Re: POL: Anarchism vs Limited Government

Ron Kean (
Tue, 6 Apr 1999 13:10:40 -0400

On Tue, 6 Apr 1999 02:16:20 -0400 Randall Randall <> writes:

>"Given the power to initiate the use of force"? That would make them
>criminal organizations, not law enforcing ones.

'Initiation of force' is a concept often used by libertarians when making broad statements of principle. But in specific instances of use of force it can be unclear whether it is an initiation of force, often because of lack of information. For example, if a woman snatches a purse from another woman and runs off, the police and the victim may find the purse snatcher a short time later, holding the stolen purse. The victim says the purse is hers, and the thief says the purse is her own purse. The victim says she can specify the contents of the purse, but the thief refuses to turn over the purse for examination. To an observer who does not know who the true owner is, it would appear to be an initiation of force to take the purse away from the thief, even if only to examine the contents in an effort to determine true ownership.

Generally, when a suspect is arrested and held for trial, it is at least an apparent initiation of force against the suspect. The suspect may, or may not, be in fact guilty.

In practice, a limited amount of initiation of force may be a price that has to be paid in order to have a functioning criminal and civil justice system.

Ron Kean




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