Re: Justice and Punishment

Dan Fabulich (
Fri, 03 Apr 1998 03:20:37 -0500


At 03:47 AM 4/3/98 +0200, you wrote:
>Others have already criticized the anarco-capitalist PPA model but I'll ad my
>$ 0.10 anyway:
>First of all, how do you want to achieve a state of anarchy? After all,
the nation
>states aren't going to roll over and die just like that. Not until the
Powers get
>them, but by then *all* our ideas about society will be obsolete.

Financial cryptography may be one important step... but I don't think even
the most pronounced advocates of anarcho-capitalism have a step by step
plan to bring it about. Most anarcho-capitalists I know favor a gradual
movement towards libertarianism, then simply continuing the privitization
process until there's nothing left. No collapse, no widespread chaos, no
period of anarchy as you know it.

>Even if you could achieve widespread (all major nations must co-operate, or
>you'd just be invaded "for your own good") anarchy, how do you prevent it
>from becoming one big mess a la Mad Max?

Have you been reading? If people don't want society to look like Mad Max,
then they'll pay money to do so.

>How do you prevent PPAs (basically bands of armed thugs) from developing
>the characteristics of the mob, feudal lords or regular governments?

There is no way. How do you prevent the US armed forces from taking over
the nation and turning it into a military dictatorship? How, especially
when the groups holding the guns are (almost exclusively) working for the

>most people are *afraid* of real freedom and personal responsibility, they
>want it, and even if they want it they usually don't know how to defend
it. They
>are easy prey for any power structure that survived the colaps of the
nation states
>like (parts of) army units and criminal organizations.

You're presuming that this would involve a violent uprising and a collapse
of the institutions we hold most dear, and then (cross your fingers!)
anarcho-capitalism rises up from the rubble.

But what if rather than a collapse, it was just a slow process of
privitization? Not only would this not lead to chaos, it would also very
likely improve the material welfare of everyone in the nation every step of
the way.

So in one respect, I agree; I also think that a totalitarian regime would
likely take control if the US government fell tomorrow. For that very
reason, I advocate slow privitization, not instantaneous collapse.

>Or, like in the good old days, with brute force. Guess who has the privelege
>of being the foot soldier?

What happens now when disagreements happen between nations, or even between
many governments and citizens? Guess who has the privelege of being the
foot soldier?

>Yet the only reason these contracts have any value is because there is a
>big government to keep an eye on things, to provide a civilized context.

Those contracts, yes. These new contracts would be more comparable to
national peace pacts; except in order to prove their worth, PPAs might
offer some form of collateral to show that they'll actually abide by their
laws. ("How do we know that you'll keep your word?" "My trustworthy
arbitration agency has a copy of $100M of my money. If that court awards
you restitution, they have the ability to give it to you without my consent.")

>So why not try to commercialize and smoothen up the court system
>(and everything else) instead of abolishing them (so that they may sneak
>back under a different name).

What do you mean by commercialize? Do you mean privatize? If so, then you
already know that this is EXACTLY what I'm suggesting. :)

>I suppose somthing like this could be incorporated into a centralized system

There's no rule saying that centralized systems of government CAN'T do
whatever a market would do, but at that point, why not just let the market
do it, and save yourself the time and money?

>Civil behaviour through threat of force can also be achieved by allowing the
>citizens of a nation-state to keep and bear arms. I personally think that
>we would see more and worse violence in anarchy than in a centralized
>society. In fact, a nation state with good electronic surveillance and the
>to keep & bear arms would be quite peaceful, with only sporadic crime
>as opposed too the relatively safe patches of civilization surrounded by
>dangerous thug-filled wastelands that are typical for anarchy.

Please, remember, we're not talking immediate collapse of governments,
we're talking privitization...

And another point: if your plan for government really is the most
cost-effective, then it will be the plan which most profit-minded PPAs will
choose. What would be wrong with that?

>In the past, when the world was more anarcho-capitalistic than it is now,
>*was* something for the rich, and people would risk their lives as
enforcers for
>a fraction of today's price because human life wasn't worth much anyway, and
>one has to eat after all... Why would it be different the second time around?

When precisely are you thinking of? When and where in history have there
been multiple legitimate police forces competing for customers?

>If you were rich, I'm sure you could buy "perfect" justice for yourself
and your
>relatives in your new world (dis)order. But if you're not...

<sigh> Go back and reread. If you try to buy your own justice, you'll
have to pay through the nose for it. Not only is it not worth it, but
you'll also lose if there's a sufficient number of PPAs competing against you.

>"Anarchy" in any form is unstable (it's simply a power vacuum), and sooner
>or later will give rise to new "nations", most of which are sure to be
ruled by
>dictators. As far as I know, no serious democracy has ever decided to kill
>of half (or any substantial portion) of its own people. I'm no great fan of
>democracy, but considering human nature I think it's better than anarchy.

Military generals and the local police force haven't really tried to snatch
power by force in the US, so far. I put it to you that there is nothing
preventing them from doing so. So what's keeping them from filling this
so-called "power vacuum?"

>That depends on how pissed off and/or rich I am...Since there's only your PPA
>to deal with instead of a huge government that's all over I might try to
take you
>out either myself or I may hire as many destitute souls as my budged allows
>to do it for me.

Except that I'm much more invested in preserving myself than you are in
squishing me. Face it, even if you COULD do such a thing, it's certainly
not worth it to do so.

>By the way, slander would be punishable by fines and a public
>excuse, not torture. But of course this only applies to centralized nation

Who says? Why couldn't PPAs have a similar legal structure, especially if
it's the most cost-efficient?

Version: PGP for Personal Privacy 5.5.3