Re: POLI: Random democracy

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Tue, 18 Feb 1997 12:30:22 -0800 (PST)

> 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.

Again, that presupposes a definition of "better". What Coase showed
was that in a free market, the very idea of "public good" is a myth.
Any initial assignment of property rights will result in an efficient
solution in a free market, subject only to transaction costs. It is
true that perhaps some tort-law methods might have higher transaction
costs than some legislative methods, and in that sense be less
efficient. I do not for a moment concede that there exist any social
problems for which /no/ free market solution exists that is better
in that sense than a legislative one. If I find one, I would still
be inclined to suffer that cost rather than a legislature, but I
haven't found one yet.

> 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.

Slavery exists today. Americans call it the draft, Muslim nations
call it marriage, the Chinese call it prison. That doesn't mean I'm
going to spend any energy on how to conduct the draft with less money,
or whether women should be included. The draft is wrong. The only
way to improve it is to abolish it, and any steps I take will be in
that direction only.

> "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.

All of that convincing is done well by many popular authors, just as
they convinced me. But I tend to associate with those who are already
predisposed to liberty; libertarians, extropians, objectivists, et al.
I do not play the role of persuader there--I play the role of extremist.
Someone has to be. We do have an ultimate goal, and I want to make
sure that my fellow activists for liberty don't lost sight of the goal
while they manipulate the existing system.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>