[ExI] General comment about all this quasi-libertarianism discussion

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Thu Mar 3 05:11:03 UTC 2011

On Wed, Mar 02, 2011 at 09:27:52PM -0500, Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:
> >
> > That's unfair, I'd grant that it's more like Tit For Tat. ??The problem
> > is that while TfT largely solves the iterated two-person Prisoner's
> > Dilemma given certain population assumptions, the multiplayer game is
> > less amenable to solution and the real population is less ideal. ??There
> > is a non-governmental solution, but it's a second-order norm of such
> > strength as to make a democratic governemnt seem lax, where you punish
> > defectors and anyone who isn't punishing a defector. ??The coercion to
> > cooperate is distributed, but still coercive. ??When I was libertarian,
> > it was for the sake of real freedom, not replacing government with
> > social oppression.
> >
> ### But this second-order norm needed to achieve an efficient
> allocation of resources (most likely an injunction against formation
> of overpowering coalitions) is likely to be immensely less burdensome
> than a monopolistic agency run mostly by your enemies. I really don't

I dispute both "likely to be immensely less burdensome" and "run mostly
by your enemies".

> understand how it's possible for you to reject what appears to be an
> efficient solution, despite apparently being able to think your way
> through it (which already puts you light-years ahead of 99.99% of the
> population, AFAIK).

Because main real world models for norm-enforced order are small towns
and highly conservative societies.  Rigid and intolerant.  The norm
with typical people doesn't allow for much dissent, unlike many

Also, perhaps more fundamentally, what I said at the end of the earlier
paragraph.  To work, the norm is strong enough to *be coercive*.
Instead of paying taxes because the police will come and take your goods
and shoot you if you shoot at them, you'll pay your social dues because
if you don't no one will talk to you or sell you food or let you cross
their land.  The idea that this is some great step for freedom is
laughable to me.  Distributed coercion is still coercion.  You're not
getting a free choice either way about whether to pay taxes or show up
for the militia.  At least with the government you can ask "should we be
doing this?" without promptly getting shunned.

-xx- Damien X-) 

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