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How is ostracism going to affect a company like Pfizer or Nike, for example?

Because they depend upon customers and shareholders. The dot-com bust proved that you can't keep making a loss forever. Enron proved that a mighty giant can be felled in a matter of hours on the free market.

Basically, if a company is being inefficient or doing things that displease customers (or which are likely to produce inefficiency or displeasure in the future), stockholders will pull out and invest in competitors. This produces the double whammy of reduced capital which is reduced far more relative to the competition. A company in this situation doesn't stay competitive for long and, due to lack of investment, will produce higher-priced and worse-quality goods than its competitors, and consumers will desert it - assuming they haven't anyway because of their disgust at their practices.

It isn't always the case that the most money will win out. Dell, for instance, recently closed cheaper call centres in India and re-opened American ones, because consumers were unhappy talking to Indians.

Without a gov't regulatory body, they would laugh at any attempt to collect arbitrarily inposed fines by the general populace.

They don't need arbitrary fines. In the case of Enron, once news broke of the corruption stockholders deserted them as fast as they could sell. The stock was in freefall and, by the time the government even read the news, Enron was doomed as a company. The executives and accountants involved were ruined and will never work in their fields again. All the employees have to endure at least temporary unemployment. I think it would be very hard to find a harsher punishment for a company than this.

Pfizer has many copyrights to drugs that would be needed by millions

I reject the notion of copyright.

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Dear Hugo,

I reject the notion of copyright.
You must be joking. If not, who are you and what have you done with the real Hugo?....the same Hugo that champions 'property rights' as the fundamental moral base of humanity....

Are you suggesting that any inventor, in order to see 'royalties', must also become the manufacturer and distributor? Faster and cheaper and better than the cheap knock-offs? So that a distribution company or outlet source would have to choose between 40 different 'Nike Shoes' companies that copied the logo?

Anyone who could think that this is a viable alternative to copyright laws must be (to borrow a line from BlackAdder) "Madder than 'Mad Mac' Mc Madd, winner of last years 'maddest madman' competition".

It isn't always the case that the most money will win out
No, just most of the time.
Dell, for instance, recently closed cheaper call centres in India and re-opened American ones, because consumers were unhappy talking to Indians.
I don't know that this was worded all that well. I too, had a recent call routed to India. I asked where the nearest location was in relation to my business for something, some product or service, as I recall, and the answer was "I don't know, I'm in India". It didn't make me 'dislike talking to Indians', but rather made me think 'some idiot up the line should be fired'.
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Having read through this thread and the thread on Hitler, I'll take up this quote above as the key one:

If condos are governments, then so are priests, teachers, corporate managers - heck, everyone is a government, because we all buy things and hire people and when we do so, we tell them what to do.

So, basically, you believe that government is indispensible because every human being is a government. Not much of an argument, is it?

Hugo, if you will, marriage is government.

When a person accepts marriage, they are signing a contract with many unknown terms to be defined. Ultimately, they are accepting now to be coerced in the future. (True, people sometimes reject this and divorce.)

Why do people marry? Because many of the services provided through marriage are imperfectly available through markets. The choice is between imperfect single-life and coercive marriage.

Hugo, you may argue that people voluntarily choose to marry, and hence marriage is not coercive. But it is. I think the critical idea is that people accept a contract with unspecified terms, subject to future definition.

Now then, if you want to call a marriage a "voluntary association because I can leave at any minute", go ahead and continue to believe your fiction. I'm intrigued by another question. What services do we contract through markets and what services do we obtain through marriage?

Here, I think I disagree with Sparhawk who seems to believe that government makes everything else all possible. To carry the marriage analogy further, "government" has become a domineering spouse and we now believe the hectoring: "Where would you be without me?"

Worse, government does not do the things it is designed to do and tries to do the things it can't. We've got a couple who takes separate vacations but persists in giving each other terrible haircuts.

I reject the notion of copyright.
You must be joking. If not, who are you and what have you done with the real Hugo?....the same Hugo that champions 'property rights' as the fundamental moral base of humanity....
I'll make the same point, if less humourously.

Hugo, you are in favour of homesteading but not copyright? How about patents, or trademarks? Hugo, how is one to notify others that one "owns" something? [since to you the word "government" is anathema, some other agency could define intellectual property but surely you are not against the principle.]

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Just as a grant of monopoly generally leads to stagnation and price-gouging, so a monopoly on violence leads to extortion. Consider how many laws there are on the books today that really punish no transgressions nor avenge any victims, but just serve as glorified shake-downs for the State: motorcycle helmet laws, speeding/drunk driving laws, drug laws, zoning laws, minimum wages, labour regulations, trade protectionism etc. In all of these cases there's no victim and no rights-violation.

As well, when the police do intervene, they do so sporadically which is highly unfair. A drinker has no problem consuming alcohol, but a pot-smoker may be dogged all his life by a criminal record. A pot-smoker may encounter few problems in Vancouver, but be in trouble in Calgary.

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Dear Cartman,

A drinker has no problem consuming alcohol, but a pot-smoker may be dogged all his life by a criminal record. A pot-smoker may encounter few problems in Vancouver, but be in trouble in Calgary.
Well, if you saw 'Reefer Madness', you'd know why. Certainly don't want those 'crazed reefer addicts' roaming the streets. I'm surprised no one has suggested a similar approach with 'the pot' as with heroin, and those needle boxes they have in downtown Calgary. Perhaps a giant ashtray should be installed to collect all the 'roaches' to make our streets safer...
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You must be joking. If not, who are you and what have you done with the real Hugo?....the same Hugo that champions 'property rights' as the fundamental moral base of humanity....

Property rights exist for one reason: material resources are scarce and there are not enough on the planet to satisfy all human want-needs, therefore, we need rules to allocate them. Property rights are those rules.

We need no such rules for metaphysical things, however, because they are not scarce. How many people know the Happy Birthday To You song, and is there anything preventing somebody else from learning it right now?

Are you suggesting that any inventor, in order to see 'royalties', must also become the manufacturer and distributor?

Yes. All ideas are useless until successfully developed using capital and marketed. Hero invented the steam engine before the birth of Christ, but for it to become useful, we had to wait until James Watt marketed it properly.

If the inventor cannot successfully manufacture and distribute his idea, somebody else will run with it and do it for the benefit of humanity. For instance, although they never invented transistors, the Japanese were the first to find a really good use for them.

So that a distribution company or outlet source would have to choose between 40 different 'Nike Shoes' companies that copied the logo?

Logos and trademarks are a slightly different matter. It can be argued that the Nike logo, or the CK logo, or any similar design is a promise to the consumer that the product was designed and created by certain people. If it really wasn't, then it is a case of fraud, just as if I'd sold a car saying that it had a V6 engine when it really had an inline-4.

Anyone who could think that this is a viable alternative to copyright laws must be (to borrow a line from BlackAdder) "Madder than 'Mad Mac' Mc Madd, winner of last years 'maddest madman' competition".

Then you must be contending that absolutely nothing of any worth was written, painted or invented before the 17th Century, when the first copyright laws came into effect?

No, just most of the time.

It'll win out as long as consumers want it to. If they value low prices over anything else, then the company that can slash prices the most will win out, at least temporarily as everything in the market is. If they don't then I'd expect things like Fair Trade Coffee to do much better.

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Hugo, if you will, marriage is government.

Yes, August, marriage is government. Priests are government. Your boss is government. Buy a soda, you've got a government.

When a person accepts marriage, they are signing a contract with many unknown terms to be defined.

What if the Catholic Church changes something dear to you after you become a member of the congregation? What if your boss changes the conditions of your labour after you sign? What if the soda turns out to be revolting?

Ultimately, they are accepting now to be coerced in the future.

I keep repeating this and you persist in ignoring it: if you consent to it, it isn't coercion! If come up to you in the street and cut you with a knife, it's coercive. If you pay a surgeon to cut you with a knife, it isn't. The same act, but one has advance consent and is therefore not an act of coercion.

Because many of the services provided through marriage are imperfectly available through markets.

But marriage is a market. It's even possible to construct models for the marriage market. Did you even read Gary Becker, who I referred you to several times now?

Hugo, you are in favour of homesteading but not copyright? How about patents, or trademarks? Hugo, how is one to notify others that one "owns" something? [since to you the word "government" is anathema, some other agency could define intellectual property but surely you are not against the principle.]

I find nothing worth defending in the notion of intellectual property. It is just another government grant of monopoly. Without government I don't believe it could exist.

As well, when the police do intervene, they do so sporadically which is highly unfair.

That's true. The law is essentially a lottery. Some people get punished, some don't. Some people get punished differently for the same crime. Cops are also free to ignore certain crimes. For instance, my mother-in-law recently backed into somebody coming out of her driveway. The cop looked the other way. My wife did the same thing three weeks later and the cop gave her a $120 ticket (which she successfully fought).

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Property rights exist for one reason: material resources are scarce and there are not enough on the planet to satisfy all human want-needs, therefore, we need rules to allocate them. Property rights are those rules.
The vast majority of the 'wealth' produced by people in society today has no physical form. A musician who plays music in a concert satisfies a very important human need. If there intrinsic value in a live performance of a musician why isn't their intrinsic value in the recording of the same musician?
Hugo, you are in favour of homesteading but not copyright? How about patents, or trademarks? Hugo, how is one to notify others that one "owns" something?
I find nothing worth defending in the notion of intellectual property. It is just another government grant of monopoly. Without government I don't believe it could exist.
Owning land is an equally abstract, government granted monopoly as well. You could put a stake in the ground somewhere and say it is yours but that is stake has no meaning unless other people acknowledge it has meaning. You could resort to violence to protect your 'claim', however, you are much better off being part of social organization that defines what land ownership means and will protect you rights to that land according to certain rules. If a social organization can define what land ownership means it can define what copyright means.
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The vast majority of the 'wealth' produced by people in society today has no physical form. A musician who plays music in a concert satisfies a very important human need. If there intrinsic value in a live performance of a musician why isn't their intrinsic value in the recording of the same musician?

Because the recording isn't scarce. It can be electronically duplicated many times over without anything being lost. Concert halls and stadiums, however, have limited seating capacities.

You should also note that the vast majority of a musician's money comes from live performances. They make next to nothing from record sales.

Owning land is an equally abstract, government granted monopoly as well. You could put a stake in the ground somewhere and say it is yours but that is stake has no meaning unless other people acknowledge it has meaning.

Yes, you've been over this before. People have no rights beyond what other people grant them. I don't believe a word of it, and the only other person on this forum who expressed any kind of agreement with you is now banned.

If a social organization can define what land ownership means it can define what copyright means.

You are ignoring the fact that land is scarce and "intellectual property" is not. If I own Staten Island, nobody else can own Staten Island. But if I know the Happy Birthday song, anybody else can know it as well.

Gary Becker and August do not seem compatible to me for some reason.

August refuses to acknowlege the arguments for marriage as a market. The market consists of various single people looking for certain qualities in others and willing to offer certain things of themselves in return. The market has transaction costs and the withdrawal from the market after the transaction is a cost. I have told all of this to August, and pointed him in the direction of more in-depth explanations, after which he merely comes back and says (in effect): "no, it's not a market." No explanation, no argument, nothing. He wants family to be a government not because he can make a case for it, but because it supports his prejudices i.e. the "rightness" of imposed government which he has never challenged in his own mind.

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Sparhawk, thank you for starting a new thread about "property" - I'll respond there later. Hugo, thank you for your responses.

August refuses to acknowlege the arguments for marriage as a market. The market consists of various single people looking for certain qualities in others and willing to offer certain things of themselves in return. The market has transaction costs and the withdrawal from the market after the transaction is a cost.
The world is filled with unhappily married people, and unhappy single people. So Hugo, if there is a "marriage market", it is clearly an "inefficient" market. (I'd say the marriage market lacks prices. And I don't know if a market without prices is really a market at all.)

Hugo, you seem enamoured by the word "market" but you would do well to think rather about the role of incentives, and more specifically the terms of trade - prices.

I have told all of this to August, and pointed him in the direction of more in-depth explanations, after which he merely comes back and says (in effect): "no, it's not a market." No explanation, no argument, nothing.
I'm sorry if my previous explanations were not more clear. Is my argument above more explicit?
He wants family to be a government not because he can make a case for it, but because it supports his prejudices i.e. the "rightness" of imposed government which he has never challenged in his own mind.
I have argued that government as we know it now will not exist in 500 years, just as modern government did not exist 500 years ago.
Yes, August, marriage is government. Priests are government. Your boss is government. Buy a soda, you've got a government.
Hugo, my point is that there are sometimes contracts with clear terms. (I verified the 12 eggs I bought this evening, the shop clerk verified the $50 bill I gave her.) There are other contracts (deals) which defy such explicit terms. Yet people nevertheless sign such contracts (they buy a pig in a poke). Marriage is an example. Employment is another. Government is still another.

People often say, in hindsight, "I never should have married her" or "I wish I had never met him". Why are there so many newspaper articles about asking for a raise, or how to fire an employee? And, Hugo, why do so many people talk about politics so much?

----

I think Cartman noted in another thread that people like to talk and be together. I agree. Individually, we understand that we benefit if we deal with others. But Hugo have you ever noted how difficult it is for some people to deal with others? (Judging by your posts on The Sweal banning thread, you have.)

I am very thankful for the person, several thousand years ago, who invented mathematics. Until math was invented, getting eggs was as complicated as you and Sweal dealing with one another on this forum. Because of math (prices, terms of trade), I can now get eggs easily.

Unfortunately, mathematics (markets with prices) do not solve every problem of cooperation. Family life and government are imperfect solutions when markets with prices don't work. I am curious to know when and how people use markets with prices and when they use marriage, government and/or corporations.

Hugo, if this sounds confusing, let me present the same idea differently. Sometimes relationships between people are voluntary, and sometimes they are involuntary. (Why does this distinction exist? How can any relationship be truly involuntary?) I am curious to know when and how (under what conditions) a person would voluntarily submit to an involuntary relationship?

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The world is filled with unhappily married people, and unhappy single people. So Hugo, if there is a "marriage market", it is clearly an "inefficient" market.

Not really. The unhappily married people have made a trade that they thought was in their best interests but really wasn't - kind of like when you buy a cheap product thinking you're getting a deal and later discover it's junk. The unhappy single people have not found a partner for exchange yet, basically, those they've met aren't interested in what they offer, or don't offer anything they're interested in.

Over time, a lot of people will make progressively more generous offers. This is the way a market works. Just because you don't see "Wife for sale, $10,000" does not mean there is no market.

I'm sorry if my previous explanations were not more clear. Is my argument above more explicit?

Not really. You have not demonstrated that there are no prices. If there were no prices, would that not mean there are no exchanges being made, i.e. no marriages ever happen? An exchange needs a price.

I have argued that government as we know it now will not exist in 500 years, just as modern government did not exist 500 years ago.

Why, and what's going to replace it?

Hugo, my point is that there are sometimes contracts with clear terms. (I verified the 12 eggs I bought this evening, the shop clerk verified the $50 bill I gave her.) There are other contracts (deals) which defy such explicit terms. Yet people nevertheless sign such contracts (they buy a pig in a poke). Marriage is an example. Employment is another. Government is still another.

No, it is not. Marriage, employment etc. have an explicit act of consent. With a marriage, you have a wedding. With employment, you turn up for work. With a restaurant, you sit down and order a meal. The outcomes of none of these events are certain, however, by your conscious act of consent you are arguably submitting to these uncertain outcomes. However, for you to be governed, you need make no agreement. It will be imposed on you regardless. You can make one if you like, by voting, however, it is delusional to think that the State really needs this act of consent - those who didn't vote are still taxed.

People often say, in hindsight, "I never should have married her" or "I wish I had never met him". Why are there so many newspaper articles about asking for a raise, or how to fire an employee? And, Hugo, why do so many people talk about politics so much?

This proves nothing except that people like to talk.

I am curious to know when and how people use markets with prices and when they use marriage, government and/or corporations.

I am curious to know when you are going to satisfactorily distinguish between marriage and markets. I'm also curious to know how or when you are going to distinguish the State from a very successful organized crime gang, and provide some justification for your view that we need to live under the thumb of criminals.

Sometimes relationships between people are voluntary, and sometimes they are involuntary. (Why does this distinction exist? How can any relationship be truly involuntary?) I am curious to know when and how (under what conditions) a person would voluntarily submit to an involuntary relationship?

Never. The voluntary nature negates any possibility of involuntaryism. What you have said is called an oxymoron: it combines logically opposite and self-contradictory terms. While interesting in prose it is logically invalid and cannot be used as the basis of any argument. You are asking something akin to "when could the nonexisting exist?" Answer: never. If it exists, it is no longer nonexisting.

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Government is necessary for the reason that individual rights exist only by law, which, of necessity, requires some form of rule for their protection and enforcement, in the absense of which we would have no rights at all.

Who says that one group in society needs to have total power to make law and enforce rights?

Anyway, this is old ground. Please read this thread and if you have anything to add after reading it, please do so. But to rehash it all is a waste of bandwidth.

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Dear Hugo,

QUOTE

They would, ultimately, be under the same threat of change by overwhelming force if they failed to maintain the status quo (of equality) as anyone else.

Catch-22. If a Government must impose rights for all, it must have the right to steal (tax) to support itself. Therefore, there will not be equal rights for all. If it does not tax, then people who wish to violate its decreed rights may do so since it will be optional, so there will not be equal rights for all.

There will (or could be) equal rights for all people, because the gov't is is a separate entity from 'people'. Mind you, 'people' make up the gov't, but this does not mean that those people should be exempt from the law. Then again, you claim that the 'gov't doesn't exist', yet it seems to be your 'arch-nemesis'. The 'people' in the gov't are tansitory, and so, subject to the same laws as anyone else. Gov't employees pay taxes, etc. just as anyone else.
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There will (or could be) equal rights for all people, because the gov't is is a separate entity from 'people'. Mind you, 'people' make up the gov't, but this does not mean that those people should be exempt from the law.

They are going to have to be, or they can't govern. To tax, for instance, they will have to be exempt from the laws of theft and robbery.

Why don't you address this point? A Government is made up of people. To have a Government needs a double standard in law. Popular approval wouldn't make private theft a non-crime in law, so why does popular approval make theft a non-crime when it is committed by agents of the Government?

To have a State, you need two bodies of law: one for the rulers, and one for the ruled. Therefore, there can be no equality of rights where a State exists. The former may do to the latter what the latter cannot do to the former.

Gov't employees pay taxes, etc. just as anyone else.

This is nothing more than the resurrection of your earlier strawman. You claimed that the double-standard in law was illusory because not all laws had a double standard, which was never my claim.

Now you claim that government employees pay taxes. They don't. Their entire income is derived from taxes, so if they pay taxes on that income, it basically means they are getting paid less, but still from exactly the same source: wealth expropriated from others. The idea of a government employee paying taxes is duplicitous chicanery, upon many other examples of which the popular acceptance of the State rests.

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Dear Hugo,

Popular approval wouldn't make private theft a non-crime in law, so why does popular approval make theft a non-crime when it is committed by agents of the Government?
Because popular approval solidifies (and bestows the right to) the overwhelming force to make it happen, with little or no opposition.
Why don't you address this point? A Government is made up of people. To have a Government needs a double standard in law.
Very well, Hugo, I will admit defeat on this point. Semantics clouds the issue, where you call it theft and I call it taxes. I must admit it is the forcible (or aquiescent, and in some extermely rare cases, voluntary) taking of someone else's 'property'. It is, or can only be, justified by 'ends justifying means'.

That being said, it is vital to gov't to use this tax money to run the gov't, (though the gov't shouldn't be so bloated, self-serving and wasteful), and it is vital to have a gov't to rule the people.

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Because popular approval solidifies (and bestows the right to) the overwhelming force to make it happen, with little or no opposition.

Why? If the individual lacks the right, why does the mob have the right? Mobs are made of individuals. If the individuals cannot fly, could the mob?

Basically, you're back to saying that might makes right. So, the only reason we have a State is because they control the greatest means to violence. We don't need them, and it is not objectively justifiable that they exist.

That being said, it is vital to gov't to use this tax money to run the gov't, (though the gov't shouldn't be so bloated, self-serving and wasteful), and it is vital to have a gov't to rule the people.

Why? You've conceded that government is made of people (and therefore will become self-serving) and that it steals to support itself, and the only reason that it exists is because it controls the means to force. Therefore, the government is basically a criminal gang, like the Mafia but more successful. So why do you support it? I assume you don't support the Mafia, so why support a criminal gang worse than the Mafia?

It is, or can only be, justified by 'ends justifying means'.

The means become part of the ends. When stealing, kidnapping and murdering are your means, how just can the ends be? Moreover, even assuming no objective idea of justice, how can the State claim that actions which it actually forbids can be just when it commits them?

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Guest eureka

Sorry that I have not had sufficient time to follow the thread, but the statement that "having government needs a double standard in law," caught my eye in a quick skimming.

Would it be asking too much for a short summay of the thinking behind that, or the sipport?

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Dear Hugo,

how can the State claim that actions which it actually forbids can be just when it commits them?
It has to do mostly with choice. The 'people' have chosen to empower the state with the 'right' to do these things, ostensibly on their behalf. It is a choice between 'rule of law' vs. 'mob rule'. The aquiesence of the 'people' allowing the use of overwhelming force to uphold said laws depends on how 'just' the majority feels the laws are. When you claim the police are 'kidnappers', there are rules that must be followed for said 'forcible confinement against one's will' to occur. Then again, some laws are 'more just' than others.

Consider the kidnapping and rape of a child. The rule of law (and the will of the 'people', at least the majority) dictates that the offender be tracked down and incarcerated. Mob rule wouldn't bother with incarceration, even if the offender offered no resistance. The offender would likely be lynched in short order. To avoid this, the 'rule of law' is meticulously observed (sometimes too much so, in favour of the offender).

Now, consider a case that happened to a friend of mine, some 20 years ago. He was caught with an open beer in public, and had 10 grams of hashish on his person. He tried to eat it, so the police put him in a choke-hold, ground his head and shoulder into the pavement, and bloodied him severely. He was eventually convicted of possession, was given a $200 fine and a criminal record (he got a pardon long ago).

Hardly comparable crimes, but the police only work with the laws that they are given. (I realize you claim that the laws are often not applied equally, and I believe you are right) .The point is that I believe we must have some laws, and that people's 'rights' must be revoked on occasion to uphold them.

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It has to do mostly with choice. The 'people' have chosen to empower the state with the 'right' to do these things, ostensibly on their behalf.

You're assuming your conclusion. If an individual cannot steal from, kidnap or kill another, why can he "empower the State" to do these things?

At what point do you have enough consent to make a crime a non-crime (assuming the victim never consents)? What's the magic number - how many people do you need to support you to make your violation of my rights just?

Consider the kidnapping and rape of a child. The rule of law (and the will of the 'people', at least the majority) dictates that the offender be tracked down and incarcerated. Mob rule wouldn't bother with incarceration, even if the offender offered no resistance. The offender would likely be lynched in short order.

You just finished telling me that the people - the mob - can empower a State to carry out justice. Now you are telling me they cannot carry out justice. If they can collectively empower someone else to mete out justice, why can't they collectively mete it out themselves? If you fear that turning justice over to the mob will result in injustices, why do you think that allowing the mob to pick a State to mete out justice will somehow not result in injustices?

Hardly comparable crimes, but the police only work with the laws that they are given. (I realize you claim that the laws are often not applied equally, and I believe you are right) .The point is that I believe we must have some laws, and that people's 'rights' must be revoked on occasion to uphold them.

I don't think that is correct at all. Review my summary of polycentric law. I also don't see how "we must have some laws" translates into "some people must be above the law."

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Dear Hugo,

You just finished telling me that the people - the mob - can empower a State to carry out justice. Now you are telling me they cannot carry out justice. If they can collectively empower someone else to mete out justice, why can't they collectively mete it out themselves? If you fear that turning justice over to the mob will result in injustices, why do you think that allowing the mob to pick a State to mete out justice will somehow not result in injustices?
Standardization. It is best (in my opinion) to have standardization of laws and punishment across the land, rather than different ones every few feet.
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Standardization. It is best (in my opinion) to have standardization of laws and punishment across the land, rather than different ones every few feet.

My first question is why you would therefore support a system that gives non-standard laws and punishments in the same geographical area, let alone every few feet. Not only do we have different laws for police officers, MPs, taxmen and private citizens, but the punishments meted out change at the whim of a judge which neither the prosecution nor the defence agreed to have hear the case, but which the State appointed (and we must also ask why the State appoints judges when it is also either the prosecution or, sometimes, the defence).

My second is how you have decided where the boundaries of law should end. Why not every few feet, but every few miles at municipal borders, or every few hundred at the provincial borders? Why every few thousand, at national borders (much less in Europe)? What's on these lines that says to you, "laws should change here" - or are you advocating One World Government?

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