The State is Over! If You Want It

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Jadagul
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

Post by Jadagul »

Yeah, I think we agree that mutual aid societies won't metastasize into a state in regions where an effective state already exists.
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Hugh Akston
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

Post by Hugh Akston »

I'll admit that I may deserve my rep around here for being overly parsimonious, but the distinction between a voluntary organization and an organization that extracts resources and imposes policy by force seems like a relevant one.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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I'm saying that in the absence of a state, something will eventually evolve to become a state by any minimum definition.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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Maybe. I can't see the future. For the moment the focus is on doing what the state can't do, like feeding the housebound, providing hygiene and PPE to the homeless, and filling potholes. Giving panic attacks to authoritarians is just a side hustle for the lulz.
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JD
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

Post by JD »

Kolohe wrote: 23 May 2020, 20:00 I'm saying that in the absence of a state, something will eventually evolve to become a state by any minimum definition.
I feel like the main issue, historically speaking, is that states are a great way to exert power, and the only way to effectively counter that power seems to be another state. So as soon as one state exists, there's extremely strong pressure for others to crop up.
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JasonL
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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The main issue is buttheads. There be no all voluntary rulesets because buttheads will break rules they say they want to live under. Buttheads don't want to live under a different ruleset, they want to live in your ruleset and operate outside of the rules so you are constrained and they are not. Buttheads will break you until you generate rules enforcement involving force, and then it's off to the races.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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JasonL wrote: 27 May 2020, 08:54 The main issue is buttheads. There be no all voluntary rulesets because buttheads will break rules they say they want to live under. Buttheads don't want to live under a different ruleset, they want to live in your ruleset and operate outside of the rules so you are constrained and they are not. Buttheads will break you until you generate rules enforcement involving force, and then it's off to the races.
The main issue is buttheads in rules enforcement.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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Warren wrote: 27 May 2020, 09:40
JasonL wrote: 27 May 2020, 08:54 The main issue is buttheads. There be no all voluntary rulesets because buttheads will break rules they say they want to live under. Buttheads don't want to live under a different ruleset, they want to live in your ruleset and operate outside of the rules so you are constrained and they are not. Buttheads will break you until you generate rules enforcement involving force, and then it's off to the races.
The main issue is buttheads in rules enforcement.
Buttheads tend to seek power, but power tends to turn people into buttheads.
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JD
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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JasonL wrote: 27 May 2020, 08:54 The main issue is buttheads. There be no all voluntary rulesets because buttheads will break rules they say they want to live under. Buttheads don't want to live under a different ruleset, they want to live in your ruleset and operate outside of the rules so you are constrained and they are not. Buttheads will break you until you generate rules enforcement involving force, and then it's off to the races.
Yes, but I think that every society has buttheads, and not every society has a state. Arguably, too, the state actually encourages people to be buttheads by boiling down every issue to force.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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JD wrote: 27 May 2020, 10:47 not every society has a state.
Whaaaaa????

That, as per JasonL's point, is literally not possible. Without a state the buttheads would destroy the society.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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Warren wrote: 27 May 2020, 10:48
JD wrote: 27 May 2020, 10:47 not every society has a state.
Whaaaaa????

That, as per JasonL's point, is literally not possible. Without a state the buttheads would destroy the society.
Not sure if serious or not, but: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stateless_society
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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We are invoking prehistorical tribalism?
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Kolohe
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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JD wrote: 27 May 2020, 11:04
Warren wrote: 27 May 2020, 10:48
JD wrote: 27 May 2020, 10:47 not every society has a state.
Whaaaaa????

That, as per JasonL's point, is literally not possible. Without a state the buttheads would destroy the society.
Not sure if serious or not, but: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stateless_society
If one doesn’t want to call the areas in yellow on that map a ‘state’, fine, but I find it highly unlikely that there was never any group to group conflict nor coercion on individuals using threats of the use of force in those areas.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

Meh. There are certainly indigenous tribal societies I'd be hard pressed to call states. Yes, they all exist inside modern states that fuck with them to various degrees and they all, themselves, have mechanisms for dispute resolutions and, at least formerly, some collective defense from outside threats, but it would still be a stretch to call them states in anything resembling the modern sense. One might make the same argument about the Romani and other ethnic or tribal societies that persist without, e.g., having any sense of territorial borders.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

Post by Warren »

D.A. Ridgely wrote: 27 May 2020, 11:18 Meh. There are certainly indigenous tribal societies I'd be hard pressed to call states. Yes, they all exist inside modern states that fuck with them to various degrees and they all, themselves, have mechanisms for dispute resolutions and, at least formerly, some collective defense from outside threats, but it would still be a stretch to call them states in anything resembling the modern sense. One might make the same argument about the Romani and other ethnic or tribal societies that persist without, e.g., having any sense of territorial borders.
I don't know why you find it hard to call them states.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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Warren wrote: 27 May 2020, 11:35
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 27 May 2020, 11:18 Meh. There are certainly indigenous tribal societies I'd be hard pressed to call states. Yes, they all exist inside modern states that fuck with them to various degrees and they all, themselves, have mechanisms for dispute resolutions and, at least formerly, some collective defense from outside threats, but it would still be a stretch to call them states in anything resembling the modern sense. One might make the same argument about the Romani and other ethnic or tribal societies that persist without, e.g., having any sense of territorial borders.
I don't know why you find it hard to call them states.
Agree. While tribal societies are too small to have all the formal paraphernalia of modern states, they invariably have chieftains and tribal elders. Also, small societies can be brutal in their enforcement of social norms.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

Post by thoreau »

They're states in the model of a particular era. Inadequate by today's standards, but they have hierarchies and they control people within a territory.

Maybe in a few centuries people will chuckle at the idea of a state that has no resource claims in the asteroid belt and doesn't even have basic nuclear fusion infrastructure. But that won't make today's states any less statist.
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JasonL
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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Probably close to a semantics argument here about stateless societies. I don't think the distinction matters to the Grand Unified Theory of Buttheads.
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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

thoreau wrote: 27 May 2020, 12:28 They're states in the model of a particular era. Inadequate by today's standards, but they have hierarchies and they control people within a territory.
In which case many nuclear families are also states inside their front door.

It's a semantic argument. If you're taking a political science final exam, you give whatever definition the text book or the professor claimed was the right answer or the best answer or whatever. If you're looking to dictionary definitions, well, the better ones just report popular contemporary usage and don't claim prescriptive authority. Personally, I'd say there are indicia of statehood that even by historical standards usually includes control over territory and which would therefore rule out nomadic tribes of various sorts who simply didn't have any concept of real property, at least unless and until their lives were encroached upon. Mobs and gangs have leaders and control their membership and, in a sense, their turf. Having leaders and exercising control over others is, again, an indicator, but if you look at every social structure throughout history and try to impose a particular set of criteria on them such that you get one answer or another to the question "was it a state" you're either going to end up with a stipulative formula that leaves dubious "exceptions that prove the rule" or you say, okay, this isn't a term of art outside academia, so what the set of all states share with one another isn't going to be the same in every case. Rather, they resemble each other in enough regards that we say they both go into the "state" category or they don't, but that will be driven by a decision over word usage, not anything in the nature of social ordering that requires inclusion or exclusion.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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My understanding of a state is an organization that uses coercion to get what it wants, good or bad.

You could organize a volunteer military complete with strict hierarchies, but until it starts pushing people around via force, or threats there of, it's not what I would call a state. I think the temptation to use that organization to achieve ends otherwise unavailable to you is where the problem is. And I'm not sure if there is a practical solution to that.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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If you talk to people doing early history, they will distinguish the state as a particular form of social organization, contrasted with say the tribal organization of nomadic herders. You only get states in agricultural societies.

But of course, the absence of a state doesn't mean the absence of a governmental structure. Tribal societies are governed even if they aren't states.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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Interesting long read about maverick rewilders who are breeding endangered species at home and releasing them into the wild, much to the dismay of official conservation organizations.
White and his peers have quietly released captive-bred wild animals that were once commonplace in Britain: beavers, turtle doves, butterflies, even glow-worms. One introductionist I spoke to, Graham Wellstead, has released hundreds of polecats into the English countryside, helping this once-persecuted small carnivore spread across the south and east of the country once again. Another man’s captive-breeding programme has revived the endangered sand lizard.
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The introductionists are not feted. To the conservation establishment, these men – and it is overwhelmingly men – are not allies, but pests, who do more harm than good. Professional conservationists complain that unsanctioned reintroductions mess up their data. If conservation scientists can’t accurately measure whether a wild population is increasing or falling, they can’t understand what’s causing a decline or take steps to stop it. Releasing a captive-bred water vole into the wild won’t save that creature if the marshland where it lives has been drained; releasing a swift won’t save the species if air pollution has removed the insects on which it fed.
Bourn said that to suggest maverick work could complement conservation science was to underestimate its negative impact. The scientists’ picture of the purple emperor’s expansion, for instance, has been muddied by breeders. “We’ll never be totally sure if the purple emperor is responding to climate change, or changing woodland management practices, or whether people have been shoving them out the back of their cars.” The risk, argued Bourn, was that unofficial reintroductions “corrupted” datasets, research priorities and, ultimately, the practical act of actually saving a species.
Most people agree Gow has almost singlehandedly brought back the beaver. Quite how is a little mysterious. “Somewhere in Derek’s barn there’s a big red button,” joked one scientist at the Exmoor beaver jamboree. “It’s like a Bond film,” laughed another – “‘Release. The. Beavers.’” Alongside “unofficial” releases in Scotland and Devon (where the animals were first rumoured to be living wild in 2006 and first filmed in 2013) was an official trial that began in 2009, carefully placing beavers in a Scottish glen from which they couldn’t spread. By 2016, the Scottish government recognised that more than 400 wild beavers, most released unofficially, were now so dispersed that they should once again be considered a native species. The government in England this year declared that Devon’s unofficially released beavers, which have multiplied to a population of more than 50 on the River Otter, could stay there permanently.
According to Gow, the official beaver trial in Scotland was so hidebound by caution that without the unofficial releases it would never have led to them becoming officially recognised as a native wild animal again. Ultimately, however, as Gow reveals in an enjoyably rude book he’s written about reintroducing the beaver, it was not maverick action by “little people” that brought back the beaver, but political machinations. Gow has been financially supported by the multimillionaire board member of Defra, Ben Goldsmith, brother of environment minister Zac, for more than a decade. He obtained backing from wealthy landowners such as Knepp’s Charlie Burrell and the philanthropist Lisbet Rausing, who owns swaths of the Highlands. Civil servants and politicians were lobbied at the highest level.

“Yes, without them we would’ve been screwed,” said Gow. “That’s what’s wrong. The reason some individuals are able to talk to government [about beavers] – and we can probably still drop notes into Boris if we want to – is because people at the top of this ‘meritocratic’ chain want it to happen. I appreciate that tremendously, and I am very grateful, but I do not think that that is a fair or responsible way for governments to act. It is actually abhorrently wrong.”
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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Awesome. There was a beaver re-introducer featured on a show we watched recently https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09jh2wn
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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Hugh Akston wrote: 15 Oct 2020, 12:59
“That’s what’s wrong. The reason some individuals are able to talk to government [about beavers] – and we can probably still drop notes into Boris if we want to – is because people at the top of this ‘meritocratic’ chain want it to happen. I appreciate that tremendously, and I am very grateful, but I do not think that that is a fair or responsible way for governments to act. It is actually abhorrently wrong.”
Can't argue with that.
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Re: The State is Over! If You Want It

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Found this on metafilter (which does lean toward the left, and "libertarians want Somalia"-types): of course we've all heard of the New Hampshire Free State Project, but apparently before that, there was a smaller-scale "free town project" in the New Hampshire town of Grafton. This article is a book review for A Libertarian walks into a bear: the utopian plot to liberate an American town (and some bears) by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling.

Tl;dr: not only did the town almost immediately star experiencing "normal" problems like potholes and such after the no-government folks took over the government, they also started having huge problems with bears roaming the town and even mauling people. And nothing could be done.

https://newrepublic.com/article/159662/ ... wn-project

....After all, in a town with fewer than 800 registered voters, and plenty of property for sale, it would not take much for a committed group of transplants to establish a foothold, and then win dominance of municipal governance. And so the Free Town Project began. The libertarians expected to be greeted as liberators, but from the first town meeting, they faced the inconvenient reality that many of Grafton’s presumably freedom-loving citizens saw them as outsiders first, and compatriots second—if at all. Tensions flared further when a little Googling revealed what “freedom” entailed for some of the new colonists. One of the original masterminds of the plan, a certain Larry Pendarvis, had written of his intention to create a space honoring the freedom to “traffic organs, the right to hold duels, and the God-given, underappreciated right to organize so-called bum fights.” He had also bemoaned the persecution of the “victimless crime” that is “consensual cannibalism.” (“Logic is a strange thing,” observes Hongoltz-Hetling.)

-snip-

If the Libertarian vision of Freedom can take many shapes and sizes, one thing is bedrock: “Busybodies” and “statists” need to stay out of the way. And so the Free Towners spent years pursuing an aggressive program of governmental takeover and delegitimation, their appetite for litigation matched only by their enthusiasm for cutting public services. They slashed the town’s already tiny yearly budget of $1 million by 30 percent, obliged the town to fight legal test case after test case, and staged absurd, standoffish encounters with the sheriff to rack up YouTube hits. Grafton was a poor town to begin with, but with tax revenue dropping even as its population expanded, things got steadily worse. Potholes multiplied, domestic disputes proliferated, violent crime spiked, and town workers started going without heat. “Despite several promising efforts,” Hongoltz-Hetling dryly notes, “a robust Randian private sector failed to emerge to replace public services.” Instead, Grafton, “a haven for miserable people,” became a town gone “feral.” Enter the bears, stage right.

-snip-

The black bears in Grafton were not like other black bears. Singularly “bold,” they started hanging out in yards and on patios in broad daylight. Most bears avoid loud noises; these casually ignored the efforts of Graftonites to run them off. Chickens and sheep began to disappear at alarming rates. Household pets went missing, too. One Graftonite was playing with her kittens on her lawn when a bear bounded out of the woods, grabbed two of them, and scarfed them down. Soon enough, the bears were hanging out on porches and trying to enter homes.

Combining wry description with evocative bits of scientific fact, Hongoltz-Hetling’s portrayal of the bears moves from comical if foreboding to downright terrifying. These are animals that can scent food seven times farther than a trained bloodhound, that can flip 300-pound stones with ease, and that can, when necessary, run in bursts of speed rivaling a deer’s. When the bears finally start mauling humans—attacking two women in their homes—Hongoltz-Hetling’s relation of the scenes is nightmarish.


-snip-

Grappling with what to do about the bears, the Graftonites also wrestled with the arguments of certain libertarians who questioned whether they should do anything at all—especially since several of the town residents had taken to feeding the bears, more or less just because they could. One woman, who prudently chose to remain anonymous save for the sobriquet “Doughnut Lady,” revealed to Hongoltz-Hetling that she had taken to welcoming bears on her property for regular feasts of grain topped with sugared doughnuts. If those same bears showed up on someone else’s lawn expecting similar treatment, that wasn’t her problem. The bears, for their part, were left to navigate the mixed messages sent by humans who alternately threw firecrackers and pastries at them. Such are the paradoxes of Freedom. Some people just “don’t get the responsibility side of being libertarians,” Rosalie Babiarz tells Hongoltz-Hetling, which is certainly one way of framing the problem.

Pressed by bears from without and internecine conflicts from within, the Free Town Project began to come apart. Caught up in “pitched battles over who was living free, but free in the right way,” the libertarians descended into accusing one another of statism, leaving individuals and groups to do the best (or worst) they could. Some kept feeding the bears, some built traps, others holed up in their homes, and still others went everywhere toting increasingly larger-caliber handguns. After one particularly vicious attack, a shadowy posse formed and shot more than a dozen bears in their dens. This effort, which was thoroughly illegal, merely put a dent in the population; soon enough, the bears were back in force. ....
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