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Thread: Libertarian Minarchism

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Just to continue a line of conversation which was off-topic in another thread:

    Tomahawk wrote:
    marshaul wrote:
    As a little aside: contemplation of this inherent tension, so magnified by external authority as it is, often causes me to sway further in favor of anarchism over the libertarian minarchism I normally espouse.
    I have noticed this disturbing tendency in my own thinking, as well. The implications of this are steep, which, I think, is one of the reasons many people avoid learning and thinking about this stuff. Once you come to a certain point, you realize that you may now be a radical and your honesty demands that you conduct yourself accordingly. It is around this time that friends and family wonder if you've become some kind of nut. Which is why I avoid discussing politics at work and in many social situations.

    That said, I can't make the complete jump from minarchism to rational anarchism. I find too many reasons not to. Topic for anther thread maybe...
    I normally agree with you, but whenever I find myself in such a "sway" it invariably occurs to me that anarchists routinely argue that minarchism, as preferable as it may be to our current state of affairs, is inherently a self-defeating proposition, and therefore is at best a means to an anarchist end.

    So, what do you think? I myself see many compelling reasons for some government. But can minarchism not be inherently self-defeating? Is it possible to resolve the tension between freedom and community in a minarchist society?

    I wonder if Doug would argue that there is redeeming value to this "essential tension" (as he calls it). Doug?

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    A little background to the snippet of conversation above:

    marshaul wrote:
    Doug Huffman wrote:
    Again, there is an essential tension between freedom and community. I again recommend Ferdinand Toennies 1887: Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, since 2001 in English as Tönnies: Community and Civil Society (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) (Paperback)http://www.amazon.com/T%C3%B6nnies-C...idge-Political

    Gemeinschaft being the de facto community of men and Gesellschaft often translated as civil de jure society of laws.
    It took me a while to understand the context, but now I finally get this. There is an inherent tension between the freedom demanded by the individual and the constraints imposed by society. This tension is enhanced as a function of increasing authority of the state. We must take care to ensure the preservation of our individual self-determination against tyranny arising from every tier in the hierarchy of external authority.

    As a little aside: contemplation of this inherent tension, so magnified by external authority as it is, often causes me to sway further in favor of anarchism over the libertarian minarchism I normally espouse.

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    Well, I'll type quickly because this thread will almost certainly be locked soon...

    I think it's human nature to not be completely independent and look to authority. If you put a bunch of humans together in a colony, an authority figure will arise from their mudst almost immediately. Part of this is tradition, because it's all they have known, but part of this is tribal mentality, which goes back in human behavior to the dawn of man.

    Rational anarchy is a wonderful base to start from for thinking of individualism; I think Jefferson went there in his fascination with the Indians and their lack of a formal government. But even the Indians were tribal in nature, and worse, their primitive form of government was unable to withstand contact with the more complex social and political structures of the European culture. The Indian tribes were too balkanized to stand against the combined might of a French or British or Spanish system of colonies united under a single empire and ruled by a king most of the colonists had never laid eyes on 3000 miles away.

    An example of a modern anarchy would be Somalia. The Somalians, when unmolested by outsiders (like, ahem, the US and UN, but now mainly neighboring countries), live a fairly peaceful life, using family or clan-based courts, which compel criminals to pay restitution to victims or victims' families. The problem is that in the modern world a society that exists without a government is viewed as a target by both UN/US do-gooders and base brigands alike. Somalia never gets a peaceful moment.

    The lesson I take from this is that humans do not remain in John Locke's "state of nature" any longer than they have to. As Locke described, they form governments for mutual defense from predators and to protect their rights from their neighbors by providing an alternative to the family feuds and bloody vigilantism in the form of a formal court system with fact-finding procedures, open to the public. The challenge is to keep government from growing out of control and becoming just another organized crime system. In Locke's day they focused on tyrannical monarchs, in the modern day government has grown into a complex system of institutionalized tyranny in which every bureaucrat and armed agent is covered by a myriad of legal protections and complex regulations that allows him to claim innocence.

    The anarchist decries the minarchist as being on the first step toward statism, but I think the anarchist is being unrealistic about human nature. Humans self-organize, and once we find a structure that works for us right now, we tend to institutionalize it. Even Jefferson was a minarchist and actively participated in both Virginia and federal government.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Well, the tendency to organize certainly does seem to be a predictable facet of human nature. But what about the tendency of authority to expand its own power, and the apparent tendency of people to passively cede individual autonomy to external authority? It seems that the reassurances provided by explicit government are more than sufficient to encourage indifference and apathy in the lazy.

    Furthermore, in a case like Somalia, what is needed is defense against foreign, organized (often by a state) force. But is it really necessary to instill artificial authority in a certain group of people to provide for defense, as is done in a state system? I argue that no authority outside that derived from natural right is needed to engage in self-defense. Therefore, why does the organization for military defense need to be provided by government? After all, isn't this the function of a militia, first and foremost? The American people, many have argued, represent a combined militia far more powerful than any state military. Also, many anarcho-capitalists would point out that military defense can also be accomplished through private contract.

    Tomahawk wrote:
    Well, I'll type quickly because this thread will almost certainly be locked soon...
    It's just a philosophical discussion.

    And I think it's a relevant discussion. In the face of constant government assault on our 2nd and other amendment rights, it's important for society to reach some kind of solution to the underlying problems implicit in this discussion.

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    Hmmm. I don't know how to proceed.

    First, the idea is not mine, but I haven't been able to dig back through my education to recall the classical author of the concept.

    I am sure that the concept comes out of my experience in The Great Books curriculum. The 'tension' sounds like it ought to be from a 17th or 18th Century writer and that's a huge field. Or it might have come from the 'two cultures' debate contemporary with Harvey Cox and C. P. Snow. I just can't recall.

    For my failure and inability to provide an on point citation, I apologize.

    I had not thought of a value judgment for it but as an observation of reality. Being a conservative I will value the 'essential tension' as beneficial.

    Unrestrained freedom is anarchy while a cradle-to-grave secure community is prison like.

    For Marshaul in SF, I went to San Jose State in the Tutorials in Letters and Sciences program under Mervyn Cadwallader, student of Alexander Meiklejohn. The program's apocryphal mission was to 'educate an intelligent and trained electorate to be in place after the apocalypse.' My religion and sciences tutor, Richard Ingraham lived in SF until recently at 'Torre San Gimigiano', 140 Laidley St. (with his partner). The program alumni in the area still keep some contact. Some others, like me, are outliers with more tenuous contact. The program represented well the entire political-philosophical spectrum.

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    The lesson I take from this is that humans do not remain in John Locke's "state of nature" any longer than they have to. As Locke described, they form governments for mutual defense from predators and to protect their rights from their neighbors by providing an alternative to the family feuds and bloody vigilantism in the form of a formal court system with fact-finding procedures, open to the public. The challenge is to keep government from growing out of control and becoming just another organized crime system. In Locke's day they focused on tyrannical monarchs, in the modern day government has grown into a complex system of institutionalized tyranny in which every bureaucrat and armed agent is covered by a myriad of legal protections and complex regulations that allows him to claim innocence.

    The anarchist decries the minarchist as being on the first step toward statism, but I think the anarchist is being unrealistic about human nature. Humans self-organize, and once we find a structure that works for us right now, we tend to institutionalize it. Even Jefferson was a minarchist and actively participated in both Virginia and federal government.


    Hey!Someone gets it.



    Marshual:
    Well, the tendency to organize certainly does seem to be a predictable facet of human nature. But what about the tendency of authority to expand its own power, and the apparent tendency of people to passively cede individual autonomy to external authority? It seems that the reassurances provided by explicit government are more than sufficient to encourage indifference and apathy in the lazy.



    It takes only a quick glance at the animal kingdom to realize that authority is a part of nature and life, thereforeit'sactually thesociety without authority that is unnatural and "artificial". As Tomahawk pointed out, anarchists are unrealistic about human nature and the state of the world. Government (or somerecognizedauthority) is as necessary a part of life as a pack or herd leader is in the animal kingdom. The modern world system and its complexity, as well as the needfororganizationandteamwork that it requires,magnifies this need, again, as Tomahawk already pointed out.



    Marshaul, you're looking at things the wrong way when talking about defence. I understand where you're coming from, but where you're coming from needs re-examining. Government isn't some mystical "outside authority". Government is the internal authority that we the people have created. Does "by the people, for the people," ring a bell? You need to stop viewing it as some supernatural figure that was put in place by some force out of our control. Yes, it has been woefully corrupted, but that is our own fault for letting it get that way. The institution of government is not the problem, people are the problem. Getting rid of government because of people being greedy and/or lazy sounds a lot like protectionism in reverse to me. It's not at all unlike getting rid of firearms because some people can't use them responsibly.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    AWDstylez wrote:
    Marshaul, you're looking at things the wrong way when talking about defence.* I understand where you're coming from, but where you're coming from needs re-examining.* Government isn't some mystical "outside authority".* Government is the internal authority that we the people have created.* Does "by the people, for the people," ring a bell?* You need to stop viewing it as some supernatural figure that was put in place by some force out of our control.* Yes, it has been woefully corrupted, but that is our own fault for letting it get that way.* The institution of government is not the problem, people are the problem.* Getting rid of government because of people being greedy and/or lazy sounds a lot like protectionism in reverse to me.* It's not at all unlike getting rid of firearms because some people can't use them responsibly.
    Government is perhaps the only "inanimate" object created by mankind with behavior of its own. This alone should be sufficient to distinguish it from guns.

    At any rate, if you read carefully enough you'll see that I share Tomahawk's views, but I was hoping to discuss in what way a system like minarchism might be stably established. I've never considered myself an anarchist, but sometimes the ideas must be seriously addressed. You'll see that Tomahawk does that, even though you read it as dismissal similar to your own.

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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    For Marshaul in SF, I went to San Jose State in the Tutorials in Letters and Sciences program under Mervyn Cadwallader, student of Alexander Meiklejohn. The program's apocryphal mission was to 'educate an intelligent and trained electorate to be in place after the apocalypse.' My religion and sciences tutor, Richard Ingraham lived in SF until recently at 'Torre San Gimigiano', 140 Laidley St. (with his partner). The program alumni in the area still keep some contact. Some others, like me, are outliers with more tenuous contact. The program represented well the entire political-philosophical spectrum.
    Add you to my list of far-away forum members I hope to meet in person someday.

    A few years ago the planets aligned and I worked in an office full of engineers, almost all of whom were conservatives or libertatians, one woman was actually a punk rocker, who introduced me to Ayn Rand among other radical ideas. It was the only time I felt perfectly at ease speaking my mind in an office setting. I was actually one of the tame ones!It does a soul good to surround oneself with colorful personalities.

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    AWDstylez wrote:
    Marshaul, you're looking at things the wrong way when talking about defence. I understand where you're coming from, but where you're coming from needs re-examining. Government isn't some mystical "outside authority". Government is the internal authority that we the people have created. Does "by the people, for the people," ring a bell? You need to stop viewing it as some supernatural figure that was put in place by some force out of our control. Yes, it has been woefully corrupted, but that is our own fault for letting it get that way. The institution of government is not the problem, people are the problem. Getting rid of government because of people being greedy and/or lazy sounds a lot like protectionism in reverse to me. It's not at all unlike getting rid of firearms because some people can't use them responsibly.
    Well, don't start thinking I'm totally on board with this.

    For one thing, I approach this discussion with, for lack of a better word, a self-centered point of view, or maybe you could call it individualist, or make up a new word, "self-centric".

    While I understand that people in large groups tend to rally around a leader, often a bullying a**hole type, I see no need for such a leader myself. I have no need for a stifling bureaucracy, or a nanny state to take care of me, nor any need to be told what to do "for my own good".

    I think that enlightened, thinking people, can live without an overbearing authority to keep order. Furthermore, I believe it is immoral to force such people to bow down to authority just because everyone else thinks it necessary. It's like being stuck in special ed and knowing you're too smart for both your peers and the idiots appointed over you.

    The ability of humans to self-organize initially leads to a small, usually sensible government, with the main check being that people can walk away if they don't like it. That is what most rational anarchists believe in.

    But eventually, that small government grows out of control and becomes the tool of people who believe not in liberty but in order, and see government as the instrument for creating their own little utopia. Somewhere along the way self-organization becomes replaced by forced organization from on high, and even becomes criminalized, something to be feared and struck down violently.

    So I think that minarchy must draw from rational anarchism as a source for "keeping it real". I think that's kind of what Jefferson was thinking in his "refresh the tree of liberty" writing.

    Also, your Abe Lincoln quote brings out my cynical side. I dislike Lincoln.

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    While I understand that people in large groups tend to rally around a leader, often a bullying a**hole type, I see no need for such a leader myself. I have no need for a stifling bureaucracy, or a nanny state to take care of me, nor any need to be told what to do "for my own good".
    But eventually, that small government grows out of control and becomes the tool of people who believe not in liberty but in order, and see government as the instrument for creating their own little utopia. Somewhere along the way self-organization becomes replaced by forced organization from on high, and even becomes criminalized, something to be feared and struck down violently.


    You're obviously familiar with Locke and social contract theory so I shouldn't have to point out the problems with you thinking you're above the need for cooperation and the help of others. I realize you're talking about overbearing government, but I'm not talking about overbearing government. I'm talking about the minimum authority (whatever form it may take) to keep society out of the state of nature, and to facilitate societal organization to benefit everyone (infrastructure, standards and regulations, etc), which goes directly to your point about the government becoming overbearing. Who's fault is that? Marshaul claims government is a created object. In reality, government is just a bunch of people. It's the peoples' fault that the government became overbearing. Government is not an outside force, it is not supernatural, it is not it's own being. It's nothing more than a group of people.Rejecting the concept of government (because "government" is not a being or an object) because people failat getting it rightis likethrowing the baby out with the bathwater. Fix the people. The idea is fine; the problem is in the execution. That's what Jefferson was referring to.

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    Well, I kind of agree, but you can't "fix the people" because human nature can't be changed. I don't know where to go from here, really. As best as I can figure, the founding of the American republic in the 1700s was probably the best shot we ever saw to try to create a government with checks and balances, and even that is looking kind of weak now. It's like trying to hold water in your hand.

    I guess the only way to fix the people is to try to awaken them to the benefits of individul liberty, but an uphill struggle, too. Conditions such as those that existed in North America at the peak of the Enlightenment were such that most colonists were literate, with few distractions to keep them from reading smart material, coupled with a frontier lifestyle that was heavily dependent on individualism. Plus, as I said before, anyone who was truly unhappy could literally just walk away, to the west.

    It's a real challenge to try to get people to embrace a mindset of individual liberty as those conditions fade into history.


    ETA: I've always had problems with the idea of a "social contract". I was never asked to sign any contract. Lysander Spooner wrote a great screed about the Constitution and why he didn't think he was beholden to it, since it was ratified before he was born and so forth. I guess I will always feel the tension there.

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    Read Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson.

    In this novel he describes a society with a functioning minimal government, one where the citizens enjoy a maximum of liberty, and a minimum of government. Taxes are unneeded, but there is a voluntary payment to be made for the support of the state, one that comes due though, if the services of the state are required (court functions for instance) 50% of the military is controlled by local councils as opposed to the national government, and the primary consideration is that you are free to do as you please so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.

    It is a brilliant book and I heartily recommend it to everyone.

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    Did any of you see the John Stossel piece on ABC about "Spontaneous Order"? It was an interesting look at how we seem to levitate towards a level of semi-organized order without instruction or leadership in some situations.

    Societies haven't always started out being lead by "bullying Aholes" as Tomahawk suggested. Groups have, in earlier times, tended to follow individuals that were more knowledgeable in areas that were considered needed for the survival of the group. That's not to say that the bullies didn't take over later. But then, if the society was large enough and the bullying leadership was deemed unacceptable, the bully might be "dethroned" by force.

    I've been tossing the idea of an anarchical society myself. I'm one who does not like nor need anyone telling me what I can or can'tdo. Deep down I think we are all like that to some degree. I tend to be more solitary that most folks and usually figure out how to do for myself. I also prefer to govern myself rather than be governed by an outside entity. As for myself, I might be more suited to an anarchist type society.

    But, I realize that we are not all cut from the same template. There are many in our society that would not survive without controlled order. There are also some that are not satisfied unless they are controlling others. Wouldn't it be nice if we could move all these people to their own area of sovereignty and get them to leave the rest of us alone in our own country.

    I don't believe that a totally anarchical society has ever existed nor evr will. Humans have enough intellect to realize that at some point it is in the best interest of all to work together for the benefit of the whole, at least to some degree, if only temporarily.

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    'Hawk Tom', I am honored.

    I have always been amused by quibbling on your nom de 'net, 'Tom, a hawk' and wondering if you are aware of them.

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    Often wondered what exactly is a state researcher? I find your discussion enlightening, if even a bit far fetched. You of course know that with the population being what it is these ideaologies of course won't work. Have to wait until the aftermath of what I'm thinkin may come??
    Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. Thomas Jefferson

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    KansasMustang wrote:
    Often wondered what exactly is a state researcher? I find your discussion enlightening, if even a bit far fetched. You of course know that with the population being what it is these ideaologies of course won't work. Have to wait until the aftermath of what I'm thinkin may come??
    Early in the history of OCDO forum the owner asked for volunteers to research the states' laws. I volunteered. I would instantly cede the title to Lammie for a host of reasons.

    Far fetched? Were the philosophers that built the foundations for our FF 'far fetched' (how's that for alliteration - five 'f's)?

    I'm not going to get arrested and I'm not going to run for further office. I'm really really really smart in a narrow range of life. Sorry, I can't be all things to all people. And I have other interests. With these I would bless OCDO.

    Merry Christmas. GOD JULE

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    Minarchism, Schminarchism. I would settle for a Government that followed the freaking Constitution.

    What we are slouching toward right now is Fuhrerprinzipism; and the big arguement is who gets to be Der Fuherer.

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    Alexcabbie wrote:
    Minarchism, Schminarchism. I would settle for a Government that followed the freaking Constitution.

    What we are slouching toward right now is Fuhrerprinzipism; and the big arguement is who gets to be Der Fuherer.
    LOL

    We're definitely well on our way. Give it another year and the government will have "bailed out" every major company in every major industry and then be owed by them (if not directly having partial or full ownership of them), Fascists rejoice. The only part I'm unsure of is what Obama is going to do with the heavily,Gee Dubya supported military-industrial complex that is so critical to our future Fascist state. Obama says he's opposed to it. Only time will tell.

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    "I think it's pretty clear I said "adult", and I've never argued that 16-year-olds be treated as adults (in a legal context). If, in fact, you can find a "drug dealer" who sells "heroin laced with arsenic" (nice fantasy you have here, by the way) to children, then I'll agree he should be locked up. But, the vast majority of drug dealers who are imprisoned have not sold any such thing to children, and many of them are exactly as I described.

    What you've made is a "misleading vividness" fallacy. I didn't say anything about actual criminals. I said that "drug dealing", in and of itself, between consenting adults, is not behavior worthy of being deemed "criminal." "

    Ok--from Marshaul on the other thread, I can agree with you to a point, as I usually do being a Neo-conservative talking to a Libertarian...except that an action which violates criminal law is de facto 'criminal' and de jure prosecutable in and of the same context as if some scumbag sold H to a kid. The discussion as to whether or not a criminal action is "criminal" is rendered moot in our society. In another reality--let's say natural law presides, it would not be criminal--as "crime" would be understood, as it is not an aggressive action violating anyone's rights. In principle, I much prefer most of what would exist under natural law---BUT, there would have to be strong who were willing to protect the weak in that scenario or it would be overwhelmed by aggressive actions wherein only the strong survived. I don't think that even a Libertarian can advocate that.

    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Tomahawk wrote:
    Well, I'll type quickly because this thread will almost certainly be locked soon...

    I think it's human nature to not be completely independent and look to authority. If you put a bunch of humans together in a colony, an authority figure will arise from their mudst almost immediately. Part of this is tradition, because it's all they have known, but part of this is tribal mentality, which goes back in human behavior to the dawn of man.

    Rational anarchy is a wonderful base to start from for thinking of individualism; I think Jefferson went there in his fascination with the Indians and their lack of a formal government. But even the Indians were tribal in nature, and worse, their primitive form of government was unable to withstand contact with the more complex social and political structures of the European culture. The Indian tribes were too balkanized to stand against the combined might of a French or British or Spanish system of colonies united under a single empire and ruled by a king most of the colonists had never laid eyes on 3000 miles away.

    An example of a modern anarchy would be Somalia. The Somalians, when unmolested by outsiders (like, ahem, the US and UN, but now mainly neighboring countries), live a fairly peaceful life, using family or clan-based courts, which compel criminals to pay restitution to victims or victims' families. The problem is that in the modern world a society that exists without a government is viewed as a target by both UN/US do-gooders and base brigands alike. Somalia never gets a peaceful moment.

    The lesson I take from this is that humans do not remain in John Locke's "state of nature" any longer than they have to. As Locke described, they form governments for mutual defense from predators and to protect their rights from their neighbors by providing an alternative to the family feuds and bloody vigilantism in the form of a formal court system with fact-finding procedures, open to the public. The challenge is to keep government from growing out of control and becoming just another organized crime system. In Locke's day they focused on tyrannical monarchs, in the modern day government has grown into a complex system of institutionalized tyranny in which every bureaucrat and armed agent is covered by a myriad of legal protections and complex regulations that allows him to claim innocence.

    The anarchist decries the minarchist as being on the first step toward statism, but I think the anarchist is being unrealistic about human nature. Humans self-organize, and once we find a structure that works for us right now, we tend to institutionalize it. Even Jefferson was a minarchist and actively participated in both Virginia and federal government.
    "Rational anarchy" is a contradiction in terms.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    I'm jus' gonna sit and watch for this part of the discussion.

    When it comes to legal stuff, Gunslinger is a http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/war...ngfumaster.htm

    Y'all know he's got a doctorate in law, don't ya?

    I don't mess w' them people.


    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    JD or LL.D? Laude, et summa cum laude!

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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    JD or LL.D? Laude, et summa cum laude!
    PhPMD.

    (Phantom Pilot Missile Doctor)

    Either way, I'm stayin' outa his crosshairs. Definitely do not want him looking at one of my posts and hearing tone-lock in his headset, in a manner of speaking.


    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  25. #25
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Washington Island, across Death's Door, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    9,193

    Post imported post

    Tone lock. On the submarine we had the 'French-fry alarm' that meant fish in the water. So how do you imagine I react at Mickey-D's when the fries are done? Full anxiety attack. "Hyper-vigilance disorder", my azz. It's good sense and deep memories.

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