Gov't NOT Coercion?

John K Clark (
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 23:30:20 -0700 (PDT)


On Thu, 23 Oct 1997 kristen brennan <> Wrote:

>Not recognized by who? As far as the US government is concerned,
>every single driver in this country is liable for the "Implied
>Consent Law," without having signed anything.

Yes, that's their claim, by breathing the air on any land mass on the Earth's
surface you have in effect signed away your rights and "voluntarily" given
some government the power of life and death over you. It matters not at all
if you or I think this reasoning makes the slightest sense or not because
they have the power to enforce it regardless.

>I generally agree with Libertarianism in theory. But as far as I can
>tell, for it to globally replace other systems of interaction, one
>of two things would need to happen: 1. Everyone would need to
>voluntarily adhere to it.

Why? Nobody on this list is foolish enough to be talking about a world where
everybody can do anything they want to, if you want to bash in my head with a
baseball bat and I'd rather you didn't then we can't both have our way.
What many of us are talking about is a world without government and the
reasons this would encourage libertarianism. All police would be private
police who work for various private protection agencies, and people don't
like to PAY to restrain the private behavior of others in most areas, child
abuse and perhaps a few others excepted. If you try to enforce your private
law that most people hate and find intrusive then it's going to be very
expensive for you, however if everybody except me thinks it's important to
ware a funny hat every Tuesday and are willing to pay big bucks to enforce it
then I'm just going to have to ware a funny hat on Tuesday. Everybody can't
have total control over what laws they want to live by, but we can have a lot
more control than we have now.

>2. Some group would need to impose Libertarianism on the world.
>Of course, this imposition would go against Libertarian values.

This is how I think government will die, unless the singularity happens first
and changes the world so radically that it renders these matters moot.
Nations will die not with a bang but with a whimper because modern worldwide
communication, cryptography and untraceable digital cash and signatures will
make it increasingly difficult to collect taxes. My confidence comes from the
power of exponential growth. In general, if I increase the complexity of my
encryption algorithm so that it takes me twice as long to encrypt it, I have
made it not twice, but billions of times more difficult for an attacker to
break it. The government has access to more powerful computers than I do,
but not that much more powerful. There is just no getting around it, recent
developments in mathematics and communication have tipped the balance away
from the tax collector and in favor of the tax evader. For the first time in
human history 2 people on opposite sides of the world will soon be able to
make enforceable contracts without anybody else knowing about it, and even
they might not know or need to know the physical location of the other.

Governments will undoubtedly draft many new laws to try to protect themselves
in this brave new world, but making rules is easy, enforcing them is not.
Short of dismantling the internet and confiscating all home computers it's
impossible to dictate what form of encryption or digital cash you must use
in your home. When people are given a choice between one form of cash that
government likes and you pay tax on and another that you don't it won't take
them long to make a decision.

Regardless of the rules, you can't collect the tax if you can't find the
money. Even the traditional standby of "tax by inflation" would not work as
people would just switch to a competing currency (untraceable of course) that
suited their needs better. The tribute that could still be extracted, like
property taxes and building permits, would have to be increased to astronomic
levels and collected with a heavy hand, I think a tax revolt would follow.
Without money government will grind to a halt.

>America is theoretically a democracy

Actually it's a republic, but I'm picking nits, and I can't quite decide
which of the two is more repulsive.

John K Clark

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