Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Comment backup

Once again, I got into a long debate on another blog. I archive my side of the conversation here. You can follow this link to see both sides.

"In that situation, anything goes and can be done without aggression. "

How? By fraud instead? Sorry. Still wrong. The ZAP is essential, but not sufficient. You also cannot steal/defraud, even if you manage to do it without aggression. Do it anyway and anyone can kill you in defense of their property and they would be right to do so.

"If I am doing what I deem fit because I have no other alternative in my mind, what right do they have to say that I AM wrong?"

Because you have no right to initiate force or to steal. Even if you really, really want to. If you did have that right, then everyone else would also have the same right to do those things to you and you would have gained nothing.

"In choosing to give me ways to handle it you have become the hypocrite you don’t want to be by telling me how I should act/behave in saying I'm right/wrong."

No one is telling you how you should behave, they are simply telling you what the consequences of doing otherwise will be. Your choice.

"...government isn't just about aggression."

Really? How else does government get anything done? What do you think will happen if you refuse to submit to the theft euphemistically called "taxation"? If you don't pay up, someone will demand that you do. If you refuse, the situation will escalate until, finally, at some point, government employees with guns will murder you for not cooperating with the theft of your property. Just because it rarely gets to that point doesn't mean the threat isn't there. It just means most people know it isn't a survivable scenario.

"You can't stop someone from saying something that could be offensive or limit someone from taking it the wrong way."

Nope. But you can turn around and tell people what that person said. If enough people find it offensive that there will be societal consequences that might make you regret saying it.

"While some people really are exceptionally good, when in the right situation, we all have the capacity to do wrong. Agreed?"

Absolutely! And since giving people power over other peoples lives is "the right situation" to cause most people to "do wrong", why keep establishing that situation and being surprised when it turns out badly?

"If I see something right where you see something wrong, yet I choose not to follow what you think because you have allowed me to 'live my life' then how would it be taken care of?"

By leaving each other alone as long as neither of you is attacking or stealing from (or, usually, trespassing against) the other.

"...the general idea of a group of peoples coming together to help unify a nation isn't necessarily bad."

No one ever said it was. The bad comes when coercion is bringing the people "together" against their will, and not allowing them to opt out without giving up their home, friends, and family.

"Yet, in your analysis, you have taken any control out of the situation - for the government or for one's self."

How do you figure that? All control is either self-control, or externally-applied pressure to practice self-control. Government is merely a very poor way of creating that. You can't convince people that aggression is wrong by being aggressive, or that theft is wrong by funding your group by theft.

"It might not have crossed your mind that in doing so, you have also allowed others to use their selfish tendencies to their gain."

Of course it has. That's what drives almost all human interaction. And it benefits everyone. I don't buy something (or purchase a service) unless I feel I am better off by doing so, except when forced to do so by "law". And, by the same token, no one offers a product or service for sale unless they feel they gain by doing so. In a real, free market economy, both sides are the winner. In a government-controlled economy ("fascism") one side often wins and the other side loses.

"You and I could come to a perfect agreement, but there is and always will be that group that disagrees and will find a way to impede or 'rain on your parade.'"

Yep. There will always be bad guys. Why give them the illusion of legitimacy by calling them the government?

"We are in desperate times - people out of jobs, families splitting apart, etc."

All directly and indirectly caused by government intervention.

"Even the weather beckons with change and aggressively pursues it."

Maybe. But the weather couldn't care less whether humans live or die, much less whether they are free or not. If "global climate change" is really happening, and if it really is human-caused, this is a big illustration of "The Tragedy of the Commons". No one owns the atmosphere, so no one feels responsible for keeping it clean. No one can be sued by individual property owners for damaging their property with pollution, so the worst offenders (besides the very worst- government) pay a "fine" and keep on polluting. Not a situation that fixes anything.

"Government may not be perfect, by far. But it’s something."

That's a weak justification. You could say "water mixed with sewage may not be the perfect drink, but it's something".

"We've been ruled/reigned for many generations and survived."

So, we shouldn't try to cure any diseases or learn anything new from now on, since "we" have survived for many generations?

"what can you do, as an individual, to change it?"

Withdraw consent. Stop pretending government is legitimate. Refuse to go along when you can, monkeywrench when you can get away with it. Educate people who ask sincere questions and roll your eyes and laugh at the dyed-in-the-wool statists who will refuse to listen or learn.

"What can you do as an individual to better yourself and the life you've been given, regardless of said circumstances?"

See above, and follow the ZAP (Zero Aggression Principle), and refuse to steal or live on the fruits of theft. Keep your word. Don't trespass. And, add anything to that you want as long as you follow those simple rules.

"“The ZAP is essential, but not sufficient.” Isn’t this what you’re trying to defend? Isn’t that the whole point of Curt’s blog?"

I'm not Curt. That is part of what I try to explain (not "defend", since almost everyone has always known it isn't right to "start it", even children.). I don't know what the "whole point" of his blog is.

" would it not be sufficient?"

Because there are other wrongs that don't involve the initiation of physical force. Such as theft/fraud.

"Why could there not be a philosophy where we all forget Aggression and move on?"

Because bad people will always exist. Any reality will need to deal with that fact.

"Punishments would simply be paying back three-fold or something to that extent."

Possibly. Which is why punishment is a stupid idea. Restitution and justice (returning the victim to as close as possible to their pre-victimization condition) are superior to any form of "punishment".

"How is it right to kill someone in defense of property or in general?"

Because that person has demonstrated a willingness to take your life. You may think that taking some property is a trivial matter, but what did the person give up in order to have that property? Some of his life. A thief comes along and takes or destroys that property and that part of the person's life has been taken. Time he could have spent playing with his kids, or making love, or painting a landscape, or daydreaming- that was instead spent in exchange for that bit of property- is lost forever. It's just as bad as a physical attack, even if "the law" doesn't see it that way. And, "in general"... it is right to kill an attacker because that person is trying to harm or kill you- and you can never be certain which. Survival is the first law of nature. This is why I never fault a bad guy for fighting to stay alive when confronted by the good guy; it's natural- I just hope he loses.

"...taking someone’s life is rather harsh. What if it was your sister/brother/mother/wife?"

Yes, it is harsh. But the fatal conflict was chosen to be engaged in by the person who starts it. The person who violates the ZAP by initiating force, or by choosing to steal. It's too late to whine about the consequences at that point. Don't want someone to kill you in self-defense? Don't attack or steal. Your choice. If it were a loved-one who was the one killed, I would grieve and be angry. I might even hate the defender. But, once again, actions have consequences. If I attack you I expect you to fight back. If I die... well, I made my choice.

"“Because you have no right to initiate force or to steal.” But isn’t that your opinion and way of living? Just because you choose to live your life one way, does not mean that someone else agrees with you and chooses that lifestyle."

You're right, but you are forgetting that if my opinion is wrong, and that it is OK to steal and attack the innocent, then I am certainly doing nothing wrong by fighting back against those who have other opinions in the matter. That's a powerful thing about the ZAP- it doesn't say that other people must live this way, It shows me why I should, and it tells me how to deal with others when they don't. And illustrates that if they don't agree, they have no basis for a legitimate complaint against me.

"Someone will always do wrong in somebody else’s eyes."

Yep. So?

"If I like oranges, which causes no harm to you, but you hate oranges and deem that wrong, then you choose to kill me because you have asked a few of your friends if they do… Does that make it any more right than someone stealing?"

No. That is initiation of force.It's the basis for the evil and stupid War on (some) Drugs. If you like oranges (or marijuana) it is none of my business. If I attack you for consuming them I am the bad guy.

"It’s a matter of perspective and opinion. If you don’t like someone one day, and your friends don’t either, then you choose to be vindictive and your friends play along, you have done wrong to someone else but you have justified it because, in theory, you don’t like oranges..."

You have just distilled government to its most basic foundation. And illustrated why it is wrong.

"” Who are ‘they?’ What gives them the right to say what the consequences are?"

"They" are all the people who interact, or would, with the person. They have the right because one of the most basic rights is the right of association. You can interact, or not, with anyone you choose. Government tries to violate this right all the time and causes much trouble in the process. You don't have to act in a way that brings consequences to the other guy's bad behavior. If someone attacks you, you can submit. If he chooses to steal from you, you can shrug and say "Oh well". But, just as jumping off a cliff sets a certain train of events in motion, being a social territorial, predatory primate who attacks members of his own species or steals their stuff sets events into motion. Those so violated can choose to short circuit those events, but you have no right to insist they do.

"In theory, no aggression is a great pass-time for conversation. However, put into reality makes little sense."

You think? It has always worked great for me. In fact, it has never failed. Not once. That is reality. In what situation do you think it is OK to attack an innocent person?

"Someone, or a group of people have to agree upon said consequences..."

You are mistaking "bottom up" self organization for "top down" imposed "law".

"We don’t have people lined up to be murdered daily."

Well, actually. "we" do. Or do you not see any news stories? The murdered are called "criminals", but most of them did not harm anyone; they simply did non-coercive acts the government arbitrarily decided to forbid.

" doesn’t mean that it is being implemented."

Because, as I pointed out, most people choose to submit before the State escalates the situation to the point of murdering them.

"Who will protect us against the people overseas if we cancel out the government?"

Who do you think makes the "people overseas" a threat? Who is in their countries killing them and breaking their stuff? And telling them they must live as "we" order them to and thank "us" for the privilege of being occupied? Who is creating a new generation of people who hate the US government enough to die to strike against it, and making the mistake of thinking the US government is the same as America?

And just how would "people overseas" defeat "us" if there were no central government to defeat and get to surrender? And how would they rule without the infrastructure and bureaucracy already in place to co-opt? How would they manage to disarm the whole population if there were no previous "gun laws" and registrations? How easy do you think it would be to subjugate a population who had grown accustomed to actual liberty?

And, who is a bigger actual threat to your life, liberty, and property/pursuit of happiness? Some guy overseas, or the cop, bureaucrat, politician here?

"Should we rely on people who work in offices, play video games and sleep all day to do the right thing?"

Sure. Who else is there? Do you think some special class of people exist who are supermen and above human flaws?

"What if everyone chooses Not to fight?"

Won't happen. Too many people out there want to be warriors and heroes. Look how many join the police or the military now? They'd still want to do that even if they had to form voluntary militias and couldn't hide behind the State.

"But how many would risk their lives for their country?"

Don't have to. They'll risk their lives for their homes, families, friends, and communities and the rest will flow from there. How many people do you know personally who wouldn't fight back against an invader in their own neighborhood? Especially an invader that there is no "legal" penalty for killing? Maybe those people exist in some places, but in that case those places have already been lost.

"Most people now days don’t even care about the American Flag..."

That's because the American flag is now the federal flag. It is a symbol of the government, not of the liberty that was America. It stands in opposition of everything America once was supposed to be. It's not that I don't care about it; I despise it. Don't Tread on Me! Or better yet, Time's Up!

"Who would organize the attacks?"

People who have that inclination. In other words, the exact same people who would organize the attacks today. Some people are drawn to that sort of thing.

"What about produce? Supply and Demand? Who would care for these obligations? "

The free market. That's what it does, and does much better than any central planning can ever do. Central planning is always a pale substitute because no one- and no group of people- can ever have all the necessary information. The market doesn't need it. Needs are filled as a natural outcome of allowing free trade.

Whew. This is turning out to be quite a project. But I am investing the time and effort because you are sincere. You have not been nasty, condescending or rude, and seem to be genuinely listening.

For that I think you. And I'll get back to it...

"“Nope. But you can turn around and tell people what the person said. If enough people find it offensive that there will be societal consequences that might make you regret saying it.” Ah… My favorite part of your rebuttal. How many is enough? Who determines that?"

No one determines that except the person who is feeling the pressure. If he doesn't care that his business can't attract customers anymore, or that the grocery store owner refuses to sell to him, or that his neighbors no longer speak to him or lend a hand if a tree falls on his house, then he can keep doing what he has been doing. If he doesn't care that his wife and kids start resenting the difficulties his stance is putting on them, then that is his choice. Once again, this is just something that happens, not something that is ordered or directed.

"Does that seem fair to you?"

Scott Adams said that "fair" isn't a feature of reality; it is a concept invented so stupid people could participate in conversations. (I'm NOT saying you are stupid, by the way.) But how can I, the offended person, dictate how others will respond to the thing that offended me? I can't. Others may agree with the other guy and go congratulate him for speaking his mind. He may actually get more support, and I may lose support for being such a drama-queen.

"What if it happened to you and I was the determining factor on whether or not you get to live?"

That's often the case, isn't it. It's called "reality". If you are deserving of sympathy, perhaps people will come to your resuce. I find myself defending people I don't like, or who are doing things I don't like, all the time simply because they have a right to do it and other, well-meaning people are trying to violate their right to live as they see fit as long as they do not attack or steal. It doesn't increase my popularity (there's that unfairness again), but I'll do it anyway because it's the right thing to do.

"Who determines societal consequences?"

No one. It is aggregate human action, only.

"If five of you don’t like what I say, you’re going to kill me? - Sounds a lot like casting stones to me and that’s not necessarily any better than what we’re living in now."

That would be initiating force. And, maybe you could still defeat 5 people. Especially if you have other people willing to stand up for you.

"People have different senses of humor. Say you don’t like mine or even better… I don’t like yours. Does that give me the right to start a controversy?"

Sure. Why not? You might not like where that road goes, but you have to right to start a controversy if you think it's justified. Or even if you are just a troublemaker.

"By choosing to say to me that we would have societal consequences or consequences in general you are then running someone’s lives."

But, see, it's not me or anyone else dictating that "there will be societal consequences for X". If that were the case, then it would be imposing a government by coercion, just like we have now. That's not what I am saying. Basically, I am saying that government- The State- makes being a bad guy safer. If removes most of the risk of consequences. You don't have to worry about anyone other than a cop catching you. If a homeowner catches you, but you escape before the cops arrive, it is his word against yours. Sometimes that's even the case if you don't escape.

" continue to think I’m the enemy."

Nope. If I did I wouldn't put this much effort into addressing your points. If I seem snippy about it, it is because I have answered these exact same points more times than I can count. It's a Whack-A-Mole game of cyberspacian proportions. But, I am doing it again because I can sense you are NOT "the enemy".

"...the reality that life will never be the perfect picture for everyone."

No one I know has ever claimed it will be. All you can do is remove the artificial obstacles that giving government a veil of legitimacy creates. If it is wrong to steal and attack, then it is still wrong to steal and attack no matter what your job might be. No double standards. That's all.

"What defines an attack?"

Using physical force against a person who has not used, credibly threatened to use, or asked someone else to use physical force on his behalf against you.

"Again, who decides this?"

In most cases, the person being attacked. In cases where the facts of the event are disputed arbitration could be engaged. (Follow this link for more on that.)

" If I justly believe that you are attacking me by something you said..."

That's not an attack. It might be libel or slander. So bring the person to arbitration and see if restitution is owed you.

"Do we lose freedom of speech in that very same scenario?"

No. You are free to say anything you want, and live with the consequences of saying it. Just like you are free to jump off a cliff or pet a rabid skunk.

"“No one ever said it was. The bad comes when coercion is bringing the people “together” against their will, and not allowing them to opt out without giving up their home, friends and family.” Are you speaking of them taking religion out of schools?"

No. I'm talking about forcing people to pay for government schools even if they choose to not send their kids to them. Or if they don't even have any kids. Get rid of government schools and teach your kids whatever you think they need to know, in whatever way you believe is best. Education is MUCH too important to allow government to touch it.

"Are you talking about the universal insurance?"

Not specifically. But what if you don't want it, don't need it, or can't afford to pay for it? (Because it is NOT "free", you know.) Are you allowed to not pay as long as you agree to not try to use it?


That's a big part of it. I have no problem paying for things I use. I just want to not be forced to pay for things I don't use, or things I would rather find an alternative to. And I don't want other people to be forced to pay for things I want. Nothing is that important.

"We aren’t slaves."

Are you sure about that? What do you call it when you work and have to pay a percentage of what you work for- the product of a potrion of your life- to someone who will kill you if you refuse?

"We have a freedom".

Do "we"?

Do you have the freedom to smoke marijuana while sitting on your porch? Do you have the freedom to sling an automatic AK-47 over your shoulder as you hike across your ranch? Do you have the freedom to agree to work for a business for $3 an hour, just to gain experience? Or, if you do those things and get caught, will you be kidnapped by a government employee and killed if you resist?

Freedom is "doing whatever you want to do". It isn't necessarily good. You might want to come into my house and take my books. That's why liberty is the more important concept. That is the freedom to do what doesn't violate someone else's rights.

I'm not saying you don't have some freedom, just that it is severely restricted, and your liberty is violated. You do not have the freedom to do anything that doesn't violate other people's rights.

"But as you’ve mentioned earlier, someone still has to decide for someone else."

No. each decides for himself. You decide to do a thing, knowing the potential risks, and I decide to defend myself or my property, also knowing the potential risks. Or the other way around.

"So does that allow control on my part?"

Sure it does. You can weigh the options and choose to do something esle.

"If I am selfish enough to want someone’s husband, and I act upon that, that does not benefit anyone but myself and possibly the husband."

And then, the others who are affected will act in the ways they think will best benefit themselves. They may be offended, and you and the husband might have broken a contract and owe restitution, but if you think it is worth the price, or you believe you will never be called upon to pay, you will do it. If you don't think it is worth the price, don't do it.

"If some woman decides a child is not safe in a home and that she wants them, acts upon it and moves those children – it does not benefit everyone."

In that case, if the parents don't object, there is no problem. If they do object, they could either act to rescue their kids from a trespasser/thief/kidnapper, or they could seek arbitration. Few people would do such a thing lightly. They would have to be pretty sure the benefits were worth the risks, and that they were in the right. And, the kids' wishes would have to be considered to be the primary concern. You have no right to rescue someone against their will, and you might be taking on a debt you can't afford.

"What of the thief from previous paragraphs? If he is selfish enough to steal, He benefits…"

Only if he survives and keeps the stolen property.

"Do you want to be responsible for that selfishness that has a negative impact?"

I'm not responsible for things I didn't do. Collective guilt isn't a real thing.

"Yes, in a free market economy, it works. In a buying/selling situation, it benefits both. But not all situations are the same. Especially if it is a negative outcome."

But all situations that are consensual benefit both. And only under government can a person be forced to enter into a transaction, economic or otherwsie, that they believe to not be in their best interests. And, sometimes, people may even choose an outcome that is negative-appearing (to others) for themselves.

"It’s not just the government officials that are the bad guys… And not all bad guys work for the government…"

No, but only those bad guys who work for government have that illusion of legitimacy to protect them from the consequences of their actions. Freelance bad guys are on their own.

"Do you honestly believe that all of your problems are caused by the government?"

No, but those you listed are caused by government intervention. Most of my problems are caused by myself. I avoid government employees whenever possible to minimize the problems they can cause me. I can't really avoid me.

"When I say ‘the government may not be perfect but it’s something,’ what I initially thought is its better than what it could be."

Of course it is. However, it is an unnecessary evil. Even if it hasn't yet explored all its evil potential. If you are standing in an ant bed, being eaten by fire ants, are you better off than if you were in a pool of molten lava? Yes. But it is sad to believe you can't improve your situation. Step out of the ant bed, brush them off, and find a verdant meadow. It's just right over there...

"We could be hauled off literally to a general location, shot for whatever reason the government deems fit or just because we look a certain way and believe something different just like the Holocaust."

Yep. Notice how the Grand Evils require government to be pulled off?

"We could still be under the rule/reign of England, but we’re not."

Ever actually looked at how "oppressive" King George was compared to the US federal government today? I'm not arguing for trading one Ruler for another, but for deposing them all.

"We could simply not be here..."

Then we wouldn't care, would we.

"“So, we shouldn’t try to cure any diseases or learn anything new from now on, since ‘we’ have survived many generations?” Did I say that?"

Not in those exact words, but that is the exact concept you were communicating. That because others before us have survived the situation, we shouldn't try to do better. What in that did you not mean?

"I’m speaking specifically About the government that we’ve been under for a long time. Our ancestors dealt with it. Yes, it has gotten worse. But in case you forget, it could be a lot different. You never know, one day, we might really be subjected to a robotic conformation. They might plant chips in our brain or start demanding drugs be given to sedate us, etc. Who knows…"

Yes, they might. All governments seek to increase their power and control. It's just the natural course of allowing a government to exist. And, in case you have missed it, they already forcibly drug a lot of people. Ritalin, for example. And some people believe that fluoride in water keeps people I'm not convinced of that, but it is added to a lot of water systems, by government, and a lot of people don't want it.

"“See above and follow ZAP…” Is that really what you mean? Because earlier you said it wasn’t sufficient enough to go by.

Well, I was leaving out the "don't steal" part. But, yes, you should avoid that, too. Sorry, I got sloppy.

"Honestly, I didn’t ask what I should do. I asked what you would do."

That's fine. I am telling you what I do. I didn't mean to sound like I was ordering you around, because I'm not. You do what you want, but I am telling you how I will respond, and how I will deal with you in any interactions. I'm telling you what to expect of me.

"Regardless, good luck to you in your continued turmoil on the government."

LOL. I have no "turmoil on the government" any more than I have turmoil with the mafia. They are evil. They exist. I avoid them when I can and do what I have to so they don't kill me. So far.

"May it one day benefit you for all of your hard work."

It already does. :)

"however, what would your choice replacement [for "punishment"] be?"

Self defense - to be engaged in at the scene and time of the attack/theft. Or, if that fails, arbitration.

"Murder might be necessary, having a hard time trying to find a list of things that justify it…"

Murder is always wrong, and never "necessary. Killing someone in self-defense, or in defense of property is not "murder". It is not killing an innocent person.

"But what of the group that decides it [killing someone] for the wrong crime?"

Then they take their chances with facing lethal self-defense from their target, and facing arbitration afterwards if they survive that. If they think they are "right enough" to survive scrutiny, that is their choice. It isn't something they should take for granted, though.

"I understand the general concept, however, there’s always that one scenario that doesn’t fit. You know?"

Yes. That's where arbitration would be most important. You can't justify destroying liberty (or rights) because of the outliers. Rare/difficult cases make for very bad "law". Each case needs to be examined on its own merits. And, there may not alwasy be a perfect solution. That's just how reality goes. But "one-size-fits-all" never fits anyone very well.

"I just know that there aren’t as many people that are willing to subject to the no aggression policy and probably never would."

That's why the ZAP works so well- it doesn't depend on the cooperation of the bad guys to work in real, everyday life. I know that from experience.

"“Yep. So?” So my question is, do we leave it up to fate? Opinion? Hope that everyone is in a good mood that day? Seems fickle to me…"

No less so than the situation we are in now. Most "laws" are some twisted person's opinion, given "authority" and backed by a lethal threat. In a free society, you would have no power/authority to meddle coercively if someone was "doing wrong" in your eyes, unless they were initiating force or stealing. That doesn't mean you would have to sit there. You could call them on it. You could ridicule them. You could shun them. You could publicize what they are doing and why it offends you. You could try to educate them about why you think they are doing wrong. But the moment you tried to use force to stop them you had better make sure you can afford restitution and the other effects your actions could have on your life.

"Where did marijuana come in?"

Because that is an example of something that some sefgment of the population believes is wrong, and they are willing to kidnap and kill people for defying their opinion.

"Lol, drug free over here"

Technically, there is no such thing as "drug free" since everything you ingest alters your brain chemistry in some way. And some of those substances are mandated, some are regulated, and some are forbidden. But I'm supposing you mean you obey the government's edicts concerning which substances you ingest, and how you ingest them. And, so do I. But not because the government tells me to; because I see the consequences and don't think they are worth it. If I had cancer, I would be smoking marijuana every day, regardless of the DEA's opinions on the matter.

"the initiation of force is bad, yes? But that doesn’t stop it from happening."

Nope. Murder is illegal, but a guy murdered another person in the next town over just a few days ago, after forcing the victim's girlfriend to give him a blow job at gunpoint. So, rules, and even laws, don't really make people behave. What they do is give the rest of us a guideline for dealing with the bad guys. It doesn't change my behavior to know some people will initiate force. It is enough that I know it is wrong to do, and I also understand that if someone else doesn't care if that is wrong, I would not be wrong to defend myself from him. If he is willing to initiate force, his objection to my self-defense just looks absurd.

"So if someone chooses to initiate force on me ... but they do it when no one is looking, what is it considered?"

Initiation of force. You saw it. It doesn't matter who else witnessed it. Now, you might have to show that you were where you had a right to be, and that you were not stealing or attacking at the time you were attacked, but the outcome of arbitration is only a consequence and doesn't alter the reality of what happened. Even doing the right thing can have unfortunate consequences. Weigh before you act, but never regret doing the right thing even if it turns out badly.

"Sorry, she died, whatever? Does that then give my loved ones the right to murder them? I wouldn’t want that for my family/friends…"

No. That would be revenge. If the person is killed during their unwitnessed attack on you, that is self defense. If he survives his attack, and is tracked down later, killing him would be murder. It is too easy to get the facts wrong later. Your survivors could call the attacker to arbitration. If he refuses, then his refusal should be publicized, and be taken as an admission of guilt. They could refuse to do business with his employer until he is fired. They could post his picture and a description of what he did to you at any business that permitted it. If he left town and tried to start again, make a website showing what he looks like and what he did. In the modern technologically-connected world, it would be hard to run from your deeds. If he gets angry at the "harassment", he might try to attack your survivors. He runs a greater risk of being caught then, plus, in a free society there could be no prohibitions against being fully-armed all the time. Aggressors would probably not survive long in that world. But, some might. Just like the serial killers in our society that have never been identified, much less caught. There is no Utopia. No society will ever be perfect. (Not sure I would fit in in a perfect world, anyway.)

"“You have just distilled government to its most basic foundation. And illustrated why it is wrong.” Yes, and I realize that. However, it doesn’t stop it from occurring without a government."

Of course not. But if you have a situation that will remain the same with option A (government) or option B (liberty), why keep option A, where rights are violated, property is stolen, and the megalomaniacs who want to control the lives of others are given the illusion of legitimacy? Seriously. If I am going to fall off the cliff anyway, why not wiggle my way over to where, when I fall, I can land on some bushes rather than on the sharp rocks?

"What’s to stop it from occurring again?"

Maybe nothing. Why fill up the gas tank of your car? It will just go empty again. Since all governments in the history of the earth have always continued to grow bigger, stronger, and more tyrannical as long as they exist, it's worth the effort to push the reset button pretty often. Maybe someday enough people will realize they've been doing the same pointless thing over and over again and they'll withdraw consent to be ruled. In the meantime, civilization gets a little room to breathe for a while.

" can’t make everyone follow ZAP."

That isn't my concern. I am responsible for myself. It might be a more pleasant world if everyone followed the ZAP, but there will always be bad guys.

"So at that point, does the greater mass have a slaughter and kill the people who don’t agree?"

They can try. Would you submit and just let them kill you? I wouldn't. Maybe I would lose- but maybe not. If someone breaks into your house intent on killing you, do you just give up? Or do you make it cost them?

"Do we allow them to live unless they break the said contract?"

We allow them to live until they force us to defend ourselves. What they do among each other isn't my problem. Now, if I see them attacking/stealing I'm not going to go up to the victim and ask whether they follow the ZAP. I will do my best to stop the attack, knowing there are always consequnces, and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe they have an agreement to be aggressive/submissive. Maybe I will owe restitution for stepping in. I'll take my chances. Wouldn't you?

"“You are mistaking ‘bottom up’ self-organization for ‘top-down’ imposed ‘law.’” Care to elaborate? I’m willing to listen, just apparently confused."

Self organization is where no one dictates what "must be done" to accomplish a task. No one decides there must be 3 grocery stores and 2 shoe stores in town. People who might be interested in opening a grocery store decide to give it a try if they think there is enough business in town to support another. Or, if they think they can attract enough of the other store's customers to carve out a niche for themselves. If they survive, then there is another grocery store in town; if not- maybe they will open a pet store instead.

Consequences would be like that in a free society. No one would be dictating how you have to deal with a thief or attacker. If you want to ignore their violations, no one could arrest you for doing business with them. However, if enough of your customers were offended that you continue to help out someone they see as a bad guy, they might go to your competitor instead. If you see yourself losing business you could keep doing what you are doing, or you might decide that the bad guy's silver isn't worth the business you lost, and tell him to not come back- and then announce to the public your new policy. No one has ordered you to do anything, but things just worked out so that you decided to change what you were doing.

Most government apologists can't understand how self organization can work. They believe there has to be a Ruler directing the whole society. It's how the Soviet Union got into such a mess. Well, part of the reason...

"...but there’s also greed that allows people to want more than what they have."

Greed alone doesn't hurt anyone else. There also has to be opportunity to try to steal what you want, rather than creating or trading for it yourself. Ending "gun control" would do a lot for discouraging the greedy by removing their opportunity.

"“how would ‘people overseas’ defeat ‘us’ if there were no central government to defeat and get to surrender?” It’s not always about the government. Granted, most is. But again, greed plays a big part in decisions, as well as selfishness."

Still greed without opportunity or ability is impotent. Remove both.

"No, however, my point was – who will train them [militias]?"

"Hobbiests" are very determined. Look at the office workers who sit in an office all day, but go sheer rock climbing on weekends. Remove the barriers and the people who are inclined to train, will train. And people engaging in something voluntarily are always better than those engaging in it to avoid punishment.

"“No one. It is aggregate human action, only.” So why reference it if it is not plausible?"

I guess I'm lost here. Or, are we talking about self organization again, rather than top-down, dictated control?

"“Especially if you have other people willing to stand up for you.” So we start a mini war between the common people? Just start killing people because we’re standing up for someone?"

I seriously doubt it would come to that. In most cases, just a show of solidarity is enough to make bad guys back down. If not, then only kill if you are attacked. War, even "mini" ones, are rarely purely defensive.

"That gives anyone the right to do so [start a controvery] which seems unsafe."

It's a right they already have, by birth. No one is "giving" it to them. I have no rights that my worst (hypothetical) enemy doesn't have. No one ever said life was safe, or if they did they were lying.

"Again, if someone is vindictive, and they choose to ‘be a troublemaker’ then they automatically have the right to start a controversy? If I’m minding my own business, not even looking someone else’s way, and they are choosing to start a controversy with me that escalates and leads to death, does that seem right? Is that then justified?"

Yes, they have that right. Your wishes and preferences don't change that. If they choose to initiate force as a part of their troublemaking, then your use of self-defensive violence to protect yourself is justified. Theirs is not, unless they managed to goad you into striking first. Until they touch you, or make a move to do so, or a credible threat to do so, their words can't hurt you. So suck it up and walk away, if you can. If they choose to escalate it and it leads to their death- it was their choice. Too bad for them for being a stupid thug. If the escalation leads to your death, then they face the consequences I have already discussed. The death of a bad guy isn't really "right" or "wrong". It just "is". And I don't grieve.

"In your definition of the attack, is it a universal definition? Or if I feel like adding something to that list, is that my choice? (The point I was trying to make.)"

"Attack" has to be physical, but what else would you add?

"And if there is no meadow that we can find to compromise or completely dispose of our problem? If nothing ever changes?"

You're still better off to get out of the ant bed, and not go over and hop into the lava. Maybe you can even kill the ants and plant a meadow right where you are.

"...our ancestors survived in the past and we shall continue to do so as well.."

That isn't a given. Our species has survived a long time, but not as long as some other species which were very successful before they became extinct. It may not be government that is directly responsible, if that happens to humans, but the best survival strategy is to try as many new things as possible. Spread out as much as possible. And government stifles both pretty severely. (For those who obey, anyway.)

No need to apologize for the length of your comments. This exercises my brain cells.