Libertarianism: what is it?

Malor wrote:

So, in other words, parents can enter into agreements that bind you?

And that's the issue I always have: the arguments against Libertarianism turn into something very sinister, where we start in with elaborate schemes involving 'government as a club' or a corruption of the blood where the acts of your parents bind you or the community goes around giving people offers they can't refuse.

Why can't we all just have the fortitude to just say "when an armed gang offers things like due process and democracy and protection for fundamental rights and yadda yadda yadda, it gets to call itself a government and that makes legitimate the unprovoked use of force to coerce compliance including the taking of life/liberty/property"? Or say "yes--you do have the right to take certain property of your neighbor under certain conditions"? Why do we have to hinge it on some kind of technical consent, or try and justify it by blaming the victim for provoking violence from people who offered a gift and then demanded a donation with the barrel of a gun: we should just have the guts to say "sometimes people get to take your liberty away without your consent using violence, and that's not evil because..." and then lay out a defense of whatever kind of government we consider legitimate.

In other words: we are the good guys. Anything we do is good. Property is a convenience, not a right. Quit rocking the boat.

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DSGamer wrote:
Hypatian wrote:

I will let anyone else who reads this thread evaluate it based on the merits of your argument, because I think you have in that one post amply demonstrated the faults of that form of libertarianism. I remain astonished that anyone can espouse these ideas and believe that they are compatible with [em]any[/em] definition of "liberty", much less that they provide the preferred definition.

Can you be more specific on that point? I think what Aetius is arguing for is essentially impossible. In a vacuum I think that inevitably people will choose to form some type of government to provide a common set of rules at the very least. To ensure that they aren't run over by their fellow man.

Otherwise, though, I find it hard to argue with much of what he said. Without a violent overthrow can people remove their system of government? By its very nature government becomes a system of control that's self-perpetuating. It's a pretty damn bleak way to look at the world, but it's reality.

Sure. Without a violent overthrow people can't [em]remove[/em] their system of government. They can in fact change it, if it is designed to be changed.

But if they can remove it by a trivial act of will any time they deciding they don't like it, it's not a government at all. It's not a social order at all. It's just a bunch of critters floating around and eating each other to see who manages to survive and procreate.

Following the rules is only optional insofar as someone may choose to not play the game. They can choose to not play the game by taking their toys and leaving, which is their right. Or they can choose not to play the game and yet stick around and get in everybody else's way. (I believe that in the parlance of the Internet, we call such activity "griefing".)

The thing is, from my point of view that's a perfectly fine thing. If someone wants to cheat or be a spoiler, everybody else can say "to hell with that" and tell them to stop playing in our sandbox. If they keep trying to do it, we appeal to authority and they're going to have to go sit in the corner. If they want to leave, that's fine... they can leave. But they don't get to complain about the rules of the game as if they're some kind of extraordinary hardship.

They can suggest new rules and the group can decide whether or not they want to try the new rules out. And everybody might decide those rules are nice and switch to them. But absent that, the traditional rules are in force--because they are the traditional rules. And they have to be in force for everyone.

In the case of the U.S. government, there are lots of rules in play regarding how to make new rules and try them out and how to decide if enough people support the new rules to put them into play. And what you're supposed to do if you don't like the new rules that are being put in play.

And that's all fine.

Anyway, what it comes down to is this:

If someone believes what Aetius is saying: That it is far more important that we all be free to do what we want than that every child receives a reasonable minimum level of education (decided upon by a long process to determine the will of the people). That enforcing laws is tantamount to murder. Or maybe tantamount to treating people like children. Or something else, depending on the argument of the day. If someone believes that for the social contract to be valid every member of society must individually accept it (and if it's not valid, then nobody is allowed to use it at all), then nothing I can say will convince that person they are wrong. If someone believes that not paying taxes is more important than providing hot lunches to kids in public schools (or having public schools at all), then nothing I can say will convince that person they are wrong.

If someone can't see the tremendous injustice in believing it necessary for ideological reasons to demolish the [em]already existing[/em] social order to establish a new one in which the tragedy of the commons rules where the law of the jungle does not, then they simply never will, because they obviously are working from completely different axioms. And, as far as I am concerned, absolutely incorrect axioms.

If someone can seriously look at the world Aetius describes above and believe that it's a good thing, then the only hope I have for them is that they experience some life changing event and regain their humanity. Because I honestly can't think of any way to change the mind of someone who would think those outcomes are good things.

Everything Aetius says is absolutely logically true, based on his axioms. Based on those principles, it's absolutely true that when someone chooses to engage in an armed fight because they don't wish to pay their fair share for the local highways, schools, libraries, parks, homeless shelters, economic development incentives, etc. etc. it is the [em]government[/em] that is in the wrong and not that person. It's absolutely true, based on those principles, that it's impossible to establish any kind of just rule of law, because there is no such thing as a just law. It's absolutely true, based on those principles, that giving a child a basic education is just as bad an idea as giving a homeless man a yacht. And it's absolutely true, again based on those principles, that if you don't own something, if you don't use something, you shouldn't have any interest in it at all--and god help you if you didn't shoulder your way to the front of the line to get yours.

If someone can look at all of those implications and not say "if this is right, then those principles are pretty f*cked up", then I cannot imagine what I could possibly say to them to make them understand.

Malor wrote:

So, in other words, parents can enter into agreements that bind you?

Society is basically just the standard family model writ large. You are always going to be under your parents thumb to some extent, but as you age and mature you can negotiate and change the rules you have been given, until you are eventually the one governing over your own children. Multiply this over a population and not everyone is going to get what they want, but ultimately we are all in this together and it's our responsibility to look out for and take care of each other. Libertarianism is the sulking goth kid who locks himself in his room and resents having to participate in family holidays, but who is totally fine with taking their piece of the cake.
...And their little brother's piece, when he wasn't looking.

ruhk wrote:
Malor wrote:

So, in other words, parents can enter into agreements that bind you?

Society is basically just the standard family model writ large.

Who said? Analogies are great for illustrating one's logic and getting people to understand what one is saying, but they're not persuasive on their own. Hey--crime is like baseball: three strikes and you're out. That's a horrible way to run a justice system from seeing it in action. Great analogy, but terrible model.

Hypatian wrote:

Following the rules is only optional insofar as someone may choose to not play the game. They can choose to not play the game by taking their toys and leaving, which is their right. Or they can choose not to play the game and yet stick around and get in everybody else's way. (I believe that in the parlance of the Internet, we call such activity "griefing".)

The thing is, from my point of view that's a perfectly fine thing. If someone wants to cheat or be a spoiler, everybody else can say "to hell with that" and tell them to stop playing in our sandbox.

See though, this is what you're missing (and another reason analogies are usually not a good idea): how did it get to be "our sandbox" in the first place? You have your sandbox, I have my sandbox: why should I have to leave my sandbox because you want me to play in my sandbox according to your rules?

If someone believes that not paying taxes is more important than providing hot lunches to kids in public schools (or having public schools at all), then nothing I can say will convince that person they are wrong.

See and here's the thing: when you say stuff like this, it doesn't look like you're making a 'rules of the sandbox' argument. It looks like you're making the argument that yes: the government can use force to coerce you to buy food for schoolkids, and that's not theft.

So why keep trying to use some analogy when it looks like you don't consider that analogy all that convincing yourself when it comes down to the things you truly believe in?

CheezePavilion wrote:

See though, this is what you're missing (and another reason analogies are usually not a good idea): how did it get to be "our sandbox" in the first place? You have your sandbox, I have my sandbox: why should I have to leave my sandbox because you want me to play in my sandbox according to your rules?

Our nation has our nation's sandbox. Why? Because they (we) were able to defend it. Because they (we) were there first. Because they (our predecessors) got to set the rules. And we have inherited those rules. It's truly libertarian at that level, see: they said "f*ck off" and made up their own rules, and used guns to defend their turf. And they owned the land because they were there and nobody else could take it from them. And they made the rules because they were there and there were an awful lot of them and they wanted to create a better nation than the one they had just punched in the nose. And because they were pretty smart folks, they made some pretty good rules.

Why should *we*--you know, the people who actually consider ourselves part of this nation--have to give up part of our property because you don't wanna? Because it's only your property under *our* sufferance. Why do you have to leave? Because you don't want to participate as part of the group that owns the sandbox. You want to change the rules? Okay--find your own f*cking territory to do it in. Good luck. I hear most of the land's been taken.

CheezePavilion wrote:
If someone believes that not paying taxes is more important than providing hot lunches to kids in public schools (or having public schools at all), then nothing I can say will convince that person they are wrong.

See and here's the thing: when you say stuff like this, it doesn't look like you're making a 'rules of the sandbox' argument. It looks like you're making the argument that yes: the government can use force to coerce you to buy food for schoolkids, and that's not theft.

So why keep trying to use some analogy when it looks like you don't consider that analogy all that convincing yourself when it comes down to the things you truly believe in?

The rules of the sandbox are the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. version of common law, the established legal code of the United States, the established constitution and legal code of your state, county, and local governments. Those are [em]all[/em] the rules. They detail what sorts of rules may be made and how, and what rules have been made, and sometimes why. They detail your rights, privileges, and responsibilities as a citizen.

And one of those responsibilities is that when the rules were followed to pass laws that say "the government shall provide food for schoolkids" (and, by the way, I don't have any, nor do I plan to have any--so it's not my schoolkids, it's everybody else's that I feel are rather important), and "the government shall pay for the things it does by levying taxes", and "if you fail to pay your taxes you may be imprisoned", then [em]you are subject to those laws[/em]. And if you don't like them, then you may take certain steps to change them. And if you don't wish to take those steps to change them, or if you do and do not succeed in changing them, then you are still subject to them (unless you renounce your citizenship and bugger off.)

So you see, it's very much a "rules of the sandbox" argument.

Now. What part of this, exactly, do you think I don't find convincing?

(P.S. And of course, are you talking about "theft" in terms of how it is defined in the rules I listed above? Because it [em]is[/em] defined there. I imagine you're talking about some other broader definition of it that includes taxation.)

Robear wrote:

Quote:

How is it a strawman when you just said that it wasn't unreasonable to kill someone because they refused to pay taxes, and the taxes are used for public schools and enforcing attendance?

He didn't say that. He noted that it's reasonable to kill someone who presents an immediate danger to the lives of others in the vicinity. That's not in any way the same statement you made above.

But who presents the immediate danger? It was not the individual who created that situation - it was the group of people called "government" who escalated the situation into a violent one in their attempt to acquire property. The individual did nothing aggressive, and his neighbors have no reason to fear him - unlike the government agents. It is indeed logically the same, just as if a thief demanded that someone do something, and then attacked them when they didn't comply. Is the victim then responsible for what the thief does?

The person who is about to cause harm to others. Doesn't matter what the reason is, that's an issue that you made up. He did *not* say that people should be *killed* because they refused to pay taxes, and you can't just make up a Soviet story to pretend that it's so.

Look. Anytime someone says "X", and the response is "Well, U and V led to X, and X leads to Y, so X is actually Y", you need to evaluate your logic again. For example, if in your example, "the individual did nothing aggressive", then there'd be no reason for him to be violently prevented from doing harm to others. The scenario was "....if they fight back with deadly force...", not "they do nothing aggressive". You *invented* this objection and then tried to use it to raise moral outrage against an opposing argument.

If you're going to claim to be using logic, then at a minimum, stay within it's rules. Don't jump ahead and make unwarranted conclusions and then use them to accuse your opponent of immorality in their positions. It's discrediting your arguments.

CheezePavilion wrote:
ruhk wrote:

Society is basically just the standard family model writ large.

Who said?

The field of sociology, which in turn takes it's findings through observation and study. :p

It's a bit more complex than that, of course, but for most the family is the first and strongest example of social organization, and it directly informs how we interact and organize with others in society at large.

Note too that there's a lot of research from sociology and psychology and other fields that humans practice altruism in order to keep societies together. However, the research also shows that if there are no actual penalties for taking but not contributing - no consequences for freeloading - then the society falls apart as some significant percentage of people don't contribute or follow the rules that benefit everyone. There *must be* consequences for taking advantage of the community, or society fails. This holds at all scales.

The problem for anarcho-libertarianism is that it explicitly removes the enforcement of penalties for non-cooperation. Sociologically, psychologically, it's a doomed idea. This is why we don't see states, or even small groups with these principles lasting for any significant time, in my opinion. I've asked for examples before, and they don't exist. It's not because of any convoluted conspiracy theories or a lack of representation or a deliberate crushing of choice. It's because they try to ignore human psychology, behavior and evolution.

What's interesting is that there are only two types of organizations capable of setting out rules and enforcing them which we have invented to date. One is religion. The other is government. Both are flawed, yes. But the fact remains that they both have methods for defining the rules of a society, and enforcing them. And without that enforcement - without coercion or aggression as it's defined by anarcho-libertarians - society *will* fail. Psychology and sociology as well as history argue strongly against this kind of system succeeding in anything other than a small group of dogmatically same-minded individuals, because when the opportunity to abuse a system for personal and group gain arises, some people will *always* choose to do that. Enforcement, and the power to do that - aggression to Aetius - is *always* needed to prevent this.

That's the problem as I see it. Any proposed solution to increase individual liberty *must* include a method for enforcing rules, and that *must* violate the idea of "non-aggression" or "non-coercion". If we want to move towards libertarianism, it's going to have to accept government and the rule of law. We can go that far, but no farther (without a new system that somehow enforces rules without the use of force.) And indeed there are many forms of libertarianism that *do* accept enforcement by government "coercion" of citizens.

ruhk wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
ruhk wrote:

Society is basically just the standard family model writ large.

Who said?

The field of sociology, which in turn takes its findings through observation and study. :p

And how did sociology observe and study that people were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights? ; P

It's a bit more complex than that, of course, but for most the family is the first and strongest example of social organization, and it directly informs how we interact and organize with others in society at large.

That doesn't automatically make it an argument for what kind of government is moral and what kind is not.

Robear wrote:
Robear wrote:

Quote:

How is it a strawman when you just said that it wasn't unreasonable to kill someone because they refused to pay taxes, and the taxes are used for public schools and enforcing attendance?

He didn't say that. He noted that it's reasonable to kill someone who presents an immediate danger to the lives of others in the vicinity. That's not in any way the same statement you made above.

But who presents the immediate danger? It was not the individual who created that situation - it was the group of people called "government" who escalated the situation into a violent one in their attempt to acquire property. The individual did nothing aggressive, and his neighbors have no reason to fear him - unlike the government agents. It is indeed logically the same, just as if a thief demanded that someone do something, and then attacked them when they didn't comply. Is the victim then responsible for what the thief does?

The person who is about to cause harm to others. Doesn't matter what the reason is, that's an issue that you made up. He did *not* say that people should be *killed* because they refused to pay taxes, and you can't just make up a Soviet story to pretend that it's so.

Look. Anytime someone says "X", and the response is "Well, U and V led to X, and X leads to Y, so X is actually Y", you need to evaluate your logic again. For example, if in your example, "the individual did nothing aggressive", then there'd be no reason for him to be violently prevented from doing harm to others. The scenario was "....if they fight back with deadly force...", not "they do nothing aggressive". You *invented* this objection and then tried to use it to raise moral outrage against an opposing argument.

If you're going to claim to be using logic, then at a minimum, stay within it's rules. Don't jump ahead and make unwarranted conclusions and then use them to accuse your opponent of immorality in their positions. It's discrediting your arguments.

I think what (I assume Aetius) is saying is that fighting back with deadly force is not "aggressive" as Libertarians define that term aggressive: it's self-defense.

It's true: fighting back with deadly force is not the same thing as doing nothing. The issue here is that because you have a right to self-defense, you're as blameless when you fight back with deadly force as when you do nothing.

Hypatian wrote:

Now. What part of this, exactly, do you think I don't find convincing?

Nowhere, but before you wrote this, I didn't think you'd go so far as to say 'you don't own your property, WE THE PEOPLE own ALL THE PROPERTIES because our army beat up all the other armies' in some kind of radical Right of Conquest view of what makes a government legitimate--is this where you were going with that 'don't assume we're not all Communists' thing? Although this isn't Communism either: Communism is a ideology where the Right of Conquest is not what legitimizes governments and the rules on property use are supposed to conform to a concept of human rights.

Are we sure we want to go so far as to say you don't actually own any property, that you only get to take a turn using it "under *our* sufferance"? Everyone objects to Libertarianism out of the idea that it will lead to a future where corporations own everything. In arguing against Libertarianism, you've argued for a system that resembles the nightmare that motivates most people to dismiss Libertarianism in the first place.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Everyone objects to Libertarianism out of the idea that it will lead to a future where corporations own everything. In arguing against Libertarianism, you've argued for a system that resembles the nightmare that motivates most people to dismiss Libertarianism in the first place.

It's not an idea that corporations and the rich will own everything, it's simply reality. Rights flow from property in Libertarianism. Who owns the most property today? The corporations and the rich. And after Libertarians shrink the government to the size they dream about the only entities that will be able to take advantage of that massive power vacuum will be corporations and the rich. They will simply swoop in and grab everything that's not nailed down. Then you'll end up with a society where a tiny fraction of the people own essentially everything and everyone else doesn't matter at all because they don't really own any property. You'll have an aristocracy all over again.

And your argument overlooks the fact that our Founding Fathers took great pains to establish rights and protections for individuals because they were trying to get away from a system of government based on a king and aristocracy, the very thing that would be quickly replicated in a Libertarian world. And your argument overlooks the fact that nation states can't exactly endless expand their territories unless they switch over to a perpetual war footing (something that hasn't exactly worked for the countries who've tried it).

OG_slinger wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Everyone objects to Libertarianism out of the idea that it will lead to a future where corporations own everything. In arguing against Libertarianism, you've argued for a system that resembles the nightmare that motivates most people to dismiss Libertarianism in the first place.

It's not an idea that corporations and the rich will own everything, it's simply reality. Rights flow from property in Libertarianism. Who owns the most property today? The corporations and the rich. And after Libertarians shrink the government to the size they dream about the only entities that will be able to take advantage of that massive power vacuum will be corporations and the rich. They will simply swoop in and grab everything that's not nailed down. Then you'll end up with a society where a tiny fraction of the people own essentially everything and everyone else doesn't matter at all because they don't really own any property. You'll have an aristocracy all over again.

And your argument overlooks the fact that our Founding Fathers took great pains to establish rights and protections for individuals because they were trying to get away from a system of government based on a king and aristocracy, the very thing that would be quickly replicated in a Libertarian world. And your argument overlooks the fact that nation states can't exactly endless expand their territories unless they switch over to a perpetual war footing (something that hasn't exactly worked for the countries who've tried it).

Actually OG, that's my point: the Founding Fathers didn't just establish a sandbox, they established a form of government they thought would protect the individual and their rights, even against they tyranny of the majority.

OG, keep in mind I'm not arguing for Libertarianism here: I'm trying to point out that when people concoct rebuttals to Libertarianism, they wind up coming up with far more odious concepts of government, like the idea that no one in America owns any property because the armed forces of the Revolution kicked out the British and then went on to kick Native Americans off of their land.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Hypatian wrote:

Now. What part of this, exactly, do you think I don't find convincing?

Nowhere, but before you wrote this, I didn't think you'd go so far as to say 'you don't own your property, WE THE PEOPLE own ALL THE PROPERTIES because our army beat up all the other armies' in some kind of radical Right of Conquest view of what makes a government legitimate--is this where you were going with that 'don't assume we're not all Communists' thing? Although this isn't Communism either: Communism is a ideology where the Right of Conquest is not what legitimizes governments and the rules on property use are supposed to conform to a concept of human rights.

Are we sure we want to go so far as to say you don't actually own any property, that you only get to take a turn using it "under *our* sufferance"? Everyone objects to Libertarianism out of the idea that it will lead to a future where corporations own everything. In arguing against Libertarianism, you've argued for a system that resembles the nightmare that motivates most people to dismiss Libertarianism in the first place.

The United States is a sovereign nation that holds a certain territory. If you own property within the territory of the United States, then on that land people are subject to the laws the United States. And if you want to say "my land is now part of Canada", that's too bad—it's not part of Canada.

Let's change the example a little bit. Let's say you own a gun. You own it. Not the US. Not me. Not the community. You. You take that gun out in an area that's part of the US, and point it at someone. Does your ownership of the gun mean that you can do anything you want with it? No. You are subject to the laws of the United States, even though you "own" the gun. You don't get to point it at people without being subject to the penalties for doing that. The reason it's the US penalties and not the Canadian penalties is because you are in US territory and not Canadian territory.

Why can you own property, and what is the difference between your ownership and a nation's ownership?

Well, all of the land that's part of the territory of the US is subject to US law. If somebody chooses to dispute that, the traditional remedy is first diplomacy, and then force of arms. This is both traditional and unavoidable: other nations may weigh in with regard to treaties, etc. etc. But in the end, if the two sides can't agree there is no higher power to lay down the rules. There is no law aside from the treaties the nations have bound themselves to (and they can choose to ignore those if they want to.) Having no law, the only way to establish ownership is to see who's actually capable of holding the land.

When you own property in the US, things are different. While the US holds sovereignty over the territory, there are laws in the US regarding how property ownership works. [em]Because the US holds sovereignty over that territory[/em], you can own property in the territory subject to US law. Your ownership of property depends on the fact that the law recognizes property ownership, and on the fact that nobody wants to fight the US for the patch of ground you own (by US laws).

Within the territory of the US we don't fight to decide who owns property. We don't have to, because the US's property law is in force. And the US's property law is in force because the US was willing to fight to own that property.

CheezePavilion wrote:

I think what (I assume Aetius) is saying is that fighting back with deadly force is not "aggressive" as Libertarians define that term aggressive: it's self-defense.

It's true: fighting back with deadly force is not the same thing as doing nothing. The issue here is that because you have a right to self-defense, you're as blameless when you fight back with deadly force as when you do nothing.

And on the other side: if you choose to fight back with deadly force [em]instead of paying money that you owe[/em], is that really self-defense? Are you really blameless when you choose to shirk your duty, and then endanger lives when the lawful consequences of your actions are brought to bear?

Sometimes rising up in rebellion against laws under which you live is admirable. But if you rise up in arms against laws that aren't unreasonable, that doesn't make you a rebel, much less a rigtheous one. It makes you a criminal.

In short: the right to self-defense does not extend to self-defense against enforcement of the law. If the law is so bad, then it doesn't need to be self-defense, because armed force is justified because you're having a revolution. But if you're not willing to break off and have a revolution? I'm sorry, chasing off the tax man with guns is not self defense.

Hypatian wrote:

The United States is a sovereign nation that holds a certain territory. If you own property within the territory of the United States, then on that land people are subject to the laws the United States. And if you want to say "my land is now part of Canada", that's too bad—it's not part of Canada.

Let's change the example a little bit. Let's say you own a gun. You own it. Not the US. Not me. Not the community. You. You take that gun out in an area that's part of the US, and point it at someone. Does your ownership of the gun mean that you can do anything you want with it? No. You are subject to the laws of the United States, even though you "own" the gun. You don't get to point it at people without being subject to the penalties for doing that. The reason it's the US penalties and not the Canadian penalties is because you are in US territory and not Canadian territory.

Unless I'm stacking my rocks up on the edge of my property above my neighbor's head, there's no comparison here with pointing a gun at people. (although there is a whole issue here with Libertarianism and the issue of prior restraint, but we can get to that later maybe).

Why can you own property, and what is the difference between your ownership and a nation's ownership?

Well, all of the land that's part of the territory of the US is subject to US law. If somebody chooses to dispute that, the traditional remedy is first diplomacy, and then force of arms. This is both traditional and unavoidable: other nations may weigh in with regard to treaties, etc. etc. But in the end, if the two sides can't agree there is no higher power to lay down the rules. There is no law aside from the treaties the nations have bound themselves to (and they can choose to ignore those if they want to.) Having no law, the only way to establish ownership is to see who's actually capable of holding the land.

When you own property in the US, things are different. While the US holds sovereignty over the territory, there are laws in the US regarding how property ownership works. [em]Because the US holds sovereignty over that territory[/em], you can own property in the territory subject to US law. Your ownership of property depends on the fact that the law recognizes property ownership, and on the fact that nobody wants to fight the US for the patch of ground you own (by US laws).

Within the territory of the US we don't fight to decide who owns property. We don't have to, because the US's property law is in force. And the US's property law is in force because the US was willing to fight to own that property.

You know how earlier you said "I will let anyone else who reads this thread evaluate it based on the merits of your argument, because I think you have in that one post amply demonstrated..."? Well, I'm going with that one here.

Hypatian wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

I think what (I assume Aetius) is saying is that fighting back with deadly force is not "aggressive" as Libertarians define that term aggressive: it's self-defense.

It's true: fighting back with deadly force is not the same thing as doing nothing. The issue here is that because you have a right to self-defense, you're as blameless when you fight back with deadly force as when you do nothing.

And on the other side: if you choose to fight back with deadly force [em]instead of paying money that you owe[/em], is that really self-defense?

No, but at that point it was not established that money was owed in the first place.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Actually OG, that's my point: the Founding Fathers didn't just establish a sandbox, they established a form of government they thought would protect the individual and their rights, even against they tyranny of the majority.

And this is a bad thing how?

It looks a hell of a lot better than the option Libertarians are offering which is you don't matter unless you own property and you only really have rights that you, personally, can defend. Someone pollutes your property? You best have enough money to bankroll a team of lawyers to exercise your "rights" otherwise you really don't have any.

CheezePavilion wrote:

OG, keep in mind I'm not arguing for Libertarianism here: I'm trying to point out that when people concoct rebuttals to Libertarianism, they wind up coming up with far more odious concepts of government, like the idea that no one in America owns any property because the armed forces of the Revolution kicked out the British and then went on to kick Native Americans off of their land.

That's not what Hypatian said. You asked how it became "our sandbox" and he told you how it happened. Yes, the unabashed reality is that the United States consists of land that we either took from someone else (though this gets into the very Western idea of property) or bought it from someone who took it from someone else.

And every government on the face of the planet got their sandbox in the exact same manner. Are all countries now illegitimate because sometime in the last 10,000 years or so that land was taken from someone else?

But what our government didn't do was keep all that land for themselves. They bought the land so that citizens could buy it cheaply and then settle it. Hell, in some cases they literally give land away to anyone who would do something with it. That property is now owned by citizens and businesses, not the government.

I don't see how that's an odious form of government.

The sandbox you may own today, your home, is simply a part of a much larger sandbox, the United States. That your sandbox is part of the US's sandbox means you have to play by the rules that were established a long time before you existed. That's how societies work. If you don't like those rules, you are free to find yourself another sandbox that has rules that are more to your liking. What you can't do is act like Peter Griffin and declare your property a sovereign nation.

That is the stupidity of Libertarianism, that I can do whatever the f*ck I want because I didn't personally agree to every law or rule of the society I was born into and making me do so is government aggression or force or violence.

CheezePavilion wrote:

You know how earlier you said "I will let anyone else who reads this thread evaluate it based on the merits of your argument, because I think you have in that one post amply demonstrated..."? Well, I'm going with that one here.

Cool. Glad to know that you now understand how property ownership works in the real world.

CheezePavilion wrote:

No, but at that point it was not established that money was owed in the first place.

So... you don't think that when someone owes taxes under the law, it's actually been established that they owe any money? Alrighty, then.

OG_slinger wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Actually OG, that's my point: the Founding Fathers didn't just establish a sandbox, they established a form of government they thought would protect the individual and their rights, even against they tyranny of the majority.

And this is a bad thing how?

It's not a bad thing--I explain this later in the post how just because it's not a bad thing means every argument that attacks Libertarianism is a good one, or even one that isn't a gross caricature of what the Founders established.

OG_slinger wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

OG, keep in mind I'm not arguing for Libertarianism here: I'm trying to point out that when people concoct rebuttals to Libertarianism, they wind up coming up with far more odious concepts of government, like the idea that no one in America owns any property because the armed forces of the Revolution kicked out the British and then went on to kick Native Americans off of their land.

That's not what Hypatian said. You asked how it became "our sandbox" and he told you how it happened. Yes, the unabashed reality is that the United States consists of land that we either took from someone else (though this gets into the very Western idea of property) or bought it from someone who took it from someone else.

And every government on the face of the planet got their sandbox in the exact same manner. Are all countries now illegitimate because sometime in the last 10,000 years or so that land was taken from someone else?

But what our government didn't do was keep all that land for themselves. They bought the land so that citizens could buy it cheaply and then settle it. Hell, in some cases they literally give land away to anyone who would do something with it. That property is now owned by citizens and businesses, not the government.

I don't see how that's an odious form of government.

Neither do I, but here's where it gets odious:

The sandbox you may own today, your home, is simply a part of a much larger sandbox, the United States. That your sandbox is part of the US's sandbox means you have to play by the rules that were established a long time before you existed. That's how societies work. If you don't like those rules, you are free to find yourself another sandbox that has rules that are more to your liking. What you can't do is act like Peter Griffin and declare your property a sovereign nation.

That is the stupidity of Libertarianism, that I can do whatever the f*ck I want because I didn't personally agree to every law or rule of the society I was born into and making me do so is government aggression or force or violence.

Your property isn't just part of a larger sandbox. Just like your actions are not simply a part of a much larger actor, the United States. Just like your life is not just a part of a much larger entity, America.

I'm not making the Libertarian argument that life/liberty/property are equivalent; what I'm trying to say is that we shouldn't be tempted into making counter-arguments that reduce your property into just a time share owned by the government.

I think what (I assume Aetius) is saying is that fighting back with deadly force is not "aggressive" as Libertarians define that term aggressive: it's self-defense.

That's fine, he's made that argument capably in the past. But he asserted that a statement was made that wildly exaggerated the one that was actually made, and then he made judgements based on that. That's not accurate or fair to the other person in the discussion.

Within the territory of the US we don't fight to decide who owns property. We don't have to, because the US's property law is in force. And the US's property law is in force because the US was willing to fight to own that property.

And is still willing to fight to own that property, up to and including forcing people to be part of it whether they like it or not. If you don't like that, you will be hurt or killed.

How is this different from a Mafia?

Wow. So, rule of law is no different from the Mafia? Really? That's where your thinking takes you?

Malor wrote:

How is this different from a Mafia?

I think it has to do with elections.

Robear wrote:

Wow. So, rule of law is no different from the Mafia? Really? That's where your thinking takes you?

I'm flabbergasted, honestly.

I've always thought the "taxes are taken at gunpoint" rhetoric was just rhetoric but apparently it's actually believed.

Jayhawker wrote:
Malor wrote:

How is this different from a Mafia?

I think it has to do with elections.

This is where I'm coming from: however, people should then just say "elections" and not fall back on some idea of an America of Kato Kaelins where we're all just houseguests of our own armed forces.

Seems we skipped right over the police state and went right to the benevolent military fiefdom in some of these counter-arguments to Libertarianism.

gregrampage wrote:
Robear wrote:

Wow. So, rule of law is no different from the Mafia? Really? That's where your thinking takes you?

I'm flabbergasted, honestly.

I've always thought the "taxes are taken at gunpoint" rhetoric was just rhetoric but apparently it's actually believed.

It's actually true. It doesn't mean you have to become a Libertarian, it just means you don't sugar-coat the reality. In the end, taxes are taken at gunpoint, otherwise we wouldn't call them taxes, we'd call them donations.

Right, exactly. These things are true. They are also evil. They may also be necessary, but we should never forget that we are coercing people at gunpoint, and do as little of it as we can.

I tend to think more coercion is required than most true Libertarians, but I don't candy-coat the reality of what's happening. All political power ultimately comes from the willingness to use force on the minority.