Two Institutions of Faith

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Two Institutions of Faith

I first posted this over on the ANTItheist site. That site doesn't seem to get much traffic. Revised and resposted here.

Quote:
Here's an easy task for an atheist.

Think of an entity which has absolutely no physical manifestation. There is no evidence that it exists short of the belief that it "just exists" or "has to exist". It demands your unquestioning obedience. You give it's representatives a percentage of your income. They may give you help if you ask for it. If you defy it or it's representatives, it's representatives threaten to kill you. Children are taught that it exists from an early age. When closely examined, one discovers that what it's representatives say it says is contradictory to what it's repesentatives do. It's representatives claim to protect you from a certain doom which probably doesn't exist, and that in forcing your obedience they have only your best interests in their deluded little minds.

Are you thinking of God?

Because I just described the State.

In the history of the world the two things which have lead the most people to remorselessly kill, enslave, and pillage, are Gods and Governments.

Until something on the order of 300 years ago, the two went hand in hand. Kings and Emporers ruled by divine right. The respected people similar to modern day intellectuals were the clergy, and the ruler gave the clergy an elevated status through it's use of force. Church and State were inseperable. The Church controlled people's minds, the State controlled people's bodies.

230 years ago in America (American Revolution), the "Liberals" were small-government deists, wanted essentially no regulation or centralization of power at all. The liberals had all the logic and reason on their side. The "Conservatives" were big government, religious, and wanted interventionism and regulation of the economy to aggrandize the State. They let the Liberals have logic and reason, and instead, appealed to traditional values, faith, and nationalism.

But look at modern politics.

The Left has clinged to the State. The Right as clinged to the Church.

The Left obeys one master, the Right obeys another. Both believe vehemently that their master, be it God or Government, can solve all the problems they see. A good example is that the Right believes in Church-sponsored charity, whereas the Left believes in State-sponsored charity.

Statism and Theism are strikingly similar. Unfortunately many atheists don't see that a belief in the existance and authority of the State is as irrational and unfounded as the belief in the existance and authority of God.

Atheism and Anarchism are rational disbeliefs in any inherent authority of any god over man or any man over another man. They are the antidote to those two age-old institutions of faith which people have killed for and died for: Church and State.


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Zhwazi wrote:I first posted

Zhwazi wrote:
I first posted this over on the ANTItheist site. That site doesn't seem to get much traffic. Revised and resposted here.

Here's an easy task for an atheist.

Think of an entity which has absolutely no physical manifestation.

That's not an easy task, it's an impossible task. To exist is to exist as something, and to exist as something is to have properties. To have a property is to be physical.

Quote:

Are you thinking of God?

Because I just described the State.

The state has physical properites. Ideals must be instantiated, and to be instantiated is to exist as a behavior. Behaviors are physical

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todangst wrote:Quote:Here's

todangst wrote:
Quote:
Here's an easy task for an atheist.

Think of an entity which has absolutely no physical manifestation.

That's not an easy task, it's an impossible task. To exist is to exist as something, and to exist as something is to have properties. To have a property is to be physical.


Point out where I said it had to exist. I didn't. I was trying to demonstrate that it doesn't fucking exist. Your pitiful rebutle is based on the assumption that existence is relevant, which it's not. Let's start with the evidence, then draw a conclusion, not start with a conclusion then seek evidence.

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The state has physical properites. Ideals must be instantiated, and to be instantiated is to exist as a behavior. Behaviors are physical

It the state is just an idea, then it does not exist, irrelevant of whether or not it causes action. God does not exist just because god causes behavior, the State does not exist just because it causes behavior. Ideas and actions are distict, even if a causal relationship exists. Ideas are not physical, they have no physical properties.


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Zhwazi wrote:todangst

Zhwazi wrote:
todangst wrote:
Quote:
Here's an easy task for an atheist.

Think of an entity which has absolutely no physical manifestation.

That's not an easy task, it's an impossible task. To exist is to exist as something, and to exist as something is to have properties. To have a property is to be physical.


Point out where I said it had to exist. I didn't.

You're not paying attention to your own words. You said "think of an entity which has absolutely no physical manifestation.' Now, unless all you mean by that is to think of something imaginary (i.e. something physical, but only existing as as concept), what you are asking is actually impossible. You can't think of an entity without any physicality, because to be an entity in the first place is to have a properties.

What I then presented to you is basic ontology, basic metaphysics. The point of presenting the basic metaphysic was to stress that for anything to be called an entity in the first place, it had to have properites, and to have properties is to have physicality.

Again: To exist is to exist as something, to have identity. This is the basic axiom of existence. Next, to have identity is to have properties. This is the axiom of identity. To have properites is to be physical.

So, to be called an entity is to have properties. To be called an entity is to be physical. So you can't talk about an entity without physical properites. It's an oxymoronic request. It's self contradictory.

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I was trying to demonstrate that it doesn't fucking exist. Your pitiful rebutle is based on the assumption that existence is relevant, which it's not.

First of all, the word is 'rebuttal'. You might want to spell the word correctly while using it in the midst of an insult. Otherwise, you end up looking violently stupid.

Second, my 'rebuttal' is pointed towards your statement "think of an entity without..." and again, to be an entity is to have physical properties.

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Let's start with the evidence, then draw a conclusion, not start with a conclusion then seek evidence.

What I have done is start at the very beginning, with basic ontology and metaphysics, and have shown that you can't call something an entity without giving it physical properties.

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The state has physical properites. Ideals must be instantiated, and to be instantiated is to exist as a behavior. Behaviors are physical

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If the state is just an idea, then it does not exist,

If it is "just" an idea, then it would exist as an abstraction without a real world correlate. So it would have the physical properites of neurons, and whatever potential or abstractions of physical properites contained in the idea.

However, states clearly do exist as more than abstractions, and they are instantiated through behaviors. So they have intrapersonal and interpersonal properites.

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God does not exist just because god causes behavior, the State does not exist just because it causes behavior.

If the state 'caused behavior' then it would have to exist, otherwise, you'd be violating the basic principles of causality of the universe - nothing causing something.

The state is an abstraction. Abstractions exist as physical entities in a physical brain. Concepts like the 'state' are instantiated through human behavior.

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Ideas are not physical, they have no physical properties.

How can you ever know of them, then? If they have no physical properties? How can you sense something that is not empirical?!

Ever see an idea without a physical brain?

Ideas exist as neural connections in a physical brain. Ideas are transmitted physically between people through audio/visual means, which are also physical.

If ideas had no physical properties, how could they even be said to exist? Present a positive set of attributes for ideas that are non physical. Your nobel prize awaits if you answer.

You're in over your head, so mind your manners.

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Excuse me for using

First, thank you for correcting my spelling. It seems like I only misspell words when it's the most embarassing possible moment.

Excuse me for using layspeak. Someone that doesn't believe in god is more likely to say "God does not exist" than launch off into a discussion of neural activity and I wasn't expecting you to do that, and I really consider it to be an unneccessary pain in the ass.

I used "exist" to mean objective as opposed to subjective. I was not considering subjective entities to "exist" because it confuses people. If we expand the definition of "exist" too far the word loses it's meaning. Now I realize you're not thinking like that. I do recognize that they are patterns of neural activity, and have recognized this all along. We were just using "exist" differently.

To make this short:
Do you understand and agree with my giving states the same status as gods? If so, we're arguing for a stupid reason and I'm slightly irritated at your for making this harder than it had to be. I percieve that you understood my intentions and deliberately misconstrued my words to try to either anger or discredit me, which is completely unprovoked.


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What exactly is your

What exactly is your argument? That states do not exist? We'd have to define "state" first. How about "a body that legislates and interprets laws?" Well, that clearly exists. Perhaps we could define nation-state as "a sovereign geopolitical entity." Those also exist.

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Zhwazi wrote:First, thank

Zhwazi wrote:
First, thank you for correcting my spelling. It seems like I only misspell words when it's the most embarassing possible moment.

Excuse me for using layspeak.

You're not being criticized for using layspeak. Your argument is being criticized for making an incoherent claim: that we can conceive of an entity without properties, or that ideas can exist without any physical properties.

Here is what you've said:

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Think of an entity which has absolutely no physical manifestation.

Again, if your sole point in issuing this statement was to actually say "think of something imaginary, then you should have just said so. However, rather than do that, you went on to declare:

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Ideas are not physical, they have no physical properties.

So now you are in fact openly arguing that 'something" can exist wtithout any physical properties: ideas.

You were then challenged to demonstrate how ideas can exist without physical properites. You not only failed to respond, you failed to even acknowledge that the challenge was issued.

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Someone that doesn't believe in god is more likely to say "God does not exist" than launch off into a discussion of neural activity

That has no relation, whatsoever, to what we are discussing.

Again, I must remind you of your own words: You stated that ideas can exist without physical properties. This is an incoherent statement. My response was issued to demonstrate why this was an incoherent statement. I then challenged you to refute my claim.

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I used "exist" to mean objective as opposed to subjective. I was not considering subjective entities to "exist" because it confuses people.

Again, I am responding to your claims that we can conceive of entities without properties, or that ideas can exist without ANY physical properties.

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If we expand the definition of "exist" too far the word loses it's meaning.

No one is expanding the definition of the word. What is actually happening is that I am demonstratign to you what the word means.
To exist is to exist as something.

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We were just using "exist" differently.

i.e., I am using the term correctly.

If you want to hold that something is merely imaginary, then say so. However, you've stated that ideas can exist without any physical properties.

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To make this short:
Do you understand and agree with my giving states the same status as gods?

No. You're confusing an abstraction instantiated through human behavior for a reification error. But nice try.

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I percieve that you understood my intentions and deliberately misconstrued my words

Yes, of course. In fact, I'm part of an evil cabal out to discredit and destroy you.

Seriously, I percieve that you have a problem following your own words. You said that ideas can exist without physical properties. I'm asking you "how so"? If you want to now distance yourself from your own claims, that's fine. But don't project out your problems onto me....

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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Insidium Profundis

Insidium Profundis wrote:
What exactly is your argument? That states do not exist? We'd have to define "state" first. How about "a body that legislates and interprets laws?" Well, that clearly exists. Perhaps we could define nation-state as "a sovereign geopolitical entity." Those also exist.

States exist, and they exist in as far as human behaviors create them, i.e. through interpersonally created and accepted rules.

I think the concept of 'abstraction' confuses people.... some take it to mean 'immaterial' because it is an intrapersonal phenomenon, i.e. because we experience the working of our neurons through first person ontology, and not through third-person behaviors, we grant the process a special status that somehow seems 'magical' or even 'immaterial'.

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First of all I wasn't really

First of all I wasn't really arguing anything. I was just rambling about how government is like a religion. If you want some kind of arguement, then hey, I'll argue. I like doing that.

I use the word "State" as a synonym for "Government". As in, when "The State of New York" is charging you with a crime, it's really "The Government of New York." I don't mean it as a pairing of land and government. As far as I care, a government can exist without having any territory. Such is the case when you meet a man with a knife in a dark alleyway who isn't stupid enough to say he's lawfully taking your property so he can protect you, or to call himself an IRS agent, he's pretty blunt about being a mugger.

I contend that governments and states are imaginary. They're not real. And that if you assume for a minute that they are real, it's easy to recognize that they're illegitemate. There is nothing but PR and common opinion that distinguishes a State from a Mafia.

First, they are not real because they are groups and groups are imaginary. Components of groups might not be, but groups themselves are. A State or Government is a group of people. Objectively there is just a lot of people. Classifying them as a "State" or "Government" doesn't change that they're still just a number of people, we just happen to mentally group them together.

Second, they're not legitemate. Cop or killer, IRS agent or scam artist, legislature or slaveowner, they do the same things to people. They use force or threat of force to deprive you of your life, liberty, and property. I don't care which of those you call yourself, if you hurt me, I'm going to be very mad at you and I'm likely tempted to shoot you if at all possible because I percieve that you are aggressing against me.

Simple enough?


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Man, you're not making this

Man, you're not making this easy. I think you understood what I meant and that's all I care about. I'll concede on all points I don't contradict in this post.

todangst wrote:
Quote:
Someone that doesn't believe in god is more likely to say "God does not exist" than launch off into a discussion of neural activity

That has no relation, whatsoever, to what we are discussing.


"We" are discussing two different things. I'm trying to convey a message. You're being picky about how I'm wording it wrong.

I say "God does not exist" just as I say "the State does not exist" and for the same reasons. But I didn't expect you to disagree with a claim that god does not exist because that's a much more popular claim around here and if I'm in the minority it's easy to convey thought patterns with comparisons.

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We were just using "exist" differently.

i.e., I am using the term correctly.

If you say so. I'll change my definition then for any disputes I have with you. Just don't get picky when I use the words to mean something else when talking to someone else. My goal isn't to conform perfectly to established definitions in philosophy. It's to talk to people and try to communicate ideas to them. If I believe they'll understand what I'm saying irrelevant of what words I use, I'll use whatever words jump into my head.

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If you want to hold that something is merely imaginary, then say so. However, you've stated that ideas can exist without any physical properties.

The first was my intention. That something is merely imaginary.

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Quote:
To make this short:
Do you understand and agree with my giving states the same status as gods?

No. You're confusing an abstraction instantiated through human behavior for a reification error. But nice try.

I wasn't talking about the human behavior which results from the belief in the state, but the state itself. To parallel it, I wasn't talking about the behavior which results from the belief in god, but god itself.

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Yes, of course. In fact, I'm part of an evil cabal out to discredit and destroy you.

Seriously though. Did you deliberately misinterpet what I said or is what you're saying actually what you think I meant?

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Seriously, I percieve that you have a problem following your own words. You said that ideas can exist without physical properties. I'm asking you "how so"? If you want to now distance yourself from your own claims, that's fine. But don't project out your problems onto me....

I'm not trying to distance myself from my own claims, I'm trying to distance myself from how you interpreted my words, as your interpetation and my intention are vastly different. I'm not trying to blame you, or project my problems onto you, I don't know who's at fault, probably both of us. You got the wrong signal and that's what I'm trying to tell you.

My intention was to say that ideas are imaginary, the state is an idea, so the state is imaginary.


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Zhwazi wrote:First of all I

Zhwazi wrote:
First of all I wasn't really arguing anything. I was just rambling about how government is like a religion. If you want some kind of arguement, then hey, I'll argue. I like doing that.

I use the word "State" as a synonym for "Government". As far as I care, a government can exist without having any territory. I contend that governments and states are imaginary.

I contend that you are confusing an abstraction, instantiated through interpersonal behaviors, for 'imaginary'.

To be imaginary is to merely exist within a sentient brain. Imaginary concepts are intrapersonal concepts, although they can be communicated, symbolized, and transmitted interpersonally.

For example: a unicorn is imaginary. You and I both can concieve of a unicorn. Furthermore, there are various attempts to symbolize the concept of a unicorn - in art for example. But there is nothing in the real world to actually instantiate a literal unicorn. There can oly be symbols of the imaginary concept.

However, when it comes to governments or states, states actually do exist in that they go beyond mere intrapersonal process, and they go beyond mere symbolization. You and I can actually instantiate the rules we create in our brains through interpersonal behaviors. We can instantiate abstractions like 'governments' or states.

The United States of America exists as more than just imagination, it exists as an actual state as evidenced by the fact that you and I (assuming that you are an american) instatiate the concept through behaviors. We pay taxes. We obey laws. We vote, etc. These behaviors instantiate the concept of 'state' and create a state as an interpersonal reality.

So they are 'real' in that they are instantiated through behaviors, which are real. They are abstractions, yes, but they have real world correlates, whereas imaginary concepts can only have real world symbols, but not real world correlates.

Perhaps your goal here is to point out that we can change the abstraction, seeing as it is a human creation. If so, I agree.

Or, perhaps what you are trying to argue is some form of Platonism? That there is no real world correlate that can every 'perfectly' represent an abstraction? Even if this is the case, it would not make abstractions imaginary... it would just mean that the real world correlates were imperfect matches for the abstraction.

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They're not real.

Again, it appears that you want to call abstractionsr 'not real', when in reality, they are 'real' wherever they are instantiated through behaviors. They are as 'real' as any human convention.

So I must hope that you actually are trying to say that they are human conventions, human creations, and that we are free to change them.

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There is nothing but PR and common opinion that distinguishes a State from a Mafia.

Now this is just the cynicism of youth speaking. The mafia differs from many states in that it adheres to a different set of rules, a different set of cultural mores. For example, the mafia does not allow for democratic political action. The mafia does not obey the basic rules of human conduct and the mafia does not accept the basic concepts of human rights.

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First, they are not real because they are groups and groups are imaginary.

Again, I think you go too far... groups are abstract concepts, yes, but not merely imaginary, because they are abstractions instantiated through real world behaviors, based upon selection criteria (race, gender, age) that are also real.

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Components of groups might not be, but groups themselves are.

The components are real, yes. But so are the groups themselves, if people accept the components as a set of criteria for group selection.

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A State or Government is a group of people. Objectively there is just a lot of people.

There is more than this, objectively. There is some common bond formed through an abstraction, instantiated through behaviors. These behaviors are objective fact too, even if they are formed through intersubjective rules or concepts.

I think what you are struggling to actually say is that concepts like states or groups are intersubjective.

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Classifying them as a "State" or "Government" doesn't change that they're still just a number of people

Nor is it intended to. The concept of the state is an intent to add something additional, instantiated through behaviors. I am more than just a man, I am also an american man, because I accept that legitimacy of the concept, and enact behaviors that instantiate the concept in the real world.

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Second, they're not legitemate.

Ah, but what decides what is 'legitimate' in the first place?

Interpersonal agreement. Right? To be 'legitimate' requires humans agree that something is 'right' given a certain set of rules.

Legitimacy is an intersubjective process, with both objective and subjective elements. So, seeing as interpersonal behavior decrees what is 'legitimate' it follows that they are as 'legitimate' as any set of human behaviors can be.

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Cop or killer, IRS agent or scam artist, legislature or slaveowner, they do the same things to people. They use force or threat of force to deprive you of your life, liberty, and property.

They may use similar methods, but their motives differ, and THAT is the key point that you are leaving out. Yes, a murderer and a cop can both kill, but they kill for different reasons.

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I don't care which of those you call yourself, if you hurt me, I'm going to be very mad at you and I'm likely tempted to shoot you if at all possible because I percieve that you are aggressing against me.

So, you'd see no difference between a mugger trying to harm you to take your wallet, from a doctor trying to restrain you to help you avoid hurting yourself?

You'd see no difference between a killer out to kill you for pesonal pleasure, from a police officer trying to shoot you for having killed your family in a rage-frenzy?

You're focusing on the behavior, and leaving out the motivations.

Quote:

Simple enough?

I can't help but find this funny....

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Zhwazi wrote:Man, you're not

Zhwazi wrote:
Man, you're not making this easy.

I'm making you deal with what you've said. Sometimes that's very hard.

Quote:

I think you understood what I meant and that's all I care about.

Again, you've said that ideas can exist without physical properties. I asked you to defend that, and you've studiously avoided conceding that you've said it ever since.

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"We" are discussing two different things. I'm trying to convey a message. You're being picky about how I'm wording it wrong.

No. You've said ideas can exist without physical properties. Defend your claim, or withdraw it.

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If you want to hold that something is merely imaginary, then say so. However, you've stated that ideas can exist without any physical properties.

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The first was my intention. That something is merely imaginary.

Then say so. Some things are imaginary. However, you've also said that ideas can exist without any physical properties.

Quote:
Quote:
To make this short:
Do you understand and agree with my giving states the same status as gods?

No. You're confusing an abstraction instantiated through human behavior for a reification error. But nice try.

Quote:

I wasn't talking about the human behavior which results from the belief in the state, but the state itself.

The 'state' itself exists as both abstraction and behavior, as an interpersonal process.

Yes, the state is an abstraction. As an abstraction, it exists as an idea in a human brain. The idea can be instantiated, just like any possible idea can be insantiated, through interpersonal processes: i.e. behavior. If I create a game, or a set of rules, you can I can follow them with real world behaviors.

However, imaginary concepts can only be symbolized, they cannot be instantiated. There's no way to instantiate a unicorn, or a flying carpet. Therefore, when the theist confuses his imaginary god as representing a real world 'entity', he's commiting a reification error. He's confusing his imagination for reality.

I think what you really want to say is that concepts like 'state' are intersubjective... you are taking a nominalist approach... 'states' don't exist in nature, as objective things, like rocks and trees, they are instantiated through human behavior, born of adherence to a human created set of rules. This doesn't make them 'imaginary', it doesn't mean that they are not 'real', but it does mean that they are human creations, and that they do not necessarily represent a 'real, universal set of rules in nature'

So you go too far to say that they are imaginary, or not real. You'd be better served to say that they are human creations, and to remember that there is an important distinction about intrapersonal processes - some represent real world potentialities, others do not.

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Yes, of course. In fact, I'm part of an evil cabal out to discredit and destroy you.

Quote:

Seriously though. Did you deliberately misinterpet what I said or is what you're saying actually what you think I meant?

Seriously though, can you stop repeating this face-saving nonsense, and concede that you actually did argue that ideas do not have physical properties?

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Seriously, I percieve that you have a problem following your own words. You said that ideas can exist without physical properties. I'm asking you "how so"? If you want to now distance yourself from your own claims, that's fine. But don't project out your problems onto me....

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I'm not trying to distance myself from my own claims, I'm trying to distance myself from how you interpreted my words,

No. You stated that ideas can exist without physical properties, and you've NEVER once conceded that you wrote that ideas can exist without physical properties, even though I've raised the point to you about 10 times now.

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The state is a conceptual

The state is a conceptual entity that characterizes a network of physical entities acting with authority over a sovereign nation. Authority is necessary. Your argument seems almost semantic at this point.

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Most of what I didn't

Most of what I didn't respond to can probably be covered with this one.

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I think what you are struggling to actually say is that concepts like states or groups are intersubjective.

I think that'll do it. I've never heard the word used before so it didn't enter my mind.

todangst wrote:
The United States of America exists as more than just imagination, it exists as an actual state as evidenced by the fact that you and I (assuming that you are an american) instatiate the concept through behaviors. We pay taxes. We obey laws. We vote, etc. These behaviors instantiate the concept of 'state' and create a state as an interpersonal reality.

I reject the idea of the United States of America. I obey because people with badges, guns, and uniforms threaten me if I do not. I do not pay taxes except as forced from me by robbers calling themselves IRS agents or the SSA, and avoid paying taxes whenever possible. I do not obey laws when no cops are around. I have never voted, as I believe it to be an act of aggression. If this group of aggresive men and women is what you think of as the United States of America, I contend that the United States is a band of crooks who forcibly do as they please without reguard to others.

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So I must hope that you actually are trying to say that they are human conventions, human creations, and that we are free to change them.

I'm saying that as well.

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Now this is just the cynicism of youth speaking. The mafia differs from many states in that it adheres to a different set of rules, a different set of cultural mores.

Mafia: "Let's claim territory, threaten the locals to extract money, hire thugs to force others to do as we tell them, and kill anyone who challenges us."

Government: "Let's claim jurisdiction, tax the locals to extract money, hire police to enforce the will of the legislature, and kill traitors and rebels who might try to overthrow us."

Amazing how political wording can turn blatant crimes into legitemate acts, isn't it? The Boston Tea Party is now a "Terrorist Act" I hear.

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For example, the mafia does not allow for democratic political action.

Nor does China. Or North Korea. Or a number of other countries. But they still have governments. Would you say that if a Mafia did hold elections for Mob Boss they'd suddenly be legitemate? Would you say the government of North Korea is legitemate?

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The mafia does not obey the basic rules of human conduct and the mafia does not accept the basic concepts of human rights.

Governments killed 200 million people over the last 100 years. Mafias wish they could be so effective. My ass they accept the basic concepts of human rights. They pretend to. They pay lip service to it. Their actions speak louder than their words. The basic concept of human rights is self-ownership. Life, liberty, and property. You are an idiot if you think War, Law, and Taxation, the three major functions of government, are somehow not at odds with human rights.

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Classifying them as a "State" or "Government" doesn't change that they're still just a number of people

Nor is it intended to. The concept of the state is an intent to add something additional, instantiated through behaviors. I am more than just a man, I am also an american man, because I accept that legitimacy of the concept, and enact behaviors that instantiate the concept in the real world.

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Second, they're not legitemate.

Ah, but what decides what is 'legitimate' in the first place?

Interpersonal agreement. Right? To be 'legitimate' requires humans agree that something is 'right' given a certain set of rules.

Legitimacy is an intersubjective process, with both objective and subjective elements. So, seeing as interpersonal behavior decrees what is 'legitimate' it follows that they are as 'legitimate' as any set of human behaviors can be.


Legitemacy of interaction is intersubjective, yes. Interpersonal behavior does not decree what is legitemate, it's what has unknown legitemacy which has to be determined, the interacting parties determine legitemacy subjectively individually. I own myself, so I can determine what acts are legitemate to do to me.

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Cop or killer, IRS agent or scam artist, legislature or slaveowner, they do the same things to people. They use force or threat of force to deprive you of your life, liberty, and property.

They may use similar methods, but their motives differ, and THAT is the key point that you are leaving out. Yes, a murderer and a cop can both kill, but they kill for different reasons.

Motives change what action is taken, not the act itself. A murderer and a cop are in many cases identical. A cop can kill in defense of himself, that's legitemate. But if he shoots up my car and blows out my windows because I didn't pull over when he flashed his lights, he could kill me and that's murder. I did nothing to him, his actions resulted in my death.

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So, you'd see no difference between a mugger trying to harm you to take your wallet, from a doctor trying to restrain you to help you avoid hurting yourself?

Correct. Now, if I told the doctor he could restrain me to prevent injury, that would be fine. But I don't accept the "I'm doing this for your own good" excuse as justifying it.

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You'd see no difference between a killer out to kill you for pesonal pleasure, from a police officer trying to shoot you for having killed your family in a rage-frenzy?

If I killed my family then I was an aggressor. Aggressors give up their rights as far as I'm concerned. I don't want to die, so whether or not the cop trying to kill me was acting legitemately or not, I'd still probably try to kill him. But I do see a difference there.

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You're focusing on the behavior, and leaving out the motivations.

I focus on peaceful interaction vs unprovoked aggression vs retaliation when looking at the behavior. Beyond peace/agression/retaliation the motivation is irrelelevant. It doesn't matter if I was killing my family to collect on insurance, because I was angry at them, because I was on PCP and I thought they were demons, that's not relevant and does not change the action of killing my family. What changes it is whether or not my family attacked me first and whether or not they expressed that they wanted to be killed (not that I'd kill them just because they wanted to die).


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Insidium Profundis

Insidium Profundis wrote:
Authority is necessary.

It is? Why do you say that?


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Purely on how you begin I

Purely on how you begin I have one idea for you. You seem to want the reader to link the ideas you give to a government, but begin by saying it is for atheist. Atheist is a term about god so god is on the brain so to speak. If you begin by saying, "I have a easy task for you today" or something then the topic of religion isn't on the brain to begin with.

On another point Authority is necessary for the weak and amoral. Children who don't understand right and wrong would need more rules then a child that does understand the concept. Yes I am saying some people lack a concept most children clearly lack, but if they didn't act like children we wouldn't have a problem now would we.

I believe in a weak government that would prevent such things as invasion or killing sprees. Complete an anarchy, if that is what you suggest, reduces society to pure and brutal survival of the fittest scenario. In such a setting war lords quickly take control and we have tyranny. On the same token tho you can say control of something will lead to complete control also tyranny. Both extremes look pretty bad and that is why people tend to try to find a balance. The purpose of government is to prevent the wrongs people do to each other. Self inflected wrongs I am unsure about and shouldn't be the law in my idea of government. Also this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what is bad, wrong, or harm.


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Because people are rational

Because people are rational actors and seek to benefit themselves whenever possible. If there is no authority/enforcement over what is and is not accepted, there is no incentive against acting in an otherwise undesired manner. Human rights are chosen by society, but their relevance is enforced by authority.

An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.


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Insidium Profundis

Insidium Profundis wrote:
Because people are rational actors and seek to benefit themselves whenever possible. If there is no authority/enforcement over what is and is not accepted, there is no incentive against acting in an otherwise undesired manner. Human rights are chosen by society, but their relevance is enforced by authority.

I am quite capable of protecting myself and my rights without the government's help. I would be more capable if they wouldn't have made it any hassle to buy guns. No incentive against acting in an otherwise undesired manner? 12 guage slugs make pretty good incentive. So do .45 ACP JHPs. And let's not forget classics like the .30-06. All the government has done to protect me is to protect me from being able to protect myself. Human rights are chosen by the human in question. Their relevance is enforced by the human in question.


ShadowOfMan
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Quote: The state has

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The state has physical properites. Ideals must be instantiated, and to be instantiated is to exist as a behavior. Behaviors are physical.

Behaviors are physical, and the emotional (chemical) relationships that occur within the brains of the people composing the state are physical. The state is the people (or should be anyway). Groups of people based on ideology and represented by symbols, but much more real than religions.

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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Voiderest wrote:On another

Voiderest wrote:
On another point Authority is necessary for the weak and amoral.

No, anarchy is necessary for the weak and amoral. The amoral run for office. The weak aren't allowed to even try to fight back against the government.

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Children who don't understand right and wrong would need more rules then a child that does understand the concept. Yes I am saying some people lack a concept most children clearly lack, but if they didn't act like children we wouldn't have a problem now would we.

We have a problem partially because the "children" keep getting elected to office.

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I believe in a weak government that would prevent such things as invasion or killing sprees.

An invasion would be far less successful in the event that an anarchist society were to be invaded. With no existing power structure to relay commands to enforce upon the conquered, it would become more difficult to rule them. And history has taught us that it's not easy to fight a war against guerillas in places where everybody has a gun and none of them like you. As for the killing sprees, I have the perfect antidote: Stop telling people how to and not to carry their guns. The best remedy for a killing spree is giving all the potential targets a gun. Columbine was a "Gun Free Zone". Give all the teachers guns and see how long a massacre will go before the killer gets his skull ventilated.

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Complete an anarchy, if that is what you suggest, reduces society to pure and brutal survival of the fittest scenario.

Our entire lives are lived in a state of anarchy. If there is not a police officer within earshot, fact is, you're living in a survival-of-the-fittest area for the time being. People know this almost instinctively even if they deny it. That's why many people carry weapons to defend themselves with. If it were not survival of the fittest, why should they bother to make themselves the fittest? If no conflict were going to happen, what use would carrying a weapon be? You do not live your day-to-day life in a world of brutal violent chaos. Yet you are essentially in anarchy. Crime solve rates are about 20% overall in the US. The criminals probably aren't going to get caught, and even if they are, the bureaucratic mess and the "revolving door" will have them back out on the street soon enough, possibly after spending some time learning the tricks of the trade from like-minded similarly-incarcerated individuals.

I am a firm believer in the principle of "Peace Through Superior Firepower". In a state of anarchy, I would gladly wear an AKM over my shoulder when I left home. If you put me and an AK in the worst part of the worst town in the US, and took away all the cops, I can assure you that not one thug, gangsta, or other miscreant vermin would want to be anywhere near me unless similarly equipped, and even those would know better than to pick on the guy with the automatic rifle when there's easier pickings to be had. None of them would try to mug me. None of them would threaten me. Apply this to anarchy. If one in 5 people carried an assault rifle or submachinegun on their back at all times, I can assure you few people would be stupid enough to start a gunfight, and those few would very likely die in the proceeding few seconds.

Prison polls are conclusive: Violent offenders are more afraid of robbing an armed victim than they are of the police.

People do not want to live in a violent, brutish society. Removing government from the equation, they will cooperate to find other means of controlling the brutes. They won't suddenly believe that there are no consequences for violence. At least most of them won't. The few that do will get themselves killed in very short order.

And the absence of government police will create a ripe market for private protection agencies. Let the government abdicate and every service it provides that people want will be provided by the free market, and will do so cheaper and better having been freed from the government monopoly of those services.

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In such a setting war lords quickly take control and we have tyranny. On the same token tho you can say control of something will lead to complete control also tyranny. Both extremes look pretty bad and that is why people tend to try to find a balance.

Warlords, unlike present governments, will not be seen by their subjects as their "rightful soveriegns and protectors" like most people think today. And warlords won't be petty enough to institute minimum wage laws and rent controls like present governments do. But as I showed above, I think it unlikely that warlords will take over. It seems like an unfounded belief to me, one that comes from being told that it is just so by popular society.

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The purpose of government is to prevent the wrongs people do to each other.

So who prevents the wrongs that people in government do to the governed? There is no final check when the State holds all the power. It is government's natural tendency to grow. All governments grow as time goes on, until they destroy their host populations. A government limited to protecting people from one another can grow into a tyrannical police state even when all odds are stacked against it. It's happening in America, where the government's powers were strictly defined in a Constitution with a Bill of Rights and they still disreguarded them. The function of government can be to prevent people from wronging each other only if government can do so without wronging anybody. It cannot do this. And governments almost always explicitly prohibit overthrow of the government. The only exception I know of is Article 10 of the New Hampshire State Constitution. If a government was intended to protect the people, it must also protect the people's right to determine when they no longer desire protection. This means secession or revolution. Governments rarely if ever allow this (NH being a notable exception in both cases). Such a government would thus become completely voluntary, and become a business offering "governance and protection services" to customers.


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ShadowOfMan wrote:The state

ShadowOfMan wrote:
The state is the people (or should be anyway).

But it's not. It's a set of ruling officials and bureaucrats with guns.


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Zhwazi wrote: I am quite

Zhwazi wrote:

I am quite capable of protecting myself and my rights without the government's help. I would be more capable if they wouldn't have made it any hassle to buy guns. No incentive against acting in an otherwise undesired manner? 12 guage slugs make pretty good incentive. So do .45 ACP JHPs. And let's not forget classics like the .30-06. All the government has done to protect me is to protect me from being able to protect myself. Human rights are chosen by the human in question. Their relevance is enforced by the human in question.

And what of the people who are physically or psychologically incapable of defending themselves? Do they deserve being left to the mercy of more aggressive or powerful people simply because they are incapable of self-defense? What if it is due to age or injury?

What are you and your 12-guage going to do against a team of combatants with body armor and laser-sighted pistols?

An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.


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Insidium Profundis wrote:And

Insidium Profundis wrote:
And what of the people who are physically or psychologically incapable of defending themselves?

Let them hire protection agencies. Private police. No government means police protection would be cheaper.

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Do they deserve being left to the mercy of more aggressive or powerful people simply because they are incapable of self-defense?

In my personal opinion yes. If you don't buy insurance and your house burns down, you deserve what you get. If you don't buy protection from some private police company in the absence of government-provided protection, you deserve what you get.

Positive rights do not exist. You do not have a positive right to police protection.

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What if it is due to age or injury?

Let them find places where they're safe. A citadel or a place out in the country or a gated and walled community or something.

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What are you and your 12-guage going to do against a team of combatants with body armor and laser-sighted pistols?

First of all, they wouldn't be attacking me with all that gear. Because lest I get a lucky shot and blow one of their heads off, they just lost $1200 worth of gear, a teammate, a nice little pistol (which I'll probably have a similar one, laser-sights aren't hard to get for pistols), and all to rob me of what, all $500 worth of portable possessions? If they had all that gear, they wouldn't be stupid enough to not check out the target before attacking. And if they'd just take a look at my front door, they'd see a nice little silhouette target full of holes taped up in the window. Unless they're suicidal masochists, they'd rather find someone else.

Second, the police would have a fun time trying to deal with them as well.

Third, the police aren't going to be able to protect me from them either.

Fourth, as if I hadn't already made the police look totally ineffective, I could employ a private protection agency's services. Since I don't think they'd be there in time to do me any good, I personally probably wouldn't be doing that. But if you think it'll help you, go right on ahead and ask for some protection by private police.

I'll spend as much money as I want to spend to prevent a criminal attack against me. If I don't spend enough, or spend it the wrong way, then I get what I deserved if I get attacked and can't defend against it.


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Quote:Let them hire

Quote:
Let them hire protection agencies. Private police. No government means police protection would be cheaper.

Ah yes - let them eat cake. In the situation you are proposing, a large number of people would necesserily work in private police organizations. The majority of the work force would need to work in police because of the incredibly high demand for them. What would happen if one police organization did not like another? Surely, if there is no restraint on the methods of competition, one I'll spend as much money as I want to spend to prevent a criminal attack against me. If I don't spend enough, or spend it the wrong way, then I get what I deserved if I get attacked and can't defend against it.

Personally, I'd rather live in a world where I was free to indulge in scientific and intellectual endeavors without having to worry constantly about whether or not I invested enough into my ability to defend myself (though I actually do invest a great deal).
would, at some point, simply assassinate the other. No central authority means that ultimately, nobody is liable.

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In my personal opinion yes. If you don't buy insurance and your house burns down, you deserve what you get. If you don't buy protection from some private police company in the absence of government-provided protection, you deserve what you get.

So the people who are incapable of affording police protection (it is absurd to think that all could afford it) deserve to be robbed and victimized? What about the elderly? Also, how would this protection be any more useful than police protection now?

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Positive rights do not exist. You do not have a positive right to police protection.

Rights don't exist. Rights are what the state guarantees to people.

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Let them find places where they're safe. A citadel or a place out in the country or a gated and walled community or something.

Sure. That'll be no problem. Think this through a little more, eh? Living in fear within stone walls is something that we left behind in the middle ages, and I'm quite glad for it.

An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.


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Insidium Profundis wrote:Ah

Insidium Profundis wrote:
Ah yes - let them eat cake. In the situation you are proposing, a large number of people would necesserily work in private police organizations. The majority of the work force would need to work in police because of the incredibly high demand for them.

You're economically clueless if you think demand will be so high that more than 50% of the workforce would have to be a protection agent. It's so absurd that it really doesn't even deserve to be addressed. In any case, after a certain point protection would become secondary. If production of cars, food, houses, et cetera, were all cut in half by the workforce shift toward protection, the prices would at least double and likely go higher still. People would starve to death. Obviously at some people people would rather have a car than have a 24/7 bodyguard.

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What would happen if one police organization did not like another?

What happens when Coca-Cola and Pepsi don't like each other? Absolutely nothing. They just try to say why they're better and the other guys are worse.

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I'll spend as much money as I want to spend to prevent a criminal attack against me.

This is a good thing.

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Personally, I'd rather live in a world where I was free to indulge in scientific and intellectual endeavors without having to worry constantly about whether or not I invested enough into my ability to defend myself (though I actually do invest a great deal).

Me too. Unfortunately, I live in the real world. In this world, you can either control how much you want to spend on protecting yourself, or you can let the legislature in charge of the budget determine how much you HAVE TO spend on protecting yourself and make it difficult to pay more than that if you think you need more protection.

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Surely, if there is no restraint on the methods of competition, one would, at some point, simply assassinate the other.

That's what governments do today. Try starting up a new country and see what they do. So if this is a worst-case scenario, then we end up right back with an authoritarian state, no worse off than before. The chances of this are slim, however, because if one protection agency were to go rouge like that, the others would band together to put down the aggressors. The police are individuals as well; they don't want to get shot. If the leadership of two protection agencies want to wage a war, the police will simply quit their jobs and go work for another protection agency. This would render the rouges pitifully useless in a struggle against each other. People are nowhere near as loyal to their employer as they are to their country. I would not kill and die to protect my employer, and if there was a movement to kill all of it's employees, I'd quit without hesitation. The same would happen if police agencies tried to compete violently.

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No central authority means that ultimately, nobody is liable.

Non sequitur. Please connect the dots. I believe that under central authority, the central authority is not liable. Look up the definition of "Sovereign Immunity". That bullshit would be absolutely impossible without authority.

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So the people who are incapable of affording police protection (it is absurd to think that all could afford it) deserve to be robbed and victimized? What about the elderly? Also, how would this protection be any more useful than police protection now?

I'm sure people are incapable of affording foot protection. That's why the poor part of the population walks around barefoot. And housing would be so expensive without compulsory government provision of most housing services (and it's absurd to think that all could afford housing), do the poor deserve to be homeless? It's the same thing.

The poor pay for police protection today. They just do it through taxation instead of dealing directly with the police as they deal with the Cable company or telephone company.

They deserve whatever consequences result from their actions. If you don't have food, and you refuse to produce or exchange for food, you starve, and you deserve it. If you can't protect yourself, and you refuse to get the means to do so or to exchange for protection services, and you are unprotected, you deserve it. I do not believe that someone ought to be robbed specifically for not having protection anymore than I think someone's house ought to burn down because they did not buy insurance for such an event. I just think that your actions have consequences which you must live with.

The elderly can buy guns. Repeal the 1934 NFA and you'll see $80 submachineguns hit the market. You'll see $10 12-guage shotguns. I personally know how to make those guns for those prices, so I know they can be made.

I don't think it would be terribly much more useful than present police protection of provided personally, in my opinion. However getting rid of the present disjunction between payment and provision would make it more efficient. The market would respond to people's real demands, not the demands imagined by a sherrif or bureaucrat. Suppose people don't think that roving patrols on the major streets keeps them safe when they live 400 yards off the major roads. Then they can demand a patrol down their particular street which would make them safer than the bureaucrat's plan would have.

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Rights don't exist. Rights are what the state guarantees to people.

Rights are not provided by states. At least, the founding fathers did not think so. "We hold these truths to be self-evident...that they are endowed by their creator with certain INALIEABLE rights...that when government becomes destructive of these ends..." you know that one, right? Declaration of Independance.

If rights do not exist, then why are you worried about people being unprotected? They have nothing to protect without rights. If they have no rights to Life, Liberty, nor Property, (all rights deriving from those are negative rights, all rights not deriving from those are positive rights) then murder, slavery, and theft are perfectly moral, legitemate, acceptable acts. So why should government try to stop them?

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Sure. That'll be no problem. Think this through a little more, eh? Living in fear within stone walls is something that we left behind in the middle ages, and I'm quite glad for it.

Whether you live in fear or security is up to you. Fear and security in the sense of feelings can only be provided by you. You can be the most protected object on the planet and still feel unsafe. You can be totally defenseless and feel totally secure.

As for walls, we have always lived within walls for security, and the material is totally irrelevant. Does your house only have walls to keep warm air in and cold air out? No, your house has walls to keep criminals out.

I have thought this through plenty. Why don't you look and check that you are not actually living in anarchy, within stone walls for reasons of fear, why don't you check that you don't have rights and see what the implications of that are, why don't you check your predictions of economic circumstances before you say over 50% of the population would have to work in security roles?