When does the right of self defense begins?

In this video you see UC Davis students sitting on a sidewalk protesting. I will let the video do the rest of the talking:

Here are my questions:

Who is the aggressor?

What moral authority did the aggressor posses to aggress?

What would be a reasonable response as self defense?

If your answer is that the students should have obeyed the police, please respond:

What is the purpose of a “right” that is conditional on the desires of the State?

Where do you draw the line, water cannons? bullets? rape? gas chambers? beheading?, at what point has the State crossed the line?

If it was one of your kids protesting, would you not protect him/her?

When did we become Oceania?

42 comments to When does the right of self defense begins?

  • Thanks for asking these questions. I’ve seen this video elsewhere lately, and what horrifies me most is that roughly 50% of those commenting see no problem with the behavior of the police. This used to be my country. Now, I am much less sure.

  • Country Codger

    The right to self defense is as much a moral decision as it is a legal and lawful one. Most people will defend people they love before they would defend themselves. Sounds strange but I have seen it happen many, many times. This has nothing to do with legality or lawfulness of the self defense decision but it has everything to do with the morality of it.

    I think that the time is coming, soon, when everyone will have to make a moral decision rather than a legal or lawful one. Chance favors the prepared mind. Think it through now because when push comes to shove it will be too late to think about it. It will be time to do it.

    Just my thoughts for what they are worth. Thanks for raising the question GoldSaver.

  • Aurochs

    Baa Ram Ewe, Baa Ram Ewe, Baa Ram Ewe!

    That’ll do pig.

  • TexPat

    From what I saw were peaceful protesters staging a peaceful sit in. It is readily apparent the aggressors were the “peace officers”.
    Yes indeed, where do you draw the line?

  • Bill

    I wonder who those cops are, where do they live and who are their families?

    Very relevant information this day and age to see who are those employed ostensibly to keep the peace.

  • lastmanstanding

    Here is my question…What was this about…Why would the cops even be here in the first place? This whole deal should never have happened.

    Someone is staging this bs…someone (behind the scenes)is relentlessly instigating these scenarios nationwide.

    You must question everything and you must think outside the box.

    @ CC. Making the decision of “how you will react” is great advise…Make the decision now…No one knows how it will all shake out…and when…have a plan.

  • @lastmanstanding
    Even if we accepted the notion that there is a puppet master behind the scenes encouraging the protests and the police response, the questions remain:

    Why can a police officer, when no one has committed an act of aggression against him or “citizens”, assault peaceful protesters with a chemical weapon but the protesters have no legal right to defend themselves or retaliate after the fact?

    If I walked into a crowded public area and forced everyone out with a chemical weapon I would be guilty of aggravated assault, yet the “peace officer” has no fear of such legal repercussions.

    If you watched to the end of the video, you will see that when the protesters began surrounding the police (after the fact) and presented a potential threat, the officers ran. So the sitting protesters, who represented no threat to the officers were assaulted but, the protesters who did represent a threat forced the officers to leave. I think there might be a lesson of some sort here.

  • Ben

    “Why can a police officer, when no one has committed an act of aggression against him or “citizens”, assault peaceful protesters with a chemical weapon but the protesters have no legal right to defend themselves or retaliate after the fact?”

    Because we consent to it.


    Hello. Look folks, there is only one problem, one trouble in the world, all over the world causing misery. The Wealthy Powerful Elite seeking to fully dominate. This is more than a moral choice about freedom, liberty and humanity. This is about the survival of all living creatures including human beings, on earth. My plan is simple: Kill each and every one of them, their wifes, their children, and there associates. Kill them all one by one. Kill each and every person who can be determined to be one of the Wealthy Powerful Elite of this world, in each part of the world, in all nations and places. I hereby authorize it. Start. I am a US Citizen living in Southern California. Come and get me. My name is JOHN LONGENECKER

  • Victor

    Randy, roughly 50% or more of them were educated in Public Schools, and were pounded every day with the Huminist crap till now that is the filter they see the world through. It will take a Great Shaking before they wake up.


    Hello. This is not about Civil War. What a foolish waste of time! Don’t fight with cops and governments and corporations. Don’t destroy buildings and cities. Wrong targets. Think about it. Just kill each and every one of the Rich Powerful Elite in the world. I hereby authorize it. I am an American citizen living in Southern California. Come and get me. My name is JOHN LONGENECKER

  • ECP

    This raises so many questions.

    First they are kneeling and sitting placidly waiting for it as are the quite on lookers… not exactly candidates for the spraying.

    Next it is being noticibly filmed… not something the police would want if not staged.

    Then look at the reactions of the sprayed, the irritant level must have been a lot lower, henced staged.

    Look at these releases with a more critical eye as everything is manipulatied and co-oped, even on the internet.

    Then look at how the police retreat rather than continue the control factor… all planned in my opinion.

  • Prudentis

    monopoly on violence

    Who is the aggressor?
    – The police

    What moral authority did the aggressor posses to aggress?
    – In this particular case? No idea. Did the students pose a threat? I doubt it. Did they disobey? Probably. Was the pepper spray OK? Nope.
    But what about the opposite question:
    What is the limit to tolerating unlawful behavior?

    And morals? Morals are subjective. Only if you argue, that violence in itself is immoral you may have a point here but then you should also regard self defense as immoral. (remember Jesus and the right/left cheek?)

    What would be a reasonable response as self defense?
    – Moraly? CC answered that question. Legally? None.
    The state has a monopoly on violence. You don’t like it? Me neither. But we live in a world with physical limits. I’ll take a state with monopoly on violence with clear bounderies for police forces over an anarchistic one any day.

    Where I draw the line? When non-violent protesters get hurt. Pepper spray on peaceful students? That clearly crosses the line. PR-24s? yep. crosses the line. Water cannons? crosses the line.
    All those measures in my eyes can only be applied, when the police forces are being attacked. I have been to demonstrations and the moment the first stones start flying, I say goodby. I do not feel comfortable being on the aggressors’ side.

  • James

    ugh…. so much outrage in this world and such little effort to think.

    so first thing is first. the video on this site does little to explain the issue of whether or not the police were acting excessively becuase there is no context. This news video (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/uc-davis-students-pepper-sprayed-peacful-protest-caught-14996508?tab=9482931&section=1206833) at least does that at the end, after getting you all riled up for the poor innocent college kids. The students were in violation of the order to clear the quad and clearly were not trying to comply.

    So unless you are one of the few true anarchists out there you have to cede the fact that the police were acting to enforce the law.

    So I pose the question of what is the alternative to forcing compliance? if this law is not worth enforcing what is? I hate speeding laws but I pay the tickets, I think seat belt laws are ludicrous but I use one. I don’t like last call on a night out when I am having fun, but try and tell a club bouncer your not leaving.
    This was not a lawful protest protected by the constitution if it was on private property. For those of you already convinced you hate me by this point of my rant, would you want me to protest at the end of your driveway and sit down making you unable to go to work (assuming you have one, if not pretend it is welfare check cashing day or whatever)? Heck having the cops pepper spray you is a nice alternative to how I would prefer to deal with it.

    These kids are in college, they want some big crusade to fight for and they are scared of the future their parents + grandparents have set out/ screwed up for them… I get it. But I also don’t feel the least bit bad for their badly chosen battle. Maybe if they put this much effort into studying they would compete for jobs on the world market a little better and would have less angst over their bleak graduation prospects.

    Bottom line, yeah some times cops go overboard. But I am sick of every time someone says “don’t tase me bro” it is like a get out of the dumb situation I put myself in card. I mean seriously the one dude inteverviewed actaully said to the effect the cops said “we are going to pepper spray you” and the kid was taken by surprise when they did? sounds like a kid whose parents raised him up a little heavy on the threats and light on the back hand. Well welcome to the real world kid where not everyone gets to win and they do in fact keep score.

  • Charlie

    Well put. After what I’ve recently seen, I will never house, help, or save a cop. They’re on their own.

  • Noel

    I see it like this. The cops escalated the violence but the people standing aorund did nothing to help them. They didn’t attack the cops for what they did. Do you think this could have happened in a country in the moddle east? Hell no! They would have attacked the police and likely shot several of them. This is why the police have the balls to do what they do, because NOBODY will stand up to them. When people start fighting back, only then will things change. Evil triumphs when good men(pussified men)do nothing.

  • Soveregn Patriot

    Police have no more authority than a mall cop. Remember, only a sheriff is elected and have authority. By constitutional law and moral authority this is an attack of citizens on other citizens and all people have the right to life and self defense.
    The people assaulting the students should be brought up on assault charges and sued.
    Note, “mr. So & so should be sued not the police”. Every person is responsible for their own actions and the officers are responsible for their actions as individual people.

  • @James, let me address some of your points:
    “the students were in violation of the order to clear the quad and clearly were not trying to comply. ”

    Is your argument that the police have the moral authority to initiate violence against a protester if such person refuses an order? What orders is a person allowed to disobey, or is disobedience in an of itself an impossibility?

    “So unless you are one of the few true anarchists out there you have to cede the fact that the police were acting to enforce the law.”

    I am a true anarchist but that being besides the point, what degree of violence should an agent of the State have the moral authority to initiate in order to enforce the law? Is a baton reasonable? How about a bullet between the eyes? Gas chamber? Considering that laws are nothing more than mandates from the State, which laws can they enforce with force? If the State decides that gay men should be interred, can the police use force in order to pick them all up? How about if your parents were born in the wrong country? Or are practicing the wrong religion?

    And more importantly, when can you use self defense in order to protect yourself against physical force?

    “This was not a lawful protest protected by the constitution if it was on private property”

    I am sorry, I did not see that proviso in the 1st amendment. The right to peacefully assemble… as long as the publicly financed University does not object. These are college students demonstrating by sitting on a sidewalk on the campus they are paying thousands of dollars to attend. Not quite the private driveway scenario.

  • Prudentis

    GoldSaver I tried to answer your questions but you seem more keen on polemizing with James so let me address one point you direct at him:

    “I am a true anarchist but that being besides the point”

    Actually no, it isn’t. That is exactly THE point, because you are just trying to tiptoe around that real issue.
    The moral and legal questions are all important by themselves but you are not actually posing those. You try to give the impression, that this is a moral question, whereas in fact you implicitly pose the anarchy vs. state monopoly on violence question. There is no way to answer your questions if you assume, that anarchy is a real alternative.
    We do not live in an utopian world of physical freedom but in a world where anarchy works just as good as socialism … namly only on paper, as an idea.

    So as long as you think anarchy is a practicable alternative to a state, there is no level ground to argue about morals and legal issues when the executive is involved. You deny the necessity for the executive, so where is the point of argueing it’s right to use force? I can argue very nicely with proponents of a stronger state with me always on the side of a very strongly CONTROLLED and minimal state. But I really can’t argue with anarchists. I have spent hundreds of hours argueing with socialists. To no avail. Reality, regardless how often it proves them wrong, seems to have no impact on their ideology.

    Anarchy, being an even better system on paper, has even greater unresolvable issues, when it comes to reality.
    Sorry, but for your ideas to work, you will have to wait for the afterlife. And I am very sorry for you, if you are with Stefan Molyneux on the afterlife issue, because in that case, disappointment is unavoidable. :)

  • Aurochs

    Thank you Prudentis for your voice of peace in the wilderness. It seems that just because most readers of this website are bright enough to understand and value precious metals and sound money, doesn’t mean we have much more in common. It saddens me so and fills me with such disappointment to read so many people who can listen to a person like longnecker spew such hate and violence as to threaten innocent families, women and CHILDREN of his hated “elite”, and say nothing!? Sometimes I can’t believe what I read in this website. I thought this was a place where people who valued THE LAW (remember that? The Constitution? The Law?) could have intellegent conversation but often this place sounds like 60’s socialist hippie dogma. I’ve never been very fond of cops either but they have gotten so much better and more professional in recent years. Don’t make them the enemy. They are ordinary people just like you and doing the best they can for the most part. We are going to need them on our side when TSHTF.

    Those so-called ‘students’ wanted exactly what they got. It’s why they were there doing what they were doing. The police were called there by the University administration and were doing what we pay them to do.. keep order and enforce the laws. What else would you have had them do… struggle and physically fight to cuff and arrest those people and take them all to jail? Nobody was injured, they just got ‘motivated’ to follow the legal reasonable directions of law enforcement officers. I wasn’t there and neither were you and none of us knows what actually happened but from what I saw on the video and elsewhere, the police acted with remarkable restraint and professionalism. That’s my opinion and maybe I’m wrong and maybe the cops overreacted and were out of line but… you guys are offended because some spoiled children got a face full of pepper spray and then you have a serious discussion about committing acts of violence against the police? You listen to this john longnecker nazi threaten to murder innocent women and children and you say NOTHING??? Wow. Just incredible.

  • Prudentis

    Aurochs, as for me, I tend to overread such comments.
    This is based, probably, on the long years spent on different forums, beginning with pre-internet newsgroups.
    When I read posts beginning like longnecker’s, I just skip them entirely. In fact, I only read his comments now, that you mentioned them, to see, what you were talking about.
    Well, what can I say other than it goes far beyond the point of my tolerance to stupidity? Anyone openly calling for killing other human beings is not worth commenting on. Were this a German forum, chances are, he would get a visit from the police for excitation to murder. The German executive doesn’t take things like this lightly and I can understand that.
    Calling for awareness of the dangers the powerful pose to the world and actively calling for murder are two very different things and I encourage everyone, who has such murderous thoughts to actively seek help from a professional psychiatrist.

  • @aurochs… I also ignored Longnecker’s post. I find posts such as those counter productive and a waste of time. Beyond the moral argument that the initiation of violence, aka aggression, is the evil I am trying to point out, an action such as that would yield the polar opposite result than what we are trying to accomplish.

    @Prudentis…. In the body of the piece I am discussing the morality of aggression. More specifically, I am pointing out the moral dilemma caused by the State. By using a weapon when no threat existed, the officer is initiating violence. Since he initiated violence, morally, the students have the right to self defense using appropriate force. Since the officer is an agent of the State, the students must subordinate their right of self defense. This is a dangerous situation. It is a banana republic or totalitarian State situation where the State openly violates common law and natural rights and places the citizens in an untenable position. If the students respond to the aggression, they violate the law but, by been the aggressor, the State has given the students the right to violate the law. A law that is impossible to obey is by its nature an invalid law.

    Throughout history States have enacted many laws that should have been disobeyed. I could go through a long list of examples but, I am sure it is unnecessary. If the State enforces bad law, is it still a valid law? Do you have to give up your natural rights in order to comply with the dictates of the Ruling Class? And if so, what is the point of natural rights? A right that is not universal is not a right but a privilege. Privileges make you a serf not a self.

    As to my responses in the comments section. I can understand how some would be nervous or even doubtful of the human capacity to live without a State. Even in the colonies, the vast majority of the population were Loyalists and advocated a policy of appeasement to the king instead of outright rejection of the monarchy. My first argument would be to point out that you live in a State of anarchy 95% of your life. By your own admission, a few weeks ago, you ignore the State’s dictates for most of your life. I understand that it is mentally difficult to take the short hop from partial freedom to full freedom. We are at a teenage state of existence where we want a certain degree of freedom but are afraid to let go of Mommy and Daddy. I get it but, just as the colonists realized that they were too moral to continue to exists under a monarchy, we must realize that we have advanced to the point were we no longer need a State. And yes, not all of us, not even a majority of us have yet arrived there. But those of us who have can not continue to evolve while shackled to the rest who have not. We are being held back by the slow kids in class.


    It’s interesting how we all complain about the elite committing blatantly illegal acts with impunity, as they mercilessly murder, rape, rob and loot the poor to gain unimaginable wealth and power. Their murderous greed is, as it has always been, protected by the laws they have enacted, through purchasing and stealing positions of power in the legitimate government and influential industries, which they have infiltrated and corrupted.

    These elite, have never given quarter. Their Godless minds compel them to devour the weak and to take whatsoever they desire, at any cost. They will never stop until they have consumed all and destroyed everything. It is their nature to do so.

    They have conditioned us for centuries to react in the exact manner you see throughout the world today. We have all been programmed to act in a predictive way. The police obey orders, as they do violence based in fear, upon their countrymen who through the devious spinning of the elites, have become in their eyes a dangerous adversary. The people endlessly debate right and wrong, all the while shaking an impotent fist in the air, demanding justice from the unjust, truth from liars, peace from psychopathic killers. The wealthy and powerful haven’t the capacity to feel compassion in any way, shape or form, yet we appeal to a conscience which was long ago, seared as with a hot iron. They are cunning masters of deception, well versed in the art of war-making and division.

    I’d like to believe that we can reverse this onslaught of madness peacefully, without resorting to the bloodshed that I think the elite would love to use against us. But I fear that time has passed. Not because there is no other way. But because the people have succumbed to ignorance, apathy and dependence upon the government, not only for sustenance, but for perceived safety and a sense of well being.

    Maybe JOHN LONGENECKER is only saying what everyone is thinking, but are afraid to state publicly. I don’t know. But one thing is for certain; we are in a fight for our very survival as a nation, and as human beings who want only to live free. The enemy’s only terms are that he expects us to live under his reign or die by his sword. There is no middle ground. There is no place to fall back to in retreat. One way or another, we all will soon become warriors, like it or not.

  • James

    Prudentis and Aurochs did most of my work for me, and certainly made me feel good to realize I was not the only one who found the students to be foolish.

    But in an effort to be complete let me hit what I think is left for answering Goldsaver:

    Is your argument that the police have the moral authority to initiate violence against a protester if such person refuses an order?- Yes. Now of course this is not without caveat and restriction but violence comes in many levels that can be used appropriately, and must be to maintain order. Violence is simply a physcial form of forcing one’s will and in this case the police went through a very specific escalation. 1) verbal and written warning to vacate 2) show of presence in riot gear 3) verbal warning that they would use pepper spray 4) actually using it…. Its is not like they surprised anyone so it is hard to call them cowardly like “anonymous” is out there doing (http://news.yahoo.com/anonymous-targets-pepper-spraying-policeman-195228075.html)

    What orders is a person allowed to disobey, or is disobedience in an of itself an impossibility? This makes no sense linguistically. To call disobedience impossible makes implies it violates the laws of physics, to whit I would say that yes it is impossible so far as most reasonable persons would agree to. But I think your point is to ask what orders one SHOULD disobey, morally speaking, which is a rather huge conversation that would take a book to fully answer. I was simply trying to address the situation you presented (without context which is required to make sure a judgment). Which brings me back to Prudentis’ comments which point out your intent to keep drawing this out to a general philosophical conversation in the realm of theory where anything can be justified. I would say that the students have the choice to disobey but they can not be so foolish as to disbelieve there will be a result to said choice. Or as a more eloquent social commentator put it ‘You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality”
    But to be nice and address what I think you intent is, which to pose the theoretical question a person should disobey any and every order they find to be in opposition to their moral code to the extent that following the order forces them off their moral path. I.E. I think speeding laws are crappy but I follow them because it is not worth getting a ticket nor is it worth my effort to start a political campaign against them, but rather it is one of the many sacrifices I gladly make to live in the world’s most well organized society.
    Your Anarchy issue was addressed sufficiently I think to skip that.
    What degree of violence should an agent of the State have the moral authority to initiate in order to enforce the law? Is a baton reasonable? How about a bullet between the eyes? Gas chamber? Considering that laws are nothing more than mandates from the State….
    The level of violence should be commensurate with the necessity to use it. Just as I am taught in my military training so too are police (though with different criteria/ scenarios of course). If a cop oversteps those bounds it is pretty easy to call it out, though with the legal bureaucracy out there maybe not so much. However, if they are acting with their Rules of Engagements (to use a term I am used to) then the recourse is to change their guidance through a change of leadership. Pretty simple and nothing to get up in arms about when you look at how similar instances are dealt with around the world, this was a pretty soft response. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/three-americans-arrested-in-cairo-as-unrest-enters-4th-day/2011/11/22/gIQAlOdikN_story.html?hpid=z1) But to be clear of course there are times when a bullet between the eyes is reasonable and even a gas chamber, if that is how your state feels it is right to deal with certain crimes i.e. death penalty. That is how everything except anarchy works… The rest of your rant there is simply bluster over the fact that the world you live in is not perfect, not a valid argument against the proper enforcement of laws. Besides the point of elected government is that you have a part in it and can change things you don’t like.
    And more importantly, when can you use self defense in order to protect yourself against physical force?
    The five major religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism all have adherents who would claim there is never an acceptable time to resort to physical violence in ones self defense. Most Humanists and other assorted Atheists will shy away from organized violence like military action but I have not known one personally who would not atleast admit a right to self preservation. So on the basis of how you interpret your core beliefs will vary depending on how you form those beliefs. But by virtue of the fact that most civilizations have an organized military I would say that is reasonable evidence that the vast majority of humans have sided with a right to defend one’s person and property (using the actions of a society as evidence of the will of said society). But as for me, I say I can defend myself whenever I am in fear of bodily harm and I can use as much force as is needed to remove myself from that situation, which agrees with most state laws except maybe California.

    “This was not a lawful protest protected by the constitution if it was on private property”
    I am sorry, I did not see that proviso in the 1st amendment. The right to peacefully assemble… as long as the publicly financed University does not object. These are college students demonstrating by sitting on a sidewalk on the campus they are paying thousands of dollars to attend. Not quite the private driveway scenario.
    The first amendment applies specifically to the actions of the federal government… therefore it has no bearing on what can be done on private property, else we have no rights to refuse entry to anyone. Duh. So you have no right to assemble (peaceably or not) on a Walmart parking lot in a ring around the entrance for the intention of blocking their business. Also, if you simply want to be a nuisance to them and march to show you think they are evil you can not do it on their property. These kids were a nuisance to the school and the person in charge of the school decided they needed to vacate. The students were given more than adequate warning and refused to comply. It is their fault they CHOSE to waste thousands of dollars only to show how foolish they still act. So yes, in fact it is the same scenario as a private driveway. They were in the way of students trying to get to classes and gain marketable knowledge they will need to get jobs and pay the taxes to probably “forgive” the loans of their fellow classmates in a few years.

    I left the Anarchy thing alone but I have to admit I am very interested to see a logical conversation on that topic… I would really enjoy seeing how you could logically defend the sensibility of advocating for chaos. I assume that based on the medium we are using you would say to use hard currency to enable commerce. But how would you enforce uniformity on even this first step of functioning anarchy? Would we all have to learn to discern counterfeit gold and silver? Take the time to weigh it out to defend against slugs and the like. What about e-commerce, how does that work some big private bank? But that would be a thief magnet so then we need a security force for the bank. Who would have to be armed obviously, but with pepper spray as well. Then of course some group would grow to hate this bank because they have something the group wants and can’t earn themselves as easily as they can take it. So this group decides to protest the bank and to be nice and not shoot these people or simply beat them with batons (for no reason other than pure charity since there are no laws) the guards pepper spray the group who finally disperse …. Where do you see that process breaking down in a pure anarchistic society*? * By definition a society is –“an organized group of persons” which can not be true anarchy since organization requires one to submit to authority. Therefore one who advocates for anarchy must advocate for authority by individual force alone… like pepper spraying people who are in your way?

    Ugh… I just say your update.

    By using a weapons when no threat existed, the officer is initiating violence. Since he initiated violence the students have the right to self defense.

    A law that is impossible to obey is by nature invalid. Blah blah blah natural rights and invalid law…. Privilege.
    Privilege of the few is the reality of an imperfect world. It is wrong, of course it is, everyone know that, but so what are you going to do about it? Here in the Us we have found that the best way to deal with the imperfect nature of man is to set its appetite in opposition to itself i.e. the split power of the federal and even state governments. We can not eradicate the evil tendencies of man on this earth so the genius of the system is no in voting instead of having a king, that’s been done plenty of times before with failure. The genius was the organizational structure of the government. I learned that in like 5th grade, back when schools prioritized the three R’s over tolerance for “alternate lifestyles” and self actualization.
    Anarchy as implied in the colonial US.
    Seriously? Each state had a functioning government from the outset, heck they had near military style law from the boat ride over. How do you think the pilgrims would have done living as individuals considering in a near communist community they lost about half of the people in the first year. As for having evolved beyond the need for a state I would encourage you to try and live in Somalia for a month and let me know how you feel about the wonders of anarchy. Before you say, but they are not ready for it, I would respond that I know that. My point is no one is, read Utopia man. The perpetual motion machine and alchemy were ideas that man hung onto for a long time hoping they might be just around the technological corner. But they are not, because it is not in the nature of this world. A perfect society could only be function with and be populated by perfect people…

    To those other guys who say eat the rich. (FUBAR and Neck something)
    Can you name a government who has given 30 Billion to charity ? That is more than the GDP of Ethiopia or Panama, ranking #89 on the list of 184 countries. That is how much money Bill Gates has given to charity. What governments (protectors of said elites) are in Africa right now stopping the raping and pillaging that abounds in this region of chaos? I know cause I am there. When you group all “elites” together, even the ones who made their mark, EARNED their way, and then dedicated their lives to the responsible use of their estate to help others you remind me why I would gladly go toe to toe with you to defend the “rich” whom I some day aspire to become. BTW the US government gives many billions away but not to charity. Sure we give countries money but it is not charity and neither is welfare. They both serve the purpose of placating groups of people.

  • James, I want to first thank you for the very intelligent response. It is responses like yours (and Prudentis, et al) that I began writing for and posting on this site. I will try to briefly address some of your points. I say briefly even though I know that a full response would require a post all on its own, so forgive me if I don’t go too much in depth in some places.

    “Is your argument that the police have the moral authority to initiate violence against a protester if such person refuses an order?- Yes…”

    I can see where we are divergent in this subject. You approach the issue by giving the State the sovereign power and making the individual the subject. Of course, based on that premise, the State has the legal and moral authority to take any appropriate action it deems necessary in order to rule. From pepper spray or gas chambers, anything the State chooses to make legal and any means it deems necessary in order to enforce it become legal.

    I approach this from a different premise. I approach it from the premise that the individual is the sovereign and that governments are formed by men in order to provide certain limited services. Based on this premise, the State should be the servant of men and not its master. I approach it from the premise that there are only a few, very limited tasks that governments can perform (and poorly at that), and that anything beyond those tasks are the responsibility of the individual.

    “Besides the point of elected government is that you have a part in it and can change things you don’t like.”

    Really? When was the last time that YOU, James, wrote laws or made a difference in the conduct of the government? The sad truth is that the Constitutional Republic, which in and of itself was destined to fail, ceased to exist over 100 years ago. You, as an individual, have less say in the actions and decisions of government than the features of the next Windows OS. Even of you were to gather a gang of likely minded individuals, your gang’s influence would amount to little more than window dressing and baby steps.

    I will give you an example. I am an NRA life Member. The NRA used member dues to push thru legislation that would force local states to recognize concealed handgun licenses form all other states. This legislation passed the house. What do you think are the chances that it will even get a vote in the senate? What do you think are the chances that it will be signed by the President into law? And this is the NRA, a powerful lobby with millions of dollars for bribing members of congress and millions of voting members.
    What is their error? The premise. They are trying to use the force of the Federal government in order to subdue the force of the States. Is a “my gang can beat up your gang” scenario.

    What is the anarchist solution? Carry concealed and ask permission from no one since they have no actual means to prevent me from doing so.

    “The first amendment applies specifically to the actions of the federal government… therefore it has no bearing on what can be done on private property,…”

    If applied evenly, I agree with you that the first amendment does not restrict the ability of a private property owner from forcing trespassers from being present in their land. I will ignore for now all the “green” and Union protests which have been time and time again protected by the courts as first amendment issues and point out that the University of California is a Public University, not private property. It is tax payer funded. As a State institution it is held to the same criteria as other State agencies and facilities.

    You are correct that the first amendment, although the Supreme Court may disagree with you, applies only to the Federal Government; but, the California Constitution says:

    SEC. 3. (a) The people have the right to instruct their
    representatives, petition government for redress of grievances, and
    assemble freely to consult for the common good.

    A group of people, assembling to consult for the common good and demanding a redress of grievances, is protected by the California Constitution.

    “Privilege of the few is the reality of an imperfect world. It is wrong, of course it is, everyone know that, but so what are you going to do about it? …”

    I am sorry, this is clearly a confusion in terms. When I say privilege, I am using the original meaning as in a privilege granted by the Sovereign to a subject not the privileged life of the wealthy and powerful.

    “Seriously? Each state had a functioning government from the outset, heck they had near military style law from the boat ride over.”

    I do not see where I implied that the original colonies lived in a state of anarchy. If you understood it to be so, my apologies. I was merely pointing out that once the colonists accepted that they had advanced to the point where they no longer needed a King, they revolted and evolved to local, elected representatives. Although a brilliant first step, it sadly reverted to an Oligarchy, as it was bound to, because it could not go far enough. And yes, the Plymouth pilgrims, I believe you are referring to the Plymouth Plantation here, had an ultra socialistic contract when they arrived to the “new world” But Cpt Bradford tossed out the contract after the first full year because he realized that the system could not possibly work. What he established in its stead was one of the earliest forms of pseudo Anarchy. He divided all common land between the families and, other than religious obligations, which they all agreed to voluntarily, placed the plantation in what can be best described as a laissez faire style of government. This is the only reason why the plantation thrived. Read “Of Plymouth Plantation” or “Good News from Plymouth”. Great contemporary books by those who lived in the plantations.

    I do love your comment on Somalia. I am well aware of the chaos in Somalia. Anarchy is not chaos. Anarchy is a lack of government not a lack of society. Humans can and do conduct business and have relationships every day without the government. Somalia is an example of a collapsed government not an example of voluntary association. I can easily point to Juarez, Mexico as a violent region even though a strong government presence exists just as you point to Somalia as an example of a violent region where no government exists. It is not government who prevents violence but culture and society. I could argue that governments cause far more death and violence by their mere existence than lack of government ever could.

  • Billboard

    The bottom line is that you can hide your appearance of tolerance behind a veneer of respect for the law, but you know it is nothing more than cowardice.

    One day you will be called to task and your meddle will be tested. It is the individuals’ responsibility to protect their own rights and do not let those with inclinations of tyranny to trample them on a whim.


    Billboard – I totally agree. This is why little changes. Individual responsibility is near non existent in America today. The arguments above are well thought out, yet any discussion on the veracity and limitations of governmental authority to use violence to enforce the law, “begs the question”.

    We are the government. We have set-up the institutions of governance to protect our unalienable rights. And, (correct me if I’m wrong) I believe there exists a contractual document that allows us to dissolve this institution when it has become destructive to that end.

    We aren’t servants to “authority”. Authority is servant to the people. But our Frankenstein monster has now become independent and seeks only to survive for it’s own purposes. It is clearly not serving our interests, but its own. It has become very destructive.

    Dissolution is fast becoming our only recourse. But few are willing to face the dread of that reality. It costs dearly to face the monster. However, history is replete with examples of what happens when men do nothing about government monsters. It costs a lot more in the end. A whole lot more.

  • Billboard



    Many parody pictures at the link.

  • Prudentis

    Wow, long posts, GoldSaver and James but worth the time. Another discussion that reminds me, why I still bother coming back here.
    I think most has already been said and we all have much to think about. (at leas I have)
    I still want to address a few points.

    Goldsaver said:
    – We are at a teenage state of existence where we want a certain degree of freedom but are afraid to let go of Mommy and Daddy. [..] We are being held back by the slow kids in class.

    First, this analogy is wrong. Analogies can be helpful; bad analogies can be very harmful. If you for one moment think, that there is a thing like a natural growing-up of the whole society, I understand, where your thinking comes from. Societies are not born into any child-parent paradigm. Societies, either through revolutions or gradual transformations, choose a form of leadership. I would have to go too deep into sociology, which is not
    my strong point, but with my limited historical knowledge I think I can theorize, that societies fluctuate. There is no linear growing-up mechanism like the growing-up of the individual. Societies can degrade faster, than they “grow-up”. This is, I think, one of the biggest concerns anti-anarchists have with anarchy. You cannot force an utopian ideal unto a real society, that is not ready for it. And here we come to the second part of your sentence. What society would really be ready for anarchy? Who are the “slow kids”? People like me, who refuse to accept this utopian idea? Are we really slow or is it rather inherent in the human nature, that conformity will never be reached and your duality is no more than a disguised divide and conquer tactic? Or are “they” the ones, who will try to take advantage of the system? In that case, yes, they are there and there will be. “Their” existence is exactly, why anarchy doesn’t work in a world with physical limits. But there is a far more grievous problem. And it is the “We” part. “They” might actually be “us”. Have you ever tried to look at yourself from the outside? What if some true anarchists of such anarchical purity, that even you can not cope with it live out their anarchistic way of life on your doorstep. Or your house or your bed? Or with your wife? Who are you to judge their anarchistic way of life? I can only guess, that in that case you would become the other side of the equation. If you are a true anarchist, you have to understand, that in anarchy, there is no “us” and “them”, there is only “my way”. Per definition, there is no need for consensus. So I ask you: what level of anarchy do you strive to? And is a limited anarchy still anarchy or just a more moderate level of statism? Why do you imply, that society should somehow “transcend” into true anarchy? Only because you or Stefan Molyneaux or other enlightened anarchists are morally far in front of the “mainstream” it doesn’t mean, that anarchy is somehow relevant in this and “the next step” in social evolution. It just means, that some intelligent and morally sound people chose to see anarchy as “their” way of social life. I have yet to see or hear a single, convincing argument, how true anarchy could work in practice. Ask yourself this: are you really ready to experiment on mankind?
    Wouldn’t it be much more productive to try to refine the working systems and eradicate the errors, than to try radical concepts, that have a very good chance of completely failing? Would Marx force his ideas on the world if he knew, how disastrous and unpractical his ideas will be in reality?
    I think we are wasting far too much energy discussing utopian ideas (anarchy and socialism in particular) instead of pointing out the errors in the current system of free markets, rule of law, and free voting and improving upon them. I know, that the world is not perfect and I try to do my best to do my small part in improving it. And if I can convince even one person, that anarchy can not work in the real, physical world, I have achieved something.

  • Prudentis

    One more thing I wanted to address:
    James pointed out the state of affairs in Somalia as being chaotic and GoldSaver responded, that anarchy is not chaos. But isn’t it really?
    To discuss this issue, we would have to agree on not involving the “fantastic” chaos/order like in fantasy books and also religions, where a divine intervention makes life deterministic. We can exclude this argument, if we define the divine plan as so complex, that it is indistinguishable for us from chaos in every practical sense.
    With that premise, you might argue, that social systems involve so many individual beings and behavioural variables, that they are chaotic by nature. So then, you could argue, that truly anarchistic societies, would be chaotic. Order, as opposed to chaos, would then form from this chaos, where some form of natural consensus would be reached. I think this is why GoldSaver does not want to equalize chaos and anarchy. The point being, that society in itself might be chaotic in nature but order would form as naturally, as suns, planets, galaxies and life itself forms from cosmic chaos. And until this point, I can accept this. Indeed this process has already taken place. But what we are left with, where chaos is substituted for order, anarchy is eliminated. So in retrospect, we could argue, that even though anarchy might not equal chaos, societies, by eliminating chaos, also step by step eliminate anarchy. So what does this lead us? I think to the point, where the distinction of anarchy and chaos is only superficial because in fact, you cannot have an anarchistic system without chaos. And the moment the chaotic social system starts ordering, it eliminates anarchy.
    So my opinion? anarchy indeed for all practical intents and purposes = chaos.

  • bogbeagle

    Very well argued, Goldsaver.

  • Prudentis, I am humbled by the value you grant my posts. I will try to respond to your points while keeping it brief. I will have to write a new post dedicated to Anarchy. I wrote another post that describes the evolution of societies here: http://dont-tread-on.me/?p=9899

    I will try to summarize. The first societies were families. This much is biologically obvious. Mom and Dad have child; since humans, unlike many other species do not mate and run (at least they did not until recently), these “parents” remained together to take care of the children and formed families. Families became extended families which became tribes. Tribes brought along specialization of labor which gave rise to a very specific class, the Ruling Class. Tribes expanded into nations and although new specialized groups formed within the nations, the Ruling Class remained. Nations became kingdoms or Empires.
    Kingdoms transformed into overt Tyrannical Oligarchies or into Western Democracies. Western Democracies then reverted to Tyrannical Oligarchies.

    All those steps in the evolution of nations have certain things in common specifically the amount of dependence of the members of society on the Ruling Class. Lets be precise here and understand that the dependence is really an illusion or an artificial construct since the Ruling Class is really a parasite on the rest of society. From the Pharaohs to the Kings to the Dictators and their respective “courts”, they are all parasites on the rest of society.

    When we compare the evolution of Societies with the natural growth of human beings we see clear parallels.
    Babies are fully dependent on the parents and fully trust/believe/follow unquestioningly. Members of the Tribe are fully dependent on the Tribal Chief and the Medicine man (government and religion).

    Preteens demand and enjoy certain freedoms and responsibilities. Post Dark Ages Kingdoms were very similar as the peasants or serfs could own of control land (the means of production), while still owing complete obedience to the Ruling Class (Lords, Kings and the Church).

    Teenagers are less dependent on their parents and could, for all practical purposes, break away from parental control and dependency. They are biologically and mentally able to keep themselves alive and healthy without any input from the Parents. What they lack at this point is the mental maturity to truly prosper on their own. Western Democracies, while still ruled by a Ruling Class, provide the individuals with the ability to keep themselves alive and healthy and with enough freedoms to produce while not completely breaking away from the Ruling Class. What they lack is the true understanding or a discovery of their status as serfs and that the true nature of the Ruling Class as parasites. Even when some discover this, they can not break away from the Ruling Class. This is by design. The Ruling Class has built a system that not only trains obedience and dependence, it leaves no other options. Some escape valves exist that provide an illusion of freedom and decision making but, they are never enough to provide complete freedom.

    As to Anarchy, and I promise I will write further. Yes, my influences are Paine, Bastiat, Rand and Molyneux.

    First, we need some definitions:
    Anarchy: the absence of the State
    Society: A voluntary association of people.
    State: A group of people who reserve the right to use violence against the rest of society for their own purposes.
    Chaos: The apparent lack of order or organization.

    Yes, Anarchy, or the lack of government, is the next logical evolutionary step in societies and the only road to human freedom. It will take a whole post to recreate or condense what has already been written about the nature of freedom and the nature of the State but, I will try to keep it short here just to spark your attention.

    If you agree that aggression, the initiation of violence against another, is evil, then it stands to reason that an organization that is based exclusively on having a monopoly on aggression is by and of itself evil. If an organization is evil, its existence can not result in goodness only in evil. Rape can not beget love. Disease cannot beget health. The State can not beget freedom. That is why any attempts to reform the State are doomed to failure. You can not reduce evil and call it goodness. Removing some cancer cells from the body can not eliminate cancer. Telling a man that he can only use a rod the size of his thumb to beat his wife does not eliminates spousal abuse. Forbidding any further import of slaves does not end slavery.

    You live in a state of Anarchy for a vast majority, I will venture to say 95%, of your life. You do not need a government agency to tell you you are hungry or to tell you you are cold. There are no government agencies for selecting your mate. No State employee selected the model of computer you are reading this on. I could continue but there are millions of decisions and actions that you take every day that did not require the State.

    When you go to the store to purchase groceries, do you need a government agent to complete any part of the transaction? No you don’t. You and I go thru life without the need for government, so why are we paying for it? Not only with taxes but with currency devaluation (indirect taxation) and loss of wealth caused by government regulations and intervention? Because we are made to believe that we need them.

    We are suffering from battered spouse syndrome.

  • Joe (Well-Armed Lamb)

    Goldsaver understand Anarchy. The rest of you are authoritarians who NEED to be ruled and lead like dogs on a chain.

    Those who argue with Goldsaver are SLAVES! Why would you think some group of people whom you call “government” is more able to lead and rule you than you are able to lead and rule yourself? WTF is that all about?

    I’m really sick and tired of the slavish, fascist tilt this site has taken of late. Chris and Country Codger and Mustafa and some of the old timers “get it”, but I swear, the rest of you should go work for Newt Gingrich. Seriously.

    Goldsaver, good job, but I think you are beating your head against a brick wall.

  • James

    Umm… Prudentis’ second section made my hurt a little. But the first one I followed and agree with very much. I would like to attempt to use his comments to steer us back a little toward the original issue of this conversation, but in context of the Anarchy concept. If one believes in Goldsaver’s version of Anarchy (which I very much can’t say I understand yet) then how would you expect people to interact. No matter how enlightened a society gets there will be “slow kids” and some with strong selfish tendencies and prowess for violence. How can an anarchist see the strong persecuting the weak and expect life to operate otherwise (which is how you seem to view the pepper spray scenario)? If you do not accept the authority of anyone over you than what rules and laws are there besides “might makes right” ?
    While the students would certainly be justified to defend themselves with physical force on a pure moral or ethical stand point it was never really my concern. In fact that was the point I was originally trying to get to. It is rather irrelevant to the fact of living in society because whether it is a written law or the societal norms which we live by (and you seem to imply your anarchistic state would function under societal norms); no two people have a perfect match on every possible point of contention. But the common law or written law is meant to set the ground rules to enable us to interact with people we don’t know, have never met and in the terms of commerce may never meet, but who we interact with. If the cop has no recourse to force compliance with law than how would you stop violations of the most basic of societal rules like property rights ? the only thing you have apparently put forward is some sort of evolved universal moral code…. Theocracy is probably the closest thing I can think of in history to that scenario.
    BTW how exaclty is there any consensus in your anrachic world without submitting to some kind of authority?
    Basically I am just trying to see what your alternative anarchistic solution is to the pepper spray scenario. how would your philosophy resolve the situation.
    What is the anarchist solution? Carry concealed and ask permission from no one since they have no actual means to prevent me from doing so.
    First off, their gun is bigger than your gun, their radios can get friends to make their gang bigger than yours faster as well, so I am at a loss to see how you can say they “have no actual means to prevent you” since threat of incarceration is certainly a means of prevention, which has worked on you. I know that is has worked on you becuase there is no way you can convince me that A) you don’t have a significant number of laws you dislike as an anarchist (let alone taxpayer) and B) that you have complied with said laws and not used you concealed gun to get out of even accepting the authority of society to dictate you must wait in line at the grocery store. Additionally that attitude of I have a gun seems to be precisely the “my gang is more deadly than your gang” which you are accusing to be a core evil of the government.
    What I see as my fundamental divergence from your political philosophy is not my acceptance of a “sovereign state power” over me while you deny them that power. I see it as the me accepting the fact that state was here long before my entrance to this world back in 1981. So it already had the power to enforce its laws. I grew up within that framework and found that I agreed with much more of the situation than I disagree with. While I don’t write many laws I try and say civically active and make as much of an impact as I can while balancing that against the degree of difficulty those disagreeable things make for me in this world. So I change what I can and accept the rest as being the best possible place I can live.
    By definition anything the state chooses to make legal is in fact legal. But you just threw morality in there as well. A state can not determine morality, that is why our legal system is all screwed up right now (in my opinion). Morality is a personal decision based on one’s beliefs and while the state can influence that even Orwellian society has a few outliers.

  • James

    BTW i was writing while Goldsaver was posting, hence the disconnect on some of my questions and his already present answers…

  • James, I promise I will get an Anarchy post out. I am trying to balance my indirectly compensated productive time (work) with my directly compensated productive time (our conversation). So I will address your scenario specific question and postpone the further morality and anarchy discussion to a future post.

    To the specific situation of the protesters and Anarchy:

    First of all, that protest would not have occurred in a state of Anarchy. Would you go to your local gas station and demand better cuts of beef at the local grocery store? No? Of course not, that would be illogical. If you have a problem with the beef at your local grocer you either talk to the grocer or find a different one.

    Secondly, lets look at what the OWS complaints are. As far as I can tell, they are angry at the transfer of wealth to banks and powerful institutions from the productive members of society by the State. Additionally they are demanding that the State transfers the wealth to them instead (oh the irony here is thick).

    So, lets look at the complaints. Without a State there would have been no transfer of wealth. There is no way that Jamie Dimon can walk down the street and demand that we all give him money. Not directly. He could grab a gun and go door to door and try to rob us but, eventually this will be a very high risk endeavor. No, he needs to use the guns of the State in order to rob the rest of us in complete safety. In a Stateless society he will have no mechanism to steal from the rest of us. Neither would the students. Their demands that the wealth be transferred to them instead would fall on deaf ears also. No State, no mechanism for the transfer. What they complain about could not have happened and their demands could not be fulfilled. By whom? There is no State. Who would the demands be targeted to, the rest of us? By sitting at a college sidewalk? Not very effective. More like completely useless.

    But let us assume that they were protesting some other cause. A cause that could be resolved by the college (tuition fees or changes in policy, that sort of thing). Do you picket in front of the grocery store when you disagree with their prices? No, you just find a different grocery store. Similarly, if a University were to not provide its customers the expected value in the exchange, in an Anarchic system the college would go bankrupt. Why can they do whatever they wish? The State. Universities are State sponsored entities. Their fees are partially subsidized by the plunder of the wealth of those living within a certain geographical area (state or country) and they are provided quasi monopolies because of those subsidies. Without a State the universities would have to, just like a grocery store, provide value to their customers. No need for a protest.

    But lets assume that the protest did happen. In some unknown scenario the customers felt the need to demonstrate in front of the university to make demands. What would happen?

    Well first, the university would try to prevent the demonstration by negotiating with the customers. A few years ago I had an issue with a retailer. I had given them a deposit and when they could not deliver the merchandize on time I asked for a refund. After a few days of back and forth I informed them that if I did not receive a refund within 48 hours I would take time off from work, get a big sign and a comfortable chair and sit in front of the store to warn potential customers of their shady practices. I had a refund check in an hour.

    Businesses depend on future customers and their reputation. If they get a bad reputation they go out of business. The University would address such issues as come up before a demonstration is needed.

    But lets say that a demonstration did happen. Well since this would be a private business, only registered students could enter campus. The assumption here is that they are all students. The university can inform the students that they will be expelled from campus. Or, the university could speak to the student’s insurance company and demand reparation for financial damages caused by the students. The insurance companies would the arbitrate the matter and either pay the University and raise the student rates (or drop the coverage all together if this is a habitual issue) or decide that the students were on the right and demand payment from the university’s insurance company. Either way, no violence.

    But lets say that the university decided that the students had to leave now. The university is free to fence off the students and prevent any food or water from reaching them. Or they could use other non violent means to make it difficult for them to remain.

    OK, lets say that the university decided that they wanted the students physically removed, no matter what the cost. Foolish yes but, lets say that they decided this was the only solution left. Just as you are allowed to physically remove someone who breaks into your home, a private institution is free to use force to remove the students by asking their private security forces to remove them. Of course this would be very unlikely. The use of force is very expensive and can lead to litigation, insurance claims and injuries. Since the students could use force to prevent their physical removal, just like a thief could use force against you to stay in your home, the use of force would be very unlikely from either side. Animals in the wild rarely use deadly force against an equal foe. They do use deadly force against prey or predator but rarely against and equal opponent. When one opponent is clearly superior the other retreats before deadly force is actually used. Humans behave the same way. With the exception of suicide bombers (either Kamikaze or Muslim)that believe that they are going to be rewarded in the afterlife and soldiers (who owe their allegiance to the State)humans almost universally retreat when facing an overwhelming force. No actual violence is needed.

    Having said all that, I truly doubt that the university would have forcefully removed them. Life is a series of risks and rewards. The risks to the university would far outweigh the reward of removing the students. As you saw, the officer stepped over the students in order to spray them. The students occupied a sidewalk, many people were walking around them. The perceived reward of removing them was not worth the potential cost of doing so. As you saw on the aftermath the Board of Regents met after the incident to review procedures and cover their asses. The original phone call to the State (police forces) had no risk. The aftermath of the actual decision was clearly unexpected by the board. Without a State, the university would have employed much different tactics.

  • James, while reading my response I realized that I did not go far enough on the scenario. Specifically what would happen if the university decided to physically remove the students.

    So, the Board of Regents decides to remove the students. They contact their contract security force and tell them to remove the students. The contract security force reviews the situation and decides that in order to remove the students, after considering the tactical situation, insurance liabilities, etc, they would need 100 officers for a full day at an overall cost to the university of $250K dollars. Sounds high I know but, consider that the security firm would have to hire people who would be in actual physical danger not just an officer that could be in danger from the deranged in society. When a police officer orders you out of your car, he knows that there is a possibility of violence but he knows it is not likely. The force of the State and the indoctrination of the cattle makes it fairly safe. In the case of a direct confrontation with the students, violence is almost guaranteed. The security forces would have to pay salaries and provide training and equipment that equal the potential threat. There are also insurance fees and other costs that would be associated with such action. Violence is expensive. The Security force would become experts in using non violent methods in order to convince the students to leave. I can not give you every possible solution. The free market would provide such solutions. Just understand that the Security firm will certainly make the costs clear to the university. The university would have to consider the costs before taking action.
    The students would also have to consider the costs. Would you take an action that cost you $1MM in order to reap a potential $10K in profit? No. And neither would the students. The security force would probably send a negotiator to speak to the students. He would inform them that the students insurance companies have been notified of the situation and any additional costs to the university would now be defrayed by the students. They would be informed that, since the insurance companies would probably drop their coverage this will make it very difficult for them to be able to drive their cars, buy groceries, rent an apartment or get a job in the future until they repaid their debts. The students insurance representatives would inform the students that as part of their insurance contract they had access to the students bank accounts and would begin withdrawing a percentage of the cost per day fro every day they remained in the campus. They would inform them that as part of their contract, they would go to arbitration and the arbiter would decide the costs that would be charged to the students. The students cell phone companies, their banks, landlords, etc, would all have insurance companies with reciprocity agreements with the students insurance. At the end, the students will leave voluntarily because the cost of staying will severely outweigh the potential rewards.

    Mu point is that it is extremely unlikely that it would degrade to violence. The only way it could would be for one side to fear no danger from their actions. Like the officer fears no actions from the students.

  • Prudentis

    GoldSaver, James, thanks for keeping up the discussion.

    GS, you talk about anarchy as a kind of next step in evolution.
    – Why than is this kind of anarchy not found anywhere on a significant scale?
    – If it isn’t predominant, than there has to be forces, that prevent it from happening.
    – if those forces exist, what would stop them from undermining this good intentioned anarchy and taking it over again?

    Back to your original pepper spray on students:
    Who would stop the students (or anyone for that matter) to sit on the lawn and demand anything in an anarchy? Well, maybe the fact, that to reach their goal they wouldn’t need to just sit there, they could just go inside and demolish or steal everything. Who would stop them? Other armed students? So here we go again. Violence against violence, numbers and bigger guns. If they do it while noone is there and then leave, what do you do about it without the state mandate? Do you in turn go to their homes and demolish them and take their stuff ? Retribution? Vengeance?
    Again, as James suggested, it all gets to who has the bigger gang and the bigger guns.

    You ask, where the line is. Where does the state stop. I and James answered that question.
    I ask: what about those crimes like rape, murder, assault …
    Who conducts the investigations? Private detectives? And what if they find anyone?
    Who ensures their right to defend themselves? Who pays for the needed forensic investigations? In case of rape, genetic fingerprints are a very good means to find the rapist. Where does the money for this expensive investigation come from. What if a number of potential offenders don’t show up and refuse to be tested? Do you force them somehow? What moral right do you have to do it? Don’t you? Won’t this lead to less crimes being prosecuted and in turn for criminal behavior to become more and more common?

    It all boils down to the fact, that indeed we had anarchy as social systems. It was but one of the first steps on the road to more refined and civilized society forms. The more people interact and work and live closely together, the less anarchy works. In fact one could argue, that in a working constitutional state, the violence levels drastically decrease. And this seems in fact to be, what history teaches us. As we move on to ever higher forms of social organization, violence should become less and less predominant. Why does it seem, that there is a reversing in that state in recent times? Well for one, we would have to analyze, if this is really the case. If it is, then one answer is, my proposed fluctuation. Another would be, that our system is definitely not perfect. I have practical experience as a citizen under a democracy and under communism. I understand, that tightly controlled states are a bad thing. But you shouldn’t fall for the error of falsely concluding, that since more state is often worse, less state is always better. Logically this conclusion is incorrect.

    “you agree that aggression, the initiation of violence against another, is evil”
    Well I wouldn’t put it that way. There is the concept of “evil” which is problematic at best. Evil is amoral and ethical concept, with very deferring definitions. As you will, such a concept can only be agreed upon, if you have a central system which defines it (like a state or religion) in anarchy, concepts like this become what they really are, very subjective. Which isn’t bad by itself, it just poses practical problems.
    Then there is the “violence” part, in which implies “physical” and leaves large holes in regard of mental, and passive assaults.
    But let’s say, that this is close to what I can subscribe to.

    “… then it stands to reason that an organization that is based exclusively on having a monopoly on aggression is by and of itself evil.”
    First, the _purpose_ of the state is _not_ to initiate violence. It is one of the _rights_ granted to the executive branch of the state. The real purpose is to find a consensus on which the majority of participants can agree upon (democracy), pass ruling to establish rules according to this consensus, (legislative)
    have a means of prosecuting any overstepping of those rules (judicative) and only as the last resort, a means to initiate violence in case no other means work to enforce the following of the agreed rules. (executive)

    So, au contraire, the state is by itself neither evil nor can it’s existence only lead to evil. It is an instrument, like any other, a tool, that can be utilized to do good things and bad things.

    Sorry but your logical argument is very weak here and with this premise, I can understand, why you are so opposed to the state.
    I want however to make it really clear, that the developments of the last years regarding the increase of regulations and in state interventionism is a big concern and I am doing all I can, to do my part in educating people, that a state can turn from beneficial to oppressive in a matter of years and we need to always remain vigilant and reforge it as the need arises.

    Anarchy, in my eyes is one of the most primitive social structures possible. It is somewhat practicable in small and very small social structures but even in families, it is often not practiced as parents take the role of leaders. Even small communities do not rely on anarchy because humans instinctively know their own nature and understand, that no amount of wishful thinking will protect them from bullies. And instead of relying on forming gangs of bullies which compete against each other, they form a “big gang”, and in functioning societies, keep a means to appoint, control and overthrow the top tier “management”

    And as to Rand and Stefan … Rand was in my eyes a very crazy woman with very dangerous ideas.

    As for Stefan Molyneaux, he is a brilliant and very inspirative person. He is also in the very sad position, to adhere to a world view, which ironically could only work in an afterlife, without physical boundaries and physical invulnerability, that he doesn’t believe in. So he finds his mind in the very uncomfortable position of perfectly unachievable utopia and this explains his passionate but very often negative and depressive posts.

    One more thing I noticed about your and other anarchists’ arguments is, that very often there is talk about considering costs and such: “the students would have to consider the costs of 1MM … etc.”
    You seem to ignore the nature of human beings completely. If humans were always logical, anarchy might work. We aren’t. We do stupid things. Some regret them later and learn. Some stay stupid their entire lives long. We differ in views of what is right and wrong and what is worth it and what not. Some would say, that fighting for independence is worth it, others would say it is initiation of force and thus strictly wrong. Some kill for their gods and beliefs others for money, yet others couldn’t kill if they life depended on it.
    Anarchy seems to focus on the positive differences between humans and naively ignores the negative ones.

  • Prudentis

    the sentence: Evil is amoral and ethical concept, with very deferring definitions
    should be: Evil is a moral and ethical concept, with many different definitions

  • Prudentis, reading your response I can try to boil it down to 4 basic questions:

    1. If Anarchy is the next evolutionary step, why has it not happened?
    2.In an Anarchic Society, who would have stopped the demonstration? Or more precisely; how do you deal with the issue of aggression?
    3. How does an Anarchic Society deals with crime as compared to a Statist Society?
    4. What is evil and why is the State evil?

    I will try to briefly address those four points. I am currently writing a piece on Anarchy. I could write thousands of words on the subject, but the reality is that no one reads a thousand word post.

    1. If Anarchy is the next evolutionary step, why has it not happened? Is funny, you mention that it has not happened and then claim that every past occurrence of societal chaos is an example of Anarchy. The reality is that anarchy, as a practical condition, happens every day. Please refer to my previous posts and comments for further examples. As a Societal norm, it has only happened a few times. The Western frontier, whether during the original expansion of the colonies or the later western expansion under Andrew Jackson, saw plenty of examples of small independent communities that self organized with no “law and order”. These were frontier outposts, if you will, were families organized into small communities with no major or government to speak of. The local townsfolk would hire a sheriff in order to keep the peace but, they pretty much cared for themselves.
    At a bigger scale you had the “territories”. New Mexico, Nevada and the Republic of Texas were, by all practical purposes, Anarchic Societies. Yes, in the case of Texas there was a government, a President, Vice-President and Congress. And yes they conducted themselves as absolute asses, specially President Lamar, but, the day to day life in Texas was ruled by local communities with local rules.

    A typical territorial community had a church, stores, a saloon or two, a school house (paid for by the local families thru the church or directly) and, if they were wealthy enough, a town sheriff. The town sheriff’s job was mainly dealing with drunks and property theft. Anything beyond keeping the peace was usually dealt locally or if serious enough by a roving magistrate that visited communities and was paid by the local community to adjudicate a case. There were no taxes. Community projects were either financed by the church thru voluntary donations for that purpose or by the local stores (thinks like boardwalks to keep their customers from walking on the horse shit, horse shit was as common as pot holes).

    What happened? Political ambition. Those in “government” pushed for joining the Union in order to gain political favor and funding from the Federal Government. They also joined in order to get Federal help in exterminating the native tribes, mainly the Comanche nation.

    Why is it not happening today? If I may quote Bastiat:

    “But there is also another tendency that is common among people. When they can, they wish to live and prosper at the expense of others. This is no rash accusation. Nor does it come from a gloomy and uncharitable spirit. The annals of history bear witness to the truth of it: the incessant wars, mass migrations, religious persecutions, universal slavery, dishonesty in commerce, and monopolies. This fatal desire has its origin in the very nature of man — in that primitive, universal, and insuppressible instinct that impels him to satisfy his desires with the least possible pain.”

    There are always those who wish to live from the plunder of the wealth of others and some who will try to create or join the ruling class in order to do so. Without the clear, defined alternative of voluntary association, the false alternative of a return to tyranny will always rear its ugly head.

    If you remove the evil you know, most will return to it instead of choosing the one they do not. Without a clear purpose for the removal of the ruling class and a clear alternative of how to live without it you leave a vacuum and nature abhors a vacuum. It will always be filled by the most despicable in society.

    As an example let me use the American Revolution as compared to the French Revolution. The American Revolution happened after decades of preparation. Men like Paine, Franklin and Revere wrote popular pamphlets discussing the options and laying the ground work for the secession from the monarchy. I want you to please think about what they were talking about. This was a revolution in the full meaning of the word. Not just a declaration that they would no longer obey the King, with all the potential repercussions, loss of property and life, but a conceptual revolution. They were laying the ground work for changing a way of life. The concept that the King was granted by god the power to rule over his subjects and that you now not only could but had to reject the monarchy in order to be moral. This was a monumental task, no different than the current task of convincing a Statist to reject all he “knows” and accepting the logic behind self rule.

    On the other hand, the French Revolution did not seek to replace the monarchy with self rule or at least limited government, but to replace the monarchy with a different type of totalitarianism. From the frying pan to the fire, it was a battle, or more precisely a series of battles, between gangs fighting for control.

    2.In an Anarchic Society, who would have stopped the demonstration? Or more precisely; how do you deal with the issue of aggression?

    As I commented earlier, the demonstration would not have happened under anarchy. I wrote hundreds of words on the subject, so I will not bore you by repeating myself. I do want to address the issue of aggression. The first thing we have to address in the why? Why would this situation happen?

    Individuals become aggressive for three main reasons. They either seek power and use aggression as a way to gain it, or they are responding to an intolerable condition and seek to change it or they are mentally deranged, by design or due to mental illness.

    Those who seek power thru aggression do so only when they are fairly certain that they will achieve their ends with minimal risk. A bully does not pick on the biggest most skilled boy in class but on the weakest. Similarly, people use the State, the biggest bully, in order to be safe from any retaliation to their aggression. If I am of the opinion that you should not smoke weed, I can either walk up to you, remove the weed from your possession and threaten you in order to keep you from getting more, with the obvious danger that you may not take kindly to my actions and defend yourself or I can get the State, with their millions on plundered wealth and guns to do so for me. Clearly the second option carries no possible negative consequences for me, so I can happily try to rule your life. If I would have to personally have to pay for my desires with the risk of injury or the cost of enforcement, I would rapidly learn to mind my own business.

    Those who use aggression as a way to change an intolerable condition only do so when no other options are available. From the single battered wife killing her abusive drunk husband in bed to the revolutionary planting bombs in a government building, they see no other option. In this case the violence is less aggression and more self defense. Lacking any other options, they react as a wounded animal to outside prior aggression. In anarchy, the initiation of violence in this case could not be possible or at least would be rare. An abused wife would leave, an abusive husband would be shunned by the community. Hundreds of voluntary organizations, either official or ad hoc would race to the rescue before it reached the level of violence. It is because of our dependence of the State and fear of the repercussions of the State that situations such as those reach violence.

    The third case, mentally deranged, can be classified as someone who has been trained to use violence as a means to an end, a redneck hanging a black man (or its opposite, a racist black attacking whitey)or a professional soldier (and before you feel insulted James, I too wear a right shoulder patch), these individuals have been trained to let go of their morality and replace it with a conditional morality. It is wrong to kill, unless ordered to do so. It is wrong to break into someones home, unless ordered to do so, and so on. Or it could be a case of actual mental disease. Those cases are far and few in between and can not justify conditions of universal slavery in order to prevent them.

    3. How does an Anarchic Society deals with crime as compared to a Statist Society?

    Here we have to be fair and compare an Anarchic Society to a Statist Society. I will not fall for the trap of comparing either to a perfect Utopia.

    There are two basic types of crime, crimes of opportunity and crimes of passion.

    Crimes of opportunity are those were the criminal seeks to gain a financial or power advantage by committing the crime. Theft (in all its forms), drugs, etc are all crimes of opportunity. Crimes of opportunity are usually property crimes. In a Stateless society, crimes of opportunity would be far fewer than in a Statist society. Why? First, the vast majority of opportunity crimes are either victimless (drugs, gambling, prostitution) were all parties are voluntarily involved in the commission of the crime. But, if there is no law against prostitution, how can it be a crime? They are also committed by those who see easy gains with little to no repercussions. Considering how often those crimes happen in a Statist society, you can not claim that the State is effective at dealing with them. In Anarchy those who desire to steal, as an example, from others, would be disappointed. In a Stateless society, the free market will make it very easy to protect your property from unauthorized use. I can not give you every answer but, here is an example:

    As part of my job, I travel a lot. I use my debit card in many different places. Recently, some jack ass charged a small sum of money to my account. Before I detected the theft, my bank called me and asked me if I was currently in Canada and had used my card to make those purchase. I informed my bank that I had not and they removed the charge from my account. Since I do have a merchant account, I can tell you what most likely happened next. The bank did a “charge back” to the vendor and recovered the funds. The vendor then reviewed the purchase to find who in the store had made the sale and more importantly, who had made the purchase.

    In a Statist society, the store would file a police report. A very bored officer would take the report and file it. End of story, the store takes a loss. Most stores actually budget a percentage of their cost as losses from theft and shoplifting.

    In a Stateless society the store would file an insurance claim. The insurance company conducts an investigation and refunds the store. Then they will take action, using private investigators, to determine who stole the merchandize. Since the insurance company and the private investigators have a personal financial incentive to find the thieves, they will find who did it. They will also set up additional procedures in order to prevent future thefts. The insurance company would then inform the thief’s insurance company of their finds and present a claim. The thief’s insurance company, since they stand to loose money, would review the evidence and determine if the claim is valid. They will also notify the accused of the investigation and probably interview him. Eventually the insurance companies may agree to go to a third party arbiter and have a hearing. They would of course invite the accused to present his case and the arbiter would make a determination of liability. If the accused is found guilty he will receive a bill for the total cost of the theft including the investigation. The accused may now appeal to a different arbiter. If found not guilty he would be reimbursed for his loss of time and any damages. If found guilty he would be given the option to either pay the bill or get a job at a designated facility to pay back the cost of his actions. This facility would not only be a work facility, not a prison but a factory or other regular employment and a portion of the thief’s wages would be kept by the insurance company to defray costs and pay back for his actions. After the debt is paid, the thief is released with a small amount of start over money (part of his wages) and job training/ references for his next job.

    Crimes of passion are either born of frustration, lack of social adaptation or inherent evil. Yes I do admit that there are bad people out there. Although not all crimes of passion can be prevented, an armed potential victim is much more likely to respond or prevent the crime than an unarmed victim. Look at the myriad of case were disarmed societies have degraded into lawlessness and chaos. Even first world countries. See Chicago or London as a reference. Notice I am not opposed to self defense. I carry a weapon daily and practice with it at least monthly. I am opposed to aggression, the initiation of violence.

    As I have gone too long, I will reserve the last point for a later post.

  • Prudentis

    I’d like to make further discussions shorter but am looking to discuss this further. Please tell me:

    1. As I commented earlier, the demonstration would not have happened under anarchy
    – I call this wishful thinking. I heave read your previous assessmants and I find them lacking in plausibility
    We do not need to go further in there. I just do not see your line of thinking as practically possible.

    2. “Wild West” – as I said … small and very small communities. And do not forget, how hard life was for them. Your assumtion, that the only point in joining the state was for some power hungry individuals. I say it was because parents wanted their children to grow up in safer and mor stable surroundings.

    3. The insurance company would then inform the thief’s insurance company. What insurence company? Why should the thief have one? Why should he subject to any form of penalty? Who will enforce this? If there are means to enforce anything, what guarantees the fairness?

    I am not convinced to put it lightly. Again: you base your thoughts on a fundamental agreement on many things. Isn’t this exactly the opposite of anarchy? What you propose is not anarchy in the sense I understand it, you propose the substitution of the state with private corporations filling out the same roles. Private enterprises are far better in organizing trade and commerce in a free society but they need a set of rules or they will always go overboard. The short private interests will always outweigh public safety, etc. I am a big fan of Mises, Heyek et al. but they also see the necessity of a ground set of rules and they specificly cite the laissez fair of parts of the industrial revolution as negative effects of an uncheced private enterprise.
    Gold Saver, we probably have much more in common, than the discussion would suggest but I implore you to think about how a really anarchistic sociaty might also evolve if some of your positive assumtions turn out to be wrong.

  • James

    First off I think Prudentis just touched on one of his, and my, major difficulties in arguing with GS. Namely that our concepts of “Anarchy” differ greatly. While Prudentis is clearly far more well read on this subject than I, he seems to line up with me in the idea that Anarchy is the rejection of any and all authority over individuals, thus making organization of any sort impossible. I hinted at the inability to even have a real “society” of anarchists because that implies more than a bunch of people simply inhabiting the same region at the same time…. But I will leave the pure theory of the GS version of Anarchy for another blog (which I am looking forward to seeing soon).

    As for this situation under anarchy., I kinda think we exhausted our comments on it so I will instead hit on a point GS made in his most recent…
    “Those who use aggression as a way to change an intolerable condition only do so when no other options are available”
    Your following examples don’t make sense. How does shifting a large political structure automatically change the culture that keeps a battered wife with her husband. For that matter why does it have anything to do with it? Will anarchy feed and clothe her if she is unemployed? Will it give her the psychological support to overcome (likely) the incredibly low self esteem issue that kept in place to be abused? What insurance plan covers “bad choice in mate” ? in general I think Prudentis really hit on our confusion with your Anarchy plan when he said…” you propose the substitution of the state with private corporations filling out the same roles.” How would an insurance company force compliance but with aggression? How for that matter does anyone force another’s actions without violence? Manipulation? Deception? The bottom line that I see is if there is anarchy there is no medium to prevent illogical criminals from committing socially unacceptable acts (note I did not say illegal, because as you pointed out there are no laws). Additionally there would be no way to prosecute said lawbreakers.
    So back to pepper spray cop.
    Say the university did something foolish and illogical, call it a bad day for the chancellor. He decrees that the students need to leave, and they of course don’t (because they are protesting his $.10 tuition hike to cover sidewalk maintenance). They get pepper sprayed and the cops leave before getting mauled….. now what? Someone sues? In what court? Someone gets upset.. who cares? You seem to bring back “statist” functions and departments in the form of corporations that miraculously operate without error, inefficiency or corruption. Any government run by these guys and gals would function well so it seems rather than anarchy where everyone must be angelic you would push for monarchy so you only need find The One….. Ok Ok so I was having fun at the end there. I am not making fun (as I think we have established the three of us are enjoying this too much to insult each other intentionally). I just really can’t see where you logic is at. I honestly think we need to break off and get an deeper explanation of your concept of Anarchy (or a reference we can use) otherwise we are stuck trying to learn your standards as we go and are thus doomed to misunderstanding and false assumptions.

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