02 Jan 2010

Chaos Theory Questions

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Reader Robert Fellner has foolishly been discussing my pamphlet Chaos Theory [.pdf] with people who have yet to see the light. (I do not recommend this.) He turned to me for help in answering their objections, but obviously I am not going to rescue him from the quicksand into which I pushed him. In the comments feel free to offer your own thoughts.

I have been showing Chaos Theory to some friends of mine, and meeting some resistance. If you have the time and any interest in answering them, I’ve pasted them below. I already answered them myself but I feel I may be missing something. Correct me if I am wrong here, but if someone steals from you, there will exist a private police force that can go on to his property and either retake the item that was stolen or bring him to trial or something of that nature, correct? All acts of aggression aren’t blindly outlawed in libertarian society, just the initiation of aggression? That’s a pretty important concept for me to have clear, because in my answer to these questions that is basically what I said. That generally speaking theft and murder are against the laws of a libertarian society and there would be private police that could bring these criminals to the private courts even if the criminal was on his own property. Is that not true?

1) I go to a movie theater, and sign a contract saying I waive all liability vs the owner if someone else hauls me away after being found guilty by an arbitration agency. Why would the movie theater owner have any liability in the first place? Does he have some duty to protect me from the acts of third parties while i’m on his property? Where does that duty come from?

1a) Even if I do release HIM from liability why does that in any way suggest that I give my consent to have my actions adjudicated to this arbitration company in the first place?

1b) I sign a contract in a movie theater. The non-cops come to haul me away after being found guilty. I say ‘aha, suckers I didn’t really sign the contract’. They all look and I’ve signed it ‘Ludwig Von Nutjob’. I say this is not real consent you can’t touch me. They say it is, or at least we have to go arbitrate this. I say I’m not consenting to any arbitration on the validity of my consent. How do you resolve?

2) This contact I sign at the movie theater apparently has quite a number of things in it. It says I can be hauled away if guilty of a tort, it says I wont murder anyone, it says i wont steal anything, etc etc. Apparently it has the entire codification of a legal system and tort system all in it with my consent to each clause. Am I really expected to read such a thing before entering a movie theater? Such a system apparently exists EVERYWHERE, because everywhere is private property right? I can’t go run errands without signing 5 or more of these contracts. In fact, even the road is private property right? How do I sign a contract to use it before I get on it? How does such a system sound remotely enactable?

3) I’m super rich. Like Bill Gates rich. I don’t like you. I kill you. I pay the damages. I don’t care. I promise never to do it again, and get an insurer to cover me for an inordinate sum at a hefty premium in the future. Do I get to go free? Why not?

4) I kill you. Having subscribed to Austrian Economics and anarcho-capitalism for many years, you are now homeless on the street with no friends or heirs. Who investigates and prosecutes the crime? Who pays for it?

5) I kill you. I live on a farm, and am entirely self sufficient. I ain’t coming out. No one can touch me right?

6) I’m broke and have no insurance. Can I even set foot anywhere or will no one let me in because I can’t afford to sign the extensive contract?

7) I’m a good friend of a very reputable arbitration agency owner. I get in massive trouble in a complicated case and conveniently his firm is the arbiter of the dispute. He fixes the case as the only disincentive is damage to his firm’s reputation for trustworthiness. Since its just a one time thing not a systemic pattern the damage is minimal. There is some flap about the ruling being suspicious in the press, but he notes his firm has a 50 year history and did a fair job. Since most of the public didn’t follow the case super closely they don’t know how valid the ruling really is, nor are they very motivated to look into it deeply. I give him a million dollars for his trouble, and we all live happily ever after.

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