Defining Libertarianism (was Defining Terrorism)

S. Dale Morrey sdalemorrey at
Wed Jun 26 15:47:30 MDT 2013

LOL the ads in my gmail are getting more and more frightening.
One recent ad was for Browning rifles.
The ad attached to this email is for AR500 Body Armor, evidently the most
affordable level 3 body armor on the planet and also made right here in the

Ok yeah I really need to get off gmail, the topic relevance of ads is
getting moving from humorous to creepy.

On Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 3:43 PM, Daniel C. <dcrookston at> wrote:

> On Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 5:01 PM, Russel Caldwell <caldr704 at>
> wrote:
> > What makes government force so legitimate?
> Did you realize, when you asked this, that you were opening a
> philosophical can of worms that has been addressed / tackled from
> various perspectives over at least the past two centuries?  I guess
> that sounds kind of accusatory, and that's not my intention.  It's
> just such a perfectly phrased question, in a subject area that is
> pretty commonly addressed in civics classes (or in my case, writing
> classes where your professor happens to be a civics nut,) that it rang
> my "college professor is opening a discussion" bell.
> Some broad strokes on the issue:
> - Governments are (at least ostensibly) accountable.  This is part of
> why agents of the government who are authorized to use force (e.g.
> police officers and soldiers) wear uniforms with identification on
> them.  The uniforms identify the person wearing it as someone who is
> acting on behalf of the government.  It establishes accountability for
> the actions of the person wearing the uniform.  If you don't like what
> someone in uniform does, you can go to the person that he or she is
> accountable to and complain.  Ultimately, in the United States, the
> government is accountable to the citizens.  (In practice we know that
> this is not 100% true, but it is what we strive for.)  This has all
> kinds of ramifications when it comes to wars, the ability of police to
> make arrests (an arrest being a use of force,) etc.
> - Governments are (again, ostensibly) an extension of a social
> contract.  (See Hobbes's Leviathan.)  If I'm remembering my readings
> correctly, Hobbes posits that humans enter into a society and grant
> our governments the sole authority for force in exchange for the
> increased freedoms and protection that joining the society give us.
> The alternative, he claims, is for us to live in a state of nature, of
> a constant and continual war of all against all.  Obviously this is
> more of a philosophical enterprise than a statement of historical
> fact, but it does make for a good thought experiment.  So, to bring it
> back to the question of what makes government force legitimate: it's
> legitimate because everyone who participates in a society implicitly
> (or explicitly, in some cases) cedes the right to use force to their
> government.
> > As was pointed out earlier most
> > people are disillusioned with the system to the point that there are more
> > and more of us that see no point in participating in the political
> process.
> This does bring into question the legitimacy of our current
> government, but that doesn't necessarily intersect with the question
> of whether governments are the sole legitimate wielders of force in a
> society.
> > In a free market every transaction is freely entered into by both
> parties.
> This is probably a good time to mention the tyranny of violence.  It
> is often proposed that we should all "just get along" or that humans
> should work toward an end of violence.  These ideas are fantastic in
> both meanings of the word.  They are fantastic ideas that I agree with
> and which I hope we can bring to fruition, but they are also fantastic
> in that they pretty much come from the realm of fantasy.  This isn't a
> statement about the fallen nature of man or anything.  (I personally
> think that the human future is bright and that we can overcome our
> darker nature, but that's a separate topic.)  It's just the nature of
> violence: there is no room for consent when violence gets involved.
> In this fantasy world where we all live without violence, all it takes
> is for one person to decide that they're going to be violent and
> suddenly everyone else loses their agency.  The choice to live in
> peace no longer exists: you can either be violently subjugated, or you
> can try to stop the violence... which ironically requires being
> violent in return.  And of course you didn't choose violence -
> somebody else did, and when they chose it your ability to live in
> peace disappeared.
> Without a government (which is the sole authorized proprietor of
> violence) in place, a free market is only free so long as everyone
> plays nice.  Alternatively you could create a free market in which
> mercenary protection is available to those who can afford it, but you
> probably didn't even finish reading that statement before you realized
> how wrong that situation would go.
> > When the government does something most of us have no idea what
> transpired,
> > and we cannot possibly know. There is not enough time in the day to keep
> > track of what these jokers are doing. Just look at the Obamacare mess.
> How
> > many, even in congress, really know what is in that bill, much less what
> > the consequences will be.
> Our current American government, yes, absolutely.  It's a damn mess.
> But that doesn't mean that all governments everywhere must be a damn
> mess.
> >In my mind, destructive monopoly power is derived from the government.
> A government (which, as defined in this email, is the sole arbiter of
> force / violence) can certainly create monopolies.  But free
> capitalism, with no government, will also result in monopolies.  As is
> typical, the truth and the best option both lie somewhere between the
> extremes.
> -Dan
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