[ExI] what the hell was i thinking?

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 14 17:34:04 UTC 2019

On Mar 14, 2019, at 10:07 AM, <spike at rainier66.com> <spike at rainier66.com> wrote:
-----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of Dan TheBookMan
> Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2019 9:41 AM
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Subject: Re: [ExI] what the hell was i thinking?
>> On Mar 14, 2019, at 9:15 AM, <spike at rainier66.com> <spike at rainier66.com> wrote:
>> This is, in my view, the message of libertarianism: support authority but watch them closely.
> That view of libertarianism is diametrically opposed to libertarianism. Libertarianism, in terms of authority, is the view that no one should have authority over anyone else. (In the case of the police, abolition seems the appropriate libertarian response. Self-identified libertarians who scoff at this are almost certainly not libertarians but simply conservatives posing as libertarians.) And the best defense against the excesses and abuses of any authority is simply not to ever grant authority (over oneself and over others) in the first place. Failing that — because most folks don’t want to take such a bold stance — one shouldn’t be so naive as to believe that various authority-approved watchdog measures will somehow work well to curb arbitrary power.   
> Regards,
> Dan
> Dan, your comment demonstrates that the Libertarian party is no more unified, and probably less so, than the two American mainstream parties (which are both so dis-unified no one can really tell what they stand for (do you know? (neither do we.)))  

I’m not a member of any political party, including the Libertarian Party. And what I posted isn’t about the LP.

> Within the Libertarian party are those who hold the view that no one should have authority and those who recognize that any no-authority society is at the mercy of the bad guys.

The belief that concentrating political power will somehow stop the “bad guys” is fanciful as history demonstrates. The bad guys usually are the ones calling for concentrating power — often using fear-mongering: if not for our power you’d be at the mercy of even worse bad guys — or able to quickly game whatever centralized system is put in place. (The US Constitution is a case in point. It was a reactionary move to centralize power that worked in favor of the elites. The growth of federal power and militarism ever after are features not bugs. Antifederalists at that time discussed just this problem — to no avail.)

>  A pragmatic approach to the question results in the lower case l libertarian, often conflated with lower case c conservative, but distinct in my view.
> A pragmatic approach recognizes the firm necessity of authority, but also recognizes that power corrupts.  So... power must be very strictly controlled.

The best way to strictly control power is to reduce it where it can’t be abolished outright. In the case of police, including the national police (the FBI), abolition seems the pragmatic course: they’re far too difficult to control, actually create more crime than they resolve, and seem a dangerous tool in the hands of bad policy. See:


> We are now seeing a technologically-fueled vast and rapid expansion of surveillance.  We are getting to where home-mounted video is common enough that it is a highly effective tool against any crime which requires the bad guy to physically visit the home of the victim.  Enough citizens have cameras and have offered access to the constables that the bad guy can be tracked right to wherever he went.  The constables aren't publicizing it, but we see the results.  Package theft, so common just five years ago, has taken a nosedive in this area.  The UPS trucks and FedEx trucks seldom have signature-required deliveries anymore.  It is safe enough to leave the packages on the doorstep.  I now buy nearly everything from online retailers and have never had a package stolen.  If it ever happens, I will have good video evidence on the perp from two different angles.

You notice that monitoring home package deliveries does NOT require a huge police state and could be done while abolishing probably 99% of the police if not a 100%. (The same applies to other crimes against property: thru simply don’t require the level of policing around today. That huge police force is there for other reasons. And, no, it ain’t to guard against hoards of barbarians waiting at the gates.;) It’s not a triumph of policing or of controlling authority. It’s a triumph of individuals finding ways to use technology (cheap networked camera tech) that happened despite massive government policing.


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