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Author Topic: What about volunteering freedom away?  (Read 603 times)

memenode

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What about volunteering freedom away?
« on: April 07, 2008, 02:19 PM NHFT »

Thinking about newly discovered yet incredibly powerful anarcho-capitalist, that is voluntaryst Free Market ideas, one interesting thing I occassionally get caught on is the issue of consent.

We are all about consent. Without consent to a particular activity or a particular state of things nothing is voluntary. But then imagine the following scenario, a country with a social democracy and a welfare state in which a great majority of people like the way the government takes care of them, don't mind the taxes and don't dislike the services government provides them. They would even express consent to this government being guarded by gun wearing police which enforces law and order.

In other words, it is a society which is pretty much everything we don't want a society to be, but people in it are defacto in agreement with the way things are. If voluntarysm is our core ideal, and they voluntarily support such a system, despite that objectively meaning they have less freedom in their lives, aren't they still essentially in the right, and therefore moral even by our own standards?

This actually poses a more serious question. We may often advocate a no-government Free Market system by telling people about freedoms that they don't have and expenses they are obliged to pay for the system they are living in. But if they are fine with this, they are willing to pay and feel no need for anything more, our "more freedom" argument kind of crumbles.. When we start telling them about government being a coercive monopoly that institutionalizes violence they might actually respond "sure, and that's exactly how I want it", expressing clear consent to the way things are. It might be akin to having a nation of previously anarchist country one day all come together and form a sweeping and 100% consentual contract between each other that would establish a coercive monopoly - so that they never again have to worry about certain responsibilities that more freedom brings.

What do you think?
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Caleb

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Re: What about volunteering freedom away?
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2008, 03:01 PM NHFT »

If everyone lends their consent, it is voluntary, not wrong. If even one person disagrees and is coerced, it is a state. If that person is allowed to disagree, allowed to do his own thing, and not coerced, it's not a state. :)

You do dance around an interesting point, though:  contracts are slavery. My present self binds my future self to an agreement, but my future self may not wish to do this thing.

A wise man once said not to take an oath, but just to say "yes" and "no". I take that to mean not to sign any contracts that bind me. Anything beyond that is evil.
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K. Darien Freeheart

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Re: What about volunteering freedom away?
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2008, 03:10 PM NHFT »

I think that's a pretty fair assessment, actually. :)

One of the goals (either spoken or unspoken) of the Free State Project is the recognition that there are people who ARE quite happy to have the government they have. This realization was a key part of why liberty activists needed to congregate in one place and be clear, we do NOT consent. As we're spread out there is no real way to correct the problem... Minorities can't win a popularity contents as long as they're a minority.

Quote from: 'gu3st'
But then imagine the following scenario, a country with a social democracy and a welfare state in which a great majority of people like the way the government takes care of them, don't mind the taxes and don't dislike the services government provides them. They would even express consent to this government being guarded by gun wearing police which enforces law and order.

It's not hard to imagine this... That's how it is in the USA.

Quote from: 'gu3st'
In other words, it is a society which is pretty much everything we don't want a society to be, but people in it are defacto in agreement with the way things are.

Perhaps this is an issue with symantics but I myself don't want society to be any specific way. I only have the right to control my own actions and I'm the only one with the right to do it. "Society" is a collectivist term. To "shape society" is to "tell individuals what to do" and it's something I oppose. I want the ability to conduct my business without interference with those outside of the business dealings. If the rest of the world feels the need to regulate THEIR business dealings, and it is done voluntarily then I see that as a different expression of the same liberties we're demanding.

Quote from: 'gu3st'
If voluntarysm is our core ideal, and they voluntarily support such a system, despite that objectively meaning they have less freedom in their lives, aren't they still essentially in the right, and therefore moral even by our own standards?

Technically yes, but actually no. :) To be voluntary one must be able to opt out. The idea of voluntary interaction is the first visable "symptom" of a mindset but even THAT ideal rests upon the idea that every human, by virtue of being human, has the right to life, liberty and property, each being crucial to living or sustaining life. Therefore, in a system like the United States as it CURRENTLY IS even the "you agree by staying, if you don't like it go to your free society" isn't voluntary... How do you do that without having your property (like your house and the land that house is on) taken? You can't, unless you're in the RARE situation where your plot of land is LITERALLY the border (in this case, defined as the line where government ends) of a free state.

Quote from: 'gu3st'
This actually poses a more serious question. We may often advocate a no-government Free Market system by telling people about freedoms that they don't have and expenses they are obliged to pay for the system they are living in.

In many cases this is true. But this requires looking at a few things. Most of the time people think black and white... Liberty activist, socialist. Perhaps there's grey with "ambivilent". Break that down even futher and you'll come to the "point" of liberty activism rather than just liberty isolationism.

There are people who, because of their world view, the indoctrination by the state (the US has government run schools... all material must be approved before it can be taught), religious affiliation or one of several other factors, simply can't COMPREHEND the concept of a no-state system. Very much like an atheist being told about God, without being able to grasp the notions it's impossible to have the other person understand. But all views that are rational must, at some point, bow to reality. For those who see the government as "good" and the "protector", exposing the government at an agent of force may shatter that government-built image of government to the point where they actually begin asking questions and filling in the gaps themselves.

There's also another thing to consider. The VAST majority of people are lazy. This isn't a value judgement, simply a note of human nature. The vast majority of people are content to accept ANY world they're dropped into, as long as the values of those people are met. On both the side of the liberty activists AND the socialist activists, it's a small number who actually DO anything. If 90% of the populace supports government, but the 10% that do NOT comprise 80% of all people willing to take action, then government doesn't stand a chance. It really REALLY does take a LOT of effort and energy to force people to your will and the average person being lazy means that the average person won't take steps to actively oppose liberty.

Quote from: 'gu3st'
But if they are fine with this, they are willing to pay and feel no need for anything more, our "more freedom" argument kind of crumbles.

I'd see nothing wrong with this, actually. This situation can, in theory, exist in a fully free market economy. But this is where terminology gets sticky because at that point this is a market monopoly and NOT a coercive monopoly (and hence, not actually a government). In this case, every customer is consenting AND the services or goods are SO satisfying and at SUCH low prices that it would be impossible to compete (how do you undercut a product being sold "as cheap as humanly possible" and improve satisfaction when the leader already has 100% satisfaction ratings?) As mentioned in "The Market For Liberty" this seldom lasts long, if EVER.

Quote from: 'gu3st'
It might be akin to having a nation of previously anarchist country one day all come together and form a sweeping and 100% consentual contract between each other that would establish a coercive monopoly - so that they never again have to worry about certain responsibilities that more freedom brings.

As a theoretical, I'll conceed that point. In reality, however, it's not possible. No two human beings ever agree on the exact value of a given thing, be it a song, a road, a can of paint or an ear of corn. As long as individuals hold that different things have different value there will ALWAYS be a market. As long as there is a market, there will be competition and the desire to make profit (Sometimes I think free marketeers get too caught up in "money" and don't think "value". Profit isn't ALWAYS money.). To move away from a free market requires the END of value differences (which would require a major change to humanity) OR coersion. Good luck convincing peaceful, profit-driven people to abandon the responsibility of earning for the "convenience" of "not worrying about it".
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dalebert

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Re: What about volunteering freedom away?
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2008, 04:07 PM NHFT »

Thinking about newly discovered yet incredibly powerful anarcho-capitalist, that is voluntaryst Free Market ideas, one interesting thing I occassionally get caught on is the issue of consent.

You said a lot of words and yet I still have no idea what it is that you're being caught on. You presented a hypothetical situation that clearly doesn't exist, i.e. everyone is consenting. People are constantly fighting over what laws should be written on paper and enforced, so we're clearly not in 100% agreement and likely never will be. There wouldn't even be a need for the enforcement you describe that everyone in this scenario is supposedly consenting to because everyone's in 100% agreement about everything. There'd be no crime happening because there'd be 100% agreement about how we ought to behave, what substances we should be allowed to put in our bodies, what property means, etc. Yeah, I'm kind of grasping at what you're trying to say and feel like I'm missing it. Are you talking about the Borg? What are you "caught on", exactly?
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memenode

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Re: What about volunteering freedom away?
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2008, 08:09 PM NHFT »

Quote from: Caleb
If that person is allowed to disagree, allowed to do his own thing, and not coerced, it's not a state. :)

A potentially interesting question on that. What if that person is in an anarcho-capitalist system, but wants to live in a social democracy - yet moving to one is not currently viable? How can he do his own thing in that case? (Just playing devils advocate. I wonder if anyone would actually want a social democracy once they taste full liberty and empowerment :) ).

Quote from: Kevin Dean
If the rest of the world feels the need to regulate THEIR business dealings, and it is done voluntarily then I see that as a different expression of the same liberties we're demanding.

Seems quite right. This actually makes me think that basic ideas held by anarcho-capitalists are fundamental - as in they would have to apply first for anything else to be in the right. So a social democracy could in some sense be in the right should there be 100% consent. If it always fails at achieving such level of consent then this should be interpreted as a sign of the faultiness of that system.

Quote from: Kevin Dean
To be voluntary one must be able to opt out.

In objective reality, yes.. of course. The problem is, in a present subjective reality of a concerned human the ability to opt-out may simply not be taken as a requirement for him/her to feel free. It's like being in a prison with walls so far away that you never see them. Objectively speaking the walls are there and will restrict him should he decide to move so far, but in his mind the walls don't exist and therefore the requirement for walls not to exist doesn't exist in his mind either. It's a sad predicament..

Quote from: Kevin Dean
For those who see the government as "good" and the "protector", exposing the government at an agent of force may shatter that government-built image of government to the point where they actually begin asking questions and filling in the gaps themselves.

That's an apparent solution to the above predicament.. indeed.. Tell them about those walls! Challenge them to try and find them themselves so they can see for themselves that they are not really free.

Quote from: Kevin Dean
As long as individuals hold that different things have different value there will ALWAYS be a market.

We're too agreeable. :P Indeed, no argument there. And I too doubt that'd change in any forseeable future.

Quote from: Kevin Dean
(Sometimes I think free marketeers get too caught up in "money" and don't think "value". Profit isn't ALWAYS money.).

Totally, agree. I was thinking the same thing.

Quote from: dalebert
You presented a hypothetical situation that clearly doesn't exist, i.e. everyone is consenting.

Well, hypothetical doesn't have to refer to real situations, right? I realize it's hardly in touch with reality, but I felt it worth exploring as a "what if" question. What if a non-anarchist society was built while following fundamental anarchist ideals? I think such explorations help us better understand what we stand for.

Quote from: dalebert
Are you talking about the Borg?

Can't be Borg. The "individuals" in the Borg collective barely exist as separate life so they aren't held together by any sort of consent.. On the other hand, you could argue it does if we posit that they might not be capable of not-consenting to the way they are. I suppose it's another angle that could be explored.
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