[ExI] Crying "fire" in a crowded theater: Rothbard's view

painlord2k at libero.it painlord2k at libero.it
Wed Apr 29 23:40:52 UTC 2009

Il 29/04/2009 15.14, Dan ha scritto:

>> I agree that, in a libertarian society, a person living in a
>> compact that don't fulfil his obligation to common defence or,
>> worse, act in a way damaging the common defence obligation he
>> accepted freely could be sanctioned using property rights and / or
>> placing him in outlaw status.
> I'm not sure what you mean here.  Do you mean someone who expressly
> makes consents to some sort of common defence arrangement?  Or are
> you relying on some form of tacit consent?  If the latter, then, I
> submit, you're not talking about a libertarian society.

I'm talking about a formal contract that people accept freely.
Obviously, people that don't accept the contract of mutual defence is 
probably left alone to fend off for themselves in case of troubles.
Or would be forced to pay more to be defended.

>> For example, people could give up a collateral when accepting to
>> serve in the local militia. If they don't show up to serve when a
>> call is done, they forfeit the collateral that will be divided
>> between the people showing. Something like his home.
>> In the case of Schenck v. United States this would become a breach
>> of contractual duties.
> How does this relate to Rothbard's view of Holmes
> crying-fire-in-a-crowded-theater argument?

My understanding is that Rothbard addresses the 
crying-fire-in-a-crowded-theater argument as a problem of free speech, 
where the Schenck v. United States is not a free speech argument but a 
series of unlawful acts undermining the war efforts of the US.

> In my understanding of Schenck v. United States, I completely and
> wholeheartedly disagree.  Schenck was not under contractual
> obligation to the federal government not to express his opinion
> concerning the draft and the war.

In fact, Schenck was not incriminated for printing the leaflets and 
distributing them to the wide public or stating his opinion in public, 
but to sending them to drafted men to incite them to resist the draft 
and disobey to lawful orders and the words he used were not rational 
albeit passionate; they were directed to incite fear and other strong 
emotions in young men that were vulnerable to them.

The proper way to prevent the draftees to be sent in war was to change 
the Congress opinion or the electors opinion, not push the draftees to 
mutiny and rebellion.

> Even if he were under some sort of
> obligation for common defence -- something that remains to be proved
> -- it's hard to see how that same government's involvement in a
> European war had anything to do with the common defence.

This would become a longer thread, so maybe it is better not start it 
now. I limit myself to note that the best way to help people after a 
earthquake is to build earthquake resistant homes before the earthquake.

> At best,
> it'd be a matter of opinion and one could easily imagine a reasonable
> opinion against that war being for common defence.

In fact, I'm sure many were against the war but only a few went if jail.


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