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    cheneysshotgun (not verified) 7 years 28 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    Black markets are illegal, and anything that is illegal carries with it the traits of violence and crime. Markets that are open to all to see are true markets. This article is spot on.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 7 years 28 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    Thank you for the comment Wilt. I tried to balance the moral with the utilitarian arguments, but most of the arguments I have heard from statists for government provision of public goods are utilitarian. Liberals promoting welfare and conservatives promoting warfare tend to discount, if not totally ignore, the moral issue of the use of force required to implement their "policies". I agree that the use of force (violence) should be everyone’s primary concern as it is mine, but, alas, I don't see the level of concern from statists on their immoral positions. While I tried to bring up morality at every turn, in order not to lose the attention of statists targeted by this article, I focused on their utilitarian arguments for the state that public goods represent. This position is most strongly acerbated by conservatives in their argument for the "need" for a state in order to "protect" us. Accepting tax slavery as a precondition for safety seems cowardly as well as immoral. So I do not accept the premise that even if public goods exist in any form, that this justifies the need for a state. I was just attempting to render this premise a moot point. Addressing the "gun in the room that everyone ignores" when the state provides any good/service more directly will likely be the focus of another article in the future.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 7 years 28 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    Thank you both for the thoughtful comments. Your last post above ScoobyTwo pretty much sums up my position. I didn't mean to suggest that if public goods didn't exist that we therefore must have anarchy; but to counter the argument I constantly hear that the existence of public goods means we can't have anarchy. I'd be interested in seeing you write an article on the subject that would hopefully do a better job than I did of explaining the first three. Mr. Transom - I'm glad to hear that you have escaped from the institution and are now in the "wild". That you still speak of "notional aggregate utility functional" and "publicness-aspects (asymmetric utility interdependence)" with passion reveals that you may have been there too long ;>) Anyways, this article was not meant to be a scholarly treatise on economics as there are plenty of those over at the Mises Institute and elsewhere including the links I provided. The Myth of Public Goods, in my view, isn't that someone can create a definition that includes various goods and services, but that this concept can then be used to justify the state. I hoped in this article to address the public perception of public goods (including many things that do not meet the given definition) in an effort to inspire non-economists (99.9% of the population) to question the status quo and the need for a state. As ScoobyTwo said the term is "newspeakish" and most of the world has only a very superficial understanding of the term. That said, I agree that some goods will be "underprovided" in anarchy if only temporarily and based on comparison to a theoretical optimum level. I have some problems with the belief in the ability of mathematical formulas and models to determine what the "optimum" level is that goods/sevices "should" be provided at which, as you pointed out, is always changing anyway. I also don't think Hoppe "constantly uses straw-man arguments" but will look a little closer now that you have mentioned it. I believe that free-market principles apply to all goods and services and state interference leads to unintended consequences and diminished results. Perhaps you guys have seen this (see address below), but it is a good article that includes some history on radio waves pertinent to this discussion. The courts were well on their way to settling how to allocate band-width issues via the use of private property rights when Hoover stepped in to license and control it. http://mises.org/daily/1662
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Before I can answer any of your four questions, Suverans2, I need to change "natural rights" to a term that I can accept as fact. I am going to endeavor to answer them as they are written, and replace in my mind the questionable term with "individuality." Here are my replies: 1. Death 2. Its existence, as a "democratic" government, like any other, cannot exist without first initiating coercion, which leads directly and immediately to death. 3. I have been, in the past, an unknowing accomplice to death. I continue to do so, because I am unwilling to make myself a martyr to an essentially death-oriented society. But I still have peaceful choices I can make where I am not being forced, and changes that can be made right now. 4. I am on the side of any individual that does not initiate coercion.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I wrote: Voltaire is reported to have said, "Define your terms, you will permit me again to say, or we shall never understand one another...” With that in mind let us begin with something I found on Wikipedia. "Some philosophers and political scientists make a distinction between natural rights and legal rights. Legal rights (sometimes also called civil rights or statutory rights) are rights conveyed by a particular polity, codified into legal statutes by some form of legislature (or unenumerated but implied from enumerated rights), and as such are contingent upon local laws, customs, or beliefs. In contrast, natural rights (also called moral rights or inalienable rights) are rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society or polity. Natural rights are thus necessarily universal, whereas legal rights are culturally and politically relative." If we can agree “to”, (not necessarily “with”), these differentiations, we can move forward. If we cannot agree "to" these differentiations, we cannot move forward, we can only spin our wheels, (i.e. argue semantics), which as we all know is a total waste of time. I will continue, however, to put out brush fires (as in my last few posts) and to promote an understanding of individual natural rights in a polite manner.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I have a few of questions for both of you gentlemen. (1) Who (or what) do you suppose is the greatest enemy of man's individual natural rights? If you get that answer right, and I suspect that at least one of you will... (2) Do you know what the first step is in a "democratic" government's modus operandi to destroy any thing (or any one), and... (3) Are you an unknowing accomplice in that "first step"? And lastly... (4) Whose side are you going to be on in the battle to defend your individual natural rights?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau wrote: The meaning of a word depends on its general usage, not how you wish to use it. I respond: The meaning of my words, because they are "my words", are what I say they are, Mr. Bonneau. Which of course is why Voltaire reportedly wrote, "Define your terms...or we shall never understand one another...” And your government, (unless you have formally withdrawn your consent to be a member (seceded) and refuse to accept any member-only benefits), works in exactly that same manner.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    B.R. Merrick wrote: Suverans2 appears to be arguing from this standpoint: Because there are universal "laws," there are natural "rights." And I respond: You have put the cart before the horse. “Without a moral code no proper human society is possible. Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible.” I (and Ayn Rand) argue that it is only because there are “individual rights”, that a moral code (just laws) is possible.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    B.R. Merrick wrote: In ancient days, there were some groups of people who apparently decided that it was acceptable to execute homosexuals. Currently in this world, depending on where the woman finds herself located, she can cry, “Rape!” and have the guns of the state rush to her aid, or be taken out into the desert and stoned to death for someone else’s actions. In each instance above, “morality” plays a part. I respond: No sir, what plays the part in both of those is "the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society or polity," which I'm sure you will agree may or may not have anything at all to do with right and wrong, i.e. morality. My thoughtful friend, try to imagine a world where there is no right and wrong. And, just because we humans have made mistakes, and will undoubtedly continue to make mistakes, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau wrote: The Wikipedia entry on "rights" proves my point. It is a hopeless mishmash that can mean anything. People claim a right to anything they want; a right to a free education for example. I respond: Free education is not a natural right, it is an "entitlement", which is defined in Black's 6th as a "right to benefits". You are "entitled" to this "benefit" if you consent to be a member of our political group, i.e. a citizen, it is just another carrot on the end of the stick!! Aside from that "free education" is an oxymoron, all education, even self-education, comes at a price.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    "With that in mind let us begin with something I found on Wikipedia." The Wikipedia entry on "rights" proves my point. It is a hopeless mishmash that can mean anything. People claim a right to anything they want; a right to a free education for example. Again, your distinction about natural rights is irrelevant. Go out and ask the average Joe and Jill what they have a right to. You will find the distinction does not exist for them. The meaning of a word depends on its general usage, not how you wish to use it. The issue of animals again proves my point. If you talk about natural rights, you have to admit animal rights. Where does that lead you? To PETA. To being a vegan. Sorry, I'm not going there. Animals do not have rights. They merely have a will to live. Likewise, we have no rights, but do have a will to live. "Rights" is just a meme in our head that has lost its utility. Your comment about not talking about PETA makes no sense. We can't use the existence of a group to prove a point? It is irrational to exclude them. "Rights" is a meme. Surely you agree? The only question here, is whether it is a useful meme. Whether it helps us or hurts us. I admit it was initially useful, but for the many reasons I have outlined before, it no longer is. It now aids the state more than it aids us.
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I agree with Ayn Rand on many things, as I agree with you, Suverans2, and with Bonneau, on a great many points, but first of all, I think some of Rand's premises were false and others questionable. In the statement above, before I could say that I agree, I need to know what is “moral” before I can even begin to grasp a “moral code.” If you peruse my earlier articles, you will see a clear evolution of thought, because I obviously started writing articles when I believed in God, who I believed had a moral code. At this point, I am far more concerned with my premises than my opinions. The latter may be based on factual information, or just emotional response, but opinions themselves are never factual. I want my premises to be based on irrefutable fact. (For instance, my premise that “government is death.”) Is there anything factual about morality? A sizeable chunk of people on this land mass (and some others) are currently evolving their beliefs about homosexuals. In ancient days, there were some groups of people who apparently decided that it was acceptable to execute homosexuals. Currently in this world, depending on where the woman finds herself located, she can cry, “Rape!” and have the guns of the state rush to her aid, or be taken out into the desert and stoned to death for someone else’s actions. In each instance above, “morality” plays a part. Are people defining morality, a separate, knowable fact, incorrectly? Rand herself apparently thought of homosexuality as “disgusting,” and from my reading of Atlas Shrugged, she codified heterosexual sex quite narrowly. But how did she arrive at her conclusions about Dagny Taggart loving three men in succession to whom she was not married, yet those of us who do not wish to have heterosexual relations are “disgusting,” and I suppose “immoral”? Did she check her premise, as she urged others to do? Therefore, I have serious questions that are not yet resolved concerning “morality.” As I see it, I cannot base any of my beliefs at this time any longer on any “moral code” (and I had one hell of a strict moral code for decades when I was a believer), because I do not see anything factual or truthful about morality. Rand’s first sentence is quite provocative, and makes at least two massive assumptions. First of all, define “morality” and prove it with factual information. Secondly, why is “human society” not possible without it? Her second sentence, although tied directly to the first, makes a bit more sense with my understanding of individuality, because my calling the events in Waco in 1993 an atrocity is based on factual information about individuality, even though “atrocity” is a relative term. I wonder if Rand’s second statement would be more truthful if she had said: “Without the recognition of individual rights my moral code is not possible.” That statement would be much closer to how I see things now, excepting the use of the word “rights,” which at this point, is conditional on whether “rights” is the correct word for the natural phenomena in question, and whether or not “rights” are conditional on the existence of “natural law.” You wrote: “[D]o you feel that all animals have a ‘natural right’ to try to defend their life, in other words is it ‘justifiable’?” I don’t see anyone’s defense of his life as “justifiable,” except when I consider what I believe about individuality. I see it as logical, and I empathize with those who are put into such a difficult situation. Likewise, I see animals defending themselves as logical, and if the kitty cat in question is particularly cute, he can count on my empathy and assistance in the endeavor. “And, please, let's not bring ‘the PETA folks’ into a supposedly ‘rational’ discussion.” Agreed. I see the PETA organization as one more group of individuals clutching at The Ring. No thanks. Bonneau also said something that I think I may disagree with, to an extent. We are roughly in agreement over the use of the word “rights” in that I do not see evidence of anything that needs to be called such, as the natural phenomena in question do not seem to need this terminology. However, if I am ever convinced that the word “rights” is the correct or most useful term to describe these particular phenomena, I would say that just like the word “anarchy,” or perhaps even the word “liberal,” it is worth saving if its original definition has been perverted. I don’t think death-oriented individuals should be in charge of anything, certainly not semantic arguments. (I may change my mind and agree with Bonneau if I ever get enough evidence of the inevitable evolution of language.)
  • wkmac's picture
    wkmac 7 years 28 weeks ago Web link Cheryl Cline
    This is not new at all as it's been known since the Yardbirds covered the song before coming to be known as Led Zeppelin. A 2001' article (Shindig magazine) is just one example a decade ago suggesting what was commonly known. http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/itsaboutmusic/jakeholmes.pdf Ask Willie Dixon about the origins of Whole Lotta Love? And there are questions even about the origins of Stairway to Heaven. State priviledge of copyright argument aside, Holmes may have an uphill battle on his hands
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Good to see someone else weigh in, B.R. Merrick. You wrote: Suverans2 seems to define "right" differently than Bonneau. To him, it appears that "right" is a word being used in a discussion amongst individuals as to what is logical, correct, and natural, not legal. And I respond: I agree with all that have stated, in those two sentences. Voltaire is reported to have said, "Define your terms, you will permit me again to say, or we shall never understand one another...” With that in mind let us begin with something I found on Wikipedia. "Some philosophers and political scientists make a distinction between natural rights and legal rights. Legal rights (sometimes also called civil rights or statutory rights) are rights conveyed by a particular polity, codified into legal statutes by some form of legislature (or unenumerated but implied from enumerated rights), and as such are contingent upon local laws, customs, or beliefs. In contrast, natural rights (also called moral rights or inalienable rights) are rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society or polity. Natural rights are thus necessarily universal, whereas legal rights are culturally and politically relative." If we can agree “to”, (not necessarily “with”), these differentiations, we can move forward. But, as Mr. Bonneau wrote, “some people are so submerged in their worldview, that it is literally impossible for them to understand and consider a concept outside of it,” and, as a consequence of this submersion, they will refuse to even consider that there are rights that do not emanate from the Almighty STATE, so it may not be possible. I must say, I find it impossible to fathom that any rational individual could honestly disagree with Ayn Rand's statement, “Without a moral code no proper human society is possible. Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible.”
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    B.R. Merrick, do you feel that all animals have a "natural right" to try to defend their life, in other words is it "justifiable"? Or, to word it conversely, do you feel it is “inexcusable” for an animal to try to defend his life? And, please, let's not bring “the PETA folks” into a supposedly “rational” discussion.
  • Wilton D. Alston's picture
    Wilton D. Alston 7 years 28 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    Here's what I don't get, and I admit that my eyes tend to glaze over the more economic jargon I see. I agree with ScoobyDoo, particularly this comment, "I think your essay suffers most from accepting the assumption that the existence of a public good would necessitate state intervention." I do concede however, that the author's latest comment explains that question satisfactorily. Simply put, it really doesn't matter if public goods "exist" or not. What matters is this: Is it moral for you to take something from me, by force, and give it to someone else, regardless of justification? If that justification could be characterized as notional aggregate utility functional or justified via asymmetric utility interdependence is irrelevant. The notion of anarchy is not based (necessarily) upon a deduction that things will be better distributed, or more efficiently produced, although far too many of us who support it use these utilitarian arguments from time to time. If theft is immoral, it doesn't matter how many equations one can produce, or the complexity of the arguments around them. Allow me to end my post with another straw man, or maybe two. Consider: It is possible that the economy of the South would not support the wholesale release of all chattel slaves. The job market might not absorb them. The housing market might not allow them to be efficiently housed. So what? Don't keep people as slaves, because is it immoral, period. Consider: It is possible that a road built by a private firm might have a toll cost--assuming that tolls are how the road is financed--that is too high for all prospective users in a locale. So? (This is not an uncaring question, and no, I don't club baby kittens for sport!) The utility and availability for use of any (most?) good varies all over the place. Scarcity, anyone? In fact, statist measures tend to exacerbate this variation. For example, public schools are financed by taxes on people who don't use them (no children), and people who have left them in disgust (private school parents). It would seem then, that utility is asymmetrical regardless of paradigm, and is therefore irrelevant to the "why" of anarchy versus statism. That I might think of a situation where a good might be "underprovided"--a designation that itself seems based upon omniscience--in anarchy simply puts anarchy in the same place as statist approaches, only without the inherent theft.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    "...natural rights, existed BEFORE THEIR RECOGNITION BY POSITIVE LAW." The way this looks to me now, is that this concept of rights came from ordinary people (NOT the ruling class) trying to establish and claim their "power of free action." They bundled up all those ideas and referred to them as "rights". And back then, it was a useful concept. But the ruling class has obviously co-opted the term, and twisted it to their use. No surprises there. Thus Obama et. al. can get a lot of mileage out of the notion that we have a "right" to free health care. Just as Hayek put it in "The Road to Serfdom", "Gradually, as this process continues, the whole language becomes despoiled, and words become empty shells deprived of any definite meaning, as capable of denoting one thing as its opposite and used solely for the emotional associations which still adhere to them." Talking about a "right" to free health care obviously tramples the kinds of rights the folks who coined the term "right" were originally talking about. "Right", as used generally, denotes both a thing, and it's opposite! It must be asked whether the word "right" has outlived its usefulness. Why, after all, use the phrase "right to life" when it cements the state's advertised role in protecting life? It certainly doesn't help much when libertarians go around saying things like, "the only legitimate role of government is protecting our rights". What people hear when that is said, is that government should give us health care! They also hear that government is legitimate. Quite the wrong messages to get across... Yes, we struggle to make the distinction between "positive" and "negative" rights (great choice of terms, that), but it of course goes over almost everyone's head. I say, stop using a term that advances the agenda of the state. Rather than saying, "I have a right to life," say instead, "I will live!" Suverans2 comments, 'If you murder someone, i.e. take an innocent life, "in a stateless society", you will be deemed guilty of a crime by your neighbors... because you have violated that individual's natural right to life...' I have to dispute that. No one goes around thinking we must have retribution against murderers because they violated the victim's "right to life". They think retribution is needed because they valued the victim or empathized with her (because she was innocent), and because they don't want to live in a society where people can be killed willy-nilly. If I killed someone who was robbing me, they would say instead, "Good riddance to bad rubbish." Even though such a person had as much a right to life as some innocent victim had. Nope, "rights" have had their day. Time to move on. BTW, while I'm thinking "rights" is a term that has outlived its usefulness, I still think the terms "anarchy" and "anarchism" are useful. But that's another argument... Thanks for joining the discussion, Merrick. It's good to have a 3rd party in this, to help clarify things.
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Suverans2 seems to define "right" differently than Bonneau. To him, it appears that "right" is a word being used in a discussion amongst individuals as to what is logical, correct, and natural, not legal. I think Bonneau is trying to emphasize that rights are normally perceived by others as something for government to protect, which is why they always act appalled when a certain politician or policeman violates some perceived legal right. Therefore, they can look at what happened at Waco and say that it was "unconstitutional," as if that's what makes mass murder "bad." I see it now as a death-oriented activity (for more than one reason) and anti-individual, both of which I can defend rationally, using fact. Therefore, I submit that my conclusion about that atrocity is factual (although my use of the word "atrocity" is opinion). In other words, I put myself in the place of one of the victims and say to myself, "I don't want that to happen to me." I am more inclined to agree with Bonneau here, especially this part of the article: "I have seen someone contend that this will to live is itself the 'right to life.' Of course, since all animals have the same drive, then they all must have a 'right to life,' just like the PETA folks claim." On the other hand, Suverans2 says the following: "And, the only laws enacted by governments that truly have authority are those which derive said authority from the natural law of man." (Suverans2, I am assuming that because this was not surrounded by quotes in the original, that these are your written words?) Part of the problem with this statement is that for a government to base its laws solely on "natural rights," it would have to cease to exist, because the government initiates coercion against individuals with "natural rights" by claiming authority without consent. Suverans2 bases his belief in rights on "natural law." Of course, the phrase "natural law" is used to describe natural phenomena like gravity, erosion, the speed of light, the tides, orbits, plant growth, etc. We call these phenomena "laws" because the discovery of these phenomena and the continued study of them reveals certain predictable outcomes: erosion by water and air formed the Grand Canyon (thank God, if any) and always will, the moon orbits around the earth in predictable cycles forming the tides and always will, etc. We call it "law" because that is what man-made laws are designed to do: make our behavior as predictable as natural phenomena. Suverans2 appears to be arguing from this standpoint: Because there are universal "laws," there are natural "rights." But can these natural phenomena truly be called "laws"? I guess I need to know for certain what the definition of "law" is. Suverans2 also says: "If you murder someone, i.e. take an innocent life, 'in a stateless society', you will be deemed guilty of a crime by your neighbors... because you have violated that individual's natural right to life." But there is also the natural phenomenon of "empathy," which is the individual's ability to take in information with the five senses, subject it to abstract, rational thought in the brain, and draw a conclusion based on that reasoning, further affecting that individual's emotional response. I empathize with people who are murdered, because as an individual, I do not want that to happen to me, nor do I want it to happen to anyone whose company I enjoy. I see it as destructive to my own volition. I do not need recognition of a "natural law" or a "right" to wish for it to end. I think "justice" grows out of empathy as well, as we observe continually how much we depend on one another for greater comfort and longer life. ...Much like I depend on this fascinating discussion for further edification.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 7 years 28 weeks ago Web link Robert Kaercher
    "She declined to say whether terrorism suspects must be warned of the right to remain silent..." I can see it now. Terror suspects are Mirandized just prior to getting their fingernails pulled out. Justice has been served!
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Define "right". I just want to know what you think the word means, in a general sense. Do try not to use the word "right" in the definition of "right". You say, "The 'right to life' is the “just and legal claim to hold, use or enjoy it" ~ Paul Bonneau This has already been covered 1 week and 5 days ago, but once more, I have never used the word “right” in a definition of “right”, as you seem to infer. I post it again here to refresh your memory. Suverans2 1 week 5 days ago In reply to: What Is to Be Done With the Statists? Page by: Paul Bonneau Paul, that was not a definition! This was a definition. "...right, i.e. [that is to say] "Just claim; legal title; ownership; the legal power of exclusive possession..." to your life, liberty and justly acquired property..." ~ Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language And this is another definition, and "please pay attention" to the bolded part of this definition. “Rights” are defined generally as “powers of free action.” And the primal rights pertaining to men are undoubtedly enjoyed by human beings purely as such, being grounded in personality, and existing antecedently to their recognition by positive law. ~ A Dictionary of Law (c.1891), page 1044 "Legal claim" is of course, a notion dependent on the state. Thus you need the state (the most murderous agency in history) to have a right to life. Of course that is silly. ~ Paul Bonneau Of course it's silly, Mr. Bonneau, read what was written and emboldened, and what I politely asked you to “please pay attention” to in that last definition of “Rights”, 1 week and 5 days ago, existing ANTECEDENTLY to their recognition by positive law; one of their own law dictionaries admits that the “primal rights pertaining to men”, i.e. natural rights, existed BEFORE THEIR RECOGNITION BY POSITIVE LAW. In a stateless society, there would not be any such notion as "legal". You would just live. I "hold, use and enjoy" my life without recourse to any right, or a state to make that "legal". I do not need fanciful and state-sanctioned notions like "rights" to do it. ~ Paul Bonneau If you murder someone, i.e. take an innocent life, "in a stateless society", you will be deemed guilty of a crime by your neighbors, (if you can refrain from a knee-jerk-reaction to my use of that word), because you have violated that individual's natural right to life, his “just and legal claim to hold, use or enjoy [his life]”. By violating that innocent individual's “right to life”, you have voluntarily forfeited your own “just and legal claim to hold, use or enjoy [your life]”, notwithstanding that you may still try. What that loss of rights will really mean, in the last analysis, is that no rational individual(s) will aid you in the defense of your life. Without a moral code no proper human society is possible. Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible. ~ Ayn Rand
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I do hope you are enjoying this discussion as much as I am.
  • Mitrik_Spanner's picture
    Mitrik_Spanner 7 years 28 weeks ago Web link Don Stacy
    I like the couch surfing idea. Thirty years ago I hitchhiked between the U.S. midwest and the Rocky Mountain region quite a few times. I did a lot of totally informal couch surfing and camping in those days. This seems like a good way to recreate the fun with less risk, now that I'm not so young and willing to endure hardship. And of course the mutual aid/spontaneous order aspect is a big plus.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Define "right". I just want to know what you think the word means, in a general sense. Do try not to use the word "right" in the definition of "right". You say, "The 'right to life' is the “just and legal claim to hold, use or enjoy it" "Legal claim" is of course, a notion dependent on the state. Thus you need the state (the most murderous agency in history) to have a right to life. Of course that is silly. In a stateless society, there would not be any such notion as "legal". You would just live. I "hold, use and enjoy" my life without recourse to any right, or a state to make that "legal". I do not need fanciful and state-sanctioned notions like "rights" to do it.
  • Guest's picture
    Prime (not verified) 7 years 28 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    "the police state is literally only months away (if not here already)" How would we know?
  • J3rBear's picture
    J3rBear 7 years 28 weeks ago Web link Don Stacy
    The same reason all politicians waffle on issues. To appease and to get elected.
  • Guest's picture
    telefriend (not verified) 7 years 28 weeks ago Web link Jeremy H.
    This NTU.org page was one of my most-referenced sources...so why did they take it down? Has anyone seen the same or similar information elsewhere?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 28 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    It is not religion, Mr. Bonneau, it is common sense, "plain and simple", which explains why, to rational individuals, like Ayn Rand, Lysander Spooner, me, John Locke, James Otis, Thomas Jefferson, Frederic Bastiat, and too many others to list here, natural rights are self-evident.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 7 years 29 weeks ago
    The Great White Lie
    Page B.R. Merrick
    All the more reason not to let the goons arrest you in the first place. See this: http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2009/tle515-20090419-10.html
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 7 years 29 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I have come to the conclusion that some people are so submerged in their worldview, that it is literally impossible for them to understand and consider a concept outside of it. This is religion, plain and simple. If people believe in rights as axiomatic, then they will not understand this article, and will simply be incapable of questioning them or dealing rationally with any questions concerning them.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 29 weeks ago Page Robert L. Johnson
    Also, as if the evidence Robert L. Johnson has presented us with here is not bad enough, it gets worse, much worse, in my opinion, the book that Juda, i.e. Judaism considers the highest authority is the Babylonian Talmud, not the BIBLE.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 29 weeks ago Page Robert L. Johnson
    If anyone is interested, here are Strong's dictionary definitions for the Aramaic words translated “above” in Deuteronomy 7:6. The italicized blue words are what Dr. Strong found, at that time, to be the closest English synonyms. Deuteronomy 7:6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all[H4480][H3605] people that are upon the face of the earth. H4480 min minnıy minney min, min-nee', min-nay' For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses H3605 kol kol kole, kole From H3634; properly the whole; hence all, any or every (in the singular only, but often in a plural sense) From this we can clearly see that “above” is a mistranslation, and that it should have read, simply, “from all” or “out of all people”, clearly a big difference, in my opinion, because even if this were true, it does not place them “above” all people. This is a great example of what happens when the fox is left guarding the hen house. Those individuals who secede from the governments of men and return to the “laws of nature and nature's God” are not “above all people”, they are merely “separate” from their political corporations, just as we read in another place in that same BIBLE. 2Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
  • Mitrik_Spanner's picture
    Mitrik_Spanner 7 years 29 weeks ago Web link Mike Powers
    Two years from now America will be unrecognizable compared to its current state. I think, as the empire unravels it will have no choice but to shrink its footprint on the globe.
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 7 years 29 weeks ago Web link Robert Fredericks
    I am very impressed with the article and the blog, and particularly the extremely insightful observation above.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 29 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    The "right to life" is the “just and legal claim to hold, use or enjoy it[1]”. Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself. The labor of his body and the work of his hands are properly his. ~ John Locke The “right to life”, like the “right to liberty” and “justly acquired property”, is a “natural right”, which means that it is not created by positive laws enacted by a government. Natural rights. Those which grow out of nature of man and depend upon his personality and are distinguished from those which are created by positive laws... In re Gogabashvele's Estate, 195 Cal. App2d 503, 16 Ca.Rptr. 77, 91. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1027 And, the only laws enacted by governments that truly have authority are those which derive said authority from the natural law of man. The law of nature is superior in obligation to any other. It is binding in all countries and at all times. No human laws are valid if opposed to this, and all which are binding derive their authority either directly or indirectly from it. ~ Institutes of American Law by John Bouvier, 1851, Part I, Title II, No. 9 [1] Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1324
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 7 years 29 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Without a moral code no proper human society is possible. Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible. ~ Ayn Rand
  • Guest's picture
    ScoobyTwo (not verified) 7 years 29 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    Ok, so here's the points I was trying to make, hopefully condensed enough to get past the spam filters: 1) Anyone saying that an excludable or rivalrous good is a 'public good' is wrong on the face of it. You can just say so. 2) 'public good' is really a newspeakish misnomer. Non-state entities are perfectly capable of creating non-rivalrous, non-excludable goods. case in point: radio transmissions and digital information. 3) Thus: the existence of such goods is not proof that the state needs to exist, and it's no threat to a market anarchist philosophy. 4) likewise, proving their non-existence wouldn't prove a market anarchist philosophy is right, anyway. There are lots of arguments for state control over rivalrous and excludable goods. example: roads (only so many people can use them at one time, so they're rivalrous) maybe I should submit my full comment as an article?
  • Guest's picture
    ScoobyDoo (not verified) 7 years 29 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    STR flagged my first reply as spam for some reason, so here's a second try: If people are saying that those things are public goods, it's simple to show that they are not by pointing out where they are rivalrous or excludable. It's not a terribly complex point to make. I think your essay suffers most from accepting the assumption that the existance of a public good would necessitate state intervention. Since you don't want state intervention, you're trying to argue that such bogeymen don't exist. But despite the newspeakish name, public goods don't actually have anything to do with the state. They can be, and often are, created by private enterprises as well. Likewise, there are many arguments for the state getting involved in non-publicgoods, too. So proving that everything is rivalrous or excludable doesn't prove the anti-state point any more than proving that some things are neither proves the pro-state point. The example you give of a radio broadcast is an excellent example of a real public good. It is both non-excludable and non-rivalrous by nature. Private companies, government entities, and individual citizens with home built equipment are all capable of producing this public good. The spectrum itself is NOT a public good, since it's rivalrous. Two stations transmitting on the same frequency will interfere with each other and make both attempts to communicate worthless. Anyone using the spectrum's status as a public good as an argument that the state needs to get involved is just plain wrong, since it's not a public good at all. It would be more of a common good, and the licensing is an attempt to turn it into a private good by imposing artificial excludability. Digital data is another decent example of an inherently public good. It is an interesting flip to the arguments presented in the essay, where those inherently public goods are subject to state regulation that seeks to impose artificial excludability, and push them into the club goods corner of the matrix. Some things can be shifted from the excludable to non-excludable side depending on how you treat them. ie: the Commons in the Tragedy of the Commons. It's only a non-excludable Commons until they decide to privatize it and start excluding. The Rivalrous side is much more concrete. Very few goods are truly non-rivalrous, infinite, non-scarce goods. Even roads get congested when too many people use them at once.
  • Guest's picture
    Censure (not verified) 7 years 29 weeks ago Web link Cheryl Cline
    http://dprogram.net/2010/06/23/a-comment-revisiting-george-orwell’s-nineteen-eighty-four-in-2010/
  • Guest's picture
    ScoobyDoo (not verified) 7 years 29 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    Take this bit of your essay: "What about radio and television broadcasts? They are non-excludable and additional customers can be added with no additional cost, but there are abundant examples of private broadcasting companies. State licensing is an impediment to efficiency imposed for reasons of control and cartelization, not to protect consumers or enhance the provision of these goods." You've actually jumped across three entirely different concepts within as many sentences. You've got 1) the broadcast itself, 2) the company that creates the broadcast, 3) the 'right' to transmit on a specific section of the radio spectrum. These each match up with once of the four areas in the matrix in the wikipedia article. The broadcast itself is the public good in this example. Once you send the broadcast, there is little purpose in 'owning' it. It is beyond your power to keep people within range from intercepting the signal, and no one else is denied listening to the signal just because you tune your radio into the same station. It's non-rivalrous and non-excludable. ie: a public good. You mention scarcity, but public goods are essentially non-scarce. No violence is needed to create or control the broadcast The company, the broadcasting equipment, and all the time and other resources that go into producing the broadcast are both rivalrous and excludable. If you use my radio, I don't get to use it (rivalrous) and I can stop you from using my radio (excludable). So the company is a private good. Again, no violence is needed beyond the typical defense of private property. The 'right' to transmit would fall into the Common Good area, although the licensing pushes it into the Private Good arena. The spectrum is most definitely rivalrous. If we're both transmitting on the same band and the same place at the same time, both our transmissions are ruined (although in some circumstances the one with the most powerful transmitter wins). Two people using it at the same time actually reduces the value of the medium. This was basically the situation during the early years of radio, where anyone could power up their spark gap transmitter and blast out a noisy signal across a broad band that hampered everyone else's ability to communicate. It's non-excludable in the sense that I can't physically stop you from broadcasting unless I go into your house/building and destroy your transmitter. So it's a Common Good: Rivalrous and non-excludable. The Tragedy of the Commons has two theoretical solutions: regulation and privatization. Licensing a chunk of the spectrum for a specific area and a specific broadcasting power is akin to public grazing lands being converted to private ranches or farmland. Once given the exclusive right to use the resource, the owner can develop it much more efficiently. But we also 'regulate' other parts of the spectrum for non-exclusive use under specific guidelines. So we have bands like amateur, FRS, and GMRS bands for non-commercial comms, MURS for commercial comms, the 2.4 Ghz band for things like WiFi and cordless phones. Amateurs and MURS operators are expected to minimize interference by a set of operational rules, and WiFi and cordless devices minimize interference by the design of the device, primarily lower power levels. Although, if you saw Steve Jobs' latest iPhone demo, that approach is not always successful. It's actually the attempt to make the non-excludable common good into an excludable private good that requires the coordinated state violence. I can claim the right to exclusively broadcast on a specific band... but if you're doing it too, there isn't much I can do to stop you without violating other concrete property rights. I would need to go into your building and take or disable your transmitter. That is essentially what the state does for you in this situation, although they'll usually just persuade you with fines rather than actually take or disable the equipment. Also, I think it bears mentioning that the existence of non-rivalrous, non-excludable 'public goods' doesn't necessitate any specific government action. An argument that they exist isn't an argument for a specific treatment of them. We don't NEED to privatize or regulate the radio spectrum. It doesn't inherently belong to anyone, and no one really has the right to have their WiFi or TV run without interference. An unregulated radio spectrum very well might come out with more utility than the specific uses that regulators have deemed are worthy. But if people are telling you that something is a public good when it's not actually a public good, the best defense is probably to explain what a public good is, and why that specific item is NOT a public good. The term itself is a bit newspeakish, but it's fairly easy to define and then sort the various goods into their proper bucket. If anyone is claiming that a sports stadium is a Public Good, then they're wrong on the face of it, way before they start claiming any sort of need for government action.
  • GeoffreyTransom's picture
    GeoffreyTransom 7 years 29 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    Let me preface this by stating clearly that I don't think that the State ameliorates the public goods problem - and even if it did, the 'welfare gains' from adding up little triangles of formerly-non-existent consumer surplus from 'correcting' market failure in the public-goods case, are more than wiped out whenever the political-parasite class has a turf war (a.k.a. 'war'). The only defensible position is anarchy, and that involves accepting that certain goods (e.g., national defence, basic education and basic health care such as inoculations) will be underprovided (in some 'utilitarian' framework) - in that a notional aggregate utility functional would be increased if the production of the good was increased (or decreased in the case of a social bad). That said, anyone who has read Buchanan knows that the logic of the theory that there are goods with publicness-aspects (asymmetric utility interdependence) is unassailable, and to say otherwise just makes one look like a bit of a dill. There are issues of utility-comparability and differing marginal valuations of money and consumption goods, for certain - but that is a SEPARATE ISSUE. No economically literate person can defend the assertion that public goods - goods that are non-rival (or partly non-rival) or non-exclusive in consumption - don't exist. We will remain the 'daft uncle' of the discipline of economics while we permit these sorts of whackery to persist. Put it this way: if you believe in externalities, you A FORTIORI believe in utility-interdependence. If you don't believe in externalities, then you don't accept that you should be compensated for pollution associated with my production; you undermine one of the basic tenets of property rights. Under a 'no externalities need be compensated' theory of property, I could build a plant that accidentally spilt toxic waste into a river, and assert that nobody was affected. And public-goods arguments are simply the assertion that in some classes of good, those externalities are economically significant and failing to account for them is a fault if you are trying to participate in discussions of efficiency (the best use of resources to maximise consumption subject to constraints: the CRUX of the economic way of thinking). Now to qualify this, there are some who believe that interpersonal (and intertemporal) utility comparisons are nonsense, and I have some limited sympathy with that: my preference map changes all the time... but at a GIVEN point in time, I know that my preferences satisfy the requirements for a utility functional (ordinal preferences, transversality and so on). Anyhow... too many folks in our world try to score the 'big get' against elements of economic theory without properly understanding them: I think that Hoppe's constant use of straw-man arguments in this matter is faintly ridiculous. Confession: my background is in economic modelling... I was institutionalised at what our enemies called a 'right-wing think-tank' for ten years as an Honours and grad student, but I escaped into the wild in 2002. I got an HD (high distinction) in Public Finance at 3rd year, if memory serves, so I must have known something about this crap once upon a time. Cheerio GT
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 7 years 29 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    Perhaps you missed the qualifying statement before the list "So much for definitions, let’s look at some things commonly believed to be public goods..." I've recieved e-mails from many people listing these examples as public goods, so I felt I must address them. Some can meet the definition, if loosely i.e. roads once built can have one or a hundred cars use it at no additional cost. The whole point of the article is that the existance of these goods is a myth and don't really exist, and why this myth is perpetuated. I welcome any examples that you wish to suggest that are "really" public goods.
  • Guest's picture
    ScoobyDoo (not verified) 7 years 29 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    But a bunch of the examples listed in the second paragraph (electricity, water, sewer, parks, roads, air travel, and sporting events) aren't even public goods. Your own sources say this about public goods: "[public goods] have the special characteristic that their enjoyment cannot be restricted to those who have actually financed their production." (Hoppe), and "A public good, as defined by economic theory, is a good that, once produced, can be consumed by an additional consumer at no additional cost. A second characteristic is sometimes added, specifying that consumers cannot be excluded from consuming the public good once it is produced." (Holcombe) Or as wikipedia puts it, non-rivalrous and non-excludable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_good The examples are almost all clearly rivalrous, excludable, or both. You say you're making an argument about public goods, but you aren't actually describing public goods.
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 7 years 29 weeks ago Web link Cheryl Cline
    I have yet to read ANY Paul Craig Roberts' article where he didn't reveal his not-so-hidden and misplaced love of government.
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 7 years 29 weeks ago
    The Great White Lie
    Page B.R. Merrick
    High praise, indeed, coming from Glen. Thanks!
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 7 years 29 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    Hello Kerri -- Wow. What a great comment! You've made my day.
  • winston smith's picture
    winston smith 7 years 29 weeks ago Web link Cheryl Cline
    http://thesuperfluousman.blogspot.com/2010/06/with-enemies-like-these-wh...
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 7 years 29 weeks ago
    The Great White Lie
    Page B.R. Merrick
    Merrick displays powerful and appropriate feeling here. He's absolutely right: horrors like what the State (in the form of three or more governments, but they're all the State) inflicted on Mr. Arar are not minor, they are not something to be shrugged off with a meaningless apology that has no cost to any of the perpetrators. If you or I did something like this -- kidnap someone for no good reason, and then torture that person extensively -- can you imagine a jury letting us off, should we be caught and go on trial for the crime, JUST BECAUSE WE APOLOGIZED? The denial and self-deception people display in regards to the State is staggering.
  • Guest's picture
    kerri38846 (not verified) 7 years 29 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    Wow. This is a beautiful article. Definitely made me rethink how to change the government. Thank you very much. Very profound and I won't think about the government in quite the same way.
  • dobropet's picture
    dobropet 7 years 29 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    Wait, this video is from 2 years ago?
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 7 years 29 weeks ago Web link Don Stacy
    He feels happy-y-y-y! He feels happy-y-y-y-y!! :)