Tuesday, February 07, 2012

"But you might HURT someone!"

I think I've discovered something about myself:

I'm not that impressed (or scared) by "might hurt someone", or "dangerous". I suppose that may color a lot of my opinions.

I'm not saying that I don't see people do things I consider to be dangerous and think to myself "That idiot is going to hurt someone, someday". It's just that my "solution" is never to send The State after that person, but instead to watch out for myself and others and do my best to keep them out of the idiots' way.

We all do things that onlookers would probably think are dangerous and that might hurt someone. If you can do those things without ever harming anyone, then why the complaints? If you do hurt someone, then restitution! Are you sure you can afford it? (Oh, wait. I forgot there isn't much danger of you actually having to answer that question in this justice-free society, where The State pretends putting you in a cage will "make it all better". Morons.)



  1. Well said, Kent. This touches on such ridiculous (and dangerous!) public policies as helmet laws, and seatbelt laws. In order for the gov't to force you to wear a helmet, they have to have an interest in your life *that is superior to your own interest in your life*. IOW, they own you. WE crossed that bridge long ago, and most people didn't notice, and never consider it to this day.

  2. It seems to me that this is not an all or nothing proposition. Indeed, many of the things that people get frantic about are really not all that dangerous.

    However, there are plenty of activities that ARE ridiculously dangerous-I think we discussed driving while truly blitzed some time ago(not legally drunk, but blotto, truly sloshed.)

    How about this, recently a friend of mine told me about a situation where someone had set up an archery target in their backyard. unfortunately, there was a sidewalk just a few yards further along through a hedgerow and a chain-link fence-nothing that would certainly stop an arrow if he missed the target. The people walking on the sidewalk had no idea.

    If you are aware of something like that, do you not have some sort of responsibility? Currently, the state limits your options drastically, but if there was no state do you do nothing?

    Certainly we could expect increased responsibility if there were a system of true restitution in place, but even then people have a remarkable ability for stupidity-like shooting arrows at a sidewalk...

    Libertarians like to use the word "moral" in relation to NAP, etc. Well, what is the moral response to being aware of reckless behavior like the above?

  3. In the case of the archery/sidewalk problem, I would place a large sign on my own property which could be seen by all on the sidewalk. I might even record a loud message to play- on a loop or when triggered by someone approaching- shouting a warning about the situation. I would also remind the archer that in case of any injuries caused to anyone because of his recklessness, I would be a character witness against him. All this could be done even now, under a State. Sure, he might try to sue you, but who would have the claim most likely to win? I'd risk it.

  4. Certainly you could do those things, but is that really a reasonable solution?

    I don't think that it is, I also do not think that it is necessary to limit the response in such a way. Were this happening in an anarchic or quasi-anarchic society, doubtless (based upon what is known from actual historic and contemporary societies)the archer would have a complex protective group that e belonged to-probably an extended family group, or something organized around his occupation if he had no family.

    These groups would exist because they must-without a government monopoly on force individuals would be totally responsible for self-defense. The best defense is to not be a target in the first place, and the best way to do that is to be a part of a group bound to defend each other.

    This would also(and does) facilitate trade, since presumably the group would back its members in trade disputes, and would be guarantors of restitution if needed.

    This being the case, the best way to deal with the archer is to simply make his behavior known to whatever group he belongs to-they can't ALL be mindless. At that point, the archer would face a choice: either stop his foolish actions that might result in the group being forced to pay restitution, or even face violent reprisals, or be removed from the group and denounced.

    A person truly on their own in a society like that is effectively dead, no one will deal with them. No one will seek damages if they are injured or killed. This is a condition similar to(and a social antecedent of) outlawry-and often even with a state in place, outlaws could be killed with no consequence.


  5. That would probably also work. If that's how a non-governmental society crystalized. I recognize some "Somali" in there.

    The point is that there are so many possibilities, and each situation will be different. But The State is never necessary. If you believe your only "solution" is The State, or coercion, you have already lost.

    You might want to go read Claire Wolfe's recent posts about her "Neighbor From Hell", since that is a similar, though not actually dangerous, situation.