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If you're curious to know how a stateless society might function, the following links are good starting points.
Blogs & Portals
Discuss on YouTube
Monday's thought-provoking video: If You Were KingTuesday's thought-provoking video: Government ExplainedWednesday's thought-provoking video: George Ought to HelpThursday's thought-provoking article: An Open Letter to the Peace MovementFriday's anarchist chess game: Tom Woods vs Walter Block
rtc3 wrote: "Locke says that something in the natural state becomes one's property when they have mixed their labor with it and thus improved it from its natural state. security, being a public good, is applied to a land area rather than a group of people. thus the government, by protecting the land it rules over, owns it."
Lockean homesteading of property doesn't work like that and that's not how you believe that ownership is determined either.
For example, if a company owns some raw materials and machines and hires you as an employee to build something using the materials and machines, do you now own the product that you build simply because you were the one who built it? No, the company still owns it.
Once someone gains ownership of unowned property by homesteading it, they are the owner of it unless they transfer title of it to someone else. No other person can take ownership of that property merely by providing a service. If you own your house I can't go "protect" you in your house and gain ownership of it, and neither can people calling themselves the state or anyone else.
Bitbutter: "Can you explain by what chain of reasoning you've come to the conclusion that the state is the owner of the land on which it's subjects live?"
Locke says that something in the natural state becomes one's property when they have mixed their labor with it and thus improved it from its natural state. security, being a public good, is applied to a land area rather than a group of people. thus the government, by protecting the land it rules over, owns it.
the improvement of the land requires people to live there. security means that bandits can't get in. but without people in there to rob, bandits wont go in anyway. thus, the labor of the government is only expended if people live there. thus the government's ownership of the land is not incompatible with our normal concepts of private property. they are 2 slightly different senses of ownership.
Glasshouse00 wrote: "A different question in the same context would envoke a different result. For example:
"'You live in a town which has a large damn. The damn is in disrepair. The agents tell everyone that they must pay to fix the damn or it will burst in 1 month. George refuses to pay. Do you think it's acceptable for the agents to threaten violence against George if he doesn't give his money towards fixing the damn?'"This question does not evoke a different response in me at all. No, I do not think it's acceptable for anyone to threaten George with violence to get him to pay for the dam. Doing so would be immoral and unjust. He never harmed anyone; how could you threaten him and sleep at night?
"2:30 "Do you think it's acceptable for the agents to threaten violence against George if he doesn't give his money towards helping Oliver's family?""
I notice that you didn't actually answer the question. I'm curious what your reply is.
@rtc3 "unless the minority has implicitly accepted the majority rule. here, georgedid not; in a government, citizens have."
The 'implicit consent'/'social contract' approach only works if it can be established that the state owns the land on which it's subjects live.
If the state is not the rightful owner, then its demands for money are morally equivalent to the mafia demand protection money (the fact that the residents don't leave the 'occupied' town does not legitimise the mafia's behaviour or demands).
Can you explain by what chain of reasoning you've come to the conclusion that the state is the owner of the land on which it's subjects live?
@glasshouse re. your low opinion of the ability of people to manage freedom. Consider what this means for representative democracy. If people cannot be trusted to handle their own affairs, why should we believe they are capable of voting sensibly? or excercising power as politicians sensibly?
I think we can agree that--howver smart or foolish people are in general--all people are more likley to be informed and to make good decisions when those decisions pertain closely to their own lives, and much less so when those decisions pertain to the lives of others. This fact alone suggests that we should strive for as few decisions as possible to be made through 'political' channels.
"Look at laissez faire capitalism to see how too much free will got us into the situation we now find ourselves."
We don't have anything resembling a free market at the moment. Certainly in the US, and I think in most western countries, the number of threats limiting the legal behaviour of peaceful people (incorrectly called 'regulations') grow by the year: http://politicalcalculations.blogspot.nl/2012/07/the-regulation-of-american-people.html
The gang is incorrect in its actions. this incorrectness does not extend to the government, however.
The state is a pre-existing authority, deriving its power from consent of the governed. "you" and the gang are, in the situation, each individually moral equals with george (with regards to right and authority and such). the example is a very good reason why doing everything by majority consent doesn't work... unless the minority has implicitly accepted the majority rule. here, george did not; in a government, citizens have.
by the way, i agree with glasshouse00; redistribution is a poor example. i personally believe that even a government should not redistribute wealth like this. if george had killed oliver, the mob would be acting in a more similar manner to how government should be acting. i think i would still disagree with their actions.
Peace Requires Anarchy
The mention of the closest ideal of zero state control means just that, as in it is closest we have experienced in recent history. Any examples you could pull from previous historical economical structures do not apply to this modern age for reasons I hope I do not have to delve into further. I was basing this remark on the facts of what I know with regards to the mass deregulation of the markets adopted by the administrations of thatcher and Reagan, applying a Freidman type approach which allowed massive corporations to move and conduct business more freely. Thus these corporations operate with little to no state control. We can take these stateless corporations as a primary example of how a structure conducts itself in this regard. I'm not sure what example you are basing your argument off of with regards to a free Market. If it has to do with the core value of a Market in the modern day ie the currencies that allow it to function then as far as know the bodies that control it, if you will are not governed by any state that I know of. Of course this still overlooks the very basis and core principal on what our modern markets operate on and that is the idea of cyclical consumption which in itself is flawed as it takes the concept of an infinite resource capacity and places it in a finite environment.
To be ready. The full sentence was "In general ( referring to a subject as a whole ie taking into account a study of human behaviours operating within social structures throughout history) people will never be ready for a stateless society.... The meaning of ready in this instance is equal to being prepared. Are we prepared to change in so a fundamental way and throw away this form of pack mentality that we have operated under for the past 5000 years + of recorded history that we know of? Pack mentality in this instance is just a simplified way of explaining how we operate our social structures by adopting a leader of any sort. The formation of a state in itself is a complicated matter and without delving too much into it, it can be clearly seen and proved that time and again the vast majority of people feel the need to group together (safety in numbers?) and form an environment that uses the same core principal of pack mentality. Whereby we elect leaders, representatives or whatever you want to call them to handle the over arching issues that affect that group of people (society) so that they can handle their daily business. This can be taken as a fact based on our historical understanding. So to say that people will never be ready for a stateless society is making a safe assumption whereby you are making the assumption that we can. Based on what exactly? I'll reiterate what I said in my previous post about how we never learn from our mistakes. To change, to truly change, we need to learn from our mistakes. The same core mistakes we make throughout history. If we as a group cannot do this, how can we hope to adopt a different way of organising socially? Please address this matter. To say that we as a social structure need to be told what to takes into account not the individual who can be capable, but the collective that is society which en masse must be guided and directed to perform in certain ways which in itself believes is for it's own benefit weather these ways be beneficial or not. Even in examples where social structures break down, people revert back to the same type structures I discussed earlier.
"So although the idea of a stateless society might sound great on the surface, underneath it fails to conform to the human condition."Here we can again refer to the human condition in an observed historical context which I discuss in the paragraph above.
Now as to the questions. My apologies for not answering them previously.
0:53 "Imagining yourself in this situation, do you think it's okay to threaten to use physical force against George to get him to do the right thing?"In short, no. I would not feel comfortable in this instance.
2:30 "Do you think it's acceptable for the agents to threaten violence against George if he doesn't give his money towards helping Oliver's family?"This question is designed to invoke a negative response from the viewer and only serves to reinforce it's own purpose. It gives a highly doubtfull situation whereby the titular George is forced by the Orwellian like agents to pay 1 man (Oliver + family) some money, even though Oliver himself never asked for it. A different question in the same context would envoke a different result. For example:
"You live in a town which has a large damn. The damn is in disrepair. The agents tell everyone that they must pay to fix the damn or it will burst in 1 month. George refuses to pay. Do you think it's acceptable for the agents to threaten violence against George if he doesn't give his money towards fixing the damn?"
3:05 "If we feel negatively towards the idea of threatening George personally can we really be comfortable with the threats made against him by agents of the state?"The answer to this is...well yes apparently. For example, if we take consumerism. It can be argued that it is the ultimate in violence against poorer nations. Yet how often is this thought about? Society has a great way of compartmentalizing these type of situations. This ability and willingness to do so thus leads back to the human condition and how again we act and perform in social structures.
That's about all I can write on the subject without doing a thesis.
Berder, I noticed that you brought this current discussion (in which you claim that there can be a king in a free market anarchist society as if kings were compatible with anarchy) to all three of the first blog posts, If You Were King, Government Explained, and George Ought to Help. I would appreciate it if you kept it to one of them so as not to derail the other issues that people may want to discuss on each video. (Government Explained may be a good pick since I believe that is where the discussion of this point started. You can quote what I said here in your response there if you want.) Thanks.
Berder, "Naturalized citizens DO agree to be governed."Some people, such as naturalized citizens do agree to be governed in a sense, but not in a sense that is sufficient to make it legitimate for the government to forcibly tax them, cage them, etc.In your hypothetical scenario from the Government Explained post your "consensual punisher" figure initially owned the land that the "citizens" would soon live on. The citizens had no right to move to that land and live on it unless they first purchased the land and agreed to the punishment terms of the consensual punisher.In real life, however, governments (e.g. the U.S. government) never owned the land that they rule. People who "agree" to be governed whether they become naturalized citizens due so under the threat of force and the agreements therefore cannot be considered legitimate. Note that they agree under the threat of force because the U.S. government declares that it will commit various acts of aggression against them if they are not citizens. It may aggressively deport them or aggressively prevent them from forming voluntary business relations with people in the U.S., etc. Because of this the illegal immigrant is forced to become a naturalized citizen in order to avoid becoming the victim of the government's aggression.The naturalized citizen's "agreement" to be governed thus is not the same as the agreement to be punished by the consensual punisher in your hypothetical scenario. The naturalized citizen's "agreement" was not freely consented to, but rather was consented to under duress and thus does not make it legitiamte for the government to forcibly tax, imprison, etc that person."You claim that if a government does such a thing (demand a contract of allegiance from its subjects) then it's not a government."If a non-government private indivudal or organization of private individuals form a contractual agreement with someone else in which that person agrees to have force used against them if they do X, Y, or Z then that private organization of individuals is not now a government. Correct.What, in your view, makes a "government" that is fully consented to by all of its subjects in contractual agreements different than a non-government market entity?For example, if I were to say to you, "Hey berder, I agree to be punished by you in the way you specify for violating any of the legislation you come up with" would you now be a government by your definition?"A government is a central organization that legislates and enforces the laws of a state or country, and provides for certain public services such as military force."This definition is circular, assuming by "a state or country" you mean "a government." If you don't mean "a government" what do you mean? It seems that any organization that enforces rules with physical force is a government by this definition. I would be a government by your definition, if I used force to defend myself or used force against an aggressor to prevent harm to others, etc."By claiming this you are trying to redefine a government to exclude those bodies that derive their power from contracts with their citizens. In doing this, you are committing the "no true scotsman" fallacy."No, I'm not redefining anything. You're the one who is trying to redefine government to make it no different than a market entity with contractual agreements with others that give that market entity the right to use force against those others that it would not otherwise have the right to use.
asbnak, you are more than welcome. Thank you for your interest!
Naturalized citizens DO agree to be governed. They take an oath. Native-born citizens generally don't take such a formal oath, though they may informally pledge allegiance. In feudal times kings did demand oaths of allegiance from their vassals, which served as verbal (or sometimes written) contracts. This is what actually happens and has happened.
You claim that if a government does such a thing (demand a contract of allegiance from its subjects) then it's not a government. By claiming this you are trying to redefine a government to exclude those bodies that derive their power from contracts with their citizens. In doing this, you are committing the "no true scotsman" fallacy. A government is a central organization that legislates and enforces the laws of a state or country, and provides for certain public services such as military force. It doesn't matter what the nature of the government's claim to power over its people is - whether by the divine right of kings, by a contract with each individual citizen, or by a constitution (a form of contract). It's still a government.
This idea would only work in utopia. Try and change human nature first, then perhaps you'll be able to put this idea into practice.
Berder, is your previous comment talking about what things would be like in the hypothetical scenario from the Government explained post, or are you saying that that's the way things currently are?Because that's not the way things currently are. Citizens do not agree to be governmened, etc.If you are talking about the hypothetical scenario then the organizations you are talking about are not "governments." You're using the term wrongly.
Perhaps the government demands all its citizens sign a citizenship contract requiring them to pay taxes and obey laws, and giving the government violent recourse if they refuse to obey after they sign. If they refuse to sign the citizenship contract, the government has the right to evict them from its sovereign territory, or indeed to inflict any arbitrary punishment on them for inhabiting the government's sovereign territory without permission, just like anyone else can evict a trespasser from their property or use violent force against a trespasser. There, now it's all nice and contractual, but the government's behavior has not changed in any significant way.
Note that this kind of contract has plenty of precedent, such as in medieval societies where the king would grant land to lords in exchange for the lord swearing an oath of fealty to the king (basically a contract). I'm sure that to become a citizen of most countries (if you were not born a citizen) you will have to sign some sort of contract acknowledging your responsibilities as a citizen and agreeing to honor them.
Berder, you said "If you accept physical force in the enforcement of contracts, why not accept physical force in the enforcement of taxes?"Because the former is legitimate while the latter is aggression. The government's demands that you give them money are not contractual agreements in which people agree to give the government money in exchange for services. If you accept physical force in the enforcement of contracts (or in self defense), why not accept physical force in the enforcement of victimless drug possession crimes, or to kill innocent people? (Rhetorical question; no answer needed.)"Have you heard of the concept of a 'social contract' to explain the power of government?"Of course. However, the concept of a "social contract" does not succeed in justifying governments. There are multiple arguments for the legitimacy of governments that are bundled under the label of "social contract." It would thus be quite time consuming for me to take the time to summarize all of them and explain why they don't work. It would be helpful if you provided the one (or multiple) specific "social contract" arguments which you believe succeed at justifiying taxation and or governments if you want me to argue against them for you.In the mean time, the criticism section of the Wikipedia page ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract#Critical_theories ) mentions Lysander Spooner's classic 1870 essay No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority ("The Constitution of No Authority" is part 6 of the 3-part No Treason (and makes up about half of "No Treason" by length)). Although it does not address the many various social contract arguments in general, it does address most of them in the context of the United States government. I highly hope that you will take the half hour or hour to read it before asking me to spend that much time writing a critique of your social contract arguments. :-) Thanks.
Ultimately contract enforcement requires physical threats to make people comply with the contract. If you accept physical force in the enforcement of contracts, why not accept physical force in the enforcement of taxes? Have you heard of the concept of a "social contract" to explain the power of government? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract
Glasshouse00 and Rsharpe3, I noticed that both of you avoided answering the question posed by the video:2:30 "Do you think it's acceptable for the agents to threaten violence against George if he doesn't give his money towards helping Oliver's family?"The video also asked:0:53 "Imagining yourself in this situation, do you think it's okay to threaten to use physical force against George to get him to do the right thing?"And then, assuming that your answer to the previous question was, "No, I don't think it would be okay for me to threaten to use physical force against George to make him pay," the narrator asked:3:05 "If we feel negatively towards the idea of threatening George personally can we really be comfortable with the threats made against him by agents of the state?"What are your answers to these questions? You both basically said (paraphrasing), "I think we need government" as if you thought your belief meant the questions did not need answering.
Rsharpe3, you said, "Without some threat of reprecussions the general trend of people would be self intrest. Without a way to cause the George's of society to act "good" they would cause a great deal of harm to the stability and peace of life"I don't know what you mean by "the general trend of people would be self intrest" but I can tell you that the first part of your objection is not an objection to a stateless society. In a stateless society there would be threats of repercussions against people who rob and assault and kill others. Those who assume there wouldn't be, such as Hobbes and yourself, are simply making a false assumption and not bothering to find out why it's false by reading any of the works of the many anarchist theorists who have written on the subject.As I wrote in a blog post last month titled Dispelling the Myth of Violent Chaos:"As economist Bryan Caplan writes in his Anarchist Theory FAQ, 'The most common criticism, shared by the entire range of critics, is basically that anarchism would swiftly degenerate into a chaotic Hobbesian war of all-against-all.'"In the blog post I link to several examples of people who have dealt with Hobbes' objection and make an appeal to people to put in a little effort and actually read some of the works that have been written in response to the objection. I don't know what keeps so many people from educating themselves. The information is out there and easy to find (I even linked to the information in this post that you commented on! Amazing. See The Machinery of Freedom: David Friedman for example, or this short illustrated summary of his book: The Machinery of Freedom: Illustrated Summary). Is it apathy? Maybe. In any case, you definitely aren't the only person to repeat Hobbe's objection without bothering to notice that the objection has been rejected by anarchist theorists many times in the past century and a half at least.
Glasshouse00, you said "the past forty years it has been the closest ideal to zero state control and has been abused and misused in many ways"Not at all. There has been massive state control (in the United States) in the past 40 years. The last 40 years have been lightyears from a free market."In general, people will never be ready for a stateless society as mentioned in the video above for we as a social structure need to be told what to do."What do you mean by "be ready for a stateless society"? What does it mean to "be ready"? And what do you mean by "we as a social structure need to be told what to do"? This isn't a coherent enough of an argument for me to be able to critique. It's not clear what point you're trying to make."So although the idea of a statless society might sound great on the surface, underneath it fails to conform to the human condition."Again, what are you talking about? I wish I could provide a more helpful response, but I have no idea what your argument is or even what position you are arguing for.
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