Monday, June 25, 2007

Why I am Not Not a Libertarian

DoF asks some good questions, and shares some very useful insights.

My two favorite "kill!" arguments from non-libertarians:

1. You just hate people!

2. You just don't want to pay taxes!

Gosh, those are devestating. I have no answer to those profound insights.


Anonymous said...

But I do hate people! Honestly. Dirty lil buggers.

Dirty Davey said...

There's a distinction here between libertarians and crackpots.

Libertarians, generally, believe in less government and lower taxes. The rational ones believe in constitutional government, and think the way to achieve their ends is through passing laws that lower taxes and get the government out of the things that it shouldn't be in in the first place.

Crackpots believe that the paperwork for Ohio's admission to the Union wasn't handled properly, which invalidates Ohio's ratification of the sixteenth amendment, which gives us all the right to ignore the IRS.

TAYLOR said...

So, Dirty Davey, what you're tryna say is that we "libertarians" who are any more radical in our beliefs than you are are simply irrational?

Remind me, once again, the rationality behind using force against peaceable people?

'Cause you want to? Seems rational enough.


Thanks for the link.

Dirty Davey said...

The Ohio argument is not a "radical belief", it's a nutty conspiracy theory. Particularly when applied so selectively: no one seems to use it to argue that all laws signed by Presidents McKinley, Taft, and Harding should be considered null and void.

Is your claim that government should not pass or enforce any law the violation of which can be done in a "peaceable" manner? That would certainly do away with all manner of intellectual property rights in the blink of an eye. Even a fair share of property crimes can be committed "peaceably"--e.g. embezzlement.

For that matter, if legal liability and individual contractual freedoms were to replace government regulation as a means of encouraging honest behavior in the marketplace, it would be easy to quite "peaceably" ignore judgements against oneself.

TAYLOR said...

Hi Dirty Davey,

I'm not sure what you're prattling on about with the Ohio bit. Thought it was some idea you were attacking in general, but now it sounds like something specific that I have to admit I don't know the details about. Don't really care, though. All laws signed by all presidents should be considered null and void as the electoral system, democratic politics and the idea of governance in general are illegitimate and intellectually null and void.

I think I was pretty clear about my claim. Since you didn't get it, I'll state it one more time: it is wrong to use force against peaceable people.

Most intellectual property rights legislation/litigation is nonsense. Copyrights and patents are ridiculous and unenforceable to begin with. Trademarks and trade secrets are both okay in my book, and enforceable without a coercion-based government-- if someone bottles a product and calls it Coca-Cola without Coke's permission, they've committed fraud... fraud is a form of theft and is therefore legally actionable (with or without a government, just as murder would be legally actionable with or without a government). Trade secrets can be protected by contract (have employees sign a contract not to divulge a trade secret) and contracts are enforceable with or without governments.

Just because you think you can make some utilitarian argument for why some pet forms of IP of yours enhance the economy doesn't mean a government is suddenly justified. Perhaps A wants a government to protect his patent. Perhaps B thinks that's a good idea too, in the interest of a more productive economy. But C (me), doesn't give a crap, and isn't impressed with A & B's logic as to why they are now rightfully able to point a gun at C's head and extract taxes. Sounds like a big ol' fraud to me.

I'm not sure what you mean by "a fair share of property crimes can be committed peaceably," as you then cite embezzlement as an example. Isn't embezzlement theft? Can you steal from someone without using or threatening to use violence (a threat only being worth something if the aggressor is willing to back the threat up, therefore making it equivalent to using force)? If you can, please fill me in, as I would love to learn how to do so. This sounds like a niche market not many people are aware of, the profit opportunities are tantalizing! Perhaps we should contact our local legislators to make sure they close this loophole as well...

No, Dirty Davey, all property crimes are crimes of violence or implied violence, or else they are not crimes. You can't steal from someone without using or threatening violence, because surely someone wouldn't allow you to make off with their goods if you didn't employ one of those two options.

You're right though, it's very possible that some actors within the marketplace might ignore judgments against themselves, much like many/all government actors pay no apparent heed to the law (such as most/all of the "law" they themselves legislate, as well as all of the natural law we commoners must adhere to, such as no murdering and no stealing)... you know what I say? Good luck. If they can get away with it, they can get away with it, I'm certainly not about to fold my arms and let someone start taxing me to form a government that concerns itself with these potentialities or eventualities. But the cool thing is that if they choose to act this way, they alone bear the costs of their decision, and most likely other actors in the market will soon ignore and shun them, to the point that they either fall in line, or pass off into the great beyond.

Whatever the case, I don't have to really sit here and argue utility with you (even though it's clear from a basic understanding of economics that an ideal anarchy will always beat an ideal government, and a real crappy anarchy will always beat a real crappy government)... the truth is, you need to show me where you, the advocate of the use of force, get the right to use or threaten to use that force against me to implement your various policies when I have done nothing to harm you or your property.

So if you figure that one out, get back to me, because I would absolutely love to do a 180 on my thinking if you came up with a solution.

Dirty Davey said...

Re: "contracts are enforceable with or without governments".

At some point, and in some situations, enforcement of a contract may require the use of force. This is true even if the violation of the contract is peaceable in nature.

Now if government holds a monopoly on the coercive use of force, then enforcing the contract will require the government to take forceful action.

If there is no government, then I see two possibilities when one party to a contract refuses to meet an obligation. Either (a) no person or institution has the right to the coercive use of force, in which case the contract can not be enforced, or (b) some person or institution not called "the government" HAS the right to the coercive use of force, in which case it's not clear that this person or institution differs from "the government" in anything but name.