Lee Wrights: War is not the answer

Emailed to contact.ipr@gmail.com and posted at Liberty for All:


by R. Lee Wrights

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”

– Gandhi

War is never good, no matter how moral, lofty or beneficial the justification sounds; and, no matter what the objectives. Even a necessary war of defense has negative consequences that are devastating. War is the ultimate in destruction. War destroys peace, it destroys prosperity, it destroys property and most cruelly – war destroys people.

That’s why it troubles me that the language of war dominates our political discourse. The words we use do matter. The metaphors we use to express our thoughts reflect how we actually think about things. It can be disturbing to say the least.

War is a zero-sum game. There are perceived winners and losers, of course. The losers are destroyed or killed, but even the winners are left less than whole by the experience. While I’m proud of my service in the U.S. Air Force, I’m most grateful to have served as a medic. I was able to serve my country without killing a single human being. However, I helped treat those who did, and who consequently suffered both physical and mental harm as a result of their actions. Even though I was fortunate not to have experienced it first-hand, the destruction of war touched me and changed my life forever.

The myriad of wars politicians have declared on an endless series of imaginary hobgoblins have resulted in equally devastating damage to Americans and people all over the world. Collateral damage from these martial escapades has shredded the Bill of Rights, laid waste to the economy and brought us to the brink of financial collapse.

War is not really about ideas, not about right and wrong, nor about doing good and opposing evil. War is about power and control, plain and simple. When we use the words of war to oppose anybody or any thing, we are actually saying that that person or thing must be controlled or destroyed.

As a libertarian writer and activist, I’ve earned a deserved reputation as a warrior. I know how it is to wake up every day angry, full of rage, and go to war for what I believe to be right. And like so many other old warriors, I’ve now come to realize that war is hell, war is a racket and, as Benjamin Franklin observed, there never has been a good war or a bad peace.

Now I can proudly say: I am not at war.

The heart of libertarianism is the belief that the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals is always wrong. In other words, peace is the very heart of libertarianism. Nothing is more positive than stopping war. Nothing could be more positive than putting an end to the killing of other people’s children.

Peace, like charity, begins at home. If libertarians are to fully embrace and adopt the message to stop all war we must begin by embracing the lifestyle of peace at home, and within ourselves. With peace comes freedom, and with peace and freedom comes prosperity which knows no bounds, has no barriers, does not discriminate and benefits everyone.

In recent years, libertarians have spent way too much time reacting to what other people say about us and not enough time telling other people what we believe. We’ve squandered our time in a vain attempt to modify, compose, or craft our message so as to appeal to an illusionary average voter.

All the while, we’ve missed the essential point. The core principal of libertarianism is a message of peace and it is echoed not only in American history, but also in the history, culture and faiths of all peoples. We are taught from childhood, don’t hit others; don’t cheat or steal; keep your promises. If you hurt someone, make it up to them. Always defend yourself, and expect others to do the same. These lessons of life are the lessons of libertarianism.

Libertarianism is more than merely a political philosophy. It is a way of life. We need to be it and live it. We need to stop worrying and reacting and start telling and doing. We must focus on telling people what we stand for and showing them who we are.

Our focus should not be to win arguments, or lay blame, or rant against the evils of the State. And we certainly can’t open people’s minds by waging war on everything in sight. To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, I believe in liberty, but I do not believe in it strongly enough to force it upon others.

Our focus should be on the positive expression of how liberty and freedom can bring about peace and prosperity. Our lives should reflect the belief in this positive expression to serve as an example for others. Our message must be, stop all war. Stopping the wars is the first positive step toward our return to the peace and prosperity we all desire.

“War is not the answer,
For only love can conquer hate.”

– Marvin Gaye

-30-

R. Lee Wrights, 52, a libertarian writer and political activist, is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. To that end he has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states. Wrights is a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and co-founder and editor of of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. He was born in Winston-Salem, N.C. and now lives and works in Texas.

Contact:
Brian Irving
Press Secretary
WRIGHTS 2012 EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE

http://www.wrights2012.com

919.538.4548

70 thoughts on “Lee Wrights: War is not the answer

  1. paulie Post author

    Emailed to Wrights, Irving, Duensing, and IPR writers:

    Hopefully you have already thought of this, but these essays should be compiled in a campaign book as soon as there are enough of them to do so – which there already may be.

    That in turn will get you a “hook” to get media interviews.

    Wayne Root actually presents a pretty good model on how to tie in his opinion pieces, book and media appearances. I hope Wrights will emulate those same tactics, and some additional ones, such as getting published in college newspapers and alternative free urban weekly newspapers around the country. My ideas on some of the mechanics/details of that at

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2011/02/boston-tea-party-national-committee-chair-darryl-w-perry-weekly-media-appearances/comment-page-1/#comment-321300

    CCing Duensing as well, since he is now also a declared candidate for the nomination. Jim, I hope you’ll start sending us opinion pieces like this on a regular basis soon.

    Hope to see both candidates address the issue of war crimes trials for US and foreign war criminals soon. Now is a good time to bring that up, with the fall of Mubarak and other long-time dictator(s) in the Arab world taking place and/or imminent, and with Ron Paul supporters making news by calling Cheney and Rumsfeld war criminals to their face at CPAC.

    -Paulie
    Anti-TSA/Pro-WikiLeaks
    415.690.6352

  2. Michael H. Wilson

    assessment assignment dissertation binding ormskirk source cialis viagra not working notice d'utilisation du viagra music essay jyj research layout example source go click here http://www.naymz.com/research-paper-purchase/ resume status inquiry letter mexican viagra mr bean how to write an essay about a movie characteristics research paper go site how to write a critique paper on an article get link rachel carson sense of wonder essay http://kerulos.org/16875-viagra-medicare-part-d/ hamlet essay teach me how to write an essay help research paper source how to setup email on iphone 8s thesis about autism thesis editing monash university source link follow see research papers on media violence http://v-nep.org/classroom/quantitative-analysis-case-studies/04/ “In recent years, libertarians have spent way too much time reacting to what other people say about us and not enough time telling other people what we believe”.

    Right on target!

  3. Jill Pyeatt

    There can’t ever be too many articles discussing anti-war themes. In my view, non-interventionist wars should be the most often publicized Libertarian belief. I know others may not agree, but if we blow each other up in a nuclear war, all other themes problems will become moot.

    Thanks to Mr Wright for another good article.

  4. Robert Capozzi

    lw: In other words, peace is the very heart of libertarianism. … Peace, like charity, begins at home.

    me: Yes, I’d go further. Ls should treat each other with peace and respect. We fall short of that too often, myself included.

    lw: We’ve squandered our time in a vain attempt to modify, compose, or craft our message so as to appeal to an illusionary average voter.

    me: I’ve not seen this. I HAVE seen Ls pander to perceived voting blocs. I can’t say I see anything wrong with, and a lot right with, composing messages that resonate with larger numbers than self-identified Ls.

    lw: Libertarianism is more than merely a political philosophy. It is a way of life.

    me: This seems a bit overstated to me, although I think I agree, at least on some levels. I would not want to give, say, yogic vegans the idea that L-ism is a way of life, as L-ism says nothing about those things that they hold near and dear. Peaceful respect, however, could be viewed as an *approach* to life.

  5. paulie Post author

    lw: In other words, peace is the very heart of libertarianism. … Peace, like charity, begins at home.

    rc: Yes, I’d go further. Ls should treat each other with peace and respect. We fall short of that too often, myself included.

    p: Agreed with both.

  6. Thomas M. Sipos

    Jill, our never-ending wars will destroy our economy and civil liberties long before we blow ourselves up.

    However, we will blow up a lot of innocent foreigners before we tank our economy.

  7. paulie Post author

    Our never-ending wars will destroy our economy and civil liberties long before we blow ourselves up.

    However, we will blow up a lot of innocent foreigners before we tank our economy.

    Mostly true, except the tanking of the economy is already well underway.

  8. Tom Blanton

    One can go to the LP.Org site and find every utterance made by Wonderful Wayne – along with a schedule of each right-wing radio regurgitation of red-state rhetoric.

    Too bad for the world that Lee Wrights isn’t published and fawned over by the LP. He might attract actual libertarians to the LP as opposed to the confused Tea Party twits that Root attracts like rotting flesh attracts maggots.

  9. Jill Pyeatt

    Tom @ 11: Well said, Tom. I give Mr Wrights as much publicity as I can, which really means Facebook, but many people check FB faithfully every day.

  10. paulie Post author

    Too bad for the world that Lee Wrights isn’t published and fawned over by the LP.

    Any LNC member can publish his columns at LP.org, including Mary Ruwart. Why aren’t they doing that?

  11. langa

    Sometimes, war IS the answer.

    Only if the question is “How can you commit mass murder and still be treated like a hero?”

  12. Robert Capozzi

    P9: Mostly true, except the tanking of the economy is already well underway.

    Me: Ya know, could be. I will say I thought the same in 1979. I’d say I was not correct then.

    Tb11: He might attract actual libertarians to the LP as opposed to the confused Tea Party twits that Root attracts like rotting flesh attracts maggots.

    Me: Quoting LW: “Peace, like charity, begins at home.” Attacks like yours don’t seem in line with LW’s views about peace. Wars start with words just like yours, Tom. Then they escalate.

    L16: Only if the question is “How can you commit mass murder and still be treated like a hero?”

    Me: Is this overstatement on your part, Langa? Are you saying that a war to defend a nation is always “mass murder”? I seem to recall Wrights saying he was not a pacificist, are you one? I respect that view, but I happen to believe that war in defense is sometimes justified.

  13. langa

    War is a zero-sum game. There are perceived winners and losers, of course. The losers are destroyed or killed, but even the winners are left less than whole by the experience.

    I suppose it’s nitpicking, but what Mr. Wrights is describing is not a “zero-sum game”, but rather a negative-sum game. In a true zero-sum game, the winners win exactly as much as the losers lose, so that there is no net gain or loss.

  14. langa

    RC, I would say that theoretically, there could be a “just war”, but as a practical matter, there has never been one, at least not that I’m aware of.

    Many libertarians, such as Rothbard, argue that the American Revolution and/or the Civil War were just wars, at least from the standpoint of the colonists and the Confederacy, respectively, since in both cases, they were fighting to free themselves of what they considered oppressive and tyrannical government.

    I disagree with these claims on a couple of levels. First, I don’t think that the goals of the colonists were as pure as Rothbard assumes, and the goals of the Confederacy were even less pure than those of the colonists. But in both cases, I think that the rhetoric of freedom was used as propaganda by those who desired to establish their own tyrannical reign.

    More importantly, however, even if I were to grant that their motives were just and noble, that is only half of the equation. From a libertarian point of view, it is not sufficient to have just goals; those goals must also be pursued using just and noble means, and that is where these wars, like all others that I’m aware of, clearly fail the test.

    All wars that I am aware of have involved, at the very least, some combination of taxation (i.e. theft), conscription (i.e. slavery) and/or what is euphemistically referred to as “collateral damage” (i.e. murder). From my perspective (which I’m sure you would refer to as NAP absolutism), such actions are never justified, no matter how noble the ultimate goal is. Also, I would argue that, if the goal is long-term freedom, it is extremely unlikely that such a goal could be achieved by such means, since the kind of people willing to commit such atrocities would be very unlikely to abstain from repeating them in the future. They would always find some “extreme circumstance” that “justified” the abrogation of freedom.

    As for the question of pacifism, I do not consider myself a pacifist, since my understanding is that true pacifists, like Gandhi or Tolstoy, hold that even purely self-defensive violence, involving no initiation of force whatsoever, is still unacceptable. I, on the other hand, am a big believer in self-defense and I have never lived in a house (or apartment) without a gun (but no, I don’t own any bazookas). Fortunately, I have never had to use it, but if the situation arose, I would not hesitate to do so.

    So, I am not categorically opposed to all violence, but I am categorically opposed to all wars, or at least to all the ones that happen in the real world. Theoretically, I suppose it would be possible to have a war without taxation, conscription, “collateral damage”, etc., but I certainly wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    l20, yes, this is one of the many areas where I break from NAP absolutism. In the abstract, the notion of non-initiation of force is a grand construct, a wonderful True North.

    In practice, there are nation-states, ones that use force to, among other things, defend the nation-state. As I understand the NAP, if taxpayers are forced to pay $1 a year, and that $1 funds military defense, that is unjustified. ADR, but I find that a ridiculous construct. It’s a misapplication of theory to a practical situation. A NAPster would also say that that $1 used to have police and courts designed to dissuade murder and stealing would also be “unjustified.” Such absolutism applied to a relative world leads to bizarre (sorry, I can’t think of a better word!) conclusions.

    Even if such absolutism makes sense in the abstract, it would require the rest of us relativists to buy into your absolutism. I don’t like your chances. Indeed, I ain’t buying it, either.

    My lessarchism tells me that progress can be made by having an absolutist, ultimate True North in mind while engaging in the here and now of relativist shades of gray. For having this view, some absolutists castigate me as a “sell out,” but they don’t seem to get that I don’t buy how they frame things, so I am in fact not selling anything out!

    I don’t find self-marginalization a helpful means to advocate for progress. If Rothbard thought that the CSA’s insurrection was justified, then I’d say he was self-marginalizing on 2 fronts! Is it any wonder why he was a fringe character?

  16. langa

    RC, of course, you’re entitled to your opinion, but from my point of view, the number of people who “buy into” a theory has no bearing on the correctness of that theory. If 99% of the world were blind, that wouldn’t mean that the 1% who talked about “seeing things” was crazy, although that’s undoubtedly how they would be labelled.

    In fact, many things that are now taken for granted, such as racial and gender equality, were once ridiculed as “bizarre” notions and those who held them were considered to be out of touch with reality. Things change. Maybe one day, Rothbard (and many other libertarian scholars) will be viewed as being ahead of his time, rather than as a “fringe character”.

  17. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 21,

    You write:

    “Is it any wonder why [Rothbard] was a fringe character?”

    It would indeed be a wonder if he was a “fringe character.” But agree with him or not, he was nothing of the sort.

  18. Robert Capozzi

    l22, for sure. If you assume that you are “right” and everyone else is “wrong,” that may well be satisfying for you. Over time, you are correct, perhaps the 1% will grow to 2%, then 3%, etc. Perhaps one day, yours will be a majority view!

    I also agree that sometimes staking out an extreme position CAN lead to moving movement over time. We don’t hear about all the folks who did NOT influence people toward his/her True North. LaRouche, for ex., seems to be failing in his efforts to move many toward LaRouchism. L. Ron Hubbard certainly has his followers, but near as I can tell, they remain a small gathering. Even Joseph Smith might be a good example.

    So, yes, Saint Murray could supplant Keynes by the time 2100 rolls around! Myself, I’m not genuflecting to a priori-ism today, nor do I think his deontological approach works in the here and now…it certainly doesn’t for me! My interests remain mostly in the here and now, while at the same time keeping my eyes on the prize.

    As they say in the ‘hood, “It’s all good,” or “I’m gonna do me, y’all do y’all.”

  19. Robert Capozzi

    tk23: But agree with [MNR] or not, he was nothing of the sort [a fringe character].

    me: “Fringe,” like all words, depends on one’s perspective. Personally, I’d put MNR on the fringes, although there certainly have been fringier playahs. I’d put Hayek and Friedman, for ex., on the edges, far more influential during their lifetimes and soon thereafter. I don’t have enough information to put Lao Tzu on a mainstream-to-fringe continuum. 😉

  20. paulie Post author

    P9: Mostly true, except the tanking of the economy is already well underway.

    RC: Ya know, could be. I will say I thought the same in 1979. I’d say I was not correct then.

    Yeah, none of us know the future. However, the debt spiral/vicious cycle – private and government – has no plausible solution that I can see.

  21. paulie Post author

    Tb11: He might attract actual libertarians to the LP as opposed to the confused Tea Party twits that Root attracts like rotting flesh attracts maggots.

    RC: Quoting LW: “Peace, like charity, begins at home.” Attacks like yours don’t seem in line with LW’s views about peace. Wars start with words just like yours, Tom. Then they escalate.

    P: Valid point.

  22. paulie Post author

    Are you saying that a war to defend a nation is always “mass murder”? I seem to recall Wrights saying he was not a pacificist, are you one? I respect that view, but I happen to believe that war in defense is sometimes justified.

    Wrights pointed out, and I concur, that even wars undertaken for good reasons involve mass murder. A truly defensive war may be better than being conquered and occupied. But an “elective” war, such as a “war of liberation” – even if it is genuine liberation and not just an excuse for imperialism – should always factor in the many direct and indirect costs and risks of war. And pre-emptive defense is the oldest phony excuse for aggressive war in the book.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    l, to clarify, if it’s your view that force is NEVER under any circumstances justified UNLESS the counter-force has no element of force itself, then I disagree. I cannot imagine how such a standard could be applied now, and I have a VERY difficult time how that standard could be applied ever, actually. Such a justification standard seems to overlook entirely practical implications, implications that can easily be seen to, in effect, accept increased levels of coercive force in the name of no coercion.

    If my inquiry misses the point, please clarify.

  24. paulie Post author

    I suppose it’s nitpicking, but what Mr. Wrights is describing is not a “zero-sum game”, but rather a negative-sum game. In a true zero-sum game, the winners win exactly as much as the losers lose, so that there is no net gain or loss.

    I don’t think that’s nitpicking. I consider it an important point.

  25. Robert Capozzi

    p28: But an “elective” war, such as a “war of liberation” – even if it is genuine liberation and not just an excuse for imperialism – should always factor in the many direct and indirect costs and risks of war.

    me: Yes, I agree. A “clean” “war of liberation” escapes me, too. Some on the left wanted one in Rwanda, I seem to recall, but my default position is to not support that for the reasons you cite. Absolutely never? This dawg can’t say that. Overstatement for effect I can roll with to some extent. But I prefer to leave a wee bit of wiggle room, at minimum for credibility’s sake. Yep, I’d spend $1 in coerced tax dollars to stop a 10MM-person genocide, in theory.

  26. paulie Post author

    this is one of the many areas where I break from NAP absolutism. In the abstract, the notion of non-initiation of force is a grand construct, a wonderful True North.

    In practice, there are nation-states, ones that use force to, among other things, defend the nation-state.

    I don’t think you have to be a NAP absolutist to enter the costs and risks of war to the calculation.

    These included “collateral damage,” property destruction, physical and psychological trauma (even among the veterans of a victorious war fought for good goals), misallocated economic resources, war debt, blowback risks, and much more – all on a scale so massive it is hard for the human mind to grasp.

    All of this should be taken into consideration when any war is proposed, not just the goals used to “sell” any given war.

  27. paulie Post author

    Yep, I’d spend $1 in coerced tax dollars to stop a 10MM-person genocide, in theory.

    Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
    Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…
    Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
    Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
    Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.

  28. LibertarianGirl

    P_CCing Duensing as well, since he is now also a declared candidate for the nomination. Jim, I hope you’ll start sending us opinion pieces like this on a regular basis soon.

    me_ he sometimes writes opinion pieces over at his blog titled “opinions so good they ought to be yours” , the humility is outstanding , lol , anyways its at jimduensing.com

    and to Wrights article , EFFIN LOVED IT!!

  29. langa

    RC #29,

    I’m not sure if I understand your question, so I’ll just try to explain my position, which is that you always have the right to defend yourself (or someone else, or your property, etc.), provided that such defense does not involve the initiation of force against any innocent third party.

    As for how it would work in practice, let’s assume that you find out that your neighbor has been molesting your 6-year-old child on a regular basis. I would argue that you have every right to kill your neighbor, if that turns out to be necessary to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. However, you cannot kill him by, for example, blowing up his house and thereby killing his wife and two small children in the process. The end (protecting your child) may be noble, but the means (killing your neighbor’s entire family) is unacceptable.

    By the way, I’m sure that you can come up with all sorts of weird “lifeboat” scenarios where you can sacrifice 1 innocent person in order to save a thousand more, but you would be wasting your time. I find them all unpersuasive, as they all ultimately boil down to the claim that the end justifies the means, and that’s a line that I am simply unwilling to cross. Of course, whether you choose to cross that line is your decision, but if you do, you’ll have to do so without me.

  30. langa

    Yep, I’d spend $1 in coerced tax dollars to stop a 10MM-person genocide, in theory.

    Coerced from whom? If it was your dollar, and you willingly gave it up (for whatever reason), then you weren’t coerced.

    If it originally belonged to someone else and you coerced them out of it, then you have no rightful claim to it, and thus, your opinion of how it should be spent is morally irrelevant.

  31. paulie Post author

    lg_he sometimes writes opinion pieces over at his blog titled “opinions so good they ought to be yours” , the humility is outstanding , lol , anyways its at jimduensing.com

    P_If he wants to be a candidate, he should get in the habit of sending his opinion pieces to us and several other outlets.

    The distribution list for this one included:
    Center for a Stateless Society, Independent Political Report, Reason Hit & Run Blog, The Agitator, Antiwar.com, Liberty Maven, Lew Rockwell, TPID, Jason Pye, Phillies, and about a dozen more.

    I’m not even going to guess Wayne’s distribution list, I’m sure there’s a lot more on it, and it’s BCCed.

    Even Jim Burns has a list, and I’m on it. If the formatting was better, you’d see me post his stuff more often. Little things like that do make a difference as well.

    If Duensing expects people to go to his site to get his opinion pieces, his candidacy will not go nearly as far as it would if he actively distributes them.

  32. paulie Post author

    I’d spend $1 in coerced tax dollars to stop a 10MM-person genocide, in theory.

    If it really was $1, you could easily pay compensation after the fact as well.

  33. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: 17

    Mr. Capozzi remembers correctly when he observes: “I seem to recall Wrights saying he was not a pacificist…”

    I have always said I am not a pacifist. I just don’t believe I have to kill someone to prove it.

  34. Michael H. Wilson

    On a side note, I was looking at a picture of the events in Bahrain and could not help wondering who sold them the tanks that I saw in the picture?

    They must have been old Soviet tanks, because my peace loving country would never engage in selling weapons of war.

  35. Jeremy C. Young

    Silly superficial comment: the Wrights campaign really needs to get themselves a better picture of their candidate. From what I have seen of him elsewhere, he’s quite a striking-looking man; this picture makes him look sallow and tired. When you’re running against a telegenic used-car-salesman type, you need to emphasize your own candidate’s good looks better.

  36. paulie Post author

    Jeremy,

    Clarification: No picture was included with the release sent to IPR. Whenever I see a website has already posted something which we were also sent first, I give them co-credit, so I used the picture they had. It’s likely that Liberty for All, which is owned by Mr. Wrights, used a non-campaign shot.

  37. Chris Cole

    I tried to make non-interventionism a fundamental part of my 2008 Senate campaign, but I made no headway with the media on reporting it. I honestly believe they just didn’t get it. I was repeatedly asked, “do you mean an isolationist foreign policy?” And no, I didn’t. They couldn’t understand having international relations of diplomacy, trade, and cultural exchange, without a need to coerce.
    http://tinyurl.com/23xsk3c

  38. WAR is ROTTen, WAR is EVIL, WAR is the ROOT of all EVIL

    As Thoreau said, stop striking at the branches, STRIKE THE ROOT!

    When the ROOT is ROTTen the Tree of Liberty WEAKENS FROM WITHIN.

    Money is not the ROOT of all evil
    WAR is!

    Stop striking at the branches, STRIKE THE ROOT!

    WAR is the ROTTen ROOT of all EVIL that ROTs the Tree of Liberty.

    Stop striking at the branches, STRIKE THE ROOT!

  39. Robert Capozzi

    p32: I don’t think you have to be a NAP absolutist to enter the costs and risks of war to the calculation.

    me: Yes, as a non-NAP absolutist, I agree and I do. What I am challenging is simply whether absolutism itself is appropriate when considering any political matter.

    p33: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.

    me: It strikes me that your amusing parable extrapolates inappropriately and atomistically from an interpersonal situation to an analysis of civil society. We are already being coerced on a wholesale basis, with an incomprehensibly complex web of interdependencies and cross subsidies. Leaping from the current configuration to a world of Nonarchy Pods (with or without voluntary collective agreements) is, for me, incomprehensibly grandiose. Getting from here to anywhere close to there will require a mammoth restructuring of the social fabric. Using such an unproven, speculative construct is IMO a distraction and/or a setup for failure.

    l37: …you always have the right to defend yourself (or someone else, or your property, etc.), provided that such defense does not involve the initiation of force against any innocent third party.

    me: ADR, but you are applying an atomistic bromide to a situation I’ve described here as “an incomprehensibly complex web of interdependencies and cross subsidies.” Why? It appears you are sidestepping my point.

    States exist. They have weapons. They attack each other. They defend other territories. People die in the process. Individuals have property. Their property rights are more or less upheld through government action.

    Trotting out atomistic bromides seem quaint and unresponsive in this context.

    l38: Coerced from whom? If it was your dollar, and you willingly gave it up (for whatever reason), then you weren’t coerced. If it originally belonged to someone else and you coerced them out of it, then you have no rightful claim to it, and thus, your opinion of how it should be spent is morally irrelevant.

    me: Sorry, this is a sidestep. But, OK, let me more precise to satisfy your Rothbardian word game. The $1 comes from general revenues of, say, $300MM. All citizens are taxed $1 per year. There’s no way to say whose $1 it is.

    I would support a US president spending that $1 to save the life of 10MM, say, Rwandans. It appears that as an absolutist, you would not. You seem to believe your view is “moral.”

    If I have your position properly corralled, this example illustrates quite clearly why your position misses the forest for the trees. It seems to imply that ANY coercion is worse than genocide. I probably can’t talk you out of your “principled” “moral” position, but it illustrates to me the severely ludicrous nature of deontological absolutism. In fact, I cannot imagine a President Langa would not authorize the spending of $1 coerced to save 10MM people.

    One wise LNC member once told me that he was a “radical” but that he didn’t think the LP should be a “religion.” Boy, do I ever agree with that!

    When methodological individualism leads to an unconscionable conclusion, I would consider reconsider the edges of methodical individualism rather than deontologically attempting to justify an unconscionable conclusion! Stare at it a bit. Let it sink in.

    If you still feel like throwing a party in Galt’s Gulch at which participants are charged for attending, then that is YOUR business, but it’s definitely not mine! A thought system that justifies blowing up buildings over a contract dispute seems just, well, off to me. And, no, I don’t feel the need to do a logic map to prove my sense of what is virtuous and what isn’t.

  40. Robert Capozzi

    more…

    I’m told, btw, that in the 70s, MNR himself would engage in these sorts of tests. Those who “failed” were considered “leaky,” as I recall what the word was.

    Adhering to these sorts of nostrums were a requirement to stay close to MNR. Not only does that sound cultish to me, but I’d say it was intellectually dishonest and certainly stultifying. But it does explain a lot of things to me.

  41. Michael H. Wilson

    RC “Adhering to these sorts of nostrums were a requirement to stay close to MNR”.

    Robert the man is dead. I don’t think he knew much about educating people, or getting an idea across, let alone convincing people how to accomplish getting to a goal they set.

  42. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 49:

    ‘When methodological individualism leads to an unconscionable conclusion, I would consider reconsider the edges of methodical individualism rather than deontologically attempting to justify an unconscionable conclusion!”

    Any chain of reasoning that has “methodological individualism” at one end and “unconscionable conclusion” at the other has one or more errors in between.

  43. Tom Blanton

    Murray Rothbard knew nothing about the power of the Tea Party or the miracle of multi-level marketing. He also never harnessed the energy of the power-tie and obviously didn’t use whitening strips.

    As a cult figure worthy of total devotion, Rothbard was 2nd rate compared to the great Wayne Allyn Root.

    Twenty years from now, Rothbard will be forgotten. Root will be in the White House with millions of devotees who will be in the streets demanding a third term for WAR!

  44. Gains

    For the “non-NAP absolutists”, I feel like a hard line on war is important right now.

    There are few places in the world where we are defending the liberty of our citizens on soil we have lawful authority over. Nearly everywhere we have our military is a result of our imperialist like activities since WW2.

    I do not imagine that have to list for anyone the horrible societal costs of our military posture and foreign policy. I certainly do not need to list the costs to the people in other countries where our military is actively turning live people into dead ones in order to make them safe.

    It is obvious to me that right now our policy is that war is always the answer… somewhere… and it has been that way for a very long time. Far too long for it to be reasonably explained as defensive. Too often, if not nearly always, those we defend feel like our victims as much as they do our grateful clients.

    We can deal with “war” in far more rational terms. As the rare and despicable thing it is rather than an abstract thought problem. To treat the word with so little regard is to speak in absence of empathy. War, even in the most justifiable circumstances, is still one of the greatest horrors one can visit upon humanity.

    We cannot use our military in all good conscience to advance the freedoms of others nor defend them in perpetuity. There is no rational pathway from having a foreign government impose itself, and generation of a free society. It is the wrong mechanism.

    We should, all of us, be actively defending the freedoms of others in places such as Israel, Egypt, Iraq, etc. but to do so with a national standing army, we unavoidably do gross damage to ourselves and to others.

  45. Michael H. Wilson

    War is not the answer is absolutely correct. May I suggest that the presence of U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula and our funding of Israel have exacerbated the problems in those areas of the world.

    If the U.S. withdrew from the Korean peninsula it might provide the two nations with the incentive to solve their problems without the U.S. butting in. Under the present circumstance the North Koreans are demanding concession from the U.S. If the U.S. military is no longer on the peninsula the terms of the North Koreans likely will change.

    The Israel/Palestine issue is aggravated because of U.S. dollars supporting Israel. As long as American dollars and military equipment prop up Israel they will have no incentive to come to an agreement with the Palestinians. Adding to this is the U.S. support for the Mubarak regime which in turn kept the peace with Israel. But those same U.S. dollars allowed him to keep his boot firmly planted on the necks of the Egyptian people. Now that the boot is off their necks it will be interesting to see the response from the people. I believe that the Egyptian people know the difference between the U.S. government and the American people.

  46. langa

    It appears you are sidestepping my point.

    You keep accusing me of this, but as far as I can tell, your only point is “Your ideas are not shared by most people, so you would be wise to abandon them.” If that is your point, I have already addressed it. I think it’s a ludicrous argument that ignores the fact that many positions that are almost universally accepted today, such as the examples I gave earlier of racial and gender equality, were once considered to be held only by “fringe lunatics”. Does that mean that these beliefs were wrong or that the people who held them should have ceased to do so and instead focused on more “practical” goals?

    Individuals have property. Their property rights are more or less upheld through government action.

    This is beyond preposterous. Governments commit property rights violations on a daily basis that far dwarf those committed by private criminals. I’m sure you’ll claim that without government, rates of private crime would be far higher, but there is no evidence whatsoever to support that claim. What we do have evidence of is that the U.S. government violates the property rights of almost all of its own citizens, not to mention many other people, literally on a daily basis.

    l38: Coerced from whom? If it was your dollar, and you willingly gave it up (for whatever reason), then you weren’t coerced. If it originally belonged to someone else and you coerced them out of it, then you have no rightful claim to it, and thus, your opinion of how it should be spent is morally irrelevant.

    me: Sorry, this is a sidestep.

    Not only is it not a sidestep, it’s absolutely crucial. When deciding how a dollar should be spent, the only person whose opinion should be given any weight is the rightful owner of the dollar in question. A gangster who does a lot of good philanthropic work is still a gangster.

    I would support a US president spending that $1 to save the life of 10MM, say, Rwandans. It appears that as an absolutist, you would not.

    This is precisely the type of absurd “lifeboat” logic that I criticized earlier in this thread. You’re right, as an “absolutist”, I would not authorize the President to spend that dollar. Instead, what I would do in that situation would be to volunteer a dollar of my own money to save the Rwandans. Furthermore, I’m sure many others would do the same. And therein lies the flaw with these types of arguments. If a cause is so obviously worthy, there is no need to fund it at gunpoint.

    I cannot imagine a President Langa would not authorize the spending of $1 coerced to save 10MM people.

    Well, there’s no need to worry about what a “President Langa” would do, since I would not accept the position, even if it was offered to me on a silver platter. I possess neither the desire to rule others for my benefit, nor the delusion that I could possibly rule them for their own benefit.

  47. Robert Capozzi

    Mhw51: Robert [MNR] is dead. I don’t think he knew much about educating people, or getting an idea across, let alone convincing people how to accomplish getting to a goal they set.

    Me: We agree, then. Yet MNR set the standard by which so much L thought – esp. in the LP – still uses, which is why I told that “leaky” story. Many quote Thoreau’s counsel to strike the root, and that’s my contribution. If there’s an alternative way to look at what the root is, please do share.

    Tk52: Any chain of reasoning that has “methodological individualism” at one end and “unconscionable conclusion” at the other has one or more errors in between.

    Me: Please expand. I’d say all inquiry involves error, so please address that point, too.

    Tb53: As a cult figure worthy of total devotion, Rothbard was 2nd rate compared to the great Wayne Allyn Root.

    Me: Really? I’ve not met anyone who holds Rootism up as the absolute, the keeper of the plumb line against which all matters politics is measured, have you? Strikes me that his supporters admire his perserverance and articulateness, but I don’t see them adopting his thought system in total.

    G54: We cannot use our military in all good conscience to advance the freedoms of others nor defend them in perpetuity. There is no rational pathway from having a foreign government impose itself, and generation of a free society. It is the wrong mechanism.

    Me: You pretty much had me until this paragraph. I agree that the US military adventurism is a bad idea generally. My beef is to state the position in ABSOLUTE terms. A foreign government, after all, aided in establishing the US itself! Otherwise, we’d all still be eating bangers and mash! 😉 It’s an ugly world out there, filled with aggression, even genocide. To say with absolute certainty that a nation could never engage in good conscience in averting or stopping a genocide is false. To say this could not be done in a rational manner is also false. To say it could be done without any collateral damage is also false. Seeking any sort of precision in these (and most) matters is futile in an otherwise imprecise world. Overstating for effect strikes me as not an unreasonable flourish, but I would like to leave the door open to the possibility of spending $1 to save millions of lives.

    Mhw56: War is not the answer is absolutely correct.

    Me: I agree it’s correct, but not absolutely correct. Somehow, I’m not making myself clear. I’m on the non-interventionist train, I hope you get that. Lots of reasons to oppose US troops in SK, Japan, Germany, Iraq. Lots of reasons to roll way back, possibly to zero, on foreign aid. But lots of reasons to not state these things in absolute terms.

  48. Robert Capozzi

    l57: You keep accusing me of this, but as far as I can tell, your only point is “Your ideas are not shared by most people, so you would be wise to abandon them.”

    me: No, sorry, it’s not my only point, so let me try again. My point is that establishing a highly theoretical construct — NAP — and then measuring all human action against that construct leads to nothing useful that I can see. The State is metamorphically intertwined with private action in myriad ways. Real property, for ex., involves the State at rather fundamental levels, e.g., title. In theory could there be no State and no aggression in this process? Yes, I suppose so. Is getting the State out of this process “moral”? I can’t say, since morality is an opinion. I am very open to that possibility, but I happen to think we’ve got much bigger fish to fry.

    Politics involve dealing with choices in the near to intermediate term. Political theory might help guide us. Using a simplistic political theory as a kind of unified field theory confuses politics with physics, IMO.

    l: When deciding how a dollar should be spent, the only person whose opinion should be given any weight is the rightful owner of the dollar in question.

    me: Right, you are apparently an anarchist, one who believes that you can determine right now who the “rightful” owner is. I’d suggest that in a state of nature, the notion of a rightful owner is meaningless!

    You’ve set up a construct where such a thing can be known (I’m guessing by Acme WMD & Meter Maids Insurance Company or its equivalent), and your analysis proceeds from there. Not surprisingly, I challenge the basis of your analysis as non-useful.

    l: I’m sure you’ll claim that without government, rates of private crime would be far higher, but there is no evidence whatsoever to support that claim. What we do have evidence of is that the U.S. government violates the property rights of almost all of its own citizens, not to mention many other people, literally on a daily basis.

    me: Yes, I’d make that claim. Stateless societies are extremely rare to non-existent. Proportionately smaller monopoly-governed states generally see more material wealth more widely distributed. I favor testing that bound toward zero. But I don’t do constructs except in general terms. Using them literally and in an absolutist manner leads to — begs for! — $1 to save 10MM lifeboat ethics. That’s the nature of absolutism!

  49. langa

    I’d suggest that in a state of nature, the notion of a rightful owner is meaningless!

    I’m not arguing for a “state of nature”, which, as far as I can tell, is little more than a hypothetical strawman set up by Thomas Hobbes (and later adopted by others) to justify his advocacy of a totalitarian society in which the ruler (or “sovereign”, to use his term) would have almost completely unlimited authority. In any case, I don’t think the characteristics of this hypothetical “state of nature” have much to do with the issues that we’re discussing.

    My point is that establishing a highly theoretical construct — NAP — and then measuring all human action against that construct leads to nothing useful that I can see.

    It only “leads to nothing useful” if you believe that there is no intrinsic value in opposing aggression. It seems that you feel that there are some cases in which aggression is justified, where the ends justify the means, even if those means include theft, murder, and so forth. As I have said throughout this thread, I believe that these sorts of actions are never justified.

    So, we have a fundamental disagreement, and I seriously doubt that either of us is going to convince the other, but just for the heck of it, I’ll give it one last shot. Imagine a different “highly theoretical construct”: the NRP, or Non-Rape Principle, which simply states that rape is never justified, no ifs, no ands, no buts, no caveats or exceptions of any kind whatsoever. Would you agree that “measuring all human action against that construct” would be a good idea, or are there situations in which your moral relativism might condone rape?

    Obviously, simply opposing rape won’t eliminate it. In fact, most people already subscribe to the NRP, and yet rape still happens. But in spite of that, I still think that there is considerable value in taking a consistent and principled stand against rape. I suspect that you probably agree with me, and that you would probably be willing to embrace the NRP. You also say that you are opposed to aggression, and yet you are very reluctant to embrace the NAP. So, what is the difference between the two?

  50. Gains

    RC @58: “Me: You pretty much had me until this paragraph. I agree that the US military adventurism is a bad idea generally. My beef is to state the position in ABSOLUTE terms. ”

    I did not state anything in absolute terms each and every point I made took ownership of my perspective. I started out saying that I think that right now we need to take a hard line against war and deal with anything else as the exception. We have gone to far and we need to pull back hard to move the line or it will not move at all.

    I do not want to worry about the $1 to save a million argument until we have gotten past the save a $1 and not kill the million ourselves.

    War is most certainly the wrong mechanism for spreading a free society. Violence works… don’t get me wrong; I get that. It is just not smart, and war… war is an atrocity no matter how much good is also presumably done.

    MHW @56:

    I avoid pointing at any one or two places to withdraw from. Any place you point to will have some people that are still attached to loved ones there. They go into an uncontrollable anxious state when such things are said. Have some compassion, their fears are more than valid. War is the problem not the client states we subjugate, nor their people there in.

  51. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 58,

    “To say with absolute certainty that a nation could never engage in good conscience in averting or stopping a genocide is false.”

    Actually it’s absolutely true, for the simple reason that a nation doesn’t have a “conscience,” good or bad.

    “To say this could not be done in a rational manner is also false.”

    Wrong again. Nations don’t reason.

    Nations aren’t people, nor are they any other kind of organism.

    To the extent they exist at all, which is as what you like to call “highly theoretical constructs,” they are mere aggregates.

    Putting 50 consciences or 50 reasoning tools (brains) on the same acreage no more makes them into a single (“national”) conscience or reasoning tool than grazing 50 cows on the same acreage makes them into a single cow.

    An aggregate, be it a “nation” or a “herd,” may have characteristics, but when the aggregate is composed of individual specimens of homo sapiens, collective conscience and reasoning aren’t among those characteristics.

    “To say it could be done without any collateral damage is also false.”

    You got that one right, if for no other reason than that there’s no such thing as “collateral damage.” It’s an anti-concept. It’s not an attempt to describe or classify something, but rather an attempt to keep something from being classified or described accurately.

  52. Robert Capozzi

    l60: I’m not arguing for a “state of nature”, which, as far as I can tell, is little more than a hypothetical strawman set up by Thomas Hobbes …

    me: The concept that Hobbes espoused — as opposed to OTHER concepts he espoused — is observable right now. Go into nature and see if there’s such a thing as “property.” There isn’t. A bear may catch a fish, temporarily possessing it unless another bear can take it away.

    l60: Imagine a different “highly theoretical construct”: the NRP, or Non-Rape Principle, which simply states that rape is never justified, no ifs, no ands, no buts, no caveats or exceptions of any kind whatsoever.

    me: Rape is a discrete act. While what constitutes that violation of law may well have some exceptions, I support laws against rape. Rape in this culture is a heinous act, but in the big picture, it’s a fairly rare subset of what NAP absolutists would characterize as “aggression,” including $1 in forced, coerced taxation per year. You can of course extrapolate meaning where you choose to, but I would suggest you do so in more compelling ways. Are you seriously offering one horrible act as representative of all aggression? Please…

    I’d note that rape prosecution is currently forbidden through cops and courts, which are supported with tax dollars.

    Again, I DO support reducing coercion very substantially. At the moment, I do support tax-financed prohibitions on the act of rape. You, apparently, do not. Perhaps Acme WMD and Meter Maids Insurance Company might police against rape, but, then again, maybe not!

    You ask “what’s the difference”? The difference is that no social order has evolved in which aggression can be curtailed entirely voluntarily. I’m open to the possibility that it could, but I see no evidence that it would in the foreseeable future. This puts us into the world of relativism, which is the hallmark of the human condition.

    tk62: Actually it’s absolutely true, for the simple reason that a nation doesn’t have a “conscience,” good or bad.

    me: Thank you, yes, nation’s have aggregated zeitgeists.

    tk: Wrong again. Nations don’t reason.

    me: Hmm, I can’t say I agree. Collectives do reason things out, perhaps in somewhat different ways than individuals do. We share ideas, pontificate, negotiate POVs until an action is taken. It may well look like a sausage factory, but then so do individual minds.

    tk: Nations aren’t people, nor are they any other kind of organism. To the extent they exist at all, which is as what you like to call “highly theoretical constructs,” they are mere aggregates. Putting 50 consciences or 50 reasoning tools (brains) on the same acreage no more makes them into a single (“national”) conscience or reasoning tool than grazing 50 cows on the same acreage makes them into a single cow. An aggregate, be it a “nation” or a “herd,” may have characteristics, but when the aggregate is composed of individual specimens of homo sapiens, collective conscience and reasoning aren’t among those characteristics.

    me: Whether there is a measurable “collective conscience,” I would have to agree. Whether there’s a measurable INDIVIDUAL conscience also seems beyond science, to the extent we wish to rely on science! Maybe ideas are piped into the Matrix pod, for all I know!

    Ideas are sorted out both individually and collectively; could be that individual ideas are organic, but that remains a mystery, near as I can tell.

    tk: You got that one right, if for no other reason than that there’s no such thing as “collateral damage.” It’s an anti-concept.

    me: Hmm, if a person with a machine gun is chasing someone and is firing at him or her to “right” a grievance, and a stray bullet hits an onlooker, I’d call that “collateral damage.” An unintended target is hit.

    You may call that something else, but it doesn’t change my perception. If you wish to change my perception, you’ll need to make a stronger case, and I’ll consider it.

  53. Michael H. Wilson

    re # 58 Robert I was commenting on Mr. Wrights’ piece when I wrote “War is not the answer is absolutely correct”.

    I do not know of a war in the 20th Century that was necessary. The one that comes close to being necessary was WWII and it grew out of WWI, which the U.S. should have stayed out of.

    From that point on all the other wars we were in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq are all outgrowths of WWI. Of course the Spanish American war in the first few years of that century was absolutely unnecessary.

    War has always caused untold deaths and destroyed property as well as caused economic disruption.

    I’ll stick with absolutely until it is proven otherwise.

  54. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    The anti-concept “collateral damage” covers three kinds of acts:

    1) Intentional murder/wounding/damage to the property of non-combatants;

    2) Negligent murder/wounding/damage to the property of non-combatants; and

    3) Accidental murder/wounding/damage to the property of non-combatants.

    The purpose of the term is not explanatory. Rather, its purpose is to carve out a purported exemption of responsibility/liability for the act in question based on the fact that the act was perpetrated by someone acting on behalf of a state.

    If Tom Knapp, civilian, intentionally, negligently or accidentally runs over you with his car, he incurs civil, and possibly criminal, liabilities for doing so. If he’s driving that car in his capacity as an employee of Acme Pizza Delivery, that company may incur liabilities as well, particularly if Acme has a 30-minuted delivery guarantee and sent him out 28 minutes after an order to a house 4 minutes away at normal speed.

    If Sgt. Tom Knapp, USMC, intentionally, negligently or accidentally runs over you with his HMMV, his employer (the US government) will claim that this is not the same thing as the aforementioned incident. Why not? Well, it’s just not, that’s all. But why? Because we’re the state and we don’t want it to be, that’s why, now shut the fuck up.

    If you’re saying that war doesn’t occur without intentional, negligent or accidental personal or property damages, I agree 100%.

    If you’re saying that those damages are different in principle than any other intentional, negligent or accidental damages, then you’re just making shit up to try and absolve state actors of moral responsibility for their actions.

  55. Robert Capozzi

    Mhw64: I’ll stick with [“War is not the answer is absolutely correct”] until it is proven otherwise.

    Me: It seems futile for me to offer “proof,” since there is no standard for proof. Nor is there apparently a shared interpretation of the word “absolutely,” which to me means forever and always for all. Nations are sometimes attacked, as I see it. Sometimes a response is required to keep the peace, even though the way of peace is through war. I’d somewhat agree with you, then, since I believe war is not the answer unless otherwise indicated. Non-war is my default position.

    Tk65: The purpose of the term is not explanatory. Rather, its purpose is to carve out a purported exemption of responsibility/liability for the act in question based on the fact that the act was perpetrated by someone acting on behalf of a state.

    Me: Yes, negligent or accidental injuries and death happen in war. After-the-fact recourse during acts of war may well be different than in a civil situation. Perhaps that difference is inappropriate. I have no opinion on the matter, but I think I get that there’s a difference.

  56. langa

    The concept that Hobbes espoused — as opposed to OTHER concepts he espoused — is observable right now.

    Perhaps so, but it is irrelevant to our discussion, since I am not advocating such a “state of nature”, and, as far as I can tell, neither are you.

    Rape is a discrete act.

    I disagree. “Rape”, just like “aggression”, is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of actions, which all share some essential characteristics. There are different ways of committing rape (drugging, brute force, etc.), just as there are different ways of committing aggression (of which rape happens to be one, along with murder, theft, and so on). However, even if I conceded this point, I don’t know how it would reconcile your contradictory claims that the NAP is invalid because it’s an absolutist doctrine, yet the NRP, which is also an absolutist doctrine, is not invalid.

    If the NAP were split up into many different principles, such as the NMP (Non-Murder Principle), NTP (Non-Theft Principle), and so on, would you then support each of these more specific principles? If so, then it seems that your opposition to the NAP is purely semantic. If not, then how can your opposition to them (on the grounds of absolutism) be reconciled with your support for the absolutist NRP?

    Are you seriously offering one horrible act as representative of all aggression?

    The difference between rape and less “horrible” forms of aggression is merely a difference of degree, although some types of aggression (such as murder, or “collateral damage”, if you prefer) are actually, IMO, more “horrible” than rape. I chose rape as the example because it’s one of the few types of aggression that people don’t try to whitewash when it’s committed by an employee of the state. (Although the high incidence of rape near military bases has been largely swept under the rug by the lapdogs in the MSM).

    At the moment, I do support tax-financed prohibitions on the act of rape. You, apparently, do not.

    This is a silly argument. My opposition to tax-financed prohibition of rape does not equate to a general opposition to the prohibition of rape, as you are apparently attempting to imply. Similarly, if a gangster donates a million dollars to a cancer research facility, and it turns out that he made that million dollars by forcing children to work as prostitutes, that does not mean that anyone who opposes child prostitution must also be opposed to cancer research.

    The difference is that no social order has evolved in which aggression can be curtailed entirely voluntarily.

    No, but it is equally true that no social order has evolved in which rape can be curtailed entirely voluntarily. Does this mean that you no longer support the NRP?

    This puts us into the world of relativism, which is the hallmark of the human condition.

    While this is not directly germane to this particular discussion, I would strongly disagree with your claim that “relativism … is the hallmark of the human condition”. It seems obvious to me that the defining characteristic of humanity is free will, which is the one thing that sets humans apart from all other species.

    Many people have claimed that superior intelligence is the defining characteristic, but that claim is flawed in at least two ways. First, the difference in intelligence is merely a difference in degree, not in kind. Second, there are differences in intelligence between other species, but that does not result in a higher quality of life for the “smarter” species, since they lack the free will needed to fully utilize their superior intelligence.

    So, I would definitely argue that freedom “is the hallmark of the human condition”, since it is the thing that makes us uniquely human, while relativism (at least in the sense that you are using the term) is little more than a type of confusion which is often exploited by those with a penchant for obfuscation.

  57. paulie Post author

    Just a reminder to myself to respond to some of the points in this discussion. Feeling burned out on IPR today. Everyone else, carry on.

  58. Don Lake, from private email

    Just a reminder, yet another ‘off’ day Monday for banks, Postal service, various government offices.

    Since the sage of Normandy Avenue mentioned the immoral, unethical shielding actions of the Soviet like, China like American government octopus, be aware.

    Tommy did not get into it, but I know that he knows.

    EVEN intentional neglect from the USDVA and or DoD is protected from justice by the half century of the unfair ‘Farres Doctrine’.

    In the mythical Humvee incident, Mister Knapp does not get into the details. [‘Life is short, give us the high points’?]

    I maintain that the first ‘moat’ of defense by the corrupt governmental officials / legal team will be ‘national interests’!

    Disbanding the 1950 federal supreme court mis direction? [Lake: conquering the Soviets by acting more like them!]

    Supreme Court filing? Congressional Bill? Or just having our ‘Change’ President make some changes, for a change.

    Just a few emails from the white house to DoJ instructing, via Executive Order, federal lawyers to drop or other wise quit using the ‘Lt Farres, et al’ defense.

  59. Robert Capozzi

    l67: Perhaps so, but it is irrelevant to our discussion, since I am not advocating such a “state of nature”, and, as far as I can tell, neither are you.

    me: Yes, neither am I. Rights however do not arise from a state of nature unless there is a baseline peacekeeping mechanism in place. Without such a mechanism what we have IS a state of nature. Rights are not free floating. You may think it’s practical to advocate a completely voluntary peacekeeping mechanism, but the burden of proof is on you. Personally, I don’t align with Acme WMD and Meter Maids as I find such an idea far fetched and highly speculative, right up there with abolishing gravity.

    l: I don’t know how it would reconcile your contradictory claims that the NAP is invalid because it’s an absolutist doctrine, yet the NRP, which is also an absolutist doctrine, is not invalid.

    me: Network effects and signaling. Rape laws are a signal that the State uses to express the vast majority’s sense that rape is unacceptable behavior. On the margins, what constitutes “rape” gets gray.

    An overarching set of laws monopolistically enforced sets the rules both horizontally and vertically. It sets the rules against force and fraud in a fairly wide area, too wide for my tastes.

    The Langa Nonarchy Pod may or may not acknowledge that the signal sent by Law X is or is not “legitimate.” If you thought forcible rape was acceptable behavior, you might engage in it, despite the law, rationalizing your behavior as justified. You might claim that the laws don’t apply to you.

    This sounds like utter chaos to me.

    l: If so, then it seems that your opposition to the NAP is purely semantic. If not, then how can your opposition to them (on the grounds of absolutism) be reconciled with your support for the absolutist NRP?

    me: Sorry, I don’t “oppose” the NAP. I use it as a signpost for asymptotic change. And I don’t hold high an absolutist stance on NRP, either. What constitutes “rape” is often gray. I support signals that say rape is unacceptable in this culture.

    l: No, but it is equally true that no social order has evolved in which rape can be curtailed entirely voluntarily.

    me: Right. The law is a signal, not an outcome. The law signals that murder and rape are unacceptable behavior, yet murder and rape happen outside the state of nature AND inside the law, with its baseline peacekeeping mechanisms. Murder and rape happen in Rothbardia, too, in theory, yes? Peaceful societies are not utopias, yes?

    I’m sorry, but your standard for analysis in entirely non-responsive here. Acme won’t warrant your standards!

    l: It seems obvious to me that the defining characteristic of humanity is free will, which is the one thing that sets humans apart from all other species….So, I would definitely argue that freedom “is the hallmark of the human condition”, since it is the thing that makes us uniquely human, while relativism (at least in the sense that you are using the term) is little more than a type of confusion which is often exploited by those with a penchant for obfuscation.

    me: Which is it…free will or freedom? Taking the second first, no, when the government controls about 45% of GDP, I would not call that “freedom.” But perhaps we’re watching a different movie.

    Free will seems to be present each and every moment of my existence, but I must admit that I sometimes make “bad” choices. Perhaps that’s not your experience, but I suspect you make mistakes, too. If so, I wonder what that tells you? It tells me that “free will” is not all it’s cracked up to be!

    Of course, when the government controls 45% of our lives, it strikes me that that implies, at least, that the control we might think we have is at least half the time constrained by government edicts. For a lot of reasons, I’d like to see that percentage fall rather a lot.

    How far and how fast I’d like to see that fall depends on a variety of factors. 0% tomorrow seems IN MY JUDGEMENT to be unacceptably risky, as well as unattainable. My politics tell me that I need to align with like-minded individuals to make progress in the here and now. That could be a messy, imperfect process, but at the moment, I cannot think of an alternative.

    Can you?

    Process counts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *