Ep. 167 How Can a Free Society Handle Terrorism, Climate Change, and Quarantines?

12 December 2018     |     Tom Woods     |     56

Picking up where we left off in episode 162, we take on additional hard questions for libertarians: quarantines (for infectious/incurable diseases), terrorism, Somalia, and climate change.

Related Links

Catching Textbook Propagandists Red-Handed: Somalia Edition,” by Tom Woods
Somalia After State Collapse: Chaos or Improvement?,” by Benjamin Powell et al.
The Not So Wild, Wild West,” by Terry Anderson and P.J. Hill
Undercover DHS Tests Find Security Failures at US Airports
Why Torture Doesn’t Work” (Michael Malice video)

Related Books

The Not So Wild, Wild West: Property Rights on the Frontier, by Terry Anderson and PJ Hill
Anarchy Unbound: Why Self-Governance Works Better Than You Think, by Peter Leeson

Need More Episodes?

Tom and Bob have their own podcasts! Check out the Tom Woods Show, the Bob Murphy Show, and the Lara-Murphy Report.

The Contra Cruise!

Join us as we set sail for Alaska, July 5-12, 2019!

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  • Ludwig van El

    How would a statist society handle climate change? The way Obama did? By boasting that “CC is real’,
    then launching another penal expedition, causing huge amounts of CO2 belched out by the tanks, bombers, etc. Or like Dutch politics, where the parties that made the biggest fuzz about CC are the ones that most stubbornly refuse to solve the traffic jams (they’ve been occurring since ’66!)

    • GrayCat

      Um, . . . we’re in a statist society right now, which is the reason for all the bad things you cite.

      In a free (state-LESS) society, there would be no global “climate change” controversy; there would be no taxing powers to exploit.

      In a free (state-LESS) society, there would be no Obamas, no Bushes, no Trumps, no president or “Congress” or SCOTUS, no Air Force One, no over-arching, compulsory central government, no central bank, no forced “public transportation.”

      A free society based on private property is totally voluntary. No one rules. All is done by private enterprise, voluntary cooperation, true consent and “opt out” for any proposed community project. Communities are local and autonomous. No power to tax, so no coercion.

      You can easily find out more about how a free (state-LESS) society would work at mises[.]org, and right here on Tom’s site; just look in past episodes. And, don’t forget to look up the excellent books he and Mr. Murphy have authored.

      Another great place to start to understand “the state” versus a stateless society is to look up (free, online) Lysander Spooner’s works, especially “No Treason.”

      • The NAPster

        In a stateless society, if someone believes that their property is being damaged by carbon emissions generated by someone else, they would have to prove damage and causation in front of an independent arbitrator according to the laws (customs) adopted by the local community.

        In our stateful world, no one is ever required to prove cause and damage; it’s just asserted and assumed.

    • Galgus

      Just a nitpick, but who would use an interstate bike network?

      I think most Americans, myself included, enjoy not having to physically exert themselves to get from A to B slower.

      • Ludwig van El

        It’ll take time, but the cultural mindset may change. And people may enjoy a chance to get some exercise on your way to work / home..
        I’ve seen bike lanes in Miami (it might not catch on in Alaska). My point was: if you have hundreds of people (the prez, his family, some aids, congress people, senators, etc.) then at least one ought to be able come up with some ideas that could enable the people to achieve something nice, instead of browbeating the people for not taking tge alternative you failed to provide to them. So therrle is no reason to always resort to punishment, politicians’ favorite tool.

        • Galgus

          I highly doubt there would be a mass shift from comfortable cars to sweaty and laborious bikes on the way to work.

          More importantly, a huge bike lane project would mean a greater burden for taxpayers.

          Though ideally the roads and bike lanes would be privately owned.

  • Joshua Crosby

    Posit that the american people rise up in collective removal of consent and becomes an anarchist society. What would prevent a remaining foreign state from coming to take over the texas oil fields or multiple foreign states from fighting over the resources?

    • Jay Stuckey

      Joshua Crosby – What would prevent free men from joining together in common cause to create a militia or police force to protect everyone’s property?

      • Joshua Crosby

        Lack of mutual interest? Seems like it would take a lot to band together enough manpower to repel such a force or have the infrastructure in place to produce the implements necessary to do it. That’s an interesting answer though. In that vein, maybe we could ask what would prevent the owners of such property from aligning itself with a foreign state? Or maybe the cost of that would make owning the oilfield prohibitively expensive.

        • GrayCat

          If the American people decided to finally dissolve the over-arching federal government, and their state governments, does that mean that all the war weaponry would just dissolve into thin air? Or might autonomous local communities divvy up those resources among themselves relatively equally and peacefully, with mutual defense agreements between them, and thus be prepared to fend off concerted foreign aggression?

          Essentially, we do not have “enemies” on our northern border or our southern border, for all the statists’ attempts to create them. A “nation” made up of individual, free, voluntary, local communities based on private property would present a formidable obstacle to “outsiders” wishing to take advantage of a supposed weakened population. There would be no such thing as “national borders,” but private property it would be foolish to try to trespass.

          There are enough military listening posts scattered around this country that a free society of voluntary communities can agree to keep each other apprised of any incoming air threat or marine threat, and thus be able to protect themselves and each other, mutually, voluntarily, from such attacks.

          Most would simply engage in free trade with each other and other nations, peacefully, and prosperously, without threat of coercion, invasion, war, from our peaceful, free societies, hence there would be very little real threat from outside. The fact that these communities would still have the military strength, mutual cooperation, and will, to fend off hostile attacks would keep most other countries from trying. If you’re trading successfully, to mutual peaceful benefit, the incentive to try to invade and conquer would be largely eliminated.

          It takes a state — rulers — forcibly robbing and threatening the people under them, to wage war. Individual, free, voluntary, local communities would not have the incentive, the resources, or the conscripted, enslaved manpower to do so.

          Secession and nullification are SO needed in this country! Voluntary, free communities would be SO much better than the sure road to perdition we’re traveling on now!

          The real question is, why is there so much resistance to this idea?

          I think part of the answer is exactly what you first proposed: it’s hard to imagine anything but what we now have and face because of it. But we can get past that hurdle, and we’d be far better off if we would.

          • Joshua Crosby

            Those are some good points as well. I do think your 5th and 2nd statements are in conflict. If local communities didn’t have the incentive, manpower, etc to wage war, how do we expect them to wage defense. Additionally, i think the harder question is what to do when multiple outsiders fight each other on your property, i.e. 1940s Belgium.

          • GrayCat

            Neighbors come to the aid of each other; they pool their resources, and use them to their best advantage. It’s what the American colonists did. It’s what the Vietnamese did. It’s what the Afghanis are doing. And American neighboring communities would have far more and better training and armaments to fend off threats than the colonists, Vietnamese, and Afghanis.

            A great built-in defense of this country is that we’re sandwiched between two immense oceans. No libertarian communities on either shore, let alone along the land borders, will allow any outsiders to get a foothold.

            History teaches many invaluable lessons, including the mistakes 1940s Belgium made. Wisdom learns from those lessons. I think the citizens of the individual European nations are finally learning those lessons and rising up to throw off the deadly shackles of their E.U. masters. No reason libertarians here can’t be wise and do so as well.

        • The NAPster

          Here’s one solution. Individuals would purchase life and property insurance to protect themselves and their loved ones from violence to their bodies and property. Insurance companies, aggregating millions of policyholders’ interests, would have the financial resources and motivation to create defensive forces to protect the people and property they are insuring.

          Here’s another. Individuals in a libertarian society would be engaged in free trade with everyone in other societies who wants to trade, and it makes little sense for those counterparties to kill their customers and suppliers.

          • GrayCat

            It’s probably the resources trading with greatest value that would be the likely targets of outsiders to take over. But as you point out, there are ways and means to deal with these possibilities successfully. We don’t have to be sitting ducks waiting for the plucking.

          • The NAPster

            Don’t underestimate the costs of traveling to another region, violently taking over some resources, and then holding them long term amid an armed and uncooperative population. It’s easier to take over a region when all you have to do is defeat the centralized power (the other government). Where there is no centralized power, as would be the case in a libertarian society, the costs could be prohibitive. It might be much cheaper just to trade to gain access to those resources.

          • GrayCat

            Reasonable people would think so.

            But are other central powers really ruled by reasonable people, rather than sociopaths?

            I think this is the biggest fear among those who object to libertarianism, per se. Little independent fiefdoms can’t protect themselves against a bigger, more populous, better-armed attacker. It’s these sticky issues that must be addressed.

            Theory is all well and good, but we’ve all had schoolyard bullies in our lives, and the experience is indelible, no matter how it eventually turns out. And when they’re in gangs, it’s even more indelible.

            Politicians and rulers are bullies of the worst order. As Rothbard said, government is a gang of thieves writ large!

          • The NAPster

            Even sociopaths have their physical limits. There are many small countries in the world today that are not being invaded by nuclear powers, when those powers could do so if they chose.

            But I don’t deny that the risk exists. However, it’s one of the trade-offs in life. If people properly appreciated how much internal peace, liberty, and prosperity we give up by having a state, they might be prepared to take on the small risk of invasion by a foreign state in return for a stateless society. In my view, the reluctance to embrace libertarianism is as much about not understanding how destructive and immoral the current state is, as it is about not understanding how a libertarian society might work.

            Which is why I wrote this book, now published by the Mises Institute:


          • GrayCat

            Yes, absolutely! Which is why our wonderful “free” government public schools are so dismal in teaching geography. Why, if people actually knew geography and thus could figure out for themselves that all the fear-mongering warmongering was a bunch of hooey, since all these tiny peaceful countries nestled among all the big supposedly ravening powers without worrying about being invaded and annexed, prove the lie about “defending our freedoms” by immoral, unprovoked “preemptive” wars.

            While on the other hand, the U.S. government and its military is all over the world doing that very thing to countries that never offered any threat whatsoever.

            Another thing Dr. Ron Paul is always trying to expose is exactly that all these supposed “threats” posed to us by other countries are pure imagination, because these poor little countries have neither the weapons, the technical know-how, nor the manpower to mount even a hint of belligerence! Our other politicians nor the MSM certainly never note such facts!

            For instance, the fact is, that even IF Iran could make even one nuclear bomb, it does not have the means to deliver it to North America. Iran is not and never has been a threat to the mighty U.S.

            But the U.S. is a threat to every other country in the world. And it swaggers it every single day, to our shame — and costs in innocent other peoples’ lives and homes. And it has imported the danger borne of that arrogance to all Western civilization, now, even here. Americans may not be experiencing what Europeans are on the scale they are — yet — but it’s coming, as the Islamist population grows and gains strength and influence here.

            Real knowledge is power. And that kind of power is a danger to the powers that be. So American “education” is now on a par with first and second grades in the 1800s. And getting worse. And we’re forced to pay for it, too, or lose our land and homes and any other assets we may have — paid for and free-and-clear or not — to pay “back taxes.” If only people really realized what “taxes” are, and why they came into being, and so recently, and so dishonestly!

            So much could be changed practically over night if only people knew the truth! I do believe this! “Ocasio-Cortez” and her ilk notwithstanding.

            Congratulations on your book, Busting Myths About the State and the Libertarian Alternative, being published by Mises Institute! I hope it takes off and becomes very widely read. We could all use a good dose of truth, facts, and reality, alongside Dr. Woods’s and Dr. Murphy’s efforts, as well as suggested ways and means to make the peace and freedom we yearn for a reality! The more sources of this information people see they’re actually surrounded with, the more people will come to know the truth and how it can work for mutual, honorable, voluntaryism, peace, freedom, and prosperity. I’ve bookmarked it for my next book order! Thanks!

          • The NAPster

            Much appreciated!

    • Joshua Crosby

      I should also disclose that I do not ask this as skeptic, I ask as a convinced anarchist with a conundrum I can’t think through.

      • Matt Voegtli

        I’m with you. I consider myself a Rothbardian ancap/voluntarist. Yet I have never heard a convincing explanation of such issues. Bobs arguments were far from convincing on even the terrorist issue, much less the foreign power issue.

        • Joshua Crosby

          I did find the terrorist argument convincing, but where we differ might be on the cause of terrorism. I believe it’s similar conceptually to the colonists hiding in trees and taking pot shots at the redcoats. When you’re technologically and numerically outmanned, you adopt unconventional methods. Also, I don’t believe “terrorists” act out of religious motivation, but in response to oppression/exploitation. So yeah, don’t start none, won’t be none.

          • GrayCat

            To ignore the real ideological causes of Islamic and Marxist terrorism is foolish.

            Afghanistan has successfully defeated both Russia and the U.S. military, even after 17 years, by their native fighting strategy of guerilla defense — exactly as the colonists did. Seems the U.S. might finally be pulling out of Afghanistan.

            Please do some research into Islam, and learn that in fact Islamists do act out of motivation to obey their false prophet and their holy books. It is very dangerous to persist in a false belief about theirs.

            It’s too late to put that genie back in the bottle. Even with our best live-and-let-live intentions, we will have to deal with their reality.

          • Joshua Crosby

            Who told you that? Because for every quote you can cherry pick from the koran or authoritive hadith (which is ranked differently by different muslims, btw) I can cherry pick an equally aggressive one from my Bible. For every Muslim politician justifying agression from the koran, I can find an american justifying it from the Bible. Do not confuse the methods of salesman to recruit the gullible with the actual message of the koran and do not confuse the completely understandable desire for freedom from oppression with something uniquely koranic. Given the amount of predation of the US and allies in the middle east since at least 1906 would you expect them to do nothing in response? Would you expect them to endure it stoically? You know there are 1.8 billion muslims? Do you know their religion better than they do? I expect out of 1.8 billion people if it was inherently dangerous, they would be a bit more of a threat than they constitute presently.

          • GrayCat

            Actually, I’ve done my own research and consulted acknowledged experts in this field. You might do as well, please.

            And, ironically, often it really is those outside, who study other ideologies, religions, philosophies, cultures, history, and peoples, who do know more about them than the natives, especially in religion.

            Most Americans are shamefully ignorant of history, even their own. American Christians are shamefully ignorant of Christianity, history, and especially Christian history. It’s the most important reason Western civilization is dying here; but it’s even worse in Europe, where Marxism has become even more malevolently dominant. Most Islamists are even worse in their ignorance of their belief system — and deliberately kept that way by their Imams! Most of them, especially the boys, are indoctrinated early in madrassas, where they memorize the Qu’ran — in Arabic, which most of them do not speak — and have no idea of what they’re memorizing. They are taught some things in mosque, but not truth about their false prophet, their holy books, and the deepest scholarship commentaries. They are taught mainly to attack Christianity — and are too often successful, because of Christians’ general lack of knowledge of their own beliefs and history, too.

            A very good place to start learning the truth of Islam, strictly using its own undoctored documents and teachings, is Acts 17 Apologetics (dot com, no spaces between the parts of the name), both the Web site and the YouTube channel. Please at least check them out. You might be surprised to learn you have been the victim of clever “salesmen.”

            I agree many, many self-serving and unChristian people (claiming to be Christian doesn’t make you one) quote some Bible verses out of context to initiate and fight wars. This is rampant in America’s pulpits. But it’s unbiblical and unChristian. The vast majority of those brandishing the FEW Bible verses are not even believers, much less care about obeying the Bible. But that doesn’t make the Bible as violent as Islam/the Qu’ran. It’s a mere convenience. Not so for the Qu’ran and Hadiths.

            For every supposed urge to violence in the Bible (ALL in the Old Testament, NONE in the Christian New Testament — and, what is never taught on or heeded, God Himself FORBIDS going to war with anyone for anything UNLESS He Himself DIRECTLY commands and directs it. And all that stopped by the time of the death of King Solomon. Ancient Israel LOST every single war they started without God’s express command! EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. NO Christian has EVER gotten such command from God — nor has the modern secular state of Israel. All “Christian” “leaders” who have warred, since the evil deal with the aspiring Emperor Constantine, have been unbelievers, blasphemers, and sinners, and look where that’s got us today! You might look up, online and free, in pdf form so you can even download it to your computer, the book by John Cecil Cadoux, titled The Early Christian Attitude to War: A Contribution to the History of Christian Ethics), there are countless numerous verses in the Qu’ran. And, if you didn’t know, for every “peaceful” or “tolerant” verse, there is its opposite, which, according to the Qu’ranic principle of abrogation, overrides it.

            If you are depending on English “translations” recommended by Islamists, you’re being lied to, straight up. And that’s among the 50+ versions of the Qu’ran available now!

            Please cite any Bible verse that commands Christians to go to war, with anyone for any reason.

            You are overlooking an obvious reason there are 1.8 billion Islamists in the world today. They didn’t just come into being by osmosis. They got where they are by violence and conquest. While Christianity was spread by the Word, even after Constantine, Islam has ONLY been spread by the sword. ALWAYS. No exceptions. Find a single nation or people, in all of history since Muhammad (that’s 1,400 years!), that has invited in Islam based on its meekness, gentleness, tolerance and peacefulness.

            Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, etc., ALL have ongoing violent conflicts between their own non-Islamic peoples and cultures and their Islamic “neighbors.” China is trying to deal with them — and it’s not worrying about offending peaceful, tolerant Islamists, because, again, history has demonstrated they aren’t. Russia is having similar experiences.

            Please cite anywhere in Europe where the terrorism is down to native, non-Islamic Europeans, but not to the Islamic “refugees.” Please compare crime statistics before the Islamic “immigrants” were “invited in” in their millions and during and after.

            Do you know what the Crusades were really about? Do you know the marauding Islamists nearly conquered Europe, made it, in fact, all the way into France, before being repelled by Charles Mantel? Do you know any Western history from the time of Christ on?

            Do you know where we’d all be today if not for that? You and I certainly would not be talking about libertarianism and whether Islam is a “religion of peace.”

            Please say anywhere in the Qu’ran, the Hadiths, or any Islamic commentary, verses like this are found: Matthew, chapters 5 – 7; 18:21-35; 25:31-46; Micah 6:8; 7:18-19; 2 Chronicles 20; Luke 6:32-38, 43-46; 10; the whole Gospel of John; the New Testament books of Romans, especially Romans 12 and 13:8-10; Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; 1 Corinthians, especially chapter 13; the letter of James; 1 Peter; 1 John. And if you truly know anything about your Bible, you know this is only the tip of the iceberg. Please cite verses from the Qu’ran, the Hadiths, any Islamic commentary, to equal any of those.

            Absolutely, I would not expect any country or people who are initially aggressed against — bombed, invaded, etc. — to not return aggression in self-defense. But that’s not really the situation. It’s A cause, but doesn’t account for what we must now address or die. As I’ve noted elsewhere here, the genie is out of the bottle and can’t be stuffed back in.

            And, so, then, what really is Islam all about, and what is it after? If it’s no different from Christianity, if it’s equal to or better than the Bible, please cite exactly why and how.

            The task for libertarians is to know the truth of Islam and its historical conduct and intentions, stated clearly in its Qu’ran, Hadiths, and authoritative commentaries, and confine it back to its own native countries, and guard our own borders and be prepared to defend them from Islam, especially. Do you know any other countries or peoples who actually threaten with violent overthrow our own?

            If Islam is truly peaceful, well and good. Then libertarians shouldn’t have any problems defining our borders/private property and expecting that they will define their own, leaving ours alone and in peace. That must be proved in the future.


          • Matt Voegtli

            Theres a third of the world whose religion requires them to subjugate the entire world. If even a fraction of a percent of them are hostile thats a problem. And according to Pew research polls, even westernized muslims would be considered pretty radical by our standards. Like 30% say that terrorism is justified. And these people are much more moderate than those in home countries.

  • GrayCat

    Mr. Murphy: I think the issue with a sniper is that they are “invisible” and mobile. How would a libertarian society deal with such a threat? If you can’t find the threat, you can’t do anything about it. The reason snipers are effective is because they are “invisible.” The reason they wreak such havoc is because you cannot know when and where and how a sniper will take a deadly shot.

    Traditionally, it has taken a concerted police/military effort to detect and eliminate a sniper. Ostensibly, a libertarian society will not have such an entity as governments/states/rulerships have to do this.

    How can a libertarian society cope with such a threat?

    • Galgus

      Couldn’t a private defense agency have resources and training for something like this?

      Why would a state need to do that?

      • GrayCat

        Pardon, but I don’t think I’ve claimed anywhere that anything should be given over to any state. I apologize if it seemed that way; I assure you, no, never would I advocate for any state to do anything!

        I was pointing out that Mr. (Dr.?) Murphy didn’t address the issue of what a libertarian society would/could do about a sniper. I do believe a libertarian society could figure out some way to deal with a sniper, but it will not be easy.

        But no matter: no state needs to be involved.

    • Joshua Crosby

      You answered my question, I’ll try to give you an answer of similar quality. I think with all property private, the owners would have much better awareness of what is happening on their own property. Similar perhaps to the days before zoning laws when shopkeepers lived above the shop and were thus able to respond to burglars quicker and with greater prejudice than today when a disinterested police force is expected to provide an equivalent security.

    • The NAPster

      A libertarian society would have all the same physical resources and human ingenuity available as exists today (if not more). Only the funding mechanism would be different. If there is a perceived need to develop counter-snipers, hunter-killer teams, surveillance cameras, or other defensive measures, why wouldn’t entrepreneurs provide this service (to individual purchasers, to landlords or private-community developers who want to offer secure premises, or insurance companies who have to pay out for loss of life/destruction of property)?

      • GrayCat

        True, with some (minor?) caveats.

        The problem here is that the specific issue of how to deal with an invisible random killer was not dealt with.

        Under any circumstances, that issue is not an easy one to deal with. Nor would be serial killers, who also do their murders in secret, often for decades, sometimes not even detected until they’re dead. And if the counter measures of the state, as well-financed, trained, and finely honed as they are, has such manifest difficulty handling these people — snipers and serial murderers — it will be even harder for libertarian communities to.

        One of the main hurdles to detecting and tracking these people down is inter-agency rivalries and isolation of information by local jurisdictions; nobody knows other jurisdictions are experiencing parallel incidents, so they are not correlated, until a central agency, usually the FBI, gets involved because some crime crossed state lines. Jurisdictions don’t police each other.

        Every libertarian community is its own jurisdiction, which mirrors and may even exacerbate what the state experiences. So without some sort of central reporting, coordinating, and investigative body, this particular issue will remain a problem.

        • The NAPster

          You need to be careful about not falling into “tyranny of the present” thinking. You’re assuming that, in a libertarian society, the protective services agencies would be as incompetent as those we have today. The agencies today are vast bureaucracies with poor incentives (no skin in the game), no accountability, and no prospect of going out of business if they fail. Plus they spend so much time dealing with victimless “crimes” that wouldn’t exist in a libertarian society that they squander their resources. A lot would be different with properly aligned, competitive service-providers who are only concerned with crimes of violence.

          As to coordination among dispersed units, you don’t need state coercion to handle this. The complex supply chains of independent companies that we see today which manage to coordinate production of things like iPhones, etc. across the globe, or large holding companies with many subsidiaries, should give you some comfort that the free market can solve coordination issues.

          • GrayCat

            I agree, for the most part. There are still some areas that will have to be more seriously explored and practically demonstrated, I think, before many wary people can be persuaded.

            I don’t think the type of criminal detection, prevention, and elimination discussed here is able to be reduced to just another commodity.

            But I can be wrong. I appreciate your discussion and reasonable solutions.

            And it’s late, and I’m late for other tasks, so again, thank you for the discussion! I hope we can have more in the future. I hope your evening is going very well!

  • Matt Voegtli

    Hey Guys! Love the show and love Bob Murphy! But I think he misses the mark on terrorism, as he does massive private defense. The answers today were totally underwhelming, as are his private insurance institute analysis. Yeah, I agree that we’d get attacked less if we weren’t imperialists, but there is a third of the world that follows a doctrine that requires them to subjugate the rest of the world. It’s foolish to see no chance of risk there.

    And the private contractor argument is a double edged sword at best. As a matter of fact Sargon of Akkad largely disagrees with ancaps because of this and has used history to paint a compelling reason why you can’t trust private contractors. The “its expensive” argument falls apart when you’d be dealing with other people who can print money.

    I’d really like to see an episode of The Tom Woods Show or Contra Krugman that can answer this in a compelling way. I’m not sure if anyone has actually worked through this issue.

    And I consider myself a Rothbardian ancap/voluntarist so this is in good faith, and one I hope to see answered in a manner that seems realistic. If given the option I’d flip the switch, but this concern would be the one issue that loomed in my mind.

    • Galgus

      One difficulty in attacking a stateless society would be that there would be no state apparatus to seize control of, and fending off guerrilla warfare could look a little like the US being driven off in Vietnam despite having vastly more resources.

      Only a free society would have the wealth to afford better equipment.

      I could also see a defense agency holding something like a nuclear missile as a deterrent to a state invading, though such weapons are inherently a threat to non-combatants.

      Though I think a conventional military sufficient to defend such a society would be immensely less expensive than the current world police force.

    • GrayCat

      Is it possible to note the problems, as presented through history, of private contractors, and create tools to avoid those problems, if not make them completely impossible to implement in a private property Rothbardian ancap society?

      • Intersnooze

        Could you be more specific? What problems?

        • GrayCat

          Um, . . . wouldn’t a couple of the biggest ones be ways businesses might get financial support for monopolization — distorting the market by artificially limiting competition — and price fixing?

          • Intersnooze

            Well it’s certainly not going to be possible to ‘win a debate’ in a disagreement based on our respective lifetime’s of reading, lectures and personal experience about how and what problems are inherent to ‘private contractors’ and which stem from nominally private agents acting in a market distorted by an interventionist State.

            Reading Rothbard’s “The Progressive Era” might inform you of some of the historical, empirical mechanisms of price fixing, cartel-formation.

            There are a lot of Mises.org lectures, articles and books that explore the subject. After listening-to and reading several thousand of them, I can probably find a few that address this in particular, but I’d have to charge a fee for my time.

          • GrayCat

            Well, I didn’t realize I was in a win-lose debate with you, but okay.

            Thank you for the helpful tips.

          • Intersnooze

            From the Austrian perspective, the ‘problems of private contractors’ to which you casually referred are a huge field of errors in ‘mainstream’ economics.

            Addressing these in the scope of this comment section is not possible, so I want to emphasize that this is not due to the weakness of the Austrian view, but the considerable amount of learning and unlearning necessary to really grok it.

            I will try to learn more persuasive and less snarky ways to encourage people to explore it. 🙂 Cheers.

          • GrayCat

            Snarkiness has its place, but perhaps also it can be misplaced.

            I meant my comment to Mr. Voegtli as more of a rhetorical suggestion for him to consider more carefully such ideas and sources as you in fact suggested to me. He is citing a popular YouTuber who holds minarchist views and rejects libertarianism on grounds that libertarianism doesn’t address the problems of corrupt private contractors or address a need for “massive private defense” against Islamists. He is not satisfied with the practicality of private insurance or similar solutions as addressing these problems with thoroughness and/or not becoming corrupt against the very people they’re meant to protect. (I personally don’t understand why it’s so easy to think any government can provide the checks on them to prevent these things, but . . . )

            And I think a valid concern is about other massive, aggressive governments that don’t worry about finance issues because, as ours and most of the rest of the world’s today, they can just print money as needed. He wants these issues addressed. I do think they have been adequately addressed in our literature, but even though he professes to be mostly ancap libertarian, he still has doubts about the efficacy of addressing these problems. Many otherwise-libertarians do.

            I’m aware of most of the libertarian and Austrian School economic arguments; they’re what persuaded me to become a voluntaryist Rothbardian ancap libertarian in the first place. I freely admit I’m probably not as well-read and well-versed as you seem to be, but I personally — personally — have no questions about how historical problems of private contractors gaining the means of running amok can be prevented in a libertarian ancap society.

            I should have been more specific, but I really did want Mr. Voegtli to think more deeply about these issues and learn more about Austrian economics and libertarianism to discover the answers to his questions. Dr. Woods and Dr. Murphy are simply not going to be able to answer all questions all the time.

            I believe taking someone’s questions seriously, because they’re new to these ideas, and/or not quite convinced — and this issue is a thorny one for those not yet completely Austrian Rothbardian ancap libertarians — is a way to show them respect and encourage them to take more steps — even baby steps — into freedom and out of statism. Everyone starts somewhere, yes?

            But I should be wiser in my approach, I do see that.

            Kind regards to you, too.

          • http://www.id4847503.sexycub.website jaycee_rodriguez

            GrayCat briefly

  • The NAPster

    Some of the comments below miss the mark, and I think Bob really hit the main points.

    First, much of the violence directed at peaceful people in the world is because states which purport to represent these people are interfering in other societies, and these other societies, or their states, seek retribution (and they conflate citizens with their governments, a big issue with living in a democracy). If the US government stopped poking a stick in bees’ nests, fewer bees would be enraged. I don’t buy Matt V’s argument that a third of the world wants to leave their local villages and families and come over to the US, risking death or capture, to blow people up, simply because Americans are living a lifestyle with which they don’t agree; the real motivation is that the US government is killing their families or friends with drones, they see US soldiers in their lands, and they see the US government pressuring their governments to do things they otherwise wouldn’t. There are plenty of societies which live similar lifestyles to Americans but which are not targeted, because their governments don’t act aggressively.

    Second, the state is just a bunch of individuals, endowed with no magic powers of ingenuity. If you believe that the individuals at the state can come up with effective solutions to problems — and I don’t know how you could, given their track record — then why wouldn’t you believe that individuals in a libertarian society could come up with the same solutions? Certainly with skin in the game and real accountability, private-sector solutions should be much more effective than state solutions. The key difference between coming up with solutions at the state and in the private sector is that the former involves initiating violence to acquire the resources. The statist is effectively saying that, because he can’t imagine how entrepreneurs in the private sector would come up with a solution, he’s OK with initiating violence to allow individuals at the state to come up with a solution. That just doesn’t hold water morally. Lack of imagination isn’t a justification for violence.

    • GrayCat

      A quibble: those previously “quiet” sects of Islam probably wouldn’t have awakened to the level of aggressive obedience to their false prophet without the arrogant, deadly, and wholesale attacks on and invasion of their native lands that much of the West, including the U.S., has instigated since the late nineteenth century, but eventually they would have, as their historic and constant incursions and conquests of other, peaceful, nations, including the West, clearly shows.

      And the U.S. government has armed them, and is busily still doing so. And, as with the countries enslaved by the E.U., we have imported them into our country, and if you do some research, you will see they have deliberately built up exclusive Islamic enclaves and are already working toward their Islamic goals in several states — and the U.S. Congress. They will never willingly go back to their previous quiescent states.

      It’s a mistake to limit the discussion to only the Middle East that the U.S. has bombed and interfered in and with (for Israel and oil!) as having a legitimate excuse to hit us back.

      It’s foolish to turn a blind eye to this reality. Libertarian live-and-let-live does not mean regarding all peoples, no matter their differing beliefs and cultures (that’s why we libertarians want our own private property and local, autonomous communities, right? Because we supposedly recognize the significant and dangerous differences between peoples, right?) as equally desirous of the peace and prosperity we do.

      Private property presumes — or should — preparedness and a respect for reality. The apparent Pollyanna attitude of most libertarians in many discussions is what most statists and minarchists object to, why they reject libertarianism. These details of living in the real world are a matter of life and death, and we libertarians need to realize and address that.

      It is usually second- and third-generation Islamists in a foreign country their parents settled in who become the “terrorists,” who take up jihad against non-Islamists. Their parents may be peaceful and have offered no threats to their host society. But their books and Imams still rule their minds and their lives, and their children and grandchildren are inculcated with them.

      Access some alternate news sources, especially from citizens/natives of the cultures having to deal with the overwhelming influx of Middle Eastern and African migrants if you want to know the truth. YouTube and other social media are censoring and disappearing them faster and faster every day, because the issues are so great and intractable, and go against the goals of the socialist rulers. Great Britain, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Spain: these are all dealing with the consequences of this malevolent policy of their rulers. And it’s not simply a matter of differences of opinion between the people of the host culture and the aliens (for that is what they are). The issues are life and death. Western civilization is literally fighting for our lives.

      It’s not a matter of assimilation; the aliens do not want to assimilate, and their ideology, their false prophet and holy books forbid them to on pain of death and damnation.

      According to the Qu’ran, when first living in a non-Islamic society, the immigrants are usually a significant minority; therefore it is permitted to get along and obey the non-Islamic laws.

      But once the Islamic community is numerically strong enough, usually their children’s or grandchildren’s generation, they are commanded by their false prophet, their books, and their Imams, to begin to take over the host society, by any means at hand, including by changing the laws to Shariah, and/or by force and violence. If they don’t, they cannot ever attain heaven, and are to be regarded as infidels and dogs, to be hunted down and killed as such.

      Oh, yes, Islam is a “religion of peace.”

      Not for anyone who does not follow the false prophet and his books. To ignore these facts is to commit individual and societal suicide.

      So, even if the rest of us finally mostly achieved a basically libertarian world, Islamists will not, ever. This is where the real threats of taking advantage of peaceful people come from; without the violent power of present states, great caution will have to be exercised toward Islamic states if we are to survive. That’s just the way the world is with Islam in it.

      Pains must be taken to protect our own private property (borders) from encroachment by Islam. Islam must be kept within its own property (borders), and that will require realistic vigilance on the part of all other peoples. Peace toward them, trade, yes, but also caution and awareness.

      Anyone who thinks Saudi Arabia will reciprocate
      live-and-let-live without strict enforcement of our own rules in dealing with that Islamic state knows nothing of what makes up Islam and why. And Westerners’ ignorance in this instance is not bliss, but their subjugation and/or death.

      I do believe that individuals can be persuaded to leave Islam. But Islam instantly puts a price on the apostate’s head, and puts at risk every person and community accepting him/her.

      The same cautions must apply to North Africans, who are Islamic, and sub-Saharan Africans, who are mostly Islamic and also a sizable portion are virulent, violent Marxists. Please research what is happening in most sub-Saharan African states today, especially South Africa. To ignore these facts because the establishment media don’t report them, or if they do they gloss over them and deny the reality, is to endanger all of us who want to preserve our civilization and distinctly Western cultures, and dash any hope whatsoever of ever achieving a libertarian society.

      Knowledge, caution, and firmness in dealing with Islamics and Marxist socialists and communists must be the order of the day, or suffer the consequences. With/In Islam, there is no middle ground, and the ignorant tread to their own destruction and put all of the rest of us at great risk.

      Ignorance and/or denial of the reality of the rest of the world, too, is immoral.

      • The NAPster

        Libertarianism is not the same as pacifism. Most libertarians I know believe in the right to vigorous self-defense and enforcement of private-property borders. My point was that a large part of the violence coming from abroad would abate if a libertarian society were not involved in overseas aggression.

        But libertarians could also actively exclude from their communities those who would like to settle here but don’t meet community standards. Plus libertarians could be fully armed, have border security, protection services, etc. They or their insurers could contract with airlines and coastal communities to filter out potential visitors and immigrants who don’t meet certain standards. The possibilities are endless.

        • GrayCat

          Yes; I believe I nowhere deny these facts.

          But at least on the Internet, an awful lot of professed libertarians do have an unrealistic, PC, Pollyanna attitude toward how we’d all live in a libertarian Utopia.

          While there is granting of self-defense, hardly anyone imagines that against anyone but a thief at your ATM, yes? Criminals from your own ancient culture can easily be dealt with.

          Whole other cultures that are deliberately hostile to our own are a vastly different situation, and one that usually is not even hinted at addressing. Even in this thread, most posters seem to believe that if we just let them alone, they’ll leave us alone. That is signing our own death warrant. And bye-bye, any hope of libertarianism.

          So I agree with you. There’s more than just a local thief or liar to deal with in our libertarian scenario, and to ignore or deny that is, not merely foolishness, but presumptuous stupidity.

          • Matt Voegtli

            Yeah GrayCat. I hear them echo that all the time. They don’t understand and even want to invite the enemies into our backyards.

          • Intersnooze

            Still you have the problem of treating people as groups. And we know what Dr. Paul said about that.

            Still this is the real world as y’all are saying and maybe group-formation is anevolved survival tactic that simply exists naturally – you know, in the Hayekian Order sense.

            If you are trying to make a prisoner’s dilemma type decision vis-a-vis some member of another group, calculating likelihood of that group being inclined to defect vs. cooperate is simply making rational use of available information.

        • m&m

          doesn’t sound libertarian but rather authoritarian

          • GrayCat

            What is the definition of libertarianism? What is authoritarianism?

            Is it wrong for a property owner to discriminate among who he allows on/in his property? Is it wrong for anyone to defend themselves, their property, their family, their friends and/or neighbors from trespassers? If you think so, why?

  • ohlerone

    I’m assuming that since you said “You know where there won’t be mass slaughter,” and you said the Contra Cruise, the Contra Cruise must not be heading to international waters, because without a state, there would be mass slaughter on cruise ships.

    • Intersnooze

      This was good.

  • Robbie Miles

    Thanks both – I too would flick the an-cap switch today if I could but the Climate argument here is inconsistent and incomplete:
    – “The legal approach would be costly” is a utilitarian argument, no? Instead, if company A’s emissions cause damage to property of company B – that is a violation of the principles libertarians defend.

    – I asked a climate scientist recently what their biggest worry about CC is: “Geo-engineering”. Interfering with local weather patterns would cause inevitable damage to neighbors’ property. It postpones one problem while creating many others. I think Geoengineering will be the inevitable statist solution if the property rights angle is not used as the solution.

    – With the last 4 years on empirical record being the 4 hottest, the hypothetical scenario presented that CC might be man-made is not as radically risk aware as other subjects on which libertarians are able to highlight prescient danger. All prop/cat insurance companies are acting under the assumptions of the scientific consensus… even the oil companies support it! This subject deserves more attention, respect and consistency-of-thinking from libertarians. A justly applied legal system that defends property rights is the fairest mitigation tool in humanity’s toolkit.
    If libertarians continue to tell people they are smart enough to have worked out a better system but don’t believe in climate science, they will struggle to win hearts, let alone minds.

    • Intersnooze

      Taking your points in-order:
      – There are some situations where, due to the physical nature of the harms or externalities in question, no direct, causal, quantifiable proofs exist to implicate specific actors. It is not a rights violation of anyone when the universe has erased information you’d like to have. The utilitarian question we are faced with, then, is how can we minimize the violations of our natural rights?
      – I think this a great point. Which raises to my mind the question: “Should an AnCap society try to offer any single (monopolist) negotiator to external States?” Seems contradictory – the idea of a ‘treaty’ with an AnCap nation is absurd.
      – With all due respect to those who disagree, I am not one who is on-board with the idea that there exists a scientifically correct ’empirical’ record of the global temperature; It is an amazingly messy set of datasets which are massaged and cajoled and fitted and ‘corrected’. These adjustments are not automatic, programmatic, mathematical; They are a field of fudge in which the folks in labcoats fight.
      Lastly, I agree that it’s very unwise to confront anyone directly on an issue so emotional as climate change. We should leave this lesson to the more advanced students. After all, what could be more libertarian than saying, “And you know what, the State is lying to you about that too…”?