no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

The Involuntary Contract: Comments # 22

July 24th, 2008

It’s Not Voluntary, And It’s Not a Contract shot up to #1 in terms of traffic to my site; in less than 24 hours it drove more than 300 page views. I have no idea what the referral source(s) for those are, but that’s huge.

There are a lot of comments:

csun said,

I rent my property by the year from my county government and each year the rent goes up without any input from me.If I refuse to “opt out” by not paying my rent i.e property tax,I will be kicked off my land and it will be sold on the courthouse square to the highest bidder.It makes absolutely no difference whether I can afford the rent or not, if I don’t pay I will get the boot from the benevolent overlord.We are all serfs renting our freedom by the year from a collectivist government.We can never own property free and clear of the threat of seizure by a fiscally irresponsible and corrupt government.

On the right we’ve brain dead denizens proclaiming”support the troops” and on the left we’ve doubly indifferent morons screaming “Bush lied , people died.”
The show goes on and the rent is always due.

And that’s really the issue – nobody actually owns anything. Not their land, not their belongings, not themselves.

Mike Gogulski comments:

Why the constitutional social contract idea is so popular is a bit beyond me. It’s obviously a fraud. The cleverer argumenters in support of it will sweep aside the word “contract” as sophistry, and say that what’s meant here is something more fundamental, a “higher” sort of contract, and then come up with all sorts of justifications to “prove” that you assented to it.

If they can do so after reading Spooner, though, my benefit of the doubt evaporates and I have to conclude they’re either insane, evil, stupid or some combination thereof.

I think Spooner’s “No Treason” letters were the clincher, haven’t looked back.

Kip, Esquire takes…

The next step is to read the first two chapters of Randy Barnett’s “Restoring the Lost Constitution,” in which he argues that a government’s legitimacy derives not from the existence of a “social contract,” but from recognizing the impossibility of a such a contract — which in turn requires the government to be as harmless and inoffensive as possible in order to make the governed comfortable with the (non-contractual) arrangement. The less coercion (i.e., the less deviation from a “contract”), the more legitimate the government becomes.

I’m confused. Government’s legitimacy derives from the government’s willingness to acknowledge that it is illegitimate and of no proper authority? Conceivably, if and only if a government were to handle everything with kid-gloves, tread lightly and carry no stick, it would be less illegitimate than it currently is.  But it would still be illegitimate.

The conundrum seems to be that States follow something of a life-cycle.  They expand, become increasingly belligerent, and then explode or implode. If you want a smaller government, you’re asking for a reprieve, when what you really want is a government that doesn’t govern at all.  Of course, I’d be less dissatisfied with a smaller government, but I still wouldn’t be satisfied.

Azrael’s Judgement makes the comparison to competing criminal gangs.

Tumbleweed left a comment,

First he throws a bunch of logical fallacies and arrogance, then he acts like he’s already won the argument simply by saying something. I think I saw a straw man in there somewhere too. Some people.

Yeah. Go figure. And he had the nerve to suggest that we shared similar ideologies. I told him that there was no reason to patronize me; we’re not in the same ballpark, we’re not even playing the same ballgame.  And on that note, Francois Tremblay says that he would’ve had some words for midwesterner, his reply would have been:

I don’t know who you’re trying to fool, midwesterner, me or yourself, but you’re no Anarchist. And you are insane if you believe that a piece of paper protects you from anything.

Finally, Ian at inquired as to whether I’m moving to New Hampshire:

Are you coming to NH? We’ve got a growing group of voluntaryists here in Keene.

At this point in my life, I’m not prepared to pick up and move on a moment’s notice, but I hear good things about New England, and New Hampshire would put me in closer vicinity to the mountains in Vermont (for snowboarding in the winter) and the coasts of Maine (for vacations in the summe, I also have a cousin there). Ian, the idea is certainly worth considering.


Mike Gogulski reports of another Israeli atrocity:

To which I responded:

This doesn’t surprise me at all. Hell, they shelled a UN checkpoint without so much as an apology.

I was never much into Mid-East politics, until my brother loaned me his copy of Robert Fisk’s “Pity the Nation.” I read quite a bit more about the recent history of the Palestine conflict (as far back as WWI, when those arbitrary lines in the sand were first drawn up by the West). Israel’s track record with regards to human rights is abhorrent.


I liked this article by Bob Muprhy at the blog about the prevalence of mathematical modeling in economics.

The Misesian approach to economics does not rely on unrealistic formal models. Rather, praxeology — the science of human action — deduces necessarily true conclusions from the fact that people act.


In Comments # 21, 1955Design says that some people might choose a boring job just to associate with other people. But he is inclined to believe that nobody would choose a hot, boring, monotonous job if given the choice. Francois Tremblay disagrees, pointing out that people might choose hot, boring, monotonous jobs if they paid more.

I think we’ve gotten off-track… In the absence of real freedom and opportunity, people will make all sorts of decisions we’d otherwise deem objectively bad. The point of the original post, Why I’m Glad Player Piano is a Work of Fiction, was that if people didn’t have to work (e.g., machines and computers provide for all of life’s needs), it’s extremely unlikely that they’d voluntarily associate in sweaty factories or cramped cubicles.  I have no idea what they would be doing, but I’m reasonably certain of what they wouldn’t be doing: churning out widgets and TPS reports.


In Reader Mail #60, FSK says that I made a huge error (FSK always says my errors are “huge” but I think generally they are purposeful omissions) in my previous post, What is Time Preference

Saving for the future is foolish when there are no safe investments.

He mentions that the Federal Reserve distorts the loan markets. I wasn’t discussing the Federal Reserve per se, but the concept of “time preference.” A lot of people have no idea what it is, or why it is. Really, the point of the post was not to talk about how the Federal Reserve robs us blind (NB: it does), it was to establish time preference as a fundamental and irreducible basis of interest.

Even with profoundly distorted capital markets, where the best “investments” yield negative real returns,  it may be beneficial to save some money for future consumption, unless we’re experiencing the Flucht in die Sachwerte of hyperinflations, accounts of which can be obtained if you research the German interwar crises, or also what’s happening in Zimbabwe right now.  If your paycheck loses 10% of its purchasing power before you can even take it to the bank cashier, you’ve, and another 10% before the weekend is over, you’ve got to spend every dollar on something, anything, which you can try and barter in the very near future.


I liked this post about the letter V and the number 3, referred by FSK.  No, it’s not Sesame Street.

Think of it as a freedom “gang sign”.

Now, go read all of it. You want to.


I found this brief bio about Mises, it’s nothing that I didn’t know from my own research, schooling, and independent reading, but it concisely packs a whole lot of information into a relatively short article.



  • KipEsquire says on: July 24, 2008 at 7:26 am


    You toss around the word “illegitimate” a little too recklessly. The argument is that “legitimate” is not a discrete quantum, but a continuum. One government can be more or less legitimite than another, and the metric by which legitimacy is measured is inoffensiveness to competent adults who have a natural right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    But to summarily dismiss all government as per se “illegitimate” is circular: you’re just assuming the answer.

  • Francois Tremblay says on: July 24, 2008 at 5:38 pm


    “But to summarily dismiss all government as per se “illegitimate” is circular: you’re just assuming the answer.”

    Bla bla bla… shtup already. All acts not based on voluntary action are illegitimate. Period. Stop feeding people your lies.

  • Jeff Molby says on: July 25, 2008 at 9:00 am


    You should give the “3” link its own post. I almost missed it and I’m glad I didn’t.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics