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sc94597 said:

1. There are costs involved in the arbitration itself. Eventually people will be sensitive to any further sunk costs and opt to resolve said dispute. The reason why you don't see this in your legislator example is because there are no personal costs involved with the legislators. The legislators are acting and working on the tax-payers dime for what they perceive to be the taxpayers interests (being generous here), and would be spending their time in session regardless of what they do with that time. You might argue that there are political costs, but it isn't entirely clear that the political costs of not conceding outweigh the political costs of conceding, and hence you don't have concessions. 

Finally, one can make the agreement  in a way such that one is bound by the rules of one's selected jury or arbitrators. This is not totally voluntary and free, but it is more free and voluntary than in our current system. 

Most disputes even in our current society are resolved by arbitration, so I don't see why you think the idea is all that far-fetched. 

2. Is it not the evaluation of whether or not justice has been achieved an individual value? Do you believe in objective morality? Whether or not you answer yes or no to the latter question determines significantly how you see the maximization of justice. 

3. Consistent rulings to what? All cases are different, even if the difference might merely be who is involved. The only reason why there is a question of fairness is because the judge is not selected by the disputed parties in a fair manner, but by the public as a whole or an appointee (and therefore might represent public/external prejudices.) Juries are a bit more fair (because they're randomized and selected), but even then the selection process is often skewed. 

Again I must inquire about whether or not you have a belief in an objective morality, because this determines whether or not you view consistency as a valuable standard. 

4. Are you suggesting there won't be any communitarianism in the absence of legal mandates? Certainly things like domestic violence shelters, help-groups, and other means of community/social-based assistance exist in a socialist society where many resources are commonly shared. Remember, you are judging the necessity of government-mandated social institutions in a capitalist society based on private property and large-scale alienation. There is a reason why anarchists are also socialists. That law enforcement currently does a thing, doesn't mean it can't be done by other alternative social organizations whom use common property available to the whole community. 

5. In my state, both of the largest cities Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have gun laws exclusive to them. I am sure it is true of other municipalities. For example, it is legal to open carry without a license in the whole state except in Philadelphia. So certainly many local governments have power over gun laws, devolved to them by the state of course, but all local laws are devolved by the state in our current society. 

6. Can you provide a concrete example? 

7.a This just becomes a matter of foreign invasion. In that case, guerrilla warfare has been quite effective at staving off organized foreign invaders. Just look at the ability of the United States to intervene in local conflicts abroad, with the best funded and trained military the world has ever seen. 

7.b For that matter, they would have to secretly organize, if they wished to rule others. Again remember, an anarchist society is one in which the majority of people have rejected rulers and abolished the institutions which allow rulers to rule. If a subset of the population wants to institute rulers they're going to have to go against the social systems which have been especially tuned to eliminate ruler-ruled relationships. That's easier said than done, in a context of a society where ruler-ship has already been eliminated. For example, suppose I wish to reinstate private property and the state to protect it. I'd have to convince all of the people around me who share that view, in secret, that I wish to do such a thing. If I do it out in the open, then everybody who is around me that doesn't want private property and the state to be reinstated would prepare for any act of aggression on my (or my peer's part), if not outright kick me out of the community. Remember, anarchism is the state of not having rulers, it isn't the lack of organization and preparation. Such things can and will exist. 

7.c  Again, the greater anarchist society is already socialist, which implies that people's varying social needs are being met as best they can given the resources available (you can disagree that socialism achieves this, and it would be my job to convince you.) It would have to be shown that a hierarchy with a ruler can better address people's social needs than an egalitarian community designed precisely based on providing social needs. That is merely an argument on the viability of socialism. 

8. Yes, how do you think institutions of hierarchy were overthrown and destroyed in the first place? An anarchist society requires people (and the social institutions they create) to be attuned to and have the means of preventing relations of ruler-ship. 

Furthermore, all of your questions apply to the people whom wish to create the gang too. How would they find out how to create a gang? How would they persuade people to join? Are they familiar with using guns? 

It's almost as if there hasn't been a precedent of people self-organizing, but there has. Militia and guerrilla warfare have existed for millennia now, in fact, much longer than institutional gangs or militaries. 

9. How did the Gulf cartel grow? Who initially trained its first members? Where did its funding come from? I am going to assume that there was quite a bit of involvement from the Mexican and American governments which led to its creation, and most of its funds likely came from the illegalization of valuable commodities. 

10. If I were able to overthrow the state -- an institutionalized powerful entity with a disproportionate ability to levy tribute from its population -- in the first place, what is a gang compared to that? If I were able to overthrow the state because it was weakened, have I also not recognized that I must weaken gang power in order to achieve anarchism? Are state power and gang power separate?  

11.a There is much more to the psychology of a gang member than "high school students who were awkward or don't feel as if they belong."  Structural poverty and the ability to profit on criminal activity are much more correlative here. The viability of a gang depends significantly on how desperate the population is. It's why you find so many more gangs (per capita) in a country like the United Kingdom (I chose not to mention the United States due to its border) than you do in Norway, despite Norway being relatively soft on crime. 

11.b Why wouldn't common people have access to training and combat skills? These things can be taught in community schools or by parents at home. Furthermore, are most gang-members very trained? You can cite the odd gang here and there, but plenty of gangs have poorly trained members who don't even know how to hold a gun. 

11.c But you're not considering the resources the gang needs. They need an ability to make super-normal profits. It's why most gangs in Mexico and the United States are tied to the drug trade. They make profits due to the illegalization of drugs. Likewise, early mafias made profits due to the illegalization of alcohol. Organized crime has very much been tied with the ability to make special profits. How can this occur in a socialist society? Furthermore, you mention alienation, but one of the key points of socialism is to reduce alienation. 

Structurally there are significant differences between the way gangs operate and grow based on the policies of the states which most directly influence them. It's not a case of random and spontaneous organization, actual structural institutions and laws are very important here. 

12. I actually can argue that society has become more favorable toward capitalism since the 1950's. In the 1950's a third of all people were in labor movements which internalized quite a bit of socialist ideas, and a much larger proportion of the population were agrarians, skeptical of big banks and big corporations. Today, only about 7% of the population participate in labor movements, and a much smaller proportion of the population are agrarian. The Boomer generation (onward), due to their suburban-lifestyles have internalized quite a bit of bourgeois social values and have become much more accepting of capitalism than prior generations. This is why fusionist Reaganism appealed to them so much. 

13. The thing is, in an anarchic society community membership is somewhat detached from geographical membership. Many communities will overlap according to geography in so much as there are no common property disputes. In our current society, people have no choice but to join a community based on their geographical location. This is the difference between freedom of association and not being free to associate. 

14. Which is why I mentioned the ability to appoint somebody who is willing to participate. Those who have the time can represent those whom trust them. 

15. American slavery was based on the power imbalances (and exploitation) between the English, colonial Americans, certain tribal African slave-sellers, and other tribal Africans. This doesn't tell us anything about a world (or society) where power has been devolved to the common person, and where technology is not selective to a particular group of people. In other words, the global society we live in today is significantly different from the 16th century relationships between monarchies and colonial Africans. Furthermore, domestically, there were laws protecting the ownership of slaves. State militia were used to quell any thought of a rebellion. The fugitive slave act was passed to prevent people from fleeing. To ignore the laws (and state aggression) which institutionalized slavery (and therefore reduced the costs of holding slaves) is to ignore the history and culpability of the people involved. 

16. Actually no. Slavery developed along the first agrarian societies, and the first governments. These were intimately connected. Pure hunter-gathering societies didn't have slaves, because that would've been another mouth to feed and there really was no benefit. Now you can possibly say that slavery predates statutes (and states), but not necessarily law. The law was merely what the ruler(s) (arbitrarily) said it was. Slavery was not abolished by laws, but by popular sentiment. The laws were only created to override previous laws that lagged behind popular sentiment. 

17. You're not analyzing how humans created hierarchies though. That is very important. It was through the institutionalization of power through fixed ideas: religion, appeal to tradition, etc and disproportionate ability to induce violence (due to technological differences) that people were able to create and maintain these hierarchies. In an age of science, reason, and skepticism the first have been weakened, and in an age of rapid technological advancement and globalization the second has been reduced. 

This brings me to my next point. You're confusing the effects of the law for the social change. It takes a change in people's mindsets for a law (under a somewhat democratic system) to be created in the first place. Without laws meant to institutionalize slavery (and yes, they did exist, don't deny this!) slavery would've been eliminated as it became too costly for an individual to maintain slave ownership as the social pressures surrounding them accumulated.

A good example of a hierarchy where changes in law really won't do as much at this point as changes in sentiment, is the gender hierarchy. For all intents and purposes women and men are treated as legal equals (with some marginal inequalities), but they still aren't equal. Why? Because many people (enough) still have not internalized that some of the prejudices they hold aren't legitimate. The #metoo movement shows us that changing the social institutions through social conditioning directly (rather than relying on the law) can be at times be more effective. I am not opposed to using laws as a short-term solution where they are convenient, but the law is not the fundamental force of social change. 

18.  Sorry the companies that brought the slaves over to colonial America were chartered by law, the protection against slave rebellions were there due to law, the colonies themselves were charted by law.It is not obvious that in the absence of these things chattel slavery (at that scale) would've been viable. And again, one can't ignore the institutionalization of slavery which prolonged its status. There were laws in the United States (and Britain before there was a United States) which protected and enabled chattel slavery in way of social forces which opposed it. 

19. I can't see how you can ignore the influence of the British Empire on the slave trade here. There was not "no government influence." 

20. But this argument can be made for any social change, really. Look at the French revolution. It took many tries before the French fully abolished the monarchy and reactionary forces, but it still happened. Nothing of its equivalent replaced it. That it doesn't happen in one revolution doesn't mean it won't eventually happen. Change can happen via many smaller revolutions, and unless the hierarchy which replaces the prior hierarchy is equally hierarchical eventually a state of infinitesimal "near-anarchy" will come to exist, just as we don't need a perfect geometric circle to call something in the real world that approximates one -- a circle.

21. My argument was based on distinguishing abuse and hierarchy. While hierarchy is rooted in abuse, they aren't the same thing. The protestant reformation was necessary in order for the separation of the Catholic church (which was, and is, objectively much more hierarchical than the majority of protestant denominations) to lose its power over European kingdoms, estates, and the people which they controlled. This, in turn, was necessary for future political revolutions to flourish. The degree of hierarchy is important. This is not a mere binary of exchanging "hierarchy a" and "hierarchy b" when "hierarchy b" is much less hierarchical than "hierarchy a." Equating two different hierarchies gets us nowhere. As for the idea itself, it did spark change. It was the idea that the Catholic Church was not the mouthpiece of God which set the basis for the idea that the "divine right of kings" was bull-crap, which set the basis for "republicanism is a good idea." You can't ignore the power of ideas in determining where violence should be directed. 

Also, I am a bit confused in your use of "protestant" as some unified entity. The name itself kind of illustrates what it was. It was a movement of many different groups of Christians to protest the Catholic Church's power and authority. To speak of "protestant authority" and "protestant power" seems odd to me in this context. 

1) I think the examples are quite similar. The "cost" to the parties for harping on an issue and holding up the commission is a potentially looking like a crybaby to the opposing party and independents, but the cost of agreeing and going along with the commission is a loss of control. In my hypothetical, the cost to not agreeing is looking bad in public, but the cost of agreeing to an arbitrator that you are not sure is on your side is much, much greater. Whatever cost there is to your reputation of stalling on an arbitration process is far less significant than not getting the person you want and being convicted of a crime as a result, even in a society with no government instituted laws.

Most legal cases wind up being settled before a ruling is passed down because the sides have little to no over the arbitration. In other words, you can't affect who is ruling over the case, so you might as well make the best of what you have. If that power does exist, and it's an issue as important as being branded a criminal or not, then there's no incentive to cooperate.

2) While I do believe in objective morality, I don't think the point is relevant, at least to this "#2" point. My point is that I don't see humans as being capable on their own of coming together without being compelled and distributing what the majority of society would consider to be "justice."

3) Consistent rulings in regards to both what does and what does not qualify as a breaking of the law, and how sentencing is handled. As an example, there have been heavy disparities throughout US history in regards to sentencing for blacks and whites who were convicted for the same crime; enough instances to the point where it cannot be explained simply by different cases having different circumstances.

4a) While that wasn't quite my point, I would say yes, I don't believe communities, left to themselves, will provide the necessary resources for handling issues like that. I suspect this traces back to our differing views of humanity. I do not believe that humanity is selfless enough, regardless of what society they live in, to provide the support necessary for victims of violence. I view humanity's selfishness as a condition inherent to our species, not one we simply inherit because of our surroundings.

4b) The point I was more trying to address is that the system you suggest cannot provide the same level of protection. Because of the police monopolization of violence, an assaulter can be immediately detained and kept from interacting with the victim, while under your scenario, the assaulter would be free...quite possibly forever, meaning that the only way the victim could ensure they do not run into their assaulter would be to permanently avoid moving about outside. If the assaulter was to ultimately be convicted, the victim would (presumably) have to participate in the active process of choosing an arbitrator, meaning that they likely have to participate in the process of dealing with their victim. All of this may seem small on the surface, but the level of safety a society can guarantee can be the difference in whether victims are willing to even step forward at first or not.

5) I'm genuinely surprised no gun rights advocates have filed a lawsuit against that, but regardless, I think this ties back to my initial point of laws that would negatively affect passerbys. Whether a gun can or cannot be open carried without a permit is a much smaller issue than, say, what is or is not self defense. Differing laws that can change what circumstances a person is allowed to fight back under are extremely dangerous.

6) An example of what? If it's laws that passerbys would need to be aware of, see above. If it's examples of zoning restrictions or police regulations, I believe we're in agreement on that point.

7a) It's not just foreign invasion; this kind of stuff is very real and exists in the United States today. Guerilla warfare isn't exactly a viable solution because the battles would be fought where innocents live, not to mention the fact that guerilla warfare loses a lot of its effectiveness when you're fighting against organizations that themselves are largely hidden.

7b) ...they would secretly organize, that's how gangs operate. You won't find many gang members looking to recruit out in the open handing out pamphlets for "let's undermine the pillars of modern democracy." This is all done in relative secrecy, and it would be no different in an anarchic society.

7c) Even if we assume that an anarchist-socialist society meets people's need as best as possible and indeed better than other systems, the issue is that there will still be numerous people (and especially adolescents) who feel that their needs are being unmet. This is simply human nature; it isn't something that any society can control. A kid may get excluded at school and feel that they have no friends, or perhaps have a falling out with their parents that leads them towards isolation. Or, as a kid I used to tutor did, perhaps they suffer huge emotional distress somehow (in his case, via a family member dying), and despite all the attention in the world, still become increasingly distant. Gangs thrive on recruiting people in these age groups under these scenarios.

This section isn't a critique on my part of anarchy or socialism, it's just an issue that will exist regardless of society.

8) In most cases, it's achieved by overwhelming force, which is often accomplished with pure numbers.  Most modern dictators have been overthrown as the result of being incredibly unpopular in front of their own citizens and being aided by foreign powers. Take Muammar Gadafi, for instance, whose overthrow was largely the result of virtually an entire nation being upset with him and being backed by NATO airstrikes.

Gangs cannot be fought the same way; you can't mobilize an entire community and go raid their headquarters or something. Because gangs operate in much more secrecy and are generally a much more agile force, attempting to fight a conventional war against them is largely pointless. The more police-centric parts of dealing with gangs largely rely upon quick reaction by individual officers, noting problems as they happen and then reacting depending on how things unfold.

If your plan is to fight this with a militia, then you're in for a rude awakening. Yes, militias have existed for much longer than organized police forces. But militias have been largely used for fighting full fledged battles, and that isn't something you want to begin engaging in with a gang because, again, battles will be fought where innocents live.

8/9) Gangs form in many different ways, so it's difficult to say. GDC sprung out of an alcohol smuggling ring during prohibition, for instance, but others form from friends who feel ignored or left out in society. GDC largely funded itself initially with its sales of alcohol, and I'm not aware of government participation.

10) The two issues aren't comparable. If the US government is ever overthrown and replaced with an anarchic society, it will most certainly not be as the result of citizens winning some kind of violent conflict with the government. The US military is far too powerful for any advantage in numbers to matter. It will be accomplished by protest and extreme political pressure, which may certainly turn violent at points, but it will by no means involve winning some kind of organized war. As a result, it's a bit disingenuous to say "if I overthrow the state, a battle that was not ultimately won by the use of violence, I can overthrow any gang, which would likely necessitate widespread usage of violence."

11a-c) I've addressed a lot of these earlier on, so I'll tackle the two points which I don't believe I've responded to thus far.

Gangs are much more based in poverty/ability to profit than social isolation: I would disagree here. Leon Bing writes extensively about the psychology of gang makeup in her book, "Do or Die," and notes that gangs tend to prey on those who feel rejected far more than they worry about socio-economic background. This is addressed heavily in the section on wannabes; people who are seeking approval/acceptance from a gang but are not actively in the gang yet. These are people who are so desperate for approval that they are willing to participate in far more reckless activity than active members are ever asked to carry out. Poverty may play a part in people feeling isolated to begin with, but the targeting process of gangs and the way that people respond suggest to me that there's more important factors at play here.

There's likely plenty of room to make profits even in a society where laws are just commonly accepted standards, because those standards themselves would keep businesses (or organizations, or whatever is providing goods in this society) from wanting to sell those goods. As an example that is quickly becoming a growing issue in both the US and Europe, gangs are starting to participate widespread human trafficking. Without a law strictly preventing it, human trafficking would be legal in an anarchic society, but no one would actively want to provide that because of the social repercussions that come with it, leaving room for gangs.

I can't speak too much to Norway's statistics with gang violence, as I'm unfamiliar with them, but I will say that gang activity fluctuates significantly between US states with similar drug laws, so I suspect there's other factors in play which affect Norway's lower rates.

12) There's also been a myriad of restrictions and limitations placed on businesses since 1950, including better enforced labor protections, an increase in the real minimum wage by nearly $3/hr, FLSA amendments which vastly expanded worker rights in regards to paid time off, the 1983 MSPA which provided the first real protections for migrant and seasonal workers, laws that prohibited gender and age discrimination, and the various amendments to the FLSA that actually made the minimum wage apply to the majority of Americans. Regardless of labor union participation, the realm of businesses has been altered heavily away from pure capitalism.

13) I'm not quite sure how this addresses my point. People will still join to gain the benefits of participating in a community, be they regionally locked or not, and will not participate in anything else.

14) I'm less concerned about the people appointed to defend/prosecute (if that's even the right word at this point) and more about other the people making the decision on whether to approve or decline to enter someone into this criminal database (although this is really just an equally unfair version of hiring lawyers in our world today, except instead of it being a question of has the most money and can hire the best lawyer it's a matter of who knows the better debater). How do you ensure that the neutral people involved in this debate are engaging in intelligent debate? Or do we end up with a scenario where one person from each side shows up and nobody else even participates?

15) I'm not arguing that laws played no role in it, but to suggest that slavery was inherently dependent upon laws is historical revisionism. Laws were put in place well after slavery was institutionalized to further legitimize/protect it, and after the civil war, to either work around or preempt federal laws. 

As for the 16th century...what exactly do you believe has changed that would be meaningful to this part of the debate?

16) At the very least, evidence of slavery (~3700 BC) predates any examples of writing that we have (~3500 BC) and written laws (~2000 BC). Pre 3500 Sumerian societies were "led" by a priest, who received advice from an assembly. From what evidence we have, appears to not have possessed significant ruling authority, and were more responsible for relaying messages from the gods. Rulers with enforceable legal authority did not appear until around 3500, when Sumerian society began appointing kings for times of conflict. By 3000 BC, kings had become a permanent fixture and were hereditary.

You can make the argument that a priest might have verbally approved the usage of slavery pre 3500, but even then the practice of laws being issued and created by the ruler is far after slavery. And keep in mind, that's a "maybe."

17) Going a bit out of order to make a point, but I'll sign post to keep things clear.

I think your point about the "metoo" movement fits wonderfully within my point here about hierarchies. Despite all the wonderful progress that we've made, we continue to oppress each other with predictably frequency. We abuse those who can't defend themselves, we put other people's lives at risk for personal gain, and even though slavery is widely viewed as utterly horrific, it still takes place on the black market and is becoming increasingly lucrative. If there weren't laws in place to prevent it from being done publicly, human trafficking would still likely happen on the open market. Despite all the progress we can both agree we've made against oppression, people are more than willing to embrace it when it suits them. There's nothing to suggest to me the same would not happen at the large scale it once did as soon as the laws were taken away.

I won't deny that laws institutionalized slavery (in fact I believe I wrote it earlier in this same post), merely that they were not what allowed it to exist in the first place. I will, however, thoroughly reject the notion that slavery wouldn't have lasted as long without laws, because the same process of legislation that institutionalized slavery is what ultimately undid it. Especially in a situation such as the Jim Crow South, the power of social pressure is ultimately irrelevant in a society where the vast majority of people are reaffirming each other.

Which brings me to my final point; no, I don't believe I'm confusing the effect in a law's change for a change in popular opinion. I'll fully agree that a change in popular opinion is indeed necessary for a law to change, but the law brings with itself a necessary component for change; an enforcement mechanism. In the example of the South, you can have all the popular sentiment in the country that you want that slavery is bad; without a law expressly coming in and forbidding that under some kind of penalty, nothing will change. If you took out every single law, both from the North and South, slavery would still remain, because the South is so widely in agreement that slavery was fine that no one would want to take action against slaveholders. They would likely still form local communities based around the practice of slavery, and enact local, agreed upon rules that provide the same protection for slaveholders. Mere social pressure is not enough to change that; social pressure can be corrupted just as easily as laws, and turned from a way to protect victims to defend oppressors.

The #metoo example follows along the same lines, and I think illustrates an earlier point I made about slavery. There was never any US law implemented that legalized sexual assault, nor is there any law that institutionalizes it. But it happens all the same, and laws have to be put into place to stop it. #Metoo may perhaps illustrate better than anything else why social pressure is not enough; it took decades for people to start stepping forth about this widespread issue because the victims and witnesses were socially pressured to not come forward.

You're right that sexual assault laws weren't enough, and I won't make the case that everything can be solved by laws. I will, however, make the case that many things cannot be solved by social pressure alone, and those cases are usually where laws come into place. That's my position.

18) See previous. Take away the existence of the official laws put in place, and the communities participating in slavery will simply abide by their own rules to protect slaveholders as needed. 

19) The key word that got left out of the quote is "initially." I cannot stress this enough; I am not claiming that governments had no role to play in slavery. My point is the institution existed before it was ever expressly legalized by any governing organization; people oppressed and enslaved each other without an official "go-ahead" from authority figures.

20) I'm a little confused by the response here; I'm making this argument less from a historical perspective and more from a theoretical one, because since the society you've described doesn't exist yet, it's hard to base anything on historical examples. My argument is not one of "a country tried this, and failed, so therefore it can't work," to one of "this is how humanity functions, and unless you find some way around that obstacle, your transition will always fail." I don't really understand why France is being brought up because this issue, or anything like it, wasn't present in France. If you can clarify, that'd be much appreciated.

21) I'm not trying to boil protestant down to an individual denomination; my point in referring to them as a collective entity is instead to simply argue that the reformation was not a process of "here's a nice idea, people hear nice idea, people replace the existing authority structure with a new authority structure that is far more responsive." The point was that, in countries where a Catholic leadership was replaced with Protestant (be it any denomination), the abuses you mention were still commonplace. That's my basis for using one single word; specifying between Lutheran, Calvinist, Knox, or even Anglican, complicates things needlessly.

I'm fully on board with the idea that the reformation was necessary for future revolutions to succeed, but I'd simply apply my same points from earlier. Later revolutions that did lead to reduced abuses succeeded because they put restrictions in place to keep authority figures from subsuming that same level of power. My argument isn't that reformation was a waste of time, or that it wasn't impactful in the long run. It's merely that the same types of abuses that were perpetuated by the Catholic church were also commonplace under replacement rule, until revolutions that resulted in those abuses being actively prohibited by law took place.