[ExI] Under the libertarian yoke was Re: Next Decade May See No Warming

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Wed May 7 16:03:27 UTC 2008

On Wed, May 7, 2008 at 9:55 AM, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:

>  I might agree to all sorts of things explicitly in a contract,
>  including sanctions in case the contract is breached, but if those
>  sanctions in any way depend on my cooperation then force will have to
>  be used to make me comply. It is best if the sanctions don't require
>  my cooperation, but it won't always be possible to arrange the
>  contract that way.

### Sure, sometimes allowing the use of force is a reasonable part of
the contract. But only sometimes. A note on sanctions: they are not
dependent on your cooperation. Forfeiture of a surety (a bond, a
hostage), and threat of future non-cooperation are beyond your
control, and therefore applying those sanctions against you does not
depend on your continued cooperation.

The main lesson that I want to draw is that force is not necessary to
make things work, most of the time.

> >  violence to anybody who fails to meet their peremptory demands, and
>  >  therefore neither the state nor its victims can enter into a contract.
>  >  The threat of violence is sufficient to invalidate or pre-empt a
>  >  contract.
>  But as discussed above, the threat of force, usually implicit, is a
>  very common part of a contract. I won't trade with you unless I know
>  that I will be able to obtain adequate compensation if you cheat me,
>  and that may require the use of force. Similarly, you won't trade with
>  me unless you know you can obtain compensation if I cheat you. Now I
>  would *prefer* that the deal we agree to does not allow anyone to use
>  force against me, since then I can get away with cheating you, but of
>  course you won't agree to anything this one-sided. So unless we both -
>  grudgingly - agree to having force used against us, we will both be
>  denied the benefits of trade.

### As noted above, this is incorrect. Also, not relevant to the tax
discussion: What invalidates the legitimacy of a tax is the fact the a
threat of violence is used by the taxman *before* you sign on. That's
why I wrote about "peremptory demands" previously. Whether there is
use of mutual threats as part of a contract is a separate issue.


>  It's problematic when a group of people agree to a contract which will
>  be binding on all those in the group including those who voted against
>  it. However, this is what happens all the time in every organisation.
>  By joining the organisation, members agree to be bound by the
>  decisions of the group, even when they don't agree with it.

### Legitimate organizations don't threaten to kill you to make you join.

They are
>  (or should be) free to leave, but it's difficult when the organisation
>  is a whole country, or potentially even the whole world.

### Here you are touching on a very important subject, the value of
network segmentation. I can't stress how much this issue weighs on
mind. Segmentation seems to be quite unpopular in most cultures, which
stress unity, building larger and larger structures, but segmentation
is absolutely indispensable for long-term stability and resilience of
networks. This is why the larger a state is, the more illegitimate it
becomes, and the world government would be the epitome of all evil.


For example,
>  what do you do if a minority declares that they don't recognise
>  certain property rights, never agreed to be bound by any laws
>  regarding these rights, and therefore start taking whatever they feel
>  they need?

### If they never recognized your legitimate rights (i.e. acquired by
first possession and free exchange), you can disregard any rights that
they may claim to have. In other words, you may just kill them
summarily if you feel like it.

>  People are free, at least in many places, to vote for tax to be
>  voluntary for themselves and everyone else. Surely this is an
>  attractive proposition, for the naive as well as for the sophisticated
>  voter! A politician could become fabulously popular and make his
>  country fabulously wealthy (according to libertarian theory) if he ran
>  on a platform of reducing compulsory taxation to, say, 1% to run only
>  the essential machinery of government. Why when the low taxation/small
>  government zealots are in power do they balk when the spending cuts
>  reach a certain low level?
### How many people do you know who *don't* feel that everybody who
has more money than they should pay taxes? "Like, man, it's his
doggone duty to pay taxes".... even on this enlightened forum famous
for its libertarian sentiments, the notion that taxes are illegitimate
is tenaciously resisted. Most people like making others pay, and the
collective effect of this mutual aggression is that taxes are quite
popular with politicians.

>  So if the penalty for not paying tax was that the majority of the
>  population, who voted for universal taxation, would be forbidden from
>  trading with you, would that be OK? It sounds like just another way of
>  saying that if you don't want to pay tax, you can either leave the
>  country or stay in the country but not earn any income.

### Yes it would be OK (because this would be a non-coerced
contribution rather than a tax) and no, not really to the latter
sentence. You could still trade with other refuseniks, or live off the
land you own - no agent of the state would come over and beat you into

>  I used to be very taken with anarchism as a political movement, with
>  quotes such as the following from Proudhon:
>  "To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed,
>  law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached
>  at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded,
>  by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the
>  virtue to do so.  To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every
>  transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured,
>  numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented,
>  forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished.  It is, under pretext of
>  public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed
>  under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted
>  from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed;  then at the slightest resistance, the
>  first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harrassed,
>  hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned,
>  judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed, and to
>  crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored.  That is
>  government;  that is its justice;  that is its morality."

### Sounds like my kind of man :)
>  I still see anarchism as the ideal to aim for, even if it's a utopian
>  ideal. One of my main concerns is that communitarian anarchism will
>  end in anarcho-capitalism, with the tyranny of the state being
>  replaced by a tyranny of powerful business interests. I see the state,
>  at least in the form of the more benign modern democracies, as the
>  lesser of two evils.

### You are conflating anarcho-capitalism with capitalist oligarchy.
They are not the same beast, but I have to go to work now.


>  --
>  Stathis Papaioannou

Rafal Smigrodzki, MD-PhD
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Gencia Corporation
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