Law, Legislation and Liberty

Tony Hollick (
Tue, 6 Jan 98 07:37 GMT0

Popperians never waste time arguing about the meaning of words or
their 'essential' content, because words have no 'essential
content.' Definitions work 'from right to left.'

'Law' has always been confused as between 'law' (the 'horizontalist'
system of rules of interpersonal conduct); and 'legislation' (the
'verticalist' edicts of (state) power, wheby some people assert
control over some other people). Naturally, the powerful would like
you to accept their edicts as having the same moral force as mutual
interpersonal rules.

Most verticalist systems stress 'punishment' or 'retribution' or
'retaliation' or 'correction.' The general idea is "Do this or
we'll hurt you.' That is, they're _control systems_.

Whereas horizontalist systems stress prevention and restitution.

Look at the Saxon model of indemnity in England: travellers outside
their own community carried certificates of indemnification from
their fellow-villagers, so that if they did harm, full compensation
could be promptly and reliably made. This made them more
acceptable visitors to other communities.

Whereas the (typical) Norman State system says: "This is the book of
edicts. Do what it tells you or you'll be punished with x, y or z."

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Here's a proposed alternative paradigm:

A key Agorist insight is that we should focus on the nature of acts
themselves, rather than on the status or funding of individuals.
When rights are not infringed, there is no crime.


Let everyone carry full public-liability insurance, issued by
comopeting private insurers and reinsured for complete reliability.

Let there be a 'pooled' arrangement whereby there are funds
available where the harmful person cannot be found. Then full and
fair compensation can be provided for any harm done.

Let each person carry a personalized radio emergency alarm, to
summon the protectiion service of their choice immediately to their
exact location. This vastly reduces the incidence of -- and the
costs of -- crime.

Then, all 'law' becomes event-driven and customer-driven, Full and
prompt compensation is _always_ paid to victims of personal harm or
property loss. Restrictions may be endorsed on the policies of
policy-holders, by their insurers, to limit future pay-outs for harm
done. People get the message from their earliest days, that
harming people is a no-no. in all but a few examples of extreme
violence, the ultimate sanction is house arrest or confinement to a
suitable 'outlaw area."

The system doesn't even need a State. Owners/controllers of public
and private places can make carrying such insurances a condition of
entry. The system can be substantially self-organizing.

Cosmos rather than Taxis, in Hayek's terminology.

/ /\ \

Tony Hollick, LightSmith (LA-Agora Conference) (Agora Home Page, Rainbow Bridge Foundation) (NorthWest Coalition Against Malicious Harrassment)