I won’t pretend Henry David Thoreau’s writing thoroughly interests me, as much as I admire him. Truth be told, I find much of his work boring and wordy. His ideas on government however, are quite interesting, especially coming from someone of his time period. He is among the ranks of abolitionist thinkers, like Josiah Warren, who correctly see in direct slavery the same basic injustices a subject suffers under a government. Continue reading
My friend Daniel Rothschild might just be the next Rothbard… but with more dirty jokes. He is studying for a doctorate in economics, and regularly posts on Facebook about government.
Although he bares the infamous Rothschild name, Daniel claims no affiliation with the shadowy rulers of Earth. Of course, that could all just be part of the plan. But that would seem like a strange strategy to attempt to end the states which you control. Anyway, the following are all Daniel Rothschild facebook quotes. Continue reading
What is a right? Do rights exist? They seem so intangible, yet philosophical constructs can be real.
A right simply defines a state of being; it describes a condition. “Right of way,” is how we describe who has precedence in a driving situation. That certainly doesn’t mean people can’t ignore the concept of right of way, it just serves as a tool for establishing who is liable if a car accident should happen. Continue reading
What is the Free State Project?
New Hampshire is home to the beautiful White Mountains, an international border with Canada, and a stretch of seashore, but it might also be the birthplace of the next generation of freedom. New Hampshire was chosen by the Free State Project as its battleground for liberty.
The Free State Project started as an idea of Jason Sorens’ back in 2001, as he studied for his doctorate at Yale University. As a libertarian, Sorens recognized that the movement was failing to make any political gains in the United States. Thus, he began to formulate a plan which could address this problem. Freedom seemed to have a bleak future, especially as many in the liberty movement focused on long term strategies that made liberty for those alive today seem impossible.
Furthermore, Sorens argued, there was no guarantee that an idealized hope for freedom would win out against the elite’s active strategy for global control. The only option at the time seemed to be a “lone wolf” strategy of opting out of government and much of society; but this also meant forfeiture to the state by giving up the possibility of a normal life.
Based on his dissertation research, Sorens’ solution to these problems was to move 20,000 libertarians to a relatively small U.S. state, in order to actively affect the political climate. Not only would these freedom lovers work to make the chosen state government as unintrusive as possible, but also use the threat of seceding from the United States to bring the libertarian movement to the forefront of national politics.
Sorens argued in an article called Announcement: The Free State Project published in The Libertarian Enterprise, that this approach to increase freedom in one state, and perhaps even someday pull away from the federal government, would work better than trying to grow the Libertarian party nationwide.
‘There is another advantage to the strategy of secession. It is a sort of “stealth-libertarian” strategy. Most people have a lot of state pride. I used to live in Texas, and it was the general assumption among Texans that we could easily go it alone and become independent, but we stayed in the U.S. merely out of a sense of graciousness and condescension. In other words, people might well vote for a general secessionist party even if they wouldn’t vote for an overtly libertarian party. Of course, once secession is achieved, libertarianism is the likely outcome if we’ve concentrated our forces. Furthermore, independent small states are forced to follow relatively libertarian policies to remain economically viable.’
But the problem still, Sorens added, was coordination. How could lovers of liberty get all these individualists to band together and move? He suggested interested participants vote on which state of those with a population of around one million inhabitants, should be the destination for the great migration of libertarians.
By 2003, Sorens’ proposal had caught on with libertarians, and in September of that year, New Hampshire was voted to be the home of the Free State Project. With a population of about 1.3 million, and the state motto “Live Free or Die”, New Hampshire seemed the natural incubator of freedom. The state already had a relatively limited government with low taxes and large degrees of economic and personal freedoms, so the momentum was headed in the right direction.
The next step was to get enough people to pledge to move to New Hampshire within five years of “triggering the move”. With the 20,000th signer, the move would be triggered.
Free State Progress
Just weeks ago, the Free State Project triggered the move with their 20,000th signer. Almost 1,900 of those who have pledged have already moved to New Hampshire, according to the Free State Project’s website. An additional 2,500 New Hampshire inhabitants are considered “in state friends” which means they agree with the Free State Project proposal, but already lived in the state, or never signed the pledge.
Already the Free State Project has had some legislative success. As a non-profit, the organization does not align itself with a particular political party, nor field, endorse, or fund candidates. However, a number of “Free-Staters” have been elected to political office without the official backing of the organization. The first was Joel Winters in 2006, elected to the New Hampshire state house as a Democrat. Wikipedia has the number of current Free-Staters holding political office in New Hampshire at sixteen: two Democrats, and fourteen Republicans. There are also seven members of the Free State Project who formerly held office (four Republicans, three Democrats), but do not currently.
In 2013 State Reps. Mark Warden ( R) and Michael Garcia (D) sat on a panel together at the Free State Project’s annual summer gathering, the Porcupine Freedom Festival. The two claimed to have identical voting records, and said that the party affiliation was more about playing the game to get elected, as opposed to ideology.
In addition, and in part due, to elected members, the Free State Project has influenced some steps towards liberty in the New Hampshire legislature. According to Reason.com’s 2013 article The Free State Project Grows Up, Free State politicians helped block the national id card system REAL ID, do away with restrictive knife laws, strengthen jury nullification laws, loosen homebrewing requirements, and stop a number of liberty infringements before they gained steam.
Currently Free Staters are working to make New Hampshire a permitless concealed carry state like its neighbors Vermont and Maine, as well as broaden cannabis liberties, though these efforts have had their setbacks due to the current Governor Maggie Hassan.
Reactions from New Hampshirites have been mixed. Some have welcomed the Free-Staters, saying that what they are doing will help reduce burdensome government. Others however, see the Free State Project as a threat or invasion.
The Concord Police Chief John Duval mentioned the Free-Staters in his successful bid for a bearcat armored vehicle from the Department of Homeland Security, saying:
‘We are fortunate that our State has not been victimized from a mass casualty event from an international terrorism strike however on the domestic front, the threat is real and here. Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges.’
He later backed away from his statement, according to the Washington Times, after Free State Project president Carla Gericke wrote an open letter demanding an apology for the insinuation that the FSP is a domestic terror group, adding that most Free-Staters believe in the non-aggression principle, and asking what daily challenges have been presented by the organization.
Another New Hampshire official, State Rep. Cynthia Chase, claimed the Free State Project is the “single biggest threat the state is facing today”. She then lamented the fact that there is nothing that can legally be done to stop them, and offered the following course of action:
What we can do is to make the environment here so unwelcoming that some will choose not to come, and some may actually leave. One way is to pass measures that will restrict the “freedoms” that they think they will find here.
On a national scale however, the Free State Project has been praised by the likes of Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, Andrew Napolitano, and Penn Jillette. Gary Johnson also supports the cause, and was the keynote speaker at the Free State Project’s 2013 Porcupine Freedom Festival, where economist David Friedman also spoke. When it comes to freedom lovers, the Free State Project is held in good company.
Triggering the move in early 2016 was a big step forward. It means that if everyone honors their pledge, New Hampshire will be home to 20,000 more liberty lovers by 2021. That might not be as easy as it sounds, and we will have to wait and see if the project can be as successful at moving 20,000 libertarians as they were at getting 20,000 pledges.
But what happens next is anyone’s guess! Will New Hampshire be the model for liberty? Will it lead the secession movement? There is no precedent for this exciting one of a kind project. What we do know is that the Free State Project is a force to be reckoned with in the movement for “liberty in our lifetime”.
I find it rather fun to debunk articles about why anarchists are wrong. Mostly, this is because the people writing them are generally in favor of limited government, yet use all of the tactics of their big government counterparts when arguing against voluntaryism. This article called Sorry Libertarian Anarchists, Capitalism Requires Government, by Harry Binswanger was a slightly better critique of anarchism compared to Austin Petersen’s, but essentially makes the same mistake of failing to differentiate between defensive force, and offensive force.
The anarchists object to the very idea of a monopoly on force. That only shows that they cannot grasp what force is. Force is monopoly. To use force is to attempt to monopolize. The cop or the gunman says: “We’ll do it my way, not your way–or else.” There is no such thing as force that allows dissenters to go their own way.
If a man wants to have sex with a woman who doesn’t want it, only one of them can have their way. It’s either “Back off” or rape. Either way, it’s a monopoly.
Does he not realize that this argument says rape need only be deemed legal and the rapist is in the right? Anarchists recognize the aggressor as always wrong. Anarchists understand that force is a meaningless word in the way that he uses it, because he fails to differentiate between types of force. Defending against rape is not monopolizing force, it is monopolizing your body. And monopolizing your own body is where all rights stem from.
You are your own property, and therefore philosophically have total autonomy. He speaks of a “proper government”, which is mythical, unless you count the individual as a government of one. The only thing you have the right to monopolize is your own body, and the property that stems from the right of self ownership (acquired by trade, or original appropriation mixed with labor). This highlights the difference between the force used in rape, and the force used in defense of rape.
Monopolizing force in an attempt to rape would not be “proper government” (defined as a government that does not violate any rights) because it seeks to monopolize more than your own body (and your property which stems from self ownership). Monopolizing force to defend against rape would indeed be “proper government” because you are only monopolizing your own body, and demanding that no other (government or individual) break your monopoly on self ownership.
He really digs his own grave on this point, since all government does is in fact “rape”, by failing to recognizing autonomous individuals who own themselves, and therefore monopolize their own body. Government says it has partial ownership of you, and the proof is that they can force you to do things you do not want to do. And in this sense, he makes the same argument as Petersen: they both believe that just by wielding force, whether defensive or offensive, you are a government. But practically no one agrees with their definition of government.
Governments monopolize regardless of rights, and individuals acting in self defense are monopolizing only in accordance to their rights. If a government only operated without violating others’ rights, this means they would not forcefully exclude a competitor, and therefore would not be a government, but a competing business to fulfill a market demand.
And after all of the effort to show how force will be monopolized no matter what, Binswanger then argues that we need government force in order to protect us from force from others. But he never explains why the government’s force is better than those it protects you from. In essence he admits that there is no difference between “the cop or the gunman,” then arbitrarily chooses the cop’s force over the gunman’s. Binswanger would therefor not necessarily prefer the woman’s monopoly on force to the rapists: first he must check with the government to see which will be allowed under their monopoly.
He then goes on to praise the non-existent “American system” of government, which even in its perfect form violates the individual’s right to self ownership, and therefore does not fit the definition of a “proper government”.
The genius of the American system is that it limited government, reining it in by a Constitution, with checks and balances and the provision that no law can be passed unless it is “necessary and proper” to the government’s sole purpose: to protect individual rights–to protect them against their violation by physical force.
Tragically, the original American theory of government was breached, shelved, trashed long ago. But that’s another story.
No, it is not another story, it is very much a part of this story. What is so genius about a system that could not maintain itself? How was it reigned in by a Constitution, if he admits that it was “shelved and trashed long ago”? As Lysander Spooner said, the Constitution either allowed such a system as we have, or failed to prevent it.
Never has a government existed whose sole purpose was and stayed to protect individual rights, let alone doing so funded through voluntary means! So Binswanger can keep arguing for that type of government, but without saying how to get or keep it, what good does the argument do? I could use this same argument for a monarchy or dictatorship, and just ignore the fact that it would be impossible to always have a benevolent dictator in power.
Anarchy on the other hand, tells you how it will remain free: through market decisions. If the market dictates that force be used not only in self defense, we may end up right back where we are now. But that is a less likely scenario based on everything we know about markets and competition–competition delivers a better product for cheaper. It also speaks volumes that we are currently living in the worst case scenario for how anarchy would turn out: violent monopolization of force without accordance to individual rights stemming from self ownership.
But this last point, Binswanger would argue, is moot, because protection is not production, so it is therefore not an economic service which can be provided by the market.
However protection is creating a proper environment for economic transactions, just like vacuuming the floor at a shop creates a proper environment: vacuuming is not production, but it allows the store to be more productive by appealing to customers who want to shop in a clean store. A guard does not produce whatever you are selling, he allows you to be more productive by creating an environment where people feel safe shopping, working, or living.
The anarchists do not object to retaliatory force, only to it being wielded by a government. Why? Because, they say, it excludes “competitors.” It sure does: it excludes vigilantes, lynch mobs, terrorists, and anyone else wanting to use force subjectively.
“A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control–i.e., under objectively defined laws.” (Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal)
There can be only one supreme law of the land and only one government to enforce it. (State and local governments are necessarily subordinate to the federal government.)
Yet despite his arguments, governments currently use force subjectively! And how can he claim competition for retaliatory force would be more subjective than monopolization on retaliatory force? What evidence does Binswanger have to show that government can more effectively objectively define laws than competing firms? None! In fact an examination of every government’s laws on earth will yield no such objectivity, especially when their aggressive actions are examined next to their laws. Read the Constitution for proof, and tell me if you think our government is objective in their enforcement.
Vigilantes, lynch mobs and terrorists would all be subject to further retaliation when they violate others’ rights. Not always, but more often than in government, will objective laws come from companies who wish to turn profits, because conflict is costly, and not conducive to the bottom line. Competing entities are not simply competing in force, but in productivity. They must bring people to justice in order to serve their customers, but not invite conflict by going beyond the objective, previously defined contracts they agree to fulfill. In other words, the competing wielders of force have all the incentives to lay out their “laws” and stick to them, while government has no such incentive.
Binswanger does not say what land area a government may cover, so we can assume that governments could be as small as we want, except that he says local and state governments are “necessarily subordinate to federal government” (despite arguing earlier in favor of the Constitution which subordinated the federal government to state governments). But why does a law of the land have to be subject to arbitrary borders? I might assume he would support one world government, because then the ultimate “agreement” across the board would be had over what an individual can and cannot do.
He claims the mythical government that he wants will not get its money through force, but voluntarily, and only wield force in a retaliatory manner. So the monopoly on law is what he really wants the government to have. Throw in the possibility of different courts defining different segments of law, or laws in different regions. The laws would depend on the people who voluntary patronize such firms for protection, while agreeing that they will not violate the laws they are protected with, and voila, we have an anarchist society.
People, consumers, would define the laws by patronizing competing agencies of law–security companies, third party arbiters, crime insurance companies, etc. Desire for profits will keep these competing firms from breaching contracts or waging wars. Governments on the other hand, routinely wage wars when they cannot agree with other governments.
The anarchist idea of putting law on “the market” cannot be applied even to a baseball game. It would mean that the rules of the game will be defined by whoever wins it.
An absurd analogy! In order to play a game at all, it must first be defined! This is a paradox; how can there be a winner if it takes a winner to define what it means to be a winner?! How can a game be won, if there is no game until it is won?
Imagine someone saying, “We’re going to play a game. Okay, I win; now I will tell you what the rules are. The rules are, I win.” That sounds like a government to me.
But let’s follow the baseball example. Two people or companies engaging in free trade would be the baseball teams, and they must both agree on the terms of the game before playing with each other. If they never agree, they never play!
If they agree on the rules, they then both agree on a third party to whom’s authority they will voluntarily submit, in order to engage in the game–the economic transaction–because they both want to play, they both see some benefit in the game. So both teams hire an umpire to call the shots based on rules that both teams agreed to, not that the umpire simply makes up.
Again, it is hilariously cringe-worthy that Binswanger would use an example of a baseball game, that could be compared perfectly to an anarchist scenario. Both teams agree on the end that they want: to play a game. They create law by defining the terms of the game. They know the umpire won’t always make the calls they want, but they also know the game essentially would be chaos–not anarchy–without the third party making the calls. Its a win win, even for the loser, who will have the chance to play other games, since other teams know they play fair.
The market was created by the two teams. The two will not be playing the same game, or in the same stadium, unless they first agree on the rules.
Binswanger also forgets that economics is not a zero-sum game. There is no outright winner in economics, and there is only a loser when the business shuts its doors. Otherwise, the business will stay open to competition. The team may lose one game, and win the next one; that is it may lose one customer, and gain the next one, based on how well it plays the game. But the teams it engages with are always on the same page, or they would not be engaging.
This guy might do better writing for the Onion. Look at these two lines, where he tells us why government functions cannot be accomplished through competition:
Actual competition is a peaceful rivalry to gain dollars–dollars paid voluntarily in uncoerced trade.
Governments are necessary–because we need to be secure from force initiated by criminals, terrorists, and foreign invaders.
Peaceful competition cannot exist without violent force. Allowing violent force to be used against you is the only way to prevent violent force from being used against you. Peaceful competition is the ideal, therefore we must accept violent force to make sure all competition is peaceful. He should be embarrassed that he wrote these two sentences in the same article, let alone right next to each other.
Government forcing you to fund and use their services is coerced trade! A voluntary trade would be hiring a firm who agrees to protect you from criminals, terrorists, and foreign invaders. And you would hire the best firm, not the one that says it will cage you if you refuse to engage, as the current government does.
Binswanger has already said that the only moral use of force is to defend rights, yet even when governments have defended some of these rights, they do so by first violating them in order to gain their funding through violent theft via taxation. It is a contradiction of objective morality, unless he somehow thinks paradoxically that an immoral act is required to stop other immoral acts.
The attempt to invoke individual rights to justify “competing” with the government collapses at the first attempt to concretize what it would mean in reality. Picture a band of strangers marching down Main Street, submachine guns at the ready. When confronted by the police, the leader of the band announces: “Me and the boys are only here to see that justice is done, so you have no right to interfere with us.” According to the anarchists, in such a confrontation the police are morally bound to withdraw, on pain of betraying the rights of self-defense and free trade.
First of all, whose rights have been violated? Men walking down the street with guns is not an infringement on any rights. On the other hand, armed police officers walking down the street, paid and armed through theft of the citizens wages, is itself an immoral act (according to his own definition) due to the rights violated to make it possible. Of course the police are morally required to withdraw.
But say it was just two gangs of gun toters: the immoral party would be the first one to fire a shot unprovoked. This isn’t hard: the people in the wrong are the ones who initiate force, who violate others’ rights, who infringe on the self ownership of others, who seek to break the monopoly that the individual inherently has over himself.
And anarchists think a free market for the services government provides would more often hold the wrongdoers accountable, based on the fact that the free market more often serves the consumers’ demands in every area in which the government doesn’t interfere.
Anarchy is no guarantee that a man’s rights will not be violated. Government is a guarantee that a man’s rights will be violated.
Economic competition presupposes a free market. A free market cannot exist until after force has been barred. That means objective law, backed up by a government. To say it can be backed up by “competing” force-wielders is circular. There is no competition until there is a free market, and some agency has to protect its condition as a free market by the use of retaliatory force.
He’s got it all backwards! The only natural law, that offensive force is barred. If you allow government to wield the force, then force has not been barred, and it is not a free market, which is presupposed for competition!
The question is, what is the most effective way of getting to a truly free market? Recognizing all force as immoral would be a good place to start, as opposed to giving government the magic power of abracadabra, and they are somehow not guilty of an immoral act.
If you can disassociate, and refuse to do business with someone, that is a free market. Government, which forces you into their marketplace, does not create a free market.
Competing force wielders would be more constrained by the market than monopoly force wielders, thus being more likely to lead to a freer and freer market, until economic incentives dictate the only rule that ever needed to exist: do not initiate force against others.
And at that point there will be 7 billion “proper governments” on earth called sovereign individuals.
I had to click on an article called “5 Reasons Why I’m Not An Anarchist” by Austin Petersen on The Libertarian Republic to see if it offered any new perspective I hadn’t considered.
The article was chock-full of logical fallacies notably the straw-man, red herring, and non sequitur. Petersen’s main method of argument was what socialists use against the free market: “well how would that work?” Austin Petersen can’t think of how private property would work without monopoly government force, so his conclusion is that it cannot. He starts off right from the beginning in a way that makes me question his basic understanding of libertarian philosophy.
1. “Rights are Guarantees”
A right is something that MUST be provided. Any society aimed at protecting natural rights must use some type of force to guarantee those rights. Any mechanism of force used to guarantee those rights have [sic] the same effect as government, no matter what that form may take.
Already his first sentence is so wrong. A right is absolutely NOT something that must be provided. A right is something that occurs naturally. You are alive, so you have the right to live. You are un-harmed, so if someone tries to harm you, you have the right to fight back. You built a home without kicking anyone else off the land, so you have a right to that property.
The reason a right is not something that must be provided is because that right would necessarily infringe on others’ rights, because they will be forced to provide “the right” in a non-voluntary society. If you have “the right” to medical care, that means you have “the right” to force others to provide medical care for you. A real right is expressed in the negative, not requiring action (No one may assault me), not a positive, requiring the action of a third party (someone must make sure I am not assaulted).
Also, needing “some type” of force to guarantee rights does not mean you need aggressive force. Defensive force is the only acceptable type to use in a voluntary society. Governments inherently use offensive force, or aggression, to achieve their ends, including supposedly “protecting natural rights” –which they violate by regulating non-aggressive actions without consent of the governed using stolen money. Well if we don’t have a natural right to not be robbed of the product of our labor, what do we have?
“Any mechanism of force” to retain rights does not have to be a government. Just because something has the same effect as government (or better) does not mean that the thing is a government, or has to be accomplished with coercion, as with government. My gun helps me maintain my right to live. Shooting an attacker protects my right, and does not require government. And contrary to what Petersen later argues, voluntarily creating a defense coalition does not necessarily make the organization a government.
Then Petersen does what liberals do when defending government welfare. He pretends that if the government doesn’t protect the poor, the poor will have no protection.
A fully privatized law system would be justice for sale to the highest bidder…
…the constitution laid out the means for citizens to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures, cruel or unusual punishments, or from things like double jeopardy. It means that while citizens have the right to defend themselves, they must also be defended if they are too weak to defend themselves.
It would not be “justice for sale to the highest bidder” because there would be competing interests. The government is currently selling justice to the highest bidder, precisely because it doesn’t have competitors! With competition, nothing is stopping other companies from taking your business if you sell to the highest bidder. Nothing is stopping other companies from stepping in on behalf of injured parties.
Corporations today buy off politicians for relatively small amounts of money in campaign contributions. A single person or corporation would have to spend too much money to manipulate the multitude of other companies that would be involved in various levels of the justice system. There would be no overarching authority preventing whistle-blowing. With government, the corporations spend a little money to make a lot in subsidies, regulations, or laws. It would quickly become more profitable to simply not be a corrupt company in the law enforcement industry. People would run legitimate businesses because of consumer demand and competing suppliers: no, the free market doesn’t suddenly fail when it comes to the defense industry!
Also, how is the constitution doing stopping unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment, and keeping poor folks from being “railroaded” into prison? It’s not. But the market would punish police and courts for these miscarriages of justice for the poor, unlike our current system.
Petersen’s definition of a “right” is wrong, he fails to understand the basic nature of what “government” is, and does not distinguish between defensive and offensive force.
2. “…unable to protect its citizens from foreign invasion”
A fully anarchist society with no collective means of defense is at the mercy of foreign powers who have not abdicated such means of survival. An anarchist state is at the mercy of anyone who wishes to expand into their territory unchecked. The Native Americans can attest to this.
The constitution laid out the means through which American society can protect itself. If I band together with my neighbors to form a mutual defense pact, and we call that a constitution, it would necessarily have the same effect as government.
Austin is very confused about the difference between voluntary and involuntary collectives. The constitution is not a contract, because we didn’t sign it. Are you responsible for adhering to contracts you didn’t sign? If you sign one with your neighbors, great! That’s anarchy. If you force the neighbor who didn’t sign to go along with your rules on their own property that is a government.
But again, Petersen says it would “have the same effect as government,” [emphasis added] not: “it would be a government.” I must however assume he is conflating something having a similar effect to government, with something being a government. Otherwise, why would he write a piece against anarchism when his statements support the idea? Voluntary associations would have the same effect as government, but without the coercion. So we can safely bet a voluntary system would yield better results as well; the old, you’ll know the tree by the fruit it bears.
I’ve talked about this before, why anarchist societies would not be conquered. Basically, without any central control mechanism (government) what is there to take over? An invader would need to force every individual, business, and household to comply, which would be a problem if they were all armed. But if you conquer a country that already has a central oppressive system, you simply get to take over the puppet strings and be done with it: keep collecting taxes for your plunder. Otherwise it would cost more to invade than could be gained.
And of course governments prey on their own people as often as they invade foreign lands; a government is no guarantee that your own government won’t do worse things than the feared invading army. So take your pick of who you want to be pitted against. I would choose a foreign invader who everyone recognizes as an aggressive enemy versus a homegrown monster who you can’t defend yourself against.
In America, under the constitution he keeps mentioning, the “defense” was what originally victimized the Native Americans! Is Petersen simply arguing that it is better to be on the winning side? That would explain the offensive military juggernaut that the military has become today, creating more enemies than it repels.
The idea that we need government to defend a homeland rests on no morals grounds, and at best shaky strategic grounds.
3. “Anarchy means the non-aggression principle is optional”
If you believe in the non-aggression principle… who’s [sic] job is it to enforce it? If someone breaks into your home, and you are unable to defend yourself, or pay for private security, who do you call? If you have a dispute with your neighbor, who (you allege) stole your life savings, how will you sue them or have them arrested to get it back, assuming you might be correct?
Who did they call for protection when the constitution was written, Austin? The constitution was never meant to provide protection, it was meant to allow you to provide for your own protection in whatever way necessary. The government agents almost never prevent a crime, they just do a poor job investigating it, and a poor job bringing the assailant to justice.
What the constitution did provide was a way for the government (with a monopoly on criminal justice) to invade your neighbors home to search it if the same government grants itself a warrant saying the government has sufficient evidence to invade that home. Perhaps a search warrant would still be issued in an anarchist society, but it would not happen by monopoly decision, without any oversight from independent agencies.
I would rather live in a world where a man is still innocent until proven guilty, and unmolested until hard evidence of a crime is uncovered. With hard evidence, an anarchist society and the markets therein could bring justice better than government currently does or can.
Breaking the non-aggression principle does not mean it doesn’t exist, just like violating a right does not mean the right didn’t exist. Austin clearly believes in rights. Well, the non-aggression principle sums up every right. It says that naturally the attacker is in the wrong. The attacker doesn’t have to agree to the Non-aggression principle, but that won’t stop him from being shot, or apprehended, if he breaks it. An attacker might also not agree that you have the right to life, but you can still defend yourself against him, and dole out justice for his violation of your right/ the non-aggression principle.
Enforcing the non-aggression principle would come down to individuals and the people they hire. Vigilance will always be required, like the vigilance that would have been required to retain our rights from the Bill of Rights. But control over government, wielded through voting, is a sham, while the effect vigilant consumers have over the free market is proven.
The non-aggression principle is a natural law. That doesn’t mean it is never broken, it means the one breaking it is always in the wrong. Remember that Austin doesn’t understand the difference between aggressive and defensive force, but an aggressor does not have to agree to me defending myself.
Things don’t work out perfectly now. Petersen acts like if a neighbor steals your money, the police will clear it right up! If there is hard evidence, the scenario would be no different, except that the profit motive for private courts would make it more fair, since they would be out of business if they weren’t. Currently, you just have to have the right judge: one corrupt person, not a whole corrupt company. Current courts are never defunded no matter how horrible they are. A private court would lose their business if they were unfair.
Then Austin does what liberals do when they argue against the free market and against “greedy businesses”:
In an anarchist state, no one is responsible for defending life, liberty, or property unless they are paid to do so. Crimes such as theft, fraud, breach of contract, or murder could be committed against those who do not have the means of self-defense. In Ancapistan… no one can hear you scream. And no one cares.
Because if something is not done by force, it can’t be done, right? Because the market delivers the best results which lift all ships… but not when it comes to security?
If you understand that the poor will be provided for through voluntary charity in a prosperous free market world, then you should also understand that those without protection will be provided for in a prosperous free market world. And that doesn’t even consider the probability that poverty and crime would be virtually eliminated in a free market world, judging by a comparison of relative poverty among a regions’ poorest members, between current freer market versus less economically free regions.
4. “The Non-Aggression Principle? I didn’t sign sh*t!”
The Non Aggression principle is a social contract… but I didn’t sign it, and neither did the enemies of liberty. Anarchist often sneer at constitutionalists, arguing that they didn’t sign the document, nor did they agree to it. Then they claim that the only thing we need to live in peace and harmony is the non-aggression principle. The only problem? I didn’t sign it. And neither did Kim Jong Un, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, or any other statist dictator on the planet. The non-aggression principle is a social contract, but there is zero obligation to live by it. Indeed, it would be dangerously naive to submit to any form of a non-aggression principle, for as soon as one party signs, those who have not could feel free to decline, and everyone who chooses to live life in a pacific state would be easy prey for those who do not live according to that principle.
Wrong again! That is 0-4 for everyone keeping score at home. The constitution is an involuntary grouping, or social contract, because no one alive today signed it.
The non-aggression principle is not a social contract, because it does not force any obligations on you. Not aggressing, or not violating another persons’ rights is not an obligation; like a right, it is expressed in the negative: an inaction. The constitution is an obligation, a positive, requiring an action of a non-aggressive party who did not agree to adhere by it.
Agreeing not to aggress on someone does not mean you agree to be freely aggressed upon! There is a difference between not attacking someone and allowing yourself to be attacked. You don’t have to sign the non-aggression principle, because it is not forcing you to do anything, it is a statement that whoever aggresses is naturally in the wrong. It is not a social contract, because it does not require the consent of both parties. It is a statement: if you attack me, you are in the wrong, and I will fight back.
Also, I suspect Petersen knows, and just ignored, that the non-aggression principle is not a statement of pacifism. I can’t stress this point enough: offensive force, attacking, is what violates the non-aggression principle, NOT defensive force, force used to protect yourself from an attacker.
Just being in the wrong doesn’t mean you will be punished. But if enough people asserted the non-aggression principle, it would very quickly be in every individual’s self interest to adhere by it. They don’t have to, but I also don’t have to follow laws. I will go to jail if I don’t however, and if you don’t follow the non-aggression principle, you might get shot, because you attacked someone!
Also, in many cases the non-aggression principle forbids the basic principle of a preemptive attack for the purpose of self-defense. Anarchists argue that there is “no harm, no crime,” however, if that is the case, then someone pointing a gun at you is not a crime. For if someone points a gun at you, it could be considered aggression, but if they do not shoot, then there is no harm. A minarchist society punishes threats and rightly labels such acts as aggression.
Where does he come up with this stuff? Of course aiming a gun at someone is aggression; the harm is in the threat! Shooting someone who aims a gun at you is not a preemptive strike. You don’t have to wait until you are punched, if someone is winding up to punch you; they have began the aggression against you. But yes, an actual preemptive strike IS aggression!
Now, what if Kim Jong Un placed a nuclear weapon on the launchpad aimed at Los Angeles… the equivalent of pointing a gun? Is it then moral or ethical to destroy their means of aggression.
Ownership of a non-precision weapon (which means not only a specific intended target can be hit) is de-facto aggression, because it cannot be used without aggressing on innocent parties in the vicinity of the guilty target. It would indeed be defense to disarm a nuclear weapon pointed at your city.
5. “Private Property”
Who defines what is private property? In an anarchist society, there is no commonly accepted definition. Some may choose to argue that intellectual property is private. Some may decide otherwise and begin acquiring that property for their own benefit. Some may argue that they have a right to food, and thus their neighbor’s surplus should be rightly theirs, seeing as how the creek from their property fed the crops next door. The farmer next door might argue that the creek actually belongs to him, since it flows across his fields. The beggar next door might argue that the fields are his, since he has been sleeping in them for longer than the farmer has sown them.
Without a firm definition of what constitutes private property, there can be no reliable transactions between parties. An anarchist society can attempt to define what is truly property, but they cannot enforce it, even if they all agree.
This is Petersen’s best point, but that is sort of like saying gonorrhea is the best STD: they all suck. So his solution to property disputes is to have a third party decide by force? Well couldn’t the same thing be done through arbitration in an anarchist society, but without force?
The difference would be that the third party is performing a service in an anarchist society, and therefore must keep their customers (both people in the dispute) and potential customers (people shopping around for dispute resolution) happy in order to maintain profits. Government will maintain profits (stolen tax dollars) regardless of the outcome, and actually has an agenda of its own, which will often dictate with whom government sides, regardless of who is right or wrong.
We can refer to the non-aggression principle to understand property rights. Are there going to be quarrels? Of course! But the question is, do we settle these by force, or by agreement? Right now, the two hundred some odd landowners regularly quarrel over borders (war), and involve all their subjects at dire costs in human life, and production. By allowing these governments to “solve” our land disputes between neighbors, we allow a whole larger monster that would otherwise never erupt beyond the Hatfields and McCoys.
Is the solution to the stream problem that the EPA owns it? That is where Petersen’s precious constitution has ended us. Is the answer to the hobo in your fields property taxes, in order to exclude the poor and income-less from calling a piece of land their own?
Do we all need to agree perfectly on private property to get along? Nope. Through our free interactions a definition of private property will be developed that is more fair than the one we currently have: we can be sure of it just as we are sure that the market will provide better options for deodorant, restaurants, and grocery stores.
We don’t have to know exactly how private property will be designed. But it will be much easier to be vigilant over the local business that make that call, than to be vigilant over our convoluted statist juggernaut between the local, state, and federal government.
Please check back next week for a complete article on property rights in an anarchist society, as the subject deserves more discussion.
Conclusion: Austin Petersen Doesn’t Understand Basic Philosophical Concepts
It simply amazes me that someone could make so many logical errors, and have such little understanding of concepts such as rights, principles, and voluntary versus involuntary grouping. I don’t know if Petersen willfully ignores the difference between defensive and offensive force, or honestly doesn’t understand the different.
And this is a guy who calls himself libertarian! That means we know he would make all these exact opposite arguments in a discussion with bigger statists than himself. Libertarians argue against the need for state welfare because the free market will raise all ships through trade and charity: Petersen argues that the poor would have no protection without government. Libertarians argue that the second amendment and gun rights are to protect us from our own government: Petersen argues that individual gun ownership could not protect us from foreign governments. Libertarians argue that government is a poor regulator that would be well replaced by a free market: Petersen argues that we need government to regulate private property, regulate security businesses, and guarantee rights (by violating others’ rights in order to pay for the guarantee).
Is this guy even a libertarian? He is seeking the nomination to run for President under the Libertarian Party. If Austin Petersen ever happens to read this, and I hope he does, please know there is an open invitation for a public debate over whether or not we need government.
Fiction helps a lot of people envision a voluntary, anarchist society, so I encourage you all to read my novel “Anarchy in New England,” in order to explore a world without government, and some ideas of how that society might function.
I remember a public school high school history teacher telling the class, “On one end of the political spectrum is Socialism, and on the other end is Fascism”. Wrong, he was so wrong. I could even see it then, as an energetic young Republican who hated all aspects of big government… or so I thought.
Socialism is actually right next to Fascism on the political spectrum, because they are both Statist ideologies. The state can solve all problems, and will never be big enough! Everything within the state, nothing outside of it!
So clearly the opposite of everything involving the state is nothing involving the state: anarchy. Not burning businesses and smashing windows, the absence of rulers; the end of subjugation. The sovereign individual, beholden by force to no one, beholden by mutual benefit to those with whom he chooses to associate.
And now that we cleared that up, here are the top 3 reasons for Republicans, Conservatives, libertarians or anyone else towards the right of the statist spectrum to just abandon all pretenses, and go full anarchist.
#1: You hate big government! And for good reason! You know your history, and have seen what happens when the state grows: it oppresses people. The internal police state that cracks the whip over the citizens, mixed with a fiercely nationalistic military that spreads the big government philosophy worldwide are constant and integral parts of a large oppressive government. And currently, just the American military, ignoring the multitude of internal policing agencies, is larger than the next ten militaries on earth.
The Second Amendment was not for hunting, it serves as a check to tyranny. So if guns in the hands of the average citizen can keep in check the largest military and police state on earth, why would we think those same armed citizens could not repel an invasion by the next ten largest armies put together?
You wouldn’t call the exterminator and have him leave just one little cockroach, would you? No! She’ll have babies, and your house will once again be infested in a matter of weeks. So why would we leave “just a little government”? It’s not going to stay little! It is the camel’s nose under the tent. It doesn’t make sense to leave even a little government, because…
#2: You believe in the free market! The terrible consequences of crony capitalism are quite abundant, from billions wasted on subsidized green energy like Solyndra, to billions wasted in bailouts on failed companies like GM and banks like Bank of America. Then there’s regulations which favor big companies at the expense of the little ones, taxes which make some industries and investments unprofitable, and agencies like the EPA, FDA, USDA, IRS, DHS, etc. that harass the farmer and small businessman to the point of bankruptcy.
Why, why, WHY, would you trust that same government to perform such important tasks as keeping you safe, from threats at home, and abroad? You know that supermarkets have food on their shelves because of the free-ish market, you know that competition leads to better products and more choice, so why would we limit ourselves to Soviet-style rationing systems when it comes to solving crimes and preventing terrorism?
We choose different restaurants, different books, different movies, clothes, cars, houses; but when it comes to responding to an emergency, we get the one local agency that handles that. When it comes to preventing terrorism, we have to use the FBI or CIA or NSA which we aren’t even allowed to see how they operate, must fund regardless of their success rates, and can’t even be sure they are not complicit in terrorism in order to keep their agencies relevant and well-funded. [This is an example of a private organization fighting ISIS]. Choice in the market is always a good thing, there is nothing magic about crime prevention and justice that makes the market unable to function.
#3: You wish you didn’t have to associate with all these idiots! Government causes all problems we face “as a nation” because otherwise we wouldn’t have to face them as a nation, and they would be solved by whoever they affect most. I don’t want to fund cotton growth in the Arizona desert, subsidizing the real cost of water to the point where there is a shortage. It has nothing to do with me, yet because of the farm bill, I have to pay for these farmers’ water, insurance, equipment, etc. I don’t want to pay for the bombs we are dropping, I don’t want to pay for anyone’s medical care but my own, or those who I voluntarily choose to help personally or through charity. The government forces us all into a group, and then makes more laws and regulations when our forced association–surprise–causes problems.
An open border is only a problem if the government is stealing your money to give to the people who hop the fence, or setting an arbitrary minimum wage which ensures a market for illegal work. Education standards in Arkansas don’t matter to me, unless one of those schmucks is going to grow up to become President and tell the rest of the world what to do. Why do I have a say in whether Coloradans smoke a joint? Why do they have a say in whether or not I wear a seatbelt?
Stop the forced association of 300 million plus Americans, and there would be a lot fewer problems to solve! And they would be solved by the people that they matter to, and paid for by the people that they matter to, voluntarily. In the end, we would all have more individual control over our lives, (money), and circumstances, and get to choose which issues will be solved with our money. Instead, we are forced to “solve” problems we don’t care about, that don’t affect us, or that were caused in the first place by forced grouping!
So right-wingers, if you hate big government, if you believe in the free-market, and if you wish all these politicians, bureaucrats, and assholes in general would just leave you the hell alone: you may be a budding anarchist, ready to bloom!
With such colossal and aggressive government, it can be quite difficult to analyze all of the effects it has on private life, the economy, crime, and essentially every aspect of civilian life. If you go by the government’s own record, you might think everything good that happens is due to government, and everything bad that happens is because of one government detractor or another: drug cartels, terrorists, survivalists, Catholics, Jews, Muslims—there have been many scapegoats throughout history. But when you understand market forces, you can begin to tease apart what influence the government has had on our society.
Obviously, the government creates the narrative, so they will naturally place themselves as the constant savior, while any of their critics will be the perpetual villain. It is obvious to most people that this is not always the case, but indeed I firmly believe it to never be the case. Right off the bat is the fact that government lies. Everyone knows it, starting right from the fact that they claim everything they do is beneficial when we all (yes, EVERYONE) knows that is not true.
Republicans know that the Democratic politicians lie, and Republicans know that the Democratic appointees lie. The Fascists blamed the Socialists, the Monarchs blamed the Communists, and pretty much everyone blamed the Jews. If you are anti-war you know the government lies about terrorists. If you are anti-welfare you know the government lies about poverty. If you laissez-faire you know the government lies about the economy, and if you are Keynesian you know the government lies about capitalism.
The next big step is realizing practically everything the government says is a lie, and practically everything it does serves an ulterior motive. It is not the government that keeps us safe, it is not the government that keeps us fed, it is not the government that educates us, it is not the government who houses us, and it is most certainly not the government that organizes society.
In fact, most disorder in society is a result of the government’s attempt to implement their vision of an organized society. And there is nothing magic about government versus industry; you need only to consider what each actually is at its core. The government cannot exist without coercion, or we would not call it a government. Monopolizing the initiation of force is a defining characteristic of government; they allow themselves, but supposedly no one else (besides their cronies), to aggress upon people, not just in retaliation, but to fund everything they do. They use this aggression anywhere within their arbitrarily defined borders without typical consequences that anyone else could expect from attacking someone, or being aggressive.
Industry on the other hand, when not working in tandem with government, is constrained by market responses, as in, people will not put up with being aggressed upon. The government can come to my house with guns and force me to pay them protection money. A business must attract me to their product or service in order to get my money. I must obey the government or face jail or death. With business, I must agree to the price and they the product (a mutually beneficial transaction), and if no agreement is found, we will simply go our separate ways.
Some people think that without government, businesses would be able to come to your house and demand money. But there is nothing to back this up. In fact, economic principles refute this. Just like the threat of mutual destruction keeps wolves from invading other wolves’ territory, so would businesses seek to avoid costly confrontation, in order to continue to make a profit.
This makes even more sense when you consider that various businesses would offer services (with profit as their incentive) to protect individuals from any number of criminals, including cartels. A cartel is essentially a business that begins to use government tactics to fund their enterprise (government tactics being forcing “customers” to pay them money, like taxes or mafia style “protection”). Then any aggressive company would be picking on someone their own size (another company), and thus could expect at least the ruin of their business, and probably death or confinement, if they initiate force against innocent people.
The only reason this would happen is if the market (AKA people who earn and spend money) places no value on peace. I like peace, do you like peace? Yeah even people who don’t like peace generally have to pretend they do. Companies can currently make money off war because the government steals our money and gives it to the military industrial complex. If the companies had to earn the money, war would be avoided at all costs to maintain profits, attract customers, attract employees, and for management to stay alive and not in a cage.
I Put Up With the Murder of Hundreds of Millions of Innocent Human Beings, and All I got Was This Lousy Road
So you see, the mechanisms exist in a free market to offer all the benefits of organized society, without the detriments of accepting government force as okay. Plus, there would be a clear line: initiation of force is never okay, even if an organization calls themselves a government.
This would prevent prosecution for victimless crimes, since without a victim, who would pay for the prosecution? It would also stop genocides carried out by governments, as has happened over the past century in Cambodia, Indonesia, Turkey, Germany, Russia, China, Darfur, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Rwanda, Iraq, and North Korea to name a few. Currently, governments can do any number of terrible things under the guise of helping people, the greater good, or simply having enough guns and soldiers to not require an excuse for their aggression.
Now one might think with such an insanely lopsided record of governments carrying out evil against all sorts of innocent and peaceful people, that the burden of proof would rest on government as to the benefits it creates. It seems they would have to do a lot of good in order to make up for the murder, torture, and imprisonment of at very least half a billion innocent people, in only 100 years. But the government gets to write the narrative. Building roads is necessary, so just ignore the vast atrocities. And also don’t give it much thought, because you will realize you didn’t need government to build the roads after all. And you don’t need the government to keep you safe either—they are a bigger threat to your safety than the people they “protect” you from.
If it can all be summed up in one sentence, here it is. People must currently seek permission from government to exist, where as in a free market with no government, businesses would require permission from people to exist.
And that is why a free market would create a better society than the government has. Stay tuned, because the government could not create such a false narrative, without the tools to mold the population to their liking: public education.
“Oh what you belong to ___ group? I thought you libertarians and anarcho-capitalists hated collectives! Ha, everything you stand for is disproven.”
Ever heard that one, or some variation of it? Well I can’t say it much better than Bastiat himself, however I will expand on his rebuttal.
I feel like a broken record: no we aren’t against helping the poor, we are against forced extortion to supposedly help the poor. No we are not against education, we are against forced indoctrination. No we are not against law and order, we are against forced grouping that makes us subservient to others to whom the law does not equally apply, and who can initiate force without the same consequences as the civilians.
Anarchists and libertarians are not against voluntary collectives, they are against forced collectives.
Yesterday I was walking in the woods with some friends. We had been hiking for a while and turned and twisted around many paths when we came to a four way intersection. Not wanting to turn back, we began to discuss which way would be best to take. In fact after some discussion, we all agreed to take the same path. But suppose I thought a different path was better. Should I attempt to force them to take the path I want? Or should they, being in the majority, attempt to force me to take the path they want? Of course not.
In a voluntary group, I am free to leave or stay. In the middle of the woods my options are to agree with the group, or be left alone. I see value in the group, and that is why I submit to the majority. Not because the majority has the right to force their will on the minority, and not even because the will of the majority is necessarily better in some way than the minority. No one claims that groups cannot be of great use and help. But they must be voluntary groups in order to serve this purpose best.
In addition to the post I wrote on Sociopaths Among Us for this blog, I tailored a similar post for my other, non-political blog. A commenter brought up an awesome point, inspired by the book The Gift of Fear by Gavin Debecker. The book is non-fiction about how our intuition is actually picking up subconscious signals which logically lead us to be uneasy in certain situations when everything does not line up, even though we might not be able to pinpoint why.
Interestingly enough, I just thought about this book yesterday because the book discusses a tactic used by these types of people called “forced teaming” where they create a “we” or “us” when there really isn’t one. For example, a stranger approaches you and says “look at this rain we got ourselves stuck in, I guess we’re going to have to go into this dark abandoned structure together”. The point is is that there is no “WE”. The person is a stranger and this is a tactic that they use to get you to do something that you normally wouldn’t be comfortable with doing.
The reason why I thought of that is because I kept seeing political slander ads that said things like, “this candidate is not for us” and “this candidate doesn’t share our values”. I immediately thought, who is “us” and “our values”? It is scary the little things that people or groups do like that that the untrained or unsuspecting person might fall prey to.
Emphasis added. If forced pairing is a tactic used by dishonest people who are attempting to get someone from you, or victimize you, why would we think it is any different when politicians do it? The government is attempting to victimize you and me by getting us to feel apart of a team that does not exist. There is no us when it comes to government! Any “us” is a forced us, through arbitrary borders, or the IRS, or congressional districting, etcetera.
There is no “us” when it comes to a politician. They are attempting to steal your money, and give it away to their political donors after lining their pockets. They want to force you to comply with a new law, or get you to join in on the forced pairing, and benefit at the detriment of your “team mates”. Some want to make sure gay couples can force bakers to make them cakes, and force pastors to say they are married. Some want to throw you in jail if you smoke a joint, or take more of your money for bombing… I don’t know who, just pick a middle eastern country, I’m sure we are bombing them.
But the only legitimate collectives are voluntary, and all the others ones are for someone to gain while the forced members lose. When it is an individual sociopath trying to get you alone inside a dark building, we see the evils in forced pairing. But somehow when a politician does the same thing, so many are inclined to believe them: “Oh I like him, he looks me in the eye”. Great… great… have fun inside that creepy basement.
Any forced collective is bad, because it just means that some people are slaves, or caged to the desires of others. And when collectives are not forced, only the best ones form and persist. When a collective is voluntary, people only join for mutual gain, and can leave when they no longer value the group. And likewise, the group can expel a member who takes and takes without contributing.
I read three hit pieces on libertarianism the other day, which was interesting. It was interesting because it made me realize how little these publications care about consistency. The authors did not get the difference between what the philosophy would “allow” for, and what would actually happen. They do not understand that believing a free market will sort everything out does not preclude the possibility of businesses doing bad things, it simply allows mechanisms other than force to define the outcome. They don’t get that men with guns forcing us to do what is “right”, is worse than the possibility that people will do something “wrong”, albeit, something that does not initiate force on another person.
So the authors are all hating on Uber (the unregulated cab service) because of unethical business practices towards competitors. “See, it’s not a free market if they are trying to dishonestly disadvantage their competitors”. Uhh… no, it would still be a free market. It is the responsibility of the consumer to choose what business tactics they will put up with; that’s what a free market means. A business can do anything that does not initiate force, and the consumers can choose which businesses to keep alive. Does this mean it is possible for assholes to own successful businesses? Yep.
But what a non-libertarian philosophy says is, if 51% of people agree, we can use force to outlaw being an asshole, or get rid of a business we have convinced 51% of the population is mean…even if they aren’t really. Libertarians say, we don’t have to use force, as long as Uber didn’t use force. You don’t like what they do? Don’t buy from them, and support the other guy. Boycott, and raise awareness about how bad the company is. Don’t resort to violence to force a company or person to “be nice”, unless they are aggressing on someone else.
Apparently Uber employees were calling up a rival taxi service, then canceling, causing delays for real customers. I don’t like that they did that, it seems dishonest. But there are ways to fight back without abandoning free interaction, throwing your hands up and being like, “oh, damn, I guess we need thugs with guns to make sure businesses play nice”.
The way it is now, “official” taxi companies do not need to resort to agressive tactics like Uber, because they already have! What do you think a union is? Literally, damaging another company with the threat of violence if they encroach on your business without jumping through the right hoops, which may preclude a new business because it adds costs which have nothing to do with the sales, safety, or market demands. So somehow Uber is worse for causing their competitors trouble without using force, than state sanctioned cabbies who never allow a competitor in the first place at the threat of violence or theft by the state. Just go and try to pick someone up in NYC and charge them for a ride, and see what happens if you get caught. That is okay?
And in addition to responding with boycott and other market solutions, the rival unregulated taxi business does have recourse. They could explain to their customers what happened, and tell them that is why they are implementing a system where, say, if you reserve a cab, there is a non-refundable $5 fee that pays part of the fare if not cancelled. They could explain to their customers what happened, and encourage the public to do the same to “punish” Uber. But to say because some businesses are run by jerks that all business should be subjected to thug regulators is silly. I’d rather a business be allowed to be a jerk, than have a business that is allowed to use legal thugs with guns who can imprison you. Right now we have the latter.
“Libertarians loooooove discrimination, and are racist”. And here is where people should really see the inconsistencies. Arguing that someone should be allowed to discriminate does not mean you yourself would discriminate, nor support businesses that discriminate. I honestly can’t believe people are serious when they argue this! Do people just go through life being carried by the wind, with no more philosophical grounding than, “that seems good” or “that seems bad”. “Well I know discrimination is bad, so if someone supports it, they must be bad!”
First off, the word discriminate means to tell apart. Would you discriminate against rapists who want to come into your child’s school? I would certainly hope so! People need to realize that no one is forced to patronize a business. What if a noisy motorcycle gang always came into your pizza place, makes a mess, and scares off the usual clientele without buying much? Would it be appropriate to discriminate against bikers if your business would otherwise fail? Or is being non-judgemental more important than your livelihood? Denying someone service is not the same thing as taking something from them, and I don’t think the authors of the various libertarian hit pieces understand that.
It is popular to equate discrimination with force, with stealing. But this necessitates a philosophy that says business owners are there to serve, not to profit. It essentially says, businesses are slaves to the people who must be provided us with things. If I took the time, energy, and money to make a product, that product is not owed to anyone for less of a price than I am willing to part with it. If that willingness to part with the product or service depends on who the customer is, that just means the provider of the product does not see value in the transaction. Should he be enslaved by the state and forced to provide that product or service? That is what anti-discrimiation laws do. They say, since you chose to go into business, and provide something of value, you no longer have the right to choose who to give that thing of value to, and will provide that product or service for the same price you provide it to others.
Again, this does not mean I am pro-discrimination! But to argue that they shouldn’t have the right to deny any customer betrays the intellectual depth of a toddler. I am the one who decided to make, sell, or provide a service, and if those transactions are not free for either party to agree or disagree to, that is literally slave labor. Should airlines go out of business with half full planes because their fat customers cannot be forced to buy 2 tickets, since that would be discrimination? Or should the skinny customer be forced into only half a seat, when he paid for a full seat, because the person next to him is overflowing?
How about gun shops that are currently forced to discriminate, based on who is approved by the government? Say I can’t afford the hundreds of dollars and hours of time and transportation to get my gun license, so I am discriminated against? I mean seriously we talk as if voter ID laws discourage minorities from voting, and we are okay with more hoops, and greater costs being imposed if people want to protect themselves? So to act as if these thugs we allow to have control over our lives (government) will prevent discrimination is absurd, they currently sanction countless types of discrimination. The difference is, since there is no free market, there is nothing we can do about it!
In a free market, am I going to support a business that hangs a sign, “No Irish”? No! Do they have the right to hang the sign? YES! What is so hard to separate about things you shouldn’t do, and things you shouldn’t be allowed to do?
Woof. Anyway this is turning into a rant and I am going to try to wrap this up. The bottom line is, stop pretending libertarians are racist just because their philosophy precludes government backed force. Just because I support the right to free speech, to say WHATEVER you want, does not mean I like or enjoy racist hate rants. It means I understand the philosophical pinnings that say someone is always going to want to silence you, so let’s be consistent in allowing no one to be silenced. Let’s never allow the initiation of force, which means even when you deny a customer service because they are Jewish, men with guns will not come and arrest you, kill you, put you in jail, and put a gun to your head while you make that sandwich.
And you want to talk real world? Fine. What is more democratic than allowing a business to die because they won’t serve Jews? Or are these anti-libertarians afraid that the business would survive while being terribly prejudiced? Yes, that is what they are afraid of. Not being able to initiate force against someone when they disagree with their non-aggressive—though unsavory—actions. And THAT is what being a libertarian is about. Knowing that no matter how rude, selfish, mean, or hateful a person is, force should not be used against them to quell their behavior, until he initiates force against someone else. That is the simple line of when it is okay to use force, when responding to it. Otherwise it is all arbitrary.
For each action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Discrimination by a business does not legitimize locking that person in a cage, or taking their money at gunpoint. It does legitimize a social response of boycott, shunning, and lecturing; it does elicit the response of non-agressively ruining that business, and making sure every decent person knows what a horrible jerk the owner is.
I want to live in a world where people are decent because they want to be (or economic opportunity forces them to be nice out of self interest), not because there is a gun to their head. And guess what, if that world doesn’t exist without a gun to our heads, then it doesn’t actually exist with a gun to our heads either!