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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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246 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    Can you draw a clearer line from an opinion that the federal government has overreached to this cabal conspiracy? Because an opinion on overreach is not dependant upon belief in a foreign cabal conspiracy.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      I’m with Oscar here… you certainly like to travel the fringe of the internet world, but why wouldn’t it be more related to to Yuval Levin’s new book? I mean Federalism can mean lots of things to lots of people, but its hard to see how it constitutes conspiracy theories as the first assumption.Report

    • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      Exactly, I don’t see how a plank supporting nullification necessarily demonstrates that the Texas GOP is pushing some conspiracy theory about a secret cabal.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      Tod, I’m not saying that you are wrong, only that I need some evidence that your contention has merit. Perhaps a link to a public statement by Texas GOP party leadership expressing belief in the cabal conspiracy, etc?Report

  2. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    “Untied States” is nicely Freudian.Report

  3. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    Not just the South, but the West as well. Last November, voters in Coos County, Oregon approved an ordinance that federal gun regulations violate the 2nd Amendment and should not be enforced. A bit over a year before that, Idaho passed a state law that made enforcement of federal gun control regulations by any state official, agent, or employee illegal. Within the last few years, I believe that both Arizona and Utah have passed laws asserting that the feds do not own the public lands in those states.

    At least historically in the West, the “cabal” was simply Eastern business and political interests.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    Just as the Republican Party is getting more radical on the national level, so it is becoming positively extremist on the state and local level. Since state and local level organizations are easier to influence than national level ones, you can get some really fringe ideas in state party platforms.Report

  5. Avatar Lurker
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    says:

    “In other words, regardless of your opinion of GOP, this plank is in no way in line with todays Republican Party. We’re not talking Fox News-Rush Limbaugh propaganda here. This is Alex Jones-lizard-people-illuminati stuff. And it’s in the middle of the Texas GOP official platform. Hey, I might think Texas Republicans are a little crazy at times, but they ain’t that crazy.”

    They ain’t? They vote as if they are. They poll as if they are. (If by “they” we mean majorities or politically powerful pluralities.) They don’t believe in evolution, and that there is a conspiracy of biologists. They think Obama’s birth certificate was somehow created in a conspiracy. They don’t believe in climate change, and there is a conspiracy of climate scientists. They think Clinton murdered Vince Foster. They think racial oppression is a thing of the past. They think letting trans people use their bathroom is dangerous. They think Obama is a Muslim Theocratic Communist dictator. Something somethin black panthers. Something something planned parenthood video. Something something Acorn. On and on and on.

    Belief in lizard people is on the other side of a very thin, very fuzzy, epistemological line from these more widely accepted, crazy, unfounded beliefs. Feed people a diet of entirely unfounded, pretty-crazy beliefs and they will start to get a taste for them, and maybe move on to something crazier. And really, how much crazier are some of these crazy ideas. Crazier, yes. But not orders of crazy. Just shades of crazy.

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2013/01/17/1464151/64-percent-of-republicans-are-birthers-poll-finds/Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    Here’s the thing. Local and State party platforms are easily captured because most people don’t want to spend the time and effort into going to local meetings. So these parties platforms can easily be taken over by cranks with an agenda and cranks with too much time on their hands.

    That being said, I think the GOP is getting more and more radical everyday and there is no sign that the fever is going to break anytime soon. I think a good chunk of the GOP base has sincerely convinced themselves that any Democratic politician that wins elected office is invalid and a fraud and only got their by fraud. There is nothing in the world that can convince them of this.

    So I am rather cynical about any attempt for the GOP to cool down. I think they are only going to get more and more fired up and exist in fever dreams.Report

  7. Avatar Brandon Berg
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    says:

    The Federal government has exceeded its authority under the Interstate Commerce Clause. The actual meaning of the ICC is discussed (briefly, because, not being a blanket grant of power to Congress to regulate anything at all, however tenously connected to interstate commerce, it wasn’t particularly controversial) in Federalist 42. And there’s nothing in there about a Cabal, either explicitly, or implicitly as the most natural interpretation. That’s just your interpretation. And, ironically, it’s kind of a tin-foily interpretation. The simple fact that there’s a disagreement between people who want the Federal government to have more power than is authorized under Article I, Section 8 and those who actually want to maintain meaningful Constitutional restrictions on Federal power is enough to explain the conflict. You’re really reaching here.

    Also, Nullification Theory is nearly 200 years old, or perhaps older, going back at least as far as Calhoun and the Nullification Crisis of 1832.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg
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      says:

      To be clear, I’m not saying it’s a good idea in terms of political strategy, given how well it worked out for South Carolina—although things are different now, so who knows?—but in terms of Constitutional Law, they’re absolutely correct that the Federal Government is stepping way the hell out of bounds. No person, reading the actual text of the Constitution and contemporary commentary, could honestly conclude that the Federal Government has the Constitutional authority to do all of the things it does today. It’s just that there’s no shortage of people for whom that’s not a meaningful constraint, when it interferes with their political agenda.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Brandon Berg
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        says:

        Well isn’t this the case only if we we’re textualists or original intentionalists for constitutional interpretation? Neither option looks attractive if we are to have continuity of law. Things might have been different if everyone had remained textualist since day 1, but we do not live in that world. Originalism or textualism will involve a severe break from existing law and thus introduce significant amounts of non-uniformity and non-continuity. This is bad from a rule of law point of view.

        80 year old precedents must mean something (regardless of how discontinuous the original precedent was from accepted legal doctrine as well as quite apart from the substantive justice of such an interpretation). If you want to prevent your federal government from interfering in various private acts, then pass a law which prevents such acts or even better, amend the constitution.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Murali
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          says:

          Well, no, if we are not original intentionalists then precedent is just a thing that precedes new precedent.

          There’s also something kind of funny about saying we should amend the constitution on this question. Would the amendment read:

          28: #10, this time we mean it.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Murali
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          says:

          ” isn’t this the case only if we we’re textualists or original intentionalists for constitutional interpretation? ”

          I’ll see your snide dismissal of “originalism”, and raise you an endless debate over the meaning of “well-regulated militia”.Report

      • Avatar Francis in reply to Brandon Berg
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        says:

        In order to rely on original commentary, you need to take the next step that the Founding Fathers intended that their original intent be binding in perpetuity thereafter. Since the FFs came from a common law tradition where the law was expected to evolve in response to changing circumstances, and since they didn’t have a written Constitution in their English tradition, and since there’s relatively contemporaneous writing that I’m aware of regarding Constitutional interpretation, and since we had a Civil War that significantly changed the Federal/ State relationship as set out in the 14th Amendment, I’ve never been all that persuaded by the 17th century original public intent theory of interpretation.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Brandon Berg
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      says:

      The number of people who actually believe in federalism is very limited. Even the people who routinely attack the federal government for doing more than it should or liberal Supreme Court decisions had no problems using the power of the federal government to enforce their beliefs on other states like the slave states making the free states support slavery with things like the Fugitive Slave Law.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Yes, Lee. All those conservatives who oppose Roe and Ogberfell are perfectly fine with using the power of the state to oppose the underground railroad. I’m sure that’s one of the things they support these days.Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    Yeah, the sheriff thing is a sign of wingnuttering, but the claim that the federal govt has over reached its authority under Article I Sect 8, as well as under the 9th and 10th amendments, is a core belief of the intellectual conservative movment, for some time now – as well as a core belief of the right-libertarians.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Kolohe
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      says:

      Notably, this wasn’t really even controversial until Roosevelt’s power grab. In 1933, in Schechter Poultry Corp, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down the first national minimum wage law on the grounds that Congress didn’t have the authority to regulate intrastate commerce. Note that we have not since had a Constitutional amendment addressing this question.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Brandon Berg
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        says:

        Baseball’s exemption from anti-trust law was originally based on the determination that it was not inter-state commerce. This was consistent with the interpretation at the time. That interpretation has since changed. Later court rulings have maintained the (somewhat narrowed) exemption, using various arguments that amount to “I like baseball and don’t want to screw it up.” Then the argument became largely moot through arbitration opening up free agency.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Brandon Berg
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        says:

        I think Schechter might have also been a separation of powers issue. The NRA empowered the president to sign off on codes that had the force of law (or almost the force of law) without getting them approved by Congress.

        Again, I think. It’s been a while since I’ve read the decision.Report

  9. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    This is a democracy, and as such, political decisions are made all the time that strike a lot of people as the wrong ones. They have every right to try to roll that back. For instance, many Movement Conservatives think the Commerce Clause has been interpreted by courts too broadly in many instances.

    What’s really odd is that instead of addressing those instances, their go-to recommendation is to endorse nullification, and supervision by county sheriffs. I think the actual issues that the Commerce Clause addresses are issues that have broad popular support for staying just the way the courts have decided them. So that’s not the ground they fight on, just on some general broad rubric that can gather anyone who feels aggrieved by Federal action.

    I refer to Movement Conservatives above for a reason. I understand my support for many policies to be small “c” conservative, and I often describe myself as a left conservative. So many of these policies and practices have been around for such a long time that they are not remotely something new. Social Security has been around and functioning longer than most citizens of the US have been alive. Wanting to keep it isn’t really “progressivism”, it’s conservative, in the sense that they are the established status quo. Likewise with many of these Commerce Clause rulings, which date back to the 40s and earlier.Report

  10. Avatar Dave Regio
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    says:

    Brandon Berg:
    Notably, this wasn’t really even controversial until Roosevelt’s power grab. In 1933, in Schechter Poultry Corp, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down the first national minimum wage law on the grounds that Congress didn’t have the authority to regulate intrastate commerce. Note that we have not since had a Constitutional amendment addressing this question.

    Not exactly. Intrastate commerce in some situations was fair game, and rightly so.

    http://law.jrank.org/pages/25498/Stafford-v-Wallace-Stockyards-in-Stream-Commerce.htmlReport

  11. Avatar Tod Kelly
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    says:

    @oscar-gordon @marchmaine @brandon-berg The giveaway here is not the line about the Federal government having exceeded its authority. It’s here:

    Any federal enforcement activities that do occur in Texas should be conducted under the authority of the county sheriff.

    This is absolutely Sovereign Citizen (SCM) territory, in the same way that a plank that discussed “the importance of recognizing Human Biodiversity” would be a giveaway that it was one of the various schisms of the white supremacy movement.

    The reason that this line has been included in the text is probably unclear if you don’t know much about the SCM. But if you will excuse me over-simplifying for the sake of space, those who subscribe to the SCM believe that the highest federal authority in any state is the county sheriff. Those who subscribe to the theory point to the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) of 1878 as “proof” of this.

    In the SCM the question of what is or isn’t Constitutional, and what Federal Laws should or should not be followed or followed, is by law up to the Sheriff of each individual county. To take one example, if the federal government creates a law that you cannot have a highway with no speed limit, that law can only take effect if and when the country sheriff says that it may be applied in the county that sheriff was elected to. (This follows for Supreme Count decisions as well.)

    What this plank in the Texas GOP is saying, in other words, is that Federal laws, agencies, and court rulings have to go through the various county sheriff’s offices in order to be enforced. (Or, perhaps and at the discretion of each sheriff, to not be enforced.)

    This really is not the same as having a Originalist vs. Living Doc disagreement about the 10th Amendment or the Commerce Clause.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      I shot the sheriff
      ‘Cause he didn’t favor nullity.
      Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      “What this plank in the Texas GOP is saying, in other words, is that Federal laws, agencies, and court rulings have to go through the various county sheriff’s offices in order to be enforced. (Or, perhaps and at the discretion of each sheriff, to not be enforced.)”

      Sounds remarkable like a Sanctuary City policy, with that last sentance.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Aaron David
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        says:

        The sanctuary cities I know of have been declared that by the municipal government, which then instructs its police department to behave accordingly. I’ve never heard of the sheriff being the direct enforcer of national policy outside of Nottingham.Report

        • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Mike Schilling
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          says:

          @mike-schilling

          I’ve never heard of the sheriff being the direct enforcer of national policy outside of Nottingham.

          I don’t know about “direct” enforcement, but there is at least sometimes cooperation between sheriffs and the feds. My brother was a sheriff’s deputy and worked for a time off a federal grant to do drug enforcement.

          Also, and granted that the police departments aren’t sheriff departments, the fact police departments need to be instructed “to behave accordingly” to the city’s “sanctuary” policy suggests to me that absent such instruction they might otherwise be presumed to enforce federal (immigration) policy.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      Thanks for the pointer… that is indeed a curious clause and not something I read very closely. I see where your question is coming from. I guess this is why we can’t have nice things.

      Although, I’d still want more investigation into whether that is a directly intentional clause or something of a pet cause of some staffer and/or some sort of oversight. But yeah, worth asking the question.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      In the SCM the question of what is or isn’t Constitutional, and what Federal Laws should or should not be followed or followed, is by law up to the Sheriff of each individual county.

      So where does the movement — not necessarily the Texas GOP — stand on state statutes and constitutions? There are states where counties very clearly exist at the pleasure of the state, or where the duties of the sheriffs are to be defined by the state legislature. I have some trouble envisioning, in that latter case, a state legislature that passes environmental regulations and then says “Whether or not enforced, and by whom, is up to the individual county sheriffs.” Presumably county sovereignty outranks state sovereignty? Can they leave the state if they want to?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        “So where does the movement — not necessarily the Texas GOP — stand on state statutes and constitutions?”

        The movement isn’t really clear on this point, nor does it see a need to address it. This is because the movement assumes a vast conspiracy that exists at the federal level that does not exist at the state level.

        “Presumably county sovereignty outranks state sovereignty? Can they leave the state if they want to?”

        This, too, is a wee bit murky, due to a similar set of assumptions. These people assume that because in the US the People are sovereign, it therefore follows that each individual person is as well. However, all of their attention has historically been focused that the federal government. Much of the the movement is driven by a faith that, uncoupled from the evils of the Feds, everyone would make the right, moral, and common sense decisions when it came to community government. Going any number of steps beyond the “we will stand against the Feds” in terms of government philosophy is still on the To Do list.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Tod Kelly
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          says:

          The reason the SCM people are murky on these points, is because the movement itself is half-thought out.

          For instance, if the highest level of authority is the county, tasked with enforcing state level laws, how does interstate and international commerce work, global trade agreements, international contract enforcement and IP laws?

          It actually a rhetorical question, because when the subject of SCM comes up, these never seem to be the animating issue, the thing that drives people to get serious and pick up a gun and argue vociferously.

          No one ever goes to a rally with a poorly lettered sign about the enforceability of securitized mortgage contracts or online purchases.
          No, its always about just a small and discrete list of issues- environmental laws, discrimination laws, gun laws.

          The whole expansive theory is really a post-hoc justification for cherry picking- “Lets enforce this law, but not that one because reasons“.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        @michael-cain

        Presumably county sovereignty outranks state sovereignty? Can they leave the state if they want to?

        No. The people of the states as a political unit is the sovereign in each state and that’s the only sovereign within those borders (federal sovereign notwithstanding of course).Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Dave
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          says:

          You think that, and I think that, but I didn’t notice the SCM-types at Malheur saying that Portland and its suburbs should have a voice in things, or the folks at the Bundy ranch suggesting that this was a matter in which Las Vegas and its suburbs had an interest.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Cain
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            says:

            @michael-cain

            I think they will say the largest level of allowable/legitimate government is the largest level that they can control. These are people who take “Don’t tread on me” to the extreme conclusion of the statement.

            On LGM, there was a discussion about how a lot of Trump supporters are independent business owners. A lot of LGM supporters noted that the Trump supporters they know have always been their own boss and seem psychologically incapable of working for anyone else. They just don’t know how to get along with others or be part of a collective whole.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Michael Cain
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            says:

            Like Dave noticed, the SCM movement is deeply rooted in the State Rights movement of the 19th century. They take the idea that United States should be These rather than The United States very seriously. Naturally they know that many states are going to be more liberal than other states. They get around this particular issue by also being believers in strictly limited government. Not only is what the federal government can do limited in their mind, so is what the state governments can do.Report

          • Avatar Dave in reply to Michael Cain
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            says:

            @michael-cain

            Truthfully, I had no idea what SCM was until I read Tod’s post, at least the movement aspect of it. I’ve heard arguments of individual sovereignty as a means of protesting taxes, but that argument flies like a lead balloon.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      Better, but not quite there yet, I think. I do not believe that the faith in the discretion of sheriff’s is uniquely a SCM thing.Report

      • Avatar RTod in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        Can you point me toward another group that argues that all federal laws — employment, civil rights, OSHA, etc. — are under the authority of the nation’s county sheriffs?Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to RTod
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          says:

          @rtod

          As @dave points out, states rights proponents often use similar language.

          I can read your post in one of two ways: A) The Texas GOP has this plank that is awfully odd and the GOP members should be contacting their party leadership and asking a pointed, “WTF?!”, or B) The Texas GOP has potentially been captured in part by the SCM.

          If your intent for the post was A, then I withdraw my concerns & you may carry on.

          If, however, it was B, given that to me, the SCM represents a pretty extreme sect of utter bugnuttery at it’s finest, this represents an extraordinary claim, and if I’m going to buy it, I need some extraordinary evidence that this plank is influenced by association with groups like the SCM, rather than a more likely association with vanilla states rights thinking.

          All that said, I have exactly zero dog in this, so if you have neither the time nor inclination to satisfy my curiosity, I completely understand.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            says:

            “As @Dave points out, states rights proponents often use similar language.”

            No, they don’t. They really don’t. And if I’m wrong, then hey, show me, and I will retract the post.

            As I said, the phrasing “having the enforcement of all federal laws under county sheriffs” is a very specific and purposeful phrase used by a (to my knowledge) single extremist fringe movement.

            As I said above, if you see something that argues that public policy should reflect “honest and fair human bio diversity,” it is would e a particular and purposeful signal of a certain extremist fringe movement. It wouldn’t matter that “human bio diversity” sounds a lot like the kinds of thing that people who are mainstream say. Human Bio Diversity just means something different.

            So too does having county sheriffs in charge the enforcement of all federal law.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Tod Kelly
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              says:

              @rtod

              Since you seem to be more aware of these signals than I am, I trust that you believe they represent a signal to some extremist group. But look at it from my POV, as a person whose knowledge of the SCM amounts to “people who have lost their damn minds in a profoundly dangerous way”. Telling me that a given phrase is a signal to an extremist group ranks right up there with the eye & pyramid on the dollar bill being a subtle government shout out to the Illuminati/Mason’s/etc.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      @rtod

      The reason that this line has been included in the text is probably unclear if you don’t know much about the SCM. But if you will excuse me over-simplifying for the sake of space, those who subscribe to the SCM believe that the highest federal authority in any state is the county sheriff. Those who subscribe to the theory point to the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) of 1878 as “proof” of this.

      I think there’s a different interpretation here that is more in line with state sovereignty than SCM, one rooted in the radical states rights theory of the 19th Century. Obviously, I don’t agree with this but I’ll spell it out. Based on that theory, the states were the only sovereigns in the constitutional order. Not only does that mean that the federal government as an agent of the states was subordinate to the states, but also it was up to each state to decide whether or not laws were constitutional and how to carry them out. In effect, state officers were superior to federal officers.

      I think the inclusion of county sheriffs is a bit odd but at least I can see some connection, perhaps a weak one, to state sovereignty.

      I can’t vouch for how the authors were thinking but I can at least attempt to reconcile the backwards views with history.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      “…the highest federal authority in any state is the county sheriff….”

      This would explain why I saw a county sheriff vehicle (driven by someone out of uniform) from West Virginia cruising on the New York Thruway today. Glad to know it wasn’t someone acting corrupt or anything and just a high powered government official handling business.Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      My initial reaction to your piece, Tod, was to the claim about federal overreach. And while I don’t sign on to that claim, I can certainly see how a reasonable person could believe it. So with others, I thought, “a bit outside the mainstream, but in the pale of legitimate discussion.”

      But like Marchemaine above, I didn’t read that particular clause about sheriffs closely enough to be bothered by it. Now that you’ve underscored it and explained the SCM, something I have only anecdotal evidence about, I’m more sympathetic to what you’re arguing.

      My only reservation–along with Marchemaine’s point about this possibly being just an oversight–is that there’s a legitimate discussion to be had about how the feds enforce federal regulations and whether there’s a way to curb some of that discretion or at least impose more accountability. There is something disturbing (to me, at least) about the discretion federal prosecutors, FBI agents, and other regulators have to enforce federal laws and rules. Of course, there’s also something very disturbing to me about hyperlocal enforcement of federal constitutional civil rights guarantees, which the sheriff clause you mention seems to advocate.Report

  12. Avatar Dave
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    says:

    Mike Schilling:
    The sanctuary cities I know of have been declared that by the municipal government, which then instructs its police department to behave accordingly.I’ve never heard of the sheriff being the direct enforcer of national policy outside of Nottingham.

    You may not have heard of it because it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to compel local law enforcement to execute federal laws.Report

    • Avatar notme in reply to Dave
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      says:

      Not until liberals can overturn Printz. Before that liberals thought they could hijack local law enforcement to do their dirty work.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to notme
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        says:

        @notme

        Well, there were four votes to uphold the Medicaid expansion provision of the ACA and it was the liberal wing of the court, the same four that thought the individual mandate could be justified under the Commerce Clause.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Dave
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          says:

          The same wing that refused to overturn the 15th Amendement in Shelby County.Report

          • Avatar Dave in reply to Mike Schilling
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            @mike-schilling

            If you want to discredit the conservative/libertarian wing on that basis, then I’ll play your game and ignore the liberal wing based on the sheer stupidity of Kelo v New London. I’ve never been one to embrace the ideologue label so I’d like to avoid that if I can .

            Personally, I’d rather split the difference. I’ll agree with you on Shelby County (which I do) and stand by my views on NFIB v Sebelius. Strange as it may seem, I’m glad Roberts did what he did. He averted what would have been a disaster, especially if the mandate was struck down while leaving the rest of the bill intact.Report

            • Avatar Francis in reply to Dave
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              says:

              To go the other way in Kelo would have created precedent for an overwhelmingly activist judiciary in many aspects of land use planning.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Francis
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                says:

                @francis

                How so?Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Francis
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                says:

                @francis

                Like @oscar-gordon , I need to better understand your point, especially since you invoke judicial activism, everyone’s favorite term for rulings they don’t agree with.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Dave
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                says:

                Land use regulation occurs in two contexts:

                a. Overall planning, such as zoning codes and general plans.
                b. Individual lot planning, such as development plans and other lot-based regulatory approvals.

                Overall planning is extremely difficult to challenge in court, because the power of land use agencies (cities and counties) to regulate the uses of land is not in serious dispute. Even if a new plan diminishes the value of a particular lot very substantially, courts are reluctant to interfere. Mostly, such overall plans can be set aside only for procedural violations. The Supreme Court case law on these kinds of regulatory takings is very deferential.

                It is a little easier to challenge planning processes that go through the process of making findings. Here in CA, the planning commission is supposed to go through a three-part process: factual determination regarding an aspect of the project, applicable rule related to such determination, and finding regarding the applicability of the fact to the rule.

                For example: Step 1: project will add 100 cars to the streets at rush hour, and this will change the streets from class B (lightly congested) to class C (heavily congested), Step 2: the rule on congestion states that a change in 1 class is a significant impact, & Step 3: project approval will have a significant impact on traffic.

                Courts tend to be highly deferential to this detailed, fact-based aspect of land use planning, even where the outcome of this process resulting in a finding that eminent domain proceedings should be used to acquire a particular lot. After all, redevelopment is a recognized land use power of municipalities. All that the agency has to do is swap out the traffic impact analysis that I laid out above for a finding of blight.

                No court is going to want to go through the process of querying whether each parcel, no matter how small, acquired in eminent domain is being left in public ownership. First of all, that’s never been the law. Second, that level of focus would cripple the ability of municipalities to address blight or engage in any kind of large scale projects. (For example, while Caltrans tries to take only the land it needs exactly, the contours of property ownership don’t always match up so precisely to the needs of the agency.)

                According to the Supreme Court, decisions regarding blight or other land use planning processes that lead to eminent domain should largely be left to the political process. While that certainly creates the opportunity for abuse, giving judges the power to substitute their own judgment for the findings made by elected/appointed officials in the planning process would have been a significant expansion of the power of the judiciary in land use planning.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Francis
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                says:

                I see your point, but was that the direction the dissent was heading in, or just an argument one of the participants put forth?Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Francis
                Ignored
                says:

                @francis

                Thank you. I need to digest this a little more. At first pass, I’m as intrigued by the process as I am infuriated with the belief that judges should just roll over at this. I’ll think about it a little more and get back to you.

                Whether or not we ultimately see eye to eye, I do thank you for the explanation. I may be slightly annoyed (not at you personally), but I’m grateful that you spent the time to put it forth. Thank you.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Dave
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              says:

              I was pushing back on the notion that all virtue lies with the strict constructionist conservatives, as opposed to the activist liberals. I’m fine with saying they’re both right sometimes.Report

  13. Avatar j r
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    says:

    As @aaron-david alludes above, I am having a hard time clearly delineating this from sanctuary cities or from the stories I read every so often about how Berkeley or Portland or some city in Vermont have passed some non-binding municipal resolution that directly contradicts the policies of the federal government.

    The big difference, so far as I can tell, is that the Democratic Party can continue to function as center-left institution despite the wishes of the farther left. Is that a feature or a bug? I suppose the answer depends on where you stand on the continuum and how much you think the purpose of a political movement is to exercise power versus elicit meaningful change. My guess is that there are plenty of folks on the left who wish that the Democratic Party were as responsive to them as the GOP is to the crazies on the right.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      Well, if you see no real difference between the Sovereign Citizen Movement and the Democratic Party, I don’t really see a point of having a discussion here. That’s pretty full-on “we will agree to disagree” territory.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, if you see no real difference between the Sovereign Citizen Movement and the Democratic Party

        Huh? I don’t think that I wrote anything remotely like that. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I said the opposite.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to j r
          Ignored
          says:

          Then I clearly misunderstood both your and aaron’s point, which I really had thought that what the SCM does is no different (or at least not that different) from what Dems do. In fact, I am rereading both comments now and that’s still what I am getting.

          Not a challenge, mind you, just an acknowledgement that if there is a different point being made I am slow on the take and just not seeing it. (IOW: It’s me, not you!)Report

          • Avatar j r in reply to Tod Kelly
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            says:

            OK, I made tried to make two points, each in slightly different directions, so you can tell me which, if either, you disagree:

            1.Based solely on the argument itself, with no consideration to who is making it, I don’t see a difference between the nullification of the federal government’s immigration laws and the nullification of laws pertaining to commerce or regulation or anything else.

            2. With regards to a comparison between the GOP and the Democratic Party, I specifically said that the donk does a better job at keeping their radicals away from the controls. The more interesting question to me is whether that is an unambiguously good thing. It certainly suits someone like me who tends towards a preference for marginal improvements over radical change, but there are certain areas where I wouldn’t mind taking to the barricades.Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to j r
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              says:

              I agree with your point 1.

              I am willing to hear an argument about point 2, and might be friendly to up. Butt to whatever extent I might end up agreeing, I would likely only agree within a certain universe of allowing radicals the controls. And the SCM would, for me, be waaaaaaay outside of that universe.Report

            • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to j r
              Ignored
              says:

              I don’t follow immigration politics closely enough to know if this is a fair description of what sanctuary cities are doing, but isn’t there a distinction to be made between declining to allocate state and local resources to enforce a federal policy and nullification? I’d make a similar point about Washington & Colorado re:marijuana. Declining to pass state law equivalents to a federal law and declining to allocate state resources to enforce a federal law isn’t the same thing as asserting that the federal law is null and void and refusing to follow it.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Don Zeko
                Ignored
                says:

                …isn’t there a distinction to be made between declining to allocate state and local resources to enforce a federal policy and nullification?

                You tell me. What’s the distinction?Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                I suppose it may depend upon which version of nullification we’re discussing, but at least in the old school Calhoun flavor, nullification created a state law cause of action against federal officials that attempted to enforce the federal law in question. So rather than simply declining to assist the federal government in the enforcement of a federal law (leaving the feds free to enforce using federal resources), it actively obstructing attempts by the feds to enforce the federal law. That’s a big distinction.

                The latter can at least in theory be justified as an decision about how to allocate scarce law enforcement resources, while the former requires an explicit claim that the federal law is null and void and an attempt to use the power of the state government to make that a practical reality.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to j r
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                says:

                j r: You tell me.What’s the distinction?

                One is an action taken with the hope that the federal government is unable to enforce the law absent state cooperation. The other is an assertion of sovereign authority that a federal law is null and void within its borders and can’t be enforced by anyone, including federal officials. The latter is a direct challenge to the power of the federal government.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Don Zeko
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t follow immigration politics closely enough to know if this is a fair description of what sanctuary cities are doing

                It isn’t. San Francisco (a sanctuary city) has a local policy of not cooperating with federal authorities by checking peoples’ immigration status or reporting arrests. It would not (and, of course, cannot no matter what Vicki Hennessy could concievably want) prevent USCIS from deporting people. That happens all the time in SF.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to nevermoor
                Ignored
                says:

                One is an action taken with the hope that the federal government is unable to enforce the law absent state cooperation… The latter is a direct challenge to the power of the federal government.

                So, one is a direct challenge and one is an indirect challenge? Still not seeing the meaningful difference in how this would or does play out. Still seems semantic.

                It would not (and, of course, cannot no matter what Vicki Hennessy could concievably want) prevent USCIS from deporting people

                OK, now can anyone explain to me how the plank in the Texas GOP platform could prevent the federal government from doing anything?

                Y’all do realize the difference between a policy statement and a law?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to j r
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                says:

                A political platform is, literally, a statement of “Here is what we want to become law”.

                Asserting that its merely a statement is fine, so long as what we are really asserting is, “These folks shouldn’t be taken seriously”, or as someone here put it, “WTF, Texas?”Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                How about you make a comment within the context of the discussion, instead of a non sequitur?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                That is, by addressing the point made in the previous comment about how political platforms differ from laws?Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                No, by exercising the appropriate level of reading comprehension ( my guess is somewhere around 7th or 8th grade level) to see that my comment was made in the context of trying to suss out the difference between this and sanctuary cities.

                If that’s not clear, see my comment below.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                @j-r

                So, one is a direct challenge and one is an indirect challenge? Still not seeing the meaningful difference in how this would or does play out. Still seems semantic.

                The indirect challenge in effect makes federal law enforcement within a state’s borders without cooperation so ineffective that the law is nullified on a de-facto basis.

                In a direct challenge to the law, federal officials will not be able to enforce the law because state officials will actively prevent them from doing so. That could go anywhere between not allowing federal law enforcement to enter the state to arresting federal officials for entering the state to enforce laws to armed resistance.

                Had the Nullification Crisis not been resolved, it’s possible some of these things could have happened (or at least attempts be made) assuming that President Jackson attempted to enforce the Force Bill by sending ships to enforce the tariffs. I can’t say for sure because things never got to that point.

                Hopefully, this give you the idea, my crazy examples notwithstanding.Report

              • Avatar Patrick in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s a substantial difference between the local sheriff refusing to arrest a rancher for allowing his cattle to graze on federal lands, and that same sheriff showing up with his deputies and pointing guns at BLM folks who are trying to move the cattle off the lands.

                You can still enforce federal immigration law in San Francisco, and an INS guy arresting an undocumented immigrant would not be challenged by a beat cop in SF drawing his duty sidearm and announcing that the INS guy was illegally detaining said immigrant by San Francisco law.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Patrick
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                says:

                What @patrick said.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                Just wondering… we’re all good then if the passage is re-written tomorrow:

                Federally mandated legislation, which infringes upon the 10th Amendment rights of Texas, should be ignored, opposed, refused, and nullified. Regulation of Commerce in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution has exceeded the original intent. All attempts by the federal judiciary to rule in areas not expressly enumerated by the United States Constitution should be likewise nullified. Any federal enforcement these types of activities that do occur in Texas will be done without direct cooperation of Texas law enforcement or Texas agencies.

                Need to update my spreadsheet on what’s inside and outside the pale.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                Also, should probably say that it is really, really excellent to look up and see you in the threads again, @patrickReport

              • Avatar Patrick in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                Thanks!

                This year has been exhausting, but we’re almost to the Downtime section of the calendar.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                My point about the difference between platform language and drafted and passed legislation is that the former will always be more open to any number of different interpretations and the latter will always be moderated by having gone through the legislative sausage works.

                We have no real idea what a law drafted in the spirit of that language would look like. My guess is that it wouldn’t try to empower local law enforcement to get into firefights with the feds. Such legislation would probably end up looking a lot like sanctuary city legislation.Report

              • Avatar Patrick in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                Fair enough.

                I’ll note, though, that although Sanctuary Cities are a pretty common progressive-fueled legislative dingus, you don’t see the Democratic party putting in its state platforms, “We will tell the feds to go bugger off on certain issues, when we might feel like it.”

                At least, not that I know of.

                So I still see more than a little daylight here. It’s one thing to disagree with the federal government and opt out, to the extent you are empowered to do so, from participating in federal law when you don’t feel your state has an obligation. Indeed, you can even do this on principled grounds, perfectly legitimately, given our layers of governance. “I don’t think the state should be regulating the city that way” is quite possibly defensible if the state’s constitution and the city’s charter agree that there is grounds in there to object. The same applies to state and federal government (or the cities and the feds, for that matter).

                But you’d have to have a legal ground to stand on; meaning this would have to be a legitimate case of the feds asking the states to do a job that the states aren’t supposed to have to do in the first place.

                It is very hard to me to read “putting this line into your state party plank” as “we promise to perform our due diligence on governance layers of abstraction, in all cases”, because frankly I flatly disbelieve that the state GOP would do so.

                Meaning it’s in there as a message that they are going to challenge the legitimacy of the feds, generally. Whether they do or not is of course a different matter entirely; this could just be playing simple politics and crafting baloney messages that they don’t really intended to follow up on.

                But it is telling that this is regarded as a message that *ought* to be said.Report

  14. Avatar Joe Sal
    Ignored
    says:

    Here we go again. another OT “we don’t get Texas” post.
    First thing, when government drifts from a republic, built around the sovereignty of the individual and towards a liberal representative democracy of factions, those who hold the sovereignty close to ‘the people’ will start to look more radical. This is nothing new.

    There may be some semantics in the details but this goes back to old english ideas, predating the ‘every man’s home is his castle’ concept. Ideas based around self governing aren’t new radical tin foil hat ideas. Most of this nations history, the commoners would never see a federal agent or have reason to interact with one. Self government was typically local, and yes, guess what, involved the local law enforcement and mostly only local law.

    The proliferation of federal law is new and creeping toward absurdity. Law enforcement increases in the various bureaus express the type of ‘from above’ command structure the new type of ‘liberal representative democracy’ needs to keep it’s top down ideology from collapse.

    This only addresses the expressions of anti-authoritarian portion of the right. Other points in the PDF are distinctly high within the authoritarian republican factions.Report

    • Avatar RTod in reply to Joe Sal
      Ignored
      says:

      So people keep saying. But outside of the SCM, no one has given me an example of a group that advocates that all federal laws are under the authority of the county sheriff.Report

      • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to RTod
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        says:

        I can’t tell if your stealing a base here or just trying to push them together. Those who would advocate ‘county sheriff’ authority would not be applying preemption, so under the same banner would likely not recognize federal law at a local level, because federal law should be doing ‘not local’ tasks or federal law should not exist.Report

  15. Avatar J_A
    Ignored
    says:

    “The proliferation of federal law is new and creeping toward absurdity. Law enforcement increases in the various bureaus express the type of ‘from above’ command structure the new type of ‘liberal representative democracy’ needs to keep it’s top down ideology from collapse.”

    New in the sense of barely 150 years old, give or take a score of decades.

    Once you got to the point where people in my valley (or my piece of flat as a pancake plain) interacted with people from the other valleys, you had to have coordination, and the Federal structure started to creep in.

    You want a train in your town? Well, we need to know at what time the train should come in, so no longer the time could be set by noon is when the church steeple casts no shadow, and you had to coordinate the time in Anyvillage, OH with the time the train left New York City; federalism. And you want the rails to be the same: federalism. And you now start buying your guns from a factory somewhere in PA: federalism. And you want the bullets you buy in your village to work in your PA made gun: federalism. And you want those bloody Indians kept at bay: federalism.

    It’s ironic that the Constitution was not 30 years old that the world of the Founders, where 99% of the people stayed put in the community where they were born, was gone for ever. The Industrial Revolution, the steam boats and trains, and international commerce destroyed thAt world completely. Thus people born in the palace of Versailles before the American and French Revolutions (and the Montgolfier hot air balloon) would travel through Europe by train before their death (King Louis Philippe (1773-1850) for instance).

    It doesn’t matter how localist the Founding a Fathers envisioned the country to be, by the next generation it was clear that the smallest functional polity was the whole country.Report

    • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to J_A
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      says:

      Federalism interpretations like this, priceless.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to J_A
      Ignored
      says:

      “you want the rails to be the same: federalism. ”

      the AREMA is most certainly not a government organization, broReport

      • Avatar J_A in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        AREMA was established in 1997 though as an amalgamation of older associations that go back to the 1880s.

        AREMA standards are mandatory in the USA (and Canada btw). I guess it has nothing to do with the government.

        And of course the federal government had nothing to do with establishing the railways across America. It was all built from the county upwards. It was all county land grants all the way.

        My point is not that AREMA is or is not a government entity. The IEEE isn’t either. My point is that post 1830 you could no longer have a world in which most decisions could be made at the county level because barely anybody got to travel to the next county.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to J_A
          Ignored
          says:

          There is, as it were, a world of difference between “coordinated activity has economic benefits” and “we need strong centralized government”.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck
            Ignored
            says:

            As far as I can tell the world of difference is the absence of the word “need” in the first quoted clause.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
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              says:

              Yep, we don’t “need” a strong central government to have beneficial coordinated economic activity. There are arguably gains to be found by having a strong central government that can facilitate coordinated economic activity, but nothing is free, and those gains have costs as well.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                we don’t “need” a strong central government to have beneficial coordinated economic activity.

                I’m not sure I understand the distinction. How is the goal of “coordinated” economic activity supposed to arise except by a centralized structure governing it?

                I hope we’re not disputing semantics here. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                {{I also hope we’re not talking about logical possibilities…}}Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                “Imagine two traders in a forest….”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “…one has sacks full of gold but is dying of thirst. The other has barrels of water and a gun…”Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “Imagine two hungry socialists in the woods, with nothing to trade. It’s not hard if you try.”Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to JoeSal
                Ignored
                says:

                “Lyrics Rejected by John Lennon for $100, Alex…”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to El Muneco
                Ignored
                says:

                Imagine two hungry capitalists.
                It’s easy if you try.
                No one to pay to feed them.
                No one to buy from too-oo.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to El Muneco
                Ignored
                says:

                Interstingly, the Lennon song marked the high water/last gasp of left-anarchism before it collapsed into irrelevancy.
                Whereas the “two traders in a forest who don’t need government” is still used earnestly by right anarchists as part of the “markets precede government” argument.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to JoeSal
                Ignored
                says:

                Imagine a bunch of rich people in a gulch giving long-winded speeches about how the world can’t get along without them.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Make it happen already. What’s the economic solution other than Stupid Shit that ends badly and still there are rich people, two point-o.

                Mike from what I remember your a low y-axis guy. You should have a model that works better than the standard liberal national socialism bit.

                I don’t ask for much, just something that doesn’t look like icing smeared over Stalinism or USSR2.0

                What’s your non-institution, non-establishment solution?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike from what I remember your a low y-axis guy. You should have a model that works better than the standard liberal national socialism bit.

                Mind translating that into English?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                What’s the Schilling solution?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                A mixed economy with a robust safety net and regulatory protections against too-big-to-fail-but-they-did-anyway.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                meh, still rich people!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                What’s the Schilling solution?

                Well, since you’ll (continue to) confuse any defense of gummint with advocacy of Stalinism I think you already know the answer. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I’m just being up front about boundary conditions.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                You guys are doing it all wrong!

                Imagine two traders in a forest, idealized as perfect spheres…Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Imagine two Chicago School economists of uniform density …Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                And all they need is a can opener.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                meh, can openers were voted to be entitlements last year, assume can opener whether it’s a functional one or not..Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                You just sent me back to my Electromagnetic Theory class in college.

                I kept saying: Arghh!!!! Stop wasting my time. Perfect spheres of charge and infinite cylinders and planes of current do not exist!!!!!!!!!

                Little I knew that the approximation of an electrical engine to a perfect cylinder of current is fishing close 🙂Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s talk about panel methods for aerodynamic analysis…Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                “Lets start our discussion with Oscar, who has five minutes to tell us whether bumblebees can fly.”Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                No, let’s not!!!!!!!Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Oscar looks out the window, sees a bumblebee flying from flower to flower (it is springtime here, after all), spend 4 minutes and 55 seconds enjoying the view out the window, turns to class and says, “Those bees are flying, so yep.”Report

              • Avatar Patrick in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                We had calculus for a long time before we had a provable theory framework for it.

                But the dudes with cannons found that they could rely upon it, empirically.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Patrick
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                says:

                Oh, you want me to derive a workable model as to how bumblebees can fly? That’s a different kettle of fish!Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Patrick
                Ignored
                says:

                We had calculus for a long time before we had a provable theory framework for it.

                You can go on that way for a while, but eventually there’s a limit.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not sure I understand the distinction. How is the goal of “coordinated” economic activity supposed to arise except by a centralized structure governing it?

                I have no idea how I have all this stuff in my house that says “Made in China”. Surely, that’s impossible since they are not under the authority of the centralized government in Washington DC?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe
                Ignored
                says:

                Yup, no centralized government in China.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                They have a government, but they don’t have Obamacare. And Hillary Clinton doesn’t look like she’s going to do a thing to fix that.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe
                Ignored
                says:

                And there are certainly no international agreements governing US-China trade.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Coordinated activity just requires a coordinating body. That body need not be a government.

                The democratic & republican parties manage to coordinate a whole hell of a lot of economic activity, and neither is a government.

                Given the original example of AREMA, from the little I read, it sounds like it’s an industry group that created and enforced standards across it’s members without the force of government. Enforcing a standard within an industry is coordinated economic activity (if every mile of rail and every box car has to meet certain requirements, that is coordinating the activity of every producer and contractor involved in the construction of railways and box cars). The fact that government might later adopt such standards as the basis for regulation just adds a potentially more efficient means of enforcing the standards.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                “Imagine a coordinating body, that has sufficient power to protect property rights claims, adjudicate disputes, enforce laws and judgments, and establish and protect personal rights boundaries.
                But it isn’t a government!”

                Mind, blown.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                As I said above, allowing a government to be the coordinating body has certain advantages & disadvantages, but it is not the only way to coordinate economic activity. Ergo, you do not “need” a government to do it. That is the extent of the statement I was making.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Right. We don’t need the coordinating agency to be government.

                What no one has explained though, is why some coordinating agency with all the requisite power to do all the things we want done would somehow achieve a superior outcome to the agency we have now, commonly referred to as “government”.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Because the government can very easily have politically motivated competing interests to a given coordinating body, which is one of the disadvantages to relying on government as the sole coordinator (i.e. government picking winners & losers).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Because the government can very easily have politically motivated competing interests to a given coordinating body,

                So can members of that body, yes? That’s just politics, seems to me, and isn’t exclusive to “government”.

                In my view, any institution with the power to determine and enforce rules is a governing body, hence, a form of government. I suppose it’s logically possible – as I mentioned upthread! – that individual governing bodies emerge outa the raw stew of society, each autonomous in their own domain, and each based on voluntarism (ie, absence of coercion). But such a scenario really is merely logically possible (and in fact, I’d say it isn’t even that since rational self-interest logically WILL entail actions which violate the formally agreed upon governing rules (eg., murder, fraud, negative externalities, will-to-power, etc).Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                So can members of that body, yes?

                That depends on the body, I would think.

                Look at AREMA again. Much harder for a member of the body to have competing interests to the body without being very obviously in opposition to it. Not impossible (or certain Union pensions would never have gone bankrupt), but harder to justify.

                Government, however, is not solely concerned with the health of a certain economic activity, but with all economic activity. Government could decide that rail is a serious PITA, and that trucking is the way to go, and if government is the sole coordinating body, then rail is in a very bad place.

                In my view, any institution with the power to determine and enforce rules is a governing body

                Wait now, that is shifting the goal post. A government is different from a governing body. They have parallels, but modern governing bodies lack the top tier powers of government.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Wait now, that is shifting the goal post. A government is different from a governing body. They have parallels, but modern governing bodies lack the top tier powers of government.

                No, it isn’t. That’s why mentioned earlier that I hoped this discussion wasn’t gonna devolve to a dispute about semantics. Functionally, government occurs when an institution has the power to establish and enforce rules. Neutrally, I’m calling such an institution a governing body (or entity, really).

                Very long ago I had a similar discussion with Hanley where the semantics of “government” became an issue, and his definition was that government was effectively the entity which unilaterally determines rules and regulations within a modern nation state. TO me, that just begged the question (particularly in the context of the discussion) but also rendered moot a whole slew of philosophically interesting issues devolving from a libertarian conception of “coordination without government”.

                IOW, the libertarian answer relied on semantics rather than a functional conception of what government actually is.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I don’t recall that convo, but I beg to differ, since government, especially centralized government, has key powers that a governing body lacks, such as the ability to use force, and the related ability to coerce cooperation through force/the threat of force. It also generally has a much wider set of priorities & concerns.

                A governing body may become expansive enough to approach the scope of a government, but as long as it lacks the power of violent force, it is NOT a government. I don’t know about Hanley’s opinion on this, but the power to apply violence to enforce it’s will is a pretty bright line separating the two classes of entities.

                ETA An industry group can enforce standards which are effectively regulations against it’s members, but ultimately, membership in the group is voluntary and not a requirement to engage in the practice of the related industry (it may be very difficult to engage in that industry without membership, but there would be no legitimate threat of force preventing it, only the voluntary cooperation of other players in refusing to do business with a non-member).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                If the relevant property defining “government” is “monopoly on the use of legitimate force” or some such, then it seems to me coordination drops out as relevant to the discussion of THAT issue since the use of force is ancillary to the underlying analysis upon which the coordination claim rests. On the other hand, every governing body with the power to establish and enforce rules will, sorta definitionally at this point, possess a monopoly on the legitimate use of force to enforce the rules within it’s authority.*

                *Unless there’s a HIGHER governing body to whom grievances can be presented and adjudicated according to a HIGHER set of rules (enforced, in turn, by a higher-level use of force).Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I think our disconnect is this. As I see it, a government can be a coordinating body (and perhaps a very good one!), but a coordinating body is not necessarily a government*.

                Of course, as I think about this, I recall things like the East India Trading Company, or the Dutch East India Trading Company, acted like defacto governments in the islands they controlled. I can’t recall if they had a charter or some such giving them extraordinary authority, or if they just acted as such because no one could stop them. Not sure if there is a modern parallel, maybe DeBeers?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                As I see it, a government can be a coordinating body (and perhaps a very good one!), but a coordinating body is not necessarily a government*.

                Yes, I certainly agree with that. I guess the next thing would be discussing the extent to which coordinating bodies can effectively replace governing bodies in practice. (Or more philosophically: could all governing bodies be replaced by coordinating bodies?)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                could all governing bodies be replaced by coordinating bodies?

                Theoretically, yes. However, it would be hard. Hard enough to be impractical. Or rather, given a starting point of absolute anarchy, and given human nature, any coordinating body(s) would eventually assume the powers of a government if one was not imposed upon them otherwise. I think this puts us into game theory at this point.

                In short, coordinating bodies don’t need government to work, but they can work much better with a government in place.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Coming back around to the original statement, DeBeers is a very good, if particularly odious, example of a non-governmental body coordinating extensive economic activity absent the legitimate threat of force (however, IIRC they are not above leveraging the illegitimate threat of force to get their way).Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                They had a Charter. And, in the end, they were taken over by the Government Government because their objective (more money to them) started running afoul of other competing concerns (which can be more or less be summarized as welfare of the local population)

                The Spanish Colonial empire started in the same vein granting charters to individual explorers/conquerors, who committed to certain obligations vis-a-vis the crown and the local population (which were also legally subjects of the Spanish crown). By 1550 it was obvious that the Chartered Persons (Encomenderos) were focused on their private interest and would not abide by the agreed obligations. The Crown then took direct control (as direct as crossing the Atlantic in the XVI century could be). Bad as it might have been, it was an improvement.

                As a coordinating entity, the Government is slightly better both in theory and in practice because it has to balance the interests of all the parties in the AREMA PLUS the interests of those that are not a party to AREMA (for instance: customers). Recent case in point are the new regulations for crude carrying train wagons, bitterly opposed by the freight companies for whom Lac-Mégantic ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lac-Mégantic_rail_disaster ) is a sad externality.

                The fact that historically the Government has done a very bad job of coordinating doesn’t change the fact that, historically, private associations of interested parties have been worseReport

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                @j_a

                Thanks for the history refresher. I knew they had some kind of charter, but I wasn’t sure if the charter was the equivalent of articles of incorporation, or if it was something more.

                The fact that historically the Government has done a very bad job of coordinating doesn’t change the fact that, historically, private associations of interested parties have been worse

                Which is not something I’m arguing. My singular position was that private associations can, and have, existed separate from government, and even absent government. Whether or not they are better or worse with or without was not a value statement I was making.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                We are going into the deep end here when we say “absent the Government”. I think it is more accurate to say that they have existed “with the Government in the background, but not directly involved”. After all, a corporation’s articles of incorporation implicitly assume that there is a Government somewhere.

                We don’t know what “absent the Government” looks like because historically there is no known case of “absent the Government”, even if the Government is the chieftain of a band of roving hunter-gatherersReport

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, I said that somewhere else, that as a practical matter such a thing has not existed in a very long time (if it ever did, I don’t have enough knowledge of economic history to know for certain). And if we were to start from anarchy, such a thing would become the effective government in short order, if no other form of government was imposed upon it.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                So, there exists a coordinating body that enforces rules, but lacks the power to do so coercively?

                This is where I lose the plot.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                @chip-daniels

                Geez we are going far-afield of the original statement, but in for a penny…

                Sure, although it’s effectiveness would be lessened. Coercion isn’t the bugbear, it’s coercion by threat of violence. A body could require all it’s members to refuse to do business with a non-member, and that all their suppliers refuse to do business with non-members, etc. such that a non-member is effectively excluded, but the entirety of that coercion is based upon the voluntary action of the membership. A small number of members who refuse to follow that requirement (because the non-member offers a better widget/service/etc.) can break that coercion.

                What again happens when a company violates sanctions the US has imposed by trading with a disfavored country?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                The thread of “government doesn’t need to exist” always leads to this very spot.

                How property rights claims, personal rights claims, and contracts are all established, adjudicated, and effectively enforced without threat of violence is the mystery.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Please tell me, in this thread, where I said anything like “government doesn’t need to exist”?

                My constant position has been that coordinated economic activity can happen without government doing it. It can even happen absent government, but, as I stated multiple times in this thread, government can make the coordination of that activity more efficient (or less, depending on the actions of the government).

                I’m not sure what conversation you are having, but it’s not the same one I am having.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Government grows out of want for two things, the first being rules or regulation of a behavior/activity. The second being the social construct of a society.

                These rules/regulations/constructs in no way define standards that are physically parameter driven, as the parameters would be there with or without the government.

                A clovis point from 13,000 years ago could be cut from it’s 1.2″ diameter handle and fastened to other 1.2″ diameter handles. We see the same thing with flint head arrows from 3000BC. The length, size, shape and weight are determined by the parameters of the bow/prey they were to be used with.

                With trains the gauge of the rails have a lot to do with how fast the train can navigate a turn without a probability of turning over. The fact that there was only three inches difference between the tracks at the last stadardization was evidence of the parameters. Anyone currently could try only 2 feet between tracks, but the current type of trains would tip over like drunken anarchists.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                Mancur Olson offered a different theory about the origins of gummint: the stationary bandit theory. From Wiki:

                Olson argued that under anarchy, a “roving bandit” only has the incentive to steal and destroy, whilst a “stationary bandit”—a tyrant—has an incentive to encourage some degree of economic success as he expects to remain in power long enough to benefit from that success. A stationary bandit thereby begins to take on the governmental function of protecting citizens and their property against roving bandits. In the move from roving to stationary bandits, Olson sees the seeds of civilization, paving the way, eventually for democracy, which by giving power to those who align with the wishes of the population, improves incentives for good government.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Well I look at what laws are actually created by a government. Very few are about outright protection. The bulk are about authority/regulation or social constructs.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                He’s providing an account of how gummint’s arose, not an account of the form they currently take.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                We don’t have to be current, Hammurabi was 1700s BC. We could go back a little further to Ur-Nammu (2050BC) if you like. Still we’re not looking at protection as much as authority and social constructs as the main expressions of government.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                Still we’re not looking at protection as much as authority and social constructs as the main expressions of government.

                Dude, the whole theory is based on a tyrant taking over a community by force!Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Dude you don’t have to deploy force, you just have to have a population that believes in social constructs and acknowledge authority in a leader.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s an interesting theory. You should write it up!!Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I think they call it an election these days. Sorry if it wasn’t obvious, or you were being rhetorical.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                {{What do elections in 2016 have to do with a theory of the origins of government??}}

                Yes, government can take myriad forms, including elections. I think we’ve finally found something we agree on.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I see elections as a social construct to produce an authority.
                Thousands of years ago it would have been some other social construct, bravest hunter or some member that served a religious purpose, etc.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                So are you saying human beings have an innate desire to be governed?

                I hope not. That’d be confusing given your views about authority and all. If not, then where does the social construct you’re referring to come from?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                It appears at times some fraction of a population is fixated on a reflection of ‘self’ in either the social construct, authority, or a mix of both. This of course changes as conditions change.

                The origins of social construct would take a lot more unpacking than what I could do in a comment.

                I find it interesting to consider what happened to the people that didn’t settle into social constructs or authority. Not much record of those folks, of course why would there be?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                I find it interesting to consider what happened to the people that didn’t settle into social constructs or authority.

                Well, the logic of central governance (tyrannical, democratic, whatever) is that it expedites military conquest as well as defense. So it’s likely they were subjugated, no?

                If you mean individuals, the same logic sorta applies. Insofar as fear of being marauded by roving bandits – perhaps even your neighbors (yikes!) is a worry, a centralized authority able to provide defense matters.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                We may never know, it’s beyond the pale. 😉

                We do know these people exist today, even though society has expanded on the globe. There are times people deconstruct their own social constructs, or lose faith in the authority. Usually the loss is one or the other, seldom both.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                We do know these people exist today,

                I think those folks are the vast majority. Like, 99.99999%. At least in the US. I personally don’t know anyone who thinks bandits ought to be allowed to raid their home without recourse to The Law.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                “I personally don’t know anyone who thinks bandits ought to be allowed to raid their home without recourse to The Law.”

                Back to bandits are we. Whatever story makes you comfortable with your norms dude. Carry on.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I find it hard to accept that the word “bandit” has any meaning in absence of an agreed upon structure of property claims.

                Imagine two traders in a forest….Who says you own that basket of corn?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Call it the Stationary Marauder Theory, then. The idea is that instead of a band of marauders stealing folks’ goodies and moving on to the next target, the Stationary Marauder stays put and imposes taxes, defends the community from Roving Maruaders, etc.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Don’t even need to call it a Marauder. Just think of a toll bridge.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Stealing?
                or Gathering?

                My point is that without some agreed upon structure of property, no one owns anything. The very concept of property requires there to be some shared understanding that it exists.

                Apes have this understanding, most complex animals do. Most of the more complex animals live in herds or groups and have a rudimentary form of governmental hierarchy.

                The notion that humans ever existed in a pre-property, pre-government Eden is nonsense. Property and government existed before humans ever did.

                The theories being bandied about envision government as the snake in the garden of Eden, a poisonous betrayal of our noble savage selves.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Olson’s theory doesn’t change if you attribute a robust theory of property rights to the community. Call a Roving Bandit a thief; call a Stationary Bandit a thief too. It’s still the case that once a bandit chooses to become stationary the incentives effecting the bandit’s decisionmaking change, and it’s those changing incentives which result in formal gummint: defense, adjudication of disputes, maximizing economic activity (because it maximizes tax revenue), etc., up to an including enforcing a regime of individual rights and potentially even Democracy! (Yay!)

                Think of it more as a conceptualization of origins that maps onto history more accurately than the state of nature/social contract origin story.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                The stationary bandits social constructs would need to match the population moral alignments or he would be dispatched.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                I think history demonstrates that that isn’t the case, seems to me. The threat of violence and marginal gains derived from not defecting suffice. Over time, the bandit’s acquiescence to the community’s social constructs gains traction, even to the point of being codified and enforced in their own right.

                What you’re talking about up there is actually the interesting part of the theory.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                The nit I would have to pick is how much violence is needed, versus how the social constructs would require movement. There have been sufficient assassinations on agents of violence who were trying to move social constructs to far.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                Ask Robin Hood, or the signatories to the Magna Carta.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                This is why I said, “think of a toll bridge”.

                For the sake of argument, let’s say a guy builds a bridge over a river (or repairs an abandoned bridge, etc.), and then sets upon it a toll booth. Is he a bandit, or an businessman? Kinda depends on the validity to his claim, does it not?

                Assume the claim is valid (he built it or invested sufficient resources in it’s rehabilitation to support the claim). The process described continues apace from here. People want to cross the bridge, they pay him. He lives off the money and profit is reinvested into the bridge upkeep (if he’s smart). Perhaps he hires men-at-arms for protection from bandits, etc.

                We need not start at banditry.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “live in herds or groups and have a rudimentary form of governmental hierarchy.”

                except when they don’t. Jeebus is there any species other than governmental on the planet you live?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                No, none whatsoever.

                At least, none that are bipedal.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re absolutely my favorite opponent due to the fact your all in, no half assin’ it.Report

  16. Avatar Chris
    Ignored
    says:

    There is, of course, a non-trivial Tenther movement in Texas, closely associated with the furthest right elements of the state Republican Party, including some of its county-level leadership and some members of the legislature, but I think it is a great stretch to connect it with conspiracy theories from over a century ago. I do not think that most Texas Tenthers see the federal government as foreign to the United States; merely foreign to the state of Texas. The Texas secession movement, which reared its head in this year’s Republican state convention, and is comprised of the most extreme elements of the Tenthers, yet I’ve not heard any talk of foreign cabals in Washington from the secessionists I know (though I only know a couple, and perhaps they hide that sort of thing from outsiders? I doubt it, though).

    Texas conservatives have been fed on a pretty steady diet of anti-federal government rhetoric, particularly on the issue of immigration (which is the main issue for the seceshes), but also on guns, abortion, gay marriage, and more, and they’re eager to gain some control over what they see as issues filled with existential threats.

    The county sheriff stuff comes from the basic Tenthers playbook, and seems pretty straightforward to me. While local police brass is not elected (or particularly accountable), the county sheriff is the most senior elected law enforcement officer in most areas.

    The Tenthers, interestingly enough, are not always straightforwardly conservative. I mean, in Texas, they have all sorts of social conservative items on their agenda, but they also have weird cross-overs with the conspiracy-theorist left, particularly on things like fluoride.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Chris
      Ignored
      says:

      @chris

      The Tenthers, interestingly enough, are not always straightforwardly conservative.

      I don’t think I’d call the head of the Tenth Amendment Center conservative. I stuidied this movement a few years back, and while he attracts the stereotype, he doesn’t fit it himself.

      http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/07/michael-boldin-tenth-amendmentReport

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Dave
        Ignored
        says:

        Makes sense. The most prominent Tenther in Austin politics is difficult to classify, so much so that I see no point in bothering. She once asked the chief of police why he wasn’t stopping the TSA from operating in Austin, and she believes that removing fluoride from the drinking supply should be one of the city’s top priorities, wants to reduce corporate subsidies (for a long time, Austin and the state have basically, and in some cases actually, paid companies to come here), but is almost absurdly classist (her opponent in the last city council election was a young renter who was unemployed, and her comments about all three of those categories were disgusting) and pro-business at the same time.Report

  17. Avatar Tex Thompson
    Ignored
    says:

    Based on my experiences with the Texas GOP, it probably went something like this:

    Activist: We would like the following words included in the Party Platform.
    Official 1: I don’t understand what this means.
    Official 2: It looks to me like boilerplate Federal Encroachment stuff.
    Activist: YES EXACTLY THEY’RE INFILTRATING OUR COMMUNITIES IN PREPARATION FOR THE…
    Official 1: Well, sure, the damn feds are awful. What is this about the county sheriff?
    Activist: … AND ONCE THEY HAVE THE SOLDIERS IN PLACE THEY’RE GOING TO BUILD TUNNELS…
    Official 2: I really don’t know. If I tilt my head just right, though, I can imagine it’s a good idea for the feds to check with the local authorities before testing dynamite or something?
    Activist: … THEN THE UNITED NATIONS GETS INVOLVED, AND THE BLUE HELMETS START COMING IN….
    Official 1: I guess?
    Activist: … THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR SPENT FIFTY TRILLION DOLLARS ON AMMUNITION LAST YEAR, AND WE KNOW WHY…
    Official 2: You don’t want to be talking the fed’s side, do you? I mean, sure, it’s ridiculous, but this is the deal, right? They get the platform and then we get to govern.
    Activist: … AND YOU KNOW THEY’RE POISONING THE WELL WHERE WE FEED OUR CATTLE BECAUSE THEY’RE IN BED WITH THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS…
    Official 1: It seems like it gets crazier every year, though. I don’t even think I want to know what this is about.
    Activist: … AND DO YOU KNOW WHY? DO YOU KNOW WHY THEY’RE PUTTING LITHIUM IN OUR WATER?…
    Official 2: I sort of feel like putting this in the platform will cause less trouble than having an open debate about it with reporters present.
    Activist: … IT’S ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT THE FLUIDS. ALWAYS…
    Official 1: True. Incidentally, it looks like they misspelled “United”
    Activist: … AND THAT’S WHY THE HOUSING AN URBAN DEVELOPMENT ORDERED THOSE HELICOPTERS…
    Official 2: Do you want to point that out to him?
    Activist: … AND OUR SOVEREIGN RIGHTS ARE IN DANGER BY THE HUD-DOI JOIN OPERATIONS IN…
    Official 1: No. Let’s leave it exactly as it is have no discussion and go get some Shiner.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Tex Thompson
      Ignored
      says:

      The state GOP does seem to be remarkably tolerant of its more extreme elements, in large part I think because the party is so incredibly dominant in Texas that even when they make the platform embarrassing for the more moderate (by Texas standards, not necessarily by national standards) leadership, they don’t make it toxically so.

      This year’s platform might be less extreme than 2014’s, too.Report

      • Avatar Tex Thompson in reply to Chris
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        says:

        They’re really persistent. Extremely so. Back in the 90’s, there was a strong effort to root the crazies out of the State Board of Education. Dubya was going to run for president and he wanted to avoid the odor of crazy. So he and Bill Ratliff (a state senator who became Lt Governor when Perry ascended) set out to start primarying people in 1998 and 2000. They succeeded, too. Then Dubya became president, Ratliff retired, and they started coming back. Rick Perry wasn’t interested in that battle and since he was never very popular didn’t have a whole lot of political capital to spend. I was hoping that Abbott would, but he has Dan Patrick and other Tea Partiers nipping at his heels, and nobody wants the fate of David Dewhurst or Susan Combs.

        Things are going to come to a head pretty soon.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        The state GOP does seem to be remarkably tolerant of its more extreme elements…

        This is my take and I guess that you no better than me. I went to take a look at the Vermont Democratic Party’s platform. It has all the sorts of idealist left-leaning that you might expect, but translated into rather milquetoast language.

        As I said above, the Democratic Party does a much better job these days of keeping their radicals at bay and operating as a centrist party. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing likely depends on where you stand on that spectrum.

        The other aspect is that the those in the far left in a palace like Vermont likely self-identity as Greens or Socialists or something else making the local Democratic Party much more centrist than one might expect.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to j r
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          says:

          In many places, a document like the 2014 Texas Republican platform would be toxic to many candidates, but the GOP’s dominance in Texas is so great that most of the pressure on them comes from the right, not from Democrats, so it is in their best interest to let the more extreme elements have their way in the relatively meaningless platform, so long as it doesn’t get so bad that no one outside of Texas will ever take them seriously again.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tex Thompson
      Ignored
      says:

      Thanks, @tex-thompson and @chris

      This is really helpful context, and absolutely what I was hoping to have explained to me.Report

  18. Avatar Dave
    Ignored
    says:

    Mike Schilling:
    I was pushing back on the notion that all virtue lies with the strict constructionist conservatives, as opposed to the activist liberals.I’m fine with saying they’re both right sometimes.

    You’ll get no argument from me, especially since I’ve never made that claim. However, please tell me where you think the activist liberals were right. Personally, I think Griswold v Connecticut was a terribly written opinion because of that penumbras crap. However, it was the right decision and could have been easily justified on due process grounds used to strike down the law in question in Meyer v Nebraska. There was nothing activist about that decision IMO.

    A year ago, I said that the case for strict constructionism is a slam dunk, assuming you’re using the right kind of original intent originalism. The 1970’s-1980’s version that came about as a counterpoint to the Warren and Burger courts doesn’t cut it. It’s so fatally flawed that I wish people would stop invoking it. However, the version that’s rooted in the constitutional debates of the founding era (think the Report of 1800, the Virginia Resolution and St. George Tucker), gets it right. That said, its use as a tool for future generations is too limited, especially since “original original intent” can’t be justified on text alone. Any attempt to do so, whether it’s a conservative screaming “Tenth Amendment” or a liberal screaming “General Welfare” misses a key component of constitutional thought: the role of popular sovereignty.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Dave
      Ignored
      says:

      Brown vs. Board of Education[1]? Miranda? Gideon? Those are the classic liberal activist cases. I do regret the penumbras. They’re there because liberals are wimps while conservatives are happy to make shit up and call it chocolate.

      1. That’s the one that started the “Impeach Earl Warren” movement, all by itself.Report

  19. Avatar Dave
    Ignored
    says:

    Mike Schilling:
    Brown vs. Board of Education[1]? Miranda? Gideon?Those are the classic liberal activist cases.I do regret the penumbras.They’re there because liberals are wimps while conservatives are happy to make shit up and call it chocolate.

    1. That’s the one that started the “Impeach Earl Warren” movement, all by itself.

    Of the three cases you mentioned, the only one that raises my eyebrows a bit is Miranda, not because I see it as unprincipled judicial activism but because of the way the Constitution was extended to criminal law, a matter traditionally reserved for the states. Having not read the case in years, I can’t opine one way or the other.

    Griswold is idiotic only because Justice Douglas attempted to sandwich the right to privacy (which pre-existed Griswold by decades) into the enumerated rights of the Constitution. He really didn’t have much of a choice since the court abandoned the due process jurisprudence that led to decisions in two 1920’s-era privacy decisions Meyer v Nebraska and Pierce v Society of Sisters.

    I agree with you. Liberals are in fact wimps and conservatives do make shit up and call it chocolate. See, I knew you and I would find common ground, even if it’s taken years. 😉Report

  20. Avatar Patrick
    Ignored
    says:

    @oscar-gordon

    Down here.

    “I don’t recall that convo, but I beg to differ, since government, especially centralized government, has key powers that a governing body lacks, such as the ability to use force, and the related ability to coerce cooperation through force/the threat of force. It also generally has a much wider set of priorities & concerns.”

    I don’t know that this is a meaningful distinction, although Jason K and I went down into the weeds multiple times over it.

    In game theoretic terms, a governing body is a body that has the ability to prevent two agents in an exchange from defecting. In practice, this ensuring to each that they can choose the Nash Equilibrium that is mutually more beneficial to them both, instead of each defecting and choosing the NE that is more pessimum for them both.

    Ultimately, the ability to prevent two agents in an exchange from defecting is a relative power differential. You can do it lots of ways; by having the governing body have sufficient ability to impose an external cost, making only one NE optimal, you can have them have the ability to adjudicate, impose force, whatever.

    But ultimately, a governing body isn’t effective if it doesn’t possess the ability to make all of the agents conform to the framework. Which means it either has to have the ability to impose force, or it has to have the ability to be an operational agent that can impose some other form of penalty…

    … which in turn requires some agent to be able to guarantee that penalty will be paid, by threat of force.

    Put another way, if you’re a governing body and someone defects, you have to have a remedy solution. Fees, fines, tort, whatever.

    But you ultimately can’t impose that remedy solution without the government aiding and abetting you. You sue somebody, absent the government enforcing the solution, you don’t have a way to make them pay up.

    Unless you have your own private army to back you up.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Patrick
      Ignored
      says:

      Agreed. It boils down to what can an org enforce. A sufficiently powerful org can enforce it’s will without violence, simply through the threat of expulsion (re: Catholic Church & excommunication). And industry group that is has sufficient influence can successfully expel a member, or refuse to admit a candidate member and, if enough of the membership stays true (doesn’t defect), the penalty is enforced. It’s essentially enforcement through shunning.

      And that is the rub between an org and a government. A government has enforcement mechanisms that do not require the cooperation of the members (citizens). If you don’t pay your taxes, you don’t just get cut off from the services those taxes provide for. The government will actively expend resources to locate, arrest, indict, try, and jail you. I’m not being critical of it, because that power is necessary if the government is to be effective and protecting and enforcing rights & responsibilities (even if I think they use the power too liberally).

      The government effectively backstops all the other orgs, ideally keeping them honest, even if that isn’t always how it shakes out in practice.

      But, once again, this is well and truly past the original point I was making.Report

      • Avatar J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        I think the Nash Equilibrium model is accurate. Even from a theoretical point of view, the Government, as uber-coordinating body has the mandate to make sure no other coordinating body can maximize their wins at the expense of the other players, or impose undue xternalities on third parties.

        No government in recorded history has ever argued that the settling of competing interests and reaching a statewide equilibrium was not their core mandate. This is the Mandate from Heaven, that granted rightful authority. They might have been lousy about it, but they never argued that government was just organized pillage.

        It’s worth remembering that, as Europe progressed from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age, the middle and lower classes wholeheartedly supported the expansion of the Royal Power versus the local aristocracy. This is as true of Bourbon France as it is of Tudor England(*) or Habsburg Spain. The King’s mandate covered the welfare of the whole country, whereas the barons were all for themselves.

        (*) The fact that in England the barons won in the Glorious Revolution and the country failed to settle into an absolute monarchy like the rest of Europe is another interesting story. Eventually, England reached democracy faster than other countries, but in the meantime the barons had the ability to impose substantial burdens on the rest of the population. See the Enclosure of the Commons, for instanceReport

        • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to J_A
          Ignored
          says:

          One thing the Nash Equilibrium doesn’t appear to measure is the quantity of personal preference each agent maintains or losses on whole. Therefore there is no indication that the population is heading towards a condition of collective utopia or anomie.Report

          • Avatar J_A in reply to Joe Sal
            Ignored
            says:

            I have a preference to throw the polluted waters from my tannery (or, because I’m very SWPL, my tofu factory.

            Any restrictions of throwing the untreated process waste water is a navy loss for me and my freedom. The fact that the city downstream doesn’t like to drink polluted water is just government imposition.

            Of course, they could sue me. Or actually, my LLC, JoeSal Stinky Tofu Manufacturers. The few assets my LLC has cannot in any way cover the environmental damages so it goes bankrupt.

            The old LLC is no longer I go home and set up a new LLC, JoeSal Even Stinkier Tofu Manufacturers, and keep on doing the same. The river stays poisoned. The Gods of Libertarianism have been satisfied.Report

            • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to J_A
              Ignored
              says:

              Ah, the old trite of only preferences create externalities. The ignorance of the government harboring the mechanisms of mass externality occurrences doesn’t quite fit the narrative does it? What if government is an externality?
              How many tons of aircraft fuel are yall burning an day?

              Libertarian, ha funny.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A
              Ignored
              says:

              This is a chicken and egg problem. If the ability to form a corporation didn’t exist, would the regulation be as necessary; or vice versa? Certainly there is a threshold wherein the damage a person could do can never be remedied by a civil suit, so a regulation is necessary, but how much do our corporate structures affect that threshold?Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A
          Ignored
          says:

          They might have been lousy about it, but they never argued that government was just organized pillage.

          True, although in some cases the argument was merely thin cover for the fact that the government was in the business of pillage. The willingness of people to accept that cover until the bread lines start is something I find fascinating (see: Venezuela).Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            What constitutes “pillage” is even more fascinating.

            The more closely you study it, the murkier the definitions become until at base, what separate legitimate ownership from pillage is largely a constructed consensus.

            Which is why most kingdoms need a religious component to establish the Mandate of Heaven, or Divine Right. One could argue that Locke’s definition is a secular attempt to establish legitimacy, by giving a thin veneer justification for pillage.

            This isn’t an attempt to declare a pox on all houses, its more to suggest that the rules of property rights are not self-evident entities, pre-existent to our awareness of them, but social constructs that are amenable to revision.

            We accept the cover story when it fits our consensus worldview of whatever combination of religious and cultural priors are. But as you say, when some line is crossed, the shared consensus of the mandate evaporates, and then the pitchforks come out.

            I think in America in 2016, that consensus of the rightful meritocracy is unraveling.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              Can’t help but agree.Report

            • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              “but social constructs that are amenable to revision”
              Revision by whom? If that answer is other people dipping into authority and ‘other’ social constructs, it’s more of the same, just under a different banner.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, that’s correct.
                It just constructs, all the way down.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Only for the construct clutchers.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Great, now that we’ve gotten to the bottom of that let’s get back to the real-world of what actually is.Report

              • Avatar Patrick in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m probably with Chip on this one.

                This reminds me of the conversation I used to have with Tim all the time, regarding his preference for natural law because it gave him a bedrock that he felt granted his position some legitimacy.

                To which my response was, eh.

                It doesn’t matter whether God gives us our axiomatic givens or we settle upon them ourselves as long as we all agree to use them as givens. It doesn’t grant your argument any more moral authority if we both agree that murder is wrong but I just accept that as a base principle and you accept it as a base principal but you also posit that it’s a base principal enshrined by a deity.

                It does get trickier when folks say, “That construct is illegitimate” for the same reason why it gets trickier when folks say, “I disagree with that governing principle”. Which can happen, of course.

                But there is no way inside a system to adjudicate the rules of the system on grounds outside the system.

                When it comes right down to it, we’re all using the legal principles of the nation as our baseline. If you disagree with those principles, or you believe that one of those principles is encoded improperly, that’s an argument to make, but if the system allows you to challenge those things or exit the system entirely then that’s probably about all of the middle ground we can have.

                If you’re an anarchist, you’re not gonna get what you want, here. I don’t see that particularly as an immoral imposition if you have a choice to go somewhere else or you have the ability to try and get other people to agree with you that we should all be anarchists. You have some ability to exit, and you have some ability to advocate for anarchy, and the government has an obligation to be accommodating to both of those things to a degree.

                We can quibble about the degree, sure, and whether or not the current degree is correctReport

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Patrick
                Ignored
                says:

                I didn’t bring God/deity into this battle, so not sure where that came from.

                The risk of losing is to live constantly under someone else’s social structure, obeying someone else’s authority.

                The reward of winning is individual sovereignty under my own authority.

                I can take this same concept to the market place of ideas and it does well. Does yours? It is tragic that my people have to fight this over and over.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                The marketplace of ideas is horridly corrupted by Occams Razor.

                Did you HONESTLY expect reality to be SIMPLE???Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually my expectation is that to model reality would require a parallel reality a magnitude more complex to analyze it.

                Therefore rendering the current reality unable to be modeled and prone to cascade failures, caused by people who attempt to model it, or assume the parameters they have chosen are sufficient.

                yeah, corrupt and stupid.

                What you got?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                You need to study more particle physics then.
                Our universe is surprisingly easy to model.
                On a low level, it’s even parsimonious, from a data storage perspective.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Really? Ok, model in real time, the quantum wavelength of every particle of a tree of my choosing in 3-D. You can drop by tomorrow around ten o’clock.Report

              • Avatar Patrick in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Kim, you’ve written a lot of bizarre things here, but this one takes the cake, pretty much.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Patrick
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s the only way occams razor works for our universe.
                Think of the wave/particle duality — the concept of only resolving something when observed… these are all decent strategies for “only holding the information you absolutely need.”

                (Not my theory, by the way, I do know an information theorist)Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                Joe,
                And what will you do with the ignorant shithead who doesn’t understand what the word rape means, and thus tries to inflict himself upon all and sundry?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                What do people do to not get raped?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                I can take this same concept to the market place of ideas and it does well. Does yours?

                I don’t think yours does all that well, actually. In fact, it does ery poorly. Most people are of a mind that clear rules subject to enforcement are essential for a functioning society. And they do so not because they hold irrational social constructs, but because the world is full of people willing to harm others to further their own self-interest.

                It is tragic that my people have to fight this over and over.

                Boom!Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Everyone wants their own construct.
                Everyone wants their own rules.
                Everyone wants the authority to work for them.

                Good luck with that.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Boom yeah, I was hoping you would trip over that one. Who are my people?Report

              • Avatar Patrick in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                The risk of losing is to live constantly under someone else’s social structure, obeying someone else’s authority. The reward of winning is individual sovereignty under my own authority.

                Well, you’re doing Bayesian analysis doubly-wrong there. You’re comparing the downside of one thing to the upside of another. That’s pretty broken tradeoff analysis.

                I get it, you might not find much in the way of upsides on the first thing and downsides on the other, but that’s going to be your own normative assessment; if you want to convince other people of the value of your analysis, you’re going to have to explain it in terms that value other folks’ normative assessments, too.

                I can take this same concept to the market place of ideas and it does well. Does yours? It is tragic that my people have to fight this over and over.

                Except it doesn’t do well in the marketplace of ideas. Sorry. It’s tragic that you don’t see that.

                Miniarchism, doesn’t exist anywhere at the moment. Libertarianism has lots to recommend it in many ways… but “it works in the marketplace of ideas” is one that requires an interesting idea of what the marketplace of ideas is, and who the buyers are.

                This is the same conversation I have with communists. If your idea is so objectively awesome, we’d have more examples of it that weren’t extremely problematic examples. Their response is something along the order of “the marketplace of ideas isn’t a true free market” which I find deeply amusing, I didn’t realize the marketplace of ideas was Scottish.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Patrick
                Ignored
                says:

                I was simplifying it and bringing it to the table in what I thought was a digestible form. Ah well, hopefully it won’t happen again.

                Minarchism isn’t what I’m going for either.

                To say everyone is very happy with the social structures and the form of authority in play? That looks like a reach.Report

              • Avatar Patrick in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                I didn’t say that, myself.

                So I think to progress someone is going to have to plant a stick in the ground somewhere.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                Everybody is a lot of people. It only takes “one” to invalidate “Everybody”

                Because mankind evolved -most likely- as a social and hierarchical animal, and because civilization is a communal effort, most humans actually need a social structure and a coordinating mechanismReport

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to J_A
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                says:

                Those were three parameters, and no two humans are perfectly alike. The expression of factions is another indicator that the ideal communal isn’t even in the ball park to start playing the game.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                I am not sure I understand your comment, but I shudder at anything that has the word Ideal in front.

                Ideal sounds like a Platonic Form. It goes back to people that know Truth (with capital T). And because they know the true Truth, mere facts on the ground are irrelevant.

                If the facts contradict Truth, too bad for the facts.

                So whatever the ideal communal is, i don’t want any part of it.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                I probably should have been more civil. The big problem is the operating parameter of state has been forced to deploy a monopoly of force. There is no opt out as Patrick generously offered.
                So as you say with the capital T for truth I have to contend with the capital M of monopoly of force. I used to think as Stillwater above, that the primary reason of state was protection. The more I study it and what it does, it appears it’s built for completely other reasons.
                Thanks for the sparrings, please don’t take my cantankerousness in ill regards.Report

            • Avatar J_A in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              But the Mandate of Heaven can be and is lost, when the Government’s fails to minimally guarantee the rights of all the polity’s components. There is a limit to what you can let nobles, or soldiers, or tax collectors, get away with.Report

          • Avatar J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            Asimov via Hari Seldon pointed out that history has great inertia. It takes a long time -or a lot of people- for it to change.

            Hence people are willing to carry on for quite some time until finally they change their mind.

            The same great great grandchildren of the burghers that cheered Louis XIV for abasing the nobility voted for the execution of Louis XVI

            Venezuela’s case is extremely interesting. I lived there for many years though I left in 1998 months before the first Chavez election. I can tell you that 10 years before Chavez it was clear to me where the country was going to, and why. And two years later I had a discussion with some people about why Chavez was not going anywhere (contrary to their assertion that the regime couldn’t last more than a year more). I was right.

            Now the Mandate of Heaven has been finally lost in Venezuela. But the transition won’t be easy. Prophesies about what will happen in Venezuela can be obtained here in exchange for six-packs of a good IPA. If after ten years I am wrong, i’ll repay the beer with a reasonable accrued interest.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        A sufficiently powerful org can enforce it’s will without violence, simply through the threat of expulsion (re: Catholic Church & excommunication). And industry group that is has sufficient influence can successfully expel a member, or refuse to admit a candidate member and, if enough of the membership stays true (doesn’t defect), the penalty is enforced. It’s essentially enforcement through shunning.

        Well, the Catholic Church eventually found that excommunication wasn’t good enough so it fell back on the ol’ ultra-violence on more than one occasion, so there’s that.

        And industry groups have some authority through the model you’re talking about, but industry groups still need to have an effective shunning capability. Granted, government can actually work widdershins in these cases, too… LEED, for example, has a shunning capability but some states actually are trying to legislate LEED (cough, guess which ones) in a deliberate attempt to *reduce* their shunning capability.

        The government effectively backstops all the other orgs, ideally keeping them honest, even if that isn’t always how it shakes out in practice.

        Yeah, absolutely. It’s certainly possible to suborn government as the backstop to other orgs for the specific purpose of putting your hand on the scale and distorting that Nash Equilibrium, which is rent extraction ultimately no matter what the form of that is in any given case.

        But again, I see that as something that would exist absent a “government”. Because force exists and ultimately folks with sufficient incentive will use it if their bag of tricks otherwise runs out (NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION), absent some other organization again providing the overall collection of organizations to the game where choosing force is a defection that is held out of the choice matrix. Whatever that organization is, it’s a government. And you’re going to have *some* organization – or maybe a collective of organizations – that have that power… or you’re going to have warlords that will take it.

        That’s sorta the whole rub.

        Well, until we can build GORT and let his eye-beam Calgon take us all away.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Patrick
          Ignored
          says:

          No argument, mostly because we are so far out in the weeds past the original assertion that I’m starting to wonder what the actual contention is?

          One question, how does a group like DeBeers fit into all this? How much of their power is pure ability to shun, and how much is suborned power from government?Report

          • Avatar J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            DeBeers is a very particular case, because they control a very large percentage of a very valuable commodity. Thus they have true Power (if nothing else Power in the Paul Muad’dib sense, the power to destroy a thing (or in this case withhold production and trade) is the absolute control over it

            Of course, they do so at the pleasure of the South African government (or the South African, Namibian, and Botswanan governments, if you prefer)

            DeBeers is large and powerful enough that they can also influence said governments, and undoubtedly do so, subject to the Mandate of Heaven. The day enough South African, Namibian, and Botswanans consider that DeBeers is a pox on those countries, kicking DeBeers out will be a matter of weeks.

            Far from me to say that those countries will be better without DeBeers. I actually believe the opposite, that if DeBeers is kicked out the countries will suffer massively. The Mandate from Heaven is far from being always right (because it’s not really from Heaven)Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A
              Ignored
              says:

              So a considerable amount of subornation in key polities.

              I just want to re-iterate, since I brought up DeBeers, that my position statement is value neutral. I’m not ascribing a good or bad value to the question of whether or not a non-governmental org can coordinate economic activity across political boundaries, only that it can. And that it can potentially do so more efficiently with the cooperation of government.

              This is not necessarily a good thing or bad thing. That value is very subjective and depends heavily on how the coordination is executed, and to what ends.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                In principle I do not disagree with you.

                In actual practice, the DeBeers of the world are rare cases (1970s OPEC could be another, if you ignore that the members were themselves governments)

                The rise of DeBeers has also a lot to do with the specific politics of the British Empire and of South Africa. In a different political environment (for instance a Civil Code legal structure) De Beers would be very different or not at allReport

  21. Avatar Patrick
    Ignored
    says:

    Holy cow, when I wrote this comment I was expecting people to give me some pushback along the lines of “Cliven Bundy wasn’t actually supported that way by his local sheriff, you’re exaggerating!” to which I was going to cop a guilty plea because yes, I was exaggerating a bit to make my point.

    But it turns out I wasn’t exaggerating at all.

    “I told the Forest Service ranger that if he went out and closed a road that Garfield County has jurisdiction on, I would arrest him,” he says.

    And then there was the time that his deputies did arrest a BLM ranger they said was illegally issuing citations to campers.

    “Wasn’t me that pulled the trigger on that deal. Do I think he needed to come to jail? I do, the guy’s a fruitcake,” Perkins says.

    What the hell, Utah?Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Patrick
      Ignored
      says:

      Here’s one version of the Garfield County, Utah back story.

      In 1996, Bill Clinton believed he needed to shore up support of the environmental vote in Arizona as part of his re-election campaign. To do so, he used authority granted by the Antiquities Act to unilaterally designate almost two million acres of federal land — somewhat larger than the state of Delaware — that had previously been national forest as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Utah’s governor and congressional delegation were given 24 hours notice of the change. The ceremony announcing the change was held, with great fanfare, in Arizona.

      The national monument occupies a large chunk of Garfield County, splitting it in two. The rules for national monuments are quite different from those of mere “national forest” land. No grazing. No back country camping. Existing back country roads stay open at the discretion of the BLM. There’s a vague statute that says local concerns are supposed to be considered in those decisions, but BLM has been relatively high-handed in this case, closing campgrounds and attempting to close roads. Utah has been (unsuccessfully) fighting in the courts for 20 years, asserting that the BLM is attempting to turn much of the monument into a wilderness area — a different land-use designation with even tighter rules — without getting the necessary Congressional authorization to do so.Report

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