We do not need the State to help us live our lives.
To define the State, I am talking about the legalized monopoly that is currently and conventionally divided into three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. The State is the land monopoly that controls more or less the individuals living within artificially-drawn borders. The principle of government is intimly intertwined with the State.
The intent of this debate is to argue for or against the need of a government in society. I am of the position that no government is needed whatsoever. I believe that every government function cold be provided on the free market with a wider range of choice. Whether we are talking about education, health care, the court system or police, a free market system could be much more efficient than a centralized government monopoly.
So I hereby challenge any opponent to offer me a single function where government is needed.
So I hereby challenge any opponent to offer me a single function where government is needed.
I will accept my opponent's challenge.
Protection: A government is meant to first and foremost provide protection for the people. If the government did not provide protection through things like the military and police departments, then our protection would either be nonexistent or would become a lot worse. Without the government to provide protection, the people would either be left to defend for themselves, or responsibilities would go to private organizations.
If people are just left to defend for themselves, the means to defend the country from a major invasion no longer exists. Any significant force can waltz in and take over the whole country. If the responsibilities of protection should rest completely in the hands of private organizations, or "mercenaries", then that would just lead to corruption and effectively cause a lot of harm to the country. One could assume that private organizations would be at each other's throats to gain more influence over the country. This would lead to more violence within the country, rather than actual protection of the country. Mercenaries fight for money - not for the country.
Law Making: Governments make laws. Plain and simple. Without any sort of government, no laws can be made. What do laws provide? Laws provide the foundations for society. For major, important laws to be passed and obeyed, a government needs to be in place. Laws are used to protect the rights of individuals (http://www.studyzone.org... ). So again, this ties in with my protection argument.
Government makes laws. Government provides resilient, powerful protection. These are just two out of many functions government is needed in.
I await my opponent's response.
You correctly separated protection into two sectors: police and military. One protects citizens within the borders of the State and the other defends the citizens from foreign threats. And in both cases you are arguing that only the government could efficiently provide these services, even though you acknowledged the possibility of private providers arising ("mercenaries").
I come to you with the case that police protection can be effectively and efficiently provided by the private sector through private security companies. As of today, the private police industry employs more people than the government polices worldwide (almost twice as much according to Reuters http://in.reuters.com...). So obviously, the notion of private security works. This principle is already included in mall centers, attraction parks, hotels, hospitals, etc. and it could also be extended to the regular environment: in a scenario of no State, streets would be owned by private companies, who would employ or contract private security officers and agencies to make sure the streets are secure for walkers (clients).
Now, the military argument needs more detailing. First of all, in my extreme scenario, there would be no governments in the world so the very need for a military becomes futile, if not ridiculous. But let's assume that only one country has hypothetically gotten rid of its State apparatus. What would happen in this case? In such a scenario, the country in discussion would now be entirely "private", meaning that all land is now owned by private individuals rather than by the government. Now, any attack on a piece of land in the given country becomes an attack on an individual's private property. The proprietor would then be at ease to hire either a private militia if the attack is small or a military contractor if the attack is made on a larger scale. In today's world, both entities already exist and I do not see the problem with such a situation where the government-provided military protection is replaced by privately-operated military protection.
The idea that private companies would somehow be more corrupted (define corruption in the absence of a corrupting State, though) is simply uninformed, especially when one considers the level of corruption of today's military-industrial complex.
I also come to you with the belief that laws are not necessarily made by the government or the State. But before I go on I would like to notice that you were careful not to include law enforcement -courts, prisons, etc.- but only the concept of law itself. Now, be careful not to take my position the wrong way. I am not AGAINST the law. I am simply against the concept of government-provided and mandated law.
There have been countless examples of law and legal concepts offered on a private base, with no government involvement, such as the Brehon Code in the Emerald Isle (http://mises.org...) and the pre-Hammurabi Code Mesopotamia. In fact, it is to some extent a private exercise of the concept of law when a country has no regime of civic code (such as the United States, except Louisiana, which uses the French Napoleonic model) but rather lets judges rule on litigations on their own. We could simply allow private judges to do the job as long as they have been contracted by the people in legal conflict.
This is one theory. Another one is David Friedman's view of polycentric law. According to Friedman, in a stateless society, law would be provided by land owners who would decide on which laws to be applied on his private property (keep in mind that even streets would become private property). So if you own a piece of land and are against marijuana use, you would make it unlawful and a violation of contract for someone to use marijuana on your land or property. Would someone use this as a way to legalize rape and murder on his lands? Maybe, but this would simply desertify his or her land as no visitor would dare to tease the Devil. Could this system lead to chaos with thousands of conflicting legal systems? Most likely not. It would not be efficient for society if each street in a given city had its own unique sets of laws as confusion would arise. Instead, private entrepreneurs and owners would work toward the harmony of the marketplace of land and make sure people can travel as easily as possible. Chances are the drug example would be one of the extreme cases of differences in law.
Murray Rothbard, a political economist and philosopher of the late 19th century, had his own idea of the question. He said that one's rights are not from the government or the Constitution, but rather from nature, from the natural state of humankind. Men have rights because they are rational beings with the capacity to own property and reason. These rights are known as natural rights and are extended to the sanctity of one's private property (including the body). All law should thus ensue from those natural rights. But how can we be sure a judge will consider a murder to be a crime? The same way we can trust all dictionary presses to offer the same definition for the verb "To Be". It is a natural definition, just like natural rights would translate into natural laws, or automatic laws about violations of property.
These are three different theories. In my opinion, the polycentric view of David Friedman is the most reasonable and the most realistic, even though history has given us instances of all three scenarios. But the fact is that we do not need a government to dictate uniform laws for all of us. There are 7 billion individuals in the world and merely 213 sets of laws. This is not worthy of the 21st century, an era where mankind is more diverse and intelligent than ever before.
You are now free to add topics to your list or elaborate on these three subjects if you think I haven't been clear enough or convincing enough.
I thank my opponent for a well put, thoughtful response. I can tell this will be a very good, respectful debate, and I am looking forward to the coming rounds.
Protection - Police
My opponent points out that private companies should be able to provide significant amounts of protection for citizens, and the study indicates that there are more private security guards employed than police officers worldwide. So I mean speaking by numbers, I'm sure private guards hired by companies could fill the void of police officers. But there's a big difference between guards and police officers.
Here are requirements for becoming a police officer - http://education-portal.com...;
Here are requirements for becoming a security guard - http://education-portal.com...;
A few quick and noticeable comparisons between the two -
- Police officers are required to have at least a high school diploma; security guards are not
- Police officers obtain specific, detailed, high quality training at a police academy; security guards may only receive on-the-job training once hired
- Police officers undergo many various tests and exams ensuring that they are capable for the job, even psychiatric tests to see if the officer's personality and behaviors are fit for the job; security guards do not undergo any tests to the same extent
Now this simply proves that police officers are on average better prepared and ready for the task of protecting citizens. Police officers are simply of a better quality than the average private security guard, so naturally if governments are done away with and private companies are given the responsibility of total protection with their guards, that level of protection will decrease. My opponent might say that private companies could start raising the quality of their guards and implement the same measures the police take with their officers. I can ensure you that the companies would do no such thing, because privately owned companies are all about one thing - profit. The level of protection for citizens would no longer be primarily about the general welfare of the citizens, but about the cost of that protection and the cheapest way possible to provide the required protection.
Protection - Military
My opponent points out here that if the whole world did away with government, there would be no need for any country to have a military, which I agree with. So let's look to the problems associated with an entire country becoming "private". When my opponent describes the country as owned privately by individuals, a line can be drawn to the concept of feudalism. Here is a detailed description of feudalism - http://en.wikipedia.org...
Feudalism flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consisted of three concepts, lords, vassals, and fiefs.
Lord - a noble who held land
Vassal - a person granted possession of the land by the lord
Fief - the land a lord ruled over
Presently, the lords would be the private individuals who controlled the lands, vassals would be the people allowed to live on the privately owned land, and the fiefs would be the privately owned sections of land. Essentially my opponent is talking about feudalism with his scenario. In medieval times, however, the lords still had to answer to a king. My opponent's scenario has NO king or higher power that the "lords" would answer to. The individuals who own the parts of the country therefore have complete control.
The most obvious problem with this idea would be actually the lack of protection that would follow this sort of change in society. These "fiefs" that are in place would have their own security to provide protection of their own borders. But if whole countries did in fact turn into a series of fiefdoms with their own lords, a power struggle between the lords would likely ensue. This would lead to many civil wars if you will between the countries. Alliances would be made and broken, lords would always be looking for the advantage over their fellow lords and fiefs, violence would be imminent. Protection would be effectively removed just by the violence caused by this shift in society.
Following with the feudalism-related idea my opponent is suggesting, let us now look to things associated with laws. The first theory my opponent brings forth is basically suggesting that we allow private judges contracted by the people in legal conflict to rule with whatever legal proceedings they see fit. What if the people involved in the legal conflict cannot afford the judge? Who will supply one then? Would it really be just to allow judges to rule without any sort of universal standard in place for all of them? I know corruption already exists in the governments of the world today, but wouldn't corruption increase greatly with this new system? These are key problems with this scenario.
Another theory my opponent offers suggests that the owners of the private property shall decide their own laws for their own land. My opponent then attempts to address the main problems that would result from this.
First, the problem of an owner possibly creating laws that allow for very immoral things to happen on the land. My opponent dismisses this with the claim that this will only decertify the land. If these types of laws are passed on a certain land, then that land becomes a breeding ground for chaos and violence. This tainted land will then pose a danger to surrounding lands, and can be very dangerous to the whole country.
Second, conflicting legal systems leading to chaos and confusion. My opponent dismisses this with the simple notion that the land owners will work in harmony to ensure the simplicity of travel between lands. I disagree with this 100%. Some basic laws will be the same across the board of course, but there could be some laws that are vastly different from one another or even completely unique to one land. This would a) cause confusion between travelers and b) create many loopholes for people to exploit and get away with things that could be considered immoral and detrimental to society.
The final theory my opponent uses is one of natural rights, or natural laws. A few basic laws can be derived from John Locke (life, liberty, and property). I completely agree that each human has a right to these natural laws. But as long as a government does not directly infringe upon these natural rights, I see no problem with additional laws made by the government along with these natural laws given to us upon birth.
I have pointed out many flaws in a world without any sort of government. If government were removed altogether, society would face chaos, confusion, increased violence, and many other dangers and difficulties. Protection would significantly decrease or even be gone altogether, and differing laws between every single land would cause a lot more problems than one unified system of law provided by the government.
I await my opponent's response.
Your arguments against the entire privatization of police forces is plainly ridiculous, with all due respect. I do not see how a high school diploma is anyhow relevant. I have a high school diploma but there are countless of better-suited individuals that have dropped out of high school that could become security providers. A certificate showing that you know how to Spark Note a book and do your homework 15 minutes before class has nothing to do with one's capacity to protect people.
Maybe police officers are subjected to psychological tests now and then, so what? Police brutality is a daily thing, even in the United States, where pregnant women can be tased and old men beaten to death with little or no consequence on guilty officers. On the other hand, private security officers are automatically taught to be more respectful, more helpful, more trustworthy, and much nicer to people in general. Why? Because of the same profit-seeking interest that you oppose. Mall and shop owners have an interest in bringing in more clients, which means they have to provide a safe and relaxing environment.
Private road and land owners could offer the exact same protection with the same level of effectiveness and efficiency. After all, where do most crimes happen? In the privately-secured stores or in public streets? In the streets, and I doubt this is just a coincidence.
Now it is true that many opponents of the abolition of the State like to dubb the ensuing system as "anarcho-feudal". But this does not mean they are right. Clearly, you are misconceiving the very concept of feudalism. Feudalism, as even your Wikipedia article points out, was a "decentralized dictatorship" with national laws and rules to be applied on the local scale by lords, counts, dukes, princes, etc. In a sense, feudalism is the ultimate result of pure socialism, which seeks for a decentralized socialist state. But it is not the representation of stateless society.
In a feudal society, one lives on a lord's land and has no right to leave this land to change masters. Such peasants that would dare to leave their homes would be pursued and severely punished in medieval France. In a free society, people would either own the land they live on or rent it from an actual owner. Obviously, since you would have the choice to pick which owner you'd like to rent your land from, most people will look for someone who does not try to control every aspect of their lives. I mean if you had the choice, would you look for a rent money-seeking owner or a freak that forcefully takes away 3/4's of everything you earn every day?
In a feudal society, the central state makes rules about the ownership of land. In France, for instance, lords would be prohibited from passing their land onto females unless authorized by the King. In Great Britain, the sale of feudal land was authorized only if made to the King or if no family member remained alive. In a free society, such restrictions would not exist, allowing a wider marketplace of land to be established with competitive owners deciding to improve their properties and attract clients as if they were entrepreneurs.
The lack of a State will not somehow awaken a dark aspect of humankind. Most likely, since the economic status of the stateless society would be capitalistic, deeper entrepreneurial and social cooperation will lead to a more peaceful environment. But I am not trying to give you one of those soft anarcho-communist arguments that mankind will be different so I'll rather use a realistic argument for my rebuttal.
In a private country, the goal of the military would be to do its initial intent: protect people. Condominums will keep their current private protection apparatus, while oil fields could hire private militias to defend themselves. Now, remember that everything has a cost. People cannot buy everything for the very reason that everything is more or less scarce and price fixing is applied accordingly to the scarcity of the good. A private security or private militia group will be costly to take care of if it carries the duties of a defending army on a smaller-scale. So what do you think will happen if anyone dares to attack a neighboring oil field? Costs will be astonishing as one will have to pay for the extra weapons, the medical assistance, the food and clothing of the soldiers or fighters, etc. Those that have such adventurous minds as to conquer a neighboring field might as well see the military insurance premiums go up in a sharp way to cover the possible deaths that might ensue from an attack.
The price incentive for not fighting will simply be too large for a feudal-like society to arise. I'll remind you that feudal armies were afforded by the forceful taxation of lords and churches. In the absence of this forceful taxation, who exactly will be able to afford a standing army? This reminds me of one libertarian scholar, Ludwig Von Mises, who said that in today's world, virtually nobody could be able to afford the construction of the Versailles Palce and that it took the forceful hand of government taxation to build it.
Now, let us look at your case for a government-provided law. The first argument against my case is more of an argument against private courts that the concept of private law itself. You ask, "What if the people involved in the litigation cannot afford the judge"? To begin with, why would the people in a legal conflict want to hire a judge they can't afford? One cannot pretend all judges will be expensive. It is like claiming that without the government, all shoes, all clothing, or all housing would be too expensive for the poor to afford them. This is not true. The market adjusts itself to all the demands of society. Unreachable, over expensive judges would be a luxury service, not a general one.
Now, is it fair or just to allow judges to rule without an universal standard? Not considering the fact that this system is the one already in use in the United States without problems, I would like to ask you a similar question. Is it fair to allow a few central planners, union bureaucrats, and powerful technocrats to decide what competent and educated judges should do? Central planning never works, so don't expect litigation to be any different.
Another case against private litigation resolution you pointed out is corruption. You agreed that corruption already exists. The difference is that in today's monopolized system, the customer (you or I) have no choice. We have to remain with the same government judges all the time. If private companies were in charge of conflict resolution, wouldn't you choose the least corrupted company? You know, thanks to the transparency of the free market, when a corporation is corrupted or breaks a contract, so the rational goes that if a company dares to adventure itself into contract-breaking, people will leave it and it will start a long road toward decline or reform. In short, private companies would be less corrupted than the government monopoly of courts.
When it comes to the polycentric theory of law of David Friedman, I can tell that you had the heaviest problems with this system (while it is probably my favorite one). You, to a weak extent, correctly pointed out that bad laws might lead to chaos and violence. If one allows rape on his land, those that would visit this land would soon be raped. Violence right there. But to begin with, why would you even consider going somewhere where rape is allowed. That would just plain stupid, or daring. And this would be a very isolated case. I don't see the domino theory that you pointed out ("bad for the whole country") even possible. Let's assume you have two neighbors: one with a good yard and one with a ugly one. Would you be more influenced by the first or the second one? So I think the domino theory would go the other way around.
Space limits me. Your turn
Awesome-Sauce forfeited this round.
Crevaux forfeited this round.
Before I begin, I would like to apologize for my FF. I could not find the time to respond. My opponent agreed to FF his next round in order to allow me more time to respond. Conduct should go to Pro.
Crevaux forfeited this round.
My opponent has FF his last round. This leaves points mentioned before unrefuted. As I have pointed out many times in this debate, there are just too many complications and problems with a country containing an established government switching over to being entirely privatized.
My opponent's last round contained many unsubstantiated claims - he did not provide the evidence to really back up his arguments in the last round. This weakened his refutations, and then the last round was FF by my opponent. I have pointed out many potential problems with my opponent's scenario of a government-free country, and because my opponent failed to really refute these in the end, my arguments stand, and you must Vote Con.
Thank you to my opponent for this debate, and to all the readers.