Re: Justice and Punishment

Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin (
Thu, 2 Apr 1998 22:45:31 +0000

> From: "den Otter" <>

> Centralized systems are not inherently bad, they just take some smart
> organizing and some well-placed checks and balances. It sure beats
> anarchy (remember this setup is meant for Jack the Lad, not responsible
> and independent people like *us*), which is beyond anyone's control.
> A centralized system can be benevolent in its intentions, anarchy, like

And there is the fallacy. A centralized system CANNOT be benevolent
in its intentions. For that matter, it cannot be malevolent either.
This is because a "system" cannot have intentions. Only individuals
have intentions.

The FOUNDERS of that centralized system might have had benevolent
intentions. Are they still in control of the system? Do they still
have those intentions? Do their successors have those intentions?

There are two factors arguing *against* the notion that a
centralized system will remain consistent with its founders' original
good intentions.

One applies to any organization: the organization *cannot* pursue
those good intentions if it ceases to exist. On the other hand, it
can pursue its current controllers' goals more effectively if it
grows in size and wealth/power. Therefore, from the get-go, some
portion of the institution's efforts must go to self-preservation and
self-aggrandisement as opposed to any other objective. The larger
fraction of its efforts go to these purposes, the more successful it
is likely to be in competition against other organizations.
Therefore these efforts tend to take over the organization

The second applies disproportionately to government. If you wish to
create opportunities for a million people to run their own lives more
effectively, or to become wealthy, or to be happy, or any thing that
people would welcome into their own lives, there are a million ways
you can do that and very few of them require the force of government.
On the other hand, if you wish to make a million people miserable,
or make a million people do whatever you want them to do without
compensation, or simply take wealth away from a million people, or
any other thing they would NOT welcome into their lives, there is
really only one reliable way to achieve this goal: through
government. Therefore the latter sort of people are
disproportionately represented in government; and since they want to
be the controllers, not the controlled, they won't consider
themselves bound by anyone's intentions but their own (except perhaps
as a matter of expediency).

> nature itself, doesn't give a crap about fairness or individual well-being.
> It's simply survival of the fittest in its most basic form. Although I don't
> like nation states or bureacracies, I do belief that leaving them intact
> while repairing the some of the major flaws is better than the gamble
> of anarchy. Anarchy is inherently unstable and leads to hierarchy, often
> of the opressive kind. Just check any history book.

While I believe that centralized government is inherently either bad
from the get-go or doomed to become bad, I will also agree with you
that anarchy is unstable and leads to centralized government --
usually of a *very* bad sort.

However, looking at history isn't much help, because all the great
examples of "anarchy" (at least, all of them I have checked) prove on
closer examination to be examples not of the *absence* of government,
but of the *overabundance* of government -- as in, several of them
claiming and exercising the authority of government over a single
area. It would be too much to hope for, that all these governments
would succeed in killing each other off completely while somehow
leaving the populace and their productive capacity mostly intact...

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