FW: Property [was Re: The Education Function]

Steven R. Webb (srwebb@mindspring.com)
Tue, 15 Dec 1998 19:49:33 -0500

Michael Scarazzo wrote:

>> Market freedom is the most effective means for achieving libertarian
>> It is not necessarily the best means for achieving other goals, such
>> communalism or equality. These alternative goals are equally valid,
>> perhaps unpalatable or even abhorrent to a libertarian.
>It is a perfect means to acheive communalism for those small groups of
>people who wish to live as they see fit. Liberty by definition allows
>for many different people to live as long as they do not actively
>attempt to stop others from exhibiting their own freedom to life and
>their pursuits of happiness. It's not abhorrent. In fact, allowing
>those people to live as they see fit is at the heart of Libertarian

Socialism seems to work reasonably well for small groups too. See, for example, W. Warren Wagar's "A Short History of the Future" for a description of a plausible micro-socialist society. However, the flaw of socialism seems to be that it assumes people will do things without compensation simply because it's the right thing to do. If you get a small group of similar-thinking people together you could probably make *any* sort of economic or political system work, at least for a time.

I suspect that anarcho-capitalism contains similar defects, that it relies upon some wrong assumptions about human nature. I have no data to support this, however, since anarcho-capitalism has never been tried on a large scale. I would be very interested in seeing some experiments along these lines in the near future.

>> society, etc. In Russia and many SE Asian countries, for example,
>> capitalism looks rather like a dismal failure at the moment.
>In what respects do they think that capitalism is a failure. You mean
>to say that the governments in those countries see it that way. If
>you explain to the people in those countries that they could make
>enough money and need not pay hommage others (government) to avoid
>hunger. I think they would choose to be self-sufficient. I would.

That's the point: we shouldn't be so quick to assume that the rest of the world will readily incorporate the value system that makes capitalism work. There's been quite a bit written about this in the post mortem following the collapse of the SE Asian economy. An Internet search should reveal additional sources.

>> A bit of an exaggeration, eh? I live in DC and work for the
>> Trust me, most government activities have nothing to do with force.
>> sure, at some abstract level the State could suddenly decide to
>ditch our
>> constitutional rights and blow us away for non-conformance, but in
>the vast
>> majority of transactions this possibility is so remote as to be
>ANY violation of the rights guaranteed to an individual must not be
>allowed, unless they have violated those of another individual. In
>that case certain rights are forfeit. What is this "abstract level"?

I agree completely.

>Are you insane?

Not that I'm aware of.

>IRS and DEA thugs routinely ignore the Constitution,
>the supreme law of the land, and violate the rights of individuals.
>Pay or else and we have the guns. Any infringement is not negligible
>because there must be no exceptions to supremacy of the individual.
>The state is supposed to exist FOR the people; not the people for the

Whether the IRS and DEA violate the Constitution is a matter of debate. They mostly seem to follow the laws. Those who interpret the Constitution strictly might thing that many of these laws of the U.S. are unconstitutional, but those interpreting it broadly would say otherwise. That's a whole other can of worms.

>> 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
>> 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
>> wishes.
>Businesses have control over their employees for only as long as they
>work for the business. To me, the government is a very real and
>present danger to my freedom. Each day that I work having to pay
>taxes through the taxation of my company and through the taxes
>deducted from my paycheck without my approval are very real to me.

I understand this point of view.

>Those productive dollars go to pay the salaries of people like you,
>who do not provide service based on the market. Your job exists
>because the government can arrest and punish those will not subscribe.

That seems a stretch. Customer service polls show that most people are very satisfied with the products and services my agency produces, so I think there's something more to it than coercion. The particular product that my division produces is most probably something that could not be produced by the private sector. (I'd rather not get into specifics, however, since there's always the chance that someone reading this is not quite in their right mind. I've been rather surprised at how mean-spirited some of the communication to this point has been.)

> If an individual's boss attempts to exercise undue authority or tries
>to abuse his authority, I have legal means to address the issue,
>beyond finding other employment. Please, Mr Government, tell me how I
>can successfully avoid paying your salary without being financially
>ruined or placed in jail.

Except in certain cases, such as when the workforce has labor representation, a boss has an awful lot of latitude. For example, she may well ask her employees to put in many hours of unpaid overtime. This is not illegal, so there's no basis for a suit. I find it rather disturbing that the *average* manager works 56+ hours per week according to a recent survey. I have a family and life outside the workplace, and these hours seem unreasonable regardless of the salary offered.

I don't personally know "Mr. Government", but I will track him down and relay your question.

>Your arguements and rationale are absurd. You have no real concept of
>the power that the state has taken over the individual during this
>century in the US.

I'm quite aware of how the government has expanded in size and scope this century. For the most part, however, I think the government's activities are fairly harmless. Sure, we hear about occasional abuses of power such as Waco and Ruby Ridge. Just as the occasional dramatic airline crash leads many to wrongly believe that travel by auto is safer, these headline stories make some believe that the government is out to get them.