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Anarchic Order
Spintech Magazine ^ | January 4, 2002 | Paul Hein, M.D.

Posted on 01/14/2002 6:38:35 AM PST by SteamshipTime


I believe it was Chesterton who remarked that Christianity had not failed; it had not been tried. And Ayn Rand described capitalism as the unknown ideal. I would like to suggest, in a similar vein, that anarchy has been tried, is being tried and is a universal success, but remains an unknown ideal. I’ll explain.

Anarchy, I must point out, is not synonymous, at least in my mind, with bomb-throwing lunatics, or rioting in the streets. It is as placid as a pond, as peaceful as a park. There is nothing chaotic about it. It is certainly not the absence of government, but only of government imposed by strangers. The anarchist governs himself, based upon principles found to be enduring and valuable: the Ten Commandments, for example. Anarchy has been the basis of society, long prior to the existence of government.

Does your family have bylaws? Are there regular elections, or meetings for the sake of writing new laws to cope with new problems? Do family members regularly charge one another with violations of the law, and demand justice, as meted out by strangers? Not in my family.

Family members may disagree, of course, but these disagreements are worked out and eventually settled without recourse to written statutes or judges. No lawyers are necessary. God’s law, we have been taught, is written on our hearts. We don’t need to quibble about the precise meaning of words in laws because we all know, instinctively, what is right and fair, and what isn’t. It is only when we leave the family that we encounter the world of legalisms.

As a physician, I am on the staff of several hospitals. All have staff bylaws. These are bulky multi-page documents, intended to deal with any and every circumstance surrounding a physician’s staff privileges. Before being accepted on the staff, you must sign the bylaws and agree to abide by them. Indeed, one hospital even affixes to its signature-line the jurat that the signer will be bound not only by these bylaws, but by any additions that may be made in the future.

Astonishingly, this absurdity seems to provoke little reaction from the doctors. Perhaps that is because they realize that the bylaws don’t mean anything anyway, but exist mainly to provide the hospital with justification for acting against a particular physician if his actions might be considered dangerous to the hospital. Strangers from hospital-accreditation, who, ultimately, control the purse strings, require them.

The laws of your local community, not to mention state and federal governments, are sufficiently numerous and complex that you cannot possibly know them, although ignorance of the law – an excellent excuse for any alleged lawbreaker—is considered no excuse by the lawmakers, who may profit from infractions. You manage your day to day activities quite nicely without reference to these countless regulations. Indeed, were you to consider them prior to acting, you would be reduced to inactivity; they would overwhelm you.

In fact, the innumerable laws which are said to apply to all of us are out of our thoughts. That undeniable fact is, in itself, an excellent argument for anarchy. We have government, with its innumerable laws, but we function as though we didn’t, because otherwise we’d spend more time pouring over the statute-books, and haggling over definitions, than doing our work.

Moreover, the government itself, though passing new laws with alacrity, pays little attention to them, at least where its self-interest is concerned. It does what it thinks it must do, and if its actions are prohibited by the laws, it ignores them. The proof of this is all around us. To wit: "No state shall make anything but gold and silver coin a legal tender for debt."

That constitutional provision would virtually eradicate our economic problems; the government not only ignores it, but violates it. Actions not specifically permitted to government by the constitution are denied it. Nearly all of the government’s actions are, by this constitutional standard, unconstitutional. Does anyone in Washington care? Do most Americans?

The written laws are tools to be used, when it is considered desirable to do so, against individuals and corporations, except the federal corporation, which ignores any laws it finds oppressive.

What keeps society together are not the myriad laws imposed by government, to be applied as needed; it is the law written on our hearts. The shootings at schools around the country have undoubtedly stimulated a new outpouring of laws, but there are already numerous laws prohibiting shootings at schools, or anywhere else. "Thou Shalt Not Kill" is the relevant law, and it’s already written, though not taught. Indeed, it is forbidden to be taught in many schools. Therein lies the problem!

There is freedom in the law, we are told, but that is only true if it is God’s law, not that of some strangers who call themselves government. Those laws bring slavery. Indeed, that may be their purpose.


Paul Hein, an ophthalmologist, is author of All Work and No Pay. His column, "Hein-sight," usually runs on alternate Fridays in Spintech.


TOPICS: Editorial; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: libertarians
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Comment #101 Removed by Moderator

To: SteamshipTime
Great Post!.........finally a a definition of anarchy that isn't spun the government.
102 posted on 01/14/2002 12:33:10 PM PST by SemperFidelis
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To: Architect
Yet, the fact remains that anarchy - in the strict sense of the word "without government" - is the natural human state of affairs. We evolved to live in circumstances in which there is no government. Despite the lack of government, there most definitely was order.

The good news is that the anarchic utopia you relish already exists! It's in New Guinea. You will have to submit to a little government hassle upon landing in Paupau, but once you leave the city (there are no roads going much beyond the city) you may live completely outside of the controlling arms of government.

Of course you will not be able to enjoy the fruits of technology such as refrigeration, plumbing, etc, and you will have to catch on to the practice of "payback", for since there is no law, there is only petty feuding and familial revenge.

Instead of flaming Freepers, you should try to be a real man and go try anarchy for a while. Go live "outside the box". I dare you.

When you get back, you can post pictures of your adventure in pure freedom, and we will either all be humbled by the superiority of anarchy, or we will pity you the squalor of your utopia, should you survive to tell about it.

103 posted on 01/14/2002 12:35:23 PM PST by Wm Bach
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To: Trident/Delta
Still searching. I think the old Articles of Confederation may be a good model: a coalition of sovereign states with their own militias and no federal government. At some point, I plan on reading Murray Rothbard's 4 volume opus on the colonies/states prior to the ratification of the federal constitution, Conceived in Liberty and also Hans Herman-Hoppe's Democracy: The God That Failed. My hypothesis is that the current system is first, not likely to change given the self-interested voting by the electorate, the majority of whom are net tax consumers, and second, simply not sustainable due to ever-increased federal debt and inflated currency.
104 posted on 01/14/2002 12:38:51 PM PST by SteamshipTime
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To: ctdonath2
"...who notifies next of kin, and who apprehends the murderer."

The individual will be missed and asked for by the family, and, under the scenario you describe, they will apprehend and deal with the criminal.

At least that's how I would do it if not for the interference of the "goverment".

105 posted on 01/14/2002 12:51:56 PM PST by wcbtinman
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To: Ridin' Shotgun
How would anarchy better deal with individuals who couldn't/wouldn't govern themselves?

This is the right question, not the one about unidentified bodies in a dumpster, which, as I pointed out, are more likely to show up where there is public property.

The answer to this is two-fold. First to understand how much government contributes to the existence of individuals couldn't/wouldn't govern themselves. Secondly to understand the mechanisms which the natural order uses to impose self-governance.

WRT the first. Not only is government the single greatest criminal which exists, stealing and murdering far more people than any smaller gang, it also is the ultimate source of most private crime as well. The vast majority of crime comes directly from the government welfare system attacking fatherhood and the family, the government's war on drugs and the crime schools called prisons.

As to the question of how the natural order keeps people in line, the prime mechanism is through ostracism. Why do you pay your debts? Not (primarily) because of the threat of court action but rather because people will cease to deal with you if you welch. If you're behind on your credit cards, eventually you pay up. And life goes on. No expensive lawyers and prisons. Etc. Simply quiet resolution of the problem.

The same mechanism can be used for other things as well. Ostracism is a powerful way to keep people in line. It works. And the ultimate form of ostracism, for those who simply refuse to follow the rules of good behaviour, is banishment.

In the modern world, any one who is banished better hope he can find some other community to take him in. Otherwise, he is going to be awfully hungry.

106 posted on 01/14/2002 12:52:36 PM PST by Architect
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To: tex-oma
I disagree.

"There are some ideas so preposterous, only an intellectual could believe them."
- George Orwell

Maybe you can demonstrate how a government reduces any violence.

Rather amazing that I need to spell this one out to you. That you don't understand indicates you won't get the answer.

If a serial killer gets busy in a city, what happens?
With government, a police force tracks him down and removes him from society.
With anarchy, practically nothing happens, and the crimes continue.

Government is like a lock: at minimum, it keeps the honest people honest.

107 posted on 01/14/2002 12:54:05 PM PST by ctdonath2
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To: Ridin' Shotgun
How would anarchy better deal with individuals who couldn't/wouldn't govern themselves?

Easy, if they get out of hand, they would be "sleeping with the fish."

108 posted on 01/14/2002 12:54:48 PM PST by SemperFidelis
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To: Wm Bach
That's worth repeating.

Instead of flaming Freepers, you should try to be a real man and go try anarchy for a while. Go live "outside the box". I dare you.


109 posted on 01/14/2002 12:56:25 PM PST by ctdonath2
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To: ctdonath2
If a serial killer gets busy in a city, what happens? With government, a police force tracks him down and removes him from society. With anarchy, practically nothing happens, and the crimes continue.

In a society where each is responsible 100% for himself, serial killers don't last long, as the populace is armed.

Oh, and honest people don't need anything, especially government, to keep them honest.

110 posted on 01/14/2002 12:59:58 PM PST by Doctor Doom
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Comment #111 Removed by Moderator

To: ctdonath2
If a serial killer gets busy in a city, what happens? With government, a police force tracks him down and removes him from society. With anarchy, practically nothing happens, and the crimes continue

You don't think that people would act to protect themselves against such a person? By hiring private detectives perhaps? I submit that, not only would they do so, they would be far more efficient than the bureaucrats in the police.

112 posted on 01/14/2002 1:02:36 PM PST by Architect
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To: Wm Bach
Instead of flaming Freepers, you should try to be a real man and go try anarchy for a while. Go live "outside the box". I dare you.

If people are civil to me, I'll be civil to them. My post #95, to which you pretend to be responding, was perfectly civil. This little rant has nothing to do with it. Nor is it a response to anything, just the typical "America, Love it or Leave It" garbage. You, sir, deserve flaming.

113 posted on 01/14/2002 1:09:23 PM PST by Architect
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To: ctdonath2
Government is like a lock: at minimum, it keeps the honest people honest.

And the dishonest ones in Washington.

114 posted on 01/14/2002 1:10:27 PM PST by Architect
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To: Architect
the prime mechanism is through ostracism

Only works in a society where people know each other well enough. A small frontier community might be able to ostracize someone, but not a modern city.

My co-workers don't know what I do outside work. The grocer, gas station attendant, haircutter, etc. don't know if I've done anything objectionable, and if one does the others don't. If groceries aren't paid for, the haircutter won't know. If I pay for my groceries with mugging money, the grocer doesn't know. If I'm ostracized from a given location, I need only walk a few blocks to become anonymous again. I work in a city of a million people; on the whole, they won't ostracize me...or you...or anyone else. My daily activities are spread across a 900 square mile region. Money talks; otherwise, I'm an anonymous face.

We're not in a frontier community of a few hundred people who really rely on each other. We're in a rapid-commute, mega-city, suburb-enhanced culture. If you're not welcome somewhere, just drive another minute or take a different bus...they won't know you and your cash talks.

Ostracism was once practically equal to death. Today, it means practically nothing.

115 posted on 01/14/2002 1:10:41 PM PST by ctdonath2
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To: Architect
It appears that you've spent some quality time with this subject. Thank you for that very reasoned response. Have you given any thought to how we might reclaim the trillions of acres of land that government has confiscated? I can only see anarchism working if people had access to the land and weren't crammed into high rises in the cities and employed in produce-nothing, paper-shuffling jobs. We'd almost have to go back to an agri/industrial economy (good plan anyway, IMO), wouldn't we?
116 posted on 01/14/2002 2:12:28 PM PST by Ridin' Shotgun
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To: Doctor Doom
Great article, ST. I always wonder why people can't understand concept of spontaneous ordering when we see it every day in aa free market, or why 90 percent of our ills happen because of, in tribute to, or on the tragic commons.

My guess is that most people do understand "spontaneous ordering," but they fear the kind of order that is likely to result.

117 posted on 01/14/2002 2:18:13 PM PST by Logophile
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To: SemperFidelis
"sleeping with the fish."

Guess that means the EPA and PETA will have to get thrown to the fish also. Works for me. Can we do the same with the rest of the ABC agencies? If so, call me anarchist.

118 posted on 01/14/2002 2:19:29 PM PST by Ridin' Shotgun
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To: Logophile
Yes - people do prefer security to liberty, it seems.
119 posted on 01/14/2002 2:20:43 PM PST by Doctor Doom
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To: tex-oma
People who call 911

A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.

120 posted on 01/14/2002 2:21:41 PM PST by Ridin' Shotgun
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To: ctdonath2
In fact, it is far harder to hide in a modern society than a primitive one. In the old West, you could always just ride off. But not today. Your reputation follows you. If you try to buy a house, the neighbors won't let in people who are known as muggers. If you try to find a job, your boss will refuse to work with known criminals. Etc.

You mention that a grocer won't know if I'm paying for my bill with mugging money. You are right. Of course, that's exactly how it stands today. So let's concentrate on what happens if you get caught mugging.

In the current situation, a government decides to put you in prison. The government will take about a year to do so. Result: the person you mugged is still out his money, you get lessons in how to be a better mugger, and the tax payer is charged the bill for all this. Hardly what I would call justice.

In a system of private justice, the person you mugged would sue you for damages and find a judge to rule on the case. You would have a choice: either mutually agree on a choice of judge and accept the verdict or... It would become known that you refuse to play by the rules.

At which point, you're back to looking for a place to live.

The diamond-cutting industry was once dominated by orthodox Jews who were forbidden by their religion to sue each other. So if they had a dispute, they would take it to an arbitrator to resolve. To someone who was known to be fair. There weren't any problems. It is human nature to accept recognize what is "fair" and to accept the verdict.

This is also how the English Common Law evolved. Peasants would hire judges at county fairs and festivals to resolve their disputes. The good ones got hired again by other disputants and their judgements became the basis for later decisions by other judges.

121 posted on 01/14/2002 2:23:04 PM PST by Architect
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To: ctdonath2
"Wise guy. Of course such things [murder] will happen with government...but it would happen a lot more without government."

It is estimated that in the last century 170 million citizens were murdered by their own governments. ("Death by government", Rummel) Taking the century's world average population at 3 billion, which is high, that gives an estimated average annual governmental murder rate of almost 60 per 100,000. The annual(non-governmental) murder rate in the U.S. hovered around 10 per 100,000 during the century.

122 posted on 01/14/2002 2:29:25 PM PST by Aurelius
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To: Ridin' Shotgun
I don't see why it's necessary to abandon cities and high-rises. A huge number of jobs which only exist to support the state would obviously disappear. Lawyering, much accounting. And, of course, bureaucrats would all suddenly find themselves in need of a job.

WRT all the land (and other property) the government owns, I think Harry Browne has the right idea. Sell it off and use the proceeds to pay off all the stakeholders in the government scam. Annuities for retirees. Severance pay for bureaucrats. Etc.

123 posted on 01/14/2002 2:32:11 PM PST by Architect
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To: Architect
All sufficiently-complex systems are self-ordering. Think of an ecology. The conifers grow on the hills and the cactii in the deserts. Nobody orders them to. It just happens. The same thing happens in an economy. We use the term "marketplace" to refer to this particular self-ordering mechanism.

When government imposes its will on society, this has the effect, not of imposing order on disorder, but rather of freezing motion. In other words, it does not impose order. It imposes stasis.

You talk of government as if it were a foreign entity imposed on society. That may be true when one nation conquers another; otherwise, every government grows out of a particular community or nation. One could say that government, like the economy, is a "self-ordering mechanism."

Just as some trees grow in the mountains and not in the desert, some forms of government have florished in some societies and not in others. Have you considered why there are no anarchistic societies anywhere today? What sort of society would be required for anarchy to form and florish spontaneously?

124 posted on 01/14/2002 2:41:54 PM PST by Logophile
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To: Doctor Doom
Yes - people do prefer security to liberty, it seems.

Most people would prefer to have both.

125 posted on 01/14/2002 2:47:08 PM PST by Logophile
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To: Logophile
You talk of government as if it were a foreign entity

Guess what? The Supreme Court talked that way too, respecting Volume 20; Corpus Juris Sec. 1785 (NY re: Merriam 36 NE, 505 141): THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IS A FOREIGN CORPORATION WITH RESPECT TO A STATE. There are others that say basically the same thing. But then the States incorporated, the counties incorporated, the cities incorporated and now you compete with all of these corporate entities in business.

126 posted on 01/14/2002 2:54:11 PM PST by Ridin' Shotgun
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To: Logophile
I doubt very much that a government ever arose spontaneously where there was none. The origins of government have almost always been by conquest.
127 posted on 01/14/2002 2:57:37 PM PST by Aurelius
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To: Aurelius
It is estimated that in the last century 170 million citizens were murdered by their own governments. ("Death by government", Rummel) Taking the century's world average population at 3 billion, which is high, that gives an estimated average annual governmental murder rate of almost 60 per 100,000. The annual(non-governmental) murder rate in the U.S. hovered around 10 per 100,000 during the century.

There are governments and there are governments. Surely you do not mean to imply that there is little difference between the U.S. government and that of, say, North Korea.

What was the "governmental murder rate" in the United States during the last century, and how does that compare with the "non-governmental" rate?

128 posted on 01/14/2002 2:57:44 PM PST by Logophile
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To: Logophile
But the reality, so eloquently pointed out by Benjamin Franklin, is that you cannot have both.
129 posted on 01/14/2002 2:58:00 PM PST by Doctor Doom
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To: Aurelius
I doubt very much that a government ever arose spontaneously where there was none. The origins of government have almost always been by conquest.

Well, someone was doing the conquering. The first governments must have arisen spontaneously somewhere in the world.

130 posted on 01/14/2002 3:01:47 PM PST by Logophile
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To: Architect
I'm not suggesting that cities should be 'abandoned', other than by those who would choose to abandon them. Living off the land (ranching, farming, mining, timber) has become an impossibility in these days of wildlife refuges, heritage rivers, wilderness designations and other various environazi regulations.

I agree that selling off the land the government holds is a good plan, but if government scam can be proven to be the fraud it appears to be, the people who (knowingly) participated and profited from that fraud shouldn't be awarded with severence etc., they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, just like anyone else would be.

131 posted on 01/14/2002 3:05:05 PM PST by Ridin' Shotgun
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To: Doctor Doom
But the reality, so eloquently pointed out by Benjamin Franklin, is that you cannot have both.

We cannot enjoy both security and liberty? No wonder anarchists have had such a hard time selling their ideas to their fellow Americans.

I believe that Franklin would have disagreed with you. He worked to form a nation that is both as secure as possible and free as possible.

132 posted on 01/14/2002 3:13:05 PM PST by Logophile
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To: Logophile
I believe that Franklin would have disagreed with you.

Don't bet your wad on that.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

133 posted on 01/14/2002 3:18:23 PM PST by Doctor Doom
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To: Logophile
You talk of government as if it were a foreign entity imposed on society.

That is precisely what it is. A government may, as you say, be organic and grow out of its community (or more accurately, out of previous governments). But that does not change its purpose - which is to control and manipulate the development of that community. It imposes a system of law and order instead of letting the market choose the mechanisms for self-defense and conflict resolution which work best.

Have you considered why there are no anarchistic societies anywhere today?

Historically, they have been conquered by states. Once installed, the state has been extremely difficult to weed out.

What sort of society would be required for anarchy to form and florish spontaneously?

Well, the first step is obviously for people to recognize that such a thing is thinkable.

I would say that a second would be a recognition of the right to individual secession. A friend of mine has this dream of buying an island in the Straits of Juan de Fuca and making her own country. Why the hell shouldn't she have the right to do precisely that?

134 posted on 01/14/2002 3:22:09 PM PST by Architect
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To: Doctor Doom
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

Yes, I know the quote. (Franklin is one of my heroes.) But Franklin did not say the choice was either liberty or security. Note the qualifiers: essential liberty; temporary safety. Franklin was promoting neither anarchy nor cowardice.

135 posted on 01/14/2002 3:22:47 PM PST by Logophile
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To: Architect
A friend of mine has this dream of buying an island in the Straits of Juan de Fuca and making her own country.

I have a friend who wants to capture an island, declare himself an unfriendly nation and apply for foreign aid, LOL.

136 posted on 01/14/2002 3:29:13 PM PST by Ridin' Shotgun
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To: Logophile
The first governments must have arisen spontaneously somewhere in the world.

Quite true. In his works, Marvin Harris shows quite brilliantly the evolutionary processes which lead to the subjunction of people, as control became more and more tight and adherence to the ruler became less and less voluntary.

It's fairly clear that the first real states arose in response to the requirement for complex hydrological works to support agriculture. Dams, irrigation canals, etc. All the primary states arose in river valleys and lake districts. Once someone seizes control of the waterworks, he's got you by the proverbial throat. You have to let him be king or you die.

137 posted on 01/14/2002 3:30:30 PM PST by Architect
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To: Ridin' Shotgun
I agree that selling off the land the government holds is a good plan, but if government scam can be proven to be the fraud it appears to be, the people who (knowingly) participated and profited from that fraud shouldn't be awarded with severence etc., they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, just like anyone else would be.

While I might agree with you in theory, I would be more than satisfied to be finally left free. I don't care what price you want. Slave for five years? Sold. It's better than being a half-slave for the rest of my life.

138 posted on 01/14/2002 3:35:02 PM PST by Architect
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To: Architect
It's fairly clear that the first real states arose in response to the requirement for complex hydrological works to support agriculture

That's an element, but you can't discount organized gangs of bandits who ran the early protection rackets on the first farmers.

139 posted on 01/14/2002 3:36:10 PM PST by Doctor Doom
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To: Ridin' Shotgun
How would anarchy better deal with individuals who couldn't/wouldn't govern themselves?
I'm still pondering this. I'm not a mob rule oficinado, but I do know a mob can be assembled at the drop of hat. That of course is my knee jerk answer. We probably don't have to look any further than pre white America, to see where a people can self govern. Even an Honorable Society needs occassional enforcement of it's established principles. I would view this governance as a form of Anarchy. Blackbird.
140 posted on 01/14/2002 3:42:14 PM PST by BlackbirdSST
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To: Doctor Doom
That's an element, but you can't discount organized gangs of bandits who ran the early protection rackets on the first farmers.

Well, that's pretty much what I was talking about. The difference was that you couldn't escape the protection rackets in the river valleys. You're in the Nile Valley. Somebody grabs control of the irrigation system and says you gotta pay up or else. What do you do? Walk off into the desert?

The first agriculture seems to have been in Turkey but the state didn't appear until thousands of years later. It has to intensify before they can catch you in their racket. Otherwise you just walk away from the jerkfaces and set up a new farm elsewhere.

141 posted on 01/14/2002 3:45:23 PM PST by Architect
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To: Architect
It's better than being a half-slave for the rest of my life.

LOL! Guess it depends on how many years you figure you got left. I don't suppose I have all that many left to waste paying crooks for screwing me all these years. So, seeings we've already GOT those cages down in Cuba, whats to lose? I do see your point, but when you award people who've defrauded you, it just encourages the crooks among us to do more of the same.

142 posted on 01/14/2002 3:53:11 PM PST by Ridin' Shotgun
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To: BlackbirdSST
I do know a mob can be assembled at the drop of hat ...

Yeah, in todays world they're called democrats.

Even an Honorable Society needs occassional enforcement of it's established principles. I would view this governance as a form of Anarchy. Blackbird.

Probably, and I certainly don't have the answer to that problem either. Actually, I have a lot more questions than I have answers, but we were warned that our government would only work for a 'moral' people and that certainly doesn't describe US any more, does it?

143 posted on 01/14/2002 4:15:04 PM PST by Ridin' Shotgun
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To: Architect
I wrote:

You talk of government as if it were a foreign entity imposed on society.

You replied:

That is precisely what it is. A government may, as you say, be organic and grow out of its community (or more accurately, out of previous governments). But that does not change its purpose - which is to control and manipulate the development of that community. It imposes a system of law and order instead of letting the market choose the mechanisms for self-defense and conflict resolution which work best.

You speak of the government as a thing, an abstraction. But the government is a group of human beings, who share a language, a history, and a culture. And like all human beings, they are fallible. Some are even evil, and they do evil things. The point is, the "government" is not so very different from the "society" that produced it. Even the worst governments must have the support of a sizeable fraction of the ppulation they govern.

You also speak of the market as a thing, an abstraction. But it too is made up of fallible human beings, some of whom are evil. There is no guarantee that a free market will form spontaneously in a given society, or that it will "choose the mechanisms for self-defense and conflict resolution which work best."

I wrote:

Have you considered why there are no anarchistic societies anywhere today?

You replied:

Historically, they have been conquered by states. Once installed, the state has been extremely difficult to weed out.

This is not a ringing endorsement of anarchies. Apparently, anarchies cannot compete with other forms of social organization. Who wants to be conquered by a foreign people?

I wrote:

What sort of society would be required for anarchy to form and florish spontaneously?

You replied:

Well, the first step is obviously for people to recognize that such a thing is thinkable.

I would say that a second would be a recognition of the right to individual secession. A friend of mine has this dream of buying an island in the Straits of Juan de Fuca and making her own country. Why the hell shouldn't she have the right to do precisely that?

Getting people to think is a good first step, and you certainly are doing that here. (I am not sure how "individual secession" would work in practice, however.)

I would add that the people must possess certain virtues -- such as honesty, self-restraint, and self-reliance -- for any free society to exist.

144 posted on 01/14/2002 4:44:28 PM PST by Logophile
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To: Logophile
The government is a group of human beings, who share a language, a history, and a culture. And like all human beings, they are fallible. Some are even evil, and they do evil things. The point is, the "government" is not so very different from the "society" that produced it.

A government is very different from the society that produces it.

von Mises, in his “Socialism”, proves that even in a perfect world, The State is incapable of performing the objectives which we set out for it. This is because it has no way to measure the progress of its endeavors. There is no yardstick by which we can judge progress so it engages in movement for the sake of movement. This we call bureaucratic waste. This in itself is unacceptable – but the truth is far worse.

People are not perfect. They have foibles and weaknesses. The State, by its very nature is evil. It is not a reflection of the Public but rather a perverse and distorted amplification of the Public's worse tendencies.

Here’s a definition of a state for you: a State is an agency that exists for the distribution of stolen goods to politically favored groups. It takes money from the productive through taxes and distributes it to groups that are well connected. Since it rests on a foundation of theft, it necessarily is corrupt. All its actions serve to increase the amount of theft and create new groups of parasites to live off that theft.

The primary mechanism that the State uses to incite one man against his fellow is War. In fact, the only thing the State is capable of is war and destruction. Nock said that war is the health of the State. At each war, the State increases its power and pushes the individual under its control a bit further. WWI brought the Income Tax. WWII turned it from a class tax into a mass tax. The power of the State increases. The freedom of the people declines.

Democracies have found new kinds of wars to wage. The War against Poverty. The War against Racism. Against Domestic Violence. Against Crime. Against Drugs. Against Illiteracy. Now, a War against Terrorism. The beauty of these new wars is that they can never be won, since they are wars against human nature itself. Thus the goal fades off into the future and the battle is waged for its own sake, causing still more destruction. The process has already started in the war on terrorism. bin Laden increasingly is forgotten is new countries fall on the scrutiny of the warriors.

Since the only purpose of the State is to create parasites to feed off the productive and the way it does this it through war on human nature, the inevitable result is that agents of State worsen the problems they are designed to correct. Welfare causes poverty. The court system causes crimes. The schools cause illiteracy. The CIA causes insecurity. The Defense department causes war. Etc.

No, the State is very different from the society that produces it. The market brings out the best in bad people. The State brings out the worst in good ones.

145 posted on 01/14/2002 5:41:04 PM PST by Architect
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To: Logophile
You also speak of the market as a thing, an abstraction. But it too is made up of fallible human beings, some of whom are evil. There is no guarantee that a free market will form spontaneously in a given society, or that it will "choose the mechanisms for self-defense and conflict resolution which work best."

A market is not people. It is the mechanism which a self-ordering system uses choosing between options. It does not require people to operate. But human society is a self-ordering system and consequently it progresses and evolves through markets. Despite the claims of the socialists, all human societies have progressed this way. No exceptions.

While markets are not perfect, they come pretty close. More to the point, they are the only mechanism which has been demonstrated to work at all. Perfect socialism is perfect stasis and states can only function at all in so far as they allow freedom of action to their citizens. Which is precisely why the West won against Communism. More liberty.

146 posted on 01/14/2002 5:48:33 PM PST by Architect
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To: Logophile
I said: Historically, they have been conquered by states. Once installed, the state has been extremely difficult to weed out.

You said: This is not a ringing endorsement of anarchies. Apparently, anarchies cannot compete with other forms of social organization. Who wants to be conquered by a foreign people?

True it is not. Ultimately all states have ever been good for is to protect you from other states. Which is not a ringing endorsement of states.

Historically states have won over non-states (and it’s important to note that there have been examples of non-state non-primitive societies) because of two factors: bigger firepower and the element of surprise. The real danger has always been the hordes which suddenly appear at the horizon in ship or on horseback armed with new and more dangerous weapons.

These factors are a lot less important today than they were even fifty years ago.

Pearl Harbor could never happen in today’s world. They would have spotted the fleet the second it left Tokyo Harbor.

More to the point, it is possible to make yourself an extremely unattractive target for relatively little money. The doctrine of MAD works. Combine it a Swiss-style defensive military and no one is going to attack.

147 posted on 01/14/2002 5:58:33 PM PST by Architect
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To: Logophile
I would add that the people must possess certain virtues -- such as honesty, self-restraint, and self-reliance -- for any free society to exist.

The greatest thing about the market is that it forces rich people to act precisely as if they cared for the poor - John Robson

148 posted on 01/14/2002 6:01:29 PM PST by Architect
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To: Logophile
"Well, someone was doing the conquering. The first governments must have arisen spontaneously somewhere in the world."

The didn't arise spontaneously as a governments, their evolution to a government probably required many generations. They began as nomads, pillaging and plundering agricultural communities. This evolved to something resembling the protection racket of modern organised crime (a primitive form of government itself) collecting tribute from such a community, and then finally to a governing, taxing relation. This (the Gumplowicsz-Opppenheimer theory) is a widely accepted explanation of the origin of the state. That social contract stuff is a lot of bunk. Governments grew out of aggression and plunder. Lawmaking and other activites typical of government can all be explained as motivated by a desire to maximise production of goods by the laboring subjects.

149 posted on 01/14/2002 6:20:08 PM PST by Aurelius
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To: Logophile
"There are governments and there are governments. Surely you do not mean to imply that there is little difference between the U.S. government and that of, say, North Korea."

But the discussion here is about governments in general, not the U.S. government in particular, which, historically at least, has been less bad than most governments. But the fact that the world average annual govermental murder rate for the 20th century is 6 times the historical criminal homicide rate in the U.S. is less than a sterling endorsement of government in general.

150 posted on 01/14/2002 6:36:46 PM PST by Aurelius
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