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  #51  
Old 05-15-2017, 09:06 PM
John_Stamos'_Left_Ear John_Stamos'_Left_Ear is offline
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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
There is one thing they understand well: the concept of self-ownership.

There is another thing they don't understand at all: the government operates on brute force.
They have a lack of understanding that rivals your own. But likely doesn't surpass it.
  #52  
Old 05-15-2017, 09:42 PM
WillFarnaby WillFarnaby is offline
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They have a lack of understanding that rivals your own. But likely doesn't surpass it.
At least the sovereign citizens recognize the truth of self-ownership, which implies human dignity. Statists understand neither this concept nor the nature of the state, which makes their confused fairy tales far more tragic than those of the sovcit movement.

Last edited by WillFarnaby; 05-15-2017 at 09:43 PM.
  #53  
Old 05-15-2017, 10:11 PM
John_Stamos'_Left_Ear John_Stamos'_Left_Ear is offline
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At least the sovereign citizens recognize the truth of self-ownership, which implies human dignity. Statists understand neither this concept nor the nature of the state, which makes their confused fairy tales far more tragic than those of the sovcit movement.
Correction: Definitely doesn't surpass it.
  #54  
Old 05-16-2017, 12:08 AM
Martini Enfield Martini Enfield is offline
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They have a lack of understanding that rivals your own. But likely doesn't surpass it.
I don't know - as fun as it might be to laugh drolly, I think he has a point in a way.

Let's be honest here - the reason the government works is because we all agree it should, and it has certain powers to ensure people play by the rules.

Ultimately, if you step out of line in a bad way, people with guns/batons/tasers/mace are going to forcibly take you to jail. If you break too many laws and run up too many fines, the court is going to order your wages deducted or your stuff seized and sold to pay the fines. You can argue it's illegitimate because HMS Canada/Australia/Wherever is operating under maritime law as unclaimed salvage or something, but it won't change the fact everyone else has agreed you've been very naughty and have to go to jail or have your stuff sold - and have engaged the services of people authorised to take you to jail, keep you there, seize your stuff, sell it, or generally compel you to follow the laws like the rest of society.

So in a way, the government does work on brute force - just not in the primitive sense that comes to mind when one mentions the phrase.
  #55  
Old 05-16-2017, 02:58 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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I don't know - as fun as it might be to laugh drolly, I think he has a point in a way.

Let's be honest here - the reason the government works is because we all agree it should, and it has certain powers to ensure people play by the rules.

Ultimately, if you step out of line in a bad way, people with guns/batons/tasers/mace are going to forcibly take you to jail. If you break too many laws and run up too many fines, the court is going to order your wages deducted or your stuff seized and sold to pay the fines. You can argue it's illegitimate because HMS Canada/Australia/Wherever is operating under maritime law as unclaimed salvage or something, but it won't change the fact everyone else has agreed you've been very naughty and have to go to jail or have your stuff sold - and have engaged the services of people authorised to take you to jail, keep you there, seize your stuff, sell it, or generally compel you to follow the laws like the rest of society.

So in a way, the government does work on brute force - just not in the primitive sense that comes to mind when one mentions the phrase.
Sure, government works on brute force. All of life works on brute force. When a fox eats a rabbit was it because of the government? Was it because the rabbit wasn't invoking its "self-ownership"? No, it was because the fox wanted to eat the rabbit and it was able to do it. Might may not make right but might does work.

So how do you keep from getting eaten by somebody who's bigger than you? You form a society that has rules that forbid unauthorized eating of its members. And society uses force when necessary to make people follow those rules.

Government isn't the mindless bully that anti-government theorists argue it is. It's the mindful application of a controlled amount of force in order to prevent a much greater amount of mindless force.

Nor is government the enemy of freedom those same people claim it is. Government is a tool people use to protect freedom. And, yes, protecting freedom is like protecting anything - you have to have at least a threat of force to back it up. But without some protection, freedom wouldn't exist.

Government is what creates the protection that allows libertarians and anarchists and objectivists and sovereign citizens to run around in safety as they argue that they don't need any government.
  #56  
Old 05-16-2017, 08:07 AM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Sure, government works on brute force. All of life works on brute force. When a fox eats a rabbit was it because of the government? Was it because the rabbit wasn't invoking its "self-ownership"? No, it was because the fox wanted to eat the rabbit and it was able to do it. Might may not make right but might does work.

So how do you keep from getting eaten by somebody who's bigger than you? You form a society that has rules that forbid unauthorized eating of its members. And society uses force when necessary to make people follow those rules.

Government isn't the mindless bully that anti-government theorists argue it is. It's the mindful application of a controlled amount of force in order to prevent a much greater amount of mindless force.

Nor is government the enemy of freedom those same people claim it is. Government is a tool people use to protect freedom. And, yes, protecting freedom is like protecting anything - you have to have at least a threat of force to back it up. But without some protection, freedom wouldn't exist.

Government is what creates the protection that allows libertarians and anarchists and objectivists and sovereign citizens to run around in safety as they argue that they don't need any government.
I'd add the prior step that to prevent the disordered mutual eating of members, society creates Law. Then, in order to apply the Rule of Law, it creates government to enforce it. SC's operate from a misconceived premise of what is Law, and therefore are beguiled by the preaching that no government is really legitimate and should not have any power over them.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 05-16-2017 at 08:09 AM.
  #57  
Old 11-14-2017, 04:41 PM
Rick Kitchen Rick Kitchen is offline
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Child molesting former Subway spokesman Jared Fogel has now decided he's a sovereign citizen and so the government has to let him go now.
https://wonkette.com/625786/jared-fo...ison-now-right
  #58  
Old 11-14-2017, 05:57 PM
adaher adaher is online now
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While Sovereign Citizens are cranks, it seems to me that human history agrees in part with them. Used to be that if you thought your government was unjust, you could go somewhere where there wasn't a government and rough it. If enough people moved there with you or came later, you'd form your own government.

I'd argue that if climate change makes Antarctica habitable, people should be free to settle it. Same goes for other planets if we ever get that far, or just hanging out in a ship in space. Or a boat out on the water.
  #59  
Old 11-14-2017, 06:10 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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And how would people in this state of nature resolve disputes? I say our property line is here; you say it's there. No court, no government, no judge, no police.

We fight it out with knives?

What happens if I steal some of your sheep. No police, remember? What are you going to do about it? Your sovereignty doesn't automatically endow you with the power to enforce your rights.
  #60  
Old 11-14-2017, 06:22 PM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is offline
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What happens if I steal some of your sheep. No police, remember? What are you going to do about it? Your sovereignty doesn't automatically endow you with the power to enforce your rights.
People don't become sovereign citizens to protect their own rights, they do it so they can trample on the rights of others.
  #61  
Old 11-14-2017, 07:53 PM
adaher adaher is online now
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And how would people in this state of nature resolve disputes? I say our property line is here; you say it's there. No court, no government, no judge, no police.

We fight it out with knives?

What happens if I steal some of your sheep. No police, remember? What are you going to do about it? Your sovereignty doesn't automatically endow you with the power to enforce your rights.
That's the idea, if people reject government they have a right to live without it and enjoy all the benefits and drawbacks that entails. Not within a government's jurisdiction, of course, but there should be areas outside of any government's jurisdiction where people can go.

One of the things that these types complain about that I actually think they have a legit concern is that governments are banding together to pretty much make the entire universe under some entity's control. If a nation doesn't control something, then it's under international jurisdiction. Just stop! We should protect unspoiled lands from rapacious nations or big corporations, but if individuals just want to live there they should be able to just go and live there.
  #62  
Old 11-14-2017, 08:53 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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  #63  
Old 11-14-2017, 10:54 PM
Rick Kitchen Rick Kitchen is offline
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Buy or build a large enough boat and take to the seas.
Where you can prey on people who follow the rules.
  #64  
Old 11-15-2017, 12:06 AM
adaher adaher is online now
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Keeping piracy illegal makes sense, but one should be able to live at sea or on an uninhabited island if they want to. I also think individuals should be free to live out in our vast wilderness and live off the land.
  #65  
Old 11-15-2017, 12:34 AM
UDS UDS is offline
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Keeping piracy illegal makes sense, but one should be able to live at sea or on an uninhabited island if they want to. I also think individuals should be free to live out in our vast wilderness and live off the land.
If you live on the island, it's not uninhabited.

If another person arrives and wishes to settle, you have no right to exclude them because, if you did, you would effectively be acting as a government enacting and enforcing an immigration law, and you have stipulated that there is to be no government.

But once you have more than one person living on the island, you have the community, and the community can ordain a government for themselves. The only way you can avoid being subject to this government is to leave the island and find another, as yet uninhabited, island, or an island populated by people none of whom wish to set up a government. You have no natural right to demand that such an island exist, or that any which does exist be preserved for your benefit.

I think your position is basically self-defeating. We are inherently social animals; the erection of governments is basically a manifestation of our social needs and instincts as human beings. You cannot deny others the right to be human.
  #66  
Old 11-15-2017, 01:12 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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Used to be that if you thought your government was unjust, you could go somewhere where there wasn't a government and rough it. If enough people moved there with you or came later, you'd form your own government.
Not for several thousand years in most of the world. Most of the time, there was "government", just not in a form the incomers recognised or could be bothered to understand; and if by chance some indigenous inhabitants turned up to object to their ways, it was usually settled by force.

Which sort of brings us back to the point at issue.
  #67  
Old 11-15-2017, 01:28 AM
Noel Prosequi Noel Prosequi is offline
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To the explanations upthread of what is wrong with the SC reasoning about law, I would add to the list a further two fundamental misunderstandings.

The first is a misunderstanding about the proposition that it is a tenet of common law that it is for the courts to interpret law. The fundamental implication of the SCers' flawed reasoning is that the laws they think exist spring into existence on the force of the say-so of the SC, and his/her view trumps that of the judge, whose only role (in their universe) is to find facts. That, of course, is nonsense. Courts exist precisely to determine what the law is at the inevitable margins that arise, as well as to find facts (whether by jury, judge alone, or whatever depending on jurisdiction). When a determination of the content of the law arises, it is for the judge to make that determination.

The second point I would make emerges from the first. In deciding what a statute means, the common law (often modified or codified by statute) contains a body of meta-law about statutory interpretation (which, mutatis mutandis, extends to document interpretation). The SCs seem to think that if they can find any interpretation at all of legal language that supports them, then that interpretation is necessarily correct of its own articulation. But where there are competing interpretations, there are rules courts apply to decide between them, and those rules are just as much a part of the law as substantive declarations of rules like the postal rule or the rules that make it illegal to steal. And the application of those statutory interpretation rules will inevitably (and rightly) never come to the conclusion that the SCs wish. One of the primary statutory interpretation rules is that if a suggested interpretation leads to absurd results, it will be rejected in favour of one that does not. And SCs always advance absurd results. Thus, the assertion that the Statute of Westminster "really" is about HMS Canada is a question of interpretation that falls for determination according to (generally) common law rules of statutory interpretation. Those rules do not have to be expounded at length here to understand that they will never support the SC interpretation.

In saying all this, I do not overlook the existence of the rule of statutory interpretation conveniently named by Americans the lenity rule. This is the rule that says that in matters of interpretation of criminal laws, the interpretation that favours the accused ahead of the State is to be preferred. But that shorthand expression of the rule overlooks that it is very much a rule of last resort. Other statutory interpretation rules come into play first. It must be this way, otherwise any madcap, tortured interpretation of rules conjured up that favoured the accused would always win.

Just as SCers attach idiotic and undemocratic primacy to common law ideas that the common law itself does not (for example, as said by posters above, the common law accepts that statutes trump common law), so too SCers fail to even acknowledge the existence of the body of statutory interpretation rules and document interpretation rules that exist to shut down their nonsense at the get-go. These rules were developed by the much-vaunted common law that they seek to call in aid to support their nonsense.

Last edited by Noel Prosequi; 11-15-2017 at 01:29 AM.
  #68  
Old 11-15-2017, 09:59 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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That is not always the case for the rule of lenity. In some states, it has been codified and thus becomes more than a canon of last resort. E.g., §775.021(1), Fla. Stat. ("...the provisions of [Florida's criminal code] and offenses defined by other statutes shall be strictly construed; when the language is susceptible of differing constructions, it shall be construed most favorably to the accused.”)

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 11-15-2017 at 09:59 AM.
  #69  
Old 11-15-2017, 10:30 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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That is not always the case for the rule of lenity. In some states, it has been codified and thus becomes more than a canon of last resort. E.g., §775.021(1), Fla. Stat. ("...the provisions of [Florida's criminal code] and offenses defined by other statutes shall be strictly construed; when the language is susceptible of differing constructions, it shall be construed most favorably to the accused.”)
That rather depends on how you construe "construe": the primary clause "strictly construed" rather implies that "differing constructions" wouldn't include "any old nonsense derived from torturing language beyond reason".
  #70  
Old 11-15-2017, 10:57 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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From 6 months ago:
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Originally Posted by Martini Enfield View Post
The idea there's "magic phrases" which SovCits can utter that act as a "Get out of everything" card is what's particularly amusing.

"Well, we were going to throw you in jail for decades on account of all those unregistered automatic weapons and the shooting at the postman and the drug lab, but you correctly noted the gold fringe on the flag in the courtroom and further said that you weren't John Smith since he was a legal fiction, so we're going to have to let you go."

That's about as realistic as waving a stick around, chanting "Denariius Infinitus!" and expecting to suddenly find yourself going for a swim Scrooge McDuck style in your very own Money Bin.
Well said. Peeling the onion down a layer ...

Like most human silliness, it depends deeply on the idea of cognitive dissonance: the ability to simultaneously believe two deeply contradictory things.

On the one hand, the government and courts are deeply cynical, using widespread subterfuge to illegally suppress the citizenry.

On the other hand, the courts in general and today's judge in particular are scrupulously honest and work with total integrity. The SovCit expects that once confronted by the SovCit's arguments, the judge will read the relevant law carefully, then bop his forehead and exclaim "By Gosh, I've been doing it wrong all these years! Thank you, Mr. SovCit for peeling the scales from my eyes. You're free to go and with my apologies and my blessings. I salute you!"

The combo of childlike faith in the honest and just gosh-darned niceness of the system overlaid with the deep-seated cynicism that it's all just a con out to get me is just a wonder to behold.

========
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...
I'd argue that if climate change makes Antarctica habitable, people should be free to settle it. Same goes for other planets if we ever get that far, or just hanging out in a ship in space. Or a boat out on the water.
No need to wait for Antarctica. Yemen (and a few other nearby areas) are already government-free zones.

You (any you) are welcome to experience the Libertarian version of paradise any time you choose.

Strong-form Libertarianism: You're entitled to all the freedom you have the might to enforce.

In fairness, there is a special corner case where this works. The one wherein the population density is so low that you can roam the land and sea at will for your entire life without ever encountering another human or any consequences of their prior presence. Shame about not getting to reproduce.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 11-15-2017 at 11:01 AM.
  #71  
Old 11-15-2017, 11:17 AM
Johnny Bravo Johnny Bravo is offline
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The SovCit expects that once confronted by the SovCit's arguments, the judge will read the relevant law carefully, then bop his forehead and exclaim "By Gosh, I've been doing it wrong all these years! Thank you, Mr. SovCit for peeling the scales from my eyes. You're free to go and with my apologies and my blessings. I salute you!"
I think it's more "Grrr! You have cleverly unraveled the secret workings of The Law and, having enumerated and claimed your True Rights which we have endeavored to hide from you, I therefore have no choice but to acquiesce to your demands."
  #72  
Old 11-15-2017, 11:43 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Child molesting former Subway spokesman Jared Fogel has now decided he's a sovereign citizen and so the government has to let him go now.
https://wonkette.com/625786/jared-fo...ison-now-right
He's claiming his conviction is invalid because that twelve year old was wearing gold fringe.
  #73  
Old 11-15-2017, 11:44 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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@ Johnny Bravo: IOW, "Curses! Foiled again!" while twirling the tip of your long thing handlebar moustache.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 11-15-2017 at 11:45 AM.
  #74  
Old 11-15-2017, 01:49 PM
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No need to wait for Antarctica. Yemen (and a few other nearby areas) are already government-free zones.
You don't have to even go that far. If you're American you needn't even leave the country. There remain enough parts of the United States that are sufficiently uninhabited that you could build a log cabin and live as a hermit away from society for the rest of your life. You are technically under the sovereignty of the United States but in any practical sense no one will bother you.

If the mountains of Oregon or northern forests of Minnesota are not remote enough, Canada is more remote still, and the border can be crossed without anyone seeing you do it with rather minimal effort. You needn't go as far north as the Territories. You can get a lakeside property in northern Ontario, where there are so many lakes so far from anyone that most of them don't have names. You can literally have your own lake, and no one will ever find you. You could move to Hudson's Bay and have a whole island to yourself. Trodely Island could be the Kingdom of You if you moved there; no one lives there and I doubt anyone would notice you.

That few "sovereign citizens" elect to do this is rather telling.
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  #75  
Old 11-15-2017, 01:56 PM
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That's it. You have to isolate yourself from any other humans to do it. As long as there are other humans around, you'll need to work out a way to get along somehow. There's a word for that ...

Or you can avoid working out a way to get along, and simply acquiesce to the neighborhood bully, or become one. But that's a form of government too, isn't it?

Hell is other people.
  #76  
Old 11-15-2017, 04:43 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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Child molesting former Subway spokesman Jared Fogel has now decided he's a sovereign citizen and so the government has to let him go now.
https://wonkette.com/625786/jared-fo...ison-now-right
Here is a video on Youtube of a lawyer reading and breaking down the pro se filings. Rather amusing.
  #77  
Old 11-16-2017, 02:29 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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I think it's more "Grrr! You have cleverly unraveled the secret workings of The Law and, having enumerated and claimed your True Rights which we have endeavored to hide from you, I therefore have no choice but to acquiesce to your demands."
There is a strange sort of belief among sovcits that laws are independent of human beings. The law isn't what legislators and judges and cops and prison guards say it us, there's some sort of higher law that they all must follow. And somehow the cops and judges know the real law, even though it is kept secret from everyone else, and are obligated to follow it.

Except that's not how fascism works. The way it really works is that the authorities don't give two shots about what the law says, they just care about what they can get away with. They aren't accountable to their inferiors, but only to people higher up and with more power. When the fascist judge tells the cops to drag you out and shoot you in the head and dump your body in a mass grave, telling him that the law doesn't grant him this power won't work. Because it's not the law that gives him the power, it's men with guns who agree to follow his orders that give him the power.
  #78  
Old 11-16-2017, 02:58 PM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
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You can get a lakeside property in northern Ontario, where there are so many lakes so far from anyone that most of them don't have names.
And the government will be Helpless to do anything about it!
  #79  
Old 11-16-2017, 05:08 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Except that's not how fascism works. The way it really works is that the authorities don't give two shots about what the law says, they just care about what they can get away with. They aren't accountable to their inferiors, but only to people higher up and with more power. When the fascist judge tells the cops to drag you out and shoot you in the head and dump your body in a mass grave, telling him that the law doesn't grant him this power won't work. Because it's not the law that gives him the power, it's men with guns who agree to follow his orders that give him the power.
The Weimar constitution was never overturned by the Nazi government. It was, technically, the law of the land until Germany was conquered in 1945.


The Nazis violated the constitution about a jillion different ways, but they had the guns and they had the support.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:59 PM
WillFarnaby WillFarnaby is offline
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Yemen and a few other nearby areas) are already government-free zones.

You (any you) are welcome to experience the Libertarian version of paradise any time you choose.

Strong-form Libertarianism: You're entitled to all the freedom you have the might to enforce.

In fairness, there is a special corner case where this works. The one wherein the population density is so low that you can roam the land and sea at will for your entire life without ever encountering another human or any consequences of their prior presence. Shame about not getting to reproduce.
No, the Yemen people suffer under the yoke of the US government to even a greater extent than most individuals in the United States. Same for Somalia, another cliche for statists.
  #81  
Old 11-16-2017, 06:05 PM
WillFarnaby WillFarnaby is offline
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Sure, government works on brute force. All of life works on brute force. When a fox eats a rabbit was it because of the government? Was it because the rabbit wasn't invoking its "self-ownership"? No, it was because the fox wanted to eat the rabbit and it was able to do it. Might may not make right but might does work.

So how do you keep from getting eaten by somebody who's bigger than you? You form a society that has rules that forbid unauthorized eating of its members. And society uses force when necessary to make people follow those rules.

Government isn't the mindless bully that anti-government theorists argue it is. It's the mindful application of a controlled amount of force in order to prevent a much greater amount of mindless force.

Nor is government the enemy of freedom those same people claim it is. Government is a tool people use to protect freedom. And, yes, protecting freedom is like protecting anything - you have to have at least a threat of force to back it up. But without some protection, freedom wouldn't exist.

Government is what creates the protection that allows libertarians and anarchists and objectivists and sovereign citizens to run around in safety as they argue that they don't need any government.
The US government plunders, kills, and imprisons more than any organization in the world, but yet “government” is a tool to protect freedom.

Last edited by WillFarnaby; 11-16-2017 at 06:09 PM.
  #82  
Old 11-16-2017, 08:53 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Both are true. There is no contradiction. The U.S. has extremely strict laws...and also some extremely deep and profound protections for individual liberty, in some instances exceeding a huge majority of all other countries.

(You also might have had a better case if you'd added "per capita" to your statistic. The U.S. is a big country, and it is not at all surprising or depressing that we have more people in prison than Luxembourg, New Zealand, or Chad.)
  #83  
Old 11-16-2017, 09:59 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
The US government plunders, kills, and imprisons more than any organization in the world, but yet “government” is a tool to protect freedom.
The US government plunders, kills, and imprisons far less than the lack of a government would. So the US government is a positive alternative.
  #84  
Old 11-17-2017, 05:07 AM
Steophan Steophan is offline
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Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
And the government will be Helpless to do anything about it!
Polite applause.
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:25 AM
Steve MB Steve MB is offline
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Originally Posted by Rick Kitchen View Post
Child molesting former Subway spokesman Jared Fogel has now decided he's a sovereign citizen and so the government has to let him go now.
https://wonkette.com/625786/jared-fo...ison-now-right
To digress a moment, between Fogel and Kushner I expect that "Jared" is going to drop out of the top-10000 names for at least a generation.
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  #86  
Old 11-17-2017, 01:12 PM
WillFarnaby WillFarnaby is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
The US government plunders, kills, and imprisons far less than the lack of a government would. So the US government is a positive alternative.
In some cases, the government has increased some individual's freedom at the expense of someone else's freedom. Even in this case, government is not a protector of freedom as you claim, but a distributor of freedom. During the process, the government must infringe on someone's freedom.

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Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
Both are true. There is no contradiction. The U.S. has extremely strict laws...and also some extremely deep and profound protections for individual liberty, in some instances exceeding a huge majority of all other countries.

(You also might have had a better case if you'd added "per capita" to your statistic. The U.S. is a big country, and it is not at all surprising or depressing that we have more people in prison than Luxembourg, New Zealand, or Chad.)
The US government was able to grow itself and extend its reach through plunder of the resources of its productive citizens and conquest. This is relevant. When comparing criminal organizations do we say that MS-13 is actually a great protector of freedom in comparison to the Manson Family? No, large criminal organizations are able to initiate huge amounts of violence. It is the total amount of violence that is the relevant issue.

Those "deep and profound" protections of liberty are actually protections from the government itself. They perform the function of casting a veil of legitimacy onto the millions of aggressions they commit everyday. If we were to severely curtail the power of the government to commit aggressions, "deep and profound" protections from the government wouldn't be such a big deal.
  #87  
Old 11-17-2017, 01:56 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
. . . Those "deep and profound" protections of liberty are actually protections from the government itself. . . .
Not solely, but, yes, you're quite right: a good part of the mechanisms of our freedom consist of limitations on governmental power.

It's like having a really big electrical generator in your basement: it's nice to have light and heat...but it's a bummer to have your house burn down. The power (governmental or electrical) is concentrated in one place, and safety precautions are absolutely necessary.

The problem is that, without "government," the local street gang and petty warlord would take over, and his rule is a lot scarier than anything Washington or Sacramento are likely to do. By protecting me against them -- and regulating industrial pollution, providing a social safety-net, maintaining a system of roads and highways, and establishing a military/diplomatic relationship with other nations -- the benefits of government hugely outweigh the detriments.

No libertarian/anarchist fantasy has ever come up with a way to provide those benefits.
  #88  
Old 11-17-2017, 03:33 PM
WillFarnaby WillFarnaby is offline
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Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
The problem is that, without "government," the local street gang and petty warlord would take over, and his rule is a lot scarier than anything Washington or Sacramento are likely to do.
Hmm, I don't know about your area, but the street gangs here in Baltimore so far have failed to commit genocide against a race of natives, initiate mass starvation in Yemen, or firebomb Tokyo. Even in the absence of government, these things would never make sense from the point of view of a local warlord.
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:18 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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They haven't done so, in part, because they have been crowded out by the "government gang."

Give them full local autonomy, and I'm quite certain they would engage in those sorts of behaviors. Ethnic cleansing is quite popular when power is distributed to very small groups of people.

You (correctly) point out the evil things that governments have done. What you cannot do is propose an alternative that would not be much, much worse. Many libertarians/anarchists have a fantasy that "the free market" would solve all the problems, but the evidence of history is (horrifyingly) against that.

It is my opinion that representative democracy is the single most wonderful thing the human species has ever devised. If we're supposed to throw it away, you must, at very least, propose a superior alternative...and no one, in eight thousand years of human history, has done that.
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:38 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve MB View Post
To digress a moment, between Fogel and Kushner I expect that "Jared" is going to drop out of the top-10000 names for at least a generation.
When that mall diamond retailer changes its name you'll know the other shoe has finished falling.


======
Ref the various WillFarnaby comments it's clear most of us are talking about what the US government does internally to the benefit of (most) US citizens, while he's talking about what the US government does externally to the detriment of (some) non-US citizens.

So there's a bunch of people here talking past one another.

His underlying point being that any complete analysis of Good and Evil needs to put both of these elements on the scale.

IMO there's a valid moral point there, but it isn't relevant to the larger political digression we're on which is "Is anarchy a decent environment to live in?"

Last edited by LSLGuy; 11-17-2017 at 04:38 PM.
  #91  
Old 11-17-2017, 06:31 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Well, he's also (and not wrongly) noting some of the wrong the government does to U.S. citizens, such as the very large number in prison.

Being critical of government's power, and demanding reforms, is always valid.

Wanting to scrap it entirely and go back to some mythical "state of nature" or free-market gold-standard sovereign citizen utopian fantasy is...batshit cray-cray. The closest we've ever been in human history was the early Soviet Union, when the ideals of dismantling the state seemed vaguely possible. History showed, terribly clearly, nuh-uh, not possible at all.

Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge also gave a heroic effort at doing away with "government" as it is commonly practiced. The results were even worse.
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Old 11-17-2017, 06:53 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quoth adaher:

Just stop! We should protect unspoiled lands from rapacious nations or big corporations, but if individuals just want to live there they should be able to just go and live there.
Just what do you think "rapacious nations" and "big corporations" are? They're groups of individuals. If this hypothetical unspoiled land has some exploitable natural resource, what's to stop one "rugged individual" from moving there with some tools, and another "rugged individual" moving there with some more tools, until this group of "rugged individuals" is cutting down the whole rainforest and knocking the tops off the mountains for coal? Is there some line where it's said "enough"? And who says it, some government? If so, then that government already had jurisdiction over the land when the first settler moved there, too.
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Old 11-17-2017, 06:59 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
Hmm, I don't know about your area, but the street gangs here in Baltimore so far have failed to commit genocide against a race of natives, initiate mass starvation in Yemen, or firebomb Tokyo.
It's almost as if there's something that's keeping criminals in check and limiting the amount of harm they do to society.
  #94  
Old 11-17-2017, 07:25 PM
WillFarnaby WillFarnaby is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
It's almost as if there's something that's keeping criminals in check and limiting the amount of harm they do to society.
There is nothing magical about police that requires state action. Private police focus on deterring actual violent crimes, and they are much less likely to kill people while doing it.
  #95  
Old 11-17-2017, 07:31 PM
WillFarnaby WillFarnaby is offline
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Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
Well, he's also (and not wrongly) noting some of the wrong the government does to U.S. citizens, such as the very large number in prison.

Being critical of government's power, and demanding reforms, is always valid.

Wanting to scrap it entirely and go back to some mythical "state of nature" or free-market gold-standard sovereign citizen utopian fantasy is...batshit cray-cray. The closest we've ever been in human history was the early Soviet Union, when the ideals of dismantling the state seemed vaguely possible. History showed, terribly clearly, nuh-uh, not possible at all.

Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge also gave a heroic effort at doing away with "government" as it is commonly practiced. The results were even worse.
Most of human interaction is basically anarchic in nature. Still, society does not collapse, but instead grows stronger and develops institutions that will make government irrelevant.
  #96  
Old 11-17-2017, 07:35 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
There is nothing magical about police that requires state action. Private police focus on deterring actual violent crimes, and they are much less likely to kill people while doing it.
Cite?
  #97  
Old 11-17-2017, 08:28 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
. . . Private police focus on deterring actual violent crimes, and they are much less likely to kill people while doing it.
In part, because they are licensed and regulated.
  #98  
Old 11-17-2017, 08:51 PM
Kropotkin Kropotkin is offline
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On the question of the violence of the state, Weber may not be the last word, or the first word (and you can grill someone else with the BBQ jokes) his argument needs to be considered: the state is that "human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence within a given territory."
  #99  
Old 11-17-2017, 09:02 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
There is nothing magical about police that requires state action. Private police focus on deterring actual violent crimes, and they are much less likely to kill people while doing it.
They're less likely to kill people because it would be murder; a crime for which they would be punished by the government.

As for your idea of private police - I'm thinking about a group of armed men who work for wealthy people and enforce a set of laws presumably written by those same wealthy citizens and I'm not seeing any way that would work out well that doesn't require a belief in magic.
  #100  
Old 11-17-2017, 09:27 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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Originally Posted by Shamozzle View Post

Do Sovereign Citizens' actually have any legal claims considered legitimate by anyone who isn't even remotely insane?
I would be even more sweeping, not only are the specifics about what they claim completely wrong. The concept is completely weird, bizarre and unlike anything I have heard of in any western legal system (certainly in the historical Anglo-American legal system).

The concept of a soverign citizen, and secret laws, or any of the other weird things they claim has never existed at any stage in the western world's legal system, not in an empire, feudal monarchy, absolute monarchy, constitutional monarchy, republic, democracy or any other form of government.
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