Re: Gov't NOT Coercion? [Michael Lorrey]

Gary Lloyd (
Fri, 24 Oct 1997 21:12:04 -0400 (EDT)

Kristen Brennan wrote:
>Gary Lloyd wrote:
>>Kristen Brennan wrote:
>>>Michael Lorrey wrote:
>>>> Someone? wrote:
>>>>> Libertarians seem to think that they have
>>>>> an inherent right to property upon which a
>>>>> preexisting claim has been placed: the U.S.
>>The U.S. is not a person, and thus has no rights.
>>>>Libertarians, as citizens, have the ultimate right, since the US is
>>>>nothing but responsible to and exists with the consent of the citizens.
>>>>The population was here before the government was.
>>Consent is the highest form of acceptance. Think of acceptance as a scale,
>>with gun-to-the-head *submission* on one end, and yes-that's-what-I-want
>>*consent* on the other end. When viewed in this manner, it is clear that
>>obey-or-leave-the-country is closer, on the scale of acceptance, to
>>submission than it is to consent.
>>>This brings up my major question about Libertarianism:
>>>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.
>>Not so. See below.
>>>But as long as there's a
>>>profit to be made by coercion, I believe that some people
>>>will always attempt to do so.
>>>2. Some group would need to impose Libertarianism on the world. Of course,
>>>this imposition would go against Libertarian values.
>>Libertarians unilaterally decide that aggression (initiation of force) is
>>immoral, while proportionate defense against aggression is moral. I call
>>this the Primethic Decision. This means that a libertarian will recognize
>>and respect everyone's right to consent (to that which would otherwise be
>>aggression), but will consider it moral to defend themselves wrt those who
>>do not make the Primethic Decision, i.e. non-libertarians.
>>The Primethic Decision (that aggression is immoral and defense is moral)
>>thus establishes the right to consent, which is the basis for all universal,
>>reciprocol rights. IOW, universal, reciprocol rights cannot exist without
>>first recognizing the right to consent, which can only come from the
>>Primethic Decision. All else is by consensual agreement.
>>>This catch-22 makes me draw a parallel between communism and libertarianism:
>>>sounds great, if everyone adheres. But usually the only way to get everyone
>>>to adhere is with guns, which means fascism.
>>It is not necessary that all adhere. Those who do not, should they aggress
>>against others, are simply, and morally, defended against.
>>>Can anyone talk me out of this?
>>Does this help?
>Yes! Okay, this makes sense, thanks.
>The big question for me now is "If you divided the world into those willing
to fight
>for the spoils of fascism, and those willing to fight for unconstrained
personal >freedom,
>who would win?"

Less important: Define fascism. Exactly what are we fighting against? I
would say aggression.

Important: Define freedom. Exactly what are we fighting for? I would say the
right to consent, or not consent, to that which would otherwise be
aggression, i.e. our individual right to freely choose the rules by which we
conduct our lives, so long as we are not aggressing against others.

More important: Define fight. By what means, and in what sense are we
fighting? Unless we have self-destructive tendencies, we fight in ways that
are relatively safe, having the potential of relatively high reward at low risk.

Most important: Define win. What, exactly, is the goal? I envision a society
wherein communities are philosophical rather than geographical, and each
individual is free to choose (and unchoose) between communities, or to
choose no community. The sole purpose of any overall government would be to
defend consensual rights.

IMHO, we can only get there by a process of evolution. Violent revolution
can only give us more of the same...or worse.

>One of Gardner Dozois (sp?) peerless "best sci-fi of the year" collections
once had a >story
>where Gandhi attempted to help India resist Nazi Germany. The outcome
seemed to >suggest
>that the author believed most people will knuckle under rather than going
to the wall >for
>personal freedoms.

The vast majority will always "go along to get along."

>If this is true, one person (or a small group) would need to be
>capable of either resisting the imposed rule of a large number of people,

Ultimately, dedicated aggressors are few, but highly organized. Dedicated
defenders are even fewer, and highly disorganized. In between are those who
aggress because to not do so would be somehow detrimental to them, and those
who resist when it is relatively safe to do so.

>or the >cost/benefit
>ratio of controlling that person would need to be too poor for the majority
to bother >(and
>I think people like Newt generally feel "I don't care what the cost/benefit
ratio is >for
>dominating that PARTICULAR person, since the benefit of creating a
precedent is >incalculable").

Such dominance is unpersuasive, and therefore, tenuous. The real battle is
for hearts and minds.

>How do others feel? Is this inherently untrue? Is one person's ability to
fight the
>establishment (or become invisible to the establishment) changing due to
technology >sufficiently
>to escape this formula?

If and when it becomes relatively safe to resist, the aggressor's house of
cards comes tumbling down.

When the boot of government is on your neck,
it doesn't matter if it's left or right.