Monday, April 7, 2014

The Demand For Coercion

There are two roads that people can take to reach anarcho-capitalism.  People can take the economic road...or they can take the moral road.  The economic road is certainly the road less taken.

It's quite easy to identify whether somebody has taken the moral road.  When they invariably object to pragmatarianism...they use words like "rape", "theft", "coercion" and "violence".

Today I encountered this objection yet again.  It was the tipping point for me to create a blog entry for my reply.  Now I can simply link any future moral objectors to this post.

Well...ideally, if this post does its job, then I shouldn't have any reason to link to this post in the future.

There's always room for improvement though.  So I thought it might be interesting to track down a few of my replies over the past couple years.

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2014

What you're saying is that the victim could at least choose which person rapes them. No thanks, I'd rather not be raped in the first place. - Liberty_One, Government Success vs Market Success

What you're saying is that you don't want to boycott your rapist. If you don't want to boycott your rapist...then you must enjoy being raped.

Or maybe you think that the IRS is raping you for free? Naw, nobody's that stupid. Are they? Somebody would have to be a complete moron to fail to realize that congress pays the IRS to rape people.

Do you think that the amount of money that congress gives to the IRS accurately reflects the demand for coercion? If so, then you're a socialist. Because if you want to argue that the government supplies the optimal amount of coercion...then that means that you believe that it can supply the optimal amount of defense, milk, laptops and anything else.

Therefore, you're a socialist that enjoys being raped. Or maybe you're a libertarian that hasn't thought things through? Same thing.

In a pragmatarian system...it wouldn't be congress that determines how much money the IRS receives...it would be your neighbors. Do you think that your neighbors really want to pay the IRS to rape you? Do you think that the rape of "Liberty One" would be a high priority for them? If so, then what good would eliminating the government do? Getting rid of the government would be as useless as getting rid of guns. Guns don't kill people...people kill people.

Clearly you have no idea what Rothbard had to say about the subject...
A further point: in a profound sense, no social system, whether anarchist or statist, can work at all unless most people are "good" in the sense that they are not all hell-bent upon assaulting and robbing their neighbors. If everyone were so disposed, no amount of protection, whether state or private, could succeed in staving off chaos. - Murray Rothbard, Society without a State
Do you think that your neighbors are hell-bent on raping you? Do you think that there's a huge demand for coercion? If so, then getting rid of the government will simply create a huge vacuum. And markets, just like nature, abhor a vacuum.

Like I said before, pragmatarianism would clarify the demand for public goods. This would allow us to see the true demand for coercion. For all you know, you could simply be tilting at windmills.

First you look, then you leap. First you figure out which tree the cat is in, then you start barking.

The efficient allocation of resources depends on accurate information. Clarifying the demand for public goods would provide us with infinitely more accurate information than we currently have.


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2014

That's like saying you give money to your robber, or make love to your rapist. - LeeHyori, What Should The Government Do?

You're an anarcho-capitalist.  With the current system...the government is your enemy.  The government is the thief, rapist and murderer all rolled into one.  In a pragmatarian system...who would your enemy be?  Your enemy would be your neighbor.  If the IRS steals, rapes and murders you...then it would be because your neighbor paid them to do it.

So with the current system...you can shake your fist at the government...but in a pragmatarian system...you could have a talk with your neighbor.

The fact of the matter is...if your neighbor really wants to rape, murder and steal from you that much...then getting rid of the government would be about as effective as getting rid of guns.  Guns don't kill people...people kill people.  And people are pretty resourceful.

Sure, we don't need to implement pragmatarianism in order for you to talk to your neighbor.  But why waste your time talking to your neighbor if they have absolutely no interest in raping, murdering and stealing from you?

Here's the point that you really don't seem to appreciate: you have absolutely no idea what the demand is for coercion.  Well...unless you believe that the current supply of coercion perfectly matches the demand for coercion.  Is that what you believe?  If so, then you believe in socialism.  You believe that government planners can accurately divine exactly how badly your neighbors want to destroy you.


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2013

And pragmatarianism forces people to contribute to the tabs. Its just another form of coercion. - Sola_Fide, Nietzsche, Austrians and Creative Destruction

No no no. Pragmatarianism would reveal what the actual demand for coercion is. In other words, you have no idea how much of their taxes people would give to the IRS. If you did know the actual demand for coercion, then you would be omniscient and socialism would be a viable concept. But you are not omniscient, the preference revelation problem is a real problem, socialism is not a viable concept...we have no idea what the true demand for coercion really is.

But do you want to guess what the demand for coercion truly is? Is there a huge demand for coercion? If so, then so much for anarcho-capitalism. If not, then so much for your argument against pragmatarianism. If there's only a small demand for coercion, if only a few people give their taxes to the IRS, then the IRS could not be considered a legitimate public good. Why? Because enough of the people have to truly support (Willingness To Pay) a PUBLIC good in order for it to be considered a PUBLIC good.

So are you omniscient? Do you know what the actual demand for coercion really is? Or do you want to guess what the actual demand for coercion really is? Do you guess that there's a huge demand for coercion? Do you guess that it's the preference of most citizens to rob/eat their neighbors?
A further point: in a profound sense, no social system, whether anarchist or statist, can work at all unless most people are "good" in the sense that they are not all hell-bent upon assaulting and robbing their neighbors. If everyone were so disposed, no amount of protection, whether state or private, could succeed in staving off chaos. Furthermore, the more that people are disposed to be peaceful and not aggress against their neighbors, the more successfully any social system will work, and the fewer resources will need to be devoted to police protection. Murray Rothbard, Society without a State

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2012

Don't pay taxes for a year or two then and see how your quote-violence turns into non-quote-violence. - TheRobin, Can Economics Explain Human Sacrifice?

TheRobin, just like a liberal...you're not thinking things through.  If I stop paying taxes...the people who subject me to violence aren't going to do it for free.  They're going to do it because they are paid to do it.  Who pays them?  Obviously the government...but more specifically...government planners.  They are the ones who determine how much funding each government organization receives.

Everything we know about economics tells us that government planners cannot know the true values of millions and millions of people.  If they could...then all the socialist experiments would have been successful.  Given that they all failed miserably...we know that there's a disparity between how planners distribute public funds and how the market would distribute public funds.

What I'm advocating is that we allow taxpayers to choose which government organizations they give their taxes to.  This would create a market in the public sector.

So if you want to guess that the distribution of public funds would be exactly the same...if you want to guess that taxpayers would give the same amount of funds to the government organizations that engage in violent activity...then...you're indicating two things..

1. that you believe that socialism is a perfectly viable concept

2. that a stateless society would be just as violent as a state society

2 comments:

  1. Ancap arguments about taxation are based on the assertion that things can only be ethically owned privately. In other words 'public ownership' is by definition immoral according to them, because it is not private ownership. That's their whole argument in a nutshell.

    They like to claim that private ownership is ethical because it is based on "homesteading", but a little digging quickly reveals that to be a disingenuous argument. In reality they do not care whether private property is actually based on "homesteading" or not, they simply believe that private property is ethical because it is private, period. So their ideology is based on an unfounded assertion and nothing more. Many Ancaps don't consciously realise this, but then again most ancaps are just angry childish types who prefer facile soundbites to coherent arguments.

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    Replies
    1. Like I said, there are two types of anarcho-capitalism...moral and economic. You're discussing the moral type.

      You might take a look at this self-ownership survey. It's interesting because even the most "devout" natural rights anarcho-capitalists will disagree on what constitutes self ownership.

      The economic type doesn't fit into your nutshell. The economic type looks at outcomes. David Friedman's work is the best example of this. If you haven't already done so...I highly recommend reading his book The Machinery of Freedom. It's right up there with Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia.

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