who has read my posts.
If it hasn’t become obvious by this point “Daily” Dogma is more or less a “when I can” thing. Twice in a month I have managed to become embroiled in reddit drama. The first being when I was banned from /r/history for trying to prevent a downvote brigade and the second just a couple of days ago when redditor ChaosMotor asked the provocative question “So has /r/libertarian basically been taken over by non-libertarians?” In my opinion it obviously has; the moderators prefer a completely hands off approach and in fact advocate that no opinion should be downvoted no matter how misguided in an effort to foster debate. Redditor agilecaveman made perhaps the most accurate response to this saying “It’s the same argument as “teach the controversy” in school. Creationism is bullshit. Stat-ism is bullshit. You are not going to learn about evolution by debating creationists and you are going to learn more by looking at evidence and arguing with other evolutionists.”
I suppose in the grand scheme of things it isn’t that huge of a deal but since reddit is my most accessible vehicle for discussing libertarian thought; it is a shame my refuge has been lost.
Episode One: Encounter at Farpoint part 1
Captain Jean-Luc Picard leads the crew of the USS Enterprise-D on its maiden voyage, to examine a new planetary station for trade with the Federation. On the way, they encounter Q, an omnipotent extra-dimensional being, who challenges humanity as a barbaric, inferior species. Picard and his new crew must hold off Q’s challenge and solve the puzzle of Farpoint station on Deneb IV, a base that is far more than it seems to be.
The first episode of our journey begins with an overly long credit scene and then the camera slowly pans up to reveal our new Enterprise. The effects still look great and I cannot wait to see them remastered on blu-ray. The camera zooms into a window and we see our protagonist Jean-Luc Picard partially cloaked in shadow. I find it interesting that this series opens with a singular shot of the ship and then a similar shot of Picard by himself. The Federation is a collectivist society but this show has chosen to focus first on Picard as an individual. This is often the case in real collectivist societies; just look at the Soviet Union with Lenin then Stalin. Collectivist societies do not reflect the ambitions, wants, needs, or desires of their citizens but rather of their leaders. This is something to remember as we continue this series. Do the desires of our heroes and their leaders match those of the people they supposedly represent in this great federation?
Picard then states in his Captain’s Log that the Enterprise is heading into “The great unexplored mass of the galaxy.” This line is important because of the important emphasis on property rights in the libertarian philosophy. Land is considered unowned if it has never been appropriated via “homesteading”. This is done by “mixing your labor” with the land; or in other words using it and improving it. This can be done to any kind of “land”; including water, air, and yes space. Because of this, when we look at the voyages of the starship Enterprise we must be acutely aware of whether they are trespassing in “owned space”. The Enterprise entering another person’s space makes them the aggressor in practically any situation. It does become more complicated when the land is claimed by a government but for the sake of simplicity I will be forced to ignore this concept; it is simply impossible to trace the property rights of a fictional universe with any reliability. In order to make this examination work I will be judging if the Enterprise has been given access rights on a case by case basis and using only knowledge provided in the episodes themselves.
After a brief tour of the engine room and a few other parts of the ship we get back to the plot and see our first view of the bridge as our characters are awkwardly introduced; Brent Spiner in particular seems unsure of how to play Data but the rest of the cast is mostly convincing. After that we are on the business end of some heady exposition about the “mysterious” nature of the Farpoint mission then suddenly Troi’s spider sense goes off and “a powerful mind” blocks the Enterprise’s approach to Deneb IV with a “powerful force field”.
Operating under the assumption that our heroes have been given free access to the planet by its inhabitants and all landowners in between this blockade would be illegal under libertarian law. Preventing someone from exercising their property rights, in this case egress through owned property you were invited to cross) qualifies as “coercive force” unless that person is using those rights to violate the rights of another. In other words the person at fault is the one who initiated aggression upon another.
After some techno-babble about the nature of the force field the omnipotent entity known only as Q appears on the bridge dressed in his best Leonardo da Vinci outfit demanding that humanity return to Earth as they have “infiltrated the Galaxy too far already”. Shortly thereafter helmsmen “totally not Geordi” attempts to stun Q with a phaser; Q responds to this by using a high-level freeze spell and the first victim of battery on The Next Generation still manages to be a Red-Shirt despite the uniform change. Troi responds to the frozen form of Lieutenant “soon-to-be-replaced” with the revelation that “He’s frozen!”…typical. So let’s stop for a second and examine the criminality of Q in his first 30 seconds of screen time.
• Preventing free access over another person’s property. I.e. Theft. (The main component of theft in libertarian law is preventing the use of property by its owner).
• Trespassing on the Enterprise.
• Assault (On Picard for ordering him to do something under the threat of violence).
• Battery and possibly Attempted Murder (On Lt. “at least he isn’t Wesley”).
Q is not only the antagonist in this episode but also clearly a criminal in the libertarian philosophy; as the episode fades to commercial it is implied Q is just getting started.
“Captain’s log supplementary: The frozen form of Lieutenant Torres has been rushed to sickbay. The question now is the incredible power of the Q being. Do we dare oppose it?”
After the break, Q takes Picard through a history of human military conflict accusing the Captain of being a member of a “savage, child-like race” and sporting a variety of military outfits that follows the Famous, Famous, Fictional trope; the final outfit being of a drug-controlled military dictatorship which arose during and after Earth’s third World War. Q taunts Picard who then accuses Q of being a “self-righteous life form” whose only ambition is to “prosecute and judge” species they cannot tolerate. Q mockingly latches on to the idea of prosecution and tells Picard that is exactly what will happen before he vanishes in his trademark diamond-shaped flash.
The Captain and his advisors discuss their options; Worf and Tasha advise him to fight while Troi suggests that Q’s mind is too powerful and suggests they run. Picard takes the latter option and orders that they inform all decks by “printout”…which may be the only time paper is ever referenced in the entire run of the series. The Enterprise pushes its engines to the limit and tries to run but the energy wall turns into a sphere and pursues.
Something I couldn’t help but notice in this escape scene is the panicked crew constantly says “sir”.
From the Teleplay with Picard’s lines removed:
WORF: We’re at nine point four, sir.
TASHA: Hostile is now beginning to overtake us, sir.
DATA: Hostile’s velocity is already warp nine point six, sir. Shall I put them on the main viewer?
DATA: Magnifying viewer image.
TASHA: Hostile’s velocity is nine point seven, sir.
DATA: Engine room attempting to comply, sir, but they caution us
TASHA: Torpedoes to ready, sir.
TASHA: Hostile now at warp nine point eight, sir.
WORF: Our velocity is only nine point five, sir.
DATA: Projection, sir. We may be able to match hostile’s nine point eight, sir. But at extreme risk.
TASHA: Now reading the hostile at warp nine point nine, sir.
WORF: I am a Klingon, sir. For me to seek escape when my Captain goes into battle.
WORF: Aye, sir.
This has nothing to do with libertarianism…it was just remarkably distracting.
Picard then transfers control of the ship to the rarely seen “battle bridge” so that he can run an “emergency saucer separation” that has never been attempted at high warp. This has the effect of evacuating all of the civilians in that section of the ship and let them avoid the dangerous situation. This actually alleviates a possible violation of the Non-Aggression Principle since it is unlikely the children volunteered to go into a war zone.
After the successful evacuation of the non-Starfleet personnel Picard turns the star drive section of the Enterprise towards the sphere, stops engines and broadcasts surrender on all frequencies. The sphere approaches the ship and envelops them. Picard, Troi, Data, and Tasha are then teleported or transported to a room filled with impoverished looking people and soldiers dressed in the same strange outfit Q was wearing; looks like we can add kidnapping to our list of charges against the Q. We soon find out this is a court room in the “post-atomic horror”, our heroes are to be prosecuted and judged just as Q taunted a few minutes ago.
Several interesting things happen in the next few scenes. First Q is rolled out on a makeshift throne dressed in an outfit clearly inspired by the Inquisition; then one of the soldiers orders Picard to stand; when Picard doesn’t comply the thug fires a weapon at Picard’s feet. Tasha takes offense to this aggression and disarms the thug who is then killed by a compatriot for being “out of order”.
If we remove the whole “kidnapping” aspect of this situation it is great example of how aggression works in an An-Cap society. The thug initiated aggression by firing his weapon at Picard. Even if his intent was not to kill him it is clearly an offensive action designed to intimidate. Therefore Tasha’s response is perfectly legitimate. This point is key. Libertarians are not pacifists even though they detest the initiation of aggression. Violence in response to aggression is completely warranted.
The trial continues and the vaguely racist (Fu-Manchu wearing) bailiff asks Picard what their plea is in response to all of the “multiple and grievous savageries of their species”. In our hero’s defense Data quotes a law passed in 2036 by the “New United Nations” which says “no Earth citizen can be made to answer for the crimes of their race or forbearers”. Q’s response is that this is irrelevant due to humanity abandoning this institution shortly thereafter. To a libertarian they are both completely wrong. Their argument is an example of legal positivism. Positivism is the belief that laws must come from legislature, that they must be codified and written to have any effect and that all written laws are valid. To the legal positivist murder is only a crime because the government says it is and in cases where the government says it isn’t a crime (war, execution, etc…) it is a legal activity; or if a government outlawed aspirin tomorrow it would be a crime to take it.
Libertarians subscribe to a natural-rights deontological legal system. The definitions of those two terms combine to say “This law asserts that there are laws that are immanent in nature, to which enacted laws should correspond as closely as possible. This view is frequently summarized by the maxim: an unjust law is not a true law, in which ‘unjust’ is defined as contrary to natural law and that the laws should protect individual autonomy, liberty, or rights.” Combined with the Non-Aggression Principle this forms a complete moral/ethical/legal system that can not only be universally applied to everyone but is also easy to understand.
- You have the full right to your own body and all labor produced by it.
- You have the full right to all legally obtained property. (See above on homesteading for ways to legally obtain property.)
- You have the full right to defend yourself and your property against aggressors.
- You may not aggress against another individual or their property except when they have initiated aggression against you. (You cannot aggress except in defense.)
- Ownership of goods can only be transferred through voluntary means such as trade or gift as opposed to theft or coercion.
As a (lengthy) side note I would like to point out that while the original natural-rights philosophers such as John Locke attributed rights to a gift from god this is no longer the case. I am an atheist myself but still adhere to a nature given rights system. It is a system akin to the maxim “I think therefore I am”, I have rights because of the obvious ownership I have over my own mind and body. While there are ostensibly naturally occurring exceptions to my “right to self-ownership” such as my need to eat and breathe; for the most part I am in complete indisputable control of my body and no one can make me to act in any way I disagree with except through the use or threat of force. Even those exceptions are proven to be tenuous though when you consider things such as anorexia or suicide. In the end I, as a person, can override even the most powerful urges if I choose to do so. Humans are guided by more than just animal instinct, our minds control our bodies and this gives us our rights since in order to maintain myself I must utilize my body and property. The obvious caveat to self-ownership is forcing me to act with the threat of violence but as we have already discussed the threat of violence is a violation of the body and therefore illegitimate. /sidenote
Tasha resents Q’s judgeship and protests his accusations; in response he freezes her as well (Battery yet again). Her fate is uncertain since they do not have access to sickbay. Picard erupts in a rage reminiscent of “First-Contact” and demands Q give humanity a fair trial. The group is obviously under duress and therefore no fair trial is possible but Picard is attempting to appeal to Q’s perceived sense of justice even if that sense is twisted beyond recognition.
This scene and this episode in general is interesting to me from a fan’s point of view because Picard seems to be riding the fence between the archetypes colloquially known as “Movie Picard” and “Series Picard” and I kind of like this version. For the unaware Movie Picard is the character seen in the four films based on The Next Generation; he is reckless, quick to jump into battle and viewed as an action hero. Series Picard on the other hand is diplomatic, wise, and always looking for a peaceful solution. It is often debated which Picard is better (the TV one being the obvious correct answer) but so far in this first episode he has displayed both traits and it is working very well.
I am looking forward to trying to pinpoint exactly when the writers abandoned the more aggressive Picard traits in the series. I have a feeling that a certain Commander and his Beard may be the answer; but regardless of current bearditude Picard wins his argument with Q who promises a fair trial and unfreezes Yar…then immediately reneges on this promise by having his goons threaten to kill the protagonists if they don’t plead guilty to the crime of being a “savage race”.
Picard sees no other way out for his crew and admits that human’s have been guilty of these charges…in the past. Picard argues that the charges are no longer true of humanity now and offers himself and his crew as evidence to be tested to that regard. Q is intrigued and accepts Picard’s suggestion, adjourns the court and teleports the crew back to the enterprise. O’Brien who is manning the helm seems unaware that the rest of the crew was gone and reports that they are on the same heading they have always been on “direct course to farpoint station”.
This marks the end of this episode’s first act and we are left with quite a few interesting scenarios.
The Trial: regardless of outcome what we have just seen is obviously not a valid legal process. Even to the non-libertarian it should be obvious that being held against your will and punished for crimes that are created by the very people who are now holding you hostage is a paradoxical situation to say the least. Yet, that is startling similar to the system we have now. Laws are created on the whim of legislatures and justified through the concepts of democracy (or republicanism) and the social contract.
Imagine if a bill was passed tomorrow that made having red hair a crime. Certainly people would rise up in protest and the red heads most of all and others would point that this law violates the constitution which is ostensibly there to prevent things like this from happening. The law would get taken in front of the Supreme Court and what if it was deemed constitutional under the general welfare clause or the commerce clause?
What recourse would the red-heads have then? The answer is none and it would all be entirely legal from a positivist point of view. The checks on power do not work because despite the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the government being different branches they are all still part of the government. They are all Q. It is just as Picard accuses in the episode:
PICARD: …even though you’re judge and prosecutor.
Q: And jury
Now if this seems too far-fetched for you it has already happened many times. For example:
“In Wickard v. Filburn (1942) , the Supreme Court expanded the original interpretation of the commerce clause to cover intrastate economic activity that was said to “affect” interstate commerce. Wickard grew wheat for his own consumption but the court reasoned that the wheat locally consumed could, theoretically, have been sold in interstate commerce; so when Wickard “withdrew” that wheat and consumed it, output and prices in interstate commerce were affected.”
A man was denied the right to consume his own home grown food due to shoddy interpretations of the constitution. This case was then referred to sixty years later in order to prevent locally growing marijuana in California where it was legal at the time. Their reasoning was “that such private activity “affected” interstate commerce and, thus, could be regulated (prohibited) by the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), regardless of California state law”
The government passes a law and then uses itself to legitimize the law. There is only the illusion of an independent process.
Murray Rothbard identified the problem as such:
“Professor Black begins his analysis by pointing out the crucial necessity of “legitimacy” for any government to endure, this legitimation signifying basic majority acceptance of the government and its actions. Acceptance of legitimacy becomes a particular problem in a country such as the United States, where “substantive limitations are built into the theory on which the government rests.” What is needed, adds Black, is a means by which the government can assure the public that its increasing powers are, indeed, “constitutional.” And this, he concludes, has been the major historic function of judicial review.
This danger is averted by the State’s propounding the doctrine that one agency must have the ultimate decision on constitutionality and that this agency, in the last analysis, must be part of the federal government. For while the seeming independence of the federal judiciary has played a vital part in making its actions virtual Holy Writ for the bulk of the people, it is also and ever true that the judiciary is part and parcel of the government apparatus and appointed by the executive and legislative branches. Black admits that this means that the State has set itself up as a judge in its own cause, thus violating a basic juridical principle for aiming at just decisions.”
Whether you agree with this interpretation or not I still maintain that at least the protagonists of this episode are being judged unfairly. This examination will continue in part two of this episode and we will see how Picard and his crew deal with the situation at Farpoint station and whether it meshes with libertarian ideals. So far, Q has been the one and only villain in this episode and our crew has performed admirably when compared to libertarian ideology.
Final libertarian grades for this episode:
Q – 0 out of 10, a supreme being who is a supreme violator of the Non-Aggression Principle.
Picard and the crew of the enterprise – 10 out of 10, they have not committed a single coercive act.
I ran into a guy with a shirt whose front said “I built my business, Mr. President” which I had not seen before. I complimented the shirt and told me to read the back. Unfortunately it turns out it was a Romney shirt and the guy looked at me and said “Obama has really messed things up”. I cannot disagree with that statement but it sometimes pains me that for many people the only way to be against Person A is to be for Person B. Obama has messed things up, but so did Bush and Romney certainly will as well. This two party dynamic is a crushing weight on each and every one of us and needs to end.
Science Fiction has perpetually predicted future events; usually through perception, sheer volume of guesses and luck. No one mentions the iron automatons and ray guns when they can point to such ideals as space travel, landing on the moon, cellular phones, the internet and other accurately predicted technologies. The obvious “secret” behind science fiction writer’s predictions is simply that the good ones take modern or near-future technologies and use their imagination to think up new, inventive, and just slightly out of reach uses for these technologies and to quote a popular science fiction cartoon character who was not describing the Blue Milk in Star Wars “I can explain. See it used to be milk, and…well, time makes fools of us all!”.
These predictions exist because Science Fiction operates the same way as Fantasy, through imagination. The main difference is that a Fantasy author invents and elaborates on fictionalconcepts while a Science Fiction author elaborates on actual concepts while twisting them into something wondrous.
Note that this is not a knock on Fantasy; quite the contrary I enjoy Fantasy immensely and it is my opinion that Fantasy is the far more difficult genre to write. Fans of five or six hardness Sci-Fi may scoff at this and point to the obvious conventions of Fantasy as an example; such as orcs, elfs, dwarfs, vampires, werewolves, wizards and the like. Yet it is precisely these conventions that make authors like Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and yes…I show my colors J.K. Rowling so impressive to me. They take these centuries (millennia?) old conventions and make them interesting and new.
I won’t insult history and end this point without saying that I greatly respect Tolkien and the worlds he created or even the derivative works in the Forgotten Realms…erm….uhh…realm. I have enjoyed both of those worlds and their various offshoots immensely, especially their PC game iterations and have admittedly played far less D&D than I like.
I would also find it insulting to neglect the classics by Homer or Euripides and the old tales such as Beowulf, A Thousand and One Nights and the Epic of Gilgamesh. These tales were some of the first known human attempts at
fantasy and represent humanity’s struggle with the unexplainable; the afterlife, unexplained death, what sets man apart from nature, human urges, flaws and strengths. These tales were the first Fantasy and set out to explain things that could not be explained through imagination, speculation, and the very little knowledge that these authors (many of which are lost to history) had. I cannot begin to comprehend that level of story weaving and even if many of these tales were passed on through countless generations and their (possibly barely human) author will never be known I feel like everyone owes them a tiny debt.
This is where Science Fiction comes in though. Humanity (as separate individual beings) have advanced beyond the need for speculative explanations of natural phenomenon. We understand not only our nature but that of the Earth, the Solar System, the Milky Way Galaxy, and even the Universe. We have rules, laws, theories and models that explain natural phenomenon. If the sky suddenly darkened and the Sun seemed to disappear at high noon a sizeable majority of the population wouldn’t cower in fear but would instead be looking on at the marvel of a total solar eclipse with precise models of how long it would last, where they could see it from and how best to view it.
Science Fiction doesn’t attempt to explain what is; but instead what could be. It is, however bound by one fatal conceit: it is written by a human being. A human, male or female, that is bound to the present, a human that is bound to one place at any given time, a human who is limited to his or her tiny perspective. The great (second greatest in my opinion) economist Ludwig von Mises explained this phenomenon in regard to historians in his treatise “Human Action” [p.57] saying
“To every historical factor understanding tries to assign its relevance. In
the exercise of understanding there is no room for arbitrariness and capriciousness.
The freedom of the historian is limited by his endeavor to provide
a satisfactory explanation of reality. His guiding star must be the search for
truth. But there necessarily enters into understanding an element of subjectivity.
The understanding of the historian is always tinged with the marks of
his personality. It reflects the mind of its author.”
“It reflects the mind of its author.”…and the same is true of Fiction but *especially* Science Fiction which is almost entirely dependent on the time and place in which it was written. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein after the enlightenment questioned what the limits of the individual were. Could a man become a god and create life at will? This is a similar pattern to other Industrial Revolution authors. Jules Verne wondered “What can man truly accomplish that no other species can”. The ocean’s floor, atmospheric flight, the Moon, the center of the Earth, for Verne humanity’s ingenuity and intelligence could conquer any challenge.
Yet prosperity gave way to war between nations and Science Fiction became less hopeful and more dystopian. Empires expanded, peoples were crushed under the guise of the “white-man’s burden”, “eugenics” and “scientific socialism”. Authors like H.G. Wells wondered what would happen if a superior species invaded Earth in the same year that the United States conquered parts of the Caribbean and the Pacific while England colonized parts of Africa.
This trend continued through the World Wars, the red scare, and the start of the cold war. My favorite example of the folly of man is probably “The Twilight Zone”. Rod Serling (and the many contributors to the show) almost universally looked at humans as distrusting, paranoid, petty creatures who were just one crisis away from turning on each other. An apt view when the
world was seconds from ending at any given moment.
Then in 1964 a man named Gene Roddenberry rebelled against the contemporary interpretation of humanity. His vision for “Star Trek” was quite literally a utopian one. Mankind had moved beyond greed, selfishness, petty individualist desires, even beyond money itself; it had evolved. This evolution was explored in various degrees throughout the five television series but is most exemplified by The Next Generation. This series moved away from the low-budget camp of The Original Series and also wasn’t as gritty as Deep Space Nine.
The Next Generation examines what humanity would look like if it was perfect; but how does that ideal mesh with the libertarian ideals of the Non-Aggression Principle and also those of Austrian Economic thought? I will attempt to answer this question with an episode by episode review of The Next Generation from a libertarian perspective. I will examine, criticize, or approve of the character’s actions and explain why and how their utopian vision deviates from the libertarian ideal. The real purpose of this though will be to explain why that deviation represents a moral failure of the utopian ideal as compared to the libertarian one.
Like any good economist I will be making a few assumptions before I begin this research.
1.) I will assume all personnel in Starfleet joined voluntarily. In other words conscription doesn’t exist in the Federation.
2.) I will assume that personnel are capable of leaving Starfleet if they choose to do so. Examples include Picard going to his brother’s winery after the Borg incident and Sisko going to work in his father’s restaurant.
3.) I will base judgment of aggressive actions only on events that have happened during the run of the show unless a character explicitly states their actions are in response to an off-screen incident. In other words most of the time I will not hold characters in the show responsible for events that have happened in the past but will examine events “in the moment”.
I will mostly be using the Netflix releases of the episodes and while I am unaware of any edits or missing episodes if there are any problems I will deal with them when they arise. I think it is relevant to point out I have not seen most of these episodes in quite some time; especially the season one blunders.
Finally, thank you for joining me on this continuing mission, to boldly go where no libertarian has gone before…
“Is using a body double for a prison sentence acceptable in AnCap society”
This is a more complicated question than it at first seems. In order to answer this question you must first understand what a completely Anarcho-Capitalist justice system would likely* look like.
Let’s start with the individual and work our way up to the institutions.
The individual in an An-Cap society would have forms of protection against criminals. First as I have described here each person would have a “defense insurance company” that would reimburse them for stolen goods and other violations of the Non-Aggression Principle[NAP].
The second protection described in great detail by Robert Murphy in his book “ChaosTheory” works by another insurance company guaranteeing the “character” of people who you hire, live with, wait our tables, etc.. By character I do not mean any subjective evaluations about morality but rather if they have committed violations of the NAP. To clarify: most jobs, apartments, houses, property would require an insurance company to “vouch” for your criminality (or lack thereof).
In short you have an insurance company to protect you from other people and one to protect other people from you. These could ostensibly be the same company or covered under the same plan but to keep things simple let’s assume that they are two different organizations.
Assume a situation where you are an employer attempting to hire a person to operate your cash register. On the application there would be section that asks for your insurance information much like today there are sections for references. The employer would call them and they would presumably tell them that you have no offenses on record and that they vouch that you are trustworthy.
If you are indeed a trustworthy person then all is fine. What happens however if you go on to steal $50 from the register and are caught? First of all your insurance company is contacted by your employer’s insurance company who explains the situation, provides evidence, and asks them for the money back. If there was incontrovertible evidence they would certainly pay up or else be ostracized by the community for breaking their obligation. Next, your insurance company would enact any penalties to you outlined in your contract such as a raise in premiums, further monetary penalties, loss of all coverage, etc… Finally, it would be up to your employer whether to continue to employ you, though likely he or she wouldn’t for obvious reasons.
What of the situation where you lose your coverage though? Perhaps you are a repeat offender or the crime was particularly heinous and not only does your current insurance company abandon you but you also cannot find a new one.
You are unlikely to find gainful employment, perhaps even unlikely to find housing since your mortgage or renter’s agreement would stipulate that they would need some recourse against you for criminal activity and without an insurance company all they could do is rough you up a bit which would be a frowned upon activity.
Well there would be employers and land owners who specialize in catering to these “Repeat Offenders”.
In the above mentioned book Robert Murphy describes the situation perfectly:
“But where would these ne’er-do-wells be taken, once they
were brought into “custody”? Specialized firms would develop,
offering high security analogs to the current jailhouse. However,
the “jails” in market anarchy would compete with each other to
Consider: No insurance company would vouch for a serial killer
if he applied for a job at the local library, but they would deal with
him if he agreed to live in a secure building under close scrutiny.
The insurance company would make sure that the “jail” that held
him was well-run. After all, if the person escaped and killed again,
the insurance company would be held liable, since it pledges to
make good on any damages its clients commit.
On the other hand, there would be no undue cruelty for the prisoners
in such a system. Although they would have no chance of
escape (unlike government prisons), they wouldn’t be beaten by
sadistic guards. If they were, they’d simply switch to a different
jail, just as travelers can switch hotels if they view the staff as
discourteous. Again, the insurance company (which vouches for a
violent person) doesn’t care which jail its client chooses, so long
as its inspectors have determined that the jail will not let its client
escape into the general population.”
The answer to answer the overarching question is readily apparent now:
No, a body double would not be acceptable or even a remote option in an An-Cap society.
*All solutions would be governed by the Non-Aggression Principle and the free market so exact scenarios are impossible to predict; however, we can use the NAP to make predictions that fit within its framework.
There are two kinds of An-Caps. Rothbard describes those two groups in the Ethics of Liberty. There needs to be a group of people who (like me) are radical and dogmatically maintain the core beliefs of Rothbardian thought without compromise.
“If liberty is to be the highest political end, then this implies that liberty is to be pursued by the most efficacious means, i.e., those means which will most speedily and thoroughly arrive at the goal. This means that the libertarian must be an “ abolitionist,” i.e., he must wish to achieve the goal of liberty as rapidly as possible. If he balks at abolitionism, then he is no longer holding liberty as the highest political end. The libertarian, then, should be an abolitionist who would, if he could, abolish instantaneously all invasions of liberty. Following the classical liberal Leonard Read, who advocated immediate and total abolition of price-and-wage controls after World War II, we might refer to this as the “button-pushing” criterion. Thus, Read declared that “If there were a button on this rostrum, the pressing of which would release all wage-and-price controls instantaneously I would put my finger on it and push!” The libertarian, then, should be a person who would push a button, if it existed, for the instantaneous abolition of all invasions of liberty—not something, by the way, that any utilitarian would ever be likely to do.”
However the movement also needs those who can make the ideal more palatable to the average person who doesn’t (or cannot) grasp the whole philosophy. As Rothbard said:
“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. “
The people who make the ideal appeal to the average person with no interest of economics come from an entirely different mold than the “radicals” who pursue the former ideal.
These people must do the following:
“Does this mean that the libertarian may never set priorities, may not concentrate his energy on political issues which he deems of the greatest importance? Clearly not, for since everyone’s time and energy is necessarily limited, no one can devote equal time to every particular aspect of the comprehensive libertarian creed. A speaker or writer on political issues must necessarily set priorities of importance, priorities which at least partially depend on the concrete issues and circumstances of the day. Thus, while a libertarian in today’s world would certainly advocate the denationalization of lighthouses, it is highly doubtful that he would place a greater priority on the lighthouse question than on conscription or the repeal of the income tax. The libertarian must use his strategic intelligence and knowledge of the issues of the day to set his priorities of political importance. On the other hand, of course, if one were living on a small, highly fog-bound island, dependent on shipping for transportation, it could very well be that the lighthouse question would have a high priority on a libertarian political agenda. And, furthermore, if for some reason the opportunity arose for denationalizing lighthouses even in present-day America, it should certainly not be spurned by the libertarian.”
Uniting these two beliefs Rothbard reaches the following conclusion:
“We conclude this part of the strategy question, then, by affirming that the victory of total liberty is the highest political end; that the proper groundwork for this goal is a moral passion for justice; that the end should be pursued by the speediest and most efficacious possible means; that the end must always be kept in sight and sought as rapidly as possible; and that the means taken must never contradict the goal—whether by advocating gradualism, by employing or advocating any aggression against liberty, by advocating planned programs, or by failing to seize any opportunity to reduce State power or by ever increasing it in any area. “
So the people who say that all of us must pursue the median path are clearly wrong. We must work together. Some of us must pursue the dogmatically pure path while others must set specific goals to advance the cause of liberty. When one group maintains the core principles against all attackers and the other makes the end goal more palatable to the masses; together we can further the cause of liberty.
I do plan on commenting on this at some point in the next day or two but Sundays are always a strain at work so I think I am going to call it an early night tonight. Though I read that the Syrian government has retaken the capital city from rebels. I cannot imagine that there will not be airstrikes in the next week or two against government targets but who knows I suppose. I am pretty confident something world altering is going to happen before September but would be happy to be proven wrong.
Have a good weekend.
Yours in liberty, Adam