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Rather that choosing to dispute his figures and methodology, I will freely admit certain gov'ts have killed millions.

So, I would be correct in assuming that you concede the point but wish to quibble over the fine details?

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Dear Hugo,

I will gladly concede the point that certain gov'ts, driven by certain ideologies, have directly or indirectly been the cause of death for millions. What I will not concede is that causing death is the purpose for, or primary function of, a gov't. Nor is it, as Rummel claims, the purpose of gov't to have 'flagrant disregard for people's basic needs'.

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Guest eureka

Just to revert to the insurance assertions, I would say that it surprises me how little you two know of the industry. Particularly Hugo who, I would have thought had made the industry part of his study in markets.

The industry is indeed heavily regulated. The regulation, however, is all on the side of consumer protection. In auto, the main item of general ignorance, rates have to be approved by the Provincial superintendents. Companies cannot "gouge." The other major control is in the mandated types and ratios of reserves that Insurance companies must hold in order to ensure solvency.

The, Canada, along with Australia, has been the most competitive market in the world for 30 or 40 years now. Virtually all insurance companies have lost money on theor insurance transactions for most of that time. They have been kept afloat and some mildy profitable, by investment income.

Rates, in the controlled facets are set with a projected loss ratio plus administration and a small profit margin (used to be 6%). Competition wiped out the profit margin.

Areas that are not controlled in rates and where rates are judgement matters, have been the subject of fierce competition for the same period of time with the same effect on profit margins.

Not much to do with land ownership but it might help you to straighten out your thinking - even about ICBC where your claims about their unresponsiveness are erroneous.

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Dear eureka,

EDMONTON (CP) — Auto insurance rates will begin dropping in Alberta on April 1 by as much as seven per cent.

"This is a first step," said Finance Minister Shirley McClellan. "By October we will have the complete reduction."

Insurance companies that currently cover about 50 per cent of the Alberta auto insurance market have agreed to rate drops of between four per cent and seven per cent in the wake of a massive profit report for 2004.

This was taken today off of autonet.ca

Good news about the drop. Incidentally, my numbers do appear to be wrong, but there isn't really that many auto insurers in Alberta. I did a google search of 'alberta insurance companies' and on something else, and I was a bit surprised. I do believe that I was told (by an insurance broker) that the 'super-underwriter' is Lloyds. (not 'of London', I believe, but I could be wrong)

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Guest eureka

Out of interest, TF, Lloyds is made up of hundreds of syndicates with thousands of members. Each member is individually liable: it is not a corporation. Lloyds underwrites some things directly and it also functions as a reinsurer. It is a "super-underwriter" only with respect to its sheer size. It also insures many things that companies will not touch since rarity gives no spread of risk. Llloyds gets this kind of risk from everywhere and is virtually the only place with experience in odd things and the volume to treat them as a class.

I don't really know much about Alberta insurers now, but when I was there, twenty odd years ago, there were dozens who carried auto insurance. There have been a number of mergers and that might account for a reduction.

My post was not intended to be critical. It just surprises me how so many people have no knowledge of something that is so omnipresent in their lives and it is something that I know, or used to, something about.

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I will gladly concede the point that certain gov'ts, driven by certain ideologies, have directly or indirectly been the cause of death for millions.

So then you concede my point, which is that States are far more murderous than private citizens. Compare the worst States to the worst private murderers, the States are far worse. Compare the best States to the most upright citizens, the States are far worse again. Therefore I think it a very silly point to claim that we need States to protect us from private citizens.

What I will not concede is that causing death is the purpose for, or primary function of, a gov't.

Ultimately, murder is the only tool of a State. We have been over this already.

But how long can you hold title in the absence of general recognition of your claim of right? And what security do you have to pass your title to your heirs absent the rule of law?

These questions have already been answered in the thread I linked to, and I won't waste bandwidth here by repeating myself unnecessarily.

The industry is indeed heavily regulated. The regulation, however, is all on the side of consumer protection.

It does not seem to be working.

Looking into the history of State intervention, this should not be surprising. Welfare schemes make people poorer and provide disincentives to work, minimum wage laws render poor workers unemployed, international interventions for peace create bloody wars, police forces fail to appreciably reduce crime, and ideas conceived as restraints on State power (divine right, constitutions) are transformed into excuses for the expansion of State power.

Anyway, from what I have read it doesn't all seem to be about consumer protection. For instance, in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec your right to sue for damages not covered by your insurer is severely curtailed by government legislation. This would seem to protect the guilty at the expense of the innocent and favour insurers (who would almost certainly have to cover these costs) at the expense of consumers. In Ontario and Quebec, one's own insurer is also forced to pay for damages that weren't your fault and cannot pursue the instigator's insurer. This does not seem right either.

Not much to do with land ownership but it might help you to straighten out your thinking - even about ICBC where your claims about their unresponsiveness are erroneous.

I'll freely admit that that is anecdotal evidence taken from friends in BC. But I find it hard to believe that it's just a coincidence that all the people I know in BC have had bad experiences with the ICBC.

From the Insurance Bureau of Canada: " In Manitoba, Saskatchewan and BC, consumers have no choice but to buy their insurance from the provincial government. (Some optional coverages can be purchased from private insurance companies). In Quebec, insurance for bodily injury must be purchased from the government. In some cases, these government-run systems appear to be better for the consumer because they have lower premiums. However, the reality is that consumers in government-run systems end up paying more in hidden fees and penalties."

It just surprises me how so many people have no knowledge of something that is so omnipresent in their lives and it is something that I know, or used to, something about.

I am interested in learning more about the industry. It's hard to find Canadian-specific information, as with so many other things, what's on the web generally refers to American practices.

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Dear Hugo,

Therefore I think it a very silly point to claim that we need States to protect us from private citizens.
We need laws for that, and state power to ultimately back it up.
What I will not concede is that causing death is the purpose for, or primary function of, a gov't.

Ultimately, murder is the only tool of a State. We have been over this already.

Yes we have, and also determined that murder is the only tool of 'land ownership' and 'rights'.
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We need laws for that, and state power to ultimately back it up.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Yes we have, and also determined that murder is the only tool of 'land ownership' and 'rights'.

Right, but what you are saying is "give the power and right to murder to one group of people, said group being solely responsible for enforcing everybody else's rights." Does that not sound totally ridiculous to you? Isn't it just begging to be tyrannized?

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Dear Hugo,

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Ultimately, the law itself. There was a great 'adult comic book' I read a number of years ago, called 'The Watchmen', which dealt with, among other things, vigilantism, state power, and ends justifying means. A very interesting read, I hope you get a chance to peruse it.
Right, but what you are saying is "give the power and right to murder to one group of people, said group being solely responsible for enforcing everybody else's rights." Does that not sound totally ridiculous to you? Isn't it just begging to be tyrannized?
Ultimately, Hugo, I contend that 'rights' are bestowed, so really our best choice is to have the most say in deciding which group that will be doing the bestowing. As August1991's favourite quote about democracy goes, (according to Winnie Churchill)..."Democracy is a terrible way to decide things, but it is better than all the others." If one is invaded or overcome by force of arms, you get no choice whatsoever as to what 'rights' you will be bestowed, whether the invader is Communist Cambodia or the Mafia. The only way to 'maximize your input' as to what rights you may or may not have is through democratic gov't.
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Ultimately, the law itself.

"The law" is a non-acting agent. Therefore, quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

There was a great 'adult comic book' I read a number of years ago, called 'The Watchmen'

Is this a joke?

Ultimately, Hugo, I contend that 'rights' are bestowed, so really our best choice is to have the most say in deciding which group that will be doing the bestowing.

Why do we need one group to do the bestowing? If your rights-theory is correct, then it's delusional even to believe that one group could bestow rights any more than anyone else could - even if they were granted some right to it, which according to you, doesn't really mean anything anyway!

As August1991's favourite quote about democracy goes, (according to Winnie Churchill)..."Democracy is a terrible way to decide things, but it is better than all the others."

Actually, Churchill said that democracy was the worst form of government, apart from all the rest. I believe he was right.

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Dear Hugo,

There was a great 'adult comic book' I read a number of years ago, called 'The Watchmen'

Is this a joke?

Perhaps if I called it a 'graphic novel in the philosophy genre', you might check it out. Really though, it was only a reference to ' Who's watching the Watchmen?', a line that appears in the book.
"The law" is a non-acting agent. Therefore, quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
The makers and keepers of the law must watch them. That would be, ideally, the people who elect and empower the makers of the law.
Why do we need one group to do the bestowing? If your rights-theory is correct, then it's delusional even to believe that one group could bestow rights any more than anyone else could - even if they were granted some right to it, which according to you, doesn't really mean anything anyway!
No, Hugo, it is perfectly logical and consistent with my 'rights' theory. All groups, and individuals, bestow rights. Whether one group 'could' or 'would' bestow more or less 'rights' is irrelevant.
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Perhaps if I called it a 'graphic novel in the philosophy genre', you might check it out. Really though, it was only a reference to ' Who's watching the Watchmen?', a line that appears in the book.

Call me stuck-up, but I seriously doubt I'd find anything intellectually fresh and original in a comic book. Especially about the problems of policing the police, to an anarchist.

The makers and keepers of the law must watch them. That would be, ideally, the people who elect and empower the makers of the law.

The makers and keepers of the law will not watch themselves. They have no reason to and every reason not to. As to those who elect and empower them, that's pretty much an illusion. A State can suspend democracy at leisure. Lincoln, Roosevelt, Churchill, Trudeau, Martin, etc.

So basically, you either assume that 1) the police will police themselves or 2) the police will allow themselves to be controlled when it is fully within their power to escape control. The State will be policed as long as the State feels that it is expedient to allow itself to be policed. Hardly reassuring. That's like stating that we should imprison Charles Manson until he feels he should be released.

No, Hugo, it is perfectly logical and consistent with my 'rights' theory. All groups, and individuals, bestow rights. Whether one group 'could' or 'would' bestow more or less 'rights' is irrelevant.

No, it's the crux of the matter, for you are saying that we need one particular group to be the final arbiter of rights!

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Dear Hugo,

for you are saying that we need one particular group to be the final arbiter of rights
That one group will forever be 'the one who is not you'. What I am saying that some are fortunate enough to be able to choose which group that is. Some, such as the Jews in Nazi Germany, did not have a choice.

Even as an anarchist, because you empowered (or employed) them(private police) to be the 'final arbiter of rights', you have not, nor cannot escape the fact that someone else must bestow 'rights' upon you. You just seem to want the ability to pay for their favour (and whatever 'rights' package they may have for sale, as close to yours as you can get) on the open market. Or, we can choose one that tries to give equal 'rights' to all. Neither will be perfect, both can be dangerous. I think it would be folly to assume that you could control that 'private army' (or police force) just because you pay them.

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Even as an anarchist, because you empowered (or employed) them(private police) to be the 'final arbiter of rights', you have not, nor cannot escape the fact that someone else must bestow 'rights' upon you.

Yes, and I'd rather that I had something of a choice in who that someone was, rather than having that someone arbitrarily impose it upon me without my having any say in the matter.

Or, we can choose one that tries to give equal 'rights' to all.

That's possible now? I'd like to know when and where this has happened, because I certainly have never heard of it before!

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Dear Hugo,

QUOTE

Or, we can choose one that tries to give equal 'rights' to all.

That's possible now? I'd like to know when and where this has happened, because I certainly have never heard of it before!

Then you haven't been paying attention. It has always been possible, but few, as of yet, wielded both the overwhelming force (to become the arbiter of rights) and benevolent selflessness. As I said, if someone would 'rule the country' with only the same benefits and equal privations as those they govern as their reward, you might see it come to fruition. The problem is, we only have humans to choose from.
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Then you haven't been paying attention. It has always been possible, but few, as of yet, wielded both the overwhelming force (to become the arbiter of rights) and benevolent selflessness.

If they were able to wield overwhelming force to apply equal rights to all then the rights would not be equal, because the arbiter would not fall under them.

As I said, if someone would 'rule the country' with only the same benefits and equal privations as those they govern as their reward, you might see it come to fruition.

To 'rule the country' means that you cannot have the same benefits and equal privations as everyone else. As I had said before, the existence of government requires a double standard in law or rights. Basically, the State must be able to do what private citizens are forbidden to.

Therefore, you now understand my mock amazement. Equal rights for all, even if achieveable, is never achieveable under government since it is an inherent self-contradiction. A government to ensure equal rights for all is like getting rich by giving away all your material goods and money. Basically, whimsical nonsense.

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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.

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