Re: Moving Beyond Government "Solutions"
Wed, 9 Oct 1996 19:59:02 -0400

Regarding David Musick's essay questioning the widely-held assumption that
state-sponsored law is the only tool to address violence and other social
problems, below is the better part of an essay I've written about extropian
approaches to law (at

Extropians look to the concept of law as a powerful tool in building a better
future. As with every other aspect of their own lives and society, however,
they question the current state of the law and legal thinking, look for the
best in the past and the present and seek to develop new modes of thinking
and acting to transcend bounds that others may accept without doubt.

Individual liberty and reciprocity are the highest values in an extropian
approach to law and legal issues. These values follow naturally from a
desire for self transformation and a stress on social systems that arise as a
spontaneous ordering of free individuals. Accordingly, extropians look to
legal systems as tools for freely ordering their own lives and their
interactions with others and they resist the use of law as a tool of
repression or coercion.

Extropians strongly question the presumption underlying the current almost
universal paradigm of law that assumes that law is inextricably intertwined
with the power of the state. They seek to free the law from this confining
assumption as much as possible and see the law more as a fluid ground of
action for ordering the affairs of individuals on a consensual basis. Thus,
extropians are interested in current developments in various regimes of
so-called "privately produced law", such as private mediation and
arbitration, and look forward to the possibility of expanding the reach of
such regimes of private law to new areas of human activity. Many extropians
think that the coercive state as we know it today could be more or less
completely replaced by "polycentric legal codes" of privately produced law,
an example of spontaneous order on the largest social scale.

Individual responsibility is the necessary corollary of the extropian stress
on individual liberty. Thus extropians do not look to rights granted by an
impersonal state, but rather the free acceptance of responsibility for the
consequences of individual and collective action, coupled with reasoned and
explicit reciprocity, as the best basis for ordering human (and posthuman)
affairs through law.

Greg Burch <> <> or
"There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact
between men." -- Epicurus