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Hitler: Democratic Dictator


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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.

Small isolated, homogeneous societies that represented economic and technological backwaters are hardly evidence that such a system could work in multicultural reality of the world today.

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.

Private police forces are effectively a way of reinventing the feudal system. These private police forces would quickly turn into private armies that do the bidding for the most powerful 'property owners'.

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.

The systems do work very well but that does not mean they are perfect. Wakerton was an isolated incident and you know it.

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.

Get your facts right. The original web browser was developed by CERN (another gov't agency). I agree that private enterprise built most of the infrastructure that we use today, however, without the initial ideas and concepts developed by the gov't there would be no internet. But this point is not a big deal - when it comes to developing new ideas I agree that the private sector does a better job most of the time.

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..

Not likely. The 'ostracized' people would likely band together an possible resort to violence to over throw the system that treated them unfairly. There is always public space that people can go into as long as they are alive.

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).

But that will happen. In a society without gov't - individuals and groups who want more power and wealth than they can get by playing by the rules will use violence and intimidation to get what they want. Would you do with these people - just send your private police forces after them? Society would quickly degenerate in a million tiny feudal states warring with each other over petty things.

The great thing about democratic government is gives everyone freedom to pursue lives without violence because it maintains a monopoly on violence. It is a good thing that the majority of people in Canada feel that they do not need a gun at all. Those that do have guns often keep them for reasons other than killing other people (hunting, collecting, etc). Get rid of gov't and everyone would have to take respsonsiblity for their own protection - something that would lead to a spiral of violence as the trust with society breaks down.

Furthermore, the greatest advances in health and well being of all people have always taken place in free market societies with an effective government. There no examples of 'government-less' societies that did anything more than preserve a subsistence level farming/fishing economy.

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Small isolated, homogeneous societies that represented economic and technological backwaters are hardly evidence that such a system could work in multicultural reality of the world today.

Since you had not heard of them before I mentioned them, I wouldn't be too hasty in comparing them to contemporary nation-state societies if I were you.

These private police forces would quickly turn into private armies that do the bidding for the most powerful 'property owners'.

Actually, the best way to make money is through mass-marketing, not niche-marketing. A police company would want to provide the best service to the masses rather than the elite, because there's more money in the former. A thread in which this was proven can be found here.

The systems do work very well but that does not mean they are perfect. Wakerton was an isolated incident and you know it.

The USSR was a living proof that government-run enterprise is all-around worse than private enterprise at providing goods and services, in quality, quantity and price.

Government-run industries are just little pockets of Soviet culture.

when it comes to developing new ideas I agree that the private sector does a better job most of the time.

Good - so you admit your proposition that government is useful for providing services and performing research is weak?

The 'ostracized' people would likely band together an possible resort to violence to over throw the system that treated them unfairly.

Then they would have formed a government. Historian Franz Oppenheimer has found that this is, in fact, invariably the way governments are formed: one group conquers another and entrenches themselves as an elite to rule over the conquered.

In a society without gov't - individuals and groups who want more power and wealth than they can get by playing by the rules will use violence and intimidation to get what they want. Would you do with these people - just send your private police forces after them?

Right, now I can't do anything about these people because they're called politicians, judges and policemen. At least under anarchy I would have some kind of defence, and I might have a private police force to protect me. Right now, there's really nothing I can do to stop the privations of the government.

The great thing about democratic government is gives everyone freedom to pursue lives without violence because it maintains a monopoly on violence.

That doesn't even make sense. How does one group having the power to commit violence free everyone from violence? If I alone have the power to fart in an elevator, does that free everyone else in the elevator from having to smell it?

Furthermore, the greatest advances in health and well being of all people have always taken place in free market societies with an effective government. There no examples of 'government-less' societies that did anything more than preserve a subsistence level farming/fishing economy.

At the time they existed, no nation-state with a government could boast of doing anything better. What anarchist societies could boast, however, was that rulers would not go on murderous rampages and pogroms amongst their people, nor would they levy peasants to form armies and go fight their petty squabbles with other nobles.

Get rid of gov't and everyone would have to take respsonsiblity for their own protection - something that would lead to a spiral of violence as the trust with society breaks down.

Again, completely ignorant of historical fact like anarchist Ireland, which existed as a very harmonious and rich society (economically and culturally the richest in Europe) for a thousand years without breaking down at all. Compare to the USA, whose "wise" government caused society to break down in 85 years, or Russia, whose society had broken down twice in the 20th Century alone (three times if you count the provisional government) despite being run at all times by a strong and authoritarian State, etc.

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These private police forces would quickly turn into private armies that do the bidding for the most powerful 'property owners'.

Actually, the best way to make money is through mass-marketing, not niche-marketing. A police company would want to provide the best service to the masses rather than the elite, because there's more money in the former. A thread in which this was proven can be found here.

Just like health insurance companies in the US market to the masses and end up leaving nearly 40 million Americans with no health coverage. The same thing would happen with private policing the middle class who could pay would be protected and the poor would be left to fend for themselves. This would create huge resentments and ultimately increase the cost of policing for the middle class (to say nothing about principal of basic fairness).

It is a recipe for reinventing the feudal system where small groups of people protect themselves with private armies from the rest of the world.

Then they would have formed a government. Historian Franz Oppenheimer has found that this is, in fact, invariably the way governments are formed: one group conquers another and entrenches themselves as an elite to rule over the conquered.

Governments were formed because people need protection from other people. They started as small feudal estates where the lord would maintain soldiers (aka private policemen) to protect the farmers. Of course, the once the lord had the soldiers he realized that he could increase his power and wealth by attacking his neighbors. The same thing would happen if this 'anarchist' system was used in any place other than small homegeous societies that has convenient bodies of water to protect them from hostile groups.

Right, now I can't do anything about these people because they're called politicians, judges and policemen. At least under anarchy I would have some kind of defence, and I might have a private police force to protect me. Right now, there's really nothing I can do to stop the privations of the government..

Why would you have any more control over a private police force than government. You seem to imply that market forces would be sufficient - I don't think so - the private police forces would likely be more prone to corruption and abuse because the would have no ethical principal driving them other than making money. I certainly trust a police force that is bound by rules laid out in a constitution a lot more than a pack a mercenaries.

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The USSR is not an example of the inevitable failure of government services. It is an example of over-centralization of supply, procurement, planning etc. It is evidence that remoteness from demand can not know demand. It is evidence of the inefficiencies of distance.

Government service provision need be no different than private delivery through an organisation with many branches: indeed, it could be organized to be more flexible given the ephemeral nature of private response.

When, Hugo, was this anarchist millenium in Ireland? I know that you have been salivating at the prospect of being asked that.

To my way of thinking the only anarchist experiment in human history was the Garden of Eden. That one failed as human nature got in the way.

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The USSR is not an example of the inevitable failure of government services. It is an example of over-centralization of supply, procurement, planning etc. It is evidence that remoteness from demand can not know demand. It is evidence of the inefficiencies of distance.

What actually makes those inefficiencies is the lack of a price mechanism. Government enterprises funded from tax dollars cannot see how much people are buying at a given price because the "price" they see is $0 (like healthcare). Therefore, they cannot ascertain how much people actually value what is provided and supply is not matched to demand. Inefficiency results in either overproduction or underproduction. Healthcare currently suffers from severe underproduction, which produces shortages and queueing. Some Soviet industries suffered from overproduction, factories producing goods that would never be consumed. In either case the outcome is not the best possible allocation of resources. Waste is occurring.

In enterprises where the government charges on a per-useage basis rather than from tax funds (e.g. Canada Post), the problem is that since government has a monopoly on the service (it's a criminal offence to deliver a letter in Canada unless you work for Canada Post), customers are forced to consume at the price the government sets, and again, government does not know how much consumers truly value the service because the price is not allowed to change in accordance with demand, which means, again, supply is not matched to demand. There is also no incentive to make the enterprise more efficient, explore new technology, or anything else which is why, unlike pretty much all other consumer goods and services, the price of postage hasn't really dropped in the last 50 years. Monopoly status means you can charge what you like since the only alternative is nonconsumption.

Government service provision need be no different than private delivery through an organisation with many branches: indeed, it could be organized to be more flexible given the ephemeral nature of private response.

How? Gross assumptions again. I hear far too many fictitious scenarios and lofty goals without the slightest grounding in reality coming from statists. Get your head out of the clouds and stop wishing that government could actually do something efficiently. It never has and never will.

When, Hugo, was this anarchist millenium in Ireland?

It ended with the English invasion. All anarchist societies have been destroyed by foreign invasion.

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Are you talking of Cromwell, Hugo? Or of the raids by organized Welsh parties several centuries earlier?

Or would those "anarchist" societies be the developed ones conqued by Vikings earlier still? Or the advanced, organized societies that succeeded the Danes and coexisted with them in places.

Tell it to the tradition of Irish Kings struggling with each other and never able to really achieve dominance. They fell to the English because their "national" structures were weak not anarchical. They fell in spite of being as populous as England through weak structures not from lack of structures.

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Which implies that they are inherently weak and cannot resist external threats - which is the point I have been making.

So, you are claiming that a society with a government has never been invaded and conquered, then?

To claim that we need a government is to claim that government supplies a necessary something that anarchy cannot. And if you are claiming that that something is invulnerability to war, invasion and conquest, clearly, you are very, very wrong.

Are you talking of Cromwell, Hugo? Or of the raids by organized Welsh parties several centuries earlier?

This is a link on the Irish/Celtic anarchist society. Celtic anarchism was more anarcho-syndicalist or communist than anarcho-capitalist, the latter system is better illustrated by Iceland. You can find more examples here.

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Which implies that they are inherently weak and cannot resist external threats - which is the point I have been making.

So, you are claiming that a society with a government has never been invaded and conquered, then?

To claim that we need a government is to claim that government supplies a necessary something that anarchy cannot. And if you are claiming that that something is invulnerability to war, invasion and conquest, clearly, you are very, very wrong.

You keep screwing up basic logic: if B is always true if A is true, it does not automatically follow that if A is false then B must always be false.

All anarchist societies have being taken over by 'government;' societies.

Some 'government' societies have be taken over by other 'government' societies.

It is reasonable to conclude that the 'government' societies that were not taken over had structures and institutions in place that prevented the take over. It also reasonable to conclude that these structures are things that anarchist societies lacked. In other words, even if government societies are not invulnerable to takeover they are still more resistant to takeover - which is a good thing.

Take the example of China which has had a more or less continuous society for the last 2000 years. One of the reasons, their society has persisted is the government institutions which ended up absorbing the invaders.

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The first link does not worl in my browser, Hugo. The second has some interesting snippets.

However, I fail to see how short-lived responses to governmental failure of one sort or another can make an argument for any brand of anarchism.

It is also notable that what is termed anarchism, in most cases existed along with government and government regulation. Weak government is not the same as anarchism.

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All anarchist societies have being taken over by 'government;' societies.

Not yet. Somalia still exists. Anyway, the fact is that all States will eventually collapse and die, and if you compare the length of existence of anarchist societies to State ones you will find that anarchist societies beat out most of the States.

It is reasonable to conclude that the 'government' societies that were not taken over had structures and institutions in place that prevented the take over.

No, it isn't. Switzerland, for instance, hasn't been invaded in a long time because of geographic location. Russia has not been successfully invaded (ever, I think) because of the difficulty that the severe climate poses to military campaigning and supply lines. Japan was not invaded until 1945 because of freak weather conditions.

Your point is dead wrong. This is especially visible when you consider that most conquering nations will simply take over and use existing governmental structures in conquered territories. The British in India used Indian princes as their mechanism for government. The Romans did much the same in their empire, as did the Mongols, the Nazis and so forth. If an organized military fails, a nation-state with a government has no more lines of defence against an invader.

On the other hand, anarchist societies pose a serious problem for an invader. Assuming that the feat of arms is successful, one has no existing government to take over and must build one from the ground up in the face of a hostile populace unused to taking orders and to authority. In the anarchist society, also, the population themselves is the army, and an invader can look forward to a very long period of guerrilla resistance. The British in Ireland, the Nazis in Yugoslavia and the USA in Iraq or Vietnam (amongst many others) could all tell you that a long-drawn-out and determined guerrilla resistance is a most undigestible mouthfull.

Take the example of China which has had a more or less continuous society for the last 2000 years. One of the reasons, their society has persisted is the government institutions which ended up absorbing the invaders.

On the other hand, China is also a country where the various Chinese States have exterminated vast numbers of Chinese people. In between the Han and Qin dynasties (about two hundred years before Christ), half the Chinese population was killed. Between the Han dynasty and the Three Kingdom period, 85% of the Chinese population was killed. Between the Sui and the Tang dynasties, two-thirds of the population was killed. Between the Song and the Qing dynasties, the population was again culled by about 85%. Between 1626 and 1655, the population was again cut by about 70%. These are just a few of the more notable examples. In 1681, almost the entire province of Kwangtung was executed after a rebellion. The Teiping rebellion in the 19th Century may have cost up to 40 million lives. During the Nein rebellion, 70% of the province of Anhwei was killed. This isn't even counting the slaughters committed under Mao Zedong.

Your contention that China has somehow survived against violence and that Chinese governments have protected their society from violence would be funny if it were not for the fact that somewhere between three and five times the modern population of Canada had been murdered in cold blood by various Chinese "governments". I'm not saying you're hard-hearted or indifferent to slaughter, just that you're ignorant.

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The first link does not worl in my browser, Hugo.

It's a PDF document. Sorry, I should have stated that when I posted it. If you follow this link and just search the page for "Celtic" you should be able to find the same document.

However, I fail to see how short-lived responses to governmental failure of one sort or another can make an argument for any brand of anarchism.

Well, I suppose the argument is that an anarchist society can solve any problem that government is purported to solve, and as government is inherently violent, surely it would be better to do without government if we could - which, apparently, we can?

It is also notable that what is termed anarchism, in most cases existed along with government and government regulation. Weak government is not the same as anarchism.

This is true, however, it can offer insights into how a truly anarchist society might solve various problems by examining societies which have solved those problems by market rather than political means, albeit still having a recognisable government.

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All anarchist societies have being taken over by 'government;' societies.
Not yet. Somalia still exists. Anyway, the fact is that all States will eventually collapse and die, and if you compare the length of existence of anarchist societies to State ones you will find that anarchist societies beat out most of the States.
Anarchy is what you get when government collapses and Somalia is a text book example of the Warlord-ism that I say is what all 'anarchic' societies will turn into if they cannot re-establish a proper gov't.
Your point is dead wrong. This is especially visible when you consider that most conquering nations will simply take over and use existing governmental structures in conquered territories. The British in India used Indian princes as their mechanism for government.
How exactly did the replacement of Indian Princes by the British affect the average Indian? Not a lot. When the British had finally overstayed their welcome they were replaced with an Indian run gov't that, despite its faults, has managed to rule the country for the last 50 years without major bloodshed or upheaval (the border disputes with Pakistan and China did not cause a breakdown in Indian society).

When you compare India to other colonized countries you must ask why is India is in relatively good shape compared to Africa? I believe it was the strong government structures that maintained the integrity of Indian society while the elites battled over who controlled it.

The British in Ireland, the Nazis in Yugoslavia and the USA in Iraq or Vietnam (amongst many others) could all tell you that a long-drawn-out and determined guerrilla resistance is a most indigestible mouthful.

It is useful to compare the experience of India to Yugoslavia, Iraq and Vietnam. The later three societies did/have proved to be difficult for a foreign invader to take over but at cost of completely dismembering their society. If Iraq had strong gov't institutions like India the Americans would been able to walk in, remove Saddam, have some democratic elections and leave. The average Iraqi would have been much, much better off. The resistance in Iraq hurts the people of Iraq a lot more than it hurts the 'invaders'.

(Aside: do not interpret this as support for Bush's War - I am against it. I am simply pointing out that from a pragmatic perspective the Iraqis would have been better off co-operating with the Americans).

(Aside: I also do not believe that passive resistance to invaders is appropriate in all circumstances - the Nazis and the Soviets are good examples. My point it to illustrate how societies with strong gov't structures tend to resist and survive invasions better than anarchist counterparts)

Your contention that China has somehow survived against violence and that Chinese governments have protected their society from violence

China was not the best example since there were periods of anarchy where warlords battled with each other for control. My original point was about how the Mongol invaders were eventually assimilated into Chinese society.

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Anarchy is what you get when government collapses and Somalia is a text book example of the Warlord-ism that I say is what all 'anarchic' societies will turn into if they cannot re-establish a proper gov't.

If you don't know about Somalia, please don't try to talk intelligently about it. Blackhawk Down is not an accurate source for information. Why don't you read this link, which is an article written by Jim Davidson, VP and CFO of the Awdal Roads Company, who has lived and worked in Somalia?

How exactly did the replacement of Indian Princes by the British affect the average Indian? Not a lot.

It doesn't matter. You never made that part of the question.

When the British had finally overstayed their welcome they were replaced with an Indian run gov't that, despite its faults, has managed to rule the country for the last 50 years without major bloodshed or upheaval (the border disputes with Pakistan and China did not cause a breakdown in Indian society).

Well, apart from all the violence in Jammu-Kashmir (which India claims is part of India), not to mention the terrible corruption which is now a virtual way of life, the complete paralysis of the government which is the only way the economy keeps going, the wanton violence and intimidation by police and other government agents, etc.

I think you'll find that the most civilized, peaceful and prosperous parts of India are those where government is either uninterested (increasingly few) or has been bribed to get out of the way.

When you compare India to other colonized countries you must ask why is India is in relatively good shape compared to Africa? I believe it was the strong government structures that maintained the integrity of Indian society while the elites battled over who controlled it.

I think you assume that both come from the same starting-point. This is not so. Africa has always been very culturally divided along tribal lines and has never been united on an inter-tribal scale. The divisions in Indian society are more horizontal (the caste system), but the subcontinent as a whole has been a fairly culturally homogenous area for a long, long time. The Mauryan Empire covered almost all of India in only 400-100 BC, whereas Africa has never been culturally united. Even the present-day nations that exist have only been around since the abandonment of the colonies, 60 years at the most. That's a lot less than 2100-2400 years!

I think you would be better off comparing Latin America to North America. Both were colonized at about the same time, both began to achieve independence at about the same point (USA in 1789, Brazil in 1825, Mexico in 1820, Colombia in 1819, Nicaragua in 1821, Peru in 1824, Argentina in 1816 etc.), both had plentiful natural resources (Latin America actually has more natural resources, and has been involved in less destructive wars to boot), but Latin America has always had big, strong governments whereas North America has not (at one point the Massachusetts government actually dissolved due to lack of interest, and for a few decades after Independence, US government spending did not top 3% of GDP).

North American society today is a lot wealthier, and a lot more stable and peaceful than Latin America. Clearly, government is not responsible for this, in fact, the evidence strongly corrolates to a lack of government.

If Iraq had strong gov't institutions like India the Americans would been able to walk in, remove Saddam, have some democratic elections and leave.

Iraq had very strong government institutions, so what are you talking about? The government in Iraq controlled everything. The Americans are trying to use some of those institutions.

I also do not believe that passive resistance to invaders is appropriate in all circumstances - the Nazis and the Soviets are good examples.

Again, you are woefully uninformed. Do some research on the Danish Jews and on the Otkazniks, please. I won't tell you about them because I'm growing tired of having to do your research for you. You should take the time to find out facts before you try and make arguments based on them!

China was not the best example since there were periods of anarchy where warlords battled with each other for control.

Read it again. Between 3 and 5 times the population of Canada, in China, was put to death in cold blood - execution - by their governments, having committed no crime. This is quite apart from casualties of war and famine. This is people being marched out by the police or army into the village square and beheaded. It's pretty much a Chinese tradition for the government to slaughter the people.

My original point was about how the Mongol invaders were eventually assimilated into Chinese society.

But I thought the whole point was that governments protect us from the violence of invasion? Does it really matter if you get beheaded by an agent of your own government, or somebody else's?

To me, the "protection" the Chinese government has offered from foreign invaders is laughable given that the Chinese people faced a far, far greater threat from their own government than any invader could threaten.

Besides, your very point assumes something ridiculous. China was able to assimilate and Sinofy the Mongol invaders because they were a highly cultured, urbane, and civilized people with lots of creature comforts, art, etc. and to a Mongol used to living in a yurt and living off yaks that probably sounded great.

You assume, however, that the Chinese government created all of this culture and civilization. Quite apart from the speciousness of that point, if it was true, why did it not collapse once the Mongols became the government? I put it to you that this culture was created by the Chinese people themselves quite independently (in fact, in spite of) the government who, it seems, tried quite hard on many occasions to slaughter the Chinese people, scholars, artists, and everyone else who created all of this.

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You should try a little research yourself, Hugo. Not even Anarchists are all that keen to claim Somalia as an Anarchist society, just as Sparhawk says, it is a society of Warlords.

Your assertions about India are nothing short of ridiculous. The economy is going almost at a clip to rival China and is spreading the wealth better. It is doing it through the deliberate planning of government and the current PM who is a noted economist in his own right. Democracy is what is driving the Indian economic revolution. The Indian government is firmly in control and does not have even a stiff leg let alone paralysis.

The intimidation and wanton violence in India comes from terrorists not the government. One of the most prosperous areas of India is Kerala which until quite recently was a Communist state. It has lots of government: as much as befits a modern state. And, it was prosperous in Indian terms while Communism ruled - at the state level. Every prosperous area of India now is where the government writ is strong. The countryside where ther is still great poverty, is where the government is still weak.

Latin America has not always had big strong governments. In the period you are comparing to the USA, it had very weak governments: governments struggling to bring their countries under control. In some countries, the governments are still not all that strong. Colombia is one example where terrorists (or rebels) control a significant part of the land.

North America was neither wealthy nor stable nor peaceful in its early days. That was the days when government was rudimentary. The growth of stability and wealth coincides with the extension of control of and by government. The small GDP expenditure in one area is not so remarkable. Most governments spent small proportions of their GDP a couple of centuries ago and what the did spend it on was more likely to be a military than any of the expenditures we take for granted today.

The expenditure that is necessary to ensure a stable, peaceful and wealthy society.

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BTW, where on earth did you get those percentages of population exterminated in China. It would seem that Gengis Khan was a piker by comparison.

I suspect that they (not the couple of later ones) were actually percentage of some local populations not of China.

I haven't bothered with the math, but a rough guess is that without the massacres (fictional?) the population of China would now be in the hundreds of billions.

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If you don't know about Somalia, please don't try to talk intelligently about it. Blackhawk Down is not an accurate source for information. Why don't you read this link, which is an article written by Jim Davidson, VP and CFO of the Awdal Roads Company, who has lived and worked in Somalia?.
Here is another source on Somalia which does support some of your assertions but also supports my assertion that small homogeneous societies based on substance farming may be able to make use of the decentralized government you want to call anarchy.

Here is an interesting quote:

Villagers, too, have learned to co-exist with militia which once raided them. In parts of the lower Jubba valley, militia now "tax" half the villagers' harvest in return for guarding them against other armed bandits. As the symbiotic relationship between gunman and villager evolves, the line between extortion and taxation, between protection racket and police force, is blurred, and a system of governance within anarchy is born. For their part, surviving militiamen have grown more risk-averse, sometimes even marrying into local farming communities and becoming a part of, rather than a parasite on, villages they once terrorized.
What this passage indicates is my perception of Somali as a lawless place where the strong preyed upon the weak was correct at one point it time. That perception is clearly outdated (although that article is from 1998).

The most important aspect of Somalia example is the fact that it does have a government centered around the villages that arranges for the protection of the village. It may not be a type of government that any of us in the west are familiar with but it is still a government. This is really the only argument I have with you. You seem to refuse to call a decentralized system based on local governments a 'government'. My research on Ireland after you brought it up seem to suggest that it had a similar structure with many small kingdoms and the leftovers of the Catholic church.

I think you'll find that the most civilized, peaceful and prosperous parts of India are those where government is either uninterested (increasingly few) or has been bribed to get out of the way.

A government that does not interfere with the private economy is still a government.

North American society today is a lot wealthier, and a lot more stable and peaceful than Latin America. Clearly, government is not responsible for this, in fact, the evidence strongly correlates to a lack of government.

North America has had government from the day the first European showed up on the shores. At different times the government has shifted between central and local control - the system we have today is a combination of both. All of the successes in terms of increased standard of living, better technology and health care have all happened with a stable government in place.

Read it again. Between 3 and 5 times the population of Canada, in China, was put to death in cold blood - execution - by their governments, having committed no crime. This is quite apart from casualties of war and famine. This is people being marched out by the police or army into the village square and beheaded. It's pretty much a Chinese tradition for the government to slaughter the people.
You seem to be obsessed with idea that because some governments killed people the all governments must be bad. Any objective look at human history will show you that biggest advances in human civilization happened in societies with a strong government that maintained some level of control.
Besides, your very point assumes something ridiculous. China was able to assimilate and Sinofy the Mongol invaders because they were a highly cultured, urbane, and civilized people with lots of creature comforts, art, etc. and to a Mongol used to living in a yurt and living off yaks that probably sounded great.
The point is China was the center of learning and culture in the world at the time. None of your so-called anarchist societies come close to the cultural and technological achievements of societies that had the governments that you despise so much.
You assume, however, that the Chinese government created all of this culture and civilization. Quite apart from the speciousness of that point, if it was true, why did it not collapse once the Mongols became the government?

The government created the stable space that allowed the culture to flourish. Without that stable space there would be no Chinese culture.

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Eureka, since you've basically ignored all my evidence and arguments so that you can continue to spout your preconceptions and prejudices I have no interest in discussing this with you. For more information on India, read this guy. He knows a lot more than you do. For Latin America, consult Michael Novak. I would express interest in your sources on US government (particularly the ones that claim government intervention in the economy was not, contrary to what economists say, responsible for the Great Depression and for prolonging it for ten years), but I know by now that you never have sources for anything you claim, so it's pointless.

Oh, and democracy in India? The usual bribe to be given a voting card is 500 rupees. Don't make me laugh.

The most important aspect of Somalia example is the fact that it does have a government centered around the villages that arranges for the protection of the village. It may not be a type of government that any of us in the west are familiar with but it is still a government.

Well, if we're going to play fast and loose with the definition of government you are going to end up in the same untenable position as Sweal and August. Not everything with authority is government. Iceland had "chieftains" too, which some ignorant people have claimed were government, but in actual fact there is nothing about them that we'd recognise as governmental. They were more service providers than anything else, like a gas or phone company.

A government that does not interfere with the private economy is still a government.

I have already told you that government by definition interferes with the private economy. We're trying to advance the discussion here, not reiterate the same things over and over again.

North America has had government from the day the first European showed up on the shores. At different times the government has shifted between central and local control - the system we have today is a combination of both. All of the successes in terms of increased standard of living, better technology and health care have all happened with a stable government in place.

You miss my point completely. For a long time, the North American government has been laissez-faire and minimal, and has taken very little interest in the private affairs of citizens and the economy. Compare this to Latin America, where governments have been very regulatory and very interventionist, and thus the correlation clearly is between less intrusive government and more peace and prosperity, and not vice-versa as you contend.

You seem to be obsessed with idea that because some governments killed people the all governments must be bad. Any objective look at human history will show you that biggest advances in human civilization happened in societies with a strong government that maintained some level of control.

Actually, an objective look at human history will show you that the greatest advances in human civilization happened precisely when government retreated and relaxed its controls: revolutionary America, industrial Britain, renaissance Italy etc. Societies with strong governments are invariably stagnant and stifle development - the USSR/Russia, China, etc.

The point is China was the center of learning and culture in the world at the time. None of your so-called anarchist societies come close to the cultural and technological achievements of societies that had the governments that you despise so much.

No, actually that was never your point. What you claimed was that China was able to resist foreign invasion because of government. It wasn't. It was able to assimilate foreign invaders because of culture.

Take also the example of British desertion during the American revolution. The colonies were very libertarian and laissez-faire, government being absent from the lives of most people, and yet their culture of liberty, freedom and prosperity threatened to assimilate vast numbers of the soldiers sent to subdue them.

Government does not generate culture. Private individuals do. Great literary and artistic works, for instance, are rarely (if ever) created by government institutions.

The government created the stable space that allowed the culture to flourish.

I find it laughable that you would even suggest that China was "stable" with the countless wars, revolutions, rebellions and massacres that country has suffered. I don't know how you can keep a straight face when you call China "stable" and Somalia "ruled by warlords." You really draw your conclusions first and then find facts to fit them, don't you?

More to the point, if you examine Chinese history you'll find that in the massacres and purges, the intellectuals and artists were invariably amongst the first to be killed. How did the Chinese State encourage culture by murdering the cultured?

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You miss my point completely. For a long time, the North American government has been laissez-faire and minimal, and has taken very little interest in the private affairs of citizens and the economy. Compare this to Latin America, where governments have been very regulatory and very interventionist, and thus the correlation clearly is between less intrusive government and more peace and prosperity, and not vice-versa as you contend.

We are really arguing past each other. I do not dispute that a government that interferes less in the private economy is generally a better government. What is at issue is the extreme view which you take where you insist that there is never a need for a group of people to collectively manage some of the things that affect their lives.

Take the example of Somalia: the village collectively pays for the protection to the mercenaries - every member of the village would have to pay their share or suffer consequences imposed by the village. Most likely the mercenaries regularly threaten anyone who did not want to pay with violence. Furthermore, the village needs a leader to speak for the village and has an unwritten 'constitution' that helps them decide who it should be. There are likely many other features of the Somali society that work exactly like a government on a small scale. I fail to see how this arrangement is any less coercive than the democratic government that we have today in Canada.

Furthermore, the fact that the village has arranged for protection on behalf of all members of the village in return for for 'taxes' gives each member of that village the freedom to live without fear of violence. The entire economy of the village depends on the fact that the mercenaries prevent other mercenaries from stealing their production.

If you want to insist on calling the mercenaries 'service providers' instead of 'government officials' then I can call all Canadian policeman, firemen and soldiers 'service providers'. There is no difference except in the scale.

I will even go further: the government we have in Canada works just like one big corporation where we as a society have given a exclusive contract to for the provision of certain services. There is nothing inherently wrong about granting one service provider an exclusive contract if you believe it delivers the best value. It is also reasonable to debate whether or not that exclusive contract is in our best interest. More importantly, democracy gives us the tools to take away those monopolies away at any time by electing politicians that agree with that view.

Actually, an objective look at human history will show you that the greatest advances in human civilization happened precisely when government retreated and relaxed its controls: revolutionary America, industrial Britain, renaissance Italy etc. Societies with strong governments are invariably stagnant and stifle development - the USSR/Russia, China, etc..

In all cases, these societies had a government that exercised some control over the society.

1) The industrial revolution in Britain would not have happened without overseas trade and overseas trade would not have been so profitable without the Royal Navy. Here is quote:

For over half of the eighteenth century Britain was at war, principally against France. The number of seamen and the fleet of ships increased so rapidly that the Royal Navy became the largest industrial enterprise in Europe. The British government used its ability to raise taxes and loans to support its aggressive military policies and, combined with technical prowess meant that by 1815 Britain had achieved dominance of the oceans.

As the number of ships increased so did the number of naval dockyards. These were the special work yards where ships were built, fitted out for their voyages and repaired when necessary. The naval yards offered unrivalled productivity and efficiency, enabling Britain's Merchant and Royal navies to be more effective forces in developing trade and empire.

2) Revolutionary America was all about setting up their own government. Here is a quote from the declaration of independence:
...That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government....

The signatories to that document would have considered you a lunatic if you suggested there was not a need for any government.

3) Renaissance Italy was a collection of city-states that had governments that were run by either the Church, a small group of wealth nobles or outright monarchies. Here is a quote:

The forms of government that the various city-states assumed was as varied as the number of states. The Kingdom of Naples, consisting of the entire southern half of the Italian peninsula, was a standard monarchy. Milan and Savoy, however, were autonomous duchies; the area around Rome and the northeastern Italian peninsula, Romagna, were a series of semi-autonomous states under the control of the popeā€”the Papal States. The popes of the later middle ages and the Italian Renaissance could scarcely be considered churchmen; drawn from the nobility, they were ruthless politicians whose central goal was the expansion of their political power. Finally, Venice and Florence were republics, nominally ruled by senates but in reality ruled by a small group of nobility and wealthy capitalists.
Government is an inevitable part of human society. Good government: like in Italy, Britain and America created the environment that enabled human progress. Bad government in the USSR, 20th Century China, Nazi Germany held people back.
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What is at issue is the extreme view which you take where you insist that there is never a need for a group of people to collectively manage some of the things that affect their lives.

I never said anything of the sort. There are a great many mechanisms and institutions for people to take collective action. The free market is, in fact, the greatest and most efficient method yet discovered for people to take collective action, but there are also companies, families, charities, churches, clubs, unions, etc.

What I reject is the only collective institution that uses coercion and violence as its sole tools: government.

If you want to insist on calling the mercenaries 'service providers' instead of 'government officials' then I can call all Canadian policeman, firemen and soldiers 'service providers'. There is no difference except in the scale.

Fine by me. The difference is that the Canadian State will react violently to anybody who attempts to compete with Canadian policemen, firemen and soldiers.

I will even go further: the government we have in Canada works just like one big corporation where we as a society have given a exclusive contract to for the provision of certain services.

If we can grant that contract, then that assumes "we" also own everything and everyone since you can't make an agreement over something that isn't yours. How does that work? Do I own one thirty-millionth of you? In which case, nobody could take any kind of action, because you would only own one-thirty-millionth of yourself and you'd need to take a referendum for approval to use the bathroom or blow your nose.

The industrial revolution in Britain would not have happened without overseas trade and overseas trade would not have been so profitable without the Royal Navy.

You put the horse before the cart. You assume that the development of a merchant marine created a vast increase in production. Logically, this cannot be correct. A merchant marine is only created because of expanding production at home and increased demand overseas. If there had been no industrial revolution and no increased production, all those shipyards would have either made more military ships or fallen idle. You don't buy facilities and transportation for things you don't have, nor does possessing such facilities and transportation somehow create the things they are used for. Owning a truck does not create things to put in that truck, does it?

Revolutionary America was all about setting up their own government... Renaissance Italy was a collection of city-states that had governments that were run by either the Church, a small group of wealth nobles or outright monarchies.

I don't know if your strawmen are born out of deceit or ignorance. Never did I argue that these societies were anarchist. I argued that where the grip of government receded, as it did in Britain, America and Italy (which your sources do not dispute, I might add) great progress was made.

Basically, you're arguing against a point I never made and wasting both our time. You need to read my posts more carefully before firing off badly-aimed broadsides.

Government is an inevitable part of human society.

It wasn't inevitable in Iceland or Holy Experiment Pennsylvania. The whole idea of "inevitability" is that it's inescapable and there are no exceptions, like death. If there are exceptions, and there have been escapes, it's not inevitable, is it?

Good government: like in Italy, Britain and America created the environment that enabled human progress. Bad government in the USSR, 20th Century China, Nazi Germany held people back.

For "good" you can invariably substitute "weak", "laissez-faire" or "minimal." For "bad" you can invariably substitute "strong", "interventionist" or "controlling." You also contradict yourself. First you say that less government is better, but then that government creates an environment for progress. If that were true, more government would have to be better since it could create more of a progressive environment.

If less government is better - and you admit this at first in your post - at what point does this trend suddenly and inexplicably reverse itself, and beyond what point does less government become worse? And why?

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I can understand that you would once again feel uncomfortable in discussing something with me, Hugo. It must be disconcerting to have the fantasy world you mix with your "Libertarianism" exposed.

I doubt that Professor Rummel ever claimed the figures you present as genocides in China. If he did, then he must have been in his dotage. To pick just one of the 85 percenters, it would be the equivalent of the present government of China murdering around one billion of its citizens. It would seem that China did that or equally nonsensical things several times.

Of course, it would, if true, solve a problem that has vexed demographic historians. That is the question of how many people have lived on Planet Earth since the first. A number that if calculated backwards would be far greater than it could have been to arrive at the current population.

For India, I do not get my information from one Web page. You will find articles in many newspapers and serious magazines confirming what I said. I also have quite close connections with some from India and who do business with India.

'

For Latin America, apart from what anyone who can read would know, I have family there and information through them from American Embassies. A reading of even elementary history texts would show the absurdity of your claims.

Renaissance Italy had strong government: even absolutist governments. As did the England of Shakespeare which had gone through five centuries of the strenghtening of government. The decline in Britain of the seventeenth/eighteenth century coincided with the retreat of government.

You confuse yourself with your ideas of minimal government and strong government. What you should be referring to is democratic government, authoritian government, and totalitarian government. In those terms, there is some justice for your beliefs.

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I doubt that Professor Rummel ever claimed the figures you present as genocides in China.

Try here. Scroll down to the point where he discusses pre-20th Century China. He actually makes the distinction between what you might call secondary deaths, from famine and other consequences of endemic warfare, and between actual executions. The 90-150m figure is executions. The much larger figures include deliberate famine and so forth.

You will find articles in many newspapers and serious magazines confirming what I said. I also have quite close connections with some from India and who do business with India.

Again, I know I waste my time asking for a source - you never have one.

For Latin America, apart from what anyone who can read would know, I have family there and information through them from American Embassies.

Again, I know I waste my time asking for a source - you never have one.

A reading of even elementary history texts would show the absurdity of your claims.

Ha ha ha! I remember when it once finally came to light that some of these "elementary history texts" of yours turned out to be, in fact, novels and works of fiction. I suppose we can assume the same here? Your "elementary texts" on Latin America are Desperado, El Mariachi, Once Upon a Time in Mexico - and if you want to get really intellectual, maybe Man on Fire? What's your source on India - the Jungle Book, and I mean the Walt Disney rather than the Rudyard Kipling version? Did Baloo the Bear give you your information, or was it perhaps Bagheera the Panther? Don't trust that Shere Khan, though, Eureka - he lies!

The decline in Britain of the seventeenth/eighteenth century coincided with the retreat of government.

What decline was that - the one that you repeatedly failed to prove in another thread and finally gave up when forced to admit that you were pitting novels against historical and economic texts and were getting nothing but disagreement from other posters?

What's your point anyway, that when governments control less the economy goes into decline and standards of living drop? I suppose you contend that the USSR should have been a paradise of plenty and happiness compared to the relative poverty and misery in the USA, then?

You confuse yourself with your ideas of minimal government and strong government.

Go read Hans-Hermann Hoppe's work on time-preference. He makes a strong case that authoritarian government is more responsible and forward-thinking than democratic government. A democracy only has to worry about the next 8 years or so, after that, the country can go down the toilet for all they care. A king has to steward his country for his heirs.

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I had already looked at that, Hugo. The good professor makes a lot of assumptions in his population estimates that are not to be found in histories of China. Also, some of the population declines he posits took place over long periods of time. The accuracy of his figures is very questionable since they are too detailed to be believable.

The source for information on India and South America is very readily available to you, Hugo. Just get your eyes adjusted to something other than the snow blindness of Iceland and look at the real world. All that in economic matters is there to be seen daily. Or is the news really too horrible for you to heed. Besides, you are really too absurd in your claims about both of those. Interesting that you know all those cheap novels. Have you ever read Borges or are you exclusively into potboilers and comics?

I see you did not learn your lesson from the last time we crossed swords on the history of England. Then I left you to stew out of boredom with your fantasies and frustration over your stupidity. A stupidity that always shows through when the facade of intellectualism begins to crack in the face of reality. If you want to renew that, I will be happy to oblige. Only you will have to get your historical sequences in order first.

What's your point anyway, that when governments control less the economy goes into decline and standards of living drop? I suppose you contend that the USSR should have been a paradise of plenty and happiness compared to the relative poverty and misery in the USA, then?

This is pretty pathetic, Hugo, even for you. I did not even suggest such things though you are claiming opposites. There need not be any correlation to the levels of government though history has shown no examples of prosperous nations without an effective government structure - none at all. You also know what I have said about the USSR and where I have tried to get it into your head that a blanket condemnation of central control of an economy is no argument without considering where the control went wrong.

I see no relevance of Hoppe to this argument. You spoke of governments in terms of their bloody records and made a false claim that the records were a function of the extent of involvement of government with nation.. I answered that you would be more correct to blame authoritarian or totalitarian governments. Is that so hard to understand.

Democratic governments do have to think only a short time ahead, in a generalising way. Authoritarian governments do have the advantage in organisation and economic planning. That also is short term. For all sorts of reasons related to human nature that there is no need to examine here, those characteristics of government are not permanent or even very long term. As I said, India is not far behinf China in growth rates and will, I think, surpass China in the not very distant future.

No wonder Sweal used to blow his top after you failed in your arguments and resorted to attempted putdowns and mythology.

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