DennisLeeWilson
2016-July-23 07:50:57 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Click here for my public PGP key   Google Translate   Wikipedia Comparison of Language Translator programs   I use Firefox browser & add-on called "Google Translator for Firefox"
“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” ~Thomas Jefferson
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge has its limitations, while imagination has no limits.” ~Albert Einstein
I love Arizona, I loathe its intrusive governments, especially the City of Phoenix.



“The 'Greatest Generation' is the one that ABOLISHED the USA military draft.”
~Dennis Wilson, Arizona writer

Brainstorming!! Give it a try!   Subject Index to my Published Articles
Creative Commons vs Copyright Notice  Disclaimer


Donations? Hell, NO!*

Because robo-spammers outnumber real people by 20 to 1, you MUST register to post AND your membership MUST be approved.
SEND EMAIL with YOUR comments or a posting to Admin (at) DennisLeeWilson.com to prove that you are NOT an automaton.
Sure. It is a bother. But you only have to do it once to become a member. And you don't have to wade thru the spam.
 
   Home   Help Search Gallery Login Register  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: [2006-08-06] A personal journey from Objectivist morality to political "anarchy"  (Read 14216 times)
DennisLeeWilson
Creator of this site
Administrator
Forum/Blog Owner
*****
Posts: 1302


Existence exists & Man's mind can know it.


WWW Email
« on: 2008-November-18 05:01:55 PM »

[2006-08-06] A personal journey from Objectivist morality to political “AnarchyAbolition Agorism Autarchy
[2016-03-24] As can be seen by the strike thrus, it has been an extended journey--and it ends at Autarchy!!
Links to this page:
http://tinyurl.com/Objectivism-to-Autarchy
http://tinyurl.com/Objectivism-to-Agorism
http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=10.msg36#msg36

Publication history:
http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2006/tle379-20060806-03.html
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE Number 379, August 6, 2006


A personal journey from Objectivist morality to political
Anarchy”  Abolition  Agorism
Autarchy

by way of the
Covenant of Unanimous Consent!


by Dennis Lee Wilson

DennisLeeWilson@Yahoo.com


“Anarchy doesn't mean no rules, it means no rulers.” *

On Sunni Maravillosa’s site, a reader asked: “Do the proponents of anarchy have a clearly stated morality of behavior, an understanding of how to make a moral argument for anarchy?” This is an expanded version of my reply that I thought might interest some of The Libertarian Enterprise readers who might be treading a path similar to the one I took.

I suppose there are as many answers as there are people. I can’t (and won’t) speak for others, but I arrived at anarchy thru Objectivism and I definitely subscribe to the Objectivist ethics/morality (which I won’t repeat here because it is clearly detailed in the opening chapter of The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand and here: http://tinyurl.com/The-Objectivist-Ethics ). Anarchy, of course, is a political position and a person’s politics (usually) reflects their moral code. (Note: Anarchy is to Politics what Atheism is to Religion. Both Anarchy and Atheism are views or positions within the broader field--politics or religion--being discussed. Anarchy is also used as a verb in some contexts.)

One of the erroneous preconceptions I had about anarchy was a common and popular association or “package deal” of anarchy with chaos, disorder and destruction, which put anarchy in conflict with my explicit moral code. When I recently read Butler Shaffer’s excellent article What is Anarchy?, I encountered a proper definition and a study of the etymology of the word, and I realized that--like the words “atheist” and “selfish”—”anarchy” has been badly maligned. "Archos" is Greek/Latin for ruler, tyrant, or dictator. “Anarkhos“, "an-archos" or "Anarchy" means "without a ruler". Civic life experienced without a tyrant or dictator telling us what to do is hardly an undesirable state of affairs.

Anarchy is not chaos, in spite of what some dictionaries claim. (They are also guilty of confusing a Republic with a Democracy). As Michael T. Bradshaw said in Home of the Slave? (The Libertarian Enterprise #362) “…chaos is not anarchy. The two are polar opposites. To the extent that you have one, you have less of the other. Chaos is disorder; such as we see in governmental interference in the market economy, pogrom, genocide and wars between states. Anarchy is the absence of a king or political state. A free market, guided by the invisible hand of price feedback is the classic example of anarchy. Most, by far, human interaction is an-archic. Examples are families, friends and shopping—as none of these require governmental intervention. That is why anarchy is peaceful and orderly, with a rather smooth progression of increasing prosperity."

Even driving on the streets and highways can be considered anarchic. Traffic violations sometimes make sensational news, but the vast, overwhelming majority of driving activity is governed by (mostly) reasonable rules and completely unsupervised by rulers of any kind. Indeed, attempts to enforce unreasonable driving rules are often viewed with disdain and disobedience. Shaffer’s article contains well-considered detail and examples regarding driving behaviors as does this entire article by Brad Edmonds titled Traffic Cops Are Traffic Hazards.   ( http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=459.msg846#msg846 ).

As Butler Shaffer points out: “If we dealt with our colleagues at work in the same coercive and threatening manner by which the state insists on dealing with us, our employment would be immediately terminated. We would soon be without friends were we to demand that they adhere to specific behavioral standards that we had mandated for their lives. Should you come over to our home for a visit, you will not be taxed, searched, required to show a passport or driver’s license, fined, jailed, threatened, handcuffed, or prohibited from leaving. I suspect that your relationships with your friends are conducted on the same basis of mutual respect. In short, virtually all of our dealings with friends and strangers alike are grounded in practices that are peaceful, voluntary, and devoid of coercion.”

He also writes “A very interesting study of the orderly nature of anarchy is found in John Phillip Reid’s book, Law for the Elephant: Property and Social Behavior on the Overland Trail. Reid studied numerous diaries and letters written by persons crossing the overland trail in wagon trains going from St. Joseph, Missouri to Oregon and California. The institutions we have been conditioned to equate with "law and order" (e.g., police, prisons, judges, etc.) were absent along the frontier, and Reid was interested in discovering how people behaved toward one another in such circumstances. He discovered that most people respected property and contract rights, and settled whatever differences they had in a peaceful manner, all of this in spite of the fact that there were no "authorities" to call in to enforce a decision. Such traits went so far as to include respect for the property claims of Indians. The values and integrities that individuals brought with them were sufficient to keep the wagon trains as peaceful communities.”

Chaos is disorder. We see chaos as a result of unreasonable driving rules; "governmental interference in the market economy" such as price regulations, anti-trust and other trade restriction and taxation; "pogroms; genocides and wars between governments of States." The agency most people identify as government today is in reality a gang of lawyers, armed thugs, and con artists backed by an army of bureaucrats, which operates an immense array of protection and other rackets financed through tax extortion and fraud.

Quoting again from the Butler Shaffer article: “Nor can we ignore the history of the state in visiting upon humanity the very death and destruction that its defenders insist upon as a rationale for political power. Those who condemn anarchy should engage in some quantitative analysis. In the twentieth century alone, governments managed to kill – through wars, genocides, and other deadly practices – some 200,000,000 men, women, and children. How many people were killed by anarchists during this period? Governments, not anarchists, have been the deadly "bomb-throwers" of human history!”

Those who still fear anarchy should ask themselves the following four questions—and answer them:

    1: If the government magically disappeared overnight, would you immediately rush out to rob, rape, pillage, murder?

    2: Would you expect your family and friends to immediately rush out to rob, rape, pillage, murder?

    3: Would you want to be able to protect yourself and your family from those who would act that way?

    4: Don’t you have to be able to protect yourself and your family even now while waiting for the 911 calls to be answered?

As someone half mockingly asked, “Oh. So you mean anarchy is pretty much like what we have now, except we wouldn’t have to pay half of our income in taxes for it?”


*****

The dwarf sees further than the giant
when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE: "The Friend" ***


*****

Being an Objectivist morally and philosophically, I am understandably interested in Ayn Rand’s view of government. After defining the moral principles underlying a proper political system, she really had very little to say about the specific form it would take. She expressed some personal preferences (repeated below) but THERE IS NO FORMAL OBJECTIVIST POLITICS! Ms. Rand said in a magazine interview with journalist Garth Ancier[1]:
 
  • I do have a complete philosophical system, but the elaboration of a system is a job that no philosopher can finish in his lifetime. There is an awful lot of work yet to be done.

It is well known that Galt’s Gulch as described in Atlas Shrugged has become THE prime model for those seeking relief from our current culture of ever encroaching tyranny. In The Letters of Ayn Rand, The Later Years (1960-1981) page 626, May 2, 1964, commenting about Galt’s Gulch, Ayn Rand said:

  • "I must mention that Galt's Gulch is not an organized society, but a private club whose members share the same philosophy. It exemplifies the basic moral principles of social relationships among rational men, the principles on which a proper political system should be built.

    "It does not deal with questions of political organization, with the details of a legal framework needed to establish and maintain a free society open to all, including dissenters. It does not deal with specifically political principles, only with their moral base.
    (I indicate that the proper political framework is to be found in the Constitution, with its contradictions removed.)"


In 2003, after reading The Real Lincoln by Thomas DiLorenzo and with the goal in mind of addressing the questions involving a better political organization, I created  Judge Narragansett's New Constitution Project based on Ayn Rand’s description of the Judge’s activities in the closing pages of Atlas Shrugged. (The site is still active and open to anyone interested in pursuing Ayn Rand’s suggestion or reviewing how I arrived at my conclusions from that effort). After spending considerable time working the Project and then reading Lysander Spooner’s 1870 comment that “The Constitution has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it”, followed by Kenneth Royce’s Hologram of Liberty, I concluded that indeed, the Constitution is not broken, it is working as it was intended and that without nullification by secession (thanks to Abraham Lincoln), the Constitution is unenforceable.

It should be obvious to anyone who cares to look that the Constitution no longer limits U.S. Government actions (and never really HAS limited it). Therefore, the (alleged) legal source of the U.S. Government's authority is defunct, null, void, gone, and what we really have is an "archy" with a bunch of thugs and con-men running around impersonating Government rulers as officers and agents. The people in control of the U.S. Government have no legitimate authority (if indeed they ever did), they cannot be held accountable because they are the enforcers, and therefore the Constitution is unenforceable. I cannot see how a revised, "improved" Constitution can correct that situation.

If someone HAS suggestions for correcting the Constitution, they are invited to make the corrections at the appropriate place in the Judge Narragansett's New Constitution Project. Until and unless such corrections are attempted--as per Ayn Rand's suggestions, I cannot take seriously the assertion that the Constitution CAN be corrected. *I* have provided the tool. Use it to prove your assertions.

It became apparent to me that the best way to “remove the contradictions” in the Constitution is to follow Jefferson’s advise in the Declaration of Independence— "...whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these [protection of individual rights] ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it"—and to completely abandon (i.e. abolish) the Constitution, to begin again with the Declaration of Independence and to fulfill the promise of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” found therein by understanding and adopting, on a personal level, the Covenant of Unanimous Consent  (see http://tinyurl.com/Index-to-Covenant-Articles for a copy of the Covenant, supporting articles and discussions in one place).

Galt’s Oath and the libertarian Non Aggression Principle  (NAP/ZAP) are moral/ethical principles. The Covenant of Unanimous Consent  is a political statement of interpersonal relationships based on those moral principles. Unlike the U.S. Constitution--which was created by a committee of Lawyers to replace the (much better) Articles of Confederation, while both Jefferson and Adams were in Europe--the Covenant actually FULFILLS the promise of individual freedom in Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. The Covenant is simple, rational, personal, easy to understand and even short enough to memorize.

The Covenant also satisfies the objections noted by Lysander Spooner. Instead of being a document that describes how the government shall act, and a document YOU did not sign, the Covenant is a document that describes how YOU will act and is a document that YOU voluntarily sign, if you agree. Those who do not sign (the “dissenters” mentioned by Ayn Rand above) are not punished, they are simply and clearly warned what to expect if they violate the rights of Signatories.

The Covenant of Unanimous Consent is indeed the political foundation, the “legal framework needed to establish and maintain a free society open to all, including dissenters” as was suggested by Ayn Rand. Recently Hans-Hermann Hoppe addressed this same issue in his essay The Idea of a Private Law Society at http://www.mises.org/story/2265 and does an excellent job of showing how such a society could and would function. It is remarkably similar (without giving credit) to that described by L. Neil Smith in The Probability Broach.

(If you study these same items and reflect on the “no rulers” nature of Galt’s Gulch, you may come to a similar conclusion.)


*****

According to Bloomberg reports, Wyoming is the most “wealth-friendly” state in the Union--and has held that position of several years running! It is also home to the liberty minded Free State Wyoming group headed by writer Kenneth Royce aka Boston T. Party. Moving to a place like Wyoming  may be a means to reduce the number of authoritarian types in my immediate vicinity and to increase the number of liberty minded people in my immediate vicinity.  I seek to associate with other Sovereign Individuals who agree with and are Signatories to the Covenant of Unanimous Consent. Finding other Signatories has already enriched my life and made my life more free. I can establish—with my own effort—as much liberty for myself as is possible in my lifetime, given that I find myself in the midst of an increasingly totalitarian society that is destroying itself.

Furthermore, I need not openly confront that totalitarian society, I need only stand aside—like the heroes in Atlas Shrugged—and let it fall of its own corruption, as did the Soviet Union. Any aid I may give to advance that fall is entirely at my own discretion. Excellent advise regarding this can be found in Invisible Resistance to Tyranny: How to Lead a Secret Life of Insurgency in an Increasingly Unfree World, by Jefferson Mack.
A particularly good excerpt from his book can be found at http://tinyurl.com/Dont-Run-for-the-Hills [2] along with a related comment from The Claire Files.

I have observed that various “Free State” political efforts that ignore or deliberately reject the Covenant soon begin to suffer from a lack of cohesion and common political interest. “A little less government” or “Keeping your word” are vague, broad platitudes and are not sufficient for the creation of a freedom zone or a Galt’s Gulch, especially if one person’s idea of less government contradicts the libertarian Non-Aggression Principle while mine does not, or “keeping his word” means that he pledges to some variant of Statism and then violates my rights, just as he promised he would. (I cited some examples in a previous article, Ask the Right Question see http://tinyurl.com/Ask-Right-Question).

The five fundamental Precepts of the Covenant are very explicit and avoid the problem of vague, fuzzy and conflicting political principles. And for those who agree with the five Precepts, the Supersedure clause of the Covenant (which long predates the various Free State efforts) provides an incremental way to create and expand free zones—even where you currently live, even if only one room in your house or apartment. I have developed a “Notice of Supersedure” (see http://www.cafepress.com/artemiszuna/318652 ) the wording of which may be used (or modified) by any other Signatory without recompense, licensing or any other Statist permissions. Of course Supersedure alone won’t guarantee you complete freedom from the police state that surrounds us. But it, along with the assertive attitude change it engenders, is a start.

*****

* The final piece of persuasive knowledge about anarchy came to me from Scott Bieser ( www.ScottBieser.com ) when he posted the succinct identification and distinction that I used for the title:

        Anarchy doesn't mean no rules, it means NO RULERS.
        (Autarchy means SELF RULE. See revisions explanation below.)

Well, the Covenant contains “the rules” and as a Signatory to the Covenant, the conclusion about “anarchy” became a no-brainer for me. Given the correct and proper definition, based on the etymology of the word, as previously stated, and based on Objectivist ethics, my conclusion is:

        Selfishness is a moral virtue and “Anarchy”, Abolition, Agorism, and Autarchy are ALL indeed a moral political systems.


Dennis Lee Wilson
Objectivist & Sovereign Individual
Signatory: The Covenant of Unanimous Consent

*****


Revisions explanation:
http://tinyurl.com/Call-me-an-Autarchist, Please.

On 2016-March-12 I encountered an extremely rational and persuasive argument by Robert LeFerve from 1965 that has even more convincingly "converted" me to AUTARCHY.

Auto means self. Archy means rule. Autarchy *IS* self-rule. It means that each person rules himself, and no other. The autarchist not only rules himself but operates within a voluntary context respecting economic necessity--and personal relationships.

Anarchy means NO rulers whereas
Autarchy means SELF rule. It is a fine line but an important one.

Autarchy *IS* the proper foundation for the Covenant of Unanimous Consent. As it turns out, LeFevre and his "autarchy" were major influences on a young L. Neil Smith. Reading Smith's Covenant of Unanimous Consent is like reading a summary of LeFevre's articles on Autarchy. For a person who subscribes to "self-rule", if that person so chooses, the Covenant can be the unambiguous written rules by which that person chooses to conduct interpersonal relationships.

LeFevre's articles on Autarchy:

http://tinyurl.com/Autarchy-is-self-rule
http://tinyurl.com/Autarchy-vs-Anarchy
 


P.S. If someone claims to be a Signatory, I am willing to take that individual's word--until and unless that person proves not to be serious about the Covenant. Even a document as clearly written as the Covenant still has people who sign but do not understand or willfully ignore its Precepts. I have encountered one such "proud signer of the Covenant", who uses the pseudonym "NorthGunner", claims to live in Arizona, and has no reservations about using government force to prevent me from associating with people from Mexico.

As in all matters, the proof is in the person and his deeds, not just the act of signing.

In spite of such occasional disappointments, being a Signatory and announcing such in signature lines or by wearing a badge, has worked as a nice "filter" for meeting the kind of people I would like for my neighbors. That is why I pass out "badges" from my Cafe Press site at freedom events, such as the last Freedom Summit in Phoenix, Arizona.

I added this offer to the comments on Sunni’s site where I posted the original, shorter essay that resulted in at least one new Signatory. I extend the offer to anyone who is a Signatory to the Covenant of Unanimous Consent.

I have a (free) badge for any other Signatory who sends me an email with his/her postal address or P.O. Box. I fully appreciate that many do not want to reveal a physical address in an email, even a secured “PGP” email. I am reluctant to do so myself, which is why I have a P.O. Box. For those individuals, I intend to always have additional badges with me at freedom events, so keep a watch for people wearing badges and introduce yourself to anyone with a badge that says “Covenant of Unanimous Consent”.

DennisLeeWilson@Yahoo.com

** Added 2008-Dec-28: Call Me an Abolitionist, Please
Superseded 2016-Mar-24: Call Me an Autarchist, Please

*** Added 2011-May-18: Quote from Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834), English poet and philosopher
*** Added 2013-May-12: Apparently the attribution goes much further back than Coleridge...:

The earliest attribution of the phrase "standing on the shoulders of giants" is to Bernard of Chartres (Bernardus Carnotensis) (died after 1124) a twelfth-century French Neo-Platonist philosopher, scholar, and administrator.
(by John of Salisbury):

    Bernard of Chartres used to say that we [the Moderns] are like dwarves perched on the shoulders of giants [the Ancients], and thus we are able to see more and farther than the latter. And this is not at all because of the acuteness of our sight or the stature of our body, but because we are carried aloft and elevated by the magnitude of the giants


[1] Added 2011-Aug-03: Ayn Rand quote from
    Objectively Speaking: Ayn Rand Interviewed
    Edited by Marlene Podriske and Peter Schwartz, P. 239


[2] Added 2012-Apr-13: New tinyurl
http://tinyurl.com/Dont-Run-for-the-Hills
http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=20.msg72#msg72


Creative Commons

Attribution, Share Alike


** Going one step "beyond" abolitionist (because abolition IS--in reality--a negative position), I arrived at Agorism which is a positive position in that it describes interpersonal relationships and a manner of living that is compatible with the Covenant of Unanimous Consent.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agorism

** Added 2016-Mar-24: Call Me an Autarchist, Please

« Last Edit: 2016-May-29 06:17:19 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

Objectivist & Sovereign Individual
Creator of Atlas Shrugged Celebration Day & Artemis Zuna Trading Post
Signatory: Covenant of Unanimous Consent
DennisLeeWilson
Creator of this site
Administrator
Forum/Blog Owner
*****
Posts: 1302


Existence exists & Man's mind can know it.


WWW Email
« Reply #1 on: 2008-November-18 05:03:01 PM »

more on " A personal journey… "
http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=10.msg37#msg37    http://tinyurl.com/3cn7c54

http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2006/tle380-20060813-01.html#letter5

Letter to the editor


“Exclusive to TLE”


This is a composite of some of my answers to responses about my article [ http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2006/tle379-20060806-03.html ] in last week’s The Libertarian Enterprise.


Any concept, such as “anarchy”, that arouses such immediate ire in people, deserves to be more closely examined.


Self-rule or self-governance by an individual is technically political anarchy because there is no centralized authoritarian structure. I am definitely an advocate of self-rule, using the Covenant of Unanimous Consent as a public declaration of rules that I embrace as governing my actions. Perhaps I should resurrect “autarchy” as Jim Davidson mentioned in last week’s TLE: [ http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2006/tle379-20060806-01.html#letter1 ]


  • “For my own part, I do believe in a form of government. I refer to that form of government as self-government. It is the government of me, by me, for me. In its general case, self-government is, in my view, the government of the individual, by the individual, for his or her own benefit. Self-rule ought to be called autarchy or auto-archy, but that word has been usurped by the socialists to describe dictators.”


I do not see myself or define myself in terms of negatives, such as things that I am against. Rather, I define myself by positives, by what I am for, what I advocate. I place very little importance on being known as an anarchist or an atheist. Both “an-archist” and “a-theist” are--by definition--negative positions in their respective fields and I prefer to emphasize positives. Being against Statism does not automatically make a person in favor of freedom nor provide the knowledge needed to be free, nor the structure of a free society.


I am not so much an atheist as I am an advocate of reason, and I am not so much an anarchist as I am an advocate of the Covenant of Unanimous Consent. As it happens, being an advocate of reason and of the Covenant also fits within the definitions of atheist and anarchist, but not all atheists are rational or even pretend to be, and not all anarchists are Signatories to the Covenant of Unanimous Consent or even want to be.


Furthermore, being an atheist and an advocate of reason does not mean that I am immoral, amoral or without ethical standards. Religionists promote that package deal in an attempt to be the sole authority on morality, but morality is not a monopoly of religion. Ayn Rand defined a morality based on reason. She named it The Objectivist Ethics and it is the first chapter of her book Virtue of Selfishness.


Likewise, being an anarchist and an advocate of the Covenant of Unanimous Consent does not mean that I am apolitical or favor chaos, disorder, destruction, gang warfare, world wars, etc. Statists promote that package deal so that their subjects will continue to believe that they need--and are getting--“protection” in exchange for all the taxes that get extorted from them and the regulations that they must endure along with their loss of freedom. Although the cause of the events of September 11th may be in question, the NORAD stand down is NOT. That stand down by itself should have adequately demonstrated how much State protection to expect from billions of dollars worth of extorted tax money, and billions more that—for the last 100 years—the people in charge of the government of the U.S. have spent creating enemies by meddling in the politics of every country in the world. And that meddling continues to this day in blatant defiance of the express intentions and explicit warnings of the founding fathers.


I hear that the Covenant is idealistic, simplistic and unworkable. Yet at the time of America’s founding, the same was said of Jefferson’s Declaration and the entire American “experiment”. Nothing like it had ever been tried before, how could it possibly work? But the founders knew how the old ways worked and wanted something better. After two centuries, we can see how the old ways have corrupted Jefferson’s dream. What we have today is the tyrannical result of Lincoln’s usurpation of the Constitution. Pretending that the Constitution still “works” or can work after what Lincoln did, is just denying that the real world exists.


“If consent is to mean anything, it must mean the explicit voluntary consent of each and every person over whom government exercises control. Since no government can document that it rests on individual consent and since payment of taxes is not voluntary, no government can demonstrate that it has the consent of the governed (otherwise the imposition of physical force, and the threat of physical force, to collect taxes would not be necessary).”[1]


The Covenant solves the consent problem and looks like a very good way to attempt to fulfill the promise of individual freedom contained in Jefferson’s vision. If a better alternative is available I sincerely want to hear of it.


Some may say that Signing the Covenant is no guarantee, (which is true, of course, as I have already stated) and meaningless. But it is no WORSE than and not as meaningless as U.S. government employees swearing to obey the Constitution, which governs how THEY are supposed to do their job. Why is it that people actually believe the latter is somehow meaningful, but that the former is unworkable? Are government workers, who ignore the Constitution and are paid with extorted taxes, somehow holier than your own word—or mine?


I prefer to select my own “night watchman” from a group of private enterprises rather than have one imposed on me by an overbearing, monopoly State that contends that it is immune from liability for failure to perform and that its failure to perform is an excuse for imposing MORE taxes and MORE regulations on me and my activities and my freedom.


I resent being punished for acts of aggression that I did not commit. I am sure that there are whole countries full of people who feel the same way.



 

Dennis Lee Wilson

Objectivist & Sovereign Individual

Signatory: The Covenant of Unanimous Consent


DennisLeeWilson@Yahoo.com

[1] Carl Watner, “Oh, Ye Are For Anarchy!”: Consent Theory in the Radical Libertarian Tradition, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol VII, No. 1 (Winter 1986)  Two sources are: www.mises.org/journals/jls/8_1/8_1_9.pdf   and www.voluntaryist.com/journal/yeareready.php  

Added 2008-Dec-28: Call Me an Abolitionist, Please
Added 2016-Mar-24: Call Me an Autarchist, Please

Creative Commons

Attribution Share Alike
« Last Edit: 2016-May-26 10:57:04 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

Objectivist & Sovereign Individual
Creator of Atlas Shrugged Celebration Day & Artemis Zuna Trading Post
Signatory: Covenant of Unanimous Consent
DennisLeeWilson
Creator of this site
Administrator
Forum/Blog Owner
*****
Posts: 1302


Existence exists & Man's mind can know it.


WWW Email
« Reply #2 on: 2008-November-18 05:03:59 PM »

I recall reading this George Smith article long ago before I gave much thought to the nature of government and anarchism. A friend recently sent it to me. If I had reread it before I wrote my articles “…to institute new Government, laying its foundation…” and “A personal journey from Objectivist morality to political "anarchy" by way of L. Neil Smith's Covenant of Unanimous Consent!”, I would have quoted many things in George Smith's article. (Items in red are my emphasis).

Dennis Lee Wilson


Added 2008-Dec-28: Call Me an Abolitionist, Please
Added 2016-Mar-24: Call Me an Autarchist, Please


http://heim.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/po/rational-anarchism.html

IN DEFENSE OF RATIONAL ANARCHISM
Copyright George H. Smith (November 1997)

Anarchism is a theory of the good society, in which justice and social order are maintained without the State (or government). Many anarchists in the libertarian movement (including myself) were heavily influenced by the epistemological and moral theories of Ayn Rand. According to these anarchists, Rand's principles, if consistently applied, lead necessarily to a repudiation of government on moral grounds.

I call this rational anarchism, because it is grounded in the belief that we are fully capable, through reason, of discerning the principles of justice; and that we are capable, through rational persuasion and voluntary agreement, of establishing whatever institutions are necessary for the preservation and enforcement of justice. It is precisely because no government can be established by means of reason and mutual consent that all Objectivists should reject that institution as unjust in both theory and practice.

continued at the original link above or
http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=34.msg120#msg120
« Last Edit: 2016-March-25 12:30:59 AM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

Objectivist & Sovereign Individual
Creator of Atlas Shrugged Celebration Day & Artemis Zuna Trading Post
Signatory: Covenant of Unanimous Consent
DennisLeeWilson
Creator of this site
Administrator
Forum/Blog Owner
*****
Posts: 1302


Existence exists & Man's mind can know it.


WWW Email
« Reply #3 on: 2008-December-02 03:41:55 PM »

The Covenant applied to real life, resolution of a conflict without involving government.

[2006-08-13] An open letter to Dennis Lee Wilson from Michael T. Bradshaw (regarding "A personal journey...")
http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2006/tle380-20060813-01.html#letter1

[2006-08-20] My apology to Michael T. Bradshaw and his reply
http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2006/tle381-20060820-01.html#letter1

[2006-08-20] Another attribution correction of my article " A personal journey… "
http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2006/tle381-20060820-01.html#letter5
Logged

Objectivist & Sovereign Individual
Creator of Atlas Shrugged Celebration Day & Artemis Zuna Trading Post
Signatory: Covenant of Unanimous Consent
DennisLeeWilson
Creator of this site
Administrator
Forum/Blog Owner
*****
Posts: 1302


Existence exists & Man's mind can know it.


WWW Email
« Reply #4 on: 2009-May-22 12:01:46 PM »

Carrie Burdzinski REALLY cuts to the root of why--in spite of the obvious lack of government in the Galt's Gultch model--most Objectivists reject "anarchy".


"Because their definition of anarchy is based on nonessentials (inaccurate ones, at that), the Objectivists have no term to describe absence of a governmental ruler....Objectivists cognitively cannot conceive of rational, self-sovereign individuals who do not recognize the authority of government over individual lives.  The term to properly describe this idea has been eliminated from the Objectivist lexicon."  

Column by new Root Striker Carrie Burdzinski.
http://www.strike-the-root.com/91/burdzinski/burdzinski1.html

Excerpted from article copyrighted by Strike the Root at link above.
See Copyright Usage notice at https://tinyurl.com/Copyright-Usage
« Last Edit: 2013-October-25 11:43:10 AM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

Objectivist & Sovereign Individual
Creator of Atlas Shrugged Celebration Day & Artemis Zuna Trading Post
Signatory: Covenant of Unanimous Consent
DennisLeeWilson
Creator of this site
Administrator
Forum/Blog Owner
*****
Posts: 1302


Existence exists & Man's mind can know it.


WWW Email
« Reply #5 on: 2010-February-11 10:02:28 AM »

http://mises.org/daily/4094

Arguments Against Anarchy

Mises Daily: Tuesday, February 09, 2010 by Jarret B. Wollstein

[This article is excerpted from chapter 2 of Society Without Coercion: A New Concept of Social Organization (Society for Rational Individualism, 1969).Download PDF]



The belief that government is necessary to ensure social order is a pure superstition, based upon a psycho-epistemological process different in no important respect from the belief in goblins and witches....

At the outset, let it be made clear that government is nothing but men acting in concert. The morality and value of government, like any other association of men, will be no greater and no less than the morality and value of the men comprising it. Since government is nothing but men, its inherent authority to act is in no way greater or different than the authority to act of individuals in isolation.

If it is moral for government policemen to arrest suspect criminals, it is also moral for "private policemen" to do so. If it is moral for government to try and imprison men, then it is also moral for nongovernmental corporations to do so. Government has no magic powers or authority not possessed by private individuals. Let he who asserts that government may do that which the individual may not assume the onus of proof and demonstrate his contention.

The basic reason why a social order could, and would, arise in the absence of governments (as they are known today) is the fact that man has an objective need for social order and protection from initiatory force. This objective need would create human associations producing order in society. The morality and permanence of these associations will be determined by the morality and rationality of the men creating and working in them, as is the case for any social institution.


Perhaps the strongest attack on "anarchism" — certainly the most vitriolic — was made by Ayn Rand. In her article on "The Nature of Government," she states the following:

  •    A recent variant of anarchistic theory, which is befuddling some of the younger advocates of freedom, is a weird absurdity called "competing governments." Accepting the basic premise of the modern statists — who see no difference between the functions of government and the functions of industry, between force and production, and who advocate government ownership of business — the proponents of "competing governments" take the other side of the same coin and declare that since competition is so beneficial to business it should also be applied to government. Instead of a single, monopolistic government, they declare, there should be a number of governments in the same geographical area, competing for the allegiance of individual citizens, with every citizen free to "shop" and to patronize whatever government he chooses.

        Remember that forcible restraint of men is the only service a government has to offer. Ask yourself what a competition in forcible restraint would have to mean.

        One cannot call this theory a contradiction in terms, since it is obviously devoid of any understanding of the terms "competition" and "government." Nor can one call it a floating abstraction, since it is devoid of any contact with or reference to reality and cannot be concretized at all, not even roughly or approximately. One illustration will be sufficient: suppose Mr. Smith, a customer of Government A, suspects that his next-door neighbor, Mr. Jones, a customer of Government B, has robbed him; a squad of Police A proceeds to Mr. Jones' house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of Mr. Smith's complaint and do not recognize the authority of Government A. What happens then? You take it from there.

[Replacing "Government A" with "Allstate Insurance Co" and "Government B" with "Farmers Insurance" makes the use of squads of police seem absurd. Most disputes between neighbors ALREADY involve different insurance agencies who settle property issues and auto and personal damages without resorting to squads of police...dlw]


Once one gets past Miss Rand's typically vitriolic rhetoric (which only indicates that Miss Rand is quite hostile to what she mislabels as "competing governments") one finds that she has essentially one argument. Miss Rand asserts that what is properly designated as "competing agencies of retaliatory force" or a free market of justice would not work, because the competing agencies would end up protecting criminals and shooting it out with each other. One can only term this a straw man argument.

The situation which Miss Rand "describes" is patently absurd. If competing agencies of retaliatory force protected criminals, they would not be competing agencies of retaliatory force at all. Rather, they would be criminal gangs, plain and simple.

Further, it would be sheer insanity for individuals "subscribing" to competing criminal gangs to live on the same "turf." In this respect, Miss Rand is correct. However, what I and every other advocate of a society without coercion are advocating are not "competing governments" (a misnomer) or "competing criminal gangs" (an ethical monstrosity), but "competing agencies of retaliatory force," which Miss Rand has in fact not dealt with at all.

In the situation described above, in which neighbors subscribed to competing police departments, what is certain (if they were in fact police departments operating on the basis of objective law, rather than criminal gangs operating on the basis of mob rule — which is what Miss Rand described) is that Police B would accept the validity of Police A, or in fact the validity of any reputable police department, and cooperate with them in the arrest of Mr. Jones. Police B certainly would not protect Mr. Jones from justice if there was objective evidence that Mr. Jones had committed a crime, nor would Police A proceed to attempt to arrest Mr. Jones unless there were such evidence. In this manner, objective law would eliminate coercive "shootouts."

Once competing police departments begin to function, standard operating procedures would be created to deal with such cases. At least two possible procedures come to mind: either by stipulation, the police department to which a man subscribed would be the only one which could incarcerate him; or, by stipulation, the police department where the complaint was filed would incarcerate him.

In the extreme, there would be little motivation for policemen to put their lives on the line for a suspected thief, and if competing police departments operated as Miss Rand falsely pictures, then they would quickly go out of business due to the attrition rate of policemen killed in the "line of duty."

This is only one of the flaws of Miss Rand's argument. Other problems include her failure to explain exactly how government can morally outlaw competing agencies of retaliatory force, or what it is that prevents the state police from shooting it out with the county police in similar situations. Clearly, both Miss Rand's premises and logic are in error in this case.

Jarret B. Wollstein works as an independent writer and direct-mail marketing specialist. He is a founder and director of the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL), an international human-rights and free-market networking organization with members in over eighty countries. He is the author of hundreds of articles and four books, including Society Without Coercion (1969).Download PDF See Jarret B. Wollstein's article archives.

This article is excerpted from chapter 2 of Society Without Coercion: A New Concept of Social Organization (Society for Rational Individualism, 1969).Download PDF
« Last Edit: 2013-August-19 04:14:54 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

Objectivist & Sovereign Individual
Creator of Atlas Shrugged Celebration Day & Artemis Zuna Trading Post
Signatory: Covenant of Unanimous Consent
DennisLeeWilson
Creator of this site
Administrator
Forum/Blog Owner
*****
Posts: 1302


Existence exists & Man's mind can know it.


WWW Email
« Reply #6 on: 2016-May-23 09:11:20 PM »

What Is Anarchy? by Butler Shaffer
Links to this page:
http://tinyurl.com/What-Is-Anarchy
http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=10.msg1933#msg1933

https://www.lewrockwell.com/1970/01/butler-shaffer/lx-what-is-anarchy/

What Is Anarchy?
by Butler Shafferr



I have mixed feelings about the use of labels to describe philosophical views, whether of myself or others. It is difficult to avoid doing so because our efforts to understand and communicate about the world necessarily involve the use of words and words are, as Alfred Korzybski warned us, abstractions that never equate with what they are meant to describe. His oft-quoted statement that "the map is not the territory" offers a caveat whose implications for confusion are further compounded when addressing such abstract topics as political philosophy.

One philosophical abstraction that seems to befuddle most people is "anarchy." To those challenged by complexity — such as radio talk show hosts and cable-TV "newscasters" who are convinced that all political opinions can be confined to the categories of "liberal" and "conservative" — the word anarchy evokes an unfocused fear of uncertain forces. Images of bomb-throwing thugs who smash and burn the property of others are routinely conjured up by politicians and the media to frighten people into an extension of police authority over their lives. "Disorder" and "lawless confusion" are common dictionary definitions of this word.

That there have been some, calling themselves "anarchists," who have engaged in violence on behalf of their political ambitions, is not to be denied. Nor can we overlook the provocateuring occasionally engaged in by undercover policemen — operating under the guise of "anarchists" — to justify harsh reprisals against political protests. But to condemn a philosophic viewpoint because a few wish to corrupt its meaning for their narrow advantage is no more justifiable than condemning Christianity because a man murders his family and defends his acts on the grounds "God told me to do it!"

As long as a president continues to rationalize war against the Iraqi people as "operation freedom"; as long as the Strategic Air Command insists that "peace is our profession"; and as long as police departments advertise that they are there "to serve and protect," intelligent minds must be prepared to look behind the superficiality and imagery of words to discover their deeper meaning. Such is the case with the word "anarchy."

The late Robert LeFevre made one such effort to transcend the popular meaning of the word when he declared that "an anarchist is anyone who believes in less government than you do." But an even better understanding of the concept can be derived from the Greek origins of the word (anarkhos) which meant "without a ruler." It is this definition of the word that members of the political power structure (i.e., your "rulers") do not want you to consider. Far better that you fear the hidden monsters and hobgoblins who are just waiting to bring terror and havoc to your lives should efforts to increase police powers or budgets fail.

Are there murderers, kidnappers, rapists, and arsonists in our world? Of course there are, and there will always be, and they do not all work for the state. It is amazing that, with all the powers and money conferred upon the state to "protect" us from such threats, they continue to occur with a regularity that seems to have increased with the size of government! Even the current "mad cow disease" scare is being used, by the statists, as a reason for more government regulation, an effort that conveniently ignores the fact that the federal government has been closely regulating meat production for many decades.

Nor can we ignore the history of the state in visiting upon humanity the very death and destruction that its defenders insist upon as a rationale for political power. Those who condemn anarchy should engage in some quantitative analysis. In the twentieth century alone, governments managed to kill — through wars, genocides, and other deadly practices — some 200,000,000 men, women, and children. How many people were killed by anarchists during this period? Governments, not anarchists, have been the deadly "bomb-throwers" of human history!

Because of the disingenuous manner in which this word has been employed, I endeavor to be as precise in my use of the term as possible. I employ the word "anarchy" not as a noun, but as a verb. I envision no utopian community, no "Galt's Gulch" to which free men and women can repair. I prefer to think of anarchy as a way in which people deal with one another in a peaceful, cooperative manner; respectful of the inviolability of each other's lives and property interests; resorting to contract and voluntary transactions rather than coercion and expropriation as a way of functioning in society.

I am often asked if anarchy has ever existed in our world, to which I answer: almost all of your daily behavior is an anarchistic expression. How you deal with your neighbors, coworkers, fellow customers in shopping malls or grocery stores, is often determined by subtle processes of negotiation and cooperation. Social pressures, unrelated to statutory enactments, influence our behavior on crowded freeways or grocery checkout lines. If we dealt with our colleagues at work in the same coercive and threatening manner by which the state insists on dealing with us, our employment would be immediately terminated. We would soon be without friends were we to demand that they adhere to specific behavioral standards that we had mandated for their lives.

Should you come over to our home for a visit, you will not be taxed, searched, required to show a passport or driver's license, fined, jailed, threatened, handcuffed, or prohibited from leaving. I suspect that your relationships with your friends are conducted on the same basis of mutual respect. In short, virtually all of our dealings with friends and strangers alike are grounded in practices that are peaceful, voluntary, and devoid of coercion.

A very interesting study of the orderly nature of anarchy is found in John Phillip Reid's book, Law for the Elephant. Reid studied numerous diaries and letters written by persons crossing the overland trail in wagon trains going from St. Joseph, Missouri to Oregon and California. The institutions we have been conditioned to equate with "law and order" (e.g., police, prisons, judges, etc.) were absent along the frontier, and Reid was interested in discovering how people behaved toward one another in such circumstances. He discovered that most people respected property and contract rights, and settled whatever differences they had in a peaceful manner, all of this in spite of the fact that there were no "authorities" to call in to enforce a decision. Such traits went so far as to include respect for the property claims of Indians. The values and integrities that individuals brought with them were sufficient to keep the wagon trains as peaceful communities.

Having spent many years driving on California freeways, I have observed an informal order amongst motorists who are complete strangers to one another. There is a general — albeit not universal — courtesy exhibited when one driver wishes to make a lane change and, in spite of noncooperative drivers, a spontaneous order arises from this interplay. A major reason for the cooperative order lies in the fact that a driving mistake can result in serious injury or death, and that such consequences will be felt at once, and by the actor, unlike political decision-making that shifts the costs to others.

One may answer that freeway driving is regulated by the state, and that driving habits are not indicative of anarchistic behavior. The same response can be made concerning our behavior generally (i.e., that government laws dictate our conduct in all settings). But this misconceives the causal connections at work. The supervision of our moment-to-moment activities by the state is too remote to affect our actions. We are polite to fellow shoppers or our neighbor for reasons that have nothing to do with legal prescripts. What makes our dealings with others peaceful and respectful comes from within ourselves, not from beyond. For precisely the same reason, a society can be utterly destroyed by the corruption of such subjective influences, and no blizzard of legislative enactments or quadrupling of police forces will be able to avert the entropic outcome. Do you now understand the social meaning of the "Humpty-Dumpty" nursery rhyme?

The study of complexity, or chaos, informs us of patterns of regularity that lie hidden in our world, but which spontaneously manifest themselves to generate the order that we like to pretend authorities have created for us. There is much to discover about the interplay of unseen forces that work, without conscious direction, to make our lives more productive and peaceful than even the best-intended autocrat can accomplish. As the disruptive histories of state planning and regulation reveal, efforts to impose order by fiat often produce disorder, a phenomenon whose explanation is to be found in the dynamical nature of complexity. In the words of Terry Pratchett: "Chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought. Chaos always defeats order because it is better organized."

"Anarchy" is an expression of social behavior that reflects the individualized nature of life. Only as living beings are free to pursue their particular interests in the unique circumstances in which they find themselves, can conditions for the well-being of all be attained. Anarchy presumes decentralized and cooperative systems that serve the mutual interests of the individuals comprising them, without the systems ever becoming their own reasons for being. It is this thinking, and the practices that result therefrom, that is alone responsible for whatever peace and order exists in society.

Political thinking, by contrast, presumes the supremacy of the systems (i.e., the state) and reduces individuals to the status of resources for the accomplishment of their ends. Such systems are grounded in the mass-minded conditioning and behavior that has produced the deadly wars, economic dislocations, genocides, and police-state oppressions that comprise the essence of political history.

Men and women need nothing so much right now as to rediscover and re-energize their own souls. They will never be able to accomplish such purposes in the dehumanizing and dispirited state systems that insist upon controlling their lives and property. In the sentiments underlying anarchistic thinking, men and women may be able to find the individualized sense of being and self-direction that they long ago abandoned in marbled halls and citadels.


Butler Shaffer [send him e-mail] is Professor Emeritus at Southwestern University School of Law. He is the author of the newly-released In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918–1938, Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival, and Boundaries of Order. His latest book is The Wizards of Ozymandias.


« Last Edit: 2016-May-24 03:57:12 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

Objectivist & Sovereign Individual
Creator of Atlas Shrugged Celebration Day & Artemis Zuna Trading Post
Signatory: Covenant of Unanimous Consent
DennisLeeWilson
Creator of this site
Administrator
Forum/Blog Owner
*****
Posts: 1302


Existence exists & Man's mind can know it.


WWW Email
« Reply #7 on: 2016-May-24 03:58:23 PM »

Anarchy in the Streets by Butler Shaffer


Anarchy in the Streets
by Butler Shaffer
   

Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.

~ Henry Adams


How often do discussions on the prospects of a stateless society produce the response that, without government, there would be "anarchy in the streets"? To many people, the streets are symbolic of society, and with good reason: they are the most visible networks through which we interact with one another. They are much like the major arteries (we even use that word to describe streets), veins, and capillaries that transport blood throughout our bodies. Each can be thought of as the carrier of both food and waste to and from individual cells.

The thought that city streets — upon which we depend for daily functioning — could ever become disorderly, leads most people to accept a governmental policing function of such avenues without much question. We imagine that without speed limits, traffic lights at busy intersections, and all of the varied warnings plastered on tens of thousands of signs that encumber streets in our cities, driving would become a turbulent and destructive undertaking.

For a number of years now, a number of cities in Europe have been experimenting with the removal of all traffic signs — including traffic lights, stop signs, speed limit directives — and with surprising results. Various towns in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, New Zealand — even the UK! — have joined in the experiment. Contrary to the expectations of those who might expect multi-car pileups throughout the cities, traffic accidents have been dramatically reduced (in one town, dropping from about eight per year to fewer than two). Part of the reason for the increased safety relates to the fact that, without the worry of offending traffic sign mandates, or watching for police speed-traps, or checking the rear-view mirror for police motorcycles, drivers have more time to pay attention to other cars and pedestrians.

The architect of this experiment, the late Hans Monderman, attributed its success to the fact that "it is dangerous, which is exactly what we want." "Unsafe is safe" was the title of a conference held on this practice. Monderman added that this effort "shifts the emphasis away from the Government taking the risk, to the driver being responsible for his or her own risk." Equally significant, drivers now focus more of their attention on other motorists — taking visual cues from one another, informally negotiating for space, turning into an intersection, etc. — instead of mechanistically responding to signs and electronic machines. Monderman stated: "When you don't know exactly who has right of way, you tend to seek eye contact with other road users. You automatically reduce your speed, you have contact with other people and you take greater care." He added: "The many rules strip us of the most important thing: the ability to be considerate. We're losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior." In words so applicable to the rest of our politically-structured lives, he declared: "The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people's sense of personal responsibility dwindles." Monderman expressed the matter more succinctly in saying: "When you treat people like idiots, they'll behave like idiots."

Formal rules divide us from one another; the more rules that are imposed upon our conduct, the greater the distances among us. Of course, this is the logic upon which the state always acts: to insinuate itself into our relationships with others, substituting its coercively-enforced edicts for our interpersonal bargaining. We become conditioned to look upon strangers as threats, and to regard political intervention as our only means of looking after our own interests.

One sees this mindset of social impotence expressed throughout our lives. I am fond of asking my students why they do not negotiate with retailers for groceries, clothing, and other consumer items. They look at me as though I had suggested they attend movies in the nude. "You can't do that," they instinctively respond. I then offer examples of persons I have known who make a habit of such bargaining, managing to save themselves hundreds or more dollars each year. Incredulity still prevails. On one occasion, a student raised his hand to inform the class that he had been an assistant manager of a major retail store in Los Angeles, adding "we did this all the time."

How easily we give up on our own social skills, and at what costs. These experiments with traffic-sign abandonment remind us how much we rely upon informal methods of negotiating with other drivers, and the socially-harmonious benefits of our doing so. My own freeway driving experiences provide an example: if another driver signals to move into my lane, or I signal to move into his, more than a simple lane-change takes place. From that point on, there is nothing this other motorist can do — short of intentionally crashing into my car — that will cause me to feel anger toward him. He's "my guy," and I will feel a sense of neighborliness to him that will generate feelings of protectiveness toward him. "Neighborliness" is a good word to use here: how many of us could honk our horn or make angry hand-gestures at another driver we recognized to be someone that we know?

This is one of the unintended consequences of taking the state out of the business of directing our traffic: we regain our sense of society with others; strangers lose their abstractness, and become more like neighbors to us. If you doubt the pragmatic and social benefits of these experiments, try recalling those occasions in which a traffic light goes out at a major intersection. Motorists immediately — and without any external direction — begin a "round-robin" system of taking turns proceeding through the intersection. One of my seminar students related her experience in this connection. She was parked at the curb, waiting to pick up her mother. She noted that traffic was flowing quite smoothly, and without any significant delays. Then a police officer showed up to direct the traffic, with gridlock quickly ensuing.

A number of years ago, someone wrote an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles newspaper, reporting on a major Beverly Hills intersection where some six lanes of traffic converge. There were no traffic lights governing the situation, with motorists relying on the informal methods of negotiating with one another. The writer — who lives in the area — commented upon the resulting orderliness, going so far as to check police records to confirm just how free of accidents this intersection was.

How counter-intuitive so much of this is to those who have become conditioned to think that the state is the creator of order in our lives. In much the same way that people are discovering how widespread gun ownership reduces violent crime in society, putting power back into the hands of individuals is the most effective way of fostering both the responsible and harmonious relationships we have so childishly expected to arise from our dependence upon, and obedience to, external authorities.

What if the idea of living without coercively imposed rules was to spread from the streets into all phases of our lives? What if we abandoned our habits of looking to others to civilize us and bring us to order, and understood that obedience to others makes us irresponsible? As government people-pushers continue their efforts to micro-manage the details of our lives — what foods and drugs we may ingest; how we are to raise and educate our children; the kinds of cars we may drive and light bulbs we may use; the health-care we are to receive; our optimal weight levels; how we are to provide for our retirement; ad nauseam — might we summon the courage to end our neurotic fixations on "security?"

Might the quality of our lives be greatly enhanced by the transformation in thinking implicit in these traffic experiments? Might they offer flashes of insight into how the individual liberty to assess our own risks and freely act upon the choices we make provide the necessary basis for a life that is both materially and spiritually meaningful? As our institutionalized subservience and dependency continues to destroy us, can we learn that what we and our neighbors have in common is our need to negotiate with and to support one another as autonomous and changing people in a changing and uncertain world?

(Those interested in reading more about this experiment, can google "european cities remove traffic signs," and find links to many articles on the subject.)

April 7, 2010


Butler Shaffer [send him e-mail] is Professor Emeritus at Southwestern University School of Law. He is the author of the newly-released In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918–1938, Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival, and Boundaries of Order. His latest book is The Wizards of Ozymandias.



Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

« Last Edit: 2016-May-24 05:09:22 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

Objectivist & Sovereign Individual
Creator of Atlas Shrugged Celebration Day & Artemis Zuna Trading Post
Signatory: Covenant of Unanimous Consent
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!