Firstly, the statement that there exists no contract between a state and its citizens cannot at all be applied to the United States. We do have a contract with the state, it’s called the Constitution, and this contract is amendable by the majority of the population of the country.
The "social" contract is illegitimate. This short video I posted earlier lays waste to this concept. I’d be interested in you defining your use of the word “contract” though, then trying to apply that to concept of society - which does not exist in reality. Trees exist in objective physical reality, the forest does not. It is a concept that helps with categorization & language etc. You cannot have a contract with a concept. Methodological individualism - check it out.
Furthermore, if the state fails in its duty or charges too much, then the politicians who run it are thrown out by the voters and these problems are fixed. The state cannot “change the rules of the game” at its leisure, because it must answer for these changes every 2 and 4 years in elections.
(1) The state fails in its duty by it’s existence.
"A tax-funded protection agency is a contradiction in terms - an expropriating property protector - and will inevitably lead to more taxes and less protection. Even if, as some - classical liberal - statists have proposed, a government limited its activities exclusively to the protection of pre-existing private property rights, the further question of how much security to produce would arise. Motivated (like everyone else) by self-interest and the disutility of labor, but endowed with the unique power to tax, a government agent’s answer will invariably be the same: To maximize expenditures on protection - and almost all of a nation’s wealth can conceivably be consumed by the cost of protection - and at the same time to minimize the production of protection." ~ Hans-Hermann Hoppe
(2) You assume your vote counts. (3) “The plans differ; the planners are all alike…” – Frederic Bastiat (4) The state changes the rules all the time. Ex post facto law, look it up. (5) Please provide examples of what you state, actually happening. Then compare those to where it does not - eg. War in Iraq opposition - 70%, yet the war still goes ahead. Democracy? “We the people”?
The libertarian bogeyman of the big, bad state would only be justified in an Orwellian world that does not exist.
The United States Government, the greatest power and empire the world has ever seen. Right… because when you get sexually assaulted at the airport it’s not a crime because they wear a uniform & the state says so. The morality of actions change, when someone changes their clothes?
Last, I want to take issue with this market fetishism that is so central to libertarianism. The government is not run on market principles and never should be, so comparing it to the market, to ride off an old cliche, is like judging an apple by how much it tastes like an orange.
"The Free market is a summary term for an array of exchanges that take place in society. Each exchange is undertaken as a voluntary agreement between two people or between groups of people represented by agents. These two individuals (or agents) exchange two economic goods, either tangible commodities or nontangible services.[…]
Both parties undertake the exchange because each expects to gain from it. Also, each will repeat the exchange next time (or refuse to) because his expectation has proved correct (or incorrect) in the recent past. Trade, or exchange, is engaged in precisely because both parties benefit; if they did not expect to gain, they would not agree to the exchange.”
Guilty. And you’re absolutely right the government isn’t run on voluntarist[market] principles. It is coercive to the core.
When the state is treated like a market, votes will be replaced with checks, the rule of law with justice that is bought and sold, and representative republicanism with an unelected oligarchy.
You’re right on the money… the problem is the state though, not the market.
"However, this argument in favor of democracy is fatally flawed. Free entry is not always good. Free entry and competition in the production of goods is good, but free competition in the production of bads is not. Free entry into the business of torturing and killing innocents, or free competition in counterfeiting or swindling, for instance, is not good; it is worse than bad. So what sort of "business" is government? Answer: it is not a customary producer of goods sold to voluntary consumers. Rather, it is a "business" engaged in theft and expropriation - by means of taxes and counterfeiting - and the fencing of stolen goods. Hence, free entry into government does not improve something good. Indeed, it makes matters worse than bad, i.e., it improves evil." - Why Bad Men Rule, Hans-Hermann Hoppe
"When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators." – P.J. O’Rourke
Greed is inherent in human nature. I do not think that the state can change human nature. On the contrary, the state, just like the market, is run by greed. What’s the difference? The market is greedy for money, but the state is greedy for votes. Votes can only be won by those who most reflect the will of the people. That is something the market can never, and will never, do.
Ok, so greed exists and the state agents are also greedy. Very good. And what pray tell happens when you own the printing press? When you have a monopoly on law & order, including the ability to make decisions in your own cases of conflict?
"Assume a group of people, aware of the possibility of conflicts; and then someone proposes, as a solution to this eternal human problem, that he (someone) be made the ultimate arbiter in any such case of conflict, including those conflicts in which he is involved. I am confident that he will be considered either a joker or mentally unstable and yet this is precisely what all statists propose." ~ Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Onto your point about the market & votes:
"The democracy of the market consists in the fact that people themselves make their choices and that no dictator has the power to force them to submit to his value judgments." ~ Mises, Human Action p. 384.
"Within the market society each serves all his fellow citizens and each is served by them. It is a system of mutual exchange of services and commodities, a mutual giving and receiving." ~ Mises, Omnipotent Government, p. 49.
"The market process is a daily repeated plebiscite, and it ejects inevitably from the ranks of profitable people those who do not employ their property according to the orders given by the public." ~ Mises, Liberty and Property, p 10.
Wait two & four years?! How long is the average voters memory? The market is essentially instant.. so it’s not much of a comparison.
In summation, please put down the metaphorical gun, withdraw your support of the state & resist the urge to be a dictator. Cheers.
This is simply a response spurred on after hearing the screaming masses engorge in idolization, exaltation and an almost deification like reverence for what? What have these individuals done which makes them worthy of such cheer, bar being born into a family of previous pillagers? Kate Middleton being excluded of course.
Due to superior achievements of wealth, wisdom, and bravery, these individuals come to possess natural authority, and their opinions and judgments enjoy wide-spread respect. Moreover, because of selective mating, marriage, and the laws of civil and genetic inheritance, positions of natural authority are likely to be passed on within a few noble families. It is to the heads of these families with long-established records of superior achievement, farsightedness, and exemplary personal conduct that men turn to with their conflicts and complaints against each other. These leaders of the natural elite act as judges and peacemakers, often free of charge out of a sense of duty expected of a person of authority or out of concern for civil justice as a privately produced “public good.”
If the individuals being married/worshiped today were part of the natural elite, I’d have no problem rejoicing in their achievements and well deserved respect. However, they are not. Current estimates of costs are around 30 Million pounds of taxpayer money for the event.
On the other hand, democracy affords the opportunity for anyone to pursue politics as a career. There is no need for the masses to recognize a person as “wise” or “successful,” as Hoppe’s natural order would require. Nor does one have to be born into the ruling family, as in the case of monarchy. As the great American comedian Bob Hope, who was actually born in England, once quipped, “I left England at the age of four when I found out I couldn’t be king.” Maybe because he knows he can never have Prince Charles’s job, Sir Richard Branson — knighted for “services to entrepreneurship” — sticks to business and reportedly owns 360 companies. - What Kind of Person Runs for Public Office? Doug French
While the state faired much better under democratic rule, and while the “people” have faired much worse since they began to rule “themselves,” what about the natural elites and the intellectuals? As regards the former, democratization has succeeded where kings made only a modest beginning: in the ultimate destruction of the natural elite and nobility. The fortunes of the great families have dissipated through confiscatory taxes, during life and at the time of death. These families’ tradition of economic independence, intellectual farsightedness, and moral and spiritual leadership have been lost and forgotten.
Rich men exist today, but frequently than not they owe their fortunes directly or indirectly to the state. Hence, they are often more dependent on the state’s continued favors than many people of far-lesser wealth. They are typically no longer the heads of long-established leading families, but “nouveaux riches.” Their conduct is not characterized by virtue, wisdom, dignity, or taste, but is a reflection of the same proletarian mass-culture of present-orientation, opportunism, and hedonism that the rich and famous now share with everyone else. Consequently—and thank goodness—their opinions carry no more weight in public opinion than most other people’s.
Democracy has achieved what Keynes only dreamt of: the “euthanasia of the rentier class.” Keynes’s statement that “in the long run we are all dead” accurately expresses the democratic spirit of our times: present-oriented hedonism. Although it is perverse not to think beyond one’s own life, such thinking has become typical. Instead of ennobling the proletarians, democracy has proletarianized the elites and has systematically perverted the thinking and judgment of the masses.
[…]I want to ask you guys if you would consider all statists aggressors.
I’m not only talking about people who work for the government; those people are, well, part of the “machine” already. I’m talking about the people who are just misinformed and vote either Democrat or Republican, and also the people who are the nicest individuals, but don’t agree with us because they think the government protects them. Sure, they “enable” the state, but am I to cast them out of my life on principles? I would argue that although they are misinformed, they aren’t bad or aggressive[…]
I don’t think I can just treat them as aggressors, even though their beliefs infuriate me.
Just about the bold, a way to actually find that out but which is very hard to do - is personalizing it. Point out in the gun in the room. Ask them - 'would you initiate or threaten physical aggression against me?'(They support hiring a gang of thieves writ large to do it *government*, but would they do the threatening themselves? Would they personally force you to support their policy?)
If they say “yes” they would… crikey! But some people do & even get self righteous about it. See how far they would go. See how much of a friend they really are. Do they value their conceptual pet policy agenda more than your life?
'Would you put a gun to my head?' ……
'Would you pull the trigger?'
…. it doesn’t usually get to that point - obviously if they say "no", then there is no problem :) For those that come even close, you may want to re-evaluate whether someone like that is worth your time. It’s a fairly powerful debating tactic.
In terms of individual’s being seen as aggressors for voting? No. I agree with Rothbard in that voting is not constitutive (short source here).
To get on to voting, yes I believe that any legislator who votes for a tax or an aggressive law is illicitly participating in a criminal enterprise, but no I don’t believe that the citizen voter necessarily does so. There’s votes and there’s votes. One problem with your view is that, in an important sense, it is not anti-statist enough.[…]
George writes as if citizen voting is constitutive, that is, that everytime we vote in an election this creates and constitutes the State. It is almost as if the State would not exist if we didn’t go out and vote. Nonsense! The State is there, and it gives us this area of partial choice with which to work. Even is everyone (except those running for office to work and their retainers) failed to vote, the State would keep rolling on. […]
Furthermore, trying to push back voting by the legislator to voting by the citizen as criminal, gets into more difficulties. For how can, for example, Mr.Z who votes for a Libertarian candidate who loses be held responsible in any way for the criminal votes of a Democrat or Republican? Mr. Z tried his best to stop them. Which means, at least, pace Hummel that voting for a Libertarian candidate is perfectly moral so long as the LP candidate loses, since a losing candidate has no opportunity to do harm. But suppose that, by a fluke, an LP candidate wins. Then, it seems to me that there is no problem so long as the LP officeholder votes or acts purely libertarian—that is, votes against the budget, votes against all invasive laws, or if an executive, refuses to enforce aggressive laws and taxes, etc. But if an LP officeholder can be a moral and licit officeholder, then so can the guy who votes for him, and the entire argument in principle against an LP or voting for the LP or holding office as an LPer falls to the ground. But what if, finally, the LP officeholder sells out, and votes statist? Then he of course is a criminal aggressor. But how about the guy who voted for him? I think not. Surely the most we can accuse him of is error, of failing to detect the betrayal of promises that would occur in the future. Surely not an indictable offense.[…]
“Furthermore, in contrast to what seems to be true nowadays, you don’t have to be an anarchist to be radical in our sense, just as you can be an anarchist while missing the radical spark. I can think of hardly a single limited governmentalist of the present day who is radical – a truly amazing phenomenon, when we think of our classical liberal forbears who were genuinely radical, who hated statism and the States of their day with a beautifully integrated passion: the Levellers, Patrick Henry, Tom Paine, Joseph Priestley, the Jacksonians, Richard Cobden, and on and on, a veritable roll call of the greats of the past. Tom Paine’s radical hatred of the State and statism was and is far more important to the cause of liberty than the fact that he never crossed the divide between laissez-faire and anarchism.”—Murray Rothbard, Do You Hate The State?
“The state operates in a legal vacuum. There exists no contract between the state and its citizens. It is not contractually fixed, what is actually owned by whom, and what, accordingly, is to be protected. It is not fixed, what service the state is to provide, what is to happen if the state fails in its duty, nor what the price is that the “customer” of such “service” must pay. Rather, the state unilaterally fixes the rules of the game and can change them, per legislation, during the game. Obviously, such behavior is inconceivable for freely financed security providers. Just imagine a security provider, whether police, insurer or arbitrator, whose offer consisted in something like this: I will not contractually guarantee you anything. I will not tell you what I oblige myself to do if, according to your opinion, I do not fulfill my service to you - but in any case, I reserve the right to unilaterally determine the price that you must pay me for such undefined service. Any such security provider would immediately disappear from the market due to a complete lack of customers.”—Hans-Hermann Hoppe