute justice. In other words, if the government is limited in power, in its ability to gather information and to act, a political solution is always by definition one which leaves unresolved, at least for the present duration, the ideological claims to justice of the respective parties involved in the political process.

If you are saying that people have disputes that must be resolved, of course I aggree with you. But you have to make the case that the state are the only ones who capable of resulving these disputes. Given the past behavior and corruption of the state, I would rather have their monopoly broken up and return to people the choice of dispute resolution agencies.

Quote nimblecivet:
What is lost on libertarians is that the French and American Revolutions promised that all individuals would have access to the political shere as a means for promoting their self-interest.

I'd be interested to see a reference to an American revolutionary that put forth the idea that the government should be a mechanism for promoting self-interest. (Which I take you to mean that the government would use aggression against one set of people to further the ends of another set of people.)

Quote nimblecivet:
If we are to maintain a civil society, the only way to limit government is to resolve outstanding questions of social justice.

Here again, we disagree. I don't see how civil a society can be when the state are allowed free reign to aggress against their fellow citizens. Are we not all equals? How do the state get the right to aggress against the rest of us with impunity. If one of the ruled were to do what the state do, they would be thrown in jail, and rightfully so. Moral laws do not apply to some but not to others.

Brutus563
Joined:
Mar. 27, 2011 4:08 am

You seem to draw a distinction between the state/government and people. The government is us. The state doesnt have free reign to do anything. If the question is, how does the state get the right to do ___, its through the people.

And yes, the government is necessary as a dispute resolution mechanism, just as its necessary for markets to exist. Thats why anyone that uses the phrase "free market" in an answer is automatically wrong.

As soon as someone claims to be a libertarian, I ask what functional society at any point in history is based off of libertarian ideas. We're a society that values evidence you see, and so if you dont have any that your pie in the sky theory works, its useless.

I also like to ask them how libertarians or the free market deal with negative externalities, since that is one of the many paradoxes that destroys both.

Dr Mario Kart's picture
Dr Mario Kart
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Dr Mario Kart:

You seem to draw a distinction between the state/government and people.

Yes I do. Te government are the people with the guns ordering the rest of us around, or they are the people ordering around the people with the guns, or they are the ones who vote for the people who order around the people with the guns.

I certainly am not the government, as I play no part in any of that thuggery. So there is a difference. There is the government, and there are people who are not the government.

Remember, the government IS not a thing. The government ARE a group of people. Are you one of them?

Quote Dr Mario Kart:
The government is us.

So you admit it. :)

Quote Dr Mario Kart:
The state doesnt have free reign to do anything. f the question is, how does the state get the right to do ___, its through the people.

Yes, the state get their power through the people that support them. They may do anything that their supporters allow them to do. The state are only constrained by the ability to physically oppose them or by loss of support of enough people to make their rule practical. To talk of whether the state have a right to do something is an interesting discussion, and a quick one. Of course they don't. They are people just like you and me. They have no right to be our master. On the other hand, that is not the pertinent question. It is not whether they have the right to do X, it is whether they have the power to do X. This depends on how many people join with them, or at least ar apathetic enough not to resist them significantly.

Quote Dr Mario Kart:
And yes, the government is necessary as a dispute resolution mechanism, just as its necessary for markets to exist.

You're wrong. The government is not necessary as a dispute resolution mechanism. Lex mercatoria is an example of a non-governmental dispute resolution mechanism.

Quote Dr Mario Kart:
Thats why anyone that uses the phrase "free market" in an answer is automatically wrong.

Since your premise is wrong, you cannot assume your consusion is correct.

Quote Dr Mario Kart:
As soon as someone claims to be a libertarian, I ask what functional society at any point in history is based off of libertarian ideas. We're a society that values evidence you see, and so if you dont have any that your pie in the sky theory works, its useless.

Two examples that spring to mind would be medieval Iceland and the American West (You might be interested in Anderson and Hill's book The Not So Wild West.)

But even if there were never an example of people living free of a coercive monopolistic group of rulers, doesn't mean that one group of people being ruled by another group is not a condition that ought to be changed. There are always conservatives that want to preserve the practices of the past. Would you have asked for evidence that there could be a society without chattel slavery, or one in which women voted, or one in which a single man was not the abolute ruler of millions of other humans.

The first question should be what is the right and moral state of affairs, and then that becomes the goal. I don't look backwards to old ways.

Quote Dr Mario Kart:
I also like to ask them how libertarians or the free market deal with negative externalities, since that is one of the many paradoxes that destroys both.


Externalities that result in property damage give the owner of the damaged property a valid claim against the aggressor. This would be resolved through the dispute resolution mechanism. In essence, nobody should be able to get away with damaging another's property through an externality. Externalities ought to be internalized.

Brutus563
Joined:
Mar. 27, 2011 4:08 am

Externalities cant be internalized through market forces.....so theres that.

If you want to go back to any medieval systems, thats great, but unfortunately, there may not be a place for you on this particular planet. No one is going to go back there, particularly if anyone in the place in question has the power of the vote.

Dr Mario Kart's picture
Dr Mario Kart
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

That was an interesting article. I could definitely see how Lex mercatoria could happen when you have a bunch of monarchies and merchant classes that are only looking out for themselves, but as soon as a democracy decides to govern according to the interests of the people, thats gonna get thrown out pretty quick.

Dr Mario Kart's picture
Dr Mario Kart
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Dr Mario Kart:

Externalities cant be internalized through market forces.....so theres that.

Nor did I claim that they could be. They should be handled through the dispute resolution system, not the market. Externalities are a trespass against the property of others. It is not a market issue, it is a legal issue.

Quote Dr Mario Kart:
If you want to go back to any medieval systems, thats great, but unfortunately, there may not be a place for you on this particular planet. No one is going to go back there, particularly if anyone in the place in question has the power of the vote.

You asked for evidence that a stateless society could exist. I provided two historical examples. I'm not sure how you then conclude that I wish to return to the middle ages.

Not quite sure where to go with this discussion at this point. You support one group of people making another group their slaves, while I consider us to all have equal rights. I guess some people have more equal rights than others. . I believe we've reached an impasse.

Brutus563
Joined:
Mar. 27, 2011 4:08 am

Modern nations have both borders and these things called constitutions. Generally speaking, the court system the people set up through that is going to be the supreme law of the land. So your extra-governmental arbitration doesnt really have a place of entry.

But I guess thats where the anarco part comes in. Good luck overthrowing a country and/or preventing a people from writing a constitution.

Dr Mario Kart's picture
Dr Mario Kart
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Sorry, but this is just too stupid a topic to pay attention. (That's an ad hominum).

Art's picture
Art
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Brutus563:
Quote D_NATURED:

I suppose there are many forms of agression. Would you consider it agression for a very wealthy person to use their money's influence to take from the less fortunate? Obviously, you feel it's agression to do the opposite.

For a wealthy person to use their money's influence to take form the less fortunate? I'm not quite sure what this means, perhaps and example of this taking would help me understand your question. But in generally, taking another's property would be a violation of the non-aggression principle, and I would be against it. So, yes, I would consider it aggression for a wealthy person to take something from the less fortunate.

Good, that's a start.

Quote "Brutus563":
Quote D_NATURED:

The whole libertarian ideal is based in the right to own stuff, isn't it? It's about "I have mine and nobody should be able to take any of it for any reason", right?

Yes, libertarian is based on the right to own stuff. You own your own self and you own the products of your labor. You disagree with this? If so, who then do you say actually owns you and the products of your labor?

When you say "the products of your own labor", what do you mean? In a libertarian utopia would people hire other people or would everyone work for themselves? In the current system, I do work for a guy who bills $130 per hour for what I do. I only get a fraction of that.

Quote "Brutus":
Quote D_NATURED:
What happens, though, when one guy owns everything?

I can't say, as it's never happened.

As I mentioned to another poster. Having most of something is just as good (or bad)as owning all of something. LIbertarians have no moral problem with me possessing 90% of the food and basically enslaving the hungry.

Quote "Brutus":
Quote D_NATURED:
Inasmuch as we were discussing a political philosophy that is hypothetical, I thought it fair to create a hypothetical scenario. The point is, they support-in principle- the right of one person, family or company to own everything, provided it was acquired in a way they find non-agressive.

Yes, under anarcho-capitalism, it is theoretically possible that one person could end up as the owner of every single thing in the world. I don't anticipate that is practially possible, so I don't worry too much about it. I worry more about the actual real problems caused by the government.

What about one person controlling all or most of the oil? or food production? As wealth gets consolodated into fewer and fewer hands, the risk of this sort of market domination threatens us all. I think, if you were honest, you'd agree the real problems caused by the government were requested to happen by some private industry. If the people we elect to run our government were not required to raise millions of corporate dollars every year to stay elected, the problems would be resolved AT the voting booth. The fact that bribery is so engrained in our political process makes it impossible for the common people to get a response from their representatives.

Quote "Brutus":
Quote D_NATURED:
But, it doesn't have to be "everything". If you're the only guy in town with a big store of food, for instance (not everything) your hungry neighbors will be at your disposal. You won't have to defraud them in an overt way. Their need will make them compete for the most minimal existence. To allow people to do that is immoral.

This scenario intrigues me. How did one person acquire such a large store of food? He must have worked pretty hard to either grow it, or to earn the money with which to buy it. Why do his neighbors have such little food? What did they buy instead of food, or what did they do instead of raising food. What did the guy who focused on buying food miss out on buying while he was methodically buying a little extra food each month? What did he sacrifice? Why didn't his neighbors make the same sacrifice. What were they able to enjoy each month while the other guy was sacrificing to put away food? Why did they trade their food away? These are the sorts of questions that go through my head when I am told that one person just happens to have a great big store of food and everyone around him is hungry.

How did one person acquire such a large store of food? Maybe their grandfather left it to them. Maybe a tornado took out everyone else's farm around them. Maybe a freakin' tsunami washed away all the land at a slightly lower elevation. Why does it matter?

I think there are two glaring problems with your post. First of all, you very cynically assume that those who have everything are harder working and smarter than those who don't. Now, I'm sure that this is intended to ease any sense of guilt that would come from being a fat guy in a place full of starving people. I encourage you to stop looking at the poor with disdain. Most of the people on this planet who have nothing are not in that position due to their own laziness. That is an insulting cop out.

The second problem with your idea is that you don't seem to understand there is a basic set of needs for a human to have what we call human dignity. I see nothing in your philosophy that recognizes a minimum existence or that would encourage it's adherents to establish one. The libertarian potential is a larger fiscal divide and an even more unrepentant model of slavery than we even see today.

Armed with the convenient ability to dismiss those who are in need as lazy and dumb while simultaneously leaving the door open to unlimited exploitation of the poor, the libertarian marches on toward their ideal of freedom. Jesus, I hope we're never that free again.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED
Joined:
Oct. 20, 2010 7:47 pm

Such passionate, righteous indignation! Oh, the injustice! If only we could be free of the scourge of brutish violence wresting $.073 from my hands to give to some miscreant! How you must suffer at the hands of such sinister tyranny!

Quote Brutus563:
Quote nimblecivet:
The role of violence on the part of the state has been both to implement as well as to redress injustices. We are suppossed to ignore thousands of years of history replete with the character of violence and suppose that if we dissolve all functions of the government which have to do with humanitarian ends that a state of justice will result.

You've actually hit the nail right on the head. It is precisely when the state are disbanded that a state of justice will result. They must give up their aggression.

Are you one of them, NimbleCivet? Do you wish to initiate aggression against me and others that do not conform to your edicts? The state are deserving of the same derision that is righfully heaped upon slavers everywhere. Treating other people as ones property is morally wrong, and the state regard all of us as their property.

You seem to have utterly missed my point. How can ensuring a state of justice be so simple as to consist of eliminating the government? What aggression have I initiated when the "edicts" you speak of could not possibly have been imagined by me? Why am I any more or less to blame for the state of the world than anyone else just because I refuse to accept your tendentious claims that our form of government is indistinguishable from that of a Caligula or Xerxes? And as far as being treated like "property", the only time I have been treated as such is by some of my employers. By far the corporations which would rule the world upon the dissolution of the government have made more of a successful effort to shape and direct the course of recent events and the difficulties of daily life which I encounter when trying to maintain my own form of independence and preserve my own freedom. When I deal with the government its no bed of roses either, but usually I feel like I have some sort of standing in the relationship, some sort of opportunity to utilize the government for my purposes.

Quote Brutus563:
Quote nimblecivet:
Even to take at face value the proposition that the government has its only legitimate function in the maintainance of peace leaves us with a problem which libertarians have not resolved. The parties which are subject to the authority of the government may have legitimate or illegitimate claims of grievances of various sorts; government provides a political solution which is in the form of a compromise. This is in the interest of preserving peace as a value higher even than absolute justice. In other words, if the government is limited in power, in its ability to gather information and to act, a political solution is always by definition one which leaves unresolved, at least for the present duration, the ideological claims to justice of the respective parties involved in the political process.

If you are saying that people have disputes that must be resolved, of course I aggree with you. But you have to make the case that the state are the only ones who capable of resulving these disputes. Given the past behavior and corruption of the state, I would rather have their monopoly broken up and return to people the choice of dispute resolution agencies.

Again, you miss the point. The government is the choice of dispute resolution agencies as a last resort. There is no "monopoly" by the government on dispute resolution, there are a myriad of formal and informal dispute resolution processes which people use, including those derived from the traditions of their culture (e.g. religious authorities), community agencies, counseling, and arbitration services. My point was that the majority of disputes which wind up being resolved by the state are not as clear cut as you make them out to be; there's more going on this world than bad people knocking good people over the head and taking their money. Although I say that living in San Francisco... In my opinion actually I think a lot of it does go too far, and the incessant squabbling of neighborhood organizations about the locations of businesses, whether smoking should be allowed, whether people can hang their laundry out to dry, etc. are sad examples of people's inability to live together peacefully albeit non-violently. But where do you draw the line? I don't want someone moving in next door that's going to play Led Zeppelin at mega-decibels until 3a.m. every night. As a matter of practical reality, people have to have some recourse to sussing out these problems and government is often the only agency available- that keeps me from showing up on my neighbor's doorstep with a baseball bat, and visa-versa (or a shotgun, etc.).

Quote Brutus563:
Quote nimblecivet:
What is lost on libertarians is that the French and American Revolutions promised that all individuals would have access to the political shere as a means for promoting their self-interest.

I'd be interested to see a reference to an American revolutionary that put forth the idea that the government should be a mechanism for promoting self-interest. (Which I take you to mean that the government would use aggression against one set of people to further the ends of another set of people.)

Quote nimblecivet:
If we are to maintain a civil society, the only way to limit government is to resolve outstanding questions of social justice.

Here again, we disagree. I don't see how civil a society can be when the state are allowed free reign to aggress against their fellow citizens. Are we not all equals? How do the state get the right to aggress against the rest of us with impunity. If one of the ruled were to do what the state do, they would be thrown in jail, and rightfully so. Moral laws do not apply to some but not to others.

It may be more accurate to say that the American revolutionaries thought of government as the vehicle for all members of society to participate in the design of government to promote the common interest, but obviously there's a balance between private happiness and public happiness. My understanding is that the latter was thought of by the framers as belonging to the elite whose status in society gave them the noble role of society's leaders, who received approbation by the people. The framer's idea of education for all for example was that the education a person received would be suitable for that person's rank in society.

The frontier provided opportunity for exploitation that obviated the problems of poverty which the French Revolutionists had to deal with. But the economic elite of the 19th century exploited wealth derived from colonialism and slavery to buy up land to exploit natural resources, leading eventually to the need for the New Deal to counteract the threat to democracy poised by capitalist oligarchy. Would libertarians have objected to the government fulfilling its promise of acres and a mule to ex-slaves because it was unfair in that it would have had to have come from taxation upon the population as a whole, rather than reparations from the South? Even if it was funded by reparations from the South, would that have been totally fair? Of course not; but the framers designed a constitution founded upon the faith that democracy would find the best possible solution to problems that are too complicated to reduce to simple moral axioms. They believed that democratic government would not prevent an individual from prospering even if it demanded a tax from the citizen to fund the implementation of laws that could not possibly be agreed upon by every single individual.

Basically, if you insist on categorically denying the right of government to act as the mediator between a large number of individuals with different moral perspectives, different grievances, and different interests, and deny that the world we live in is largely shaped by processes which are intrinsic to but not limited to government, then you will avoid the real issue. Which is that while principle plays a part in determining what is and is not consitutional, that which is not relegated to the latter category persists in the form of a compromise. I am shocked at the extent to which some people pursue the "nanny state" which will regulate every aspect of our lives, but I don't see libertarianism as being anything more than knee-jerk reactionism that at best here and there offers a much needed shot of "f-u".

nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Good post. I was going to comment on the improvements we could make to some state functions and our thinking about justice and decision-making in general. Mediation and other restorative justice approaches could go a long way to solving the Prison Industrial Complex, a major American pathology.

But the basic Libertarian desire to bypass the State and have something else fails. Without a democratic state, there is no balance to hold Commerce accountable and no way to determine which property has been earned or how much can be counted as "personal." When one owns the town, what one owns is public, not private. Private ownership of public institutions includes the businesses of public commerce because they are not "private" in function.

This makes the equation between personal property "rights" and liberty tenuous. But the idea of Freedom is that it has to be FOR ALL. Freedom for some is tyranny for others.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote doh1304:If I stand on a street corner and yell, "taxi" I expect that someone who stops a car with TAXI written on the side will have a drivers' license, and insurance, and that he will take me where I tell him to; not somewhere else. Under Glass-Steagall if you called yourself a "bank" you had to operate your business in ways that conformed with the ubiversal belief that people had of what a bank is. You could operate in any other way that you wanted, but just not call yourself a bank if you didn't act like one.

Well said. Not all libertarians will agree with me, but as long as companies are free to offer alternatives, I think it's reasonable to expect that certain titles and types of business serve as a shorthand for certain standards in an orderly society.

libertarian voting for Tea Party's picture
libertarian vot...
Joined:
Apr. 4, 2011 11:09 am
Quote Cheesebone:
Quote D_NATURED:
Quote Cheesebone:

I suppose I have to ask, where in history has one man owned everything?

Inasmuch as we were discussing a political philosophy that is hypothetical, I thought it fair to create a hypothetical scenario. The point is, they support-in principle- the right of one person, family or company to own everything, provided it was acquired in a way they find non-agressive. But, it doesn't have to be "everything". If you're the only guy in town with a big store of food, for instance (not everything) your hungry neighbors will be at your disposal. You won't have to defraud them in an overt way. Their need will make them compete for the most minimal existence. To allow people to do that is immoral.

Well, hypothetically, if I grew another set of arms, could I be twice as productive at work? There's an answer there somewhere, but the fact is that it's not going to happen anyway.

Apparently, you didn't read my whole post because you missed the part where I wrote, you don't have to own everything. It is enough to control large portions and collude with other owners-as is done in many industries to the detriment of the people.

The closest thing to a full-on monopoly that recent civilization has ever seen can be found in the DeBeers Diamond company, but even then when you research how they got to that point, you learn that it was only made possible because they had government restrict other forms of competition and create the environment for their monopoly in the first place.

Right, but the answer is not to destroy government. The answer is to get the bribery (a.k.a., The money) out of the equation. To declare the programs that allow the government to serve the people to be pork while cutting taxes on the rich is freakin' insane.

The libertarian, when their dogs get fleas, probably shoot the dog.

I'll start this off by saying that I'm absolutely 100,000% pro-choice, but, hypotherically, do Progressives believe that a woman can go have 10 abortions a year?

But for the fact that the procedure can have long term physical effects, I say hell yes. Have twenty a year but don't bring unwanted children into an overpopulated and under-motivated to care for anyone else planet. Abortion IS birth control. I would sacrifice a billion fetuses for one human.

That they'll defend the potential for that to occur? Especially if government were to finance health care for everyone, that means that you yourself would be helping fund this particular womans decision to abort 100 pregnancies per decade. Right?

Yes, it would. It would mean that you have a responsible citizen who cares enough about everyone else not to crowd them for resources. And should a socialized health care system pay for it? Damn tootin'. It's good for society for us to quit looking at pregnancy like a magic trick and start controlling it for our own future.

Obviously it will likely never reach that kind of level of absurdity, but the concept still kinda stands. And, truth be told, I think that we'd have a better chance of seeing the same woman axe 10 pregnancies in a year, than we would of actually witnessing a destructive monopoly form under free market principles.

Free market is an Orwellian term. Markets are created and, as such, are structured with mechanisms of discipline and are not free. You are either talking about chaos or you are talking about society. The libertarian model claims to create the latter from the former. I ain't buying it.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED
Joined:
Oct. 20, 2010 7:47 pm

I think it is like the child's "secret garden," a natural paradise where the unicorns and bunnies play with you. The dream of a "free market" is a metaphysical escape from the real world. When they discover one somewhere, I will believe in it. Until then, I prefer my unicorns in fairy tales.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote DRC:

I think it is like the child's "secret garden," a natural paradise where the unicorns and bunnies play with you. The dream of a "free market" is a metaphysical escape from the real world. When they discover one somewhere, I will believe in it. Until then, I prefer my unicorns in fairy tales.

I'm just tired of people putting their incomplete imaginings forward as a rightful competition to reality. Unicorns do belong in fairy tales, just like libertarianism.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED
Joined:
Oct. 20, 2010 7:47 pm

By your definition one could say that all laws/regulations are acts of aggression. So do you think a society with no laws or regulations would would work out better?

thurston's picture
thurston
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Dr Mario Kart:The government is us.

In theory. It's a nice concept promoted by grade school US history textbooks, along the same lines as "The US is a land of equal opportunity." Unfortunately, the US operates as a plutocracy. The few speak for the many, and the few are ruled by the wealthy elite.

The system isn't broken, it was built this way.

Garrett78's picture
Garrett78
Joined:
Sep. 3, 2010 8:20 am
Quote nimblecivet:If we are to maintain a civil society, the only way to limit government is to resolve outstanding questions of social justice. This must be done by redressing the effect of past imbalances as they manifest themselves in the present situation. The question for progressives is "How can the democratic political process be used to arrive at a political solution to the problem of poverty?" Political enfranchisement will be of no use as long as the masses continue to accept the welfare state as an adequate compromise. Please see my blog post "What Does It Mean To Be a Progressive?" if you want to discuss fair political solutions instead of debating the merits of progressivism itself with those whose circular reasoning is based on logic which begs the question of the role of government in political matters.

As I was reading through this thread, I kept waiting for someone to make that point. But then the person to whom it was directed clearly missed it.

It's preposterous to think privately-held dispute resolution meetings can undo all of the past injustice, which continues to impact the present (for a small taste of what I mean, read some of Tim Wise's work), and all of the present-day injustice. Of course, there are those who actually seem to think the injustices of the past have been resolved and that the US - at present - truly is a land of equal opportunity. I can't talk to people who are that delusional.

That said, as long as the US operates as a plutocracy, I'm not the least bit hopeful that the federal government is the answer. Between the plutocrats on one hand and the delusional masses on the other hand, I'm left with personal rebellion and supporting - as much as I can - those nonprofits which I believe are doing virtuous work.

Thinking globally and acting locally is extremely important to me. Along with the following 2 Ghandi quotes: "Live simply so that others may simply live." and "Be the change you wish to see in the world." That's what keeps me sane as we face - in the words of David Korten - the "cataclysmic confrontation [that] looms between consumption and population growth on the one hand and a finite natural resource base on the other."

Garrett78's picture
Garrett78
Joined:
Sep. 3, 2010 8:20 am

Currently Chatting

Can Democrats Set Out a New Path?

Democrats must embrace a pro-government platform, not run away from it.

Those were the sentiments of Senator Chuck Schumer today, in a speech given at the National Press Club. Talking about the reasons for Democrats’ losses on Election Day, Schumer said that those losses were proof that the American people and middle-class want a government that will work more effectively for them.

Powered by Pressflow, an open source content management system