Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A Couple of Comments

A couple of my recent comments (with minor additions, as noted), may or may not be worth bringing to the fore…you will decide.


“I would however, invert your ending statement to “Absent the NAP, community peace will not survive”.”

I am not so sure about this. Even in a condition of horrendous NAP violations, most of us live in a state of community peace. [May have something to do with a commonly accepted cultural tradition?]

Let me take this a step further: someday in the decentralized dream world of voluntarily formed covenant communities, most of these communities would not be considered "libertarian" by outsiders.

The community could live within various generally accepted traditions: no pot smoking, no sex on the front lawn, church-going families only. Now…I did not say these were contractually stipulated; it is just that this is how, for quite some time, the people here chose to live. It never would have dawned on them that they needed a contract stating “no sex on the front lawn.” outsider would say "look at all of these NAP violations. Why can't I smoke pot? Why can’t I have sex on my front lawn?”

He decides to smoke pot WHILE having sex on his front lawn on a SUNDAY MORNING while the families are RETURNING FROM CHURCH, because he sees that it is the community that has violated HIS NAP.

Yet, who has broken the peace?

A commonly accepted culture and tradition does far more for maintaining peace than does a thin application of the NAP. It seems to me that our job, as advocates of the NAP, is to identify the best intersection of these two (tradition and the non-aggression principle) that can best achieve a relatively libertarian outcome in the real world. It strikes me that the concept of “old and good law” offers this path.

Otherwise we are just conducting mental gymnastics, writing hundreds of papers trying to explore the most hidden, theoretical corners about topics that culture and tradition have (and will) resolve without any help from any of us.


"When I explained libertarianism to people unfamiliar with the concept I found that they will 'instinctively' recoil….And the interesting question is: where did we go wrong?"

"Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." (I didn't look up the verse, but I am sure that I am close enough.)

Libertarianism rightly offers that victimless (so-called) crimes are not "crimes" punishable by law, albeit we need not approve of such behavior. Jesus offers something similar with this statement, it seems to me.

Jesus does not offer that such actions are good, healthy, moral, life-sustaining, etc. [In fact, he told the woman “now go and sin no more.]  He was the greatest example in both word and deed of a just and moral life.

Where did we go wrong? Might be as simple as: the NAP without a moral compass equals hell.

And most civilized people recoil at the idea of hell.


  1. "I am not so sure about this. Even in a condition of horrendous NAP violations, most of us live in a state of community peace."

    Perhaps this is because most us of abide by the NAP concerning everyone in our day to day lives. It is only our political affairs that have gotten all muddled up. A common custom can't hurt though. Or can it?

    When does a common custom turn into a slavish unquestioning conformity ripe for totalitarian government? I have also been thinking about this lately. It seems in all things there is Aristotle's Doctrine of the Mean or the Golden Mean which we must abide.

    1. "When does a common custom turn into a slavish unquestioning conformity ripe for totalitarian government?"

      Didn't seem to happen during the relevant portion of the Middle Ages. Probably worth examining why this was so.


  2. Bionic, you asked “Who has broken the peace?” “ I believe it depends upon your definition of “peace”.

    If by “peace”, you mean breaking a tradition or insulting the tender feelings of the outwardly pious and their customs, the libertine would have broken it.

    If by “peace”, you mean actual physical assault and property invasion, then the 2x4 wielding outraged church members will have broken it by their attack.

    I personally believe that the Non Aggression Principle is a direct commandment from the Creator for establishing “Peace On Earth” and is a variant of “Love Your Neighbor”. As you have stated previously, this is my belief and not really open to argument, although implementing this Commandment on Earth, is a subject worthy of much discussion and insight, which is why I believe your posts and research on this is so very important and I again thank you for them.

    I also believe that likeminded people, regardless of their faith or lifestyle, have the right to freely associate, voluntarily. There are many methods of dealing with libertines or other religions, such as purchase, shunning, CCR’s, using words to rebuke them (2Tim 3:16) , or even building a dang fence to keep their behavior from your view, among other possible solutions, although as you state, it is not possible to list every possible tradition that should not be broken.

    However, aggression is not a solution for undesirable but consensual behavior, whether burning a Koran or Flag, public or private sex, use of intoxicants or whatever and does not lead to peace.

    I do not believe in a libertine lifestyle and feel it will dissipate through a lack of moral guidelines but history has shown that using aggressive force to combat it has not worked, the current “War On Some Drugs” being a recent example. Instead, I feel that it actually feeds off of such aggression somehow.

    I do feel that having shared customs, lifestyles and beliefs will greatly facilitate harmony and peace among people as you state but keeping the supreme Commandment of Non Aggression is the most important shared belief required, in my opinion.

    I would fully support a community with strict religious beliefs and/or customs, whatever they are, as long as it is voluntary and would personally consider that community a libertarian one. I do not equate libertarian with libertine.

    For a community or state or neighbor to attempt to control others through violence or the threat of violence, is pretty much the history of our world. I am looking forward to a different world, where property rights are respected and tolerance is the rule and peace is the result. I feel that the Non Aggression Principle, if practiced, can lead to that better world.

    Peace, Love and Brotherhood

    1. “I believe it depends upon your definition of “peace”.”

      An interesting quote of Kinsella, taken from the Hoppe book I have been recently covering:

      “For the foregoing reasons, libertarianism may be said to be the political philosophy that consistently favors social rules aimed at promoting peace, prosperity, and cooperation.”

      If promoting peace and cooperation is the goal, then I think both of your criteria must be considered. Yet, I must offer the rest of Kinsella’s quote for context:

      “It recognizes that the only rules that satisfy the civilized grundnorms are the self-ownership principle and the Lockean homesteading principle, applied as consistently as possible.”

      It would seem that this statement, consistently applied, might only satisfy one of your criteria.

      “However, aggression is not a solution for undesirable but consensual behavior…”

      I agree, but we are dealing with real human beings, not automatons. When those 15 church-going fathers come home and see the new neighbors bumping and grinding on the front lawn they may decide to take some non-libertarian action…which, by the way, in the bigger picture might be the right answer if promoting peace and prosperity of the community is the goal. An interesting consideration.

    2. "If by 'peace' you mean actual physical assault and property invasion, then the 2x4 wielding outraged church members will have broken it by their attack."

      I get the impression from my fellow libertarians that they think only church members get outraged by violations of custom and inflict violations of the NAP. Hell knows no fury like an outraged secular "humanist." For more on this, Google "French Revolution," "Bolsheviks," and "Cristero War."


    3. "I agree, but we are dealing with real human beings, not automatons. When those 15 church-going fathers come home and see the new neighbors bumping and grinding on the front lawn they may decide to take some non-libertarian action…which, by the way, in the bigger picture might be the right answer if promoting peace and prosperity of the community is the goal. An interesting consideration."

      I see what you're getting at, though I wonder if such an "ends justify the means" approach to solving the issue might lead to a similar breach of peace as the libertine behavior.

    4. NAP is the stumbling block of libertarianism. Don't forget that the purpose of the law in Natural Law thought is human flourishing, not pacifism for the sake of pacifism, remember *The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath*. Rothbard starts with human flourishing and then postulates the non-aggression axiom as necessary for human flourishing, and certainly no society can flourish and prosper if its members steal from, or murder each other, but likewise no social order, not even a libertarian one, can survive if it is not defended (necessarily, by means of aggression). Obviously, non-aggression is not be-all-end-all, society of high-time preference drug-addicted gay orgiastics will never be a flourishing one: if we imagine an "LGBTQIA++ colony" that is perfectly libertarian, it is nonetheless going to completely die out in merely a few generations (and even that only if we assume that some of them will reproduce via artificial means).

    5. Anonymous May 3, 2018 at 11:54 AM

      I think about the European Middle Ages, lots of "wars," small and localized, involving only the belligerents - no meaningful conscription.

      Maybe such small physical conflicts defuse the likelihood of larger physical conflicts. Maybe it is the ends justifying the means, or maybe it is a necessary pressure-release valve?

    6. Michael,

      I see no relationship between the libertarian Non Aggression Principle and pacifism. The NAP states that you must not INITIATE aggression. It does not say that you cannot stop aggression or end it, using force, even lethal force.

      I do agree with you that most of the libertine lifestyles will tend to die off, for various reasons.


    7. >Maybe such small physical conflicts defuse the likelihood of larger physical conflicts.

      Private wars are the logical consequence of the absence of centralized and absolute Power, i.e. the State. People will always have disagreements, and every so often will not be able to come to a mutually amicable agreement. In that case the only way to settle a dispute becomes violence. Most Medieval wars were, in essence, family disputes over inheritance. The State puts an end to this private violence by monopolizing all violence into its hands.

    8. Guys! (Tahn and Michael)

      The NAP is not called the non-violence principle nor does it outlaw all violence, therefore it is not synonymous with pacifism.

      The NAP is not against the "initiation of aggression," but all aggression. Aggression is defined as the initiation of violence. Aggression is unjust violence. Violence in service of defense is not aggression and is therefore just; initiated violence is aggression and is therefore unjust.

      There's a great discussion on this difference in the "Once and Future King" by T.H. White between Merlin and Kay (Arthur's adopted brother). I'll try and dig it up if anyone is interested.

      You have to understand this basic distinction between aggression and violence before you can weigh in credibly with a monumental statement like, the "NAP is the stumbling block of libertarianism." That's like saying Jesus is the stumbling block of Christianity. The NAP is libertarianism. It is the foundation of the idea of liberty.

      In other words, you can remain unconvinced by the merits of the NAP, but you cannot divorce the NAP from libertarianism. If you reject one, you must reject the other.

    9. A Texas Libertarian,

      Thank you for correcting my sloppy language. Indeed, as you say, the NAP prohibits ALL aggression, with “aggression” being defined (for our use) as violence or trespass against another person or their property.

      I should have stated ,as you did, that the NAP prohibits the “initiation of force or violence” but not in the use of force or violence in self defense against aggression.

      I hope I have correctly summarized it.

      ATL, I would love to read that dialog between Merlin and Kay, if you can post a link to it. Thank you,


      "Zero Aggression Principle":
      "A libertarian is a person who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being for any reason whatever; nor will a libertarian advocate the initiation of force, or delegate it to anyone else.

      Those who act consistently with this principle are libertarians, whether they realize it or not. Those who fail to act consistently with it are not libertarians, regardless of what they may claim."

      Formerly called the "Non-Aggression Principle", or "NAP"

      — L. Neil Smith

    10. Thnx ATL (Cc. RM),

      For the clarification. Yet I do think that there's something to what MR said about the NAP as a stumbling block (what's in a name?).

      With regard to parenting, abortion and children, some of e.g. Rothbard's and Block's statements are considered logical consequences of the NAP. Many people (yt included) find the following quite reprehensible though:

      Walter Block on evictionism, which supposedly is, or should be, the only true libertarian position on abortion:

      "..if the baby is evicted in the first two trimesters, he will perish. But the mother is not then a murderer, since she is acting defensively, against a violator of her private property rights in herself."

      The fetus as "violator".. (what the..??) and just abortion by the mothe.. pardon, free & autonomous woman, as violence in defense, because no aggression.

      Then there's Rothbard about parents who should be free not to feed their children. Was that also in "The Ethics of Liberty"?

      Add a few more things like perhaps the libertarian NAP sponsored defense of child labour and people might get the impression that libertarians won't make the best of parents. Since parenting still speaks to a lot of people, that's a major stumbling Block, right there.

      Would be too easy of course to suggest that both Rothbard & Block were never that familiar with parenting themselves, hence the casual labelling of an unborn child as a "parasite," a "trespasser," or in case of birth, a mere "house guest" ;)

      Now one could say, well.. let's add an extra little culture to complement the somewhat sterile NAP and breathe some life back into it. Potential problem: the particular view of humans in a NAP ruled, property rights based contractual society. Does that view resonate with the view of humans in the sort of traditional culture we're looking for? Dunno.

      Another question, I know.

      Cheers from Amsterdam,

    11. Tahn,

      I found the book online.

      Here is the start of the dialogue starting on pdf p 177:

      My notes are in brackets for context of the story.

      ""When I [Merlyn] was a young man [in the future, since Merlyn lives backwards through time]," he said, "there was a general idea that it was wrong to fight in wars of any sort. Quite a lot of people in those days declared that they would never fight for anything whatever."

      "Perhaps they were right," said the King [Arthur].

      "No. There is one fairly good reason for fighting—and that is, if the other man starts it. You
      see, wars are a wickedness, perhaps the greatest wickedness of a wicked species. They are so
      wicked that they must not be allowed. When you can be perfectly certain that the other man
      started them, then is the time when you might have a sort of duty to stop him."

      "But both sides always say that the other side started them." [Arthur]

      "Of course they do, and it is a good thing that it should be so. At least, it shows that both
      sides are conscious, inside themselves, that the wicked thing about a war is its beginning." [Merlyn]"

      Merlyn then continues conversing both with Kay and Arthur about his version of just war theory based on the idea of aggression as the initiation or threat of violence. I'm not so sure Merlyn gets it all right, considering he's trying to justify a war of the Norman crown to suppress a secessionist movement of Gaels fighting towards self-determination, but it is indicative of the discussion (and frustration) libertarians often have in discussing whether or not actions can be considered an aggression.

      ""Any reasoning man," continued his tutor [Merlyn], ignoring the interruption, "who keeps a steady mind, can tell which side is the aggressor in ninety wars out of a hundred. He can see which
      side is likely to benefit by going to war in the first place, and that is a strong reason for
      suspicion. He can see which side began to make the threat of force or was the first to arm
      itself. And finally he can often put his finger on the one who struck the first blow."

      "But supposing," said Kay, "that one side was the one to make the threat, while the other side
      was the one to strike the first blow?"

      "Oh, go and put your head in a bucket. I'm not suggesting that all of them can be decided... " [Merlyn]

      The book is a classic that wrestles with great topics, and it is quite funny. I've not read the whole thing yet, but so far I'm loving it.

    12. Tahn,

      You got it. ZAP, NAP, or NAA are all basically the same thing. I'm convinced it is an axiom, or an irrefutable truth, of normative behavior as Rothbard did, but I often refer to it as simply a principle.

      The NAP may be an objective truth or "good" concerning the nature of human interaction, but others must be convinced of this voluntarily as a tenet of the very NAP itself (unless they violate your person or property). Rights may be universal but their enforcement must be local - to paraphrase Rothbard.

    13. "The State puts an end to this private violence by monopolizing all violence into its hands." - Michael

      I don't think the State has put an end to private violence, and even if it had, I'd never willingly trade the former for the latter. Give me back the family feuds of the middle ages; I'm all set without the State's 20th century ethnic and class wars of mass annihilation.

    14. ATL, Thank you for the link!


    15. Just one last thing.

      "The NAP is libertarianism. It is the foundation of the idea of liberty."

      That the NAP equals libertarianism is undoubtedly true, but is it really the foundation of the idea of liberty? I don't think that's historically accurate.

      From a historical standpoint, and to put it quite bluntly: the NAP is residual rather than foundational.

      It might serve as the foundation of a theoretical and yet to be construed PPS, but that's in the stars.

      After hundreds of years of eroding away the fabric & framework of medieval libertarianism which held together a relatively free Western society, the bare Rothbardian NAP is all that's left. A relatively benign organizational principle for our post-traditional, post-religious, post-whatever world. Sterile, legalistic, academical.

    16. >Then there's Rothbard about parents who should be free not to feed their children.

      That's an example of what a scholastic philosophers would call social injustice (in the true, rather than leftist, meaning of the term). Likewise, if a man homesteaded a great land area and became an exploitative monopolist (basically a totalitarian State), that too would be an example of social injustice even though it is perfectly consistent with NAP and libertarianism.

      >I don't think the State has put an end to private violence, and even if it had, I'd never willingly trade the former for the latter.

      It did, these days you are not allowed to even raise a voice at your wife and kids, let alone participate in a tavern brawl, and in some places in Europe it goes so far as to ban even self-defense: the only legitimate use of violence is by officers of the State. Mind you I am not saying that State putting an end to private violence is a good thing (nor, for that matter am I claiming that tavern brawls and domestic violence are good things). It is a sure sign of growth of the Power of the State via means of atomization -- the State more and more places itself between every two persons in an increasing amounts of possible interactions. The end result is, of course "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." where every possible interaction between any two persons comes through the State. And yes, when the State puts an end to small acts of private violence, it is at the price of great acts of public violence i.e. compare Shelby County War to the War Of The Northern Aggression.

    17. Sagunto

      Regarding Block, Rothbard, etc., and abortion…it seems to me that a non-aggression principle that defends aggression against the most innocent and vulnerable among us is a useless principle. It also seems to me that the idea of rights without responsibilities leads us to…well, we see it playing out on college campuses today.

      With that said, I have taken on Block and his evictionism on his own terms – the thinnest of thin libertarian terms:

      He has replied, and my reply to his comments is here:

      As to the NAP being foundational to libertarianism…in the collection of essays honoring Hoppe, there is one essay pointing to the idea that the issue is freedom, not property rights. The NAP, as it is currently understood by many, focuses solely on property rights.

      It may be worth my examining this essay.

    18. Hi BM,

      Thank you for those links. Will check them out.

      Was thinking of Joe Sobran who wrote at length about "subtracting Christianity" from our culture and from society.

      Combined with Frank van Dun's thoughts on the historical processes which undermined the medieval Natural Moral Law society, this process of subtracting Christianity can historically be described (and of course simplified) as follows:

      Stateless Society of Medieval libertarianism (Natural Moral Law) >> Renaissance >> Reformation >> French Revolution >> Enlightenment >> Bureaucratic States (re-sacralization of the State, as in Roman times).

      At the end of this process and as a logical consequence, it's not entirely surprising that someone would come up with something like the NAP. That's why I called it, "residual". For foundations of liberty, there's elsewhere to look. That's why I visit your site.

      In his Ethics of Liberty, Rothbard simply presupposed natural law theory without elaborating any further. That's what Van Dun described as bypassing the "elephant in the medieval room".

      A real shame that Van Dun's 1985 work (if I remember correctly) Het Fundamenteel Rechtsbeginsel* never saw an English edition.

      Cheers from Amsterdam,

      (* my transl: The Foundational Principle of Justice)

    19. "In his Ethics of Liberty, Rothbard simply presupposed natural law theory without elaborating any further. That's what Van Dun described as bypassing the "elephant in the medieval room"."

      Setting aside what may or may not have been Rothbard's view on the matter, I pretty much forgive Rothbard of everything. He did significant, valuable work in many fields; that he didn't cover everything, or got a few things wrong, is secondary to me - and forgivable.

      I do not say the same about his students - who have had decades to deal with such matters. If they choose not to, this is fine; but, as I have concluded, all of the valuable contributions that Rothbard has made toward a philosophy of liberty are wasted without such integrating work.

  3. You ask us to imagine a covenant community that decides to live by generally accepted traditions but you also want us to imagine that this covenant community has not even one covenant, i.e. there are no contractual stipulations (of any kind) stating residents and/or newcomers are required to agree to live by these traditions. How can we imagine a “covenant community” if it is a community with no covenants? Which is it you want us to imagine? To quote Hoppe, ‘a thing can’t be both black all over and red all over at the same time.’

    I think more accurately you are asking us (whether you realize it or not) to imagine that a covenant community decides to live by only one covenant, i.e., it is ‘contractually stipulated’ that residents and newcomers alike must abide by generally accepted traditions. The reason I think this is because next you want us to imagine an outsider concludes that this covenant community’s single covenant – to live by custom – is somehow an aggression against him.

    If this is accurate, the outsider has simply made an erroneous conclusion, one that he can no more prove than if he had concluded that the single covenant makes us lizard people from a distant galaxy; that is, he’s simply made an erroneous conclusion, the veracity of which he would be unable to demonstrate. A covenant community’s covenants apply (obviously) only to those inside the covenant community, not anyone outside the community, such as this outsider. The only way the community (or anyone in it) could possibly be aggressing against him is if one or more of the community members left the community on a crusade to force him to live by the covenant community’s one covenant even though he lives outside the community. If no one is doing this, there is no aggression. The outsider is simply wrong.

    Now, of course, if he wants to cease being outside the community and move inside the covenant community, he will of course be ‘forced’ to agree to and abide by the community’s covenants. Regardless of what covenants are agreed to, if the outsider agrees to them, then these covenants are still not an aggression against him as it was his voluntary choice to enter into the agreement when he moved in.

    While you didn’t specifically ask us to imagine an outsider moving inside a covenant community, you seem to imply this is what you want us to imagine when you bring up the ‘what if’ scenario of the outsider violating the community’s covenants. You want to know who would be the aggressor in such a scenario. The answer becomes super easy once you recognize that an outsider can’t move into a covenant community without agreeing to the covenants (even just the one covenant you have in mind). Moving into a covenant community without agreeing to the covenants is just trespassing (and any thing they do in violation of the covenants would simply be in addition to the fact that they are already the aggressor). However, if the hypothetical is that the outsider has moved in then that necessarily means the outsider agreed to the covenants and – rather obviously – the outsider is the aggressor as soon as he is in breach of his contract, i.e., as soon as the orgy starts.

    1. “I’d like to move into the neighborhood.”

      “Sure. We only have one rule. You have to live by our generally accepted cultural traditions.”

      “Well, that’s really not very clear. Can you spell it out?”

      “Nope. That’s the rule.”

      Now, they go back and forth like this for a while. Finally the old-timer decides to give some examples.

      “No cars on jacks in the front yard; no grill-outs or wood-burning fires; no loud music after 8 PM. A few other odds and ends, but you will catch on pretty quick.”

      “OK, I can live with that.”

      The guy moves in; the sex orgy starts on Sunday.

      “But you never told me that this was against your tradition.”

      “Heaven help us, why would any normal human ever have to think of this stipulation?”

      “Sorry, I am not moving out and I am going to keep up MY Sunday tradition.”

      Now what….

      Well, the problem could be fixed with an additional stipulation: any disagreements will be settled by a tribunal of residents. So…maybe it could be resolved with two covenants, not one. I guess until Soros decides to buy up half of the properties and move in lathered-up porn stars.

      But you are missing the larger point, and you are hung up on details: Is a community more likely to be at peace, to have less conflict, if the residents voluntarily abide by generally accepted customs? Would you expect such a community to have a better or worse possibility of achieving and maintaining something approaching a libertarian order as opposed to a community where there was little agreement on “how things are done around here”?

    2. "The guy moves in; the sex orgy starts on Sunday"

      On another site (don't remember) which I read something about "voting rights" which seems relevant to this case.

      In the case you pointed out, there is an assumption build in: every newcomer has "equal say". (I.e. same voting rights)

      The sex orgy guy has equal say to the people who have created and build that community for years, if not multiple generations.

      Why should a newcomer have equal rights?

      (PS: I have not thought through this issue as it is a new observation for me, so for now its just an open ended question mark)

    3. I think the distinction of "resident" vs. "citizen" is valuable.

      I touch on a possibility here:

      However, if you can't handle mosquito fiction writing, better that you stay away from this one.

    4. BM,

      Just a few days ago I read for the first time Gary North's hysterical reaction to the fictional article you linked to. Jeez. Calm down man. It's not as if you were falsely reporting on the presence of WMDs and thousands of people got killed as a result of your reporting. To be fair to Gary, the first time I read that article of yours, you had already put the fictional disclaimer up I believe. Anyway didn't mean to dredge up old issues. Just a bit of synchronicity is all.

    5. At the time, I think it was about 50/50 on the fiction / non-fiction split by readers.

      The split was 1 / 1000 of those who thought it was fiction that ended up exploding when it turned out not to be so. 999 / 1000 got a good laugh out of finding out it was fiction.

      I always thought that a sign of good fiction was that people believed it to be non-fiction. Shows what I know.

      I will say, it was a wonderful maturing experience for me; I didn't explode (online, of course).

      There you have it.

    6. "the only “new” families we would let in would be a family recommended by one of the ten long-time families."

      Logically speaking, that is also the direction I am drifting in. Newcomers have no "rights" to demand anything changes to accommodate them.

      I have lived abroad for many years, and I made it a point to integrate as best as I could. And I am happy to say this worked so well that locals would mistake me for a fellow countryman - but from a different part of the country (thanks to the remaining accent).

      However I _never_ felt like I belonged to that country. I did not feel out of place or something, it just never crossed my mind to think that I was actually one of them. And simply the idea of demanding from them to adjust to my preferences, .... even now that I live in my "own" country again, that idea seems horrifying.

      Btw: The main culprit is history. Without shared histories it is probably impossible to really feel like we belong. And this difference will go down the generations, it will very likely take a couple of generations, and cross-marrying before the grand-grand-children will feel like they truly share histories as well.

    7. I’m not sure what it is you are asking and no hard feelings if you don’t want to clarify. Just in case you’d be willing to help me out, here’s what I *think* you are asking me:

      “In community X, residents and newcomers alike all voluntarily abide by generally accepted traditions without need of any written rules (which naturally means there is no need for arbitration services or rule enforcement mechanisms). By contrast, the only thing we know about community Y is that there is little agreement among residents as to how things are done. Which community will have the highest probability of achieving and maintaining something approaching a libertarian order, X or Y?”

      Is that what you want me to answer? (Again, no worries if you have bigger fish to fry.)

    8. You may answer it, think about it, or whatever.

      There is a second step, but this is the first - the question you have posed.

      The second: is there a culture / tradition more conducive to achieving / maintaining a libertarian order?

      In other words, it seems to me that a common culture is a necessary, but not sufficient, foundation for something that will approach a libertarian society.

      As to the lack of a need for arbitration, etc., I guess it depends what you mean. Every functioning society will have some form of governance structure.

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  4. We have to ask ourselves this question: "By what standard?" By what standard do we evaluate the claims of the socialists and interventionists? By what standard do we evaluate the claims of the secular free market economists who reject socialism? By what standard are we to construct intellectual alternatives to the humanism of our day? And by what standard do we criticize the social institutions of our era?
    If we say that the standard is "reason," we have a problem: Whose reason? If the economists cannot agree with each other, how do we decide who is correct? Why hasn't reason produced agreement after centuries of debate?

    There will always be some disagreements, since men are not perfect, and their minds are imperfect. But when men agree about the basic issue of the starting point of the debate, they have a far better opportunity to discuss and learn than if they offer only "reason, rightly understood" as their standard.

    Society is broader than politics. The State is not a substitute for society. Society encompasses all social institutions: church, State, family, economy, kinship groups, voluntary clubs and associations, schools, and non-profit educational organizations.

    Can we say that there are no standards of righteousness - justice - for these social institutions? Are they lawless? We do not live in a lawless universe. But this does not mean that the State is the source of all law.

    Christianity is innately decentralist. From the beginning, orthodox Christians have denied the divinity of the State. This is why the Caesars of Rome had them persecuted and executed.

    by Gary North


  5. In my daily life, the greatest violator of my personal peace is government, and to a lesser extent, my covenant community, my HOA. In my dealings with non-government actors, my blood pressure rarely rises and we can normally come to agreements without butting heads (or droning Middle Easterners). Is the path to Peace another bloody Revolution? I pray not.

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  7. For all of you looking for an exciting neighborhood. ANd I thought BM was in Texas.


    A house in a Colorado town is being used for wild sex parties for baby boomers, much to the dismay of locals, The New York Post reported Tuesday.

    A 7,500-square-foot-house known as “Thunderstorm Play Palace” in Castle Rock, a suburban Colorado town about 20 miles from Denver, is the location for the sex parties, and is causing disturbances for frustrated neighbors.


  8. To continue my analogy of culture and traffic laws.

    The principle of traffic laws is safety, do no harm. Even if you are in the right the law requires that you avoid physical/property damage if it can be avoided. Like the NP principle. Of course, the purpose is for traffic to move in an orderly way.

    Even if you drive the speed limit, yo could be ticketed for driving in an unsafe manner dependinig on driving conditions - visibility, precipitation, accidents, etc.

    What is safe driving depends on the traffic laws of the country. Try to drive on the left hand side here.