Tuesday, June 07, 2005

one more once

Once again, I’m continuing in the vein of ‘social structure’. Why?...because I thinks it’s beneficial to debate things that affect everyone collectively, but more so, the daily life of the individual in such a profound manor. Speaking of which, the latest offering from Knappster adds more fuel to the fire of individual liberty. This is good. Seeking ways to maximize freedom is of utmost importance and the responsibility of those who cherish it. That said, I guess its now my move.

Tom mentions an essay by L. Neil Smith (which is quite good) that proposes ”Unanimous Consent” or “Hyperdemocracy” as an alternative to majoritarian government. Essentially, such a ‘societal framework’ relies wholly upon trust, good will and the highest libertarian ideals of individualism, free enterprise and non-aggression, which is all anyone ought to expect from a community of free people.
It wasn't my aim to create another faction in the struggle for liberty, but to eradicate the causes of factionalism. Without compromising anything I personally believe, I wrote the Covenant for natural rightists and non-natural rightists, religious libertarians and the non-religious, anarchists and non-anarchists – since the former can assume, accurately, that it's a first step toward abolishing government, whereas the latter can see, with the same degree of accuracy, an explicit contract establishing the systematic, non-coercive order they desire. Under the terms of the Covenant, they amount to the same thing.

Whenever there's an election coming, especially a referendum, especially on taxes, which are not only a monkey wrench in the machinery of civilization – rent we're forced to pay on our own lives – but the very fuel of war itself, try suggesting – try demanding – of local Democrats and Republicans that it be settled in the only decent, moral, civilized way, by Unanimous Consent.
What freedom loving individual could find fault with that? Of course, the operative phrase is ‘freedom loving’. If I were to crudely divide all of mankind into three groups, generally and for the sake of argument, they would be Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians. The first two have a vested interest in the state, whether to regularize wealth distribution or mandate conformity to a particular moral code and a patriotic ideal, respectively. Conversely, the latter, for the most part, wants none or very little of it. Moreover, ‘Libertarians’ are inordinately fractious, given the tendency toward individualism. The task of convincing the vast majority to cater to a splintered minority seems unlikely, if not impossible. As it stands, all parties appear to be amenable to an equally applied rule of law that acknowledges individual rights…in theory, anyway.

Tom also linked to David Friedman, who has some very good ideas pertaining to ‘market anarchy’. I’ll respond in kind with a link to David’s son, Patri Friedman, a self-described ‘anarcho-capitalist’. Patri’s piece stems from a passage in Stephen Pinker’s book entitled The Blank Slate. The short of it is that on the morning of “October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike…” looters and thugs did what they do best. As for a solution to such a mess, Patri argues that “We simply believe that these things can be provided better in a competitive market than by a monopoly” (‘these things’ being police/security force). He concluded that:
There are many directions the world can go when the state disappears. Not all of them are good. Some of them are downright terrible. Some, we suspect, are quite wonderful. Although I find stable anarchy appealing, that does not mean I am in a hurry to descend into chaotic anarchy. It is important for market anarchists to remember that not all transitions away from the state are good - and for everyone else to see that not all transitions away from the state are bad.
The crux of my argument against eliminating the state and replacing it with competing armed forces and courts is the seeming lack of a standard to which all are consensually bound. It is true, as Tom noted in a comment on a prior post, that the military forces of various countries are constantly warring and threatening one another in a competitive fashion. It is also true that one nation does not recognize the laws or jurisdiction of the other, unless one considers ‘international law’ and the UN as sufficient cooperation…which I do not. Ostensibly, people form governments and alliances for the purposes of self preservation and prosperity, via collective defense and relative stability to facilitate markets. The type of rules-based ‘market anarchy’ that I reject would do little more than create several smaller quasi-states that further endanger the very liberties anarchy portends to secure.

Whether societal rules are codified by a state or simply informal agreements pertaining to pluralistic living, all individuals act according to their own self interest, rational or otherwise. People already do as they please, as if there were no laws, so I don’t expect any state to prevent all force and fraud. However, the flaws of a minimalist state notwithstanding, there is an invaluable psychology intrinsic to government. The uncivilized brute that ignores the rights of others routinely, is theoretically detoured, in part, by essential criminal statutes that mandate punishment…including the forfeiture of liberty. Those of us that bristle at ‘state imposed laws’ are more likely to be able to live peaceably without them.

The problem arises when the laws become excessive, but such is distinct from the mere existence of a legal code. When the state grows too large, it should be pruned back, because its elimination would pave the way for the growth of yet more factions that, in time, would repeat the cycle. History and common sense suggest that the rule of law is the best way to enjoy the most liberty in an ever increasing and diverse community. I say this in light of the fact that the ills of the state are perpetrated by individuals that are predisposed to such immorality. The abolition of the state does nothing to eradicate those that are actually responsible for the evil that is attributed to government. The same is applicable to the ‘gun issue’, in that people of low character are the ultimate cause of the negatives at the center of this discussion.