Thursday, December 07, 2006

Arguement Against Anarchy 3

People love to resort to this one if they find no other way to attack the idea that government is unnecessary.

"Without government, you'd just have big corporations hiring private armies and taking over."

I'll give you the long refutation first, and the short version second. Because I feel like torturing you with common sense.

First thing that you have to consider here is the motivation. In order for such a venture as the violent conquering of a territory to be done, there would have to be a percieved reward. Let's call it taxes. The violent megacorp, let's call it "Vichi Incorporated", would have to have a means of compelling the payment of taxes.

Door to door assessment and payment is out of the question. It's too impractical, opens the tax collectors up to too many ambushes, and if the private army is collecting the taxes, they're going to demand a big pay raise to do recurring systematic and predictable entry into everyone's business or home and steal the tribute. Vichi would not have the systematic, institutionalized, ritualized, or legitemized method which governments employ. Victims would not see these payments as "their fair share", but as theft, and respond appropriately (i.e. shoot the bastards). Vichi would have a very hard time collecting any taxes, and the taxes collected would likely not be enough to cover their costs.

The second thing to consider is the costs. War is not cheap. How much would a private army cost? Most people would not accept money to go get shot at, except "patriotic nationalists", and those wouldn't really exist in anarchy, since anarchy isn't national. A gang of mercenaries would be expensive. Aside from that, any mercenaries that wanted more than offered might, "just to teach Vichi a lesson", tell everyone else of Vichi's plan, so they can be ready for it. This will only amplify the costs in both lives and dollars for Vichi.

The third thing is resistance. There would certainly be resistance to this. Protection agencies, militias, your average everyday gun owner...in anarchy, where an SMG could be had for $80 and bombs made for whatever the explosive costs (it's extremely cheap), it's fully possible that the anarchist resistance would be as well armed as the private army, and have the defender's advantage. Vichi would obviously not have priorly claimed the territory involved and therefore gun control would be absolutely impossible.

Governments have an exceptional advantage in each of these. They do not have to conquer a territory, they already have some. They can collect taxes easily because dissent is scarce enough that the violaters can be systematically determined and imprisoned. They can get fighters for very cheap also, because part of the population would patriotically fight for their government without pay, and the rest of the population could be drafted. Resistance under government is difficult because of the general consensus that the government is good. Vichi would have to work from scratch.

Even considering the advantages which the government has, governments still default on their debts. I can assure you that a private army would stop fighting if they weren't getting paid anymore because the war expenses were greater than the tax income for Vichi. Vichi would run up a debt from the costs, what little tax income could be gathered would not go nearly as far as the total costs.

Vichi would have to play a very precarious balancing game as the fulcrum was shifted around underneath them. Suppose one soldier can keep 20 men under control (I'd guess higher, but consider the ease of resistance with explosives and guns being so easily attainable). Vichi would have to figure out how many people can be controlled per soldier, and extract at minimum, that soldier's annual pay from the 20 people. If we count men, women, and children in those 20, the median income in the US is $40k per year. Let's assume families of five, that means one soldier can control people who produce a total of $160k per year. Let's bump that up to $240k to consider the kids and the wives, who are less likely to be working or for as much income. At 10% tax, Vichi could pay each soldier $24k and break even if it had zero management overhead. Will mercenaries work for $24k per year? Some will. Others will want more. At 20%, Vichi increases the motivation for guerilla resistance. This will correspondingly increase the pay demands for the private army. If the mercs started demanding $36k per year, Vichi would be extracting $48k, and make a $12k profit per merc, with which to pay for any overhead. At 50% tax, resistance would be far more than proportional to the increase in taxes. Mercs would not survive very long and so only for massive pay would they continue fighting. Not only would Vichi have to balance the taxes with the mercenary's pay, but they'd also have to balance the population density. If 20 people moved from outside the area being controlled to one place where 20 other people were, but Vichi only put 1 mercenary there, the probability that the combative among those 40 will kill the mercenary is much higher. This is assuming a point of general obedience could even be reached.

Vichi had to get it's money from providing some kind of good or service on the market, after it attempted to rule everyone else, this good or service had to have a lot of infrastructure and capital invested which would have the floorplate fall out from under it. Vichi's invested time and energy in it's previous (and obviously successful) venture would all go to waste as people witnessed Vichi's actions and boycotted it.

The short version is, the government will protect you from the violent megacorp's private army...but who protects you against the government?

Arguement Against Anarchy 2

Authority, as I use the word, means violently imposed decisionmaking. Self-defense is not authority because it is not decisionmaking, it is just violence. The decisions of someone you choose to follow are not authority because they are not violently imposed. I understand that other definitions of the word exist, but this is how I will be using the word. I believe it is not terribly different from how most people use the word when debating against the assertions I'm going to try to make here.

A common objection to anyone proposing the abolition of government is the cry that "Authority is necessary!"

No it's not. Let's take a look at why it's not.

If authority is necessary, then authority is necessary for everyone. If not, it's unnecessary.

Who is the authority of the authorities? Nobody. They either do not need authority, in which case authroity is unnecessary, or they need an authority and don't have one, in which case the present system is a failure.

Or perhaps authority over the ruled rests in the ruled themselves. But that is not only impossible, but absurd. It is impossible because the nature of authority is violence, and if authority rests in the ruled, then subjection to the authority must be absolutely voluntary. It's absurd because, if authority over me is granted to George W. Bush, and authority over George W. Bush is granted to me, we own each other, but not ourselves. Why is this necessary? Why can GWB not lead himself and why can I not lead myself? It is necessary that we must be slaves to one another?

But that's avoiding the issue most people mean when they say authority is necessary. They usually are thinking in terms of "We must protect the weak against the strong." What this really means is "Protection must be provided by force." Why? It makes no sense. Maybe sometime soon I'll make a post about private police protection.

Let me second point out what a contradiction this is. Protection against what? Violence? And you violently impose this protection upon them? Doesn't that make the whole thing self-defeating?

They also frequently believe that authority is necessary to keep people in check. This is also untrue. People who want to hurt others will not be stopped by authority. People who do not want to hurt others are not being stopped by authority. Removing authority will not turn a peaceful, married father of three into a theif. And any authority short of omniscient cannot stop a dediated killer from killing.

I've also heard an arguement about liability. Supposedly, without a central authority, nobody would be held liable. This is untrue and backwards. With a central authority, nobody in the central authority is held liable. With no authority, everyone can hold anyone else liable for a tort or breech of contract or use of violence or whatever. Only under central authority do we get such bullshit as "Sovereign Immunity".

So no. Authority is not "necessary". The moment you try to apply it, it starts contradicting itself. It's not only unnecessary, it's absurd. Stop believing this stupid rhetoric.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Democracy vs Market

"We hold these truths to be self-evident...that all men are created equal..." -Declaration of Independance

Democracy is an idea that rests on the equality of all people. Rich or poor, black or white, right or left, all people are equal. If one man were created superior to all others, monarchy would be justified. If one group of men were created superior to all others, and all in that group equal to one another, oligarchy would be justified. Democracy is contrary to these, it requires that all men are created equal.

Are all men created equal?

Certainly it is absurd to treat one group of men as if they are superior to another group of men by their very nature, and thus should rule over the others. Democracy deserves credit for avoiding that idiocy. There is absolutely no reason to believe that one person's interests supercedes another person's interests. But that doesn't necessarily mean people are equal.

One person is one mind controlling a body. Minds are subjective. And subjective spheres cannot directly access other subjective spheres to identify anything about them, including their actual existence.

But this means that two minds cannot be compared at all. And if they cannot be compared, they cannot be said to be superior or inferior, but nor can they be said to be equal. Superiority, inferiority, or equality is irrelevant for the simple reason that it is impossible to ascertain in the first place.

Aggression is irrational because one who aggresses believes that they or their interests are superior to the victim's interests. Having no way of determining that, they are necessarily acting in absence of reason.

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on dinner. It treats the sheep as if it's desire to continue living were equal to the desires of two wolves to eat. We have no way of determining whether that is true, however. For all we know, the sheep may desire to live with 10 times the intensity of the wolves' desire for dinner.

What we can do instead is the method of the market. For example, if the Sheep values it's life at many millions of dollars, the sheep will not sell itself for less (assume the sheep would like it's family to have a lot of money). The wolves may value the meat of the sheep at $40 for all the meat, wool, et cetera. These prices are how we can determine how intense people's individual wants and needs are.

Which system is more rational? Which system is more fair?

Democracy asserts knowledge where none can exist. It is two wolves and a sheep voting for dinner.

The Market is where we can have knowledge which Democracy believes to have. It is two wolves trying to buy a sheep for dinner, but not having enough money.

I'll vote for the market.