Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Matt Gingell (
Date: Tue Apr 11 2000 - 21:23:58 MDT

On Tue, 11 Apr 2000, you wrote:

>> All real power is based in force or the threat of force,
>No, it isn't. Those who try to ignore the objective reality of natural
>law have to use force to fight against that objective reality.

I don't know what you're talking about here - what's a natural law in
this context? And anyway, so what if there are some? Maybe universal emergent
principles. Who says we shouldn't fight against them? Gravity's an objective
reality, that doesn't make airplanes impossible or useless.

>> I like the idea of collaborative
>> anarchy - it would be great if we were all equals and we could mediate
>> all our differences from bargaining positions of equal strength, but I
>> don't believe it works. No one stays equal - you get kings,
>> syndicates, warring city states - you get power which is unaccountable
>> to the people living under it. And that power preserves and
>> strengthens itself and wipes out threats to it's survival.
>So as I've said, people who think like you buy the precept of "People
>are no damn good and need to be kept penned up for their 'own good'."

No. As long as you're not hurting anyone else, do what you want. Buy
all the guns you want - whatever totem it takes to ward of the black
helicopters - so long as you don't shoot anyone it's none of my
business. What I do think is necessary though are mechanisms to
prevent abuse of power, be that physical power, economic power, or

>You don't understand your own system. Your system is structured to
>maximize the possible bribes that dumb middle class and wealthy people
>have to pay to cops, prosecutors, and mayors in order to get off or get
>light sentences when they break the law. Since there are SO many laws in
>NY, the average person can easily be found to be in violation of any
>number of laws without knowing it, and that makes the average person on
>the street and easy victim for a police shakedown.

I agree that there's a disturbing authoritarian trend, but the
solution is better government - not anarchy. I think you're being
disproportionately paranoid. They'll be a counter swing. Giuliani is
an example here - he swept in on a law and order platform, and now
public outrage over police brutality looks like it might nix his
senate run.

>> And I'm fairly irked
>> by paying $5 for a $1 pack of cigarettes because our leaders, in their
>> great and abiding wisdom, have decided smoking is bad for me and I
>> ought to be dissuaded or punished for a character flaw.
>You aren't being punished, you are paying for the 'cost to society' that
>your bad habit imposes, both environmentally and on the social welfare
>health care system, don't you KNOW that??? C'mon, you're a loyal New
>Yorker, thats why you people are suing gun manufacturers too....

I'm particularly loyal - having just sent of my taxes today, in fact I'm
feeling even less loyal than usual.

The rationale behind the latest hike was to discourage under age
smoking, on the theory kids have less money to set fire to than
adults. The public health establishment views drinking, drug use,
smoking, etc. as diseases to be eradicated, polio style, by public
policy. Social cost is just a useful argument. If the prohibitionists
gave more than lip service to social cost they'd take one look at the
price of drug enforcement and prisons, not to mention the crime
generated by a blackmarket economy and artificial inflated prices,
then give up.

>> Business has no
>> such restrictions - it's only charter is to maximize it's stock
>> holders value and the only constraints on how it does that are those
>> imposed by power from above. Without federal power to protect them,
>> the principles of our democracy are bullshit.
>Bullshit yourself. The principles of our democracy have gotten run over
>roughshod by the federal government for the last 3/4 century.

We've had unprecedented advances in rights for women and minorities,
social welfare, working conditions, and the largest economy in the
world. Let rampant roughshod running reign. But you've ignored the
interesting question: What good is a constitution without a government? What
prevents a private police force from searching your house without a warrant or
seizing your guns if a fickle market so demands?

>> I object to the us-versus-them character that discussion of government
>> has in so many of these debates. Government is us - it's elected by us
>> and made up of us - it's not some alien force, some evil monster out
>> to crush all that's good and free in the world. I have faith that most
>> people in government are just like you and me, and most of them
>> believe in what they're doing and honesty feel they're doing what's
>> right - even when I disagree with them.
>Government is not US, its 50.00000001% of us crushing everyone else.
>Thats the central fallacy of democracy. It doesn't represent everyone,
>just those who voted for whoever is in power.

The majority doesn't become any less oppressive because they're voting
with their dollars instead of in an election. Why is Microsoft's use
of it's market power justified because people buy their product, yet
government is oppressive because they do what people elect them to do?
Think about the analogy and what it implies for anarcho-capitalism.


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