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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

How Can These Two Ideas Co-Exist in One Sentence?

In Jonathan Catalan's comment section, Robert Roddis writes about "a system of voluntarily but strictly enforced property rights."

If everyone has "voluntarily" accepted this system of property rights, why in the world would it need to be "strictly enforced"?! Well, it would need to be strictly enforced against those who had never voluntarily agreed to it.

Just like every "statist" law is voluntary, if you agree with it, and coercive, if you don't. No difference at all.

6 comments:

  1. I am not sure if I agree as Roddis put it, but the difference is that you can opt out and form your own laws. Of course if you opt out you need to take care about protection etc yourself.

    If you are for a state you must be by definition against opting out/secession, you must be for absolute property rights for the state, for a certain degree of oppression of minorities by the majority.

    For my point of view the only difference today is that we accept that people who buy a car in France made in France by French can be taken with someone who switches his citizenship to Spanish. Why not allow the same thing for land? I agree that there is a lot of anarchy already that is working (interstate relationships work that way!) Why not within nations as well?

    There is a double standard of morality if you are for states. I am the first one to admit that I do not have enough understanding if it could work without a state, yet I don't pretend that the state works according to the same morality standard as we judge the behavior of our ordinary fellow human beings. Rights reflect our morality, since states are allowed to comply with different rights as anybody else, there must by definition be a moral double standard.

    Summed up: I am ok if you think anarcho capitalism is a fantasy land that does not work, but it is wrong to say there is no moral difference in being for state (if it worked perfectly) or being for anarcho capitalism (if it worked perfectly), since states are defined by having different rights as anybody else which are a reflection of morality!

    Since equal rights for all are hopefully perceived to be morally better than different rights, I'd judge anarcho capitalism to be morally better ex ante then being for a state, and so should you.

    Curious about your answer.


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    1. "but the difference is that you can opt out and form your own laws."

      So, you think you own some land (because my great-great-grandfather stole it from yours) while me (and my protection agency) think I do, because we believe in adverse possession. You "opt out" and... What? How do you now avoid having me and my protection agencies laws coercively imposed upon you?

      "If you are for a state you must be by definition against opting out/secession..."

      False. A number of states have allowed opting out: Canada allows Quebec to vote for secession, Czechoslovakia split peacefully, England and Scotland may do so.

      "Why not allow the same thing for land?"

      Interesting possibility. But it has nothing to do with eliminating the state: this would simply be a state organized differently.

      "There is a double standard of morality if you are for states."

      Sometimes people (Machiavelli) have *held* rulers exempt from ordinary moral rules. Sometimes state actors have acted as if ordinary moral rules don't apply to them. There is no intrinsic double standard, however.

      "but it is wrong to say there is no moral difference in being for state (if it worked perfectly) or being for anarcho capitalism (if it worked perfectly)"

      And I have shown, repeatedly, that it is correct to say that! It is not my fault if you ignore my demonstrations.

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    2. To be honest, I really hate how a lot of libertarians (possibly not all, just from what I've read/heard) take it for granted that morality must apply to every single individual and there can be no exceptions. While I don't disagree with this, there is an argument from the other side that should be addressed, e.g. the case of Machiavelli that Dr. Callahan has pointed out.

      An example of a libertarian doing this was Molyneux in his book about UPB. He made no attempt to argue why morality should apply equally to every individual, but rather asserted that it just must.

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  2. "So, you think you own some land (because my great-great-grandfather stole it from yours) while me (and my protection agency) think I do, because we believe in adverse possession. You "opt out" and... What? How do you now avoid having me and my protection agencies laws coercively imposed upon you?"

    I guess at the moment within the western world most people are not eager to make claims of who has done what 1000 years ago. With opt out I did mean to opt out with the land you actually posses (sanctioned by the very existing state) not the land that you think you could get by shooting someone. And that is not the point I wanted to make.

    I tried to point out that if you want to be consistent you need to go one way or the other. Sometimes allowing opting out (which is of course better than nothing) still means you at least prohibit it once. I guess you know if you would allow unrestricted opting out then you would effectively be an anarchist. Since you are not, but you seem to agree to “some” right to secession, I must assume that you would limit it somewhere.

    The problem is there is no logical stopping point for secession. Or is there?

    "Interesting possibility. But it has nothing to do with eliminating the state: this would simply be a state organized differently."

    If I can "take" my land with me to Spain, I also can make my own "country". How would that still be a state as it is understood today?

    "Sometimes people (Machiavelli) have *held* rulers exempt from ordinary moral rules. Sometimes state actors have acted as if ordinary moral rules don't apply to them. There is no intrinsic double standard, however."

    No, if you have a state then you grant them the right to use force, while you deny this right to the ordinary citizen. That is applying different rights to different people (to those who represent the state and those who do not), which is less moral than giving all people no matter who or what they represent the same rights, at least ex ante.

    "And I have shown, repeatedly, that it is correct to say that! It is not my fault if you ignore my demonstrations."

    I am sorry. To me it seems this sounds like the opposite to: "There is no intrinsic double standard, however." I am not getting your position on this correctly.

    However the most important point to me is your view on opting out/secession. Yes, No, or just a little bit?

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    1. One quick point; more at length later:

      "No, if you have a state then you grant them the right to use force, while you deny this right to the ordinary citizen. That is applying different rights to different people (to those who represent the state and those who do not)..."

      I think you are looking at this all wrong: it is not certain *people* who can do certain things; it is that any person whatsoever who happens to be in a certain *role* can do certain things. And there is nothing wrong with that. I cannot go in the cockpit and fly the plane: that is the pilot's job. That is not some moral double standard: that is the social division of labor.

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    2. "I think you are looking at this all wrong: it is not certain *people* who can do certain things; it is that any person whatsoever who happens to be in a certain *role* can do certain things. And there is nothing wrong with that. I cannot go in the cockpit and fly the plane: that is the pilot's job. That is not some moral double standard: that is the social division of labor."

      A pilot has different skills, but he has the same rights. A police officer independent of his skills has different rights per definition; else he wouldn't be a police officer. He can arrest you, but you can't arrest him. This is not because you are not able to; this is because you are not allowed to per definition no matter what you "can" do.

      Hence it is the legal status that separates the policeman from the non-policeman. Whereas it is the skills that separate the pilot from the non-pilot.

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