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Hitler: Democratic Dictator


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Review your William L. Shirer. His popular mandate made his the most powerful party in the Reichstag, based upon the Weimar proportional-representation electoral system. Hitler then performed some wrangling with von Papen and Hindenburg to form a government, but everything he did to attain power was perfectly legal according to the Weimar Constitution. Certainly it was a lot more legal than Paul Martin's jiggery-pokery over the last month or so.
Hitler got a plurality in the Reichstag and then got Hindenburg to name him Chancellor. The key "democratic step" was to arrest Communist Reichstag deputies or buy them. And then, pass the Enabling legislation to make Hitler a dictator.

Lesson? If a politician starts to harrass/bribe ordinary opposition politicians, then I wonder. (Think Grewal with the visa deposit story - or Stronach and the limo.)

Paul Martin, like most politicians, is an obsessed power control freak, sophisticated in his ability to appear as an ordinary guy, sort of attractive to women. Canada fortunately is in no danger of becoming a dictatorship. Our fundamental protection is provincial governments - Harper called them "firewalls" but they defend our liberty.

Hitler was both elected an then appointed as Chancellor. He was elected as leader of a party that was far from being representative of the majority of Gremans.

He used his office to begin the establishment of a totalitarian government that never was supported by a majority in a free elction.

His government came about through terror not democracy.

eureka, I kind of agree with you. Hitler was an aberration of democracy. Civilized society should ensure such dictators cannot take power.
My understanding is that he was appointed.
Cartman, I think you're right. Hindenburg appointed Hitler Chancellor (as CBC Adrienne appointed PM PM). Hitler got a plurality of votes in a so-called democratic election. It was a minority government which became a majority government by arrests of parliamentary deputies.
Hitler was always careful to keep his government legitimate according to Weimar law, hence his rubber-stamp democratic procedures and holding of sham elections.
Hugo, if Weimar law includes arresting Reichstag deputies, then you are right.

The US Articles of Confederation and then the US Constitution were written expressly to prevent a tyrant taking power. The British common law is perhaps better protection. But then, when Lenin and Napoleon took power, did previously written words matter? What words could have prevented Hitler? Or Caligula? What written words can defend a child against a frustrated mother?

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Paul Martin, like most politicians, is an obsessed power control freak, sophisticated in his ability to appear as an ordinary guy, sort of attractive to women.

August, thanks for acknowledging that being obsessed with power is failing common to many politicians. I feel our system is set up to encourage those kinds of people to become involved but that is another thread....

Canada fortunately is in no danger of becoming a dictatorship.  Our fundamental protection is provincial governments - Harper called them "firewalls" but they defend our liberty.

Our fundemental protection is not the provincial gov'ts. It is the constitution, the queen (via the GG) and ultimately the people. Hilter was able to seize power because the people let him do it.

The US Articles of Confederation and then the US Constitution were written expressly to prevent a tyrant taking power.  The British common law is perhaps better protection.

What is frightening is Bush is working hard to create the environment of fear that existed in 30s Germany. He is using the war on terror to gradually take away the rights of US citizens. He is able to do this because people will sacrifice freedom for security. I don't know were it will end up or why Bush is doing it. I suspect the neo-cons that are setting policy are obsessed with keeping power so creating an environment of fear helps maintain that power.

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eureka, I kind of agree with you. Hitler was an aberration of democracy. Civilized society should ensure such dictators cannot take power.

The means for Hitler to take power were already present long before he even entered politics. The powerful, centralized State and a culture of statism makes the wielding of such power all too easy. You will find that most dictators and tyrants take the reigns of a nation that has a history of such powerful, centralized government: Lenin and Stalin, Mao, Hirohito and the Japanese military, etc. In regions where government was weak or absent, conquest and tyranny were far more difficult. It took the British centuries to bring anarchist Ireland under their heel, and really, one can make the case that they still haven't to this day.

Hugo, if Weimar law includes arresting Reichstag deputies, then you are right.

The problem is that the kind of discrepancies and violations that turned up in Hitler's case have been alleged and have actually occurred in pretty much every democratic nation - vote fixing, vote buying, intimidation and threats (even murders), spying, sabotage, packing the judiciary and other houses, and so forth. There's nothing really remarkable about anything Hitler did, the main difference between Nazi Germany and Western democracies being one of degree and not of principle.

If, as Eureka claims, Nazi Germany was no democracy or was not formed democratically, then there are no democracies and never were.

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In regions where government was weak or absent, conquest and tyranny were far more difficult. It took the British centuries to bring anarchist Ireland under their heel, and really, one can make the case that they still haven't to this day.

Turn that argument around bit. When the Europeans colonized the world there discovered two types of cultures:

1) De-centralized Cultures (Africa, NA Natives, Aboriginals)

2) Structured Cultures (India, China, Japan)

It was much easier for the Europeans to take over the structured cultures by simply replacing the people at the top of the pyramid. This re-enforces the point you were making.

However, the structured cultures were able to throw off colonialism and take/start to take their place in world society. The de-centrilzed tribal cultures which were not wiped out by disease are basket cases with little or no chance of meeting the basic needs of the people belong to these cultures in the foreseeable future.

Therefore, I argue that even if gov't structure does have some inherent weaknesse, it is utimately the better way to look after the needs of most people in the society.

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However, the structured cultures were able to throw off colonialism and take/start to take their place in world society. The de-centrilzed tribal cultures which were not wiped out by disease are basket cases with little or no chance of meeting the basic needs of the people belong to these cultures in the foreseeable future.

Well, this is a half-truth. The structured cultures may have "taken their place" but the suffering endured by the Russian or Chinese people was far more massive and terrible than that endured by Africans.

It's also the case that, in the course of abandoning colonialism, the colonial powers visited all their worst faults upon the decentralized cultures, and left them with borders, governments and so forth. The struggles in Africa have generally been about seizing the reigns of government created by colonial nations.

Therefore, I argue that even if gov't structure does have some inherent weaknesse, it is utimately the better way to look after the needs of most people in the society.

This is an argument for Communism. The USSR, North Korea and Cuba prove that Communism is not a good way to look after the needs of most people at all.

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Therefore, I argue that even if gov't structure does have some inherent weakness, it is ultimately the better way to look after the needs of most people in the society.

This is an argument for Communism. The USSR, North Korea and Cuba prove that Communism is not a good way to look after the needs of most people at all.

That is taking the argument to extremes - most stable systems create a balance between opposites. Government structures need to be tempered with some degree of individual liberty and choice.

Governments create the framework that allows individuals within a society to trust each other even if they do not know each other personally. They do that by setting rules and standards which everyone is expected to follow and punishing those that fail to meet those standards.

That said, the framework could be provided by something other than government such as religion, however, in our modern multi-cultural society, government is the only institution that can provide this role.

Societies fall apart if there is no longer a basis for mutual trust between strangers. That is what is going on in Africa. Nobody trusts anybody else to act fairly so the powerful use violence and fear to look after their own interests first.

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Dear August1991,

Hitler got a plurality in the Reichstag and then got Hindenburg to name him Chancellor. The key "democratic step" was to arrest Communist Reichstag deputies or buy them. And then, pass the Enabling legislation to make Hitler a dictator.
Not entirely accurate, I'm afraid. In 1932, Hitler was soundly beaten by Hindenburg for president., but the Nazis had won 230 seats, making them the largest party in Germany. Hindenburg offered Hitler the vice-chancellorship under Franz Von Papen, but Hitler refused, as he wanted the Chancellorship or nothing. Then in a second Riechstag election, the Nazis suffered a set back, winning only 196 seats. Thinking that the Nazi influence was ebbing, and also thinking that this made them less dangerous, Hindenburg again approached Hitler and offered the Chancellorship. Hitler wanted extra sweeping powers with it, so again, no deal was struck. In Jan. 1933, Hitler was again offered the chancellorship, and this time he grabbed it.

After having convinced Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag and call fresh elections, Hitler (and Goering, Minister of the interior for Prussia) did resort to violence and propaganda (though, so did the communists) and came out with a clear majority. Hitler banned the Communist party, but did not do so until after the elections, in order to split the left-wing vote.

When Hindenburg died in 1934, Hitler announced that there would be no election for a replacement, and that he would unite the offices of President and Chancellor. In a referendum over Hitler's new status, 38 million voted for, and just 4 million against, having a dictator run the country.

Source of info...Paraphrased from "The Reader's Digest Guide to World War II" (1989)

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Government structures need to be tempered with some degree of individual liberty and choice.

Government structures are the opposite of individual liberty and choice. This is like saying that living must be tempered with some murders.

Governments create the framework that allows individuals within a society to trust each other even if they do not know each other personally.

Is this a government, then? How about this? What about this? This?

Your claim is nonsense.

That said, the framework could be provided by something other than government such as religion, however, in our modern multi-cultural society, government is the only institution that can provide this role.

The examples above, and other examples of market-based fair-trading practices and internet dispute resolution prove this point wrong as well.

Societies fall apart if there is no longer a basis for mutual trust between strangers. That is what is going on in Africa.

It isn't caused by lack of trust. Tribal bonds are still very powerful there and Africans generally have a greater sense of kinship and loyalty than Westerners do. This is why democracy fails there: people vote along tribal lines and the biggest tribe forms the government, every time. The problem is, as I have said, that governments there wield massive power and accumulate great wealth for their heads of state, and this power and opulence is too much to resist for many, who spend their time attempting to wrest this power from the existing government.

For example, in Nigeria the problem was not lack of trust - members of the Hutu and Tutsi tribes in Rwanda were generally united amongst themselves, but also tragically united against each other, which led to the mass slaughter of minority Tutsis by Hutu. Government did not prevent this, it perpetrated it. The power of government exacerbates problems such as you describe.

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Government structures need to be tempered with some degree of individual liberty and choice.
Government structures are the opposite of individual liberty and choice. This is like saying that living must be tempered with some murders.

You like to push things to the absurd extreme. Each individual must give up some liberty and choice in order to live in a society with others. The only question what framework is used to decide what the rules are and how they will be enforced.

Governments create the framework that allows individuals within a society to trust each other even if they do not know each other personally.
Is this a government, then? How about this? What about this? This?

All the examples you give represent quasi-government organizations where the individuals partipating in the system give up their personal freedom. In each case, the quasi-government agencies (ebay, the law merchant, the ieee) set the rules and have the power to punish people who fail to follow them.

The examples above, and other examples of market-based fair-trading practices and internet dispute resolution prove this point wrong as well.

The internet rife with fraud and scams. The only thing that make the internet a useful commerical tool is that the majority of the transactions take place in juristictions where there are enforceable rules.

I will put it another way. I don't want to depend on market forces to put a meat packer out of business who sells diseased beef because that usually means many people have to die in order to demonstrate that a specific supplier has problems. I want to see a system where the government regulates and inspects meat packers and puts them out of business before people die.

The problem is, as I have said, that governments there wield massive power and accumulate great wealth for their heads of state, and this power and opulence is too much to resist for many, who spend their time attempting to wrest this power from the existing government.

The problem is they have no concept of a civil society. Corruption exists at all levels of government and the police largely because the people working in these jobs have no belief in the system and act only out their self interest. Western countries don't have a serious problem with corruption in the civil service and police largely because the people working their believe in the system and believe that people who break the rules will be punished.

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You like to push things to the absurd extreme. Each individual must give up some liberty and choice in order to live in a society with others.

Why must they?

All the examples you give represent quasi-government organizations where the individuals partipating in the system give up their personal freedom.

The 'freedom' to defraud is not a freedom because it encroaches on the freedom of others, it is a rights-violation.

I would also like you to demonstrate to me how these organizations are "quasi-governmental". If you start telling me that they are like governments, then like Sweal and August, you are going to get caught defining everything and everyone as a government: an impossibly broad and useless definition.

I don't want to depend on market forces to put a meat packer out of business who sells diseased beef because that usually means many people have to die in order to demonstrate that a specific supplier has problems.

Yeah, because nobody ever died where there were government regulations. :rolleyes:

Like I said to August, don't assume that government fixes all problems. It's demonstrable that government is very bad at fixing problems and most of the problems it addresses aren't actually problems at all, or are problems made by earlier government 'fixing'.

The problem is they have no concept of a civil society. Corruption exists at all levels of government and the police largely because the people working in these jobs have no belief in the system and act only out their self interest. Western countries don't have a serious problem with corruption in the civil service and police largely because the people working their believe in the system and believe that people who break the rules will be punished.

So, you admit that abuse of governmental power is the problem. Good.

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You like to push things to the absurd extreme. Each individual must give up some liberty and choice in order to live in a society with others.
Why must they?.

You said it yourself. No one has the freedom to encroach upon the freedom of others, however, who decides what is 'encroachment'?

The 'freedom' to defraud is not a freedom because it encroaches on the freedom of others, it is a rights-violation.
One person's fraud is a another person's caveat emptor.
I would also like you to demonstrate to me how these organizations are "quasi-governmental". If you start telling me that they are like governments, then like Sweal and August, you are going to get caught defining everything and everyone as a government: an impossibly broad and useless definition.

What I am taking about are social structures with well defined rules that all people who choose to be part of these structures must follow or be punished/exiled. Perhaps the biggest difference between a 'government' and these organizations is the fact that participation in a government structure is mandatory where these organizations are purely voluntary. Other than that I would say governments and these organizations are the same.

I don't want to depend on market forces to put a meat packer out of business who sells diseased beef because that usually means many people have to die in order to demonstrate that a specific supplier has problems.
Yeah, because nobody ever died where there were government regulations. :rolleyes:

Just because government is not perfect does not mean it is useless. As I said before the best situation is a combination of the market based self-correcting mechanisms that you advocate and government regulation.

So, you admit that abuse of governmental power is the problem. Good.

I don't believe that gov't has all of the answers, however, I have less faith in the 'invisible hand' of the marketplace.

For example, you said people should be allowed to move anywhere they want which would have the effect of making life better for some people but worse for others. Allowing unrestricted immigration into Canada would create massive slums in our cities and have huge negative environmental and social consequences.

You could make an altruistic argument that Canadians should sacrifice their standard of living in the name of giving freedom to others, however, I don't know many people who would be willing to do that. So we need the gov't to guard the borders.

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You said it yourself. No one has the freedom to encroach upon the freedom of others, however, who decides what is 'encroachment'?

It doesn't need to be decided. When you initiate force or fraud against another person or his property, that's an encroachment of rights. This definition is not arbitrary and is logically defensible. Quite a few people here have tried to shoot it down but nobody has come up with a decent argument against it.

Even assuming you're right, that does not justify or necessitate the existence of government since there is absolutely no reason why a governmental decree of what constitutes 'encroachment' is any more or less accurate than any alternative.

One person's fraud is a another person's caveat emptor.

This is untrue. A deliberate lie is fraud. Anything else is caveat emptor.

What I am taking about are social structures with well defined rules that all people who choose to be part of these structures must follow or be punished/exiled. Perhaps the biggest difference between a 'government' and these organizations is the fact that participation in a government structure is mandatory where these organizations are purely voluntary. Other than that I would say governments and these organizations are the same.

I would say that the most essential thing about government is its coercive, monopolistic, mandatory nature. It is what differentiates government from everything else. So to say that government and these other things differentiate only in this matter is really meaningless.

Just because government is not perfect does not mean it is useless. As I said before the best situation is a combination of the market based self-correcting mechanisms that you advocate and government regulation.

Why is that the case? What examples of market failure can you think of and why would government do any better in these instances?

For example, you said people should be allowed to move anywhere they want which would have the effect of making life better for some people but worse for others. Allowing unrestricted immigration into Canada would create massive slums in our cities and have huge negative environmental and social consequences.

Why would it do that? Make an argument. Don't just make stuff up and expect me to believe it without proof or logic.

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Dear Hugo,

I don't want to depend on market forces to put a meat packer out of business who sells diseased beef because that usually means many people have to die in order to demonstrate that a specific supplier has problems. I want to see a system where the government regulates and inspects meat packers and puts them out of business before people die.
Sparhawk raises a very good point. Market forces would dictate that you could be successful if you have less people die than your competitor. You seem to think that if a soldier kills a person, it is state-sponsored tyranny, yet you seem have no qualms about it if companies and 'market forces' do the killing, and having their only punishment as lower sales.
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You said it yourself. No one has the freedom to encroach upon the freedom of others, however, who decides what is 'encroachment'?

It doesn't need to be decided. When you initiate force or fraud against another person or his property, that's an encroachment of rights.

If someone builds a meat rendering plant next to my house which reduces the market value of my home then that person has 'stolen' from me. If you disgree then you have proven my point that what constitutes an encroachment is a matter of opinion not fact.

Even assuming you're right, that does not justify or necessitate the existence of government since there is absolutely no reason why a governmental decree of what constitutes 'encroachment' is any more or less accurate than any alternative.

Democratic gov't is a means to achieve consensus on what encroachment is. It is not perfect and, at times, unfair, however, it is a better system than any other I have heard of.

One person's fraud is a another person's caveat emptor.

This is untrue. A deliberate lie is fraud. Anything else is caveat emptor.

Again, lies can be a matter of the opinion. The recent financial scandals at companies like Nortel were not out right lies in the minds of the people who perpetrated them: they were more like exaggeration and wishful thinking. It takes a complicated court and legal system to figure out where exaggeration ends and fraud begins.

I would say that the most essential thing about government is its coercive, monopolistic, mandatory nature. It is what differentiates government from everything else. So to say that government and these other things differentiate only in this matter is really meaningless.

All institutions with a monopoly can seem coercive. If eBay was the only way to sell goods online then it would seem just as coercive as government. Unregulated free markets in essential goods like food, electricity generally produce coercive monopolies. It is only the power of govt that can keep these free market monopolies in check. The constitution and the courts keep the gov' t in check. Balance and moderation is the key.

I would also argue that none of those institutions that you gave could exist without the stable predictable foundation provided by the government structures.

Why is that the case? What examples of market failure can you think of and why would government do any better in these instances?

I gave you the meat packing plant example. The only way to discover a meat packer that sells diseased meat is to wait until a large number of people get sick or die. On the other hand, a government can set rules for handling meat that minimizes the risk and prevents people from getting sick in the first place.

I suppose you could have a 'voluntary' industry association which would certify plants for consumers. However, this voluntary association would become an effective coercive monopoly if consumers refused to buy meat from anyone who was not certified.

For example, you said people should be allowed to move anywhere they want which would have the effect of making life better for some people but worse for others. Allowing unrestricted immigration into Canada would create massive slums in our cities and have huge negative environmental and social consequences.
Why would it do that? Make an argument. Don't just make stuff up and expect me to believe it without proof or logic.?

It should be self-evident. There are many examples of poor people flocking to areas which they believe to be rich and creating huge slums with all of sewage, crime and pollution that goes with it. There are 5 billion people in the world that would see Canada a rich place, if a mere 1 or 2 million per year arrived it would overwhelm the infrastructure of our cities.

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Therefore, I argue that even if gov't structure does have some inherent weakness, it is ultimately the better way to look after the needs of most people in the society.

This is an argument for Communism. The USSR, North Korea and Cuba prove that Communism is not a good way to look after the needs of most people at all.

That is taking the argument to extremes - most stable systems create a balance between opposites. Government structures need to be tempered with some degree of individual liberty and choice.

Governments create the framework that allows individuals within a society to trust each other even if they do not know each other personally. They do that by setting rules and standards which everyone is expected to follow and punishing those that fail to meet those standards.

That said, the framework could be provided by something other than government such as religion, however, in our modern multi-cultural society, government is the only institution that can provide this role.

Societies fall apart if there is no longer a basis for mutual trust between strangers. That is what is going on in Africa. Nobody trusts anybody else to act fairly so the powerful use violence and fear to look after their own interests first.

Sparhawk, I quote you at length because I disagree so strongly.

You state:

Governments create the framework that allows individuals within a society to trust each other even if they do not know each other personally.
That's wrong. Markets with prices create the environment in which people can cooperate anonymously. The only rules markets require are property law (clear ownership) and contract law (trading conventions). When people speak of the "rule of law", this must be what they mean. Markets fail to function properly when ownership is not well-defined or enforceable contracts can't be signed.

Government - like family, corporations, friendship - deals with situations where markets don't work. The strong point of government is that it is a coercive institution. People collectively agree to be subject to future rules which are unknown now.

Sparhawk, compare the rules of playing hockey and the "rules" (instructions) a coach gives to the players on a team. The former are government laws, the latter are market laws.

Societies fall apart if there is no longer a basis for mutual trust between strangers. That is what is going on in Africa. Nobody trusts anybody else to act fairly so the powerful use violence and fear to look after their own interests first.
I think there is much mutual trust among Africans (depending on the society), and even well-established trading conventions but there are few protected property rights. To make matters worse, foreigners legitimize a particular government - creating a prize the Idi Amins will fight to win.
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You state:
Governments create the framework that allows individuals within a society to trust each other even if they do not know each other personally.
That's wrong. Markets with prices create the environment in which people can cooperate anonymously. The only rules markets require are property law (clear ownership) and contract law (trading conventions). When people speak of the "rule of law", this must be what they mean. Markets fail to function properly when ownership is not well-defined or enforceable contracts can't be signed.

Your key word in that statement is 'enforceable'. At someone level markets cannot function unless somewhere the is a coercive entity that can send out 'goons' to rectify whatever situation was created by someone who refused to follow the rules. Governments are one way to control the 'goons' and ensure the act reasonably. You could have a mafia style world where the different trading entities handled their own enforcement, however, I do not consider this an acceptable way to run a society.

In other words, markets cannot exist without gov't. However, not all gov'ts allow markets to work properly. It is a mistake to say that markets do not need gov't simply because SOME gov'ts prevent them from working.

I think there is much mutual trust among Africans (depending on the society), and even well-established trading conventions but there are few protected property rights.  To make matters worse, foreigners legitimize a particular government - creating a prize the Idi Amins will fight to win.

Africa operates much like the mafia style free market where the people who control the enforcement mechanisms set the rules. There is no trust because the rules change depending on how many thugs with guns are available.

In fact, I would argue Africa is what you get if you allow free markets that are unregulated by any stable government agency. Corruption is endemic in China and India, however, the gov't maintains a monopoly on the enforcement mechanisms and, as result, you have functioning societies even if people have limited freedoms.

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Market forces would dictate that you could be successful if you have less people die than your competitor. You seem to think that if a soldier kills a person, it is state-sponsored tyranny, yet you seem have no qualms about it if companies and 'market forces' do the killing

Yes, it is a measure of market success to kill less people than the competition. This is the impetus behind car safety: airbags, crumple zones, ABS/EBD brakes, traction control, drive-by-wire, etc.

The difference between a soldier killing someone and a car manufacturer making a defective car that kills someone is that the victim in the former case had no choice - death was visited on him. In the latter, nobody forced him to buy and drive a car, he could have walked. You make your own decisions about risks rather than having the State risk your life without your consent.

If someone builds a meat rendering plant next to my house which reduces the market value of my home then that person has 'stolen' from me.

I don't disagree, and this type of case used to be grounds for a lawsuit before the government decreed back in the 19th Century that industrial pollution was no longer a violation of property rights.

Democratic gov't is a means to achieve consensus on what encroachment is.

Just because you have consensus doesn't mean the conclusions reached are correct. Need I remind you of the countless incorrect and idiotic things that, at one point, the majority believed - the earth was flat, bleeding improved the health, bad smells caused disease, the devil lived in unleavened bread, etc?

Again, lies can be a matter of the opinion.

No, they are not. A lie is something that you say which you believe is not true. It's not arbitrary. Look it up in the dictionary.

All institutions with a monopoly can seem coercive.

But only government has or can grant a monopoly.

I would also argue that none of those institutions that you gave could exist without the stable predictable foundation provided by the government structures.

Wrong. These systems are basically heirs of the Anglo-Saxon borh system, which existed without government.

The only way to discover a meat packer that sells diseased meat is to wait until a large number of people get sick or die.

Or to have the plant inspected by an independent and trusted food processing inspection board, whose stamp of approval the meat packer can use as an advertising tool.

However, this voluntary association would become an effective coercive monopoly if consumers refused to buy meat from anyone who was not certified.

Coercion: the use of express or implied threats of violence or reprisal (as discharge from employment) or other intimidating behavior that puts a person in immediate fear of the consequences in order to compel that person to act against his or her will; also : the defense that one acted under coercion (from Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law).

I don't see how the scenario you outlined fits into that definition. Can you explain in greater detail?

It should be self-evident. There are many examples of poor people flocking to areas which they believe to be rich and creating huge slums with all of sewage, crime and pollution that goes with it.

Where, exactly, is immigration creating huge slums? Wasn't this the story of 18th and 19th Century America - vast immigration from all over the world? Give me your huddled masses and all that? Was it not also the case that this period was the time of greatest improvement in the American standard of living and wealth?

if a mere 1 or 2 million per year arrived it would overwhelm the infrastructure of our cities.

Assuming that they didn't work. But if they got jobs, paid taxes, bought products, etc. why would this pose any kind of problem?

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Part II

If someone builds a meat rendering plant next to my house which reduces the market value of my home then that person has 'stolen' from me. If you disgree then you have proven my point that what constitutes an encroachment is a matter of opinion not fact.
To be glib, this is just a question of definition of ownership rights. If the meat plant owns the atmosphere around your property, then it can build or you can pay the plant to move elsewhere.
No one has the freedom to encroach upon the freedom of others, however, who decides what is 'encroachment'?
It doesn't need to be decided. When you initiate force or fraud against another person or his property, that's an encroachment of rights. This definition is not arbitrary and is logically defensible. Quite a few people here have tried to shoot it down but nobody has come up with a decent argument against it.
IMV, Sparhawk asks a good question, and then Hugo glosses over it. The definition of "encroachment" is critical because it is a question of property rights. Hugo, how were the property rights defined in the first place? [i am not saying the government must define property rights but some mechanism is required. Otherwise, all the good things your liberto-anarchist-objectivist-whatever theory promises are for naught. Indeed, the impossibility of defining property rights in some cases is the reason your liberto-anarchist-objectivist-whatever theory is fundamentally flawed.]
The internet rife with fraud and scams. The only thing that make the internet a useful commerical tool is that the majority of the transactions take place in juristictions where there are enforceable rules.

I will put it another way. I don't want to depend on market forces to put a meat packer out of business who sells diseased beef because that usually means many people have to die in order to demonstrate that a specific supplier has problems. I want to see a system where the government regulates and inspects meat packers and puts them out of business before people die.

The fundamental weakness in your argument, Sparhawk, is that government bureaucrats are no more likely to know what meat is bad than anyone else.

If a contract is unenforceable (if you can't buy safe meat), there's a reason. The reason is just as likely to defy bureaucrats as anyone else. [bTW, the people who first ordered the planes in US airspace to land on 9 Sept 2001 were not government bureaucrats - they were employees of United and American airlines. Why? They knew well before government bureaucrats that there was a problem, and the reputation of their airline was in jeopardy.]

Sparhawk raises a very good point. Market forces would dictate that you could be successful if you have less people die than your competitor. You seem to think that if a soldier kills a person, it is state-sponsored tyranny, yet you seem have no qualms about it if companies and 'market forces' do the killing, and having their only punishment as lower sales.
Thelonious, you imagine that thousands would have to die before people clued into the fact that McDo was using tainted rat meat (at 5 cents a kilo) to make billions for its shareholders. But the real question is how quickly can people learn of the bad meat. Do you trust a government bureaucrat more than a corporate manager?

Hugo's argument about free migration:

There are many examples of poor people flocking to areas which they believe to be rich and creating huge slums with all of sewage, crime and pollution that goes with it. There are 5 billion people in the world that would see Canada a rich place, if a mere 1 or 2 million per year arrived it would overwhelm the infrastructure of our cities.
In Hugo-World (to imitate a Kimmyism), those people wouldn't be able to afford to go to Canada or spend a night in a hotel. There would be no welfare payments, subsidized housing or "free" health care. You are welcome to go to Beverly Hills, but then what will you do?
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Your key word in that statement is 'enforceable'. At someone level markets cannot function unless somewhere the is a coercive entity that can send out 'goons' to rectify whatever situation was created by someone who refused to follow the rules.

That's not true. The Law Merchant operated by ostracism. Think of it this way: if you gain a reputation as a liar and a cheat, nobody will deal with you or sell you anything. Your life will be pretty miserable. You'd better hope you own some land and are happy with subsistence farming.

A modern example is credit ratings. You can bilk your creditors, but word gets around and your reputation is tarnished. With a bad credit rating, you'll find it impossible to get a house either with a mortgage or by renting, to buy a car unless you pay cash, to get a decent job, to have any services like cable TV or a telephone line, etc. Therefore, it's in your interests to honour your contracts. The power of government can be used against you in this instance, but most collection agencies and creditors will actually settle in private courts these days. The power of ostracism is very great, but noncoercive.

You could have a mafia style world where the different trading entities handled their own enforcement, however, I do not consider this an acceptable way to run a society.

Is it better to grant one Mafia don a monopoly? That's effectively what government is.

It is a mistake to say that markets do not need gov't simply because SOME gov'ts prevent them from working.

But it is not a mistake to say that markets do not need government because some markets exist without government.

In fact, I would argue Africa is what you get if you allow free markets that are unregulated by any stable government agency.

There are very few free markets in Africa. Most goods and trade are controlled and monopolised by coercive thugs.

Corruption is endemic in China and India, however, the gov't maintains a monopoly on the enforcement mechanisms and, as result, you have functioning societies even if people have limited freedoms.

Actually, China and India are quickly liberalising their societies and releasing vast swathes of life from governmental control. The USSR was unwilling to do this and ceased to be a functioning society.

Ironically, in India and China the society functions best where government is either uninterested in the proceedings or where government can be bribed to get out of the way. Those areas of life where the State remains highly interventionist are the most stagnant and regressive parts of the society.

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IMV, Sparhawk asks a good question, and then Hugo glosses over it. The definition of "encroachment" is critical because it is a question of property rights. Hugo, how were the property rights defined in the first place? [i am not saying the government must define property rights but some mechanism is required. Otherwise, all the good things your liberto-anarchist-objectivist-whatever theory promises are for naught. Indeed, the impossibility of defining property rights in some cases is the reason your liberto-anarchist-objectivist-whatever theory is fundamentally flawed.]

What cases are these? I would like to hear them. It is your habit to assume that there are some areas where government intervention is essential, without ever stating what those areas are or how the intervention is necessary.

I will say that the primary mechanism by which anarcho-capitalism operates is the non-aggression principle. Other ones are possible but the NAP is the only one which is logically defensible, all others rely on a double-standard or self-contradiction. Of course, this is not to say that people have not embraced nonsense theories in the past, however, truth is on the side of the Rothbardian definition of rights. I've already been over this a few times now in the "Hugo's Defence of Anarchy" thread and the "Tyranny vs. Freedom" thread, so I'm not going to repeat myself - interested parties can review those threads.

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At someone level markets cannot function unless somewhere the is a coercive entity that can send out 'goons' to rectify whatever situation was created by someone who refused to follow the rules. Governments are one way to control the 'goons' and ensure the act reasonably. You could have a mafia style world where the different trading entities handled their own enforcement, however, I do not consider this an acceptable way to run a society.
Sparhawk, you'll probably fail if you try to justify government using the argument that government is an institution necessary for markets (because it creates/enforces property law and contract law).

Different jurisdictions do this differenetly but most contract law works by reputation and, in any case, it is typically private. Even property law is often by convention - although I think government can be justified as a useful institution to define ownership - when that's possible.

The State is useful for dealing with people who have no assets to confiscate. (The mafia has no prisons.)

But far more important, the State can deal with myriad situations where contracts simply cannot be defined. If you install a streetlight, it is impossible to sign an intelligible contract for my use of your light.

Isaac Newton invented differential calculus yet his family never benefitted from the invention. Ingvar Kamprad invented Ikea and his family will never have to work ever. If that seems unfair to you, I suggest that you look at the question differently. In the future, will we get more "differential calculus" or "Ikea"?

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A modern example is credit ratings. You can bilk your creditors, but word gets around and your reputation is tarnished. With a bad credit rating, you'll find it impossible to get a house either with a mortgage or by renting, to buy a car unless you pay cash, to get a decent job, to have any services like cable TV or a telephone line, etc. Therefore, it's in your interests to honour your contracts. The power of government can be used against you in this instance, but most collection agencies and creditors will actually settle in private courts these days. The power of ostracism is very great, but noncoercive.

Here is an interesting link that discusses the two sides of this issue:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_on_t..._physical_force

From my perspective, the anarchist political system is like communism in the sense that it sounds great on paper but fails to take into account the reality of human nature. There are too many thugs out there whether they are drug dealers and pimps or the benardos or homolkas that would completely undermine any system that did not have the ability to use force to enforce its rules.

When I said the merchant law system and similar systems could not exist with a government foundation, I mean these systems depend on some institution that will use force to restrain, punish and imprison those people outside the system who simply do not care about ostracism and would be willing to use violence to get what they want. The medieval merchants depended on the feudal lords that filled this function at the time - they would have likely been killed and robbed long before a merchant court could 'ostracize' the bandits.

I also reject your constant assertions that government does nothing useful. I live in a reasonably well organized city were the road, garbage and sewer systems all work effectively and contribute to the quality of life for all of the people living in the system. Even the internet that we now use to communicate with was originally designed and built with government money.

Obviously, governments often stick their noses in many things that they should not but that does not mean governments are bad. A important part of our democratic process is a debate about were the gov't should get involved and where it should let people make individual choices.

The last point I would make is that punishment by 'reputation' is only effective in very limited circumstances. The US just changed its bankruptcy laws because the stigma of going bankrupt is no longer strong and too many companies chasing after too few customers are more than willing to loan money to people with bad 'reputations'. The only time where reputation can be used as a effective means of social punishment are systems where there is a monopoly and the offender has no where else to go. I think that any system with a monopoly - whether it has the anarchist seal of approval or not - has the potential to be coercive and abuse the liberties of the people in the system.

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From my perspective, the anarchist political system is like communism in the sense that it sounds great on paper but fails to take into account the reality of human nature.

Anarchist societies have been historical facts. Anarchist Ireland survived for about a millenium, anarchist Iceland for a few centuries. Both were destroyed not by internal strife but by foreign invasion - a fate that has befallen a great many nation-states and is not a particular vulnerability of anarchism.

I would say that it is statism that fails to take into account human nature. Government grants arbitrary power, and those attracted to government will therefore be those with a lust and desire for such power, which generally does not accompany such graces as compassion, tolerance and so forth. This is why all governments grow in size and in power and allow progressively less freedoms and liberties than before. This is also why all socialist/communist regimes end up as tyrannical dictatorships. The minarchist, libertarian USA corrupted itself to become the bloated, power-hungry Leviathan it is today. Canada was much the same: a State that was often thought to be more libertarian than its southern neighbour is now a distinctly socialist big-government country.

When I said the merchant law system and similar systems could not exist with a government foundation, I mean these systems depend on some institution that will use force to restrain, punish and imprison those people outside the system who simply do not care about ostracism and would be willing to use violence to get what they want.

There was a recent thread on policing in which I argued that private police forces were more effective and more efficient than State ones. There is no need for government to provide either law and justice or policing.

I also reject your constant assertions that government does nothing useful. I live in a reasonably well organized city were the road, garbage and sewer systems all work effectively

Ha! What cloud-cuckoo land do you live in? The road system works effectively? Every major city suffers gridlock at least twice daily, not to mention the two-dozen potholes I dodge on my way to work every morning (and it has been three years now since my city government promised "immediate action" on potholes). The garbage system is effective? Where you in Toronto last summer (or was it the one before)? And if you think that the water and sewerage systems are effective, tell that to the citizens of Walkerton.

Even the internet that we now use to communicate with was originally designed and built with government money.

No, the original concept (TCP/IP) was designed by DARPA. The overwhelming majority of what you understand to be the Internet is the product of free enterprise.

You will find that with most things that have had a huge impact on human life, mass production, the steam and internal combustion engines, the telegraph and telephone, the internet, railroads, radio, heavier-than-air aircraft, etc. that the bulk of the work is done by free market forces. Where government gets involved it is generally a hindrance - laws against greater efficiency, laws against new technology, laws that outlaw jobs, etc.

The only time where reputation can be used as a effective means of social punishment are systems where there is a monopoly and the offender has no where else to go.

The only reason why an offender has somewhere else to go now is because of government-created public space. If there were no public space and everything was privately owned, ostracism would be effective.

I think that any system with a monopoly - whether it has the anarchist seal of approval or not - has the potential to be coercive and abuse the liberties of the people in the system.

The only way a monopoly can do that is if it is guaranteed a monopoly (potential competition being as effective as actual competition), which means violence and coercion, and the only institutions that do or ever have exerted a monopoly by violence have been governments and organized crime (the latter with far less success).

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