PostHeaderIcon Imprecise Language

In a reply to a recent remark I had made, attempting to clarify my position regarding a laissez faire stateless society, Chris said:

So now your saying government is ok as long as it’s on your terms. It’s just the size and scope that you find offensive. We can debate that all day which is pretty much where we started off. 🙂

OK, fair enough; in my various attempts to express and defend my still evolving thoughts, on the avoidable misfortune of mankind being forcefully subjugated to the will of often impetuous rulers, I have occasionally used imprecise language. When I have used the term ‘government,’ I have generally meant the Federal government, or ‘state’ known as the USA, headquartered in Washington, DC. Reviewing several dictionaries, I find anywhere from six to nine different definitions for the term ‘government,’ and an astonishing 126 different terms for various forms of government. Those employing words like ‘control’; ‘rule’; ‘authority’; and ‘state’ I would steadfastly oppose outright. Yet, I suppose it is not entirely unfair to apply the generic term ‘government,’ to the chief and/or council of a tribal village, or some other forms of voluntary social compacts, which do not entail rulers and/or coercion.

In the future, just as I have learned to try to avoid the use of the term ‘anarchy,’ I will endeavor to avoid the general term ‘government’ when I specifically mean ‘state.’ To be clear, as a sovereign individual, yearning to live free, I have no interest whatever in restricting anyone’s freedom to voluntarily associate with whomever they wish, in whatever manner they wish, as long as they and their associations do not attempt to coerce me into conforming with their worldview.

Call these voluntary associations ‘governments’ if one wishes; but forget expecting me to ever accept one as having any ‘authority’ over my own life. I too might find it to my advantage to voluntarily join a benign cooperative association, and agree to abide by its rules and covenants, for the benefits of community; but I would never accept it, or any of its employees, as an ‘authority,’ which must be obeyed. The moment that such membership evinced a net loss for my own happiness and Liberty, I would withdraw my sanction, support, and participation forthwith. ◄Dave►

6 Responses to “Imprecise Language”

  • Chris says:

    Quite fair enough. When discussing the scope and size of any entity there needs to be a baseline level or place to start the discussion. That’s why in anything I have posted in any America Reborn topic I have referenced back to the US founding. It is a well known structure to either build on or detract from. How much to build or detract is certainly a rich topic. Simply stating that it wouldn’t exist in any form or level leaves little to debate.

    I am quite content with the notion that States would do just fine without the federal government. Any law or edict from the federal government with the exception of “the common defense of states” is duplicating. States are quite good at laying down edicts all on their own. Moving it down to smaller entities is quite possible. I would propose that the smaller the entity the more sway over it’s “participants” that entity should have.

    Call these voluntary associations ‘governments’ if one wishes; but forget expecting me to ever accept one as having any ‘authority’ over my own life. I too might find it to my advantage to voluntarily join a benign cooperative association, and agree to abide by its rules and covenants, for the benefits of community; but I would never accept it, or any of its employees, as an ‘authority,’ who must be obeyed. The moment that such membership evinced a net loss for my own happiness and Liberty, I would withdraw my sanction, support, and participation forthwith.

    Too late. Your already in. This is where the human nature part kicks in. A simple example. You live in a community that needs a well. Your property is well located near the center of that community. You need that well as much as anybody else but can’t dig a fifty foot hole yourself so the town helps you dig the well with the understanding that it’s for everybody. Everybody is happy until you being a cranky old curmudgeon don’t like being woke up at 6:00 in the morning by people getting water. You put a fence around the well. It will soon become evident that your “sanction”, “support”, and particularly your “participation” is not optional. Of course you could have refused to let the well be built on your property but you thought it would be great to have the well right outside your door. Your property rights are valid only up to the point that they deny someone else their property. Their property being the “fruits of their labor”.

    Coercion is never the choice of the coerced.

    • ◄Dave► says:

      I will follow your lead, Chris, and break up my responses also. First, I would ask at what point in history are you referring to, when you say “the US founding?” The political entity officially entitled “The United States of America,” was established by Congress agreeing to the Articles of Confederation in 1777, before the rebellious Colonists had yet defeated the British army. This original Union was essentially a mutual defense pact and free trade agreement, between autonomous sovereign States. It had zero power to regulate the lives of individuals in any manner whatever.

      It had no coercive power even to levy or collect taxes, much less regulate individual’s behavior. I would have had no difficulty with its existence at the time, and would frankly have agreed with the Anti-federalists ten years later, that replacing it with the far more onerous Constitution, was a tragic mistake that reversed their recently hard won Liberty.

      I would propose that the smaller the entity the more sway over it’s “participants” that entity should have.

      Please define ‘sway.’ I would acknowledge that I would undoubtedly have more respect for, and likely show more deference to, the opinions of my neighbors than those of faceless bureaucrats from afar; but if by ‘sway’ you mean ‘authority,’ implying that “participants” are somehow obligated to abide its decisions and/or obey its employees, I would reject the notion out of hand – UNLESS – said participant has voluntarily chosen of his own free will, to contractually obligate himself to follow such dictates.

      An adult is free to make contractual agreements of any sort that suits him, as long as he is not coerced into doing so. This brings us to your community well and mutual water company example. Let’s abandon the pretense of a primitive tribe, and discuss how such thorny matters could, and would, be adequately dealt with by a modern, coercion free, civil society. Anarchist literature abounds with discussion of private enterprise performing all of the useful societal functions, currently provided by governments of any sort. See the wiki: Dispute Resolution Organization (DRO):

      The phrase “dispute resolution organization” was coined by right-libertarian Stefan Molyneux in his self-published white paper, “The Stateless Society: An Examination of Alternatives.”[1]

      Molyneux posits that within the theoretical stateless society, a dispute resolution organization (DRO) would be a private firm that would enforce contracts and resolve disputes on behalf of their clients, replacing services previously handled by governments. The firms would be voluntarily contracted to provide, or coordinate with other firms to provide, services such as mediation, reimbursement for damages, personal protection, and credit reporting. In essence, they combine qualities borrowed from modern private defense/police, insurance companies, credit ratings, and alternative dispute resolution.[2]

      Hypothetically, DRO’s would operate under a system of anarcho-capitalism. It has been suggested that such firms would compete within a free market, with their reliability and quality of their service monitored by independent ratings agencies. Customers also would have their reputations reported to ratings agencies by the DROs.[2]

      I have read several of Molyneux’s free e-books and he makes his case well.

      Thus a mutual water company desiring to drill a well on private property, would first execute an arbitration enforceable contract, establishing an irrevocable easement across the property to the well. Any subsequent desire to modify the terms of that easement, by either party, would require a mutually agreeable renegotiation to amend their contract. Those desiring the changes might very well have to offer a substantial inducement to the other party; but under no circumstance, could coercion be used to effect said modification.

      Once contractually agreed, arbitrarily fencing off the easement would be a bold act of aggression, for which the community would have the absolute right of self-defense. The initial defensive response would probably be to cut the fence; but if the property owner chose to escalate it to violence, he could ultimately be taking his life in his own hands. Rational actors would be very likely to choose to resolve their differences with the more peaceful means, which would be readily available to them through the DRO. A well-armed society is, of necessity, a polite society.

      Coercion is never the choice of the coerced.

      Nor ever within the purview of options for anyone, in a rational voluntarist stateless society. Eliminate the concept of ‘Authorities,’ and establish the absolute moral right of self-defense against anyone attempting it, and watch coercion soon vanish from cooperative civilized society. ◄Dave►

  • Chris says:

    The actual issue of the well probably isn’t really all that serious. Reasonable people who have mutual respect for others liberty and property could surely avoid such conflicts. We’ll just get some of the town folks together including you and talk it over. A solution should be easy. Somebody comes up with the idea that nobody will use the well before 7:00 in the morning so you can sleep in. You say you want to sleep until 9:00. Well that’s not fair to the baker that has to have water earlier to start his baking. All can agree that 8:00 would be acceptable. There problem solved. Everybody agrees that nobody will use the well before 8:00 in the morning. That was easy.

    Uht Oh! I think we just created the towns board of public works and they have just passed their first regulation. My guess is that at some point they may decide that the restricted well access isn’t working for everybody so they will in time attempt to modify their regulation. Your input is now not of the property owner that the well is on but only one voice of many because in the past you were coerced into ceding some control over your property to satisfy the towns right to their property and still maintain some control of your property. Your one regulation away from no control at all.

    This example may or may not ever happen but I use it only to illustrate what I call “organic government”. In other words somehow and through some means somebody or some group will make the rules. We can all be free to denounce and ignore any or all of those rules. Sooner or later it will become non beneficial to do so right up to being a threat to ones existence. Given that it’s not hard to see how so much upheaval goes on in the world. The point always comes where an “organic growth” needs a reset. Whatever form that reset takes.

    • ◄Dave► says:

      Your input is now not of the property owner that the well is on but only one voice of many because in the past you were coerced into ceding some control over your property…

      How so? I thought you said everyone had come to a compromise agreement. Are we sharing the same definition of ‘coercion?’:

      noun
      1. the act of coercing; use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance.

      2. force or the power to use force in gaining compliance, as by a government or police force.

      The fundamental flaw in this example, of course, is your acquiescence to the notion that the majority in a cooperative community, has the right to impose their will on a minority by force. In my voluntarist world, they neither have such a right, nor any such necessity. Why are you so willing to permit it? ◄Dave►

  • Chris says:

    No government illustrates my position of “organic growth” better than the US federal government. When you look at what it’s become as opposed to what was intended it’s staggering. But that growth begins with inception. Not even a plain written document of enumerated powers slowed it down. The first 100 years got off slow but with power comes the ability to expand power. Power increases exponentially. That’s how we have the highest office in federal government dictating what bathroom somebody can use. Why? Because they can. If that can be mandated what can’t they demand? The executive branch has seen the most expansion of all branches. Mostly due to the congressional branch ceding power to the executive branch. Over the past two decades representation has disappeared. How long has it been since there was actually a “peoples budget” passed? Not permission for the government to just keep doing what they are doing but an actual budget that lays out spending and fiscal sanity? It’s not there because they are no longer accountable to the people.

    Well I’m rambling and telling you nothing you don’t know. I guess my point is that what has and is happening was unavoidable. “Organic growth” is a construct of human nature. The tribal chief is happiest when the tribe is bringing him fruit in gratitude for his benevolence.

    • ◄Dave► says:

      I agree with the Anti-federalists that the Constitution gave the Federal government way too much power from the beginning, and with you that the attempts to restrict it with enumerated powers, horizontal and vertical separation of powers, and the Bill of Rights, have utterly failed to restrict its growth. This explains the two famous quotes by Jefferson, regarding the likely necessity of a new revolution every generation, and the periodic feeding of the tree of Liberty with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants. It is certainly well past the time for Patriots to revere and defend the Constitution, if there ever was such. It has been over 150 years, since it even came close to being of any use, in restraining the Federal government’s tyrannical march (or organic growth, if you will) toward despotism. If it cannot even do that, of what possible value is it to We The People? ◄Dave►

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