AFFLUENZA: An Unhappy Condition of Overload, Debt, Anxiety and Waste Resulting From the Dogged Pursuit of More

statements_168995As soon as I heard the story of 16-year-old Texan driver, Ethan Crouch, I was immediately struck with the inequity of the sentence handed down by Texas Judge, Jean Boyd.  In what can only be described as a drunken crime spree, Ethan Couch, with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit (actually there is a zero-tolerance for teenagers), slammed his pickup into four pedestrians, killing Brian Jennings, 43-year-old Burleson youth minister; Breanna Mitchell of Lillian, 24; Shelby Boyles, 21, and her 52-year-old mother, Hollie Boyles.  Pleading guilty to four counts of Intoxication Manslaughter, Ethan was sentenced to ten years of probation and a two-year vacation at a $450,000/year long-term rehabilitation center (Newport Academy) in the super affluent community of Newport Beach, California.  In Texas, each count of Intoxication Manslaughter is charged as a second-degree felony and carries a prison term of at least two but no more than 20 years; and a fine of up to $10,000.  Ethan’s lawyers trotted out their expert witness, psychologist Gary Miller, and argued that the lad suffered from a condition called “affluenza” and should therefor receive leniency in sentencing.

What is “affluenza”?  Trained as a paralegal, I was intrigued by this novel new legal defense. I thought I would do a little investigating.  Please note, I am approaching this topic as an academic and legal research project.  I am interested in finding authorities that the court would find persuasive.

Please note, you have to be really careful when typing “affluenza” into a word processor or your smart phone as it will absolutely get auto-corrected.  (For those of you who like to keep your software updated, here are instructions for adding a new word to your computer spell-checker.  Please note, the computer is going to tell you that the word doesn’t actually exist.  You have to manually override the computer and insist that you are smarter than the linguist who created it.)

I like new words and just because you can’t find the word in Webster (it isn’t in there), doesn’t mean it isn’t a real word.  We are just going to have to look in some “non-traditional” secondary sources.

The Mayo Clinic is usually a reliable source: “We’re sorry, your search for “affluenza” returned no results.”

WebMD is usually up to date: “There were no matches for affluenza. Please try your search again.”

Harvard Medical School: “No Results.”

It occurred to me that potentially this was a psychiatric disorder, so I consulted the penultimate source for mental disorders.  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders, is the product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health.  The DSM-V is the most comprehensive, current, and critical resource for clinical practice.  The information contained in the manual is also valuable to other physicians and health professionals, including psychologists, counselors, nurses, occupational and rehabilitation therapists, as well as social workers and forensic and legal specialists.  The book is really expensive, so I downloaded the Table of Contents.  Not in here either.

Perhaps we are dealing with the very bleeding edge of modern psychiatry, so I checked the American Psychiatric Association for any mention of “affluenza,” but again, I was rebuffed: “No Matching Records found for your search.”

We all know that The Principles of Medical Ethics  says “A physician shall uphold the standards of professionalism, [and] be honest in all professional interactions…,” so I pressed on in my research, not wanting to believe that psychologist, Gary Miller would mislead the Court.  That’s called Aggravated Perjury (Texas Penal Code, Section 37.02) and is a felony of the third degree.  Perhaps there is a peer-reviewed, double-blind study reported in a scientific journal.  I must admit, I am a little out of my depth when it comes to psychiatric research, but I plowed on looking for any mention of “affluenza” in the largest repository of scientific research.  Elsevier is the world’s leading provider of science and health information. Elsevier serves more than 30 million scientists, students and health and information professionals worldwide. They partner with a global community of 7,000 journal editors, 70,000 editorial board members, 300,000 reviewers and 600,000 authors.  They have never heard of “affluenza.”

At this point, having exhausted all the traditional, reliable and trustworthy sources, I had to resort to some tertiary source material.  I am not being an academic snob when I say that Wikipedia is not considered a reliable source.  When it comes to legal research, the court would not find it persuasive.  However, Wikipedia comes to the rescue with the source of the term: “The Golden Ghetto”, by Jessie H. O’Neill, granddaughter of Charles Erwin Wilson, one-time president of General Motors first coined the term.   A psychotherapist, O’Neill has based her professional practice on understanding and treating the problems of those who have amassed great wealth, and her book is both a description of their lives and an analysis of and prescription for the problems they’ve had to face.

The term was later popularized in a best-selling book.  “Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic is a 2001 anti-consumerist book by documentary filmmaker John de Graaf , environmental scientist David Wann, and economist Thomas H. Naylor. You can find the book in the “popular culture” section of your local bookstore. In their book, “affluenza” is described as “a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.” The authors of the book describe it as a “humorous critique of American consumerism.”   I am certain this is a great book.  I entirely agree with the premise.  A peer reviewed, double-blind, scientific study it is not.  I spoke with one of the authors of Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic:

“This was a travesty of justice.  In our theory, the disease of overconsumption affects everyone who is exposed to consumer culture in some ways, but I can’t imagine a poor kid getting off for stealing a pair of Nikes because of an “affluenza” defense…hell, we’ve locked up homeless people for years for stealing a blanket.  This is clearly a case of money talks, and if this kid is not responsible, then his parents should serve the jail time.  But in one way, the case IS a microcosm of our affluenza-infected society.  In our limitless pursuit of stuff, we have acted completely irresponsibly where fairness is concerned and where the environment is concerned, and this irresponsible societal behavior is responsible for countless deaths.  We are tearing down mountains, changing the climate, wasting resources, incarcerating people at uheard of rates, punishing the poor (cutting food stamps, unemployment insurance–a horror of the new budget deal) for the financial speculation of the rich and to avoid taxing them.  All of these are the social irresponsibilities that come from affluenza.  But even liberals don’t fully get the environmental crisis.  They see growth as the answer to everything much the way conservatives do; they just suggest a different way to get it.  But limitless growth is impossible on a finite planet and it simply puts off the need to redistribute wealth, which is essential in our society.” – John de Graaf

I placed my order on Amazon and made sure not to select “Drone Shipping.”

So, in review, defense attorneys presented a psychologist who testified about a clever portmanteau, a literary device which combines the two words, “influenza” and “affluence,” as an actual psychiatric condition.  They attributed a constellation of symptoms more commonly known as “depression,” “entitlement,” “selfishness,” and “alcoholism,” on a metaphorical illness that only affects spoiled-rotten rich kids.  Even more outrageous than the illness is the cure. Apparently, contrary to conventional wisdom, those afflicted with “affluenza” must not face the consequences of their behavior.  They must be treated with daily beach trips, beautiful sunsets and a high-fiber diet in the lap of luxury.  We should all be so lucky.

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  • Matthew Reece

    The judge who tolerated this “defense” in his courtroom should be ousted immediately. Better yet, we should have a free market system of criminal justice rather than a government monopoly, in order to allow victims to have their choice of prosecutors and judges as they seek justice for criminal wrongs.

    • Vartra Antonelli

      Judge Judy wouldn’t have swallowed this crap, and would have sentenced both the “professional witness” and the defense attorneys with the aggravated perjury charges they deserved, as well as the 40 years in prison this spoiled brat deserves.

    • PoppaDavid

      Matthew, I agree with your first sentence.

      Your following suggestion is flawed because there is no way that the criminal and the victims would have signed a contract before the killings to establish an agreed court. In the absence of government or a signed contract, your proposal “to allow victims to have their choice of prosecutors and judges” fails the reality test. The rich parents would never tolerate a court selected by the families and the case would have dragged on for decades because the family could finance the delay.

      If you had suggested that the victim’s family should have the option of hiring professional killers to avenge their loss without penalty, that might have been an anarchistic free market solution.

      Then they could “homestead” the offending family’s assets for financial retribution.

      • Matthew Reece

        The rich parents would likely not be in a position to “tolerate” anything. To operate in a stateless society, a person would need to contract with some dispute resolution organization and with some private defense agency, as going without one would simply be too dangerous. Any competent DRO or PDA is going to have terms in the contract concerning criminal acts. The case would likely be tried in the victim’s private court system and the perpetrator’s private court system, with the appeals process being part of the contract and something which may vary from case to case, company to company, etc. Disregarding rulings that one has agreed in advance to accept constitutes a breach of contract and will either get a person’s DRO/PDA coverage terminated or raise the cost enormously.

        Note that a trial may be conducted in absentia, and the reputation rating of the offending individual may be lowered to zero, meaning that the offending individual is effectively an outlaw who may be killed without penalty. This is in keeping with the legal doctrine of estoppel, which prevents one from making a complaint about suffering a wrong when one has done the same wrong to others and made no restitution.

        The families of the victims should have the option of hiring professional killers to avenge their losses without penalty. Under the current system, if the families of the victims did this and I were to be summoned for jury duty in the trial of the professional killer and/or the surviving family members, I would practice jury nullification and let the professional killer and/or the surviving family members go free.

      • PoppaDavid

        LOL. You keep taking pieces of a government system and pretending that it would be present in your theoretical system.

        In your stateless society there are no “criminal acts” for rich people because there are no criminal laws in a stateless system. Even less than there are in this example of a real court.

        There is no trial by “absentia” because there is no previously agreed court of record in your stateless society. So no court has any authority over the killer without their consent. And your proposed penalty of “lowering the reputation” would strike terror into the hearts of evil doers if they stop laughing.

        There is no legal doctrine of estoppel because there are no laws and no legal doctrines under your system.

        There is no DRO or PDA for the victims, because they are poor. They do the same as poor people do today with medical coverage, they can’t afford to get really sick because they can not afford to be covered by insurance.

        The PDA for the rich doesn’t look like what you describe either. They would look like any of the very real private armies in the world’s history. Armies don’t pretend to have morality, they have the job of dispensing violence and death for the benefit of their employer. Morality is always imposed upon them by outside civil authority.

        You propose a violent system where the rich and powerful practice what that killer did, without the necessity of convincing a stupid judge with a worthless argument to avoid the consequences.

        The only functioning “law” in your system is the use of violence.

      • Matthew Reece

        Your entire argument here rests on the assumption that a monopoly on law is necessary for there to be any law at all. This is a positive claim which carries a burden of proof. I invite you to prove the case, and simply pointing to history will not suffice because that would assume that innovation is impossible. But let us look at a few key points here.

        The criminal laws in a stateless system are the logically proven natural laws, which amount to this: do not damage people or their property, and if you do, make restitution. No DRO that refused to offer those basic protections would be able to stay in business, as its services would not be worth anything. Any laws beyond that would need consent from all parties involved in the form of a voluntary contract spelling out additional laws and penalties.

        Lowering the reputation/contract rating of a person far enough leaves them unable to engage in any legitimate business, so they must either make restitution for their crimes, go live in the wilderness, or take their chances with crime until they rob the wrong person and wind up dead. This is much like historical outlawry, where criminals were left without any legal protections and could be attacked in any manner without penalty.

        You are assuming that there would be poor people without the state. This is not a certainty. Governments (and the central banks they create and force upon people) have caused far more poverty than they have alleviated, and eliminating them might finally solve the problem of poverty.

        Show me any system in which law can be enforced without any possible use of violence. I contend that there is none, therefore it is not a problem, but a negative aspect of reality which must be tolerated.

      • PoppaDavid

        “Your entire argument here rests on the assumption that a monopoly on law is necessary for there to be any law at all.”
        No. I pointed out that your proposal has NO law, while the current system does have laws.

      • PoppaDavid

        “The criminal laws in a stateless system are the logically proven natural laws, which amount to this: do not damage people or their property, and if you do, make restitution. ”
        Those are not laws, they are moral opinions. They are no more a “natural law” than the law of “the fang and claw” practiced a number of powerful humans.

      • Matthew Reece

        Bodily ownership and property ownership are logical rights because they cannot be argued against without committing a performative contradiction. Thus logical laws that state these rights must be valid.

      • PoppaDavid

        Gravity is a natural law. You will follow the law of gravity whether you believe in it or not.

        Your premises are not natural laws, they are personal opinions that you wish to elevate to the status of laws without a government to enforce them.

        I happen to agree with you that a person owns their life and the objects that they have created. However, I know that others don’t agree. They believe that “might makes right” is “a natural law” that allows people to be enslaved by others who have power.

        Under your system, the violent will work their will on others. The non-violent will serve their masters, die individually, or form a collective government to defend their lives and property.

      • Matthew Reece

        Gravity is a physical law. There is no means of breaking it, and unlike the other three known fundamental forces (electromagnetic, weak nuclear, strong nuclear), no known way of shielding its effects.

        My premises are not just personal opinions. Many personal opinions can be argued against without coming up against logical barriers. The logical rights are those which must be valid because arguing against them leads to a contradiction, whether in performance or in terms.

        Here is an example of such a contradiction: To argue that “might makes right” is to argue that conflicts should be resolved through violence. The person making such an argument is not using “might” to prove the value of his argument, but is engaging in rational discourse. Thus, the person making such an argument is committing a performative contradiction; his actions contradict his words.

        Under the current system, the violent do work their will on others. The non-violent do serve their masters, die individually, or form a collective to defend their lives and property. So the worst case scenario seems to be that we abolish government and nothing really improves. This means that other possible scenarios are improvements on the current system, so anarchy is at least worth an attempt.

      • PoppaDavid

        “So the worst case scenario seems to be that we abolish government and nothing really improves.”

        No. The worst case scenario is that the United States becomes like South Somalia, or some other failed state.

      • PoppaDavid

        “Here is an example of such a contradiction: To argue that “might makes right” is to argue that conflicts should be resolved through violence. The person making such an argument is not using “might” to prove the value of his argument, but is engaging in rational discourse. Thus, the person making such an argument is committing a performative contradiction; his actions contradict his words.”

        People who believe that “might makes right” don’t necessarily engage in rational discourse to win their argument at all. Even if they do, as soon as they move to violent action to win their argument, your “performance contradiction” loses it validity. For example, people who insist on their private property “right” over real estate make the claim because their “might” was stronger than the native people who held the land before them.

      • Matthew Reece

        A person must choose between using reason and using force. The choice to reject reason and use force requires the use of reason, so this is also a performative contradiction. It is morally justifiable to respond with force to their initiation of force, up to and including killing them in self-defense.

        Not everyone who holds property has stolen it from someone else. Some people have (or have ancestors who did) homesteaded unowned property in a state of nature.

      • PoppaDavid

        Again, you confuse a binary condition with reality. People don’t have to choose just between reason and violence because there are other alternatives as well. E.g. some turn to God.

        Some people choose to use reason to rationalize their participation in violent actions. You complain about supporters of taxes in that vein.

        The private ownership of land is another example.

        The initial “homesteading claim” of Texas as private property was made for the Spanish monarch by the Spanish military. That claim was “proved” by the use of deadly force against the native population that gave the Spanish government private ownership of the land. There is a continuous line of property transfers from that original thief to you. You are the recipient of stolen property, and your philosophical apology to support their theft is complicity in the theft because you hope to benefit from the violence done to the original residents of the land.

        You use rationalization to deny your part in the crime.

      • Matthew Reece

        Turning to the supernatural is still an attempt at reason, just an incorrect one.

        Your specific example of Texas is correct. What about a Pacific Islander who can trace his ancestry to the first person ever to live on that island?

      • PoppaDavid

        “Your specific example of Texas is correct.”

        Then, you and everyone else in Texas has no claim to private land outside of government violence. Stop making the assertion that you have private property by some peaceful “homesteading” action.

        “What about a Pacific Islander who can trace his ancestry to the first person ever to live on that island?”

        You don’t live on a Pacific island. And even then, essentially every island and river basin on the face of the earth that was in the state of nature was “discovered” during the “Age of Exploration” by a European military who claimed the land for their king/queen, and it taken by force if it was already occupied. Your theory of “homesteading” doesn’t apply to habitable land upon the earth.

        Even the moon and Antarctic have been claimed.

        Logic requires that you bring your theory into concert with the facts.

      • Matthew Reece

        You seem to forget that crimes are committed by individuals, not groups, and therefore, the responsibility for crimes must die with the people who committed them. We cannot “fix” the timeline with libertarian philosophy because there is no way to know what would have happened if every person in history had lived in accordance with libertarian philosophy.

        The moon has not been legitimately claimed, as no one has lived or worked there, mixing their labor with the natural resources, as the homesteading principle requires.

        The estoppel principle can also be used for claiming land if the original owners are dead or cannot be determined. Those who have stolen land cannot make a legitimate claim against people stealing their land, as their conduct shows that they do not believe in property rights.

        The real problem in this discussion is that you are talking about what has been in one particular timeline of history, and I am talking about how things should be. One cannot get an ought from an is (or a was).

      • poppaDavid

        You have a world view that is consistent with itself, more or less. It is inconsistent with the world, more or less. So, where do you intend to live, in your mind or in the world?

        Libertarian principles appear to start with the assumption that people have absolute free will. That is not a given, as behaviorists, environmentalists, and predeterminationists dispute the question of “how much free will?”

        You appear to believe that people make all of their choices consciously using available information and rational logic. There are too many discussions on too many forums that show this is not the case.

        You appear to believe that all people always make decisions seeking their best interests. If that were true, the general dismissal of anarchistic systems should tell you something about their best interests.

        BTW. Receipt of stolen property is a crime. Every person in the chain of ownership from the first violent action to the present day is guilty of that crime. Title companies make their business to trace every owner from the King of Spain to you, so the rationalization that “the original owners are dead or cannot be determined” is whitewash.

        By your interpretation of “Estoppel”, that means anyone may take your land from you.

      • Matthew Reece

        The goal is to make the world more like this world view, and I believe this can eventually be achieved. It may take more years than I have left, but I believe it is worth attempting.

        Libertarian principles do not start with the assumption that people have absolute free will. We are constrained by the laws of physics and the limitations of our physical bodies, for instance.

        I do not believe that people make all of their choices consciously using available information and rational logic. But the use of incorrect reasoning still counts as a use of reasoning.

        I do believe that all people always make decisions seeking what they believe to be their best interests. The general dismissal of anarchistic systems tells me that the indoctrination of people by statists in public schools, churches, and the media has made them believe that having a government is in their best interests.

        Receiving stolen property is a crime, but stealing stolen property is not, as a thief is estopped from complaining about theft. One should return the property to its rightful owner(s), but if the rightful owner(s) are dead without heir, cannot be found, or do not wish to have their property returned, then one may keep it and treat it like homesteaded property.

      • poppaDavid

        “The act of taking property that does not belong to you is a crime.” This statement can be derived from the principle that “you have the right to the fruit of your efforts”. No problem.

        The idea that you have the right to take the fruit of someone else’s efforts needs some logical justification. Your opinion that it is okay to steal property if you don’t know the owner suggests that you are basically amoral. As such, you should be estopped from complaining about the morality of taxation.

        It is possible to have a consistent world view based upon principles of non-violence, private property, and honest dealing. “Homesteading” to acquire property doesn’t fit.

        It is possible to have people band together to defend their rights and property. While you have another name for it, most of us call it “government”.

        You wish to improve the world. Good. Turning us into a failed state ruled by war-lords isn’t going to do that.

      • Matthew Reece

        “Your opinion that it is okay to steal property if you don’t know the owner suggests that you are basically amoral.”
        That is not what I said. I said that one can keep property stolen from a thief if the proper owner is dead without heir, cannot be found, or does not wish the property to be returned. An effort must be made to find the original owner, and if that person ever comes forward and wants the property, it must be returned.

        Government is a group of people who exercise a monopoly on the supposedly legitimate initiation of force within a certain geographical area. People banding together to defend their rights and property cannot be a government because governments violate rights and property by their nature. It is a performative contradiction.

      • poppaDavid

        You choose to define government as a bodies that “violate rights and property by their nature” and then use that definition to deny that people may band together to defend their rights and property through a social organization called “government”. That is circular reasoning. What do you call an organization where people band together to defend their rights and property using social contracts rather than economic contracts?

      • Matthew Reece

        Social contracts cannot defend rights and property because they violate rights and property.

        It is not circular reasoning to use proper definitions and consistent argumentation.

      • poppaDavid

        “It is not circular reasoning to use proper definitions and consistent argumentation.”

        Yes. If there is a God, by definition God is all loving. And the argument for the existence of God is consistent with that. When there is disagreement over the definition of a word, then we need to try to rephrase the statements with words where we can agree on a common meaning.

        Since we do not agree that “governments violate rights and property by their nature” it is not a proper definition, rather it is your opinion. Would you care to use some principles that we do agree upon to provide a logical proof of your statement?

      • Matthew Reece

        First I would have to know what principles we agree upon. You seem to want to define most terms differently than I do, which makes for a difficult conversation.

      • poppaDavid

        Try, people have the right to control the objects they create by their effort. Objects that are the result of human action are different from objects that exist with human action. People may form economic and non-economic organizations at their discretion. People may agree to render services, provide goods, or agree to refrain from activities to meet their contractual obligations. People may make mistakes. People may agree to be bound by decisions made by others. People may be motivated by non-economic benefits or penalties. People do not create land or resources. People may act for pragmatic reasons, for logical reasons, for illogical reasons, against their best interests, etc. or not act at all. People are responsible for the effects that they cause. There are different types of causality with different degrees of responsibility. People disagree. Attributes are often a matter of degree rather than yes/no. Morality is not universal. Logic is subject to dispute.

      • Matthew Reece

        “Objects that are the result of human action are different from objects that exist with human action.”
        Could you clarify this?

        “Morality is not universal.”
        This is where you lose me. Morality must be universal, otherwise it is not morality, but consequentialism and/or subjective personal preference.

      • poppaDavid

        “Objects that are the result of human action are different from objects that exist with human action.”

        When you choose to create a statement, it is an object that is the result of human action. And because it is the result of your action, logically you own it.

        No human created the plains of Texas. They existed before humans existed. And like anything that you didn’t create, you don’t own it, unless you acquire it from the owner without stealing it.

        The ownership of one starts with creation by humans. Ownership of the other starts with the violent act of stealing it from an unknown owner.

      • poppaDavid

        “Morality is not universal.”

        Is it moral to lie, steal, cheat, kill, enslave, sodomize, rape, imprison, etc.? The answers depend upon the situation, the location, the culture, and the individuals asked. You give different answers depending upon the situation, so why wouldn’t morality be situational?

      • Matthew Reece

        Did the Native Americans steal the plains of Texas, and if so, from whom?

      • poppaDavid

        How could the answer to the question affect the discussion of the difference between a human created object and some natural object?

        Logical discussion starts with the known and works towards the conclusions. The discussion of property ownership should follow the same approach. Different objects may lead to different results Do you recognize the distinction between human caused objects and non-human caused objects?

      • Matthew Reece

        You said, “No human created the plains of Texas. They existed before humans
        existed. And like anything that you didn’t create, you don’t own it,
        unless you acquire it from the owner without stealing it.” The answer to my responsive question affects the discussion in a most fundamental manner, as answering affirmatively rejects logically proven natural rights.

      • poppaDavid

        If a person creates something, they have a valid claim to it as the creator.

        Object that were not created are not covered by this principle.

        If you want to assert that there is some other form of legally gaining claim you need to start with some accepted first principles and reason to that position through logic. You refuse to do that.

        You reference “logically proven natural rights” but so far you have failed to logically prove your asserted “right” of homesteading.

        I suspect that you don’t have a logical first principle to work from. You have a pragmatic rationalization that property ownership is determined by a test of speed. “First to claim wins.” In truth, that is no better than saying that property ownership is rightly determined by a test of force. “Strongest army wins.”

      • Matthew Reece

        My logical first principles are the law of identity, the law of excluded middle, and the law of non-contradiction. A few more principles directly follow from there, such as bodily ownership. To argue against bodily ownership, one must assert bodily ownership, which is a performative contradiction. Homesteading is the mixing of one’s labor, the consequences of one’s actions, with unowned natural resources. Owning one’s body entails owning the consequences of one’s actions.

        First to get there and mix one’s labor with natural resources wins. No force need be involved.

      • poppaDavid

        Ok. Those can be stated as:
        “A = A” is true,
        “(A = B) OR NOT (A = B)” is true,
        “(A = B) AND NOT (A = B)” is a contradiction.

        Those statements are valid if and only if there is no time function in the statement.

        “To argue against bodily ownership, one must assert bodily ownership” is a false statement, which don’t prove anything about the topic.

        Since I choose to believe that people have a right to claim their work, I stipulate that people may own the work of their actions. I would also stipulate that people are responsible for the consequences of their actions.

        You says that “homesteading is the mixing of one’s labor with unowned natural resources”. By physical laws that is called “dilution”. If you mix 0.1 horsepower of human effort with 1000 horsepower of water energy, it mean you “own” 1/10,000 of the output of a dam.

        “First to get there” doesn’t say how much land you get to claim with your labor.

        So how much labor and for how long is needed to establish land ownership over how much land? European military units would build a fort on the mouth of a river and claim all the land drained by the river. Is that sufficient labor? At one time people would “blaze” a trail around the perimeter of their claim, was that sufficient? In some law, the settler had to clear a minimum acreage, plant crops and build a house within a limited time span. Is that sufficient labor? All of those standards are arbitrary. Do you have something that is constructed from logic?

        “Rights” that are based upon arbitrary standards may not claim to be “rights based upon natural logic”.

      • Matthew Reece

        “To argue against bodily ownership, one must assert bodily ownership” is true because making an argument involves communication, communication involves using one’s body, and using one’s body is an assertion of ownership of that body.

        You get to claim the unowned natural resources that you use; nothing more. If you build a fort on unowned land with unowned materials, then you own the fort. You do not get to own the river, but you may use whatever water flows through your fort in any way that does not pollute someone else’s property downstream.

        The standards are not arbitrary because one person’s rights end where another person’s rights begin. A person may do as he wishes except for harming other people or their justly acquired property when those people have not done such harm to him or his justly acquired property.

      • poppaDavid

        Morality doesn’t depend upon the person downstream because their response is arbitrary and that morality is not consistent. Morality depends upon the first principles. And since people may choose to start from different first principles, morality is not universal.

        For example, I would offer that you may use resources, but you may not diminish them. You may collect resources and use them, but you only own the changes of your work, not the resources that you did not create. In the end, the resources may be released from your work undiminished.

        A logical moral system can be built upon this principle, and since it does not require the private ownership of land, only the temporary tenancy of land, it is quite different from the moral system you espouse.

        Neither of us is arguing from truth. We are arguing from first principles that we have chosen.

        The choices may be pretty arbitrary. For example, you like the concept of homesteading land based upon the principle that “you get to claim the natural resources that you use; nothing more”. Yet, you insist that the claim is persistent even if the person ceases to use the natural resources except to claim ownership.

        That is inconsistent with physical principles, when you use a Bunsen Burner to boil water, the boiling stops some short time after the burner is removed. Yet, you hold that ownership persists even if the owner leaves until the owner abandons it. You hold that even when the owner turns the land over to a renter to use the resources or takes a vacation they continue to own the land. The difference between an extended vacation and abandonment is the intent of the owner to return. That “intent” is certainly arbitrary, and proving intent is a subjective activity.

      • Matthew Reece

        People may start from different first principles, but some first principles are contradictory and others are not. This determines who is correct and who is incorrect.

        People are mortal, so private ownership of land is temporary tenancy.

        I admit that determining the difference between abandonment and temporary vacation is something that people will have to work out, and that we cannot rigorously do this here.

      • poppaDavid

        If the first principles a person uses are contradictory, then they should make changes. If the principles used by two different persons are contradictory, that explains why they arrive at different conclusions.

        If two people do not agree on first principles, then they may try to find common principles and reason to one or the other starting points.

        Some principles are truly arbitrary. How long may a person own land that is idle or vacant before they lose claim? People have to work that out because it isn’t a fixed physical or logical answer. When two people do come to some agreement, it wouldn’t be binding upon anyone who wasn’t part of the agreement. That makes it impossible to predict when a piece of property would revert to “a state of nature” if the owner and the interested party didn’t have a prior agreement. In the absence of a prior agreement, you don’t have any way to claim a vacant property from an unknown owner. They may be intending to return and your claim would be invalid and your occupancy of the property would be stealing.

        May you take the land with the intention of returning it if/when the person returns? In that case, is the taking of the land from a vacationing owner stealing or not stealing? Like Schrodinger’s cat, the land is stolen and it isn’t stolen at the same time because it depends upon a future event that may or may not happen. Of course that is logically inconsistent, because something either “is” or it “is not”.

        Most of us use socially agreed laws to determine this question. You have chose to avoid that path.

        So, which is it? If you believe land to be abandoned and claim land that is owned by a vacationing person are you stealing the land?

      • Matthew Reece

        You are stealing the land if the original owner returns, wants the land back, and you refuse to return it.

      • poppaDavid

        For clarification, what is the status of the land between the time you claimed it and the original owed returns?

        Does stealing come when property is taken, or when the owner complains?

      • Matthew Reece

        If the owner is aware of the taking and does not complain, then no foul.

      • poppaDavid

        So, you are saying that a person has property rights, but you may violate them so long as they don’t complain.

        That makes it appear that property rights are not vested when the person acquires the property, but rather they only arise when some other person attempts to take the property. And then, the property rights only appear if the first person takes action. If that is the case, there is no thing as “homesteading”, only possession by defense against other claimants.

        The other possibility is that a person does acquire property rights when they first assert them, and then they must continuously assert the right to maintain the right. So, how often do they need to assert their right to protect it? Obviously, you cannot assert a right when you are absent, so how long may a person be absent before they cease to own the land? 30 second? 30 days? 30 years?

        Which is it? Possession by defense (force) or possession by continuous presence?

      • poppaDavid

        “Morality is not universal.”

        Is it moral to lie, steal, cheat, kill, enslave, sodomize, rape, imprison, etc.? The answers depend upon the situation, the location, the culture, and the individuals asked. You give different answers depending upon the situation, so why wouldn’t morality be situational?

      • Matthew Reece

        The only way in which morality is situational is that a criminal may be victimized in the same way that he has victimized others, because he has estopped himself from complaining about such victimization by his conduct of victimizing others.

      • poppaDavid

        Taking property is immoral.

        Except when the owner holds it collectively.
        Except when the owner is accused of theft.
        Except when the owner is unknown to the taker.

        Depending upon the situation.

        Taking human life is immoral.

        Except when they are holding land you want.
        Except when they are trying to take your property.
        Except when they oppose your DRO

        Depending upon the situation.

      • Matthew Reece

        Stealing is immoral, except when the property owner is guilty of theft.

        Killing is immoral, except when the killed is guilty of murder or is in the act of violating fundamental rights and no lesser amount of force or persuasion will be sufficient to end the threat.

      • poppaDavid

        When we started you said,
        “The criminal laws in a stateless system are the logically proven natural laws, which amount to this: do not damage people or their property, and if you do, make restitution.”

        Today you say,
        “Stealing is immoral, except when the property owner is guilty of theft.
        Killing is immoral, except when the killed is guilty of murder or is in the act of violating fundamental rights and no lesser amount of force or persuasion will be sufficient to end the threat.”

        You made the transition from the “logically proven natural laws” with the principle that law breakers should “make restitution”, to the law that anyone who “is in the act of violating fundamental rights” may be killed by appeal to the Roman legal principle of Estoppel. You have offered the pragmatic principle that you may do to others anything, if you assert that “they did it first”, which is an appeal to the Mesopotamian law of “Talon”.

        You have transitioned from your logical principles to following the pragmatic laws of historic governments.

        That is arbitrary not universal

      • Matthew Reece

        There is no inconsistency here, as both rely upon the law of non-contradiction, and specifically the concept of performative contradiction.

        In the first statement you cited, the logically proven natural laws are proven by showing that the act of arguing against them is a performative contradiction.

        In the second statement you cited, the thief may be robbed and the murderer may be killed because a thief objecting to being robbed and a murderer objecting to being killed are performative contradictions.

      • poppaDavid

        The inconsistency comes from Matthew Reece making both statements.

        Your first statement limits the response to those people who damage people or property to restitution.

        You second statement expands that limit to include violence against them including death.

        Restitution and violent punishment are not the same thing. When you say “The criminal laws amount to this:… make restitution” you have identified a limit on punishment.

        You choose to espouse violent response to criminal actions instead of insisting upon restitution. Doing that is a performance contradiction on your part. That disproves one or both of your statements.

      • Matthew Reece

        Some criminals will refuse to make restitution, and that is when force protected by estoppel is justified.

      • poppaDavid

        Estoppel is a Roman law. How can it apply in a stateless society?

        Your ideal society allows one person to do the job of investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner, and then seize the property for personal gain. Hardly an unbiased system.

      • Matthew Reece

        Estoppel has its origins in Roman law, but it is a legal expression of the law of non-contradiction, first formulated by the ancient Greeks. It applies in a stateless society because logically it must.

        The current system “allows” one person to do the job of investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner, and then seize the property for personal gain. But in both systems, there are dire consequences for behaving in this manner.

      • poppaDavid

        “It applies in a stateless society because logically it must.”
        Then you can provide the logical syllogism that defends that statement. Please do.

        In the process of your defense, please consider an answer to the following, “do we earn our rights or are they inherent in us from birth?”

        If rights are inherent to a person, as something they possess without action, then action should not change their possession of those rights. If rights are not inherent to a person, from where do they arise? And how do they come to possess them?

      • Matthew Reece

        The law of non-contradiction is an axiom, without which rational discourse is impossible. A courtroom in which just decisions are reached must use rational discourse. Thus, the law of non-contradiction must be applied in a courtroom. This is done (at least partially) through the principle of estoppel, that one may not deny or assert anything to the contrary of that which has been established as the truth by one’s own actions or arguments.

        Rights are inherent to a sentient being capable of understanding the set of concepts known as rights. A being which loses sentience loses rights, and a being which gains sentience gains rights. The answer to your question depends on how one defines the word “action.”

      • poppaDavid

        The Law of Contradiction is simply that contradictory statements about A cannot be true at the same time and in the same manner.

        That has nothing to do with justifying Estoppel because Estoppel deals with “then and now” which cover different times at the very minimum.

        A person who attempts rational discourse at 8 a.m. and then does something irrational at 10 a.m. is not contradictory. They may have problems of consistency, but since the two actions involve different times and different manners, the Law of Contradiction does not apply.

        May a person be judged based upon the standard of their historic actions. Yes.

        May a person be judged based upon some other standard. Yes.

        You say that “Rights are inherent to a sentient being capable of understanding the set of concepts known as rights” and that they may gain or lose rights if they gain or lose sentience.

        So a baby starts with no right to life and gains that right as they gain understanding. Is there a test that determines when they are fully vested? When a person suffers dementia their understanding is diminished. How bad must it become before they lose their right to life?

        In terms of the Law of Contradiction, at the same time and same manner, does a person who (a) understands the set of concepts known as rights, but (b) who choses to deny those rights to others by killing them, have rights including a right to life?

        Or do you contend that only those people, who “understand” the concept of rights in the same manner as you understand them, have rights?

      • Matthew Reece

        I misstated something. Rights are inherent to a potentially sentient being that can become capable of understanding the set of concepts known as rights, and they may gain or lose rights if they gain or lose that potential. This clarification is necessary to avoid the case with a baby as you mentioned, as well as the case of a mentally ill person who slips in and out of rational functionality. But an entity like Baby K would not have rights, as there is no potential for sentience in a baby with the anencephaly birth defect.

      • PoppaDavid

        According to your theory, Baby K and Alzheimer’s patients have no rights, including right to life. Therefore, anyone may dispose of them and homestead their assets (like inheritance) on a first come basis. This is a case of the mentally strong preying on the mentally weak. And you said that you didn’t believe in “might makes right”.

        You offered the benchmark of “capable of understanding the set of concepts known as rights”. Some people understand that rights apply to animals. Others understand that rights apply to corporations. Are they required to “understand” rights the same way as you understand them before they have rights?

        If we must follow your understanding of rights then you have become the benchmark by an arbitrary decision. If everyone may follow their own understanding of rights then the whole question of rights becomes arbitrary. That is not a good attribute if you wish to claim that your system is based upon logic.

      • Matthew Reece

        No, these are cases of sentient beings allowing non-sentient beings to die and using the resources that result from this. One cannot complain about this practice, as one must use such processes to stay alive.

        Some people understand rights incorrectly. This does not mean that they lack rights, as they still have the potential to understand rights correctly.

      • PoppaDavid

        Your stated principle describing who has rights excluded Baby K and Alzheimer’s patients from having rights. If they have no right to life, they may be executed without penalty and their assists homesteaded. You have stated that principle when you described “Estoppel”. Don’t backtrack and sugar coat your principles by suddenly saying “allowing non-sentient beings to die”. There is no need to wait, your system allows them to be butchered without mercy. Take credit for what you preach.

        What are the rights? If people have different understanding of rights, how do you know that you have correctly identified them? You started by saying that people had property rights because they had a right to life, and then you arbitrarily restricted the right to life while acknowledging that other people may not agree with you on that principle.

        You promote an arbitrary system while claiming that it is based upon logic. You exercise less logic than you believe.

      • Matthew Reece

        With anencephalic babies, this is not really a problem. Most of them die before or shortly after birth, and as they have no consciousness because that part of the brain is absent, they are not people in the commonly understood sense. They won’t have any assets because as they are non-sentient, they cannot own property.

        With Alzheimer’s patients, we are talking about a non-functional human, so this would only be someone in the final stage of Alzheimer’s who will die without constant care. Killing them would not technically be a rights violation, as it is more a case of euthanasia, but there is no need to do this. Those who killed mentally non-functional people just to claim their possessions would be viewed as cruel, probably to the point of many people feeling that they deserve economic excommunication.

        The rights are the concepts which should govern human behavior which cannot be argued against without contradiction. As time goes on, rights would be refined as logic advances.

      • PoppaDavid

        You say that Alzheimer’s patients are non-functional. I guess you don’t know any. I do. They vary in their loss of mental capacities. Memory is one problem. Logic is a different one. Your definition of who gets “rights” requires them to be capable of understanding your definition of what are “rights”.

        There are people who live and work in our world who have no prayer of understanding your definition of “what are rights”. I know stroke victims who can speak, listen, feed and dress themselves, but have lost their reading, math and logic skills. By your definition of “who gets rights”, they have none.

        Given our previous discussion on Estoppel, and your failure to recognize that contradictions require the statement to be at the same time and in the same manner, I suggest that you may not have rights because you may not be capable of understanding the concept of rights beyond reading the text.

        “Rights”? I have the right to pass judgement upon your arguments and your logic.

      • Matthew Reece

        I am talking about the very end of Alzheimer’s progression. Most people die of complications before they reach the sort of condition I am referencing.

        I am also talking about a condition is which there is no possible hope of recovery. A stroke victim who can speak, listen, feed and dress himself does not meet this criterion.

        Contradictions do not require simultaneity. In fact, a student of special relativity will know that there is really no such thing as simultaneity in any absolute sense.

        We are essentially arguing over whether a brain-dead person has rights. My position is that a brain-dead person is dead, even though the body may be lingering a while before shutting down. A dead person has no rights.

      • PoppaDavid

        No, we are not arguing about whether a brain dead person has rights, because your definition did not reference “brain dead”. You said, “rights are inherent to a potentially sentient being that can become capable of understanding the set of concepts known as rights, and they may gain or lose rights if they gain or lose that potential.” You want to move the goal post, then rewrite your definition again.

        You required that a person be “capable of understanding”, that is a long way from brain dead. And there are a lot of people in the world who do not have that capability, and never will have it. So, you have given a definition that excludes them. Go ahead. Rewrite it.

        Logical contradictions require that the statements be at the same time and in the same measure. Failure to follow that basic construct leads to misapplication of “contradiction in terms” and “contradiction in performance”.

      • PoppaDavid

        I do hope you will provide an answer.

        You say, “rights are inherent to a sentient being capable of the set of concepts known as rights.”

        In terms of the Law of Contradiction, at the same time and same manner, does a person who (a) understands the set of concepts known as rights, but (b) who choses to deny those rights to others by killing them, have rights including a right to life?

        Or do you contend that only those people, who “understand” the concept of rights in the same manner as you understand them, have rights?

      • poppaDavid

        You say that “the current system ‘allows’ one person to do the job of …”

        No. As you have said before, there is no action by government, only action by individuals. There is no one person expected or authorized to do all those jobs under our current system.

        The current system specifically requires separation between the investigation, prosecution, judge, jury, and executioner. Unlike your utopia, our system doesn’t trust a single person to perform all of those activities, and if there is too much collusion we actually work to restore a balance.

      • Matthew Reece

        I mean that there is nothing proactive to prevent a person from going vigilante in either system. In both cases, the reaction is what prevents most vigilantism. People tend not to do it because the consequences are too severe in all but the most extreme cases of crimes that people acting in the name of the state refuse to punish. In my proposal, people would tend not to do it because the consequences are too severe in all but the
        most extreme cases of crimes that people acting in the name of various free market agencies refuse to punish.

      • poppaDavid

        In the current system the one person judge and executioner over property is illegal. Under your system it is allowed. They are not the same.

        The consequences under your system is a loss of prestige among honest people and an improved opportunity to work for the 1% as a hired thug.

      • Matthew Reece

        How exactly is my idea an improved opportunity to work for the 1% as a hired thug? There are millions of police and soldiers doing just that in the current system, and they suffer no consequences to speak of for doing this unless another 1%er’s police or soldiers kill them in battle.

      • PoppaDavid

        Under the current system a single person is not authorized to be investigator, judge, jury, executioner, and seizor of property. If police or soldiers try to act in that manner they are subject to review.
        Under your system there is no court of review and those who act as vigilantes have traits the 1% seeks. So they will have improved opportunities to work for the 1%.

      • Matthew Reece

        They also have a much higher chance of being killed by their would-be victims, as there is no authority to prevent people from being armed as they wish.

        I don’t put any stock in an internal review. They are never held to the same standards as a private citizen, and are frequently said to be not guilty of any wrongdoing. Also note that they have no market incentive, as governments are monopolies that prohibit competitors from offering services of law enforcement and military defense. They don’t have to do a good job or be held accountable because there is no competition and no opt-out.

        The court of review in a stateless system consists of all people, who have the power to economically excommunicate someone.

      • PoppaDavid

        There is a history of vigilante justice where the victims got strung up by hooded cowards. I’m not impressed.

        The review of police and soldiers includes criminal and civil court, something your plan drops.

        You love to offer “market incentives” for competing enforcement and military defense. We actually covered that back when we discussed turning Presidio County in Texas over to your system. And we both agreed that the anarchy would collapse into a failed state that would be captured by some outside nation state. Why push a “solution” that you have already admitted cannot work?

        You insist that people will “economically excommunicate someone” if they are not good. We have discussed that as well. The 1% will hire violent, bad people for their private army using the same standard as they use to hire lawyers today. “Will they do anything necessary to win?”

      • Matthew Reece

        The terrorism of the KKK is an example where government had a monopoly on criminal justice and did next to nothing to stop violent crimes. I’m not impressed.

        A stateless society has civil and criminal courts. We have already discussed this.

        Just because a system might not succeed and might be destroyed in a particular situation does not mean that this will happen in any situation.

        You are assuming that there will be enough violent, bad people in a stateless society for the 1% to form such criminal organizations. With enough focus on detection and prevention of the raising of such individuals, this concern can be addressed. This mostly involves the prevention of all forms of child abuse.

      • PoppaDavid

        The KKK started as a voluntary organization started by the members for the preservation of their private legal and economic system against the system imposed by the federal government. The local governments did NOT insist upon a monopoly on violence and they allowed the KKK free rein. Any victims who attempted to form a competing PDA were identified and butchered. Over time the KKK became intertwined with the local governments and adopted the KKK agenda in the state laws. It is an example of private competing legal systems in practice.

        A stateless society has no method of compelling attendance at the suggested trials and the sole remedy of those courts is “economic excommunication”. All real punishment is meted out by private armies and vigilantes through misinterpretation of a Roman legal construct.

        Given 5000 years of history, you have been unable to present a single example of an anarchy that persisted through times of stress.

        Your system has no method for “enough focus on detection and prevention of the raising of such individuals”. Especially your suggestion about “the prevention of all forms of child abuse”. Those actions involve intervention and your system prohibits intervention.

      • Matthew Reece

        No, the KKK is an example of lawlessness, where neither public nor private sources of law and criminal justice stopped violations of rights.

        Economic excommunication means that a person has to do without all trade and cannot leave his property, which can be trespassed on because he cannot get any defense agency to take up a claim on his behalf. This is far more crippling and likely to ensure compliance than you seem to think it would be.

        Courts can impose the same remedies as they do now; the means of enforcing those remedies are the only thing changed.

        We are talking about a hypothetical future system, so of course there are no direct examples in the past, just bits and pieces here and there.

        Intervention is done by making it economically prohibitive to abuse children. There would also be no public schools to indoctrinate them, so there goes a major form of mental abuse.

      • PoppaDavid

        “the KKK is an example of lawlessness”. No. When they started in 1866, they were an example of people organizing to promote their personal violence in competition with the government’s “monopoly on violence”, which you offer as a good thing. They were not “lawless” because they operated as their own private source of law and justice in competition with the monopoly on legal systems, which you support. They were operating in compliance with your system. You disown them because you recognize that they were ugly.

        “Intervention is done by making it economically prohibitive to abuse children.” What planet’s history have you read? Abuse of children happens for a variety of reasons, and one of the more common reason is economic profit. People abuse children to MAKE money. While you may not purchase the services of a child prostitute, the ones who currently do will continue under your system. Other children are abused by family members and caregivers. There is no economic feedback to child abuse. You have never asked a merchant if they abused their children, and you are not going to start. If you think there is some form of feed back, produce it.

        We already discussed the ability of a court to enforce remedies. In the real world courts can impose fines, probation, public service, or incarceration. In your system they can label them as “bad people” and HOPE that everyone else will shun them. That’s it. Why bother?

        You offer economic excommunication as if it is a crippling punishment. There are 3,695 registered sex offenders in Dallas, Texas as of Feb 4, 2014. You are perfectly willing to engage in economic trade with them, because you don’t have a clue who they are. There were 1,610 murders in Dallas over the last 10 years. You would do trade with any of the killers. There were over 50 thousand cases of burglary, robbery, larceny and theft last year. How many of the thieves are you tracking for economic excommunication? Zero. You are not alone. Except for high profile cases, no one bothers to track criminals to make sure that they don’t do economic business with them, and they are not going to start just to make your dream come true.

        There are no historic examples, and you haven’t even been able to present ANY bits or pieces that have worked. It is all theory, smoke and mirrors.

      • Matthew Reece

        The KKK violated even the most basic rights, so they are not an example of what I propose.

        The economic feedback to child abuse is the creation of a new generation of criminals and psychologically disturbed people. The signs of child abuse are not difficult to spot, but we currently have a system that not only fails to stop child abuse, but actively participates in it in the form of indoctrinating children in public schools, drugging the ones who can’t handle it, and kidnapping children through DSS over minor drug offenses.

        In my proposal, a court can enforce remedies by offering the option of accepting fines, probation, public service, or incarceration, with rejection entailing an inability to leave one’s property, buy or sell until one accepts the terms, which can be made harsher for the rejection. This accomplishes the task of neutralizing obnoxious people one way or another, as they must choose to accept punishment and re-enter economic life or reject punishment and be isolated from economic life.

        I envision a system of reputation ratings that work much like credit ratings. When you think of doing business with a person, you would be able to see what sort of history they have and avoid them if you believe them to be reprehensible. You can do this currently, and I recommend it because voting with your money is the most effective form of voting you can use, but it takes more effort since a comprehensive reputation system has not yet been created. There is no longer any technological limitation on setting up such a system, however, so I think this will be forthcoming sooner rather than later.

      • PoppaDavid

        I understand what you intend to propose. I also understand that you proposed anarchy allows each person living in that society to follow their interests rather than your plan.

        The KKK violated rights and people of that persuasion will do the same under your system.

        Your proposal is empty in the area of addressing child abuse because you worry about schools when abuse is predominately inflicted by family and friends of family.

        You pretend that your courts can inflict judgements. In reality, it is all voluntary, there is no authority to enforce economic penalties. They cannot even compel attendance at a trial. Toothless courts are nothing.

        Your system allows vigilante justice. We had another example of “stand your ground” this week where a vigilante decided that playing loud music was a capital offense. Under your system, there would be no public response.

        I appreciate that you envision a system of reputation ratings. Right now, you have no knowledge of the registered child molesters, convicted killers and parole violation criminals in your city. Even though that data is public knowledge, you don’t bother obtaining it because doing economic business with those people doesn’t bother you. It is a performance contradiction for you to claim that a lethargic public will consistently have a stronger response to reprehensible behavior than a dedicated proponent like you can muster for even a short time.

      • poppaDavid

        “Social contracts cannot defend rights and property because they violate rights and property.”

        That is an opinion until such time as you can provide a proof. Especially the bit about social contracts “violating rights”. It would appear that you have defined yourself as government and arbitrarily outlawed social contracts to suit your opinions.

        You admit that persons may engage in economic contracts, yet you deny that those same persons may engage in non-economic contracts. That is terribly inconsistent.

      • Matthew Reece

        I recommend watching “The Social Contract: Defined and Destroyed in under 5 minutes” by Stefan Molyneux. It will help you to understand this better.

      • poppaDavid

        Stefan Molyneux is a bit shy on his logic skills and he misses some important aspects of the social contract. He choses to focus on on type of social contract, so I will discuss that one, there are other social contracts as well.

        Molyneux claims that a social contract is geographical, unilateral and implicit.

        No.

        Governments exercise geographic jurisdiction over land that they control. In our case, military force took control of land that was in a “state of nature” from the native residents, with quit-claims from other competing nations. The government then sold or gave deed to the land to private owners by explicit contracts that recognized government jurisdiction over the land. Jurisdiction is based upon the ability to defend land, not a social contract.

        You are Estopped from complaining about government jurisdiction over land that they took by force, because you support claiming land that is in a state of nature. You will complain anyway, because Estoppel doesn’t really carry much weight.

        The social contract between residents and government is unilateral and implicit. It is unilateral because the government had jurisdiction over the land from the first issue of deed that it is reaffirmed with each legitimate transfer of the land, so it doesn’t need to ask permission. It is implicit because every resident is free to follow the terms of that jurisdiction or leave the property, and every land owner is free to follow the terms of that jurisdiction or return the property and leave. Those who choose to stay are bound by the rules governing the land upon which they reside.

        The exception to jurisdiction would be the lands “Reserved” from jurisdiction by the native inhabitants (reservations).

        Besides failing to differentiate between jurisdiction and social contracts, Molyneux makes some logical faux-pas when he tries to do logic.

        He says:
        #1 Government claims justification based upon the social contract
        — incomplete. Government claims jurisdiction based upon control of the land.

        #2 Thus, the SC must be the highest and most moral contract in existence
        — straw man argument. The SC is a contract that justifies government claims, the adjective phrase “highest and most moral” is not included or implied by #1

        #3 Thus, the opposite of a SC must be unjust/immoral
        — false statement. If #2 were true, it would be “The opposite a SC is not the highest and most moral contract in existence”. Nothing more can be inferred from #2. His is a naive mistake by someone who doesn’t understand logic.

        When he started his presentation he said that anything that is geographical, unilateral, implicit is a social contract. Is his choice of three adjectives sufficient and complete to define a social contract?

        If they are sufficient then a social contract could be either just or unjust and still be a social contract. In that case he provided an example of an unjust social contract. No contradiction there.

        If, on the other hand, a social contract is geographical, unilateral, implicit and JUST, then the example isn’t a social contract.

        No dilema, no contradiction, just a speaker who fails to properly define a social contract.

        He isn’t as good as you descried him. I’m unimpressed.

      • Matthew Reece

        I support claiming land that is in a state of nature. I do not support stealing land from native inhabitants, which is what modern states have done at some point in their histories. The Americas were not in a state of nature when the Europeans arrived; the natives had established property rights by homesteading.

        At any rate, forcing someone to either abide by a set of rules which go beyond logical rights or leave their property is a violation of logical rights. It is for this reason that a contract cannot be unilateral and implicit while also being just.

        #2 The social contract of government has to be the highest and most moral, as it forms the basis of enforcement for all of the lesser contracts in a statist society.

        “Is his choice of three adjectives sufficient and complete to define a social contract?”
        This is rather immaterial, because these three adjectives are enough to show a contradiction. He is able to show that another contract with the same criteria is not only not enforced, but its creator would be attacked by agents of the state.

      • poppaDavid

        “The Americas were not in a state of nature when the Europeans arrived; the natives had established property rights by homesteading.”

        Good. Since the Americas were not in a state of nature when the Europeans, the possibility of Europeans homesteading land has never been possible. The only method of acquisition was violent theft or receipt of stolen property. Which means, based upon your Estoppel, that it is reasonable to take land by initiating force against the people who are holding stolen property.

      • poppaDavid

        “At any rate, forcing someone to either abide by a set of rules which go beyond logical rights or leave their property is a violation of logical rights.”

        They have a title to the property subject to the jurisdiction of the state that stole the property. The state jurisdiction over the land is a contract that predates their birth, so it certainly predates their ownership of the land.

        You want the state to give up their jurisdiction and allow you to follow “logical rights”. Work with them to achieve that goal. In the mean time, there is a pre-existing contract in the land grant that gives them exclusive jurisdiction over the land in question.

        “It is for this reason that a contract cannot be unilateral and implicit while also being just.”

        The land grant gave the state unilateral and implicit jurisdiction. The land grant gave the property owner the land as private property. How is that unjust?

      • poppaDavid

        “#2 The social contract of government has to be the highest and most moral, as it forms the basis of enforcement for all of the lesser contracts in a statist society.”

        “Most moral” isn’t included in the three properties of a Social Contract, so a SC doesn’t need to be moral at all. It was added here as a straw man to facilitate the logical contradiction.

        The enforcement of statist contracts relies upon jurisdiction of the state. The SC just requires people living on land subject to state jurisdiction to abide by the state’s rules.

      • Matthew Reece

        If acting on behalf of the original property owners or their rightful heirs, yes. But to avoid performative contradiction, one must not also be holding such stolen property. So I suppose that homeless beggars can ally with natives on reservations to try to reconquer America. I’ll grab some popcorn.

      • poppaDavid

        All of America was held by the natives. Essentially all of it was stolen from them. All private property in America derived from the stolen property. Which means all current private property owners (reservation land held by enrolled members excepted) are holding stolen property.

        Which means that logically, no current property owner may claim the property they claim to own.

        So you propose a rationalization for the holding of stolen property. Not exactly moral.

        But, in the final analysis, worry about performance contradiction doesn’t truly motivate decisions for most people.

      • Matthew Reece

        If the original owners, as well as all of their descendants, are dead, then the property would go back to a state of nature and could be claimed by someone else.

      • poppaDavid

        The burden of proof lies with the person making the claim “all of their descendants are dead”. Go ahead.

        By the way. You do realize that you are claiming that if a thieves hold stolen property long enough, the crime ceases to exist and the property ceases to be stolen property?

        What kind of universal morality are you preaching? Stealing is a crime, except when the thief kills the victim and their heirs?

      • Matthew Reece

        The original thief cannot fulfill this condition. Also note that a thief who kills people may be stolen from and killed without penalty, because he has estopped himself from claims against being stolen from or killed by engaging in theft and murder.

        The descendants of a thief can, because crimes must die with the people who commit them. There is no such thing as guilt for things that ancestors did that one had no say in, because one had no choice of whether to be born to thieves and murderers. This is why there is a need for dealing with all thefts and murders in a timely manner.

      • poppaDavid

        You are saying that a thief may steal land, murder the owners, and pass the property on to others who may claim the land without penalty?

        I disagree. Taking an object that you do not own is theft. Sponsoring a thief is accessory to the theft before the fact. Receiving a stolen object is accessory to the theft after the fact. An accessory to a crime shares in the guilt, and passing on the stolen object makes the recipient an accessory as well. That doesn’t die with the thief.

      • Matthew Reece

        The thief who steals land and murders the rightful owners may himself be stolen from and killed. I think that is a sufficiently severe penalty, and it is just because he has estopped himself from complaining about theft and murder by engaging in theft and murder.

        The effects of a crime on human history do not die with a criminal, but the individual responsibility for the individual crime does.

      • poppaDavid

        You have made the statement, “The estoppel principle can also be used for claiming land
        if the original owners are dead or cannot be determined.”

        The original owners of the lands of Texas are known, and their heirs are still living. Yet, you insist that it is acceptable for other people to own private property in Texas.

        You also claimed that, “The logical rights are those which must be valid because arguing against them leads to a contradiction, whether in performance or in terms.”

        You hold that people may form voluntary organizations for the protection of rights and property, but you insist that your personal standard of individual property ownership must be followed for the organization’s property ownership to be legitimate.

        You deny people the right to hold property in common choosing to define their common land as “being in a state of nature” and allow anyone who wants to hold property individually to “homestead” the common land.

        Your dual standard on voluntary organizations and land ownership is a contradiction in performance.

      • Matthew Reece

        If the legitimate heirs can prove that land in Texas should be theirs, then it should be handed over. If there are no heirs to a particular property or none ever come forward, then it may be kept in current hands.

        Organizations cannot legitimately own property. True common ownership is logically impossible, as only individuals can act, and therefore only individuals can do what is necessary to own property. The closest thing that is possible is an individual owner allowing all other people to use the property as a commons.

      • poppaDavid

        “Only individuals can act”
        At the most basic level, you were the product of two individuals acting in common. While you are not property, if you were raised by more than one person, there were multiple people acting in common on your behalf. You didn’t sign a contract and your were not given the bill, so it would be one example of a social contract involving multiple people.

      • poppaDavid

        “True common ownership is logically impossible,”

        If you wish to provide the proof to support your statement please do. Otherwise, follow the standard you raised when we discussed God. “You are asserting the existence of an entity without logic or evidence to support it, which is invalid.”

        Humans may act independently. That does not preclude them acting in concert in economic or social situations. It certainly does not prevent them from owning property in common.

      • Matthew Reece

        I already have proven this statement above.

        Humans can act in concert, but this collective action is only a sum of individual actions, not a separate thing. They may act as common owners of property, but this must be established from individual property ownership. As it depends on individual property ownership, it cannot supersede individual property ownership.

      • poppaDavid

        I think that you will see cooperative action as essential to survival in all primitive societies for both higher animals and humans. There may be species that have individual hunters rather than packs, but even for them there is cooperative action between mother and cub. The individual self as a hero comes much later. The idea that you can understand the world by breaking it down to the constituent parts and studying them in isolation is real recent and it misses the system.

        Treating land as common property predates treating land as private property. Especially when the acquisition of the land involves one tribe taking it from a different tribe.

      • Matthew Reece

        This theory does not hold in cases of rape. Then, one person is acting and the other is acted upon against his or her will.

      • poppaDavid

        If you were the child of rape, I will add that as an extenuation of the statement. You were the product of two individuals acting in common, one who impregnated and one who chose not to abort. That doesn’t change the statement that “if you were raised by more than one person, there were multiple people acting in common on your behalf.” Would you care to acknowledge that social contract?

      • Matthew Reece

        What if a woman is kidnapped and never able to get an abortion?

        What if a person is not raised by more than one person? In fact, what if a person is born, abandoned, and raised by wolves?

        People may act in common, but there is no collective action apart from the sum of individual actions.

      • poppaDavid

        The exceptions you mention may exist. And everyone else was raised by people acting in common in a voluntary social non-economic contract.

        You contend that collective action is nothing more than the sum of the individual actions. Maybe. Your binocular vision is more than the sum of what you see with the individual eyes. The collective vision includes 3D and distance information in excess of what is available to either eye.

      • Matthew Reece

        The information is not collected by anything other than the two eyes. The brain is simply able to do more with the extra information.

      • poppaDavid

        Yes, there are only two eyes. But, two eyes acting in concert may provide more information than two eyes acting independently.

        The same is true for people. It is possible that individual people working in concert will produce more benefits than individual people working independently. If a rational person wishes to maximize their benefit relative to their effort, it is constructive for them to examine the expected outcome from collective action. If collective action has greater expected benefit, it is reasonable to form a social organization and work collectively.

        You have repeatedly given that as an option for protecting property, by banding together with other property owners.

        The question would be one of scale. Is there more benefit from independent individual action, small scale collective action or large scale collective action?

      • Matthew Reece

        I am not disputing any of this. My point is that there is not some extra entity that comes into existence simply because some individuals decide to work cooperatively.

      • poppaDavid

        No, but if there are more benefits to social organization than individual action, it is rational for people to form social organizations. The formation would include an explicit or implicit contract.

        The contract is an object created by the members. It is owned by the members, may be changed by the members, and it is binding as a contract on the members.

        If the participants expect additional benefits from the organization, the organization contract should specify what members are expected to contribute and what they may expect as benefits.

      • poppaDavid

        “If the legitimate heirs can prove that land in Texas should be theirs, then it should be handed over.”

        Great. The Apache, Kiowa, Gueiquesale, and Coahuiltecan groups will be overjoyed.

        Oh wait. They need the current residents to agree with their petition for the to obtain justice and recover their land. Your system doesn’t offer anything that even pretends to be an independent non-partial venue for a hearing to make their case. You don’t have any statutes to use to determine who is “legitimate heir”. You don’t have any laws that describe what qualifies as “proof” either. What a Catch-22 that is, and what a surprise that works in your favor. The “might” of the Spanish/Mexican/American guns that claimed their land makes it all “right” for you to live on their land. It is another of the “might makes right” situations that your theory promotes.

        Of course, according to your theory of Estoppel, if the heir of an original resident of your land were to kill you and all of your heirs, there would be no owner or heir to come forward to complain, and they could keep the land free and clear.

      • Matthew Reece

        No, the individual Apaches, Kiowas, Gueiquesales, and Coahuiltecans who can trace back their lineage to someone who owned private property that was stolen by Americans or Spaniards have a claim. Perhaps not all of them can do this.

        I have already explained dispute resolution organizations. They are capable of handling such a situation.

      • poppaDavid

        There you go again, pushing in your personal opinion that only individuals can own private property. It is not a proven fact. It rests upon your personal opinion that people cannot act in concert as social organizations, even though you allow them to act in concert in economic organization.

        People really do act in concert in non-economic organizations. Your theory denies reality, which is terribly illogical.

        You have explained dispute resolution organizations, and you indicated that they only handle cases between people when both sides agree to arbitration. In cases like this, the current occupant of the land just refuses to arbitration. The injured party has no method of compelling a hearing.

      • Matthew Reece

        People can work in concert toward common goals, whether social or economic, but there is no collective action apart from the sum of individual actions.

        The injured party has economic and social ostracism as a method to compel a hearing, as sitting on property that belongs to someone else and refusing to hand it over would be cause to lower a person’s reputation and/or contract ratings. Also, the offending person’s DRO would not want the bad publicity of representing such a person, and may drop them as a client, leaving them without protection. Finally, if all else fails, the injured party may use force to reclaim stolen property, as knowingly and willfully holding stolen property estops one from making claims based on property rights.

      • poppaDavid

        “There is no collective action apart from the sum of individual actions.”

        Yes, and there is no collective mental activity apart from the sum of the individual neuron actions. We still recognize the collective action as human reason.
        There is no collective body activity apart from the sum of the individual cellular actions. And we still recognize the collective action as human life.

        As for your economic and social ostracism, review the success of the people sitting in trees to prevent logging of old growth timber, or the Greenpeace activists trying to stop whaling. It isn’t the threat you believe it to be.

        You bring up the moral nature of DRO’s and how they don’t want the bad publicity. LOL! The difference between DRO and a lawyer is the gun. If a lawyer will make the argument that started this discussion, a DRO will do the same thing with violence. They won’t be judged by the quality of their clients, they will be judged by whether they win.

      • Matthew Reece

        A DRO is going to incur a lot of costs if they want to initiate that violence. This will make their services more expensive and price them out of the market, causing their customers to leave and join competing DROs. Peace prevails in a free market simply because it is cheaper.

      • poppaDavid

        Depending upon the personal value placed upon winning a conflict, the most expensive DRO is one that loses.

        The parents of the child in this story didn’t choose lawyers based upon legal cost. They chose a legal firm that would keep their child from paying a reasonable personal cost for his stupid behavior. It was the same with O.J. Simpson’s murder trial. He hired about 10 of the top available legal talent because the legal expense was going to be less than the personal cost of losing.

        If a DRO wants to obtain and maintain customers, they have to WIN the conflict. That has nothing to do with justice. And a quick solution is generally less expensive than a slow protracted battle.

        That pushes DRO’s toward a quick try at reason followed by overwhelming force if reason doesn’t get the desired results. And in those cases where the customer is clearly wrong, the DRO will move directly to “what works” to win. That is not a recipe for peace.

      • Matthew Reece

        In a free society, the lawyers of a legal firm that helps murderers like the child in this story to go free and suffer no reasonable consequences are going to be pariahs. Who, other than violent criminals and dangerously careless people, wants to do business with such people?

        An important point of the DRO/private defense agency idea is that no one is able to use overwhelming force because no group of people is able to become that much more powerful than any other group of people.

      • poppaDavid

        “Who wants to do business with them?” Duh. Rich people like O.J. Simpson who have done wrong and want to avoid the personal consequences of their actions.

        “No group is able to become much more powerful” Why not? I know that it would damage your dream, but there is no mechanism in place to prevent it. And if you haven’t noticed, the top 1% already have more wealth than the bottom 80%. So, when it comes to buying DRO power it will go where the wealth already lies.

      • Matthew Reece

        In a stateless society, people are not going to want a state, so they are going to do what is necessary to prevent a DRO from becoming like a state. The mechanism for preventing this DRO-to-state transition is competition among DROs and the fact that offense is more expensive than defense, which prices an offense-minded DRO out of the market. I could also see there being assassinations of obnoxious DRO leaders as a last resort to stop a violent takeover of society.

      • poppaDavid

        You speak as if people are uniform in their interests, motivations, and expectations. Our discussion proves that isn’t the case.

        In a stateless society the percentage of the population who want a stateless society will be the same percentage of the population as it is in our society today. The percentage who want a state will be unchanged. The percentage who have the money to re-establish the state will be unchanged.

        You mention people are not going to let a DRO from becoming the state. The 1% can pay offensive DRO’s to make them holders over the whole economy. Then, they can pay their DRO’s to become the state.

        You say “offense is more expensive than defense.” Obviously, you haven’t looked at the balance sheet in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, or other hot spots in the world. Defending property and people is very expensive compared to a little ammunition or dynamite. The 1% have the money to defend their assets and lives. The 80% may have money to pay for ammunition.

        Then you say that assassinations are available as “a last resort” in the conduct of political discussions. Yes, there will be violence. That is not preferable to the status quo.

      • Matthew Reece

        “In a stateless society the percentage of the population who want a stateless society will be the same percentage of the population as it is in our society today. The percentage who want a state will be unchanged. The percentage who have the money to re-establish the state will be unchanged.”
        You cannot possibly have evidence to support these statements. Why, after experiencing a truly free society, would the masses want to go back to statism? Most people are not anarchists today because they either fear the unknown or have never heard such ideas discussed seriously. These powerful deterrents would no longer be present.

        You are confusing offense and defense in America’s imperialist misadventures. The US military is on offense; the natives of the invaded lands are on defense.

        I think assassinating a few obnoxious leaders is preferable to wars where thousands if not millions die. Don’t you think that would be an improvement, even if not an ideal situation?

      • poppaDavid

        “Why, after experiencing a truly free society, would the masses want to go back to statism?”

        Easy. The free society doesn’t look like you envision it. Florida has experimented with privatizing police departments with their passage of the “Stand your Ground” law. Now any gun toting individual can act as their own police force. And the number of unarmed people who died as a result is not the source of comfort you think it might be. People who read about Tavon Martin, Reynaldo Munoz, Chad Oulson, etc. are not enthusiast about turning public actions over to untrained private actors.

      • Matthew Reece

        We have no way of knowing whether any private law organization, DRO or otherwise, would offer a “stand your ground” law of the type that currently is active in Florida.

      • poppaDavid

        No. The DRO doesn’t become the law giver, unless they become the government. In the absence of a state “Stand Your Ground”(SYG) is the law to everyone who wants to follow it.

        You have complained that the state is evil because it insists upon a monopoly on violence. SYG allows private citizens to exercise violence independent of the state monopoly. That is what you have requested.

        You have insisted that people COULD use DRO as a private protection method. That means they could choose some other method of protection. The SYG show what really happens when people take their protection in their own hands.

        The practitioners of SYG don’t look or act like you predict.

      • Matthew Reece

        People already got to exercise violence independent of the state monopoly without stand your ground laws, to the extent that violence in self-defense is not punished by the state.

        Individuals who act like George Zimmerman would probably find themselves excommunicated from economic life.

      • poppaDavid

        People like George Zimmerman would go into business as DRO’s. Remember, that was his chosen profession before the killing. And people like the parents in this court case would be his clients, with the money to keep him in business.

      • Matthew Reece

        People like George Zimmerman have a high likelihood of being killed by someone in self-defense, and in a society with almost no limitations on weapon ownership, this likelihood would be even higher.

      • poppaDavid

        Zimmerman has a high likelihood of being killed because of the way he treats people. The person who does it isn’t going to ask, “Does Estoppel allow this?”

        That does make him more attractive to the 1%. He is naturally violent in supporting their goals and his long term maintenance expenses will end when he is finally shot.

        As for “a society with almost no limitations on weapon ownership”, we already have twice the per capita weapons ownership of the next nation and multiple times the ownership of almost everywhere. Yet, our gun homicide rate is much higher than other developed nations. Ownership isn’t the reason, the GINI index is a better indicator of homicide rate than gun ownership, as is religion.

        You proposal to direct the wealth to higher levels looks to make the GINI rate worse, with greater likelihood of everyone experiencing gun homicides.

      • Matthew Reece

        The person who kills a Zimmerman-type probably won’t ask “Does estoppel allow this?” in the heat of the moment, but it will matter after the fact in terms of whether his actions were justified.

        There are plenty of limitations on weapon ownership. I can’t get my hands on a machine gun, a rocket launcher, a hand grenade, etc.

        The GINI rate has a lot to do with government policies and fiat currency, neither of which are a concern in a stateless society. I would expect the GINI rate to lower without government, seeing that the rich tend to use the government to get richer and trap the poor in a permanent underclass.

      • poppaDavid

        If the action isn’t directed by a consideration of Estoppel at the time, then any consideration after the fact is rationalization.

        The rich use their power to dominate the society in which they live. Government or no government, their power will be used. If the 99% are to form defensive organizations to protect themselves from the 1%, those organizations need to be large enough to balance the 1% power. And it doesn’t help to hire the 1% to provide defense from the 1%.

      • Matthew Reece

        Your second paragraph makes my case. Hiring the 1% to defend against the 1% is currently known as using the state to tax the rich and regulate corporations. The rich will simply manipulate such attempts to make themselves even more powerful. I don’t think the 1% can get so wealthy and powerful without the state at their disposal, and any state that is present will be at their disposal.

      • PoppaDavid

        The rich will work to manipulate attempts to regulate them. Your system outlaws public attempts to regulate the 1%. That is not a solution, it is a problem.

      • Matthew Reece

        My system makes the 1% play by the same rules as everyone else by taking away the system that they manipulate to rig the rules in their favor.

      • PoppaDavid

        No. You replace the current system where people like me actually have some input, with a system where the 1% can hire the most violent members of society to give them absolute power with nothing for the rest of us.

      • Matthew Reece

        The 99% don’t have input in the current system. The system is set up to give the 99% the illusion that they do.

      • PoppaDavid

        Here we do have input. It isn’t perfect, but it is more and better than what you offer. You wish to return to the systems of prior centuries wrapped in modern idioms.

        It would appear that you live in a different world that is an idealized view of prior Golden Ages that never existed.

      • Matthew Reece

        Tell me exactly how you think the 99% have input in the current system, and I will show you how it is an illusion.

      • PoppaDavid

        I live in a city of 22,000 and we aren’t part of the 1%. The median income is 92% of the county median income. I am on a first name basis with the mayor and all the members of the City Council. This past weekend we had a public vision meeting to discuss the future of our city. The city library is supported by a public commission. The parks department is advised by a public commission. The planning department is advised by a public commission. The budget is prepared by a public commission. Our state has initiative, referendum and recall in our Constitution to allow the public to create or remove laws, and pull unpopular members of government. If your government is of a lesser quality, perhaps the answer is better public oversight over your politicians.

      • Matthew Reece

        None of the members of the government know who voted for or against them unless you get a chance to tell them personally, and most people don’t. They answer to whoever funds their campaigns and/or bribes them, not the voters. Also note that with primary systems, the wealthy get to hand-pick their candidates in most cases by throwing their weight behind their favorite Republicans and Democrats, while ensuring that other parties and candidates get marginalized by not funding them.

        I would need to know more about these public commissions to argue against them more effectively. But why cannot private individuals organize voluntarily and obtain funding through voluntary means to achieve these ends?

        Regardless of how a law is passed, it is still an opinion enforced at gunpoint by agents of the state, who are funded with money stolen at gunpoint through taxation.

        Did everyone alive today in your state sign that constitution? Would they willingly do so? If not, then it is null and void (at least for those who do not agree to it) because it violates the logical right of freedom of association.

        I will admit that local governments tend to be less harmful than state or federal governments, and tend to have the above problems to a lesser degree. (Although I suspect that this is because one can more easily move to another city or county than to another state or nation.) I will also admit that a system of local governments without state or federal governments is probably a necessary step to the kind of anarchy that I envision.

      • PoppaDavid

        You asked, “tell me exactly how you think the 99% have input in the current system, and I will show you how it is an illusion.”

        I provided an actual answer with real input into a real system, and you came back with gross generalizations and discredited arguments.

        There is a general axiom, “all politics is local”. And you ignore that.

        You mentioned the Constitution. We discussed that.

        As I said before, “Governments exercise geographic jurisdiction over land that they control. In our case, military force took control of land that was in a “state of nature” from the native residents, with quit-claims from other competing nations. The government then sold or gave deed to the land to private owners by explicit contracts that recognized government jurisdiction over the land. Jurisdiction is based upon the ability to defend land, not a social contract.”

        “The social contract between residents and government is unilateral and implicit. It is unilateral because the government had jurisdiction over the land from the first issue of deed that it is reaffirmed with each legitimate transfer of the land, so it doesn’t need to ask permission. It is implicit because every resident is free to follow the terms of that jurisdiction or leave the property, and every land owner is free to follow the terms of that jurisdiction or return the property and leave. Those who choose to stay are bound by the rules governing the land upon which they reside”

        “The land grant gave the state unilateral and implicit jurisdiction. The land grant gave the property owner the land as private property.”

        That was a voluntary exchange of value for value. and it covers every private property parcel in this country.

      • poppaDavid

        You have argued that states insist on a monopoly on violence. You now say that states allow people to exercise violence independent of the state monopoly.

        A logical contradiction. Either there is a monopoly or there is not.

        If you will not follow logic in your arguments, then it is a performance contradiction for you to claim that your principles are based upon natural logic, and therefore the “law of estoppel” allows me to claim success in any argument where you attempt to use logic.

        More likely, “performance contradictions” don’t lead to the “estoppel” effect you claim.

        Most likely, this discussion is an exercise where each of us is promoting a personal world view. We use logic when it supports the issue, evidence when available, and rationalizations if nothing else works.

        If one side presents a logical presentation that upsets the other’s world view, the logical response would be to acknowledge the point, and adjust the world view to match the new information. When a point is disproved, it needs to be dropped. When a point is proved, the opposition needs to cease making the alternate argument.

        That doesn’t happen. Rather, when a point is made, it is ignored or alternative arguments are made to replace the point.

        I happen to enjoy this discussion because you work to be rational and you do a good job of presenting your side. Perhaps someday we shall agree on something.

      • Matthew Reece

        States insist on a monopoly as the final authority on matters involving violence. They allow for some limited expression of self-defense, but they will not allow for a full and equal competitor for their services of military defense and criminal punishment.

        “I happen to enjoy this discussion because you work to be rational and you do a good job of presenting your side. Perhaps someday we shall agree on something.”
        I share this thought.

      • poppaDavid

        In terms of violence, the nations with high gun homicide rates include all the Western Hemisphere nations (except perhaps Cuba), South Africa, Philippines and Zimbabwe. What do they have in common? Maybe, the private criminal pseudo-governments of the drug cartels battling each other?

      • Matthew Reece

        The drug cartels, much like the organized crime in America in the 1920s, are able to make massive profits because governments have banned goods and services that people want and are willing to break the law and pay high prices to get. No government, no bans, no organized crime to speak of because they lose their revenue sources.

      • poppaDavid

        The drug cartels make massive profits because they sell a product that has high demand. Oil companies sell a product that has high demand. Diamond merchants sell a product that has high demand. All make massive profits, yet only one is illegal in the U.S.

        There is truth in your underlying premise, but legalization doesn’t take the profit out of high demand goods. Cartels are fully able to restrict supply to keep prices high. And they can use their violent power to keep competitors from expanding the supply. That is especially true when they exercise power unilaterally.

      • poppaDavid

        Your proposal doesn’t eliminate wars. It brings them into the neighborhoods.

      • Matthew Reece

        People will be more willing to do what is necessary to end war if it affects them in such a personal way, so this may not be a bad thing.

      • poppaDavid

        History provides us with examples of how people react to this condition.

        In one typical response they would establish a town council, hire a sheriff or marshall and adopt a set of laws to be enforced. And the marshall would enforce the laws upon anyone within the jurisdiction of the town. e.g. Abilene, Kansas and Marshall Hickok.

        In another response they would chose up sides and battle each other until one side lost. e.g. Jaybird-Woodpecker War of Fort Bend, Texas.

        What is necessary to end war? Social organization that limit the actions of violent people.

      • Matthew Reece

        This is why people formed governments, but the end result was not the end of war, but its expansion and centralization. We know from history that government is not the answer to the problem of war. This is why I propose a form of social organization that does not involve governments.

      • poppaDavid

        People formed governments for common defense and property protection. People start wars, not governments. The problem of wars will not go away until people stop pursuing war. Your proposal doesn’t address that.

      • Matthew Reece

        My proposal does address that because people will only engage in war if it is profitable. The only way to make war unprofitable is to eliminate the state monopoly on military defense.

      • poppaDavid

        Have you asked why Syria is in a state of war? Where is the profit from the war in Kashmir? The war in Tibet? Afghanistan? Sudan? Gaza? The people fighting are not looking for profit.

        When you look at the world through the spectacles of Economics, you will miss what people who have other perspectives can see.

        Profit is a motive for fighting wars. It is not the only motive. So, saying the “people will only engage in war if it is profitable” is just false. Drop the word “only” and realize that your system does not address the other causes of war.

      • Matthew Reece

        The profit motive for war in the places you mention is for the government leaders who are trying to stay in power. They know they are probably dead and certainly out of state power if they lose, so staying alive to continue plundering their own people is their profit motive.

      • poppaDavid

        No. Economic motivation and political motivation are related, but you don’t get to conflate the two.

        If you want to talk economics, use “profit”. If you want to talk political power, you may use “domination”. Clarity is useful in wide ranging discussions.

      • Matthew Reece

        Actually, the error I made was to conflate wealth acquisition with loss prevention. So this is not exactly a profit motive, but a survival and loss prevention motive. Similar, but not the same.

      • PoppaDavid

        Yes, and until people cease to pursue war, we will continue to have war.

      • poppaDavid

        One person’s “truth” is another’s “indoctrination”. You have started from the “truth” of your opinions and constructed rationalizations to support your truth. When presented with evidence to the contrary, you dismiss it. When presented with logical arguments to the contrary, you strengthen your resolve.

        You are willing to engage in civil discourse, but you are not swayed by it.

        You are a true believer, I am agnostic. You see the benefits of your system, I see both the benefits and the problems. Your system does not adequately address issues of pollution, resource depletion, over population, poverty or violence. I don’t believe in faith in the market place to provide for our salvation.

      • Matthew Reece

        I start from the three fundamental laws of logic and work forward. I have dismissed evidence which is inconclusive or circumstantial, and I have dismissed logical arguments which contain fallacies. This is why I have not been swayed.

        Free market anarchist theory does address the issues you mention, although probably not perfectly. The current system not only fails to address such problems, but acts to cause and exacerbate them.

      • PoppaDavid

        You provided the statement that “A person must choose between using reason and using force.” Appeal to a divine intercessor is neither. Your original statement is false.

      • Matthew Reece

        Wrong. Appeal to a divine intercessor is a fallacious form of reasoning, but it falls under reason nonetheless.

      • poppaDavid

        No your earlier statement was, “A person must choose between using reason and using force” and it is wrong on several levels.

        “Must choose”? No, refusing to make a choice is one option, they are not required to choose.

        “Between using reason and using force”? No, you offer a false dichotomy. Even when people choose to act in conflict situations there are other options besides using reason and using force, e.g. divine supplication, withdrawal, silent protest, etc.

        “Using reason” You have confused yourself because the word “reason” has multiple meanings. The internal mental process of thinking is called “reason” when it includes logical processes. The external process of negotiating conflicting opinions with an adversary in a rational manner is also called “reasoning”. One is an internal thought process, while the other is external communication process. They are distinct processes and you should keep them separate.

        “Appeal to a divine intercessor … falls under reason”. The decision to appeal to God may be based upon a though process. The actual appeal is based upon “faith” that God can do something. By definition, faith involves belief in that which is outside reason.

      • Matthew Reece

        A person who does not use reason or force will not be performing an action, so we need not concern ourselves with such a case.

        My fundamental point here is that the act of making a decision to use something outside of reason, such as faith or force, requires the use of reason. It is logically fallacious by performative contradiction, but it is still requires the use of reason.

      • poppaDavid

        The “performative contradiction” analysis is a logical approach to dealing with a category of questions that resist other forms of logic. It does not replace or supersede deductive or inductive reasoning. If the truth of a statement can be determined by more basic forms of reason, Performance Contradiction cannot logically reverse the outcome.

        Based upon your logical analysis we could perform the following proof.

        #1 Statement: God loves you.

        #2 Statement made false: God does not love you.

        Because God is all-loving by definition, the act of “not loving” a object of creation (you) would be a performance contradiction. Therefore #2 is false.

        By your claimed logic that would make #1 true.

        Since #1 is true and God loves you, it would be a performance contradiction if there was no God to perform the act.

        Therefore: God exists.

        By your logic we can prove the existence of God.

        Your “proof” that “A person must choose between using reason and using force. The choice to reject reason and use force requires the use of reason, so this is also a performative contradiction.” Has all of the same flaws that make the proof of God invalid.

      • Matthew Reece

        This entire argument assumed without logic or evidence that God exists and that God is all-loving. These premises would have to be proven first.

      • poppaDavid

        Your standard was given as, “Logical contradictions can prove a theory because a statement must be either true or false by the law of excluded middle. Showing that a statement being false leads to a contradiction is therefore a proof that the statement is true.”

        I followed your standard exactly. Either your standard is wrong, or the proof stands. I contend that your standard is wrong.

        You said, “It is not necessary to have a direct proof or a contrapositive proof of a statement if any attempt to show that the statement is false results in a contradiction.”

        Now you suddenly want evidence to prove something? And you want to redefine God? You contradict yourself.

      • Matthew Reece

        You are asserting the existence of an entity without logic or evidence to support it, which is invalid.

      • poppaDavid

        Yes the argument does that. It is allowed because your description of the use of logical contradictions allows it.

        Your description says that “logical contradictions can prove a theory …” You said that we could make any statement, which I did, and then make the statement negative, which I did, and then show that the false statement leads to a contradiction, which I did, and you said that showing a contradiction in the negative statement proved the first statement.

        We both know that the offered proof of God’s existence is flawed, because your method of logical contradiction is flawed.

        If you wish to require that the starting statement have evidence or a logical basis, then you must do the same with every example of logical contradiction that you offer. Otherwise the principle of estoppel prevents you from making your complaint.

      • Matthew Reece

        The offered proof of God’s existence is flawed because it commits the fallacy of many questions. Consider the classic example, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” Answering yes means that you have a wife, used to beat her, and no longer do. Answering no is more confusing; it could mean that you have a wife and still beat her, or that you have no wife. Now consider the premise rephrased as a question: “Is God all-loving?” Answering yes means that there is a God who is all-loving. Answering no is more confusing; it could mean that there is a God who is not all-loving, or that there is not a God.

        Contradiction proofs require a premise to be simple, not a compounding of several premises like the examples discussed.

      • poppaDavid

        “Contradiction proofs require a premise to be simple, not a compounding of several premises like the examples discussed.”

        Very good.

        One of your proofs started with “A person must choose between using reason and using force.”

        Your statement has three premises.
        A person must choose.
        There are only two choices
        They may only take one choice

        As you say, it must not be compounding several principles. That’s why it doesn’t deliver a real proof.

      • Matthew Reece

        Those are not premises. A person need not choose if he will not act, but then nothing happens, so it is a trivial case. There are only two choices: reason and force. Or more appropriately, initiation of force versus non-initiation of force. They may only take one path, as the initiation of force is an implicit rejection of reason, and the use of reason is an implicit rejection of the initiation of force. We have been over this already.

      • poppaDavid

        “Those are not premises. A person need not choose if he will not act, but then nothing happens, so it is a trivial case.”

        It isn’t trivial. If “a person need not choose” is true then the statement “a person must choose” is false.

      • poppaDavid

        “There are only two choices: reason and force. Or more appropriately, initiation of force versus non-initiation of force.”

        You are getting better with the changed wording. At least initiation of an act and non-initiation that act are exclusive at any single moment of time.

        “They may only take one path”

        Since we live in a world that includes time, a person may choose to non-initiate force for some period of time followed by the initiation of force. So, the one path may include both initiation of force and non-initiation of force.

      • poppaDavid

        “The initiation of force is an implicit rejection of reason”

        No. One party may logically come to the conclusion that the reasonableness of their argument is insufficient to win their goal, but the strength of their force is sufficient to take the goal. So, they initiate force because reason tells them that force is the only way to win.

        “the use of reason is an implicit rejection of the initiation of force.”

        No. When you were talking about using Estoppel to acquire property from a thief who stole it from some third party sometime in the past, you were attempting to use reason to justify the initiation of force to steal the property from someone.

      • poppaDavid

        The person who does not use reason or force WILL be performing an action, because as you said, they perform “the act of making a decision”. You wish to exclude the evidence that disproves your assertion. It may be an emotional human response to do so, but it is not rational logic.

      • Matthew Reece

        It is not an action to engage in non-action. To believe otherwise violates the law of identity.

      • poppaDavid

        Funny, Matthew Reece says, “My fundamental point here is that the act of making a decision to use something outside of reason, such as faith or force, requires the use of reason.”

        He says that making a decision to engage in non-action is an action.

        You may be having a problem with Equivocation here as “action” has different levels, just as “reason” does. And you are discussing them without determining which level you are speaking about.

      • PoppaDavid

        “My premises are not just personal opinions. Many personal opinions can be argued against without coming up against logical barriers. The logical rights are those which must be valid because arguing against them leads to a contradiction, whether in performance or in terms.”

        Not so. Deductive logic starts with unproven first principles and then by application of consistent rules of logic produces the “proof”. Of course the final proof is only as good as the validity of the initial principles and the quality of the work.

        If you are trying to use deductive logic to prove a “logical right”, you need to have premises that are accepted without proof. And that is not the case with your personal opinions. You are welcome provide proofs for your opinions if you have them.

        Inductive logic starts with the data and then attempts to determine what conclusions can logically be drawn. Logical contradictions will eliminate a theory, however lack of a logical contradiction does not prove the theorem as true, because inductive logic cannot “prove” anything.

        If you are relying upon inductive logic, remember, it cannot prove a right.

      • Matthew Reece

        Logical contradictions can prove a theory because a statement must be either true or false by the law of excluded middle. Showing that a statement being false leads to a contradiction is therefore a proof that the statement is true.

        It is not necessary to have a direct proof or a contrapositive proof of a statement if any attempt to show that the statement is false results in a contradiction.

      • PoppaDavid

        You confuse a binary condition with reality. When there are multiple potential states ( e.g. the energy of an orbiting electron), proving that one state is “forbidden” does not define which of the other alternatives is true. You must identify all of the possible alternatives and disprove all of them before you can use your proposed “proof”.

      • PoppaDavid

        ” if >>any<< attempt to show that the statement is false results in a contradiction."

        No. Not "any attempt". That statement is only true if the phrase used is "all possible attempts". Your logic must include the proof that your attempts include all possible arguments.

        #1 Statement: "grey haired mammals are cats"
        #2, the statement made false: "grey haired mammals are not cats"
        I have a grey haired cat, so #2 is a contradiction, so that is supposed to prove #1? I don't think so.

        Elephants have grey hair.

      • Matthew Reece

        “Your logic must include the proof that your attempts include all possible arguments.”

        This is quite easy to do, as it is not possible to make an argument in rational discourse without communicating, using freedom of speech, using freedom of association, etc. Any argument that argues against the rights to do such things is invalidated by performative contradiction.

      • PoppaDavid

        Statement: “it is not possible to make an argument in rational discourse without …, using freedom of speech …”

        There are persons who conduct their arguments using interrogation techniques that will use penalize the speaker for their words. The weaker party may make the rational decision to yield the point to prevent penalty. The stronger party wins the argument in a rational decision by both parties by eliminating “freedom of speech”. A contradiction which proves your statement false.

      • PoppaDavid

        “Lowering the reputation/contract rating of a person far enough leaves them unable to engage in any legitimate business”

        Are you aware that people DO conduct business with people they don’t trust even if they do not wish to do it. For example, you do business with the government.

        ” so they must either make restitution for their crimes, go live in the wilderness, or take their chances with crime until they rob the wrong person and wind up dead.”

        In your dream world, the victims are more likely to end up dead than the criminals because you have no penalty for killing a victim other than having their economic reputation lowered. Pretty weak.

      • Matthew Reece

        I do not choose to do business with the government; I am forced at gunpoint to do so. Perhaps this sort of coercion would happen without a government, but those who use coercion face more penalties without a government, as they would not have a monopoly of laws, courts, and initiation of force to back them up.

        The penalty for murder is to lose one’s right to complain about being murdered (or victimized in any other way). Like the Roman homo sacer and the English outlaw, such a person may be killed without penalty, and anyone who does business with them may face the same punishment.

      • PoppaDavid

        Yes, you are forced at gunpoint to do business with government. Under anarchy you would be forced at gunpoint to do business with those who have low contract rating due to violent behavior.

        Your response likely would be the same, compliance with the gun.

        Your example of “homo sacer” is an appeal to Roman Civil Law. Anarchy doesn’t recognize Roman Civil Law as having any authority. Your example of the English outlaw is an appeal to English Common Law. An “outlaw” was someone outside the protections of the law, which would be everyone in your anarchistic society. So, by your your decree, there would be no penalty for anyone killing anyone else.

        A lousy system.

      • Matthew Reece

        My response would not be the same. I would ally with my neighbors, take up arms, and resist, which is far easier to do against a few dozen or hundred thugs than against the US government.

        You seem to be stuck in the false dilemma between there being a monopoly on law and there being no law at all. Consider that the claim that a monopoly on law is necessary for there to be law is a positive claim, and therefore carries a burden of proof. Historical examples do slant in that direction, but that does not form a logical proof.

      • PoppaDavid

        “You are assuming that there would be poor people without the state. This is not a certainty… eliminating them might finally solve the problem of poverty.”

        No. There are poor people today, your proposal leaves them without the protections that they do have. Under your system the weak will be dominated by the strong. That doesn’t solve the problem of poverty.

      • Matthew Reece

        The weak are dominated by the strong in the current system. In a democracy, the minority loses. In despotism, those outside the ruling class lose. If anything, my theories leave the rich and strong without many of the institutions that make and keep them that way. This gives the poor and weak more of a chance.

      • PoppaDavid

        I recommend that you read some history. During times of anarchy the strong become more dominant and the weak become feudal serfs or slaves. If you have some real world examples to the contrary, please present them.

      • PoppaDavid

        “Show me any system in which law can be enforced without any possible use of violence. I contend that there is none, therefore it is not a problem, but a negative aspect of reality which must be tolerated.”

        You have used this line of illogic before. You oppose government because it uses violence and when your dream society necessarily leads to violence you accept it. No. If violence is the justification for change in the current system, it is sufficient to reject your alternative system. If violence is not a sufficient reason to reject your plan, than it isn’t sufficient reason to reject the current system.

      • Matthew Reece

        There is nothing illogical about this. If you have a proof that there can be a system in which law can be enforced without any possible use of violence, I am ready to hear it.

        I oppose the INITIATION of the use of force. The use of force for DEFENSE is logically justified. This does not appear to be clear to you, so I hope this helps you to understand.

      • PoppaDavid

        It is perfectly clear to me what your standards are. What eludes you is the fact that your are proposing anarchy, which means you don’t get to specify what rules that society will follow.

        If you were proposing a society with some specific enforceable laws I would discuss the merits of your standards. Instead, I will allow that your moral code is nice, but I have never encountered any anarchistic society that adopted your code and survived a meeting with people who didn’t follow your code. If you have a success story, please share.

    • Grazel

      Well you have your wish sort of. The judge also pretty much in the same day said they were not running for re-election next year. This of course makes it sound like the family paid the judge a nice “retirement gift” to get their kid off lightly. 10 years probation and spa-rehab sure beats 2-20 years in jail and up to 20 years of parole (so yes in the deal the kid at max spends half the time under the watch of the legal system unlike some keep claiming, as they forget parole doesn’t mean case closed and you’re free to go).

    • Shelia

      Matthew, I think there already is a free market system of criminal justice available in this country, whereby you get as much justice as you can afford. The last decade has given us some really extreme examples of how this is enacted and this is another prime event. I understand that you meant this to be a redress for victims but I strongly believe it would be another “get out of jail free” card for the wealthy. IMHO the only chance we have is to realize there are a LOT of us and few of them and realize we have the power and the responsibility to insist the laws reflect fairness for the many instead of the few. What do you think?

      • PoppaDavid

        That is a benefit of the current campaign finance system. The judge could receive a generous contribution to his re-election campaign by the parents. And then when he decides not to run he gets to keep anything left in the account. All very legal.

        The law isn’t perfect. But, we do have some input to improving it. Not so with a system totally based upon power and money.