X-Message-Number: 28216
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2006 12:39:02 -0600
From: "Anthony ." <>
Subject: private protection agencies (libertarianism)

On 7/12/06, egg plant <> wrote:

Private Protection Agencies, the end of state-sanctioned law & war,
etc. are all interesting and potentially good ideas. I agree with them
all on principle, though I'm skeptical that they will manifest any
time soon, or that they are as problem free as you illustrate them. I
pick a few nits below:

> All parties would have a reason to avoid violence if possible. The disputing
> parties would not want to turn their front yard into a war zone, and
> violence is expensive.

War is also profitable if you are a Private Protection Agency who'd
like to prove themselves, or an arms-dealer, or anyone with an
interest in building back-up a shattered, conquered infrastructure. It
is also profitable to ideologues and othre charismatic groups and
individuals for taking the shattered remains in their own direction.
Many PPAs will be full of such people.

> The successful protection agencies would be more
> interested in making money than saving face.

Their reputation would have to come from somewhere, and in the initial
stages of this kind of anarchy, the PPAs would want to prove their

> Most of the time this would
> work so I expect the total level of violence to be less than in the nation
> state system we have now, but I'm not such a utopian as to suggest it will
> drop to zero.

Why? Rather than centralised policies regarding neighbours, you'd have
lots and lots of new neighbours with their own policies, which
multiplies the chances of conflict.

> Please note that I'm not talking about justice only for the rich. If a rich
> man's PPA makes unreasonable demands (beatings, sidewalk justice, I insist
> on my mother being the judge if I get into trouble) it's going to need one
> hell of a lot of firepower to back it up.

The rich have (or can aquire) a hell of a lot of firepower - and more.

> That kind of an army is expensive
> because of the hardware needed and because of the very high wages it will
> need to pay its employees for an extremely dangerous job.

Then again, if your enemy PPAs are using slings and clubs all you need
are cheap guns to out do them -no need for hi-tech.

> To pay for all
> this they will need to charge their clients enormous fees severely limiting
> their customer base and that means even higher charges.

So only the super rich can afford the super PPAs?

>They could never get
> the upper hand, because the common man's PPA would be able to outspend a PPA
> that had outrageous demands and was just for the super rich.

If the super-rich's cash out numbered the poors (i.e. in the case of
the richest 3 people in the world owning more than the poorest 36
countries) they would have the upper-hand. Also, they can join forces
and probably have the upperhand in any situation i.e. tyranny.

> No system can guarantee justice to everybody all the time but you'd have the
> greatest chance of finding it in Anarcho-capitalism.

I'm yet to be convinced. The current system is at least an evil you know.

> In a dictatorship one
> man's whim can lead to hell on earth, I don't see how 40 million Germans
> could have murdered 6 million Jews in a Anarcho-capitalistic world.

See above for how.

> aren't much better in a Democracy, 51% can decide to kill the other 49%
> ,nothing even close to that is possible in Anarchy, even theoretically.

I don't see how this can be. If 51% of anarchists form a coalition
against 49% of everyone else... there you go.

> In general, the desire not to be killed is much stronger than the desire to
> kill a stranger, even a Jewish  stranger. Jews would be willing to pay as
> much as necessary, up to and including their entire net worth not to be
> killed. I doubt if even the most rabid anti Semite would go much beyond 2%.

2%? That wouldn't make them very rabid.

> As a result the PPA protecting Jews would be much stronger than the one that
> wants to kill them.

But the Jews would end up very poor having to spend all their money on
PPAs. The aggressors could oppress them simply through threat of
violence. Meanwhile, the PPAs get really rich.

The same can be said for any oppressed group i.e. poor and ethnic minorities.

> In Anarchy, for things that are REALLY important to you
> (like not getting killed) you have much more influence than just one man one
> vote.

So long as you have the cash and the contacts. Otherwise you don't
even have a vote.

> How can I guarantee that some Private Protection Agency won't switch from
> being a protector to being an oppressor? I can't. I can't give you an iron
> clad guarantee that the US Army wont overthrow the government and set up a
> military dictatorship either. They certainly have the means to do so if they
> wished to.

But in our current situation the Army is constrained by its own belief
in the system. In your vision of things, there is no state to be loyal
to, only the current employer of the PPA (so long as they remain the
employer) & the PPA itself. Given these circumstances, I'd say
military rule would be more likely - especially as international law
is likely to be different, if not absent.

> >you need a fairer share of wealth, health,
> >and security and less stealing and domination through warfare and
> >aggressive business (often the same thing).
> Translation: A Libertarian society is inferior to one where people simply do
> what I tell them to do.

You don't think the things I recommended are good? Surely you believed
these can be accomplished with your political ideology? The point of
democracy is that it isn't about what I tell others to do, it is
supposed to be consensual with laws that protect the poor, weak, and
non-human. Your version seems to streamline the consensuality (so long
as you can afford consensus and aren't pouring everything into
defense) and forget the protection aspect.


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