[ExI] Is there a potential libertarianism / democracy tension?

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Tue Sep 27 18:55:37 UTC 2011

On Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 4:22 AM, Dan <dan_ust at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Also, my view of a libertarian community is just one where initiation of coercion is outlawed -- not where anything goes or whoever can take your wallet may do so without fear of retribution.

Then who enforces that law?  If no one, anything goes and whoever can take, etc.

If a government - enforcing the law is not free.  The police who
enforce it must be
paid, or it is in no one's financial self interest to be a cop when
they could make
others be cops.  The money for that must come from somewhere - i.e., taxes.

If some people were allowed to opt out of taxes, i.e. to opt out of
paying for police
protection, then for them the world goes back to "anything goes and whoever...".
(And, indeed, the police have force - they would be perfectly within their moral
rights to raid such people for everything they had, because such people, by
refusing to pay taxes, would have forfeited any right they had to property or
freedom they could not defend themselves.)

In order to get around and enforce this law, the police would benefit
from roads.
Thus, the government has a legitimate reason to build and maintain public
roads.  As a side benefit, trade & commerce become easier, and everyone
generally benefits - but the main justification is the police, and
thus, tax-funded
roads.  (As I recall, this justification dates back to the Roman empire: sure,
those roads were good for commerce, but they were first and foremost an
instrument of the military, and were built to military specifications.)

And so on.  The existence of that base law means a justification for many
other things that governments do, and for taxes to fund them.  Not all, by any
means, but almost everything you are arguing against is in fact justified.
(For example, dumping pollutants in a river can be initiating force against
those downstream - and, in ancient wars, often was: while sieging a city,
poison or cut off its water supply.)

> And the same goes for the home invaders you mention. People can invade one's home and take it now. If they are state sanctioned, well, get used to living somewhere else. But in a libertarian society, you'd have the right to retaliate.

Which means nothing if you do not have the ability to retaliate.  In practice,
that means that whoever commands the biggest army has the right to do
whatever they wish.

If you disagree, there are several effectively libertarian societies
in the third
world right now.  You could move there and establish a home, then have the
right to retaliate when the next army comes through and seizes everything
you built.  If your survival instinct did not stop you from surrendering your
right, your imminent death would do it for you.

Not that I'm saying you should, just saying that that is the inevitable result
of what you are arguing for here.  There are literally thousands of years of
history proving the inevitability of this, and that this is not the optimal
society for its inhabitants.

> Also, in libertarianism itself, there is no sanction against people cooperating or working together. There's no reason why, in this example, your neighbors might not held you to stop the invaders and you might not help them. In fact, there's a strong reason to believe in real world communities that this would be the case.

And there's plenty of evidence that this would usually not.  Again, I reference
you to the examples where this has been tried (and is being tried, right now)
- and fails, practically every time.  At best, these real world communities
tend not to be fortified enough to resist determined bandits, and have not
practiced defensive teamwork even when they do pull together.  They simply
fall before those with guns and the training to use them.

>>>  Now, regarding taxes, the funny thing, yes, most people pay with little
>>>  griping. But the examples of non-payers have their property seized or
>>>  being hauled off to jail seems fairly telling. Why not, if you believe
>>>  most will pay anyhow, remove the the threat of this.
>> Because most people wouldn't pay if it was known that non-compliers get off
>> scot free.
> This was my point. Amon Zero seemed to be stating that people want to pay taxes. If you really want to know if they do, then one must remove the penalty for not paying.

You have completely missed my point.  I'll try to rephrase:

It is not directly about guns, force, or anything like that

It is about the perception of fairness.

It is about, "Why should I pay to uphold the public commons when that other
person does not have to pay?"

Now, yes, force is applied when someone adamantly refuses to pay.  But that
is merely the government acting as a proxy for the majority of people who did
pay - because one of the things that said majority paid the government to do
in the first place, is to extract funds from anyone who refused to pay.

Therefore, if you remove the penalty for not paying, you are removing one of
the fundamental things the majority is intentionally, deliberately buying.  They
are not being compelled by this threat of force to buy it; rather, it
is this very
threat of force against those who refuse to pitch in, that is part of what they
are purchasing.

Is that clear?

Now, there are those who refuse to purchase this - i.e., to not pay taxes.
The majority is purchasing force to strip away this minority's "right"
to not pay

> The social contract is a myth created to justify statism. Real contracts involve actual consent -- i.e., voluntary "uncoerced" agreement freely entered into -- and are not binding on every last person.

Contracts are binding on every last participant in the contract.

As to social contracts being a myth - that's what emigration is for.  Merely
by living within the borders of the USA, you are taking advantage of its
services and defense.  You don't have to sign anything to be taking
advantage of this: you automatically are, just by physically being here.
Therefore, you are bound by the social contract, just by physically being

Signatures and the like don't enter into it.  You don't even have to say "yes".
Heck, you can yell and scream "no" all you like.  You consent by remaining

Don't like it?  Go somewhere else.  All of the stuff you would leave behind?
That's covered under the social contract too.  And yes, moving costs money
- but if you're really determined not to be bound by a contract to anyone else,
then why should anyone else pay for your travel?  Think you'd die during the
trip?  Well - again, if you're refusing outside commitments, why does anyone
else care if you die?

See, that's the thing.  You have no fundamental right to life, or to means of
living.  The only thing that can credibly offer that to you these days is a
government, and governments mean laws and taxes.   Disagree?  Go live
somewhere where there is no effective government - just you and the Earth.
See how much respect for your life the Earth has.  (Hint: it has none.)

> See above. I'm not defending billionaires or anyone here, but that someone must pay because others pay doesn't follow -- any more than someone telling me he pays a tithe to a church should mean I should have to pay the same.

"I have tithed guns to the church, that they may make freeloaders like you

Come to think of it, that exact situation probably happened at more than
one point.

>> In fact, I wonder if a party that promoted the social contract as its
>> main issue,
>> with "restoring fairness to America" being its main slogan, might do well.  It
>> would likely take on anti-corruption as a strong secondary theme - and, well,
>> cut fraud, waste, and corruption always sells well.  Granted, single issue
>> parties tend to do poorly because they haven't thought through other things
>> people care about, but I wonder if a sufficiently nuanced platform could be
>> built from this as the main issue.
> Both major parties and many smaller ones in the US and many parties around the world, including most of the ones in power in the US and elsewhere now do make exactly this case: they are the fair ones, supporting some sort of social contract, cutting waste, fighting corruption. (And, of course, their opposition tells us, sincerely, that those in power are breaking the contract, unfair, corrupt, wasteful, and sometimes even illegimate.)

Yes, but as a side issue.  I'm proposing one that does this as its main thing,
from which all other policy views are derived.

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