RE: Property [was Re: The Education Function]
Tue, 15 Dec 1998 13:30:20 -0700

Steven writes:
>Market freedom is the most effective means for achieving libertarian
>It is not necessarily the best means for achieving other goals, such as
>communalism or equality. These alternative goals are equally valid,
>perhaps unpalatable or even abhorrent to a libertarian.

This is nonsense. Any goal is "valid" so long as it doesn't necessitate aggression. The market makes no value distinctions, it merely allocates resources as people mutually see fit.

>A laissez-faire approach to economics does not necessarily translate well
>other societies with different views of freedom, personal responsibility,
>society, etc. In Russia and many SE Asian countries, for example, global
>capitalism looks rather like a dismal failure at the moment.

To call it "capitalism" is to twist the meaning of the word beyond recognition.

I'd written:
>> If you really cared about people you wouldn't advocate forcing them, at
>> gunpoint, to comply with your idea of "help".

Steven responds:
>A bit of an exaggeration, eh?

Not at all, that's exactly what it comes down to. See below.

>I live in DC and work for the government.

That explains a lot...

>Trust me, most government activities have nothing to do with force.

Why should I trust you? You're part of the gang that takes a big percentage of my earnings against my will and spends it on things I don't approve of.

If most gov't activities have nothing to do with force, why can't I simply decline to hand over my property to the IRS without risking jail or worse?

True, in most cases it doesn't get to the point of force actually being applied, but obviously the threat of force is there, and is just as wrong. Or do you have no objection to a mugger, as long as he doesn't actually bash your head after taking your wallet?

>Oh sure, at some abstract level the State could suddenly decide to ditch
>constitutional rights and blow us away for non-conformance, but in the
>majority of transactions this possibility is so remote as to be

Bullshit, it happens every day. It's not at all abstract.

>Now, if you want to talk rampant coercion in modern America, my exhibit A
>would be the control businesses have over their employees. To the average
>American, the government is some remote entity with which one interacts on
>April 15 and election day. One's boss, on the other hand, can very
>and easily make one's life miserable if one fails to carry out his or her

Obviously you don't know what coercion means. I _choose_ to work for my employer, and that entails accepting the conditions offered. If I didn't like the terms of employment I wouldn't be working there.

There's no such contractual agreement with "government". It's a matter of "an offer you can't refuse". _That's_ coercion.

>Without getting into Samael's understanding of economics, even a beginning
>economist recognizes the important distinction between positive and
>normative economics. It's one thing, for example, to state that some
>outcome is Pareto optimal, but another thing entirely to say we should
>restructure our political and social systems to achieve said outcome.

You're throwing out another red herring. There's no such thing as "normative" economics. Economics describes, it never prescribes. Pareto optimality means that everyone's objectives are being met as efficiently as possible; it doesn't depend on how "worthy" any of those objectives are. What you don't like about it, of course, is that it doesn't force people to go along willy nilly with *your* objectives.

>While I don't necessarily agree with everything either Samael or Joe is
>saying, we must recognize that there are two sides to this story.

Yes, on one side we want to keep the value we create, on the other side you want to take it from us. Gosh, how does one choose sides on such a complex and confusing issue?

>Sure, governments do bad things, but so do businesses.

Business can't get away with bad things by dint of firepower or "sovereign immunity", however.

>Personally, I'm much more
>concerned about what my next (private sector) employer might do to me, or
>try to make me do, than I am about the guvmint.

Don't make me throw up.