If Only Government Justice Were Available to No Businesses...

When Microsoft and Apple have a dispute, they go to court, and let a judge resolve it for them. But, for, say, drug dealers, government justice is not an option, so instead they (often) resort to violence.

Therefore, concludes Bob Murphy, if we entirely eliminate the government justice system... all organizations will resolve their disputes peacefully!

This is the sort of deft, counter-intuitive logic that makes libertarians so very tricksy to debate.


  1. Anonymous1:04 PM

    While his comment wasn't the most solid argument, I don't think that what you're saying above is what he was saying. I think the argument is more that drugs should be legal (and, they certainly should).

  2. Anonymous1:10 PM

    I should clarify that while I know that Bob would certainly like to eliminate the state-run court system, I don't think that what he said in the linked statement is a large part of his argument against the court system (nor would it be mine).

  3. I've had this argument with Bob in the past, and Gene is interpreting him correctly. See here for a fuller explanation.

  4. Good morning, Dr. Callahan.

    I think that your response to Dr. Murphy's comment was wrong. Dr. Murphy said that the Mafia involved itself in activities that were highly regulated.

    You responded by saying that the Mafia was involved in activities that were UNregulated. You then mentioned gambling, prostitution, and drug sales.

    These activities suffer the highest form of regulation in that they are banned. I do not see how "The Absolute" Regulation qualifies as "No" Regulation.

    1. Sorry, that is exactly backwards: a regulated activity is one for which there are rules as to how it will be conducted. A banned activity simply may not be conducted: that is NOT a rule for how to conduct it! Food sales are regulated; marijuana sales are entirely unregulated.

    2. In fact, we often hear people say, "Instead of banning the pot trade, let's legalize it and regulate it."

  5. Good morning, Dr. Callahan.

    Yes, people do make the statement, "Instead of banning, let's legalize and regulate." That does not counter what I wrote. It means that regulation without legalization equals the ultimate regulation. The word that we use for this is "banning."

    Most people, myself included, do not think about regulation in this way. Nevertheless, regulation is the power to control. The ultimate form of control is preventing something from happening.

    To get around our disagreement regarding regulation, I will change Dr. Murphy's point to say the following: The Mafia is heavily involved in areas where the Government has banned the activity.

    1. Well, I don't think it makes sense to call that regulation, but one way or the other, the fact is this: violence is concentrated in just those industries where the governmental legal system is *not* available to resolve disputes. This should lead us to suspect that, if there were no such system at all, all industries would operate like the Mafia, not that no industries would!

  6. Good morning, Dr. Callahan.

    In terms of regulation: Having dinner with my wife is unregulated. I do not think that you would equate that type of "unregulation" with the same kind of "unregulation" applied to the sale of illegal drugs.

    In terms of your general point: While I am not necessarily in favor of our current legal/court system, we absolutely need to have one. I am in full agreement with you about that!

  7. Anonymous8:30 PM

    Gene, another word for "regulate" is "control". I don't know how familiar you are with the laws in this area, but all drugs are defined as "controlled substances", and are divided into schedules as per DEA regulations, C.F.R. Sections 1308.11 through 1308.15. Complete prohibition of a substance is most certainly the highest form of regulation and/or control of said substance.


  8. Anonymous8:31 PM

    BTW, don't ask how I became aware of the DEA's drug scheduling system. Let's just say it was by accident.

  9. Good evening, Dr. Callahan.

    I do not believe that my earlier post made it through.

    If I eat dinner with my wife, I call this an "unregulated" activity. Since there is an obvious diffeence between that activity and the sale of illegal drugs, I cannot also call the drug sale an "unregulated" activity.

    Now, about your larger point: While I find parts of our current legal system laughable, I agree with you that the court system is essential.


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