[ExI] your big chance

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 24 05:03:53 UTC 2020

I'm sorry I missed your question, whatever it was. I got backed up on email. And the list volume here is usually too much for me, especially given the density of some of the content. For instance, I'd love to participate in the discussions on qualia and consciousness, but it quickly turns into many posts I just never get around to reading.

However, your reaction is childish, in my opinion. You really should work on that. I won’t dwell further on this here.

For others who might read this, I'm guessing Bill W asked for an example of a libertarian society. I can't think of any pure examples, though there are definitely societies that were more libertarian than others at least in some respects. I think most people in much of the West today live fairly libertarianly -- even if they don't know what libertarianism is much less would agree with its tenets. Why do I believe this? Because most in the daily lives tend not to coerce others. (Yes, there are government agents who do -- the police and deployed militaries, for instances, but I'd also include others who indirect coercers such as judges and bureaucrats. There are also, of course, individuals who coerce others -- muggers, assaulters, rapists, and murderers, but they're generally not seen as legitimate users of coercion and are often resisted, sometimes successfully. It's rare when, for example, an unarmed person is shot to death by the cops that the cops are then penalized in any way. But if some lone individual shots to death an unarmed person, there's usually an immediate response -- from other people if not from the cops or government.)

Now, regarding past examples, it's funny that there are folks here claiming to be libertarians who seem to know almost nothing about libertarianism, including haven't read any of the libertarian classics or the literature. (Not all of it. It's far too large for even scholars to keep up. The classics, though, are a much smaller set than all the journal articles, research studies, positions papers, debates in print or in video, conference notes, etc.) Murray Rothbard raised the example of Ancient Ireland (in his _For a New Liberty_, one of the classics) as a society without a ruler. The example is a bit complicated, but during part of the time there was no overall king and aligning oneself with a legal authority wasn't tied to territory. It's not a knock down argument, but shows that one can have a working society that lasts for hundreds of years without a central authority. It's even an example of something that was hard to conquer. (The English eventually did conquer it, but it took much longer because conquering each group had to proceed piecemeal. There wasn't William the Conqueror approach where you defeat the central authority and the rest is merely mopping up pockets of resistance.)

David Friedman (in his _The Machinery of Freedom_) gave the example of Medieval Iceland from about 900 CE until Norway took over about 300 years later. (A period, mind you, that's longer than the US has been in existence.) It's similar in that there's no central authority and legal disputes are settled by both parties agreeing on an arbiter. (What happened if they didn't agree? Well, either party risked getting declared an outlaw -- being outside the law, and so prey to anyone else.)

Someone might point out that these examples weren't modern societies. Fair enough as far as it goes. Someone else might point out that they eventually were absorbed into states (like England or Norway), though this doesn't really tell us a society without a central authority isn't possible or can't flourish.* Any society might succumb to military invasion or even just internal change. The issue is whether such a society is more or less stable rather than whether it's eternally immune to all ills (which would seem setting the standard impossibly high). I'm sure no one would use the example of Poland and France falling to German invasions in 1939 CE and 1940 CE to the fact that they both had central governments and the latter even had a world class military with the latest tech (better tanks and aircraft, I've read, than the Germans). In the context of their times, the above examples seem to have done quite well.


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* See: http://praxeology.net/libertariannation/a/f13l1.html

On Saturday, January 18, 2020, 03:45:34 PM PST, William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

I asked you for an example.  You ignored the request, so please just stop responding to my comments because I am not going to read any more of yours.  bill w

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