You're now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!

You and the stranger both like politics, and libertarianism.

You: Hey

Stranger: Hello

You: Political libertarian, or voluntarist?

Stranger: Neither

You: Then?

Stranger: I'm left-of-center politically

Stranger: In the U.S. I am a liberal

You: Oh, okay - so you just like discussing libertarianism then?

Stranger: I am a fiscal Keynesian

Stranger: Because I used to be a hard core libertarian

Stranger: hard core isn't the right word

Stranger: But I was a big Ron Paul fan

Stranger: and I advocated for ending the Fed

Stranger: and a return the gold standard

Stranger: as well as Austrian economics

You: Did you get there based on a utilitarian basis, or a moral one?

Stranger: and a non-interventionist foreign policy

Stranger: I was young and the rhetoric of marijuana legalization and non-interventionism appealed to me at the time

Stranger: Did I get where based on utilitarian basis?

You: Libertarianism

Stranger: Oh, see above

Stranger: It appealed to me out of principle

You: Principle of non-aggression?

Stranger: non-interventionism in general

Stranger: not just in foreign policy but in domestic issues as well

You: Right, based on self-ownership, yeah? Not trying to put words in your mouth - that's just the standard libertarian philosophy.

Stranger: Yes definitely

Stranger: I was a fan of Nozick

You: Gotcha.

Stranger: self-ownership is correct.

You: So did you move away from it because you decided against that principle, or you were convinced by utilitarian arguments?

Stranger: Both

You: Okay - I fully accept that (not the utilitarian bit) as an internally consistent argument.

You: If you don't believe in self-ownership, the moral argument doesn't follow

You: Fair?

Stranger: Yes

Stranger: Do you read much political philosophy?

You: Tons

Stranger: Great

Stranger: Do you like Michael Sandel?

Stranger: The Justice series

Stranger: Harvard

Stranger: Well if you're interested

You: Yeah - I've heard of him before - don't know much besides surface stuff.

Stranger: Michael Sandel has a lecture series on his harvard political philosophy lectures

Stranger: You can watch them online

Stranger: each one is an hour long

Stranger: There is a specific one

Stranger: about libertarianism

Stranger: and he presents the notion of self-ownership

Stranger: followed by the moral argument

You: Okay - so do you take a principled position as well still, or are you purely a utilitarian now?

You: If so - what axiom do you use?

Stranger: Sets the premise using the philosophies of Locke and Nozick etc.

Stranger: hold on

Stranger: So

Stranger: In the next lecture Sandel has a discussion with the Harvard Libertarian Club

Stranger: He is known for forcing people to take a principled stance on their views

Stranger: and he does just that with libertarianism

Stranger: and the result is rather entertaining

Stranger: So

Stranger: You are libertarian, correct?

You: Want to try that with me?

Stranger: Sure

You: I'd be glad to oblige.

Stranger: Great

You: Not afraid to put my assumptions on the chopping block. :P

You: (By the way, even though we disagree, this is already one of the most rational discussions I've had today here)

Stranger: In your brief opinion what is the purpose of government?

You: Well, I don't believe it has any legitimate purpose.

Stranger: National defense?

You: Nope.

Stranger: Enforcement of rights?

You: Nope. I believe in a stateless society.

Stranger: Wow

Stranger: Okay

Stranger: So you're an anarcho libertarian of some sort I don't know exactly which yet

You: I normally wouldn't put it quite so bluntly - but I want to make sure I keep consistent.

You: Right - I prefer the term voluntarist.

Stranger: I see

You: Better positive description

You: Kind of a Rothbard/Stirner blend, personally.

Stranger: Interesting

Stranger: This might prove harder than I thought, you're not a typical libertarian

Stranger: So, completely stateless society, no public institutions?

You: Well, I take this position, even though it was difficult to arrive at, because I believe in finding truth. If I'm wrong, I'll abandon it.

You: Right.

Stranger: No law enforcement, no emergency service, no border patrol, no public highways or roadways... nothing?

You: Well - I want to be careful here - none of those things *as state institutions*

Stranger: So privatization of these services?

You: Right.

Stranger: Interesting

Stranger: How do you stop an invasion?

You: Well, there are two ways to respond.

You: First, I would say that historically, the primary reason for one state to invade and conquer another is to take over the existing tax base. Without its existence, violently taking over private companies is financially detrimental, as those companies would already be selling at just above cost. You'd kill a bunch of people, destroy some productive capital, and then you'd be in the same difficult situation they were in originally: running a company competing in a global market.

You: Now - this is not to dismiss invasion for ideological reasons.

You: Religion, for instance.

Stranger: So are you counting on a hypothetical world where all people are part of a stateless society?

You: No - it applies either way. It could be a stateless society surrounded by states. Though, practically speaking, I believe that if one nation were to become stateless the rest would soon follow.

Stranger: I would add resources to the motives of invasion

You: That's a different point maybe

You: Sure, but in a free society it's not like there would be a state hoarding those resources. Say it's copper. The firm would already be mining the copper and attempting to sell it at a little above cost.

You: What's the point of a violent takeover when you can trade at a little above cost?

You: It doesn't make any kind of financial sense

Stranger: What's the point of selling something at cost if you have a monopoly on the resource?

Stranger: slightly above cost**

You: Well - that's a separate question. Personally, I haven't seen any evidence for a natural monopoly outside of state influence. As a firm gets closer to a monopoly, the remaining goods rise in cost due to the perceived scarcity. But let's say it happens. Typically, this would cause substitute goods to rise in subjective value, and the market forces would push on.

Stranger: Interesting

Stranger: To be honest there aren't many examples of a stateless society outside of a nation in conflict

Stranger: There are examples of very weak states, like Somalia which is very close to stateless

Stranger: But again, a completely stateless society is a hard example to come by

Stranger: Do you agree?

You: Nope - and I believe the reason for that is that a state ultimately depends entirely on the perceived legitimacy of the populace. We're at the point in history where our philosophical development still regards violence as legitimate when ratified by a majority and filtered through a bureaucratic narrative.

You: Similar to how slavery was practically a universally accepted institution, until it wasn't.

Stranger: I see

Stranger: So

Stranger: On to another scenario

Stranger: In your stateless utopia, how would I stop someone or a group who has more power in money and arms from taking everything I have and raping my daughters?

Stranger: It sounds harsh and I don't purpose it as a strawman but what does a weaker individual have to protect themselves from being taken advantage of?

Stranger: Or robbed, murdered, etc...

You: No - it's a good question.

You: I don't know what you would do. I would absolutely hire protection - not necessarily entirely violent protection, either, as that would be more expensive and less effective in the long term, I believe. After all - look, our "violent" defense is completely subsidized by our own tax dollars, and I don't think many people would argue it is perfectly effective. Even so - when people spend *additional* money on protection, for the most part they don't hire men with guns. They reinforce their property, install security systems, buy insurance, etc. In fact, I would go as far to say that *by definition* violent defense would take up a much smaller segment of the market, as evidenced by how inflated the "violent defense" market is through subsidization

Stranger: What about people who don't have the money to hire protection?

Stranger: Are they out of luck?

You: Well, the first thing I would say is that personally, if I had the opportunity, I would help a person myself who didn't have protection. What I would not do is point a gun at another person to force them to fund it.

You: Of course, this is not what the state is in essence - it's fundamentally a ruling class. But I digress.

You: Let's look at the practical implications.

Stranger: But I think we both know that not everyone is going to be a standup neighbor and help less fortunate individuals

You: Sure.

Stranger: The bystander phenomena for example

Stranger: People assuming someone else will deal with it

Stranger: To be honest, the only principled answer I see to that question, is that yes, that individual is out of luck and they weren't of value to their society and neighbors if they don't find protection in one form or another... whether it be hired or voluntary

You: Well, again, I don't think such an argument justifies giving away everybody's right to not be aggressed against in order to create an institution with the legitimacy to initiate force.

You: Sure, and that is my answer - but it's missing some contextual information.

Stranger: I found a predicament

Stranger: In your views

You: What's that?

Stranger: Stick to your principles

You: I am

Stranger: The scenario of someone being robbed murdered etc, by someone more powerful

You: I don't think people's natural rights *can* be given away by others, fundamentally.

Stranger: So, in your view, this person is out of luck

You: Right - so, yeah. You're right - that is what I think. But it's missing a lot of info. First of all, there would be no public land.

You: In general, public land tends to serve as an unguarded portal to private property.

Stranger: So people are just sharing property in your stateless society?

Stranger: No one is putting up fences with armed guards?

You: Of course they would.

Stranger: If I had the money I would put up fences with armed guards

Stranger: Okay

Stranger: So what does public land have to do with it?

You: And I'll take this time to say that while I do think my argument is morally consistent - I do actually believe this *will* happen.

You: Inevitably.

Stranger: What will happen?

You: A stateless society will emerge through making the state irrelevant. People are 3d printing 15-round magazines *today*.

You: This type of decentralized action will not slow down, in my opinion - for better or worse.

Stranger: Okay

You: Well, again, public land falls subject to the tragedy of the commons.

You: There's no regulation, for the most part, or available choice, regarding the people you interact with on a daily basis.

You: As of course, would be impossible to do from a centralized position without draconian measures.

You: But decentralized - I believe it would work.

Stranger: In your stateless utopia, I'm assuming roads are privately built and owned... wouldn't the cost of roadway tolls and bridge tolls for their use drive up costs of trade?

Stranger: In addition, the cost of maritime trade and use of ports?

Stranger: Without treaties or centralized transportation systems...

You: Well - you're still assuming a sort of monolithic business model. I'm not convinced tolls would be the best way to handle it. Maybe urban areas would have less roads in general. Maybe property owners would build roads *and* cool buildings that businesses could rent out.

You: Who knows

You: Maybe tolls *would* be best for long distances.

Stranger: I think tolls would be forced on people by whomever builds or guards a roadway

You: Maybe (probably) some entrepreneur would come along and blow my ideas out of the water

Stranger: Similar to how trade was done prior to the industrial revolution

You: Sure, but they are still subject to competition.

You: I don't think enforcing a monopoly helps the situation.

Stranger: So multiple roadways in the same places?

Stranger: Roadways and bridges are often a monopoly

Stranger: Unless there are multiple ones built in the same place

Stranger: Same with ports

Stranger: I don't see how you could build more "ports" in the same area

Stranger: This is the main means of trade between continents, mind you

You: I mean - let's look at roads. More than a century - the same general business model. Take money from people through force - flat slab of concrete (who knows the best place to put it without prices, by the way?), and two yellow lines down the center. This is a complete stagnation of innovation that runs completely contrary to most people's experience of technological progress into the 21st century.

You: How many deaths might have been avoided.

Stranger: You're merely giving the current model

Stranger: Defend your model.

You: There is more cost to be aware of than just "tolls"

You: I don't have a model - that's the point. I just don't believe in subsidizing one particular vision.

Stranger: You obfuscating now

Stranger: You're

You: I don't mean to.

You: Can you ask the question again?

Stranger: Transportation and trade in your stateless society

Stranger: We know that historically, trade routes often needed protection and would charge a toll for use

Stranger: In today's world

You: Sure.
Stranger: How do you keep cost of trade down if there is no uniformity or treaties

You: It's the same today - the toll is just divorced from use.

You: Supply from demand.

Stranger: You're right, today taxpayers pay taxes for roadways, to use them and to be protected while they use them

You: Right.

Stranger: It's a non-profit system

Stranger: But in your stateless society

Stranger: You're adding profit motive and monopoly to the equation

You: Well, to be honest, I see "profit motive" as a loaded term. Ultimately, it's two individuals making a voluntary trade. Both sides profit from their original position, or else they would disassociate.

Stranger: Here, let me be specific.

Stranger: The Puget Sound is the major deep water port for the Pacific Northwest... based around Seattle

You: Sure - and please don't mistake me for somebody who has never heard the opposing arguments for my position.

You: Not that you are.

Stranger: There is only one way in and out of this port... through the Ballard Locks

Stranger: It's a Locks system that ships use to get through to the deep water port

Stranger: Lets suppose that a company owns this Locks system

Stranger: They have a monopoly on the means of trade into the Pacific Northwest

Stranger: Because there is no other way.

Stranger: How do you stop them from charging an arm and a leg to trade with the Pacific Northwest?

You: And not to deflect, but if you're interested in the subject - I suggest "The Privatization of Roads and Highways" by Walter Block. It's a pretty thorough dissection of how it would work practically. I think it's free online somewhere.

Stranger: Answer my question

Stranger: From the above scenario.

You: It's similar to my answer to the monopoly objection you made earlier. In reality - it's not the only way. There are other methods that, although less effective, would function as substitute goods. There *is* ultimately an equilibrium that the owner would charge to maximize profits - and it's not by raising prices through the roof. Functionally, Apple has a monopoly over the "iPhone". A lot of people want it *just* because it's an Apple product, and would not normally consider getting a Windows phone, for example. This doesn't mean that Apple has the incentive to raise prices - because there are always people on the edge - and they will risk their bottom line, ultimately.

You: Not to mention, public perception.

You: But let's say that there was some megalomaniac who would charge a trillion dollars to access the port, and didn't care if it worked or not.

Stranger: Can you name another way to trade between the Pacific Northwest and ships from across the Pacific?

Stranger: Because the Puget Sound is the only deep water port

Stranger: The Pacific Northwest coastline is rocky and treacherous

Stranger: No other harbors

You: Sure. Ultimately, the cost of living would rise for people on the other side of the port, and they would move *themselves.*

Stranger: I see

You: Not saying that's ideal - but again, I don't see the situation playing out so dramatically.

Stranger: What about the plentiful resources in the Pacific Northwest?

Stranger: Out of luck?

Stranger: We can't use them without paying a ton?

You: If there were financial incentives - alternate methods would emerge over time as more capital would be invested in technology and solutions that could render the problem irrelevant.

You: Either way - I don't think it justifies the creation of a ruling class - nor do I think this *is* the fundamental origin of such an institution.

Stranger: Well it's 2013 and the primary means of trade across the Pacific is the same as it always was

Stranger: By ship

You: Sure - but we also don't see the unseen costs of centralized regulation. Even if you engineer a fringe situation where a net loss is inevitable, I do not believe it would outweigh the current costs. Nor do I think it can be justified on an ethical basis.

Stranger: Would you refer to your stateless utopia as an efficient model for resource development and trade?

You: Well, I don't think it's a utopia. But yes, I do think decentralized networks of the financial decisions of billions of individuals is more efficient than the arbitrary (read: disconnected from the price system) whims of central controllers.

Stranger: Despite the scenario I just proposed?

Stranger: You see it as efficient?

You: Yes - I think that ultimately violence is inefficient, as it distorts the internal structure of the global economy.

You: It's the classic "calculation problem"

You: It's price fixing, in a very fundamental sense.

Stranger: Wait... violence is inefficient? Yet you propose a stateless society in which I see violence would become the only means of enforcing one's will or protection of rights

Stranger: For example

Stranger: Warlords in Africa

You: Well - let me be clear - when I use the term "violence" I don't refer to defensive force.

Stranger: I see, but who is to stop anyone using offensive force in a stateless society?

Stranger: People will suddenly play nice because there is no government?

Stranger: I don't see that happening historically

Stranger: Tribal conflict

Stranger: predates any form of government

You: Sure - yeah, absolutely. Ultimately, I think that a stateless society is something the world evolves *into* - and it relies on two things: a lack of perceived legitimacy - and sufficient technological progress.

Stranger: I would probably be a neo-Viking in your stateless society... seems like the easiest way to sustain and gain wealth

You: I can give you my thoughts on the origin of the state if you'd like. I can copy/paste a blog post of mine if you can swallow a couple paragraphs with a bit of hyperbole.

Stranger: Okay, only if you listen to my thoughts on the origin of the state

You: Of course.

Stranger: Great

Stranger: We can compare

Stranger: Link to your blog?

Stranger: I am interested, because the "origin of the state" was the last scenario I was going to pose to you

Stranger: In your stateless society, Someone gathering enough wealth to create a militia and gather a following of like-minded individuals and forming a government while claiming land and weaker individuals as under their jurisdiction

Stranger: How would you stop this from occurring

You: What is the state? After all, it's not a conscious entity unto itself. What differentiates it from other organizations? Is it the people, the buildings, or the guns? Is it the grandiose voting ceremonies, or the conversations behind closed doors? Is it the borders, or the blue and green outfits?

I would argue that it is none of these things, as all these qualities can, and do, exist within private organizations that we do not consider "states." So what is it? What is the connective tissue that joins all types of historical and modern states?

I would say it all boils down to a claim, made by some people, that they have the moral legitimacy to use violence against non-violent people (at minimum through taxation enforcement). This claim, no matter how one tries to talk around it, can only ultimately be justified through some sort of circular logic, because it cannot be consistently applied to all individuals. It is a claim that some individuals have a higher right to other people's lives. Of course, humanity cannot be divided logically into two separate groups, so the circular logic comes in when attempting to justify who gets to be in which group. The current fallacy, "voting," insinuates that majority opinion bestows specific people with this right.

But there's more to it than that, I believe. Lots of people use violence, and many of them claim that their actions are justified. Do we consider these people "the state?" Not unless we use a definition so broad that it starts to lose some of its meaning. So what's the practical difference in this case? I think it's that when it comes to the state, people believe them. It's not just about claimed legitimacy, but perceived legitimacy.

So why do we (generally speaking, of course) believe them? Why do our accumulated cultural values allow us to see through the claims of some violent individuals, but not others? I would say that it is because our current state is directly descended from the state that came before it. Not literally, of course. I'm not claiming a global multi-millennial conspiracy. But the cultural blindspot in our psyches, I would say is the same. However well-intentioned and restricted the American state may have begun as, the concept of a government was inherited from the previous reign over the land by the British Empire. The further back you trace the long arc of history, the less humane, and the more obvious the subjugation becomes. Very generally speaking, we can look back in time past the empires, the monarchies, further past the feudal societies, religiously-justified direct slavery, way back into deep history until we reach "the jungle." Is this anarchy? No - to the contrary, this is the state - the culturally static warzone of all vs all, where any and all violence is seen as legitimate. Even before tribal times, even past our species, the state would exist in a state of nature without technology or advanced communication. Even though it's not centralized, even though it's not organized, that *is* the state. All the essential ingredients are there. There is the ability to rule others, not decided by your assets and connections, but by your individual strength and size - and there is the perceived legitimacy, because nobody knows better. The institution we currently call “the state” is simply what is left over in a society that has already lost it’s belief in most forms of “legitimate” violence. In a sense, it’s a *coagulation* of excuses for violence - to the point that we refer to it in our language as if it were a conscious entity unto itself.

The state doesn't provide order - it is the absence of order, the exception to the rules. It's not the path into a bright future - it is the warrior culture, clawing at civilization, attempting to drag it back into the past. The state is the jungle, and only when humanity can finally shed itself of this final animal superstition might we begin to reach something like our full height as a species.

Stranger: In your stateless society, Someone gathering enough wealth to create a militia and gather a following of like-minded individuals and forming a government while claiming land and weaker individuals as under their jurisdiction

Stranger: How would you stop this from occurring

You: So - worst case scenario - a state starts to form? :P

Stranger: They could even call themselves a private institution for all I care... but by all means it is the formation of a government

You: I would say that people should first call them by what they are - thugs.

Stranger: Let's say it's a dictatorship

Stranger: Or, it becomes one

Stranger: How would your stateless utopia stop this?

Stranger: Which I see as inevitable, in case in history of the fall of a government... anarchy is short-lived and another takes it's place

You: Sure - No matter what form of state it is - I would say it depends almost entirely on perceived legitimacy. They're hopelessly outnumbered otherwise. Hundreds of thousands of troops couldn't take Baghdad. When you actually look at the number of politicians, and the number of enforcers (assuming the enforcers wouldn't be disillusioned), it really is logistically impossible I believe.

You: Without perceived legitimacy, that is.

You: Fundamentally, I think the "state" is a belief structure.

Stranger: Agreed

You: A state of mind, if you will.

You: *TM

Stranger: Like you said, it's a belief structure

Stranger: It's an agreement between people

Stranger: on what this structure is

Stranger: Even if the agreement is through coercion it is still an agreement

You: Until somebody doesn't agree, despite the coercion. Then it's imposition by force.

Stranger: I don't see a stateless society existing with civilization... because it never has since the dawn of agriculture

Stranger: There has always been a structure

You: Did you read my post?

You: I addressed that.

Stranger: I did

You: I believe what we're witnessing in the grand tale of history is an animal species losing its belief in natural authority.

You: To put it bluntly.

Stranger: I think it has only grown...

Stranger: To be honest

Stranger: global economy and global treaties/governance

You: Its power has grown with technological progress - that's true. It's scope has shrank immensely from a position of near universality.

Stranger: globalization

You: shrunk*

Stranger: How has it shrunk?

Stranger: Centralized government has only grown... by all accounts

You: Violence only has perceived legitimacy, for the most part, in defense (which I agree with), or when written down by people "granted" the authority by a majority of people who vote, only once it has been pushed through a highly convoluted and bureaucratic narrative.

You: Overt violence against minorities has been delegitimized, for the most part. Slavery. Wife beating. Rape. At one point in time, all these acts had a sort of perceived legitimacy, or at least a lack of perceived *illegitimacy*

You: So, yes, with each individual empire, power grows until collapse.

You: But the scope of legitimate violence shrinks.

You: Over time, it looks more like a zig-zag.

You: But I think it's not entirely difficult to see the long arc of history - and where things are heading in the long run.

Stranger: So you're saying, the more centralized government is, the less violence?

You: Well - I'll leave that up to your own fairness and consideration - *did* I say that?

Stranger: You're proposing a confusing correlation between violence and the state... given your views

Stranger: Overt violence against minorities has been delegitimized

Stranger: While the government has grown

Stranger: How does this help your argument for a stateless society?

You: I'll try to say it a bit more concisely: over time, the *ability* to use violence grows, but the *perceived legitimacy* to use violence shrinks. The practical manifestation of these two opposing forces is that a power structure grows until it becomes unsustainable and collapses, but over a longer timescale the *range* of violence a state can legitimately use narrows.

You: This isn't an argument for a stateless society in principle - simply a historical interpretation. But I think it points in an interesting direction.

You: Particularly in modern times.

You: I think a lot of people feel that the height of civilization, the final plateau, was somewhere around 1997.

You: I wouldn't underestimate the potential for radical change.

You: Especially the way technology is heading.

Stranger: I only see it becoming more centralized

Stranger: I find it interesting that someone who advocates for a stateless society is showing that use of violence shrinks when power is consolidated

You: *range of acceptable violence*, not use of violence.

Stranger: Yes, okay range of acceptable violence shrinks

Stranger: Doesn't this mean use of violence shrinks?

Stranger: From societal pressure

You: Not necessarily. Because as we become more technologically capable, and as the power structure becomes more organizationally efficient in its propaganda - the *ability* to use violence rises. The violence is larger, flashier.

Stranger: Interesting

You: I think it's the interplay between those two forces: physical power and legitimacy - that creates the zig-zag motion we see throughout history.

Stranger: But society's view of range of acceptable violence shrinks?

You: Sure. From the perspective of the individual.

You: Not many people are lynching anymore.

Stranger: Yes

Stranger: Which is my point exactly

You: Well I'm glad we agree.

You: Hah

Stranger: I think you're viewing it from a specific point of view

Stranger: So for example

You: I definitely am.

Stranger: Here in the U.S., violence was more common place two hundred years ago

Stranger: Or during the Western expansion, the frontier West was somewhat stateless and violence was prevalent

You: A bit of an urban myth - but go on.

Stranger: As a means of vigilante justice or exploitation of natives or pioneers

Stranger: Do you agree or not?

You: There's evidence on the other side of your point regarding Western expansion.

You: But sure, compared to today.

Stranger: Interesting, I've never heard it

Stranger: okay

Stranger: Fair enough

Stranger: So


Stranger: Flash forward to today, violence is not as common place in the U.S.

Stranger: Mises, huh?

Stranger: Do you agree that violence is less common place in the everyday lives of U.S. citizens today?

You: Yes.

Stranger: Okay

Stranger: Great

Stranger: I think I know where your argument is coming from

Stranger: Because today we have a War on Terror

Stranger: and there are drone strikes

You: But let's not conflate correlation with causation.

Stranger: and civilian casualties and a lot of violence... even though it is not close to home

Stranger: Do you agree?

You: Well, yes, there is a lot of state violence today.

Stranger: Fair enough

Stranger: Well

You: Not sure what you're implying, but I do agree with that.

Stranger: Great

Stranger: Well

Stranger: Just as the governance of the U.S. became more centralized and violence declined

Stranger: The state of world governance

Stranger: Would that not be similar?

Stranger: If Iraqis were of the same state as U.S. citizens and connected technologically and economically?

You: Well, that's quite a strong extrapolation. I don't know that I would infer that at all.

Stranger: Or afghans

You: It seems that the decrease in violence is related to technological and philosophical progress, buttressed by horizontal enforcement of norms.

You: In *spite* of state intervention, if anything.

Stranger: I disagree, and I can show you an example

Stranger: multiple examples

Stranger: Do you know which nations are part of the U.N. Security Council?

You: So... you think the state is the *cause* of decreased rates of violence?

Stranger: I'll give you examples

Stranger: Do you know which nations are part of the U.N. Security Council?

You: Not all of them

You: US, china, uk, russia...

Stranger: The permanent members yes

Stranger: Fair enough

Stranger: There are 15 overall

You: Okay

Stranger: No member of the U.N. Security Council has ever attacked another

Stranger: Since it's inception after WW2

You: Only their citizens.

Stranger: Their citizens?

Stranger: Example?

You: Every non-defense based action/law the state makes is aggressive.

You: There's just a veil of legitimacy over it.

You: If everybody was naked - it would look a lot differently to most people.

Stranger: Give me an example.

Stranger: Specific

You: Taxation enforcement. Drug enforcement. Truancy enforcement. Regulatory enforcement.

You: I can keep going.

Stranger: These are acts of violence?

Stranger: I see what you're saying

You: When you put a person in a cage against their will for a chunk of their life - yes, I do consider that violence.

Stranger: These are states enforcing laws

You: Right - and there's the linguistic veil of legitimacy.

Stranger: They are not acts of aggression between states

You: It's important to look at the physical actions taking place in reality.

You: Sure - but that's a semantic difference.

You: Peaceful people are having their natural rights violated.

Stranger: I don't know how you could compare a few people being extradited to a war between superpowers

You: It's all just people, is my point.

Stranger: I think we both know one would involve a lot more violence and casualties

You: Sure. But regardless, our country has essentially been in a eternal state of war for centuries.

Stranger: Sure, but violence has decreased for our own citizens

You: The fact that an argument could be made that some of those states don't go to war with each other simply helps their perceived legitimacy

You: The result is the same.

You: There is one human species.

You: States are ultimately linguistic divisions.

Stranger: Do you believe the U.N. has been successful in keeping the countries we mentioned peaceful amongst each other? Do you think it has deterred war?

You: I mean, of course there are fences and people with guns.

You: I think it would like people to think it has deterred war.

Stranger: So you do not?

Stranger: Despite the differences amongst these nations and the tension, you do not believe it has deterred war?

You: I think there is some mutual benefit between the acting parties to create an illusion of peace and normalcy in order to better extort their respective populations, while distracting from the fact that war is just as prevalent.

Stranger: You just agreed that there is less violence domestically

You: Sure, among average people.

Stranger: The focus of the violence now... is those who are perceived to be of "rogue states" or "stateless rogue organizations"

You: Our sense of decency has evolved over time.

Stranger: Do you agree?

You: Yes - I agree. And I think it's because we're essentially approaching the end-game of the nation state.

Stranger: Fair enough

You: There is the need for an enemy that doesn't disappear once you "win"

Stranger: How many times have you read 1984

Stranger: lol

You: .5 times.

You: Hah

Stranger: I see

You: That's point five, not five.

You: I'll be back in 30 seconds

Stranger: Have you ever heard of the McDonalds conflict theory

Stranger: It's an interesting globalization theory that began with a simple observation

Stranger: There are McDonalds franchises in 122 different countries around the world today

Stranger: No country with a McDonalds has EVER attacked another with a McDonalds

Stranger: Except for Bosnia and Serbia conflict in the 90s

Stranger: That is the only exception

Stranger: Of course, the presence of a McDonalds itself is not creating peace

Stranger: It's a symptom of the social order and treaties between nations

You: Well, that's actually another good point to explain your question. If anything, I would say it's not the UN who has prevented war among these questions. It's the lack of perceived legitimacy among the respective populations.

You: Americans can sort of swallow attacking some third-world middle eastern country, for whatever crazy reason.

You: But what about dropping bombs on French cities?

You: nations*

You: whoops

Stranger: Trade treaties are an example of centralized governance.

Stranger: The McDonalds theory simply illustrates the economic relations between these countries

Stranger: and ultimately... their relation to the U.S.

You: Can I ask - have you not been swayed at all? Can you at least see that there might be a lot more intellectual rigor behind the libertarian/voluntarist position than you may have thought?

You: Not a trick question

Stranger: Not really

Stranger: I see it as idealistic

Stranger: Completely idealistic

Stranger: and relatively unrealistic

You: You don't feel I've at least answered *some* of your questions adequately?

You: At least give me credit for being internally consistent.

Stranger: You've answered them

Stranger: and stuck to your principle beliefs

Stranger: You have been consistent

You: Okay - fair enough :P

Stranger: But I haven't seen you use many real world examples

You: Did I do better than the guy Sandel interviewed?

Stranger: Yes

Stranger: You did

Stranger: You did better than the head of Harvard Libertarian Club

Stranger: But to be honest

Stranger: they were libertarians in favor of a state

You: Right. It's a really tricky position to hold

You: Walking the line, so to speak.

Stranger: albeit a limited one only for defense and protection of bill of rights

Stranger: but they had a different view from yourself

You: I agree that a statist libertarian view isn't internally consistent.

Stranger: No, and it's an easy one to break down

You: I think that was your original intent - to demonstrate that

Stranger: Yes

Stranger: It was

You: Well - call me an optimist if you will - but I think that the forces of conscious self-interest will eventually set humans free - even if it takes some time. The technology and philosophy has to get there first.

Stranger: I think that is the only way you can reconcile your cold-hearted ideology

Stranger: That humans will evolve to become better samaritans of their own good will

Stranger: I'm just being blunt about my opinion

You: Well, our propensity to *not* be good samaritans is being massively subsidized.

You: To be fair.

Stranger: I think it is entirely idealistic to think that people will suddenly play nice if the government ceases to exist

Stranger: We see this with conflicts and revolutions

Stranger: When we have a window into a somewhat stateless society

You: We'll see.

Stranger: You don't see African regions in conflict as examples of stateless societies?

Stranger: Where warlords have power and there is no state?

Stranger: Somalia?

Stranger: Congo?

You: I consider warlords to be a sort of state.

You: Somalia is interesting actually.

Stranger: So you're against anyone having gaining power over others


You: Sorry to keep referencing one source

Stranger: Yet you're also against the very institution that assures warlords do not exist within a nation

You: The info is from the BBC originally.

Stranger: Send the BBC link then

Stranger: I don't wanna give anything with "Mises" a hit

Stranger: lol

You: I sent that one because it gathers a bunch of info from different sources.

You: The links are all in there.

Stranger: Okay fair enough

Stranger: I was kidding, btw

Stranger: about not wanting to give it a hit

You: I figured :P

Stranger: Very interesting

Stranger: I am aware of the economic success of certain Somalians given the prevalence of actual maritime piracy

Stranger: As I am sure you are as well

Stranger: I think we both know this success drives up the average "income" of Somalians

You: It's an interesting case study, at least.

You: Shows a different side that people wouldn't necessarily intuitively expect

Stranger: Do you think the maritime piracy carried out by Somalians is justified?

You: I don't know much about it, but no.

Stranger: It is a rather organized effort and it does bring plenty of wealth to the region

You: I don't think any aggressive force is justified.

Stranger: Well, it is a result of the stateless society there

Stranger: Read about it

Stranger: Really, anything about the Somalian pirates

Stranger: I'm fairly certain it's a multi-billion dollar industry

Stranger: Here it is

Stranger: $7 billion dollars

Stranger: in 2011

Stranger: was lost to Somalian piracy

You: At that level of socioeconomic development, sure. That being said, piracy is interesting in and of itself. It's a sort of geographical time machine - going to a place where there is restricted access to technological progress due to physical logistics.


Stranger: There's your economic success in Somalia since it became a stateless society.

Stranger: That's it

You: I'll look into it - call me skeptical for now until I look into it more.

You: Not that it happens, mind you.

Stranger: skeptical of what?


You: That the economic success of Somalia is due to increased rates of piracy.

Stranger: What else would it be?

Stranger: Can you name other industries?

Stranger: Counter me

Stranger: Indian National Shipowners Organization says maritime piracy costs $9 billion a year... most of it by Somalians

You: Their telecom industry is doing quite well apparently - there is definitely a level of economic activity that cannot be *solely* reduced to piracy.

You: Like I said - I'll look into it.

Stranger: I would say the telecom industry is a result of the economic success of piracy

Stranger: I have to go soon

Stranger: But before I take off

Stranger: I'd like to share a theory with you, you might like it since you seem to like the idea of humans evolving and being able to create a stateless utopia

You: Not a utopia.

You: But sure, go for it

You: :p

Stranger: whatever ;0

Stranger: Okay

Stranger: So

Stranger: I haven't looked into it much

Stranger: but someone posed a theory to me

You: Singularity?

You: hah

Stranger: That humans who adapted to harsher climates, relied less on agriculture and more on conquering as a means of survival

Stranger: Oh I like singularity... we can discuss after this

Stranger: So for example

Stranger: The Mongols

Stranger: The Vikings

Stranger: Northern Europeans in general, really

Stranger: That instead of cultivating resources

Stranger: They simply became accustomed to conquering other groups for their resources

Stranger: And it was effective

You: Hm. Yeah - I like the argument.

Stranger: and much less timely

You: Interesting theory.

Stranger: So think, Attila the Hun

Stranger: Ghengis Khan

Stranger: British Empire

You: Seems plausible, especially the further back you go.

Stranger: Romans are interesting... the story of the formation of Rome is that the first Romans were not indigenous but somewhat Germanic

Stranger: A mix

Stranger: and Germanic culture could have certainly had an influence

Stranger: The Aryans (Not nazi aryans, but original Aryans from northern Assyria, desolate)

Stranger: Anyways

Stranger: The theory also concludes that this inclination to conquer for resources rather than cultivate is still prevalent, because it was the most successful model to acquire resources

Stranger: Thus, first world countries exploiting third world countries for their resources and labor

Stranger: All from groups who adapted to conquering as a means of surviving in climates with less resources

You: Interesting theory - the last part I feel is more likely due to power differentials. After all, the acting agent of a "country" is really a small fraction of the population, and one could argue that it's the sociopathic-leaning who on average find themselves in positions of power.

Stranger: I think it's not a conscious decision, but rather a byproduct of what was the most successful throughout history

Stranger: These groups, because they did not rely on cultivating and only on conquering

Stranger: Created superior weaponry

Stranger: and war was a main focal point

You: But yeah, on the whole I think there could be some value there.

You: Because of a higher degree of scarcity, a higher percentage of the population evolved to live parasitically.

Stranger: Yes

You: Makes sense at first glance, at least.

Stranger: Exactly

Stranger: I find it interesting

Stranger: and on the flip side, entertain the opposite

Stranger: What were social groups like that evolved in resource plentiful regions, before coming into contact with these conquering groups?

Stranger: We can see the most recent examples

Stranger: when Europeans reached the new world

Stranger: Or discovery of pacific islands

Stranger: Oh by the way

Stranger: The Incas

Stranger: were from the Andes

Stranger: mountains

Stranger: high-mountain desolate region

Stranger: I wonder about the Aztecs and Mayans

Stranger: I'm not entirely sure about those two

Stranger: But the Incas were definitely from the Andes

Stranger: resource desolate

Stranger: An interesting theory

Stranger: I'd like to read more about it

Stranger: I don't know much

You: I've been thinking about checking out Chile lately, actually.

Stranger: I've heard it's awesome

Stranger: You might like this Vice series...


You: Yeah - I tend to like the uniqueness of island cultures.

Stranger: About a man living in isolation for 40 years in Patagonia

You: I feel like Chile is somewhat similar because of the geographical barriers.

Stranger: I see

Stranger: Of course it has been very European influenced

Stranger: But there are still remnants

You: Yeah. I used to live in Japan, which is in many senses a "global" or "western" nation.

You: But you catch little glimmers.

Stranger: I see

Stranger: I lived in Hawaii for a little over a year

You: Never been.

Stranger: It's alright

Stranger: Very Americanized of course

You: Sure

Stranger: Really no authentic remnant of polynesian culture

Stranger: it's all fake
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