Open Thread: On Anarchism

This is an open thread to hold the discussion split off from the “On Amateur Atheism” thread. Comments and replies welcome.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com/ Arizona Atheist

    I came across this site and I saw that Samuel Skinner thinks I’m “nuts” for adhering to the anarchist philosophy. I was just curious as to why you think I’m “nuts”? I can certainly understand why you might think that, because when I first starting learning about it, I felt a bit taken back by it as well. But after reading it, and trying to keep an open mind, I saw the logic behind it. All I’m saying is who says that we need someone to rule over us? Statism is nothing more than another from of authoritarianism, much like religion.

    To be clear I’m not offended in anyway, but would just like to get a discussion going if you’d like.

    Thanks.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Arizona Atheist,

    Anarchy, were it achieved, wouldn’t last very long. Having no government means no law enforcement, which means murder and rape now become all but accepted parts of life depending on whether the murder/rapist/thief/whatever is bigger, stronger, smarter, or quicker than you are. No one would be maintaining public works like roads, running water, electricity, or really any store (since once there was no enforcement you can bet large scale looting will soon become commonplace, at least intially). Without government, money also loses it’s value and we’re back to the barter system, which on the scale and size we live in today wouldn’t work very well. Lots of people would be starving, injured, or dead very quickly.
    Oh, and let’s not forget our prisons are about to empty out with no government force at play there. That should make things even more fun.

    Now, provided some other nation doesn’t come over with an organized military and take over, naturally, the social order would very quickly re-establish itself, with perhaps a slightly different set of rules than you’re used to now. Soon, communities with this social hierarchy would begin to emerge, and would begin to compete with rival groups for resources, as well as fight within itself for social status. Eventually, the group that was able to beat out it’s other competitors will take over large tracks of land.

    In short, the exact same thing we see in the world now would naturally come about again. The rules may get reshuffled a bit, but overall, same deal.

    How do I know this would happen? Simple enough; government is not an unnatural part of human life; it’s not as if people were existing in peaceful co-existance with each other working in some ideal state without government, then magically, government came to be and everything went downhill. Government is merely the logical progression of social beings (be it a large scale in humans than other social animals, though social hierarchies always show up). Government is merely the collective will of the people, or most powerful social group in the area, and like it or not, they do have certain rules if you want to live in their area. For examples of this happening, look at areas that undergo a loss of governmental authority and the outbreaking problems that ensue (see iraq).

  • Alex Weaver

    A society which adopts a system that can only survive if absolutely everyone in it not only actively tries to behave in the fashion most conducive to the survival of that society and that system but succeeds in doing so simply isn’t workable. The idea that people will voluntarily refrain from exploiting the system for their own benefit is naive, and has already been tried in a different, more economically focused form advertised with the slogan “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The results are a matter of record.

  • http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com/ Arizona Atheist

    Mrnaglfar,

    I agree that government is a somewhat “natural” thing, but only because of people’s fears have people had to look towards a leader of sorts…all of which has had disastrous results. They gain power and murder people, and violate the rights of others. It may be how human beings have managed to survive for a long time, but it’s not necessarily the best way.

    As for everyone going around killing, raping….people do that now, even with cops, etc. However, with the system that we have now victims of crimes are simply tools for the “justice” system for evidence of wrong doing. In a poll that was conducted by Advocates for Self Government, people were asked which system of justice they would prefer: the traditional one where a suspect is indicted for a crime and possibly goes to jail, and the victim gets nothing. Or a free market system where the victim gets direct restitution from the perpetrator and/or an insurance company*, regardless of what happens to the perpetrator – even if he went free. 78% chose the free market system.

    In Iraq what you actually have are fights between different groups over who will gain power, and if someone is truly following an anarchist philosophy, no one should force their will on another.

    *Insurance companies can issue policies for chances of rape, or theft, etc. and if you are victimized you receive a monetary compensation and, instead of having the state handle everything, and you’re forgotten, and you actually get some settlement from the ordeal.

    Alex Weaver,

    “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was communism which was different. There was still a group of leaders of the Soviet Union; with anarchism there would be no absolute authority. They murdered people for the own ends, which is obviously horrible, but all anarchism means is the lack of absolute authority. No one forces their will upon another, or harms another is the golden rule.

  • Chet

    No one forces their will upon another, or harms another is the golden rule.

    Some people want to do those things, though. Anarchy provides no way to stop them.

  • http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com/ Arizona Atheist

    Of course there is…there is no rule that says that someone cannot hire a private security guard, or something of that sort for protection. But, true, there are many people who do wish to do harm, but really, there is no real way to stop them, regardless if there is a government or not. Look at all the rapes, murders, etc. Many of these things will not stop, but the slaughter of millions would drastically be reduced if statism (and even theism) were abolished. After all, statism and killed more than even religion has.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    But, true, there are many people who do wish to do harm, but really, there is no real way to stop them, regardless if there is a government or not. Look at all the rapes, murders, etc.

    Arizona Atheist, your reasoning is fallacious. Just because crime still occurs in a society with a government does not mean that government is ineffective at preventing crime. How do you know how many more crimes there would have been if there was no government making and enforcing laws?

    Mrnaglfar’s point was a good one, and I’d phrase it like this: Anarchism is an intrinsically unstable strategy. It only works if everyone agrees to participate, yet by its nature it has no way to enforce compliance. With no police, no laws, no government – no overarching authority that has a monopoly on the use of force – all that would happen is that people would begin to ally together for mutual benefit and to impose their will on others. They’d progress to forming larger and larger alliances to outcompete others who are doing the same, and eventually (after, no doubt, much war and bloodshed), we’d just end up with one or several large alliances which control the allegiance of all the population (since any unaligned individual or small group would be quickly snapped up or crushed). In short, we’d end up with exactly the same overall situation as we have now. What exactly do you imagine will happen to prevent this outcome?

  • Mrnaglfar

    Arizona Atheist,

    I was working on a post, but my computer shut down. Ebon covered some of the points I was trying to make, so I’ll jsut do the condensed version.

    However, with the system that we have now victims of crimes are simply tools for the “justice” system for evidence of wrong doing.

    I’d like to think I don’t understand what you’re saying here. Please clear up whatever point that is supposed to be before I jump to conclusions.

    In Iraq what you actually have are fights between different groups over who will gain power, and if someone is truly following an anarchist philosophy, no one should force their will on another.

    Does that view apply to yourself as well? If most people don’t want anarchy (and most don’t) who are you to force your opinion on them and say they shouldn’t have government?

    In a poll that was conducted by Advocates for Self Government, people were asked which system of justice they would prefer:

    It doesn’t much matter what people perfer if no one is enforcing it. Without governement, there is no legal enforcement so you may as well throw that out.

  • Samuel Skinner

    Well, part of it is that I’m naturally an authoritarian (I also hit the libertarian and liberal boxes). For the record I think the government should have alot more power, but only if it is more transparent and we can trust it. This isn’t likely to happen for a while. Mostly I think the idea behind privacy is a joke. Unrelated to my objections to anarchism though, just backround.

    On a more serious note the reason I think anarchism is nuts is that it is a mildly utopian philosophy that lacks the “putting into practice” and “actually functioning” parts. I’m not really interested in discussing the philosophy and minute about the idea (although if necesary I can)- however if you look throughout history you essentially never have actual anarchy- whenever official power centers collapse, power devolves to those who people look to for protection (Dark Ages), those who are armed (warlordism) or simply those who run the essential systems (think “The Roads Must Roll”- Heinland). Anarchism isn’t stable- it falls apart when people form into groups willing to force their views and opinions on others (not necesarily a bad thing- for example the police).

    One of the more ironic things is this is one of the first topics I ever showwed complete and utter rational thought about (or at least planning). First I googled libertarianism read about the first page worth of their sites and them I googled critices of libertarianism… not a perfect system, but it worked. Note this only applies to anarcho-libertarianism; fiscal conservatives (spend less, less regulations, lower taxes) have the acute possibilty of being right (at least on some things).

  • Chet

    Of course there is…there is no rule that says that someone cannot hire a private security guard

    Hiring a security guard, or any other employee, to coerce others by force, would seem to be as much a violation of anarchy as hiring a government to coerce others by force. If the only solutions anarchy has to encroaching rulership are non-anarchic, you’re making my point for me.

    Many of these things will not stop, but the slaughter of millions would drastically be reduced if statism (and even theism) were abolished.

    There’s no such thing as “statism.”

  • Alex Weaver

    “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was communism which was different. There was still a group of leaders of the Soviet Union; with anarchism there would be no absolute authority. They murdered people for the own ends, which is obviously horrible, but all anarchism means is the lack of absolute authority. No one forces their will upon another, or harms another is the golden rule.

    Classical communist theory held that, once the Capitalist ruling class and the Bourgeois (SP?) were overthrown, the proletariat would willingly and faithfully live according to the slogan cited. This didn’t happen, and instead Communist countries have adopted oligarchies or dictatorships in order, at least initially, to stave off total societal collapse. What about your dictum or plans of implementation is different in such a way that people can be expected to automatically start living by it? And more to the point, what provision does your system have to deal with people who choose not to?

  • Alex Weaver

    PS: Adam, I heartily endorse this approach to topic digression. :)

  • Valhar2000

    Open thread on anarchism? You might as well have called it “Kookfest ’08″.

  • Alex Weaver

    In Iraq what you actually have are fights between different groups over who will gain power, and if someone is truly following an anarchist philosophy, no one should force their will on another.

    So what makes you so sure that it will ever be the case that people in a power vacuum will “truly follow an anarchist philosophy” rather than fighting over who will gain power? The point we’re trying to drive home here is that the above is the invariable result in a human society with no government.

    Hiring a security guard, or any other employee, to coerce others by force, would seem to be as much a violation of anarchy as hiring a government to coerce others by force. If the only solutions anarchy has to encroaching rulership are non-anarchic, you’re making my point for me.

    More to the point, what incentive does the company or the guard have to not simply pocket your money (or take the rest of it at gunpoint) if there’s no government to punish them? Bad publicity? “Dead men tell no tales.” Armed response on your part? Slight problem of numbers, training, and firepower supply there.

    And what exactly are you going to hire them with, if there’s no government to mint and regulate money? Barter economies do NOT work on a scale like modern human society.

    Well, part of it is that I’m naturally an authoritarian (I also hit the libertarian and liberal boxes).

    Wait, what?

    For the record I think the government should have alot more power, but only if it is more transparent and we can trust it. This isn’t likely to happen for a while.

    I don’t think we should count on it ever happening. What is it you have in mind, though>

    Mostly I think the idea behind privacy is a joke.

    So, what were you doing last night?

  • http://wildphilosophy.blogspot.com Mathew Wilder

    Alex,

    Wait, what?

    Perhaps he meant to type “anti-authoritarian” but it was a Freudian slip? Still not sure, though, how libertarian and liberal go together unless “liberal” means “classical liberal” and not contemporary left/social democracy/progressive sort of liberal.

  • Sam Lumpkin

    All this stuff relates to Hobbes’ ‘state of nature’ theories. Thomas Hobbes insisted that in the absence of government, humans exist in a state of nature – where we have no rights, only freedoms, regardless of whether those freedoms impinge on the freedom of others. It’s a system of the strong controlling the weak, until someone stronger comes along. If we had a state of nature (anarchy) in our current social/religious climate, atheists would have none of the protections we now enjoy.

    As humans, we leave the state of nature willingly because it is less dangerous than a constant power struggle on the individual level. Pooled resources and universal protection are more valuable than gaining the few rights we give up in the name of our own safety.

    As an added bonus, Hobbes didn’t rely on theology to make his arguments.

  • Jim Baerg

    if there’s no government to mint and regulate money? Barter economies do NOT work on a scale like modern human society.

    Money grew out of barter through 1 or a few commodities becoming preferred as a store of value. The arguments that government interference with money has caused problems such as inflation with little or no compensating benefit have considerable merit in my view.

    This is a separate issue from the suppression of murder, theft etc. I don’t see how any institutions for doing that would be any different from a government in practice.

  • Steve Bowen

    Utopian Anarchy is like Santa. A nice idea that no rational person could ever believe exists.

  • André Phillips

    I hate to join what almost appears to be a flame-fest, but I have a couple other things to point out:

    a free market system where the victim gets direct restitution from the perpetrator and/or an insurance company*, regardless of what happens to the perpetrator – even if he went free.

    I’m just wondering what determines a victim and a perpetrator if there’s no system and no law.

    Also, with respect to the money issue, what do you barter with if your job doesn’t produce anything (presumably bartering is all we can be left with when we don’t have minting)? What does the executive exchange for food? Does the company dole out his food as they feel he deserves based on his work? Do they decide what types of food to give out? Is this our new benefits package – ‘health insurance and real chicken’? Speaking of executives, who keeps the companies and corporations honest? I suppose with no codes or anything, there isn’t really any such thing as honesty anymore anyway. You may believe in the grace and goodwill of people, but to expect such things from companies is just ludicrous. Maybe we can just get rid of all companies and tell everyone to go farm their own again. That’d probably work.

  • Arizona Atheist

    “Hiring a security guard, or any other employee, to coerce others by force, would seem to be as much a violation of anarchy as hiring a government to coerce others by force. If the only solutions anarchy has to encroaching rulership are non-anarchic, you’re making my point for me.”

    Don’t see how I’m making your point. You have made a contract with a person to watch and protect your property, but they will only protect yours because you are the one that hired them. They’re not like a police force that will go around forcing some code of conduct upon someone else.

    “There’s no such thing as “statism.””

    Actually yes there is. It’s exactly what you are doing; you’re upholding the use of force upon others by supporting an authoritarian system – the state. That’s statism.

    “I’m just wondering what determines a victim and a perpetrator if there’s no system and no law.”

    Well, that’s actually easy…somewhat. Like detectives who have to interview the victim and the accused, as well as any possible witnesses, they work to see what wrong doing was committed and work towards a solution. If someone steals, or harms someone else, then that is obviously a violation of someone’s rights, and as I said before, the victim can get some from of compensation.

    As far as economics that area I’m still learning about, to be honest, and don’t have sufficient knowledge yet to argue in favor of a free market system.

  • Christopher

    I’m no Anarchist (I hold that at least *some* level of government is necissary to “run the store” – so to speak – but hate the size to which our current government has grown), but this Arizona Atheist fellow makes a few good points: states do tend to act much like religions do – instituting law by fiat while telling the population that it’s all for some “greater good” (a large part of the reason I no longer trust the system).

    And what is this “greater good,” exactly? Often, it’s whatever serves the interests of those in power and those special interests close to them – not the public at large (see pork barrel spending – it’s rampant in both parties!). The folks in power don’t look out for us, so why shouldn’t we start ruling ourselves independent of them?

  • Dr. X

    The ‘Wild West’ period in our history is a perfect example of how society evolves from total ‘freedom’ to a system that at least attempts to defend the rights of all men. Otherwise, L.A. might have been the real ‘Escape from New York’.

    The issue with “Pork” is that it is meat for those who receive it, but just fat for those who do not. The politician who doles it out is simply doing what their constituency elected them to do – represent them. They are the equivalent of the ‘breadwinner’ in a family structure. I reside in a shipbuilding area, so government contracts are vital to our economy. They not only provide employment for the company workforce, but are the backbone of the entire region. Also, many people tend to forget that because many of these companies are publicly traded, a great many pension funds and 401k accounts depend on these companies remaining viable. Of course, this can be said of almost any industry, including ‘Big Oil’ (Ugh.)

    Very few of us would have the opportunity to sit in front of a PC and comment on these issues if it were not for the ‘system’ and what it provides. But we can be thankful that it is not static; we do have the opportunity to make changes through the ballot box when necessary.

  • Samuel Skinner

    Christopher, I think you fall into “financial conservative (that is the label, right?). People who think the government is inefficient and wastes their money. They happen to be right (partly- pork is a small component, less than 1% (need verification)).

    States are democratically governed, religions are not.

    The problem with ruling yourself independantly is that you start developing the same problems you origionally had. The exception is if you are a small enough size- communism, anarchism and the like work decently enough in commune like groups.

    However when you have multiple groups interacting you need a central authority, or else you get inter tribal war (New York vs Pennsylvania). Generally ideals don’t last. For example it is worth noting the US broke of from GB… and immediately crushed its first rebellion shortly there after.

    It is all about power and the problems that flow from it. You can’t eliminate it. The reason those in power do pork spending is because it gets them reelcted (ironically by going against “the greater good” and helping a specific group). It is worth noting that pork spending is those in power looking after us, not the nation. You can’t have it both ways- either the state working for the greater good is wrong or the nation using pork is wrong.

  • Dr. X

    Like detectives who have to interview the victim and the accused, as well as any possible witnesses, they work to see what wrong doing was committed and work towards a solution. If someone steals, or harms someone else, then that is obviously a violation of someone’s rights, and as I said before, the victim can get some from of compensation.

    The beauty of the ‘system’ is that we now can ‘specialize’. If someone harms me, either physically or materially, I’m able to contact an agency that is trained to handle such situations. And call someone if there’s a pothole in the road. And go to the store to get milk and bread. I’m free to continue my version of the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ without needing to know how to fix my washing machine. This does mean relinquishing some control, but it is up to each individual as to how much. If I want to learn how to change the water pump on my car and not pay someone to do it, more power to me. But I still won’t need to build the pump myself. Of course, if my time becomes more valuable that the repair, I have the freedom to dump it onto someone else, who is following his version of the ‘Pursuit’.

    Does this mean I can’t yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowed theatre? Yes, but it also (hopefully) means someone bought a fire extinguisher and put it in the lobby.

  • Christopher

    Samuel Skinner,

    “Christopher, I think you fall into “financial conservative (that is the label, right?). People who think the government is inefficient and wastes their money.”

    I suppose that would be an accurate label – although I tend to discard labels as being an attempt to pin down people’s thoughts.

    “States are democratically governed, religions are not.”

    You might want to take a look at your history books: the entity of the state hasn’t always been democratic, nor will it always operate under such pretenses.

    “The problem with ruling yourself independantly is that you start developing the same problems you origionally had.”

    I never said self-rule would be without its problems, but they will be much more managable becuase authority is too decentralized to enforce much in terms of uniform codes of law – leaving the state to attend to matters relating to relations with other state entities or policing its borders (as far as I’m concerned, these are the ONLY affairs that the state should be concerned with) while the local communities handle social policy on their own; for themselves, by themselves.

    “It is all about power and the problems that flow from it. You can’t eliminate it.”

    I never implied that it could be eliminated: but it can be reduced to levels that a handfull of individuals in a given area can effectively manage without getting bogged down in the proverbial red tape.

  • André Phillips

    detectives who have to interview the victim and the accused, as well as any possible witnesses, they work to see what wrong doing was committed and work towards a solution

    Right there you’ve just left anarchy. We already have that. Besides, this doesn’t address the issue of how to determine what is considered wrong. No laws means no violations. So again, there’s no such thing as crime, no victims or perpetrators, and no way to demand compensation.

    If someone steals, or harms someone else, then that is obviously a violation of someone’s rights

    I don’t understand where these rights come from? If there’s no codified law, then what rights are you guaranteed and who decides them? If you just say we all need to live by the golden rule, or we all need to work together, then someone stealing isn’t a violation of any rights, it’s simply someone choosing not to live your way. It seems to me that true anarchy is deciding that anyone can do whatever they want, whenever they want, and nobody can tell them not to. All you can do is protect your own. By the way, if the solution to looting and theft is that every family hires their own 24 hour protection, imagine the kind of world that produces. I’d rather pay taxes.

  • http://redmolly.typepad.com RedMolly

    Longtime reader, not sure I’ve ever commented before.

    Anyway, wanted to respond to this, André:

    if the solution to looting and theft is that every family hires their own 24 hour protection, imagine the kind of world that produces

    I read recently that an almost perfect example of an anarchic state would be Liberia (funnily enough, I also read that an almost perfect example of a libertarian state would be Charles Taylor-era Liberia). Those who can afford it have 24-hour hired protection for their families; those who can’t afford it are either conscripted into other people’s private militias or live in poverty and fear. Sounds like a lose-lose to me.

    Last year I read several of Emma Goldman’s essays on anarchism and came away with one overwhelming impression: anarchism would work beautifully well if everyone were a compassionate, socially-minded, optimistic sort like Emma Goldman. Unfortunately, the world is full of people who are nothing like Emma Goldman.

  • Alex Weaver

    “States are democratically governed, religions are not.”

    You might want to take a look at your history books: the entity of the state hasn’t always been democratic, nor will it always operate under such pretenses.

    States have the potential to be democratically governed; religions, by their nature, in almost all cases do not.

    Arizona Atheist, I would appreciate if you’d respond to the main thrust of my criticisms; I think it’s more important than the economic stuff.

  • Erika

    You have made a contract with a person to watch and protect your property

    Arizona Atheist, how are contracts enforced in an anarchist society?

  • windy

    Like detectives who have to interview the victim and the accused, as well as any possible witnesses, they work to see what wrong doing was committed and work towards a solution. If someone steals, or harms someone else, then that is obviously a violation of someone’s rights, and as I said before, the victim can get some from of compensation.

    A variant of the free market justice system was tested during the European witch hunts, when the “detectives” got paid from the assets of the accused. I’m not sure if the “victims” of witchcraft ever received direct compensation, but that wouldn’t be so far fetched. How would anarchism guard against such practices?

  • Chet

    You have made a contract with a person to watch and protect your property, but they will only protect yours because you are the one that hired them. They’re not like a police force that will go around forcing some code of conduct upon someone else.

    Er, but that’s exactly what you hired them to do – enforce your code of conduct on everybody else that comes onto or near your property.

    Hire a security guard, hire a government. Either way you’re hiring people to push other people around for your own interests. If anarchy doesn’t have any solutions consistent with it’s own philosophy, it’s hard to understand how it’s a system intelligent people are supposed to take seriously.

  • Alex Weaver

    Er, but that’s exactly what you hired them to do – enforce your code of conduct on everybody else that comes onto or near your property.

    As I brought up in the thread where universal healthcare comes up, this gets even better when one abandons ways of defining “your property” that are not based on various Appeal To fallacies or on legal convention.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Last year I read several of Emma Goldman’s essays on anarchism and came away with one overwhelming impression: anarchism would work beautifully well if everyone were a compassionate, socially-minded, optimistic sort like Emma Goldman. Unfortunately, the world is full of people who are nothing like Emma Goldman.

    Beautifully put, RedMolly. :)

  • Christopher

    Alex Weaver,

    “States have the potential to be democratically governed; religions, by their nature, in almost all cases do not.”

    The momnet you find a truly democratic state, please tell me – all I’ve seen in these “democracies” is a bunch of special interests acting “on the behalf of the people (read: their people)” to further their own interests in government. This republic – and all others, for that matter – have become shallow parodies of what their founders envisioned…

  • Christopher

    Spelling error: “moment.”

  • Alex Weaver

    The momnet you find a truly democratic state, please tell me – all I’ve seen in these “democracies” is a bunch of special interests acting “on the behalf of the people (read: their people)” to further their own interests in government. This republic – and all others, for that matter – have become shallow parodies of what their founders envisioned…

    Two thoughts:
    1) It does not follow, from the fact that an ideal has not consistently or completely been successfully attained, that we should embrace the opposite ideal.
    2) Why the sudden interest in the welfare and wishes of the general public?

  • Christopher

    Alex Weaver,

    “1) It does not follow, from the fact that an ideal has not consistently or completely been successfully attained, that we should embrace the opposite ideal.”

    I never said anything about embracing an ideal. I don’t think that ideals are attainable in the real world: all one can do is ensure that his own interests are protected, regardless of what the dominant ideology happens to be.

    “2) Why the sudden interest in the welfare and wishes of the general public?”

    Who said I was concerned with the general public’s welfare? I was merely pointing out that the existing system does the opposite of what it claims to do, not that I want the general public’s interests looked after (they can look after their own interests – provided they stop looking to the nanny state for answers).

    The point is this: because the existing social order is only interested in preserving itself and its own, I have no reason to look to them for anything I can’t secure for myself.

  • http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com/ Arizona Atheist

    Alex Weaver, I looked but couldn’t find the post with your ‘main points’ that you wanted me to address. Would you please restate them? Thanks.

    Dr. X, you said:

    “The beauty of the ‘system’ is that we now can ‘specialize’. If someone harms me, either physically or materially, I’m able to contact an agency that is trained to handle such situations. And call someone if there’s a pothole in the road. And go to the store to get milk and bread. I’m free to continue my version of the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ without needing to know how to fix my washing machine. This does mean relinquishing some control, but it is up to each individual as to how much. If I want to learn how to change the water pump on my car and not pay someone to do it, more power to me. But I still won’t need to build the pump myself. Of course, if my time becomes more valuable that the repair, I have the freedom to dump it onto someone else, who is following his version of the ‘Pursuit’.

    Does this mean I can’t yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowed theatre? Yes, but it also (hopefully) means someone bought a fire extinguisher and put it in the lobby. ”

    Well, what would keep people from ‘specializing’ in an anarchist set up? People could still have jobs which try to solve crimes, it’s just that it’s a private company, and not run by any government.

    André Phillips you had said,

    “Right there you’ve just left anarchy. We already have that. Besides, this doesn’t address the issue of how to determine what is considered wrong. No laws means no violations. So again, there’s no such thing as crime, no victims or perpetrators, and no way to demand compensation.”\

    and,

    “I don’t understand where these rights come from? If there’s no codified law, then what rights are you guaranteed and who decides them? If you just say we all need to live by the golden rule, or we all need to work together, then someone stealing isn’t a violation of any rights, it’s simply someone choosing not to live your way. It seems to me that true anarchy is deciding that anyone can do whatever they want, whenever they want, and nobody can tell them not to. All you can do is protect your own. By the way, if the solution to looting and theft is that every family hires their own 24 hour protection, imagine the kind of world that produces. I’d rather pay taxes.”

    I see what you mean, but I must say that what you’re saying is inaccurate. First of all, does the law as it is keep you from killing someone? If you’d say that you would willfully kill someone without some authority, what would that say about you? Even if someone did commit such a crime, penalties would be in place, though I don’t know what that would be. Case by case, it would be decided, and the victims’ families may take out an insurance policy as in the, I believe, the rape case that I mentioned in an earlier post. That way the victims’ family could get some justice.

    Yes, we already have a system similar to that but it’s the state that does the prosecuting…the victims are just ‘proof’ of the perpetrator’s wrong doing for the states’ case. Often the ones who were victimized don’t get any restitution.

    Also it would not necessarily force a person to come to a compromise. If the criminal would agree to pay back what he stole, or some from of compensation could be issued to the families. If he doesn’t, then – following the principals – the family of the victim should be entitled to some kind of compensation, regardless of what happens to the criminal. Obviously there are not clear cut answers to many complex questions, but one thing is for sure, threat of prison or the death penalty sure aren’t doing anything to slow the crime of murder any. But, there may be a more clear cut answer, but obviously I don’t have all the answers, but that doesn’t mean a fair, and useful solution cannot be figured out.

    Chet you said,

    “Er, but that’s exactly what you hired them to do – enforce your code of conduct on everybody else that comes onto or near your property.

    Hire a security guard, hire a government. Either way you’re hiring people to push other people around for your own interests. If anarchy doesn’t have any solutions consistent with it’s own philosophy, it’s hard to understand how it’s a system intelligent people are supposed to take seriously. ”

    Actually, no I’m not using the security guards to force anything on anyone. All they are there for is to ensure my property remains untampered with, and thwarts any vandals. There is nothing that says that one cannot protect oneself from another.

    Anarchism does not mean that one can do whatever one wants (meaning infringe upon the rights of another in whatever way). A person still has the right to buy and own their own property. They also have the right to protect that property from being vandalized. Once again, that’s not forcing anything on anyone. I also think I should add that I think everyone would agree that everyone has the right to protect themselves from being assaulted, which isn’t forcing ‘morality’ on someone. Most people are moral just on their own…though there are some who are not, but they can be dealt with in various ways.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Arizona Atheist,

    Well, what would keep people from ‘specializing’ in an anarchist set up? People could still have jobs which try to solve crimes, it’s just that it’s a private company, and not run by any government.

    And what’s stopping that private company from committing crimes? Or stopping them from only protecting a certain type of people and not extending their protection to others?

    Actually, no I’m not using the security guards to force anything on anyone. All they are there for is to ensure my property remains untampered with, and thwarts any vandals. There is nothing that says that one cannot protect oneself from another

    Where would all these security guards be coming from? Wouldn’t they be just a bit busy protecting themselves and their families? Unless two families got together to defend each other, or three families did so for better defense etc etc etc until we’re right back at government.

    Anarchism does not mean that one can do whatever one wants (meaning infringe upon the rights of another in whatever way). A person still has the right to buy and own their own property. They also have the right to protect that property from being vandalized. Once again, that’s not forcing anything on anyone.

    Except that it forces me to acknowledge your rights, even if I don’t think they’re legitmate. What if I think I have the right to someone you have? If you don’t think that it’s a right of mine, even if I’m putting it to better use than you would be, then yes, that’s still forcing your morality on others.

    First of all, does the law as it is keep you from killing someone?

    The law doesn’t stop them, police enforcing that law hopeful stop some and see that the rest are tracked down and brought to justice. Understood punishments hopefully dissuade others that otherwise would.

    Even if someone did commit such a crime, penalties would be in place, though I don’t know what that would be

    There wouldn’t be a set of them because no one is in charge of what those punishments are. I guarentee you most would involve lots and lots of torture.

    Yes, we already have a system similar to that but it’s the state that does the prosecuting…the victims are just ‘proof’ of the perpetrator’s wrong doing for the states’ case. Often the ones who were victimized don’t get any restitution.

    Restitution? What, like, “You were raped so here’s your insurance money (well, not money, because governments make money, and without them money loses it’s value)?” In a society where there are no regulations as to what is acceptable restitution or not (which would be the case without any central governments), that ‘restitution’ as I mentioned above would more often then not include excessive amounts of torture; you know, that “non-material” kind of restitution.

    I would say we better hope that they have a fair trial, but without a government, I wouldn’t count on that either.

  • Alex Weaver

    Alex Weaver, I looked but couldn’t find the post with your ‘main points’ that you wanted me to address. Would you please restate them? Thanks.

    The post I was referring to:

    In Iraq what you actually have are fights between different groups over who will gain power, and if someone is truly following an anarchist philosophy, no one should force their will on another.

    -Arizona Atheist

    So what makes you so sure that it will ever be the case that people in a power vacuum will “truly follow an anarchist philosophy” rather than fighting over who will gain power? The point we’re trying to drive home here is that the above is the invariable result in a human society with no government.

    Hiring a security guard, or any other employee, to coerce others by force, would seem to be as much a violation of anarchy as hiring a government to coerce others by force. If the only solutions anarchy has to encroaching rulership are non-anarchic, you’re making my point for me.

    -Chet

    More to the point, what incentive does the company or the guard have to not simply pocket your money (or take the rest of it at gunpoint) if there’s no government to punish them? Bad publicity? “Dead men tell no tales.” Armed response on your part? Slight problem of numbers, training, and firepower supply there.

    And what exactly are you going to hire them with, if there’s no government to mint and regulate money? Barter economies do NOT work on a scale like modern human society.

    Or, more simply…how exactly could this philosophy of yours be implemented without requiring every person to voluntarily follow the socially agreed-upon rules at all times? …and PLEASE don’t tell me you actually think that people will. (This is where the “Communism” comparison came from).

  • Dr. X

    Arizona Atheist -

    Well, what would keep people from ‘specializing’ in an anarchist set up? People could still have jobs which try to solve crimes, it’s just that it’s a private company, and not run by any government.

    The problem is that many people are concerned with their own needs and couldn’t care less about the loser 2 blocks away, much less 2000 miles away. Who would determine what the ‘rules’ are? Would each person get to decide what laws to enforce? Governments are typically established to promote the general welfare of all its citizens, not just those who have power and money. Are my rights somehow negated because I can’t afford private security? Should I be forced to become “Mad Max” in order to get those items I need to survive? Governments are not perfect, because they are created and administered by humans; some good, some not so. But we are not “Borg”; we have the ability and obligation to work within the system and change those items that do not benefit the group as a whole.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Obviously there are not clear cut answers to many complex questions, but one thing is for sure, threat of prison or the death penalty sure aren’t doing anything to slow the crime of murder any.

    No, that is not “for sure”. You have presented no evidence at all to support your incredible claim that the existence of law enforcement has zero deterrent effect.

  • Alex Weaver

    No, that is not “for sure”. You have presented no evidence at all to support your incredible claim that the existence of law enforcement has zero deterrent effect.

    Even more incredibly, you don’t even seem to have considered that law enforcement logically is considerably more effective in reducing (but not zeroing) the rate of repeat offenses.

  • MisterDomino

    Well, what would keep people from ‘specializing’ in an anarchist set up? People could still have jobs which try to solve crimes, it’s just that it’s a private company, and not run by any government.

    Ahh, so then in an anarchist world, the only people that can receive justice are those that can afford to buy it from a private company.

    That makes total sense.

  • Arizona Atheist

    Dr. X said,

    “The problem is that many people are concerned with their own needs and couldn’t care less about the loser 2 blocks away, much less 2000 miles away. Who would determine what the ‘rules’ are? Would each person get to decide what laws to enforce? Governments are typically established to promote the general welfare of all its citizens, not just those who have power and money. Are my rights somehow negated because I can’t afford private security? Should I be forced to become “Mad Max” in order to get those items I need to survive? Governments are not perfect, because they are created and administered by humans; some good, some not so. But we are not “Borg”; we have the ability and obligation to work within the system and change those items that do not benefit the group as a whole.”

    It’s a fact that there are millions of people who freely donate their time and money. There are many people who are compelled to help others. What other type of person would want to become a nurse, or be in some other profession where they help people?

    Alex Weaver said,

    “Even more incredibly, you don’t even seem to have considered that law enforcement logically is considerably more effective in reducing (but not zeroing) the rate of repeat offenses.”

    Well, just look at the news. Every day someone is killed in this country, or raped. Did the presence of “law enforecement” stop those? No. I think that’s a pretty good example right there. Besides, I said nothing about giving up protection if one wants it.

    MisterDomino said,

    “Ahh, so then in an anarchist world, the only people that can receive justice are those that can afford to buy it from a private company.

    That makes total sense. ”

    No, that’s just one scenario of the way things could work out.

    Alex Weaver said,

    “So what makes you so sure that it will ever be the case that people in a power vacuum will “truly follow an anarchist philosophy” rather than fighting over who will gain power? The point we’re trying to drive home here is that the above is the invariable result in a human society with no government.”

    I don’t doubt there will be conflicts but what keeps someone in power? Force. Once again, I’m still learning about the subtleties of anarchism, but if, for example, you wanted to rule over me, how can you without force? I can protect myself, and try to stop you. But I think once people are free many won’t feel the need, but of course I know some will, and something can be done to stop them.

    “Or, more simply…how exactly could this philosophy of yours be implemented without requiring every person to voluntarily follow the socially agreed-upon rules at all times? …and PLEASE don’t tell me you actually think that people will. (This is where the “Communism” comparison came from).”

    I never said anyone would force this on anyone. The entire concept of anarchism is freedom, so there would be no attempt to force it upon a minority to begin with. Communism actually became a state ruled by force, and is nothing like anarchism. If you didn’t obey, you were killed. That has nothing in common with anarchism.

    Mrnaglfar said,

    “And what’s stopping that private company from committing crimes? Or stopping them from only protecting a certain type of people and not extending their protection to others?”

    Nothing…but like when someone commits a wrongful act on another there are consequences. It’s very simple.. what you don’t seem to understand is that with or without government people will do wrong to others. But regardless, things can be done about it.

    “Where would all these security guards be coming from? Wouldn’t they be just a bit busy protecting themselves and their families? Unless two families got together to defend each other, or three families did so for better defense etc etc etc until we’re right back at government.”

    Sorry, but this one is just silly. There are many purely volunteer fire departments and other services. In fact I learned that, I think it’s the Scottsdale, AZ fire department that is run purely by volunteers.

    “Except that it forces me to acknowledge your rights, even if I don’t think they’re legitmate. What if I think I have the right to someone you have? If you don’t think that it’s a right of mine, even if I’m putting it to better use than you would be, then yes, that’s still forcing your morality on others.”

    I wouldn’t call that morality, and I could stop you. Besides, I don’t think you would do such a thing in real life anyway, would you? Be honest. Which also proves my point that not every single person will go around stealing, etc.

    “The law doesn’t stop them, police enforcing that law hopeful stop some and see that the rest are tracked down and brought to justice. Understood punishments hopefully dissuade others that otherwise would.”

    And with the tons of crimes going on every single day, you really think that’s true?

    “There wouldn’t be a set of them because no one is in charge of what those punishments are. I guarentee you most would involve lots and lots of torture.”

    LOL where in the world did you get that from?

    “Restitution? What, like, “You were raped so here’s your insurance money (well, not money, because governments make money, and without them money loses it’s value)?” In a society where there are no regulations as to what is acceptable restitution or not (which would be the case without any central governments), that ‘restitution’ as I mentioned above would more often then not include excessive amounts of torture; you know, that “non-material” kind of restitution.

    I would say we better hope that they have a fair trial, but without a government, I wouldn’t count on that either.”

    Government doesn’t need to be in charge of printing money if that’s what people chose to use. People run those money printing machines, what makes you think someone else couldn’t?

    And of course bartering could work. Why not give X amount of something you own for something you need? It’s basically the same thing, it’s just the play money government gives you is worth nothing. The gold standard of money is gone now, and so all it is, is just paper now anyway. It’s only worth what the government says it is. That’s like me telling you that my $5 monopoly dollar bill is worth $500.

  • Arizona Atheist

    I just wanted to address one little thing. Some have complained about the fact what if someone doesn’t decide to go along with the anarchist philosophy. Like I said, forcing that on someone would be going against the entire philosophy to begin with, and thus, they would be no better then the state. But even this forcing of morality is happening now.

    Let’s take an example with something that I’m sure most atheists are well aware of. The vote. With many evangelicals trying to get a religious president in the white house, who may pass anti-whatever legislation. Be it anti abortion, or voting for the ban on gay marriage. These people are FORCING this “morality” on you. And, the ironic thing is, you’re backing the system that’s letting them do it. Ironic? Yes I think so.

  • Alex Weaver

    “Even more incredibly, you don’t even seem to have considered that law enforcement logically is considerably more effective in reducing (but not zeroing) the rate of repeat offenses.”

    Well, just look at the news. Every day someone is killed in this country, or raped. Did the presence of “law enforecement” stop those? No. I think that’s a pretty good example right there. Besides, I said nothing about giving up protection if one wants it.

    Reread what I wrote. A too-small but quite large percentage of the people responsible for those crimes wind up in jail where their ability to harm innocents is severely compromised. The system certainly has problems in its current incarnation, and no justice system could completely prevent crimes from occurring (I’m still waiting for some evidence that yours would not increase the rate by orders of magnitude, incidentally), but given that our present system is vastly more effective in most regards than it has been at any point in history, the logical response would seem to be to finish fixing the system. To be frank, I find your insistence that government law enforcement must be 100% effective at preventing all crimes, everywhere, at all times to be “ok” kind of childish.

    “Ahh, so then in an anarchist world, the only people that can receive justice are those that can afford to buy it from a private company.

    That makes total sense. ”

    No, that’s just one scenario of the way things could work out.

    And what other way is there, without government mandates to require that things get done even if they aren’t financially profitable?

    “So what makes you so sure that it will ever be the case that people in a power vacuum will “truly follow an anarchist philosophy” rather than fighting over who will gain power? The point we’re trying to drive home here is that the above is the invariable result in a human society with no government.”

    I don’t doubt there will be conflicts but what keeps someone in power? Force. Once again, I’m still learning about the subtleties of anarchism, but if, for example, you wanted to rule over me, how can you without force? I can protect myself, and try to stop you. But I think once people are free many won’t feel the need, but of course I know some will, and something can be done to stop them.

    You still haven’t yet given a realistic and coherent example of “something that can be done to stop them” and you still haven’t explained why, in bold contradiction to absolutely every example in history, you think people will continue to behave themselves in the absence of a central authority THIS time. As Ebonmuse (I think) observed a while back, any system that’s based on betting against human nature is doomed to failure.

    “Or, more simply…how exactly could this philosophy of yours be implemented without requiring every person to voluntarily follow the socially agreed-upon rules at all times? …and PLEASE don’t tell me you actually think that people will. (This is where the “Communism” comparison came from).”

    I never said anyone would force this on anyone. The entire concept of anarchism is freedom, so there would be no attempt to force it upon a minority to begin with. Communism actually became a state ruled by force, and is nothing like anarchism. If you didn’t obey, you were killed. That has nothing in common with anarchism.

    Will you please answer the actual question above, rather than focusing on the specific choice of comparisons and obstinately (or disingenuously) pretending that the system that was actually implemented in the Soviet Union and elsewhere once the disconnect between Marxist ideas about what the liberated proletariat would do, and what they actually did, became apparent has no relevance to your equally unrealistic expectations of human behavior in the absence of a central authority?

    “And what’s stopping that private company from committing crimes? Or stopping them from only protecting a certain type of people and not extending their protection to others?”

    Nothing…but like when someone commits a wrongful act on another there are consequences. It’s very simple.. what you don’t seem to understand is that with or without government people will do wrong to others. But regardless, things can be done about it.

    On the contrary, we understand that all too well. What you don’t seem to understand is that every experience we humans have had of societies without government, without a single documented exception on any significant scale, has been that the rate of wrongdoing has increased exponentially, and the effects of wrongdoing are amplified without the structure and stability that a well-managed state can offer. Meanwhile, under government, things can indeed be done about wrongdoing; the system for doing things about it isn’t perfect, but it has been improved over the last several millenia and can and should be improved further. You still have not offered a realistic proposal for how things can be done about it without government.

    “Where would all these security guards be coming from? Wouldn’t they be just a bit busy protecting themselves and their families? Unless two families got together to defend each other, or three families did so for better defense etc etc etc until we’re right back at government.”

    Sorry, but this one is just silly. There are many purely volunteer fire departments and other services. In fact I learned that, I think it’s the Scottsdale, AZ fire department that is run purely by volunteers.

    Does this actually strike you as a realistic proposal for a replacement for the national array of police forces?

    “Except that it forces me to acknowledge your rights, even if I don’t think they’re legitmate. What if I think I have the right to someone you have? If you don’t think that it’s a right of mine, even if I’m putting it to better use than you would be, then yes, that’s still forcing your morality on others.”

    I wouldn’t call that morality, and I could stop you. Besides, I don’t think you would do such a thing in real life anyway, would you? Be honest. Which also proves my point that not every single person will go around stealing, etc.

    Of course not every person will go around stealing. But it only takes a few and your system has no realistic way to stop them. And they’re out there; FFS, read some of Christopher’s posts on other threads.

    “The law doesn’t stop them, police enforcing that law hopeful stop some and see that the rest are tracked down and brought to justice. Understood punishments hopefully dissuade others that otherwise would.”

    And with the tons of crimes going on every single day, you really think that’s true?

    Yes, actually, considering what I hear about conditions in states with no effective government (solid data is hard to come by, oddly enough, perhaps because there’s no government agencies to collect it?). “Counting the misses and forgetting the hits” is a deeply disingenuous way of evaluating the success of any program, and you still have not provided any support for your incredible assumption that law enforcement has zero deterrent value. (Incidentally, according to this and this, the rate in the US was about 0.04 per 1,000 people and the rate of rape was about 0.3 per 1,000 over the period of 1998-2000, according to UN data. This of course is unacceptably high, but not quite the crisis situation you imagine. Don’t believe everything selective reporting tries to make you feel).

    “Restitution? What, like, “You were raped so here’s your insurance money (well, not money, because governments make money, and without them money loses it’s value)?” In a society where there are no regulations as to what is acceptable restitution or not (which would be the case without any central governments), that ‘restitution’ as I mentioned above would more often then not include excessive amounts of torture; you know, that “non-material” kind of restitution.

    I would say we better hope that they have a fair trial, but without a government, I wouldn’t count on that either.”

    Government doesn’t need to be in charge of printing money if that’s what people chose to use. People run those money printing machines, what makes you think someone else couldn’t?

    Because some authority is needed to regulate the money supply, otherwise it loses its value because of people printing more and more and more of it, leading to runaway inflation.

    You should probably respond to the first part of that at some point, incidentally.

    And of course bartering could work. Why not give X amount of something you own for something you need? It’s basically the same thing, it’s just the play money government gives you is worth nothing. The gold standard of money is gone now, and so all it is, is just paper now anyway. It’s only worth what the government says it is. That’s like me telling you that my $5 monopoly dollar bill is worth $500.

    What’s your evidence that bartering actually would work on such a scale. Any examples from history you’d care to point to?

    Let’s take an example with something that I’m sure most atheists are well aware of. The vote. With many evangelicals trying to get a religious president in the white house, who may pass anti-whatever legislation. Be it anti abortion, or voting for the ban on gay marriage. These people are FORCING this “morality” on you. And, the ironic thing is, you’re backing the system that’s letting them do it. Ironic? Yes I think so.

    No; we’re supporting the system that requires them to attempt to subvert the system in order to attempt to force their moral views on us instead of burning our houses down, raping and killing our wives and children (not necessarily in that order) and hanging us from lightposts like their moral and doctrinal ancestors were prone to doing (although much of that, admittedly, predated lightposts), and the system which gives us a meaningful chance to oppose them due to this legal protection. Refer to my previous point about counting the misses and forgetting the hits.

    By the way, the president can’t pass legislation, the present dictator-wannabe notwithstanding, see here.

  • Arizona Atheist

    Weaver said,

    “Reread what I wrote: A too-small but quite large percentage of the people responsible for those crimes wind up in jail where their ability to harm innocents is severely compromised. The system certainly has problems in its current incarnation, and no justice system could completely prevent crimes from occurring (I’m still waiting for some evidence that yours would not increase the rate by orders of magnitude, incidentally), but given that our present system is vastly more effective in most regards than it has been at any point in history, the logical response would seem to be to finish fixing the system. To be frank, I find your insistence that government law enforcement must be 100% effective at preventing all crimes, everywhere, at all times to be “ok” kind of childish.”

    Where did I say that it *must* stop all crimes? Nothing can do that and I didn’t say that anyway.

    Even the statistics show that time in jail, many times, does nothing do stop the behavior. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_prison_population – “A survey showed that among the nearly 300,000 prisoners released, 67.5% were rearrested within 3 years, and 51.8% were back in prison.”

    An even bigger problem is that a large percentage of people in jail are those who are in for drug charges, or other non-violent crimes.

    Weaver said,

    “And what other way is there, without government mandates to require that things get done even if they aren’t financially profitable?”

    Who said a group of people cannot sit down and think about a resolution? Why does it require some kind of “big brother” for such things?

    Weaver said,

    “Will you please answer the actual question above, rather than focusing on the specific choice of comparisons and obstinately (or disingenuously) pretending that the system that was actually implemented in the Soviet Union and elsewhere once the disconnect between Marxist ideas about what the liberated proletariat would do, and what they actually did, became apparent has no relevance to your equally unrealistic expectations of human behavior in the absence of a central authority?”

    I actually did answer you. No force will be applied to get people to follow that way…but lack of government can allow the people to manage their own lives with needless inference.

    One example is this, from a speech given back in 2004, by George Mason. In New Zealand they reduced government and privatized many services. Here is the speech: http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=2004&month=04

    Weaver said,

    “Does this actually strike you as a realistic proposal for a replacement for the national array of police forces?”

    LOL yes. Most cops don’t actually stop crime anyway…they’re off writing B.S. speeding tickets. Most cops get to a crime after the fact and then try to piece together what happened.

    Weaver,

    “What’s your evidence that bartering actually would work on such a scale. Any examples from history you’d care to point to?”

    It’s worked in the past… why not now? Even today people are doing it on a larger scale: http://www.u-exchange.com/barter-system

    Weaver,

    “No; we’re supporting the system that requires them to attempt to subvert the system in order to attempt to force their moral views on us instead of burning our houses down, raping and killing our wives and children (not necessarily in that order) and hanging us from lightposts like their moral and doctrinal ancestors were prone to doing (although much of that, admittedly, predated lightposts), and the system which gives us a meaningful chance to oppose them due to this legal protection. Refer to my previous point about counting the misses and forgetting the hits.”

    The reason they could do that was because often times the church was aligned with the state and they had too much power. But, you’re still supporting a system which rules by majority vote and forces policies on others. You haven’t come up with a decent excuse for that yet….

    So, basically you’re saying that it’s OK for a majority to force their opinions on a minority? That’s all voting is anyway, in reality.

  • Arizona Atheist

    Oh, and here are several examples of anarchist communities and states throughout history:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_anarchist_communities

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Arizona Atheist, your list proves the point: Most of these so-called “anarchist communities” were small groupings of individuals who all set out with the common goal of establishing such a community. If everyone shares that goal, then yes, small anarchist communities can be maintained for a time. No one is arguing that. The problem, which numerous people have pointed out to you and which you’ve yet to address in any substantive way, is what happens when you try to expand this system to include large numbers of people, some of whom inevitably won’t share that commitment to the utopian dream. As your own source notes, several of these experiments collapsed because of “gradual infiltration… by those that did not share the same libertarian and economic philosophy”. Few of them lasted very long. In fact, many of them actually existed within the borders of a pre-existing state, which is a genuine test of anarchism in the same sense that taking penicillin while having someone pray for you is a test of whether faith healing can cure disease.

    Where did I say that it *must* stop all crimes? Nothing can do that and I didn’t say that anyway.

    That has been your argument throughout this thread: that either government can stop 100% of crimes, or it must be totally ineffective at stopping crime. Are you now conceding the point that this is an obvious fallacy?

    Most cops don’t actually stop crime anyway…they’re off writing B.S. speeding tickets.

    These flippant comments, I think, are pretty well indicative of the depth of thought Arizona Atheist has put into his political philosophy.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Arizona Atheist,

    I skimmed your wikipedia link, and all I have to say is if that’s the best you can offer for working anarchist states, your position is in some bad shape. Most communities there are either small, not anarchist completely, or lasted for totals of what seems to be about 10 years.

    Where did I say that it *must* stop all crimes? Nothing can do that and I didn’t say that anyway.

    Even the statistics show that time in jail, many times, does nothing do stop the behavior. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_prison_population – “A survey showed that among the nearly 300,000 prisoners released, 67.5% were rearrested within 3 years, and 51.8% were back in prison.”

    An even bigger problem is that a large percentage of people in jail are those who are in for drug charges, or other non-violent crimes.

    I agree that drug laws are profoundly poor, and I would like to see them changed. But there are some points you’re missing:
    1) You are counting the hits and not the misses
    2) You’re overlooking the fact that when these people were released, their situation in life didn’t magically change. A large source of this crime comes from lower class males; if they go from jail back out into the same environment, it will still be a problem.

    And just to stop you from asking, no, I don’t think dissolving the government will make the problem better; I think it would make it far worse. You have yet to show how no government will be able to prevent crime from happening on a large scale. I’m sure “things can be done about it”, but tell that too 500,000,000 people and see how it works out.

    Who said a group of people cannot sit down and think about a resolution? Why does it require some kind of “big brother” for such things?

    You’ll notice in that wikipedia article many anarchist groups developed commmittes to figure out what was to be done. You can’t sit 500,000,000+ people down at a desk and have them all discuss the matter; it’s impossible.

    No force will be applied to get people to follow that way…but lack of government can allow the people to manage their own lives with needless inference.

    Then please, explain to me how governments came about in the first place, and why they persist globally and consistently. If they were such a hassle, why didn’t people “freely and volunteerily” stop them from forming in the first place?

    LOL yes. Most cops don’t actually stop crime anyway…they’re off writing B.S. speeding tickets. Most cops get to a crime after the fact and then try to piece together what happened.

    LOL. Go ahead, tell cops you’re going to stop paying them, see how many decide to dedicate their time to spending hours working. Besides, those same people could “volunteerily” be cops now, I’m sure the state would love more police they wouldn’t have to pay, so where are your swarms of recruits? Not to mention what good would volunteer police be without a volunteer justice system too? And volunteer prisons? Unless you want to privatize those too, leading you right back to the idea that people get justice merited on how much they pay. Of course, the true anarchist would take justice into his own hands and try and do back to those people what they did to him.

    Let’s not forget that in that system justice now changes depending on what area you tend to stroll into. Fun trial and error learning I’m sure.

    Most cops don’t stop crime because most cops aren’t around when crime is committed; it seems criminals go through great lengths to avoid committing crime around police, why do you suppose that is? Ideally, we wouldn’t need cops if we could reduce the crime rate to zero, but until we manage that one, police are vital in protecting our rights and finding those who would violate them.

    It’s worked in the past… why not now? Even today people are doing it on a larger scale:

    In the past the world didn’t have 6 billion people; it worked in small groups for which those in the group you knew intimately. Even if bartering, by some miracle, managed to work out for the whole of the population in this country, what if you want to go into another country with that blasted currency? Sounds like internationally you’d be SOL.
    I would hardly call that link “large scale”. (not to mention if you’re bartering for profit you need to pay taxes on those gains. Neat idea though)

    The reason they could do that was because often times the church was aligned with the state and they had too much power. But, you’re still supporting a system which rules by majority vote and forces policies on others. You haven’t come up with a decent excuse for that yet….

    So, basically you’re saying that it’s OK for a majority to force their opinions on a minority? That’s all voting is anyway, in reality.

    Here’s a good reason; it’s called “mutual coercion”. It goes something like “I won’t steal from you if you won’t steal from me; if either of us breaks this rule a third party will enforce punishment X”. Our rights are mutually agreed upon *by our representatives, since not all 500,000,000 people can sit down and talk together* and in some cases people don’t get all the rights they want because, by you having rights, you infringe upon other’s lives. For instance, by you owning land and having a house on it, I can no longer use that land in a manner that I find enjoyable. Are you “forcing” your right to own land on me? Yes, and in turn, I also have the right own land. That mutual third party is the government. Is the system perfect? Hell no. But you propose removing the whole system, instead of modifying it work better, which would undo all the good it provides for us that you just happen to take for granted.

  • http://stargazers-observatory.blogspot.com/ Stargazer1323
    “Where would all these security guards be coming from? Wouldn’t they be just a bit busy protecting themselves and their families? Unless two families got together to defend each other, or three families did so for better defense etc etc etc until we’re right back at government.”

    Sorry, but this one is just silly. There are many purely volunteer fire departments and other services. In fact I learned that, I think it’s the Scottsdale, AZ fire department that is run purely by volunteers.

    Sorry, but this comment is actually the silly one. There is a reason why there are volunteer fire departments, but not volunteer police forces. Fire fighters exist to solve a specific problem, they exist to help people, but they do not have the power over the lives or liberty of the people in the community where they work in the same way that the police do. Fire fighters do not carry guns, they do not have the authority to deprive people of their freedom – in other words, they are nothing like the police. If you give a group of volunteers guns and the power to decide who has broken a community’s laws or who has violated the rights of another person, you are giving them power that could corrupt them, which means if you expect them to protect you, you had better have someone that can keep them in line. That is the job of the government in regards to the police – they are the overseeing body that makes sure the laws apply to everyone, so that the people tasked with protecting us from those who would violate our rights cannot choose to violate our rights with impunity simply because they have the power to do so. If you look at all the stories of police corruption in the news today, imagine how much worse it could be if you took the laws and the government out of the equation.

    I love the fact that there are volunteer fire fighters, because that means that there are people in my community who are willing to risk their lives to protect me in a dangerous situation. But a volunteer security force is there not to protect me, but to enforce the will of whoever organized them. And unless that organizer is a group that I chose and unless they are there to enforce rules that I helped decide upon – in other words, unless that group is a democratic government with laws chosen by the people – I do not want that security force to have any power over me.

  • Arizona Atheist

    So basically you are saying you’re content to live with force, due to the state? OK… that’s your choice, but I’d like something different. As for large scale it could be possible if people such as yourselves would realize that you don’t need to live with force (the government IS forced upon you by the way). That’s the only problem.

    I think it would be possible if people changed their mind set and solutions could be worked out. Large groups of people do meet to discuss things. It’s also called the internet with video conferencing. So I don’t get my words twisted I’m not talking about every single person joining in on the conference (though if everyone had computers it could be done probably) but people could vote (not the kind you’re thinking of) on what policies to implement and send in their decision. One person, or a group could tell everyone else what was decided. Those that didn’t vote for it, are not bound by it. If I’m not mistaken, this form of voting was in use in the early U.S. until government started getting too big.

    As I said, I think it could be done… it’s just people who are brainwashed in schools to “pledge allegiance to the flag” that you get your heads turned to mush, believing that you must accept the fact that you have people ruling over you.

    Often times people forget that statism (and yes it is a word: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=statism) is the number one source of murder and plunder in the world. If you’re OK with supporting those activities then that’s your choice but I think you’re denying reality. Hell, even if we let every mass murderer go around and kill it still wouldn’t come close to equaling the death tolls that have been because of the policies of the states, and governments.

    And please don’t give me that necessary evil crap…

    Since when is any evil “necessary”? That’s just another form of the states’ brainwashing and newspeak.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    So basically you are saying you’re content to live with force, due to the state?

    While no one likes force, we recognize that it is not going to go away. No political system has any viable means of eliminating it, especially not poorly thought-out anarchist pipe dreams. The best realistic option is to live in a society that respects the rule of law and gives democratic representation to the individual. That way we as a people can have a rational conversation over how to best harness that power and direct it to good ends, as opposed to leaving it up to the whim of whatever gang or tyrant manages to claw their way up to the top.

    Often times people forget that statism… is the number one source of murder and plunder in the world.

    And the sun is the number one source of sunburns and skin cancer, but that doesn’t mean we’d be better off without it.

  • Alex Weaver

    So, basically you’re saying that it’s OK for a majority to force their opinions on a minority? That’s all voting is anyway, in reality.

    You might try reading the last link in my post. One of the most important functions of constitutional government is precisely this, to protect the rights of all citizens against the power wielded by the majority.

    So basically you are saying you’re content to live with force, due to the state?

    I would rather live in a constitutional republic where the limitations placed on government by that constitution and the people’s vigillance in demanding that they be upheld (this second part is where the US has failed lately) restrict the use of government’s coercive authority to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the citizenry, than in the absence of government where the armed, organized, and ruthless can and will impose their will on everyone around them, for their own benefit, by threat of violence, which is what has happened every single time a society has existed with no government at any significant scale.

    One person, or a group could tell everyone else what was decided. Those that didn’t vote for it, are not bound by it. If I’m not mistaken, this form of voting was in use in the early U.S. until government started getting too big.

    You are mistaken. The closest the early US came to this was the Articles of Confederation, which had a weak central government, no meaningful executive, and required the consent of all the states to amend them. The result of trying to live under this was what prompted the constitutional convention.

    I really don’t see how we can make it any clearer that your position is based on wishful thinking and an incredibly petulant view of authority as a concept. Neither, however, impresses me and babbling about “brainwashing” simply because you have failed to make a convincing case for your philosophy as a viable sociopolitcal system just reinforces that.

  • André Phillips

    I wish there were more anarchists here so Arizona Atheist wasn’t debating everyone else solo. Points for bravery I suppose. But, of course, I came here to actually leave another comment, so here you go.

    I find it so hard to believe that anarchists don’t think anarchy would lead straight to feudalism or something similar. How does logical reasoning and the state of the world all through history, including in the present, not lead you to that conclusion? Seriously, what do anarchists count on to prevent it? What happens when someone does try to gain power over those around him? Do the locals rise up and destroy him instead? Isn’t that preventing him forcing his will on them by forcing their will on him? Aren’t anarchists against that? In other words, don’t you have to force anarchy on people? You would, I’m pretty sure of that. Speaking of force, you keep talking about having things forced on us by the government, but I think you have yet to say exactly what the government is forcing on us that’s so wrong. You’re not allowed to murder, is that what you don’t like being forced to accept? Is it taxes? I hate taxes too, everybody does, and the system is pretty horrible as it is, but is the only solution anarchy? Really? Isn’t that a bit like sending a car off a cliff and resolving to walk everywhere just because it needed repairs? Same with the incredibly flawed justice system. For another metaphor: let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    To respond to your response to me a few posts back, you still haven’t given an adequate explanation for what determines what is crime and what isn’t, other than saying we all have rights that nobody is allowed to infringe upon. Of course, that’s again forcing one morality on everyone, and isn’t very anarchistic. I hope you’re not expecting the rules to be decided on a case-by-case basis by these detectives or security agencies. That system just would not work, and I don’t think it’s hard to see why not.

    If I can just leave the whole justice problem behind for a moment, there’s something I want to say about arguments of the ‘it worked in the past’ variety. There are certain innovations and social changes that are basically points of no return. Once a society has embraced and integrated these advances the society simply can’t function without them. As basic prehistoric examples think of fire, language, and the domestication of animals. Another obvious and more close to home example is electricity. (For a great look at what would happen to us without electricity I recommend the first episode of James Burkes’s series, “Connections” or the book of the same name.) I think the most recent ‘innovation of no return’ is telecommunications and particularly the internet. We’re still in the process of making the internet a necessary part of modern life, but I believe we are at the tail end of that process. Even people who’ve never used a computer rely greatly on the internet in a behind-the-scenes manner.

    I believe that another one of those important inventions is currency. The lifestyle that currency allows simply is not feasible without it; especially in a world as advanced as ours. There is just no way a person can possibly negotiate with everyone he or she deals with to determine what goods equate to what other goods or services. It’s just not possible for the power company to meet with every one of its customers 12 times a year to figure out what of their possessions is worth another month of electricity. Obviously I could come up with examples like that until this paragraph becomes a novel, but I don’t have to. Arguing that we can do without money because people did so for thousands of years is like arguing that we can do without electricity because people did so for even more thousands of years. And, of course, I think this logic can be applied to most of the idea of anarchy. We simply don’t live in a world in which anarchy is possible anymore (if it ever was). Not in a full-scale sense anyway. That’s not ‘brainwashing’ or me defending the system or the man, that’s me saying that a population of 6 billion, or 300 million, was only possible to achieve because of the creation of governments, and that those populations are only possible to maintain through the continued use of governments. It’s already been pointed out that we’re still working on resolving imperfections in the system, but we have been improving since the very beginning, and it’s important to remember that we are by no means at any sort of end. It’s in fact awfully arrogant to think that our society has to somehow be the pinnacle of what civilization can accomplish, and if it doesn’t meet our standards we need to scrap it all and start over. We’re just another in a long line of steps towards what will hopefully be something much greater than we are now. Anarchy is the worst possible abandonment of that goal.

    Anyway, enough of that lecture bit.

    Just a couple counterpoints:

    Obviously there are not clear cut answers to many complex questions, but one thing is for sure, threat of prison or the death penalty sure aren’t doing anything to slow the crime of murder any.

    That’s ridiculous.

    One person, or a group could tell everyone else what was decided. Those that didn’t vote for it, are not bound by it.

    Then what’s the point of deciding anything in the first place? Why not stick with ‘do whatever the hell you please.’ And how is all this talk of groups or committees getting together to make decisions not a description of government? Sounds to me like they’re governing.

    Government doesn’t need to be in charge of printing money if that’s what people chose to use. People run those money printing machines, what makes you think someone else couldn’t?

    Seriously? Do all these printers get to set the value of their money at whatever they choose? Can I say my fiver is worth your fifty? You know, I might be OK with that actually.

    Often times people forget that statism… is the number one source of murder and plunder in the world.

    I feel like most of that would actually fall under nationalism, not statism. A bit different. Unless I completely misunderstand your meaning with that line.

    And finally just to throw a little more gas on it: what about the military? I’m by no means a hawk, and I can’t stand our current foreign affairs policy, but nevertheless I understand the value of a standing army. How exactly does an anarchy deal with international conflict? I suppose ideally the whole world would be an anarchy and international wouldn’t exist, but until then…

    Oh, and here’s one just for fun:

    Like detectives [Most cops...] who have to interview the victim and the accused, as well as any possible witnesses, [...get to a crime after the fact...] they work to see what wrong doing was committed [...and then try to piece together what happened.] and work towards a solution.

  • http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ Scott Hughes

    I call myself an anarchist. I oppose all forms of archism, which means I oppose rape, murder, battery, slavery, etc. As Pierre-Joseph Proudhon said, “Liberty is the mother not the daughter of order.”

    Anarchy is order.

  • Alex Weaver

    Scott, please explain how your interpretation can be reconciled with the experience of history.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    This is the same Scott Hughes who claimed in another comment that he did not believe in morality. I smell a troll.

  • Arizona Atheist

    Sorry I’ve been away for a bit, but I’ve been busy. This will be my last post, but I’ll keep it fairly brief.

    With statism being dominant system throughout history I can understand how so many would be shocked and insulted to have someone say that this system is corrupt, is oppressive, and is not needed.

    And yes it is brainwashing…since you were a child you were taught to “pledge allegiance to the flag” as I’ve said before. In fact there are many similarities between theism and statism. People just assume that the state must be there for people to be moral (like theists) but that’s not the case. It’s also odd that so many people claim that without god, all hell will break loose….sound familiar?

    And since we were discussing it – about law and order. As I said before there would be no punishment because what does it achieve? One cannot stop all crime; the victims are left with their lost property, money, etc. while the state prosecutes the criminal. Now, what about the victim??? With this system, I can understand the deep seeded urge for revenge, however, according to a poll I gave earlier people’s urge for revenge would be reduced if they would get some compensation.

    Here is the poll for your info again:

    In a poll that was conducted by Advocates for Self Government, people were asked which system of justice they would prefer: the traditional one where a suspect is indicted for a crime and possibly goes to jail, and the victim gets nothing. Or a free market system where the victim gets direct restitution from the perpetrator and/or an insurance company*, regardless of what happens to the perpetrator – even if he went free. 78% chose the free market system.

    I’ve been criticized because someone said that what if someone couldn’t pay for ‘insurance’ in case of robbery, rape, etc. how would such a system work? Well, first I think this is a weak argument because agreements can be made to have a low monthly payment, or however else you might set up your account. A new system can be whatever you make it, so it say such and such cannot be done is just ignorant. But the entire point is to give something back to the victim! That’s the whole point. What is more ethical? To just disregard victims of crime while someone goes after the perpetrator, or forget the criminal and give back to the victim? Think about it. What if the criminal gets off (as does happen more times then it should, or the wrong person imprisoned or murdered by the state [execution])? Then what are the victims left with? That’s just not a moral thing to do in my opinion.

    Also, there are polls which do show that many times prison is not any kind of deterrent to crime in the first place. Case in point is this recent study, found here:
    http://www.prisonjustice.ca/starkravenarticles/youth_deter_0108.html

    Study shows youth not deterred by long prison terms
    Jan 15, 2008
    Stark Raven Media Collective
    A study by a group of criminologists shows that lengthy prison sentences do not deter youth from committing crimes.

    The researchers from Simon Fraser University, the Justice Institute and the University College of the Fraser Valley, interviewed more than 500 serious and violent B.C. youths serving time. They found prison was more likely to bring youth deeper into the criminal world rather than deterring them from a life of crime.

    The report published by the researchers shows that most hard-core youths don’t weigh the benefits and costs of criminal behaviour because of their dysfunctional family settings. The vast majority of the jailed youth leave home or are placed in foster care by age 13. The toughest inmates were raised in environments where violence, abuse, drugs, alcohol or criminal activity were the norm. They were almost certain to continue committing crimes especially if they relied on B&Es or selling drugs for income.

    The researchers reported that B.C.’s top court judges are not following the research when they concluded they tougher penalties would discourage youth criminal activity.
    Sources & Further Articles:
    Article In Canadian Bar Review
    http://www.canada.com

    There are statistics which show that threats of incarceration doesn’t do the trick, and many times when people get out they just offend again! How is this helping? In fact it’s been shown that out of all the people in the world only about 6% of the population is responsible for crimes.

    A study showed that there were 75% of convicted criminals who were released…how does that help anyone stay safe? There are much cheaper ways of handling these things. Privatize courts, security, etc. As I showed in an article I gave, doing this cuts spending a great deal and it’s benefits. Here it is again: http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=2004&month=04

    It is true that a true anarchist state has never been formed, though some on a smaller scale have been, but there is no reason it wouldn’t work out.

    I honestly don’t think any system would ever be perfect, but I do believe that one without tyrants (aka the state) would benefit everyone. There would no doubt be less killing, since the state run wars murder more than any serial killers ever could.

    But whose to say that people cannot live without dictators telling us what we can or cannot put in our bodies, or telling us how fast we can drive? These speeding tickets are for revenue only (not to mention those stupid red light running cameras which cause accidents as people slam on their breaks to avoid getting their picture taken).

    This ended up being longer than I had expected but the truth is that peace can still be had without the state, and a truly just system could be set up, if only people would pull the wool from over their eyes.

    Oh, and to André Phillips. Thanks, yes it would be easier if someone else would help answering questions, especailly someone who knew more about this than I do, as I am still learning. But, the person who convinced me about anarchism, you could contact. His website is still being worked on but here it is: http://www.bobclapp.com

    Thanks.

  • bassmanpete

    Arizona Atheist, anarchy wouldn’t work for the simple reason that there’ll always be a power-hungry Stalin, Hitler, Robert Mugabe or Saddam Hussein who’ll organise a gang of thugs & impose his own rule.

  • Alex Weaver

    With statism being dominant system throughout history I can understand how so many would be shocked and insulted to have someone say that this system is corrupt, is oppressive, and is not needed.

    The present American system is corrupt, and is becoming alarmingly oppressive, though far less so in both cases than many other examples that could be named. What you seem to fail to realize is that you have neither demonstrated that the system is unfixable or that your alternative is even workable, let alone better.

    Tell me, if you discovered that your residence had a termite problem, would you burn it down and go sleep in the grass? That’s basically the logic you’re proposing here.

    And yes it is brainwashing…since you were a child you were taught to “pledge allegiance to the flag” as I’ve said before. In fact there are many similarities between theism and statism.

    As a child, I refused to say the pledge of allegiance and was reprimanded by a teacher for this. Try again.

    People just assume that the state must be there for people to be moral (like theists) but that’s not the case.

    What is your evidence?

    It’s also odd that so many people claim that without god, all hell will break loose….sound familiar?

    Only if you deliberately shove your fingers in your ears and go LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU when the two sides are presenting the evidence and logic to back up their claims.

    And since we were discussing it – about law and order. As I said before there would be no punishment because what does it achieve? One cannot stop all crime; the victims are left with their lost property, money, etc. while the state prosecutes the criminal. Now, what about the victim??? With this system, I can understand the deep seeded urge for revenge, however, according to a poll I gave earlier people’s urge for revenge would be reduced if they would get some compensation.

    Will you make up your mind? Does the system have to stop all crime to be worthwhile, or doesn’t it? And again, HOW IS YOUR SYSTEM BETTER? It won’t stop all crime either, and there are numerous severe problems with any attempt to implement it without government that you have utterly failed to address.

    It is true that a true anarchist state has never been formed, though some on a smaller scale have been, but there is no reason it wouldn’t work out.

    You have been given a great number of reasons it wouldn’t work out. Your credibililty lies in tatters amidst your refusal to respond to them substantively.

    I honestly don’t think any system would ever be perfect, but I do believe that one without tyrants (aka the state) would benefit everyone. There would no doubt be less killing, since the state run wars murder more than any serial killers ever could.

    Meanwhile, the condition in failed states (no effective government) are generally such that the death rape per capita is vastly higher than in any war. You continue to ignore this.

    But whose to say that people cannot live without dictators telling us what we can or cannot put in our bodies, or telling us how fast we can drive?

    Laws telling us what we can or cannot put in our bodies should for the most part be scrapped, except in cases where what we put in our bodies causes a clear and present danger to others (drinking and driving, for instance). Speed laws are presently more draconian than they really need to be, but are in fact necessary, since excessive speed can lead to accidents that harm others.

    These speeding tickets are for revenue only (not to mention those stupid red light running cameras which cause accidents as people slam on their breaks to avoid getting their picture taken).

    Having known people who’ve been hit by drivers running red lights and nearly having been hit myself, I question your logic and morality.

    This ended up being longer than I had expected but the truth is that peace can still be had without the state, and a truly just system could be set up, if only people would pull the wool from over their eyes.

    We’ve already had one example from history (communism) of people thinking that if they just destroy the present system, everything they hope will happen will magically fall into place. What makes your system different, so that this will actually happen this time?

  • André Phillips

    OK, so the justice system is flawed. We’ve already countered that argument.

    Also, I have no love for the system and would take offense at being called brainwashed if this really mattered that much to me. Not to be rude, but you’re making incorrect assumptions about me when you really know nothing about me; I’ve actually many times argued strongly against how our government conducts itself. I only argue against you here because of a belief that total anarchy is no solution, not because of allegiance to the flag. But still none of my points have even been acknowledged.

    Oh well.

  • Alex Weaver

    Andre, it sounds like you’d agreed with my analogy about the termite problem? O.o

  • http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com/ Arizona Atheist

    Alex Weaver, I thought I would address one misunderstanding real quick. You said “Having known people who’ve been hit by drivers running red lights and nearly having been hit myself, I question your logic and morality.”

    You seem to misunderstand what I’m saying. I do NOT think it’s OK for people to run red lights, and I wonder where you got that idea from. You obviously have not read the things I’ve written. It’s obviously wrong to put someone in harms way like that; my only objection is that 1. It is a camera where one doesn’t need to be (as if any cameras need to be encroaching upon my privacy!), and is an invasion of my privacy. 2. Red light cameras don’t do anything to stop accidents, as several studies have reported. I have one of many studies done regarding this matter; this one by the Federal Highway Administration (labeled FHWA-HRT-05-048).

    Now, they do appear to stop red light running, with the a decrease no more than 40 % less right angle crashes, but with an increase of upwards of 38 % more rear end collisions, and injuries.

    They’ve basically traded one form of accident for another – while lining the pockets of the government, if someone gets their picture taken going through a red light, and not doing a damn thing about increasing peoples’ safety.

    I’ve been doing more reading and writing and I’ve found some of the information which those on this board wanted me to provide, especially about the failure of incarceration rates in reducing crime. Just because I wasn’t able to provide the relevant information when you wanted doesn’t mean I’m wrong. I just needed to dig more. I’ll continue to research and write on these topics, and hopefully someone open minded enough will see past all of the states’ conditioning that’s been done.

  • http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com/ Arizona Atheist

    Oh, and yes, the information I referred to is posted on my blog, with more to come. And, to André Phillips…you haven’t countered anything. I have much data to back up my assertion that incarceration doesn’t hardly do anything to stop crime. Read it and weep.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Arizona Atheist,

    I have much data to back up my assertion that incarceration doesn’t hardly do anything to stop crime.

    I’d love to read it, but I can’t seem to find it on your website; perhaps if you could offer a direct link it would help me out.

    I’m also curious which laws and crimes we’re talking about here.

  • Arizona Atheist

    Here you go: http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com/2008/04/tyranny-of-state-part-2_25.html

    I’m referring to the overall percentage of crime.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Are we still arguing about this? This thread is long past its prime.

  • http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com/ Arizona Atheist

    Hmmm… So no one has attempted to argue against my well laid out case? Interesting…

    Mrnaglfar, did you ever see my post? I hope you found it alright.

    Thanks.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Arizona Atheist,

    I may read through it more later, it’s a bit large. I just skimmed it.

    I noticed you had no data in there about lack of a national prison system relative to the number of violent acts committed, thus determining if there’s a deterence effect (the idea of “I’d like to hurt you but I’d go to jail if I did). Did I miss that?

    How do these numbers look excluding drug offenders which souldn’t be in prison anyway? It seems non-violent and violent crimes get mixed together and blur the line quite a bit about what’s actually being discussed; are we talking about crime deterence in non-violence, drugs, or violence?

    How about rates of violence in countries where it’s not punished (when the government is offically sanctioning violence is a good example)?

  • Arizona Atheist

    A 2003 study done by the Bureau of Justice Recidivism report indicates that within three years of being released, 67.5 % of released prisoners were re-arrested. Over half of the people who actually were in prison clearly didn’t care about committing crimes again.

    Many of the statistics I found showed that the threat of prison didn’t have much effect. For example, a study that was conducted in January of 2007 estimated that, even with 5.6 million people in prisons, it only reduced the crime rate by 25%.

    Also, I did cite several studies that said for every 10% increase in the prison population, there was anywhere from a 2 % to 22 % lower crime rate, based on the study. With as many people in jail, I wouldn’t say there was much of an impact. In fact, I cited a few studies that showed that the more people who are put in jail, the higher the crime rate became in some places. You can read that data in my thesis.

    Just a note, I did cite some data about drug offenders… they are the main reason why jails are so full. If I remember right, the prison population tripled once the war on innocent people began.

  • Mrnaglfar

    I saw all those, but that’s not what I was asking, and I’m with you on the drug part.

  • Arizona Atheist

    Sorry about that. Thought you were asking about deterence, and most of the data didn’t always break up what crime. Some did as far as violent and nonviolent though.

  • André Phillips

    Wow, so I guess this is going again. Well, limping anyway.

    No, I didn’t try to argue against your case because I believe I already have. Plus, you have yet to respond to any other points we made, so I don’t feel any obligation to continue. I would like to say, however, that saying the justice system doesn’t reduce crime, and then saying it reduces crime by 25% doesn’t make much sense. Also, it seems like listing statistics that say when the prison populations go up by 10% crime drops by as much as 22% is actually arguing for prisons.

    That said, I just don’t understand how many times one has to say that one doesn’t abolish government because of some problems with the criminal justice system. Move on?

  • Arizona Atheist

    Actually, no there is conflicting data (and I guess you ignored the data showing 2% that I listed)… studies show anywhere from no difference at all UP TO 22 % so it’s pretty clear that it doesn’t do much good. All across the board it’s shown that it doesn’t work well enough, as well as the high rate of recurrence of crime. I guess you didn’t even bother to read my paper. There is also data that shows that the more people you put in jail, the higher the crime rate! So, no it clearly doesn’t work. Before making a comment I suggest knowing what you’re talking about first. Not to be rude, but c’mon, you completely misrepresent the data (probably because you didn’t even read any of it) and make the bold claim that I’m wrong.

    In fact, I looked for days trying to find studies showing that prison curbed the crime rate to a worthwhile degree, which is what I’ve always said as far as I can recall..not that it it does no good whatsoever. At least not since looking at the data I found. It does help some, but I argue not enough, and the costs of human cruelty outweigh that small benefit…which is hardly any.

    Thanks.

    P.S. I’m not arguing that we should abolish the whole government simply because of problems with the “justice” system. The idea of government is wrong at its very core.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Arizona Atheist,

    There is also data that shows that the more people you put in jail, the higher the crime rate! So, no it clearly doesn’t work.

    Or it could merely mean that the more people are likely to be imprisoned, the more laws there are, and whether justified or not, the more laws there are the more people there are that will break those laws. More laws = more criminals, and no laws equal no criminals, because anything goes. If you want to get into whether some of those laws are justified or not, that’s a seperate story.

    It’s akin to saying “atheists don’t do any charity work because I don’t seem them working in missionaries in the third world”; merely a biasing of the sample.

    It’s why I asked those questions above: do you have any numbers that look into murder rates in the absence of any law against murder, or numbers of repeat offenses not drug related, since on average, I would venture a guess and say addicts are more likely to repeat offences, especially since imprisoning them does not equal helping them.

    And yes, I feel arguing the law is ineffective with numbers ranging from 2-22% deterance with a 10% imprisonment rate is rather silly. It clearly has a deterent effect, so now we need to break down what acts it deters and what it doesn’t.

    I’m not arguing that we should abolish the whole government simply because of problems with the “justice” system. The idea of government is wrong at its very core.

    Except you have no data on what would happen on a large scale if government is abolished, and for a very good reason; it just doesn’t work. If I could have worked, it would have somewhere, yet it didn’t and I can only imagine why. Likewise, if the government was abolished no one would be keeping track of those numbers anyway.

    Of course, this will bring us full scale into the communism thread, communism of course being a fancy dressed up anarchy (both working without government, both in charge of an imaginary population of well-meaning, well-educated citizens who never break the law or take advantage of people, and who all maintain all those lovely things like roads and public water and sanitation and all those perks of government we enjoy out of the goodness of their heart).

    So the simple question is if government is so terrible and rotten and is only holding the citizens back how come there have never been any large scale anarcist societies? Surely, they should be flourishing relative to their government counterparts, and since government only came about later in human societial development, it seems lack of government would have been the default at that point, unless you consider the natural dominance hierarchies government, which they kind of are.


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