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This is going to blow the minds of a lot of people I've been arguing with about anarchy.

No society worth having can function without some malum prohibitum rules.

Now, most of those I've been arguing with should agree with that. In fact, one of the objections I get over and over again stems from equating anarchy with the a-priori absence of all such rules. I'd like to see them try to reconcile what they're arguing against, what they think I am arguing for, with that statement. It can't be done.

For those of you willing to proceed with the understanding that I believe that to be true, I offer the following hypothesis: Government is incapable of generating rational mala prohibitum laws. Not pathologically incapable, but that its very nature contradicts the possibility of doing so. Federalism was, in fact, an attempt (unknowingly) to get around that fundamental flaw in the nature of government, but it merely reduced and masked the effects, it did not address the flaw itself. It was a band-aid over the sores produced by a genetic defect.

Proving it requires a bit more groundwork, and so I'll leave it at that for the moment, as an assertion to be backed up later.


So you're saying that the only crimes are those that are 'malum in se' as opposed to 'malum prohibitum'? The main problem I see with that is this: Whose standard do you use to judge whether a crime is 'malum in se'?

For instance I may judge that my purchase and use of certain substances deemed illegal by the state is fine and doesn't constitute an act of evil in and of itself. The methods used to produce and transport such substances may be, but lets say that I'm an 'ethical' narcotics user and try to source such substances from suppliers who I can be sure do not violate my ethical code in producing their goods.

However, someone else may judge that my personal habit, no matter how ethically fed, constitutes an act of evil.

So I ask again whose judgement are we to use?

The only way to solve this dilemma is through the use of some sort of societal conventions which all members of a society can agree to abide by. State enforced or not, these conventions seem to fit the definition of 'malum prohibitum'.

I think where your opponents are tripping up is on the fact that they believe that it has to be the state which defines and enforces these rules, whereas you take it as read that such rules should be defined by and for each individual, and agreed upon between individuals.

I'm assuming quite alot not having been party to the arguments in question, but from having been a reader of your blog for a while, I think I've got a handle on where you're coming from. I will admit error f it is pointed out to me though.

Posted by mandrill at Monday, December 15, 2008 11:36 AM

mandrill, read again, I said no society can function with*out* MP. Unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean, it looks like you misread.

Posted by kylben at Monday, December 15, 2008 12:09 PM

Are you going to keep us in suspense much longer?

Posted by Elliot at Saturday, January 03, 2009 09:56 AM

Elliot, I didn't know anybody was waiting.

Yeah, it'll be a while.

Posted by kylben at Saturday, January 03, 2009 10:02 AM

Thinking republicans become libertarians. Thinking libertarians become anarchists.
The trick is to keep thinking.

Posted by socalserf at Saturday, January 31, 2009 11:13 AM

Anarchism is often confused with nihilism.

Posted by Charlie at Tuesday, August 04, 2009 07:56 AM

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