What Is to Be Done With the Statists?

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Have you ever wondered what freedom would look like? The big picture, I mean; not just like what it would be like to smoke some pot without being beat up by thugs.
 
Strangely enough, any realistic picture of freedom will have to include statists in some respect! It's not like we can take any remaining statists out back and put a bullet in their head; that option, although consistent with statism (at least the more extreme varieties), is not available to us. And it is completely unrealistic to imagine that we can ever convert all statists to support freedom. If we have learned anything about freedom, it is that many if not most people have no use for it, or prefer it in small doses.
 
Luckily, we don't need to shoot them or convert them! Divorce is good enough. Statists will always be here, but we don't have to live with them.
 
The answer, I believe, is that old notion, that government should be as local as possible. Statist City should have the kinds of laws its population loves and supports. Minarchist Town should have a few, and Anarchyville should have none at all.
 
This prescription takes into account the fact that people are rarely all one sort of person. No one is perfectly statist, few if any are perfectly anarchist, and virtually everyone changes over time. Doesn't matter, as long as they live where it suits them.
 
In a realistic free world, strangely enough, there will be plenty of room for statists, just as today. The only difference is that they will be limited to oppressing themselves, not us. And for many of them, maybe even most of them, that will be good enough. Most statists want people in their immediate vicinity to be controlled, not everyone on earth. It's more the ruling class that wants the latter.
 
Of course, secession will be necessary. We can't have the feds telling us what to do. Bad enough that after secession, the states will still want to do the same thing. Clearly there must be a devolution of governance to the lowest possible level. It will be a long process.
 
But the funny thing is, many statists support this notion that government should be as local as possible--which means we can recruit them for this effort! One-size-fits-all government does not make them any more happy than it makes us.
 
I was once involved with battling the teaching of religious ideas such as Creationism in government schools. Once I completely gave up on government schools and joined the homeschooling community, I found people there whose worldviews I had been battling before, living in nearly complete harmony. Once people realized they could pass their worldview to their own children, all need for battle disappeared. They didn't care that other parents' children were learning strange notions, just as long as their own children weren't.
 
"Love It Or Leave It"? We should adopt this slogan. It is threatening only if "leave it" means getting kicked out of America (and going where, exactly?). When all it means is moving down the road 20 miles, what's the problem? It's not a problem at all; it's a solution!
 
Another group of statists believe we should "Honor Diversity." OK then, let's be diverse! Diverse in governance (or lack thereof). They too should be able to get behind this idea of local governance.
 
I'm fully in agreement with Stefan Molyneux's notion that the first thing to be freed is yourself, in your personal relationships. But having done that, still there is an advantage to not being thrown in jail for wanting to smoke a little pot, or for buying a gun.
 
As a side note, the question might come up, how anarchy can be maintained in Anarchyville, since apparently nothing prevents statists moving there? The answer is shunning. Most statists will get the message that they should live with "their own kind." Societal pressures will generally point in this direction.
 
Lately I have adopted this position in my internet forum discussions. At the end, after having made the case for freedom, I always say something like, "If you want socialist health care, then have it. I hope you get what you want. But in return, you should allow me to get what I want. We should not be forced to take one system or another; we should be able to choose based on our location (for example). Socialist health care for socialists, and no government health care for freedom-lovers." Interestingly, most people seem satisfied with this. If they weren't, they would be backed into a corner, having to advocate imposing on others, which is a tad less easy than "health care is a human right." Most statists at this point either agree, or keep their mouths shut. And more to the point, the observers of the argument take notice.
 
It is a hell of a lot less threatening to a statist to think the freedom we envision still includes a place for them--a place even more suited to them, in fact, than what they have right now. They don't have to imagine freedom being shoved down their throats. They don't have to imagine putting up with donkey sex in the neighbor's front yard, or whatever other absurd paranoid fantasy they might have about it.
 
A corollary to this is the realization that anyone working to impose freedom from the national level is less than helpful, even counterproductive, to our cause. Forceful homogenization of people's desires is wrong no matter who does it. The only thing that should happen at the national level is the devolution of power downward.
 
My motto these days is "Let Statists be Statists. Just don't make me part of it."
 
Of course for this to work, freedom-lovers must be willing to move to a place that is free. It's no help to remain 10% of the local population everywhere. Freedom lovers must concentrate their populations to some extent. There are the obvious state level efforts going on these days: Free State Project in New Hampshire, Free State Wyoming, and others such as Alaska, Montana and so forth. And there are efforts at concentrating different varieties of statists too, such as Vermont and Southern Secession movements (Texas and South Carolina). At least they could be characterized as statist, although they might object to be called that. All these things are good, if only we can support them with our own movement. "Love it or leave it," folks. If you don't leave it, you must love it. If you won't even put out the modest effort to move toward freedom, then what good are you?
 
State-level concentration is good; so is community-level concentration. But whichever you prefer, please get off your duff and do it.
 
It occurs to me that a rough approximation of this state of affairs might even exist already, right in the middle of our rotten, fading empire. Anarchyville might be here, somewhere, already. State law may mandate a town have a sheriff, but nothing prevents that sheriff from being a figurehead, or "forgetting" to enforce laws. It doesn't take a revolution to make this happen; it only takes concentration. It takes people who love freedom enough to move to the right place.
 

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Paul Bonneau's picture
Columns on STR: 76
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Comments

Jim Davies's picture

Given that statists have by their nature an unquenchable appetite for power, how would one prevent Statist City thugs invading and subduing Anarchyville?

Paul's picture

Statists have their paranoid fantasies; there is no reason anarchists shouldn't have them too, I guess.

The folks in Anarchyville would simply haul out their battle rifles and kill the invaders.

Which is why no invasion would happen. There are many examples in the past where neighboring cities had very diverse outlooks, yet did not invade each other. The last place I lived, Hillsboro, Oregon, used to be known as "Sin City" to the devout Christians in Newberg, just over the hill. No invasions took place - even though the men of Newberg probably sneaked over to Sin City now and then for entertainment.

helio's picture

I agree, we must concentrate our numbers. If there were anywhere better to go on this planet I would make it my life's goal to get there. Or even another planet if that were in the realm of the possible. Imagine, Mars as a stateless planet!

More than likely though, I'll be stuck here, in debt, without much preparation when the empire collapses.

Suverans2's picture

Hi Paul, I stopped when I read this, "Of course, secession will be necessary. We can't have the feds telling us what to do. Bad enough that after secession, the states will still want to do the same thing".

Most Americans, when they think of secession, think only of the Southern states seceding from the Union, and as a consequence think that secession applies to States only, but in fact, secession is, and has always been, an individual choice.

Black's legal definition of secession is simply this, “The act of withdrawing from membership in a group”. [Black's 1991 Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (page 1351)]

This is good news for any man (or woman) who claims to be an individualist, because it means that he (or she) doesn't have to act hypocritical by forcing, or trying to force, other individuals into seceding with him (or her).

Jim Davies's picture

Granted, the Southern States were in no degree anarchist but they were the last, I think, to try to secede; were they entertaining a "paranoid fantasy" when anticipating that the Feds might try to prevent them?

Has secession ever worked? Even at the individual level, try seceding from any level of government. If they see you (and yes, it may be possible to live under their radar) they will kill you rather than allow it. Again, their appetite for power is insatiable, and they have a lot more "battle rifles" than we do.

Suverans2's picture

In the Constitution of your government* the Fourteenth Amendment states that all persons which are “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside”.

I believe that this is was not the case originally, but the States governments later became subjects of the Federal government. Anyone believing that the States are sovereign better go study the word sovereign and then take a long hard look at the so-called Supremacy Clause (Article VI.2) of their government's* Constitution.

Footnote:
* I say “your government” and “their government's” only because, as an Individual Secessionist I wish to make it manifest that it is no longer my government.

Paul's picture

"If there were anywhere better to go on this planet I would make it my life's goal to get there."

Look at the free state movements. New Hampshire, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, while not perfect, are much better than average places, and would turn very free if just a quarter of the libertarians and anarchists in the country moved there. That in turn would attract the rest. If people are not serious enough to do something so insignificant as moving, they don't really want freedom. Moving some place is a lot easier than fighting a revolution.

As to secession, it will happen. Every empire dies. Every place on the planet has had its borders re-written over and over again. The US is not immune to that. Arguing that secession cannot happen is like arguing back in 1988 that the Soviet Union will last forever. At some point the Union will break up, or at least the states will gain more autonomy than they do now, and when it does the great homogenizing influence of Washington DC will be gone. Some of those states will become more free - IF freedom lovers move to them. Even the less free states will be acceptable if they allow local autonomy.

In the meantime everyone can personally secede, to the extent possible. There is a large range of possible behaviors (e.g. full time RV living, or living in places without zoning and land use regulations like rural Wyoming) where you can get at least part way there.

The intent of this article was to get people thinking about how we could live alongside statists, and to get them to stop despairing that we can't convert them to freedom-lovers. We don't have to.

Steve's picture

The Free State Project has two big annual events in New Hampshire, each of which is one of the biggest libertarian gatherings in the world. The summer event is the Porcupine Freedom Festival, this year 24-27 June:
http://freestateproject.org/festival
Each of these events is a great opportunity to socialize with like-minded activists who are actually *doing* something to move the liberty peanut forward. At the winter event, the New Hampshire Liberty Forum, I met one of the STR editors and David Friedman.

DennisLeeWilson's picture

Excellent article.

voluntaryist's picture

I have come to the conclusion that we can convert statists to voluntaryists, but not by talking. We have to form a community and teach by example. No statist can say: "It can't be done." if we are doing it. A free community will continually have statists joining and trying to change us. This is the way of the world and what is meant by:"The price of liberty is eternal vigilance." The struggle is never over, but will be ongoing. Each new attempt will need to be answered by rational debate. Statists (usually) start with debate not guns. They try to sneak in their ideas when resistance is low. They may be well meaning attempts to solve a small problem using force. As long as we stick to our principles and carefully pass them on to our young we should be ready for the fight, even if it turns violent.
However, I have yet to find that first voluntaryist community. I live in rural Wyoming. I am only freer because we are isolated, not by my neighbors intent. Where is that first group of 100+ voluntaryists willing to re-locate?

Suverans2's picture

Logically, if one professes to believe in individual liberty, then to be consistent one must be against State secession, because State secession is, after all, nothing more than another variation of the majority forcing its will upon the minority. The only logical position for true lovers of liberty is that of individual secession.

Secession. The act of withdrawing from membership in a group. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1351

Why would an individual want to withdraw from membership in the political community?

All governments must have citizens in order to exist (tzo)”, therefore if enough individual citizens secede from it, it will die, just as any parasite will die if it does not have a host. It appears to be the only peaceful way to “abolish it”.

“The right of self-government rests on the right to withdraw consent from an oppressive government. That is the only really effective restriction on power, in the last analysis.” – Clyde Wilson, Secession: The Last, Best Bulwark of Our Liberties

Perhaps Lysander Spooner answered that last question best.

“To join, or support, one that would, in his opinion, be inefficient, would be absurd. To join or support one that, in his opinion, would itself do injustice, would be criminal.”

But aside from all that, another inherent problem with “State secession” is that it is far too easy for an hypocrite [a pretender] to infiltrate “the group” to initiate violence to make it appear as though “the group” is using “unlawful means” to reclaim their freedom.

Paul's picture

"I have come to the conclusion that we can convert statists to voluntaryists, but not by talking. We have to form a community and teach by example."

Yes, I believe this too. The first and most important barrier for the anarchism meme to surpass is that it is possible at all. When it works and works well, it will get a lot of people questioning what government actually does for them.

"Logically, if one professes to believe in individual liberty, then to be consistent one must be against State secession, because State secession is, after all, nothing more than another variation of the majority forcing its will upon the minority."

No. You are making the assumption that the default case (no secession) is also not a choice. Those who wish to remain in the Union are imposing their choice on those who don't. The latter obviously want more freedom than the former, since the federal government is so harmful to freedom, not to mention to life itself (witness the wars in the Middle East).

Butte, Montana is an interesting case. There is no city government layer; Silver Bow County performs that function, more or less. To me, the fewer layers, the better. One can argue whether the optimal layer is the city or county layer. However, there are over 3000 counties in the U.S.; out of that large number there should be a reasonable selection of anarchist ones. They may be easier to defend against any latent aggression by neighboring statists as well.

Individual secession should be done in any case. But I think getting rid of the federal layer is a step in the right direction, just as imposition from the United Nations would be a step in the wrong direction.

Local autonomy is the goal. That way there is a place both for statists and for anarchists. The only way to get to local autonomy is to get rid of the upper layers of government that aggregate everyone together.

Suverans2's picture

Thanks for your thoughtful responses, Paul. If I understand your response to me correctly, I must say, "No sir, that is not my assumption", my assumption is stated in the second sentence of my post immediately above and quoted here, "The only logical position for true lovers of liberty is that of individual secession." Individual autonomy, checked only by the Natural Law (of man), is my goal, Paul.

Andrew Wiggins's picture

The problem with having only local governments is it leaves our whole country open to being conquered by another. We still need a Federal government for the protection of the Nation as a whole from outside influences. It would be naive to think that if we just keep to ourselves, the rest of the world will leave us alone, and it would be irresponsible not to think of it at all. There are proper purposes for a Federal government to exist and protect individual freedom.

Suverans2's picture

"We still need a Federal government for the protection of the Nation as a whole from outside influences." ~ Andrew Wiggins [Emphasis added]

"[O]utside influences"????? I hope you meant, by that, "outside aggression".

The only proper use of force for a de jure "Federal government", is the same as that of a de jure "local government", to protect individual rights, i.e. to ensure its members natural, and thus inalienable, rights, among which are the right to defend one's life, the right to defend one's liberty, and the right to defend one's justly acquired property.

Keeping this "use-of-force-rule" in mind, what other "proper purposes" do you envision your "Federal government" having, and how do you envision it "voluntarily" accomplishing these other "proper purposes"? The only other "proper purpose" I can envision any de jure government having is "to lead", and only in this very narrow sense of that word, "to guide; to show the method of attaining an object", "to induce; to prevail on; to influence". Beyond that it should remain powerless, in my opinion.

Another thing we must decide upon is, how do we establish what a "proper purpose" is, by a 100% consensus of its members, by a majority of its members, by a majority of its voting members, or by some small group or individual?

I cast my vote for "a 100% consensus". I can almost hear the "social engineers" screaming now, "Nothing will get done!" To which I respond, "EXACTLY!!" Imagine how few rules, regulations and statutes there would be if that were the case. My guess is that government would then be limited to protecting individual's natural rights, (as the so-called Declaration of Independence stated), and nothing more.

http://www.thoughts.com/IndividualSecession101/blog/individual-secession...

GregL's picture

Andrew,

I don't have anything to add to what Suverans said, but I'm curious about something. You're not also known as muddy waters, the poker player, are you?

- Greg

Paul's picture

"The problem with having only local governments is it leaves our whole country open to being conquered by another."

By what other, exactly? Keeping in mind that it is one thing to conquer another country, another thing entirely to hold it?

Will Canada invade us? Mexico? The latter is already invading (their own former territories) in a way the federal government is powerless to prevent (assuming they wanted to, which I doubt): by human reproduction. But who cares? I don't care where anyone comes from - only whether or not they believe in freedom. Let my neighbors be freedom-loving Chinese, Russians and Iranians.

The very government you depend on to keep invaders out is the same one going around the world in our name and making life miserable for everyone. Ever hear of "blowback"? If we are invaded it will be *because* of the federal government's actions.

Anyway, if the federal government disappears, the tanks, missiles, and heavily armed populace does not. Who would invade? Just after Obama's election, more weapons and ammunition were purchased by Americans than most militaries possess.

We are already an occupied country. The occupier *is* the federal government. Only, it is worse than if some foreigners were here, because so many people still support the federal government, or grant it some legitimacy.

"The only proper use of force for a de jure "Federal government", is the same as that of a de jure "local government", to protect individual rights..."

This is a weird element of libertarian dogma, that I am amazed people still believe. Governments aren't for that purpose, never were for that purpose. They were always for gathering power and wealth at the expense of the productive class. Ours is not somehow special and different; it is exactly the same as all the rest, differing only in the propaganda it uses to keep us subservient.

Only believers in the government religion would think that governments are for protecting our rights. There is no such thing as rights. And governments - the most rapacious institutions humans have ever invented - certainly are not for protecting these phantasms. Time to move beyond the government propaganda, and see the world as it is. See Stefan Molyneux' take on this, here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P772Eb63qIY

Suverans2's picture

The very government you depend on to keep invaders out is the same one going around the world in our name and making life miserable for everyone. ~ Paul

The phrase "in our name", as you no doubt know, means "in our authority", and that is only true for those who consent to be, or remain members, (i.e. citizens), of it. As an Individual Secessionist I am not a part of your government, Paul, and it is therefore not doing it in my name.

There is no such thing as rights. ~ Paul

I have never understood that utterly ridiculous statement. Are you seriously saying that you do not, (because you most certainly do not speak for me), have the inherent right, i.e. "Just claim; legal title; ownership; the legal power of exclusive possession...[1]" to your life, liberty and justly acquired property, Paul? Are you saying you don't have the lawful right to defend them, Paul?

One more question, Paul, does a group of individuals, in your opinion, have the lawful authority, i.e. the right, to form a purely voluntary protectorate to defend their lives, liberty and justly acquired property? If the answer is yes, do they also have the lawful right to call that protectorate anything they like, even "government", if they so desire?

[1] Source: Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

Paul's picture

"The phrase "in our name", as you no doubt know, means "in our authority", and that is only true for those who consent to be, or remain members, (i.e. citizens), of it. As an Individual Secessionist I am not a part of your government, Paul, and it is therefore not doing it in my name."

Your distinction here will be lost on those who are suffering the effects of US actions. Blowback will affect you whether you personally secede or not. Please consider the context of my statement.

"Are you saying you don't have the lawful right to defend them, Paul?"

"Lawful right" is just a government concept. Whether I defend my life (for example) does not depend on government. I do it regardless what the law says about it. Saying I have a "right" to do so adds nothing to the discussion, and can actually be deleterious.

My exposition on this point is here:
http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2009/tle507-20090222-03.html

I got thinking along these lines after reading an interview with Jeff Snyder here:
http://lewrockwell.com/orig2/stagnaro2.html

Suverans2's picture

I agree that “blowback”, if and when it happens, almost certainly will affect me, but that will not stop me from refusing to be a part of the cause.

I beg to differ with you, Paul, “lawful right” is not a government concept, “legal right” is, and therein lies the distinction. “Lawful” and “legal”, in fact are many, many times contradistinct (“distinguished by opposite qualities”). By that I mean, what is “legal” is very often not “lawful” and vice versa.

Lawful rights, or natural rights, are inherent, (we are born with them), they are not given by governments, in fact they are very rarely, if ever, “legally recognized” by governments. Legal rights, or civil rights, are rights that an individual has as a result of his membership in a political association.

“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.” ~ Wikipedia [Emphasis added]

Suverans2's picture

Okay, Paul, I went and read Libertarian Dogma, and intending no disrespect, it is so chock full of errors, (in my opinion), as to take up too much of my time refuting them all, item by item. Suffice to say that it confuses "rights" and "privileges", more often than not. And this, "...the actual, correct "right to life" is this statement: "Most of the time, most people don't want to kill you", is nonsensical. We don't have a right to live, Paul, we have the natural right to try to live, Paul, so "the actual, correct" statement is, "we have the right to defend our life", as do all other living creatures.

As Frederic Bastiat correctly wrote (IMO): "Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place."

Suverans2's picture

Next, I went here http://www.depressedmetabolism.com/la-rollins-the-myth-of-natural-rights/ and read, L.A. Rollins – The Myth of Natural Rights and the word that kept coming to mind was "sophistry", in the negative sense of that word.

SOPH'ISTRY, n. 1. Fallacious reasoning; reasoning sound in appearance only. These men have obscured and confounded the nature of things by their false principles and wretched sophistry. ~ Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

It's erie, old Noah's example, "These men have obscured and confounded the nature of things by their false principles and wretched sophistry", seems almost to have been written with that article in mind.

Paul's picture

Well, Suvarans2, you seem to have a religious view of it. I prefer the scientific view, that stuff only exists if you can detect it in instruments, measure it. I see no evidence that rights exist.

Bastiat is a favorite of mine, but he's wrong in that quote. People in government do not make laws to protect the life, liberty and property of people. They make laws to turn men into sheep. 99.99% of the laws have nothing at all to do with protecting our life, liberty and property - in fact a good hunk of them steal our life, liberty and property. And the other 0.01% that are alleged to protect our life, liberty and property are window-dressing, ignored by governments with impunity and designed to make us think government is needed. After all, Lon Horiuchi is still not in jail serving a life sentence.

Tell me, the Jews in Nazi Germany, did they have a right to life? What good did it do them? Those Iraqis in that wikileaks video, did they have a right to life? What good did it do them? When you show me a right that actually does something, I'll start believing you. Until then, I'll stick with my opinion that "most of the time, most people don't want to kill you". And that's as good as it gets. There is no "right". If people want to live, they had better arm themselves, and stop believing that phantasms will protect them.

Where did you get these rights, anyway? God gave 'em to ya? A phantasm giving another phantasm. Sorry, I'm not a believer. Like I said, I prefer the scientific view. Not that I want to dispute with believers; I suppose we all have a little religion in us. But belief in government is not for me.

Oh, and it's not a valid debating tactic to say that what I wrote is so full of errors you have no time to address them. And arguing some distinction between "lawful" and "legal" is not very impressive. They both have to do with government (that's what governments do, pass laws, after all) that same entity you have seceded from.

Suverans2's picture

Well, Suvarans2, you seem to have a religious view of it. I prefer the scientific view, that stuff only exists if you can detect it in instruments, measure it.

Then perhaps you'd enjoy The Science of Justice by Lysander Spooner. http://lysanderspooner.org/node/59

I see no evidence that rights exist.

Then, perhaps for you, Paul, they don't exist, perhaps you don't have the lawful right to defend your life, liberty and justly acquired property.

Bastiat is a favorite of mine, but he's wrong in that quote.

Well, it just so happens that your “favorite” author mentions these rights, which you call “phantasm”, I believe, no less than SIXTEEN TIMES in his pamphlet called The Law. http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

People in government do not make laws to protect the life, liberty and property of people. They make laws to turn men into sheep. 99.99% of the laws have nothing at all to do with protecting our life, liberty and property - in fact a good hunk of them steal our life, liberty and property. And the other 0.01% that are alleged to protect our life, liberty and property are window-dressing, ignored by governments with impunity and designed to make us think government is needed. After all, Lon Horiuchi is still not in jail serving a life sentence.

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

“The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose, but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law has become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself is guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!” ~ Frederic Bastiat

Tell me, the Jews in Nazi Germany, did they have a right to life? What good did it do them? Those Iraqis in that wikileaks video, did they have a right to life? What good did it do them? When you show me a right that actually does something, I'll start believing you. Until then, I'll stick with my opinion that "most of the time, most people don't want to kill you". And that's as good as it gets. There is no "right". If people want to live, they had better arm themselves, and stop believing that phantasms will protect them.

As I wrote in the above response, Paul, men don't have a right to live, they have the natural right to try to live, Paul, so "the actual, correct" statement is, "we have the right to defend our life", as do all other living creatures. This does not mean that they will always be successful, Paul.

Where did you get these rights, anyway? God gave 'em to ya? A phantasm giving another phantasm.

When rational defenses fail, Paul, personal attacks are sure to be the weapon of choice. I don't believe I mentioned anything about God, Paul, but one of your “favorite” authors most certainly did, Frederic Bastiat wrote, “Each of us has a NATURAL RIGHT - from the Creator - to defend his person [body and soul] his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two”, so perhaps you should take this argument up with him.

Sorry, I'm not a believer.

No one asked you to be, Paul.

Like I said, I prefer the scientific view.

And, like I said, perhaps you should read The Science of Justice by Lysander Spooner. http://lysanderspooner.org/node/59 in which he mentions “rights” no less than TWO DOZEN TIMES, and “natural rights”, FIVE TIMES, Paul.

Not that I want to dispute with believers; I suppose we all have a little religion in us.

Probably just me, but it sure sounds like you'd like to initiate a dispute. But I refuse to participate.

But belief in government is not for me.

No one asked you to, Paul. May I ass-u-me that you do not retain membership in or take any benefits or privileges from the god called “government” then, Paul?

″…in modern society, with its religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity, it would be much harder for any single group to demand allegiance — except for the state, which remains the one universally accepted god.″ ~ Roderick T. Long, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Oh, and it's not a valid debating tactic to say that what I wrote is so full of errors you have no time to address them.

Perhaps you are correct, Paul, but I certainly have the RIGHT, since it is my time. But if it is your desire that I refute what you wrote, item by item, I will try to find the time to do so. Let me know, Paul.

And arguing some distinction between "lawful" and "legal" is not very impressive.

Well, it should be, Paul, since they are, more often than not, contradistinct, notwithstanding that statists will certainly try to CONvince us otherwise. As an example, there is nothing “unlawful”, i.e. immoral, or wrong, about me using my automobile to procure food for my family without the STATE's written permission (LICENSE), but it would most certainly be “illegal” if I was a consenting member of that political society.

Lawful. ...The principle distinction between the terms “lawful” and “legal” is that the former contemplates the substance of law, the latter the form of the law. ...Further, the word “lawful” more clearly implies an ethical content than does “legal.” The latter goes no further than to denote compliance, with positive, technical, or formal rules; while the former usually imports a moral substance or ethical permissablility. A further distinction is that the word “legal” is used as the synonym of “constructive,” which “lawful” is not. ...Again, “legal” is used as the antithesis of “equitable”... ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 885 [Emphasis added]

See that, even they begrudgingly admit that there is a distinction, Paul.

They both have to do with government (that's what governments do, pass laws, after all) that same entity you have seceded from.

I'm curious, Paul, what are your thoughts on the natural laws, the laws of nature, the laws discoverable by the rational minds of men? Do you consider these to be “phantasms” too?

Suverans2's picture

"In THIS PAPER I shall review the etymological evidence for the thesis that the lawful (what answers to law or justice) and the legal (what answers to the enacted laws) are not just distinct concepts, but belong to categorically different perspectives on the social aspect of human existence. As we disentangle the concepts of the lawful and the legal, that are nowadays usually assimilated, or even considered identical, we discover a recognisably "liberal" picture of society as the peaceful order of relations among separate but (in a definite sense of the word) equal human beings, each of them a naturally, i.e. physically, finite person with his or her own equally finite, physically delimited sphere of being and work, i.e. property. In other words, we discover not just that there is a difference between the lawful and the legal, but also the distinctive characteristic or principle of law ("freedom among equals") and of justice ("to treat others as one's likes")." ~ Frank van Dun, Ph.D., Dr.Jur. - Senior lecturer Philosophy of Law. [Emphasis added]

Paul's picture

As I said several times now (please pay attention), because I doubt the existence of rights, does not mean I won't (for example) defend my life. I just see no need to puff up this natural tendency by calling it a "right". Any animal has it, but biologists don't talk about their right to life.

"As I wrote in the above response, Paul, men don't have a right to live, they have the natural right to try to live, Paul, so "the actual, correct" statement is, "we have the right to defend our life", as do all other living creatures."

The problem with this is that it is circular. I was trying to suggest how this concept of rights came up, and how it was perverted. That is, people noticed that most of the time, other people did not want to kill them, so maybe they started thinking of it as a "right". You here define a "right" by using the word "right" in the definition!

Anyway I doubt your other notion that people used the word only to mean "we can defend our lives". That goes without saying; any amoeba can do it. You don't have to proclaim such a thing or argue it. You don't need government to recognize it or laws to be passed about it.

Anyway, this discussion is going nowhere, and it is off topic from my essay besides; so I am done with it.

Suverans2's picture

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

Now, "please pay attention", Paul, because this is important, and because she's right, Paul. IMO ;)

Without a moral code no proper human society is possible. Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible. ~ Ayn Rand

The most important part of the house is its foundation.

ElasahBazlith's picture

With firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right- Abraham Lincoln.

In law, an enforceable claim or title to any subject matter whatever.
A power, prerogative, or privilege, as when the word is applied to a corporation.
Hence, at all rights.

Is america ready for the writ of right?

A right can only be that which the law secures to the possessor by requiring others to respect it, and to abstain from its violation.

This is not to be confused with righteousness.