Re: The Libertarian action?

From: Dan Fabulich (
Date: Thu Nov 02 2000 - 20:20:00 MST


If this were a libertarian anarcho-capitalist society, then noise
rights would be settled ahead of time in some formal way.

Perhaps they have, and the bar approves of a government like this.
Suppose, the rule of law is that you control your noise rights, unless
someone throws together a petition to stop you, in which case, you
lose them. In this case, clearly, the bar does not entirely own its
noise rights. If we assume that the bar approves of a government like
this, or if the government in question is a Nozickian "government"
consisting only of the set of PPAs and arbitratian agencies operating
in the area, (in which case, the bar has revealed preference for the
"government,") then the answer is C. The bar, if it so wishes, may
buy its noise rights from the citizenry at some fair price. If it
refuses to pay this, then it's not best for the bar to operate here
anyway, since it's not willing to pay its own costs.

If the rule of law is that the bar owns its own noise rights, and the
citizens approve of or reveal approval of the government, then, if the
petition has no effect, no force, no foul. In that case, the answer
is C again, but in this case, the government refuses to do anything
about the petition.

If the bar does NOT exhibit revealed approval of the government in
question, and if noise is not force, or if noise rights are up in the
air, then this could be a case of A.

You've gotten no agreements to B so far because you phrased it wrongly
as far as libertarians are concerned. The better way to phrase B
would be:

(B') "The citizens who signed the petition are not initiating force;
the bar initiated force by initiating noise and other negative
effects, and the citizens are forcefully retaliating." If noise is
force, and the citizens have not approved of or given revealed
preference for the government, then the answer is B'.


Disapproval = non-agreement and not revealing preferences in a
Nozickian "government".
Noise = noise and all the other negative effects of a bar.

Bar disapproves of government and noise is not force: A
Citizens disapprove of government and noise is force: B'
Otherwise: C.


Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> Running update: So far, we have three votes for A, two votes for D, and two
> votes for C (including Michael Bast), received in that chronological order.
> Most respondents gave detailed reasons for their opinions, which I will
> post/summarize when all responses are in. Please note, however, that you
> don't need a detailed argument to respond! I'd like to know what the
> respected long-time Extropian regulars think, even if it's just a single
> letter expressing an off-the-cuff reaction.
> Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote:
> >
> > Suppose Person A wants to open up a bar, and applies for a liquor license.
> > Persons B, consisting of the resident/owners of a nearby condominium complex,
> > are annoyed by this for the standard reasons - increased noise, increased
> > traffic, violent drunks wandering around, and decreased property values.
> > Suppose that Persons B sign a petition to deny a liquor license to Person A,
> > thus annoying Person A and any investors thereof. Do you agree or disagree
> > with the following statements?
> >
> > (A) Signing a petition to deny a liquor license is an improper use of
> > government mechanisms, constituting the initiation of force.
> >
> > (B) Signing the petition may be a minor initiation of force, but that's a
> > justified response to the bar's proposed initiation of noise (or the other
> > negative effects).
> >
> > (C) The city government deciding the issue is the nearest available
> > approximation to the dispute resolution mechanisms that would exist in a
> > libertarian society - for example, distributed ownership of "noise rights".
> >
> > (D) This is a straightforward conflict of interest between the bar builders
> > and the condo owners, and invoking libertarian ethics is needlessly
> > complicating the issue.
> -- -- -- -- --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

      -unless you love someone-
    -nothing else makes any sense-
           e.e. cummings

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