Personal contract as an alternative to social contract
September 16, 2008 at 3:44 pm #3826
If the seastead is defeated and all the defenders killed the people who ran away are likely to get away with it anyway, contract or no contract. There will be nobody left to judge them. Maybe it will help other seasteads identify and deny citizenship to the deserters though.
Fighting wars abroad? Against other seasteads or against countries on dry land? I don´t know, invading other countries seems like a doomed enterprise any way you put it. Fighting a guerilla style war against a nation state is probably going to require people who believe in the cause rather than people who are obligated by a contract.September 16, 2008 at 11:34 pm #3828
Children could sign the contract whenever they are ready to accept adult responsibilities. I see that as compatible with your comments. If one had concerns about the particular age of adulthood, then there could be a minimum age to be attained before being eligible to sign the contract.
Regarding the word “citizen,” it’s perhaps not the best one. I only used it because it was handy. “Member” or something like it may be more neutral and less loaded with old government contexts which may not apply.
Also regarding the right to leave, if no one will initiate force against anyone, I don’t see how anyone can force anyone to stay. The right of a peaceful person to leave would therefore seem to be implicit within the principle of non-initiation of force.
Defensive force would be a different matter, in particular if you had initiated force and were placed under arrest or worse, as a result of defensive force.September 17, 2008 at 12:13 am #3831
A mutual defense treaty with other like-minded seasteads could be useful.
Invading foreign countries might likely be considered initiation of force and therefore disallowed.September 17, 2008 at 12:40 am #3830
Foreign wars being necessary or even desirable is not obvious. If invading someone else’s country involves initiating force, then it would seem to be prohibited under the proposed contract.
Also the amount of available firepower is not restricted by the basic contract.
If all European Jews, Gypsies, gays, all Chinese, Koreans, Malay, Burmese, all Africans, Balkans, etc., including those who were murdered by German, Japanese, Italian, etc., goverments during World War II were properly equipped with personal firearms, then that war arguably could not have happened. Neither the Germans nor Italians invaded Switzerland, which essentially has a universal militia, i.e., where every male is armed. Arms generally deter aggression and save lives.September 17, 2008 at 12:48 am #3829
Agreed that most people would be likely to collectively defend against an external threat. It’s why I suggested that not mentioning collective defense in the basic, initial, universal contract may be ok. Also agree about there being a potential freeloader problem of people not defending against an external attack.
Consider that the basic contract would almost certainly not be the only one. Other contracts would be used for many other purposes, potentially including collective defense.September 17, 2008 at 5:07 am #3832
Keep in mind that the basic contract I proposed would almost certainly not be the only contract ever used, just the most fundamental one which everyone would agree to as a condition of joining. An ancap society would probably use lots of contracts. People could certainly use additional natural law-based contracts if the parties agreed.
Regarding shooting over trivial matters, it’s possible, but almost never happens in places where many/most people own guns. Kennesaw, Georgia, Switzerland and other places that require gun ownership have very few murders, burglaries, robberies, rapes, murders, or other common crimes. They also generally do not have people shooting each other over trivial matters (or any other matter, for that matter). Universal arms create general peace.
Regarding police and courts, both can be provided privately. However they’d probably both be seldom needed if everyone is able to defend themselves, since the latter tends to create a peaceful, cooperative environment. This idea is foreign and strange to many people who do not own guns or are effectively not allowed to in their current countries, which unfortunately is most of the world. It’s far less strange to the tens of millions of honest people who own guns in America, Switzerland, etc.
Regarding the unlikely event that someone is unjustly murdered, since this would be an unusual and rare event it’s quite possible that good people would fund a private investigation or even investigate themselves in order to determine what happened. Google for “vigilance committee” for a real example of informal courts (usurping a system with ineffective and corrupt law enforcement) and read Robert Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” for a fictional account of informal courts and how they might operate on an ad hoc basis.
Regading collective defense, as I’ve said, I agree it would be wise to plan for and practice it beforehand.September 17, 2008 at 9:19 am #3834
Well, typically you cannot just leave a marriage contract either. Usually there are terms and conditions on breaking up such a contract, and it seems likely that a contract with a community would share some of those characteristics. Especially where shared obligations or assets are involved, dissolving a contract would be non-trivial.
This doesnt violate any libertarian principle, given that the people involved willingly and knowlingly got into said contract.
However, it is certainly an undesirable sideeffect: i highly value keeping my options open, and would shun contracts which are hard to break up. I dont think it is an issue that will ever be avoided completely though, Commitment and freedom are difficult to combine, you dont have to run any crazy libertarian experiments to find out about that ;).September 17, 2008 at 11:30 am #3836
Again, if one can’t initiate force, then I don’t see how one who was not initating force could be forced to stay. Note the word “forced.”September 17, 2008 at 3:35 pm #3839
Luckily, one can initiate force, and people are generally inclined to do so, given an important enough breach of contract.
As would I. I have no fundamental opposition to the initiation of force. It would be nice to structure society in such a way as to avoid it, but i certainly do not see any reason to dismiss it by axiom.September 17, 2008 at 4:02 pm #3840
Defense treaty – sure, why not.
I agree that invading other countries is aggression and unlawful. For the record the discussion on foreign wars was assuming some sort of existential threat to the seastead from outside aggressors, and if things ever come to that something has gone very wrong.September 17, 2008 at 4:22 pm #3841
I agree completely on the peacemaking properties of weapons. Everybody should be armed at all times. There would be so much less violence in the world.
The reason conflicts continue in certain parts of the world is that one of the sides has too few guns. Start selling arms to Darfur and there will be peace in very short time.
Limiting what weapons should be illegal, if any, is an interesting question though. I suppose you might have to draw a line somewhere between pepper spray and a hydrogen bomb. But determining exactly where that line should go is not that obvious, based on liberal/liberterian principles.September 17, 2008 at 4:50 pm #3842
Agreed. Initiating force is wrong, whether it’s on an individual or national level. Defensive force is probably not only justified but required. Countries that are heavily armed and trade peacefully and relatively freely like Switzerland tend to remain at peace. They don’t invade other countries, and other countries don’t invade them.September 17, 2008 at 5:06 pm #3844
I think you may be unclear on the idea of initiating force versus using defensive force. Breaking a contract could involve initiating force, for example a contract that said I would not initiate force. If I agreed to such a contract and then did initiate force, then I would be violating the contract by initiating force. Force used against such an initiation of force would be defensive.September 17, 2008 at 5:08 pm #3843
I keep feeling the problems in Burma would be quickly solved if one million AK47s were airdropped into the countryside. When one side has an effective monopoly on force, as in the Sudan or Burma (or Nazi Germany, etc.), ordinary people can suffer.
Collective defense often involves weapon systems larger than ones operated by a single individual. The appropriate level is a matter of debate. There’s no doubt in my mind, however, that individual weapons can be ethical for individuals to posses.September 17, 2008 at 8:46 pm #3846
Of course i agree with that.
But I do consider there to be valid reasons to initiate ‘force’, and hence i do not subscribe to the non-agression principle. If you walk out of a bar where you have an open tab, you should expect to be grabbed by the shoulder. Atleast, thats what id do if i owned the bar, and no concievable ethical axiom would change a thing about that.
What constitutes an appropriate response to undesirable behavior is very much a gray area, and like any ethical matter, a matter of opinion. Trying to fit reality to axioms like the non-agression principle just doesnt appear to work. What is force anyway? Lethal? A hand on the shoulder? A threat? An unspoken threat? Some would even have us believe that a breach of contract is initiation of violence. If you have to bend definitions so far to make them fit a theory, chances are said theory just doesnt make much sense.
That said, i do strive for a world with less (initiation of) violence. But not on axiomatic grounds.
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