Re: POLI: Random democracy

Robin Hanson (
Tue, 18 Feb 1997 10:22:46 -0800 (PST)

Lee Daniel Crocker writes:
>> Since it seems likely that we need _some_ government, to regulate
>> necessary non-local interactions (pollution, other public bane/public
>> good problems) and to make necessary but arbitrary decisions (which side
>> of the road to drive on), we still need to think about what form of
>> gov't to have, and representative legislatures still seem the best bet.
>Both of these fallacies have been sufficiently debunked: the "negative
>externalities" myth by Coase's work, and the "standards" idea by the
>simple evidence of reality that most standards are private.

I'm not sure what you mean by "debunked". Coase has certainly not
proved that torts do better than legislatures at dealing with
externalities and public goods/bads.

>It makes as little sense to me to argue about what kind of legislature
>is best as it would to argue how to make the slave trade more efficient.

Given that we had a slave trade, it would indeed make sense to argue
about how to make it more efficient. And since we do in fact have
legislatures, it makes sense to argue about how to make them better.

>The use of force to rule others is evil, period. The
>strong burden of proof is on those who would rule us to prove that
>/any/ involuntary government is necessary before it makes sense to
>argue its form.

"Burden of proof"? "necessary"? There are governments now. If you
want to convince people to work to get rid of them, you have to
convince people they would like their circumstances substantially
better without a government. Baldface claims that govts are
"evil" are not going to get you very far toward this goal.

Robin D. Hanson