Debate:Is statism a type of authoritarianism?

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Debate.png This is a Debate page.
Feel free to add your own spin on the story. Please keep it civil!
Information icon.svg This debate was created by StopTheViolence.


Proposition[edit]

Statism is a type of authoritarianism. A statist is a person who believes the existence of a state, i.e. a government, is necessary for the proper function of most societies. Statism is the belief that society needs a state, in other words, a government. Government is an organization that claims a right to have a legitimate right to violence and which enforces its claimed monopoly on violence with violence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewQl-qAtNwQ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_on_violence

The essence of government is people in power, telling people what to do, using violence to enforce the will of those in power. Violence is the use of force or the threatened use of force. Pointing a gun at someone is an act of violence. Violence does not only include actual use of force, but also the threat of force. Authoritarianism is favoring or enforcing blind, unquestioning, or absolute obedience to a perceived authority, esp. that of the government. Statism is by its very nature illogical in that the belief in statism is fundamentally based on fallacious illogic. Specifically, the fallacies inherent in the statist belief system which I have identified (there are probably others) are:

1. argumentum ad consequentiam: Ultimately, the authority of the state resides in its ability or perceived ability to punish those who are disobedient to its will. It's defining characteristic is the capability of violence coupled with a claim of monopolistic legitimacy in the use or delegation of violence. You must obey the state or face the jeopardy of legal violence. Such a proposition is a logical fallacy. It is an appeal to violence, and it is inherent within any statist construct. In fact, this is the foundation of its existence as a state.

2. argumentum ad auctoritatem: The state or state actor or its supporters claim that you must obey the state because it is an authority. Such a proposition is a logical fallacy, it is an appeal to authority, and it is inherent in every statist construct.

3. Circular reasoning: Every state relies on circular reasoning in its formulation of "rules" or organizational structure. Some examples: a)The constitution is the law because the constitution says so. b)The law applies because the law says so. c)We must have a government because government is necessary. d)The authority is the authority because it is the authority. Sometimes this can be pretty subtle, and there are many variations, like "you have to do what I say because I'm a cop/judge/politician,etc." or "We must obey the government because it is in charge". There can be no justification for a state without circular reasoning. e)Judge's opinions are the law because judges say so. Example: the concept of judicial immunity, which is a power judges invented out of thin air and gave to themselves. It is not in the U.S. constitution. f)The king's word is law because the king said so.

4. Reification Fallacy: A state is essentially something that only exists in the mind, it is wholly a mental construct, an abstraction. However, statism requires one to treat it as if it were an actual physical entity, and to believe in it as a matter of faith.

This fallacy is not necessarily present in the formulation every state, but it is common:

5. Argumentum ad populum: Democratic states use this fallacy to support their legitimacy. The premise is that if enough people vote for something, it becomes legitimate. If a majority of the population vote for something, then the democratic state will claim a "right" to use violence to enforce that edict based on the number of people who voted for it. You also see it in statements like "the constitution has authority because it was ratified". This is a fallacy, an appeal to numbers, and it is inherent in every democratic state construct.

Statism is the belief that the violence of the state is necessary and good, and that there must be a state authority with a perceived right to a monopoly on violence, and that the will of those in power, who are perceived as having authority, must be enforced through violence. This right to violence of the state is predicated on fallacious illogic and if one is to take away the logical fallacies listed above from their rationalization of the state, one essentially has nullified the state. Since a belief in statism necessitates a belief in authority figures telling people what to do, as well as an obligation to obey them coupled with violent enforcement of that perceived obligation and that belief is predicated on illogic, then to advocate for statism is to advocate for illogical violence. To act contrary to logic is to act blindly, therefore to advocate and/or enforce statism is to advocate for blind obedience to authority, therefore statism is a type of authoritarianism. Note: This is an updated version of my argument in support of my proposition, which was updated to correct some flaws in my argument as it was initially presented. This is the new and improved version"StopTheViolence (talk) 18:30, 31 August 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

Debates[edit]

If you come on here to debate this issue, please identify which side you are debating: either yes, statism is a type of authoritarianism, or no, it is not.

So far there is a fallacious statement on the Statism page that says: "Although many libertarians and anarchists have attempted to equate the two, statism and authoritarianism are not the same thing; although most authoritarians (especially of the right-wing type) are statists, so are quite a lot of people who believe one of the functions of government is to enforce civil rights." This statement contains at least two irrational fallacies. The first part is an argument by assertion with no actual facts, evidence of reasoned argument to support it. The second part of this statement is a non-sequitor. "although most authoritarians (especially of the right-wing type) are statists, so are quite a lot of people who believe one of the functions of government is to enforce civil rights" does not support the premises "many libertarians and anarchists have attempted to equate the two" or "statism and authoritarianism are not the same thing". Nor does it logically follow from the previous assertions. Therefore, it is a non-sequitor, and this statement is irrational.StopTheViolence (talk) 18:30, 31 August 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

Also, please keep the debate relevant to the actual topic, which is: Is statism a type of authoritarianism? Please do not go into straw man arguments such as whether statism is "good" or "bad", or whether authoritarianism is "good" or "bad", whether statism is "better" than anarchism or vice-versa, whether one type of statism is more authoritarian than another or other irrelevancies.StopTheViolence (talk) 18:36, 31 August 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

Let me first note that this debate will not have any pertinence to the articles you have gone after recently; any edits to articles should be discussed on the relevant talk pages, not on a debate page.
Secondly, your definition of authoritarianism seems to be pretty lacking. You say that "[a]uthoritarianism is favoring or enforcing obedience to a perceived authority, esp. that of the government." Under such a definition, I agree: statism is authoritarianism. But then, so too would be school, almost all churches, any club with rules, and so on. A school, for example, enforces obedience to the teachers and principal, so that those authority figures can set policy and create a learning environment. An unaffiliated evangelical Protestant church, for another example, enforces obedience to the church elders, who hire and fire the pastors and who set policy on the religious guidance of that body.
Almost every real definition of authoritarianism qualifies the level of obedience - the term refers to "blind obedience" or "unquestioning obedience" or "absolute obedience." Will you accept a modified definition of authoritarianism? I propose: "Authoritarianism is favoring or enforcing blind, unquestioning, or absolute obedience to a perceived authority, esp. that of the government." How about that?--ADtalkModerator 19:03, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Indeed. You need a clear definition of authoritarianism which is not defined to be the same as statism. If you define it in such a way that it is equivalent to "statism" then of course it will be the the same because the definitions are designed to be equivalent from the outset.--Weirdstuff (talk) 19:17, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
The definitions are not the same. Authoritarianism does not have to directly relate to a state, it could be a domineering husband, a cult, etc. Also, I take issue with "blind" being used in the context of the definition because it is being used in a figurative and subjective sense and I believe this debate should be geared to as objective an analysis as possible, especially since this topic is likely to be a highly opinionated one. Also, the use of "unquestioning" is deceptively prejudicial. Here is why:
Authoritarianism is a two way street. It can refer to the populace who wants a strong leader, or it can refer to a leader wanting to dominate a populace. The populace will always question the leader, at least in their own minds, if not daring to speak those thoughts aloud. Also, the domineering leader or perceived authority does not perceive his authority to be related to the level of questioning. If you ask Obama a question, will he then concede that he is not the President just because you asked him a question any more than Kim Jung would? No. Yet Obama is regarded as the less authoritarian of the two. From the perspective of the perceived leader the degree of questioning does not relate to the degree of authority. The degree of questioning ALLOWED by the perceived authorities will affect the degree of authoritarianism perceived by the populace, but the issue is not whether one type of statism is more authoritarian than another, the issue is whether statism is a form of authoritarianism.StopTheViolence (talk) 20:49, 31 August 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
I think that I agree with the original poster's argument. While I am a statist (of the liberal variety), I don't think there's an equivalence between the obedience a church expects from its parishioners and the obedience the state expects from its subjects. The difference between the two is that the church in your example expects obedience and compliance with its rules only from the people who have chosen to voluntarily associate themselves with it. Nobody is being forced to attend (unless we're talking about a theocracy). Governments on the other hand expects you to comply with its laws whether you want to associate yourself with the government or not.
You might say that even in the most liberal of liberal democracies the state expects from its citizens full obedience. Granted, the citizens have a say in the making of laws and they can also work to repeal them, but so long that a law is on the books full compliance with it is expected from you, unless said law has been struck down by the courts (in case they are empowered to do so). Both Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands expect its respective citizenry to fully comply with its laws. The difference is that the laws of the latter have been made with the input of its citizenry, plus the laws of the Dutch are less restrictive and the punishments less severe.
I guess that the original poster wants us statists to feel bad by making us acknowledge that we're "authoritians", because authiritianism is a bad word. Quite frankly, acknowledging that I might be regarded as authoritian does not bother me at all. All I gotta say to StopTheViolence is "meh". - Bill Rawls (talk) 20:08, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
What I want and what you feel are strawman issues. I am not trying to start a debate on "wants" and feelings, I am looking for a rational, objective analysis.
Bringing in my personal "wants" and your personal "feelings" is prejudicing the objectivity, except insofar as those wants and needs can be shown to bias our position or argument and thus themselves effect the objectivity.StopTheViolence (talk) 20:53, 31 August 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Don't agree that the state expects full compliance with its laws. Some laws are kept on the books despite widespread infringement, and the state could be said to have licensed that infringement by not trying to stamp out lawbreaking to the fulness of its ability. For example, in many places, use of various drugs is illegal, but the authorities will do little or nothing to go after individual users. Or look at widespread violations of copyright laws, often the state knows about this but does little to stop it. Or teenagers violating child pornography laws by sexting, or committing statutory rape by consensual sex with others of their own age: in many more enlightened places, though these acts remain illegal, the authorities know about them and choose to do nothing. ThoughtCrime1969 (talk) 20:16, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Again, this is a strawman argument. Authoritarianism is not about whether you need to strictly adhere to a law, authoritarian leaders themselves consider themselves above their own laws and will break them, and the more authoritarian an observer, the more the observer will perceive a perceived "authority" as having a "right" to bend the law as they see fit, and the more authority the perceived authority figure has, the more permissive other authoritarians will be toward said bending of the law.
If a domineering husband with a severe authoritarian personality orders his wife to break the law, and she disobeys, he will beat her for NOT breaking the "law".
It is the perceived obligation to obey a perceived authority figure that defines authoritarianism, not specifically an obligation to obey the "laws" on the books per se.StopTheViolence (talk) 21:14, 31 August 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Well then, if you refuse to modify the definitions used, then of course you win the debate. Yes, under your absurd definitions, "statism" is "authoritarian." Since no one uses the term "authoritarian" in that way, though, you really haven't proven anything with any relation to reality. As I note, you have also included almost every other organization imaginable in your definition of "authoritarian."
To put it in a way you might manage to understand, if you define "being like Hitler" as "having a nose," then you can justly say that Mother Theresa was like Hitler. But that's not a meaningful statement, since you have just redefined the adjective to suit yourself.
Look up "authoritarian" in a dictionary.
"I take issue with "blind" being used in the context of the definition because it is being used in a figurative and subjective sense and I believe this debate should be geared to as objective an analysis as possible"
This is a debate about whether one ill-defined general idea fits into an ill-defined general category. It is wholly about ephemeral, abstract concepts. How can you possibly object to the use of the word "blind?!" Are you afraid that someone will suddenly start interpreting it to be literal?
In reply to Rawls, I note that I would agree with you that there is no "equivalence between the obedience a church expects from its parishioners and the obedience the state expects from its subjects." But that's not relevant here, because the issue is the specific categorization, as described by the definition agreed-upon. And I do not see at all how you could argue that most churches do not "favor obedience" to their individual "authorities." The fact that this is a moronic abuse of the term "authoritarian" and that under any reasonable use of the word you would be correct is irrelevant, alas.--ADtalkModerator 14:08, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I see that the definition change AD proposed would make it almost word for word the one used on Wikipedia: "Authoritarianism [...]. It is characterized by absolute or blind obedience to authority, as against individual freedom and related to the expectation of unquestioning obedience." Not to say that Wikipedia is more of an authority on what words mean than a dictionary, but I would argue that if they use terms like 'blind' and 'unquestioning', then these words are hardly as subjectively variable in meaning as you seem to feel that they are, StopTheViolence. As in, 'blind, unquestioning obedience' just means you don't care too much about examining what is behind the rules and what are the consequences, you just follow them. It's pretty clear and doesn't jeopardize your goal of 'as objective an analysis as possible', as far as I can see. Something to consider. Nullahnung (talk) 14:32, 1 September 2013 (UTC)


Many right-wing authoritarians argue the state must be obeyed because the state has a certain sort of legitimacy which means there is a moral obligation to obey it; a legitimacy that might be rooted in God establishing the state, or in the state as an expression of some sort of national, communal, ethnic or racial identity to which one owes allegiance. On the left, few claim the state is owed this kind of obedience: if the state's demands are right, we ought to obey them because they are right; but if they are wrong, we are under no obligation to obey them, we are even obliged to disobey and oppose them. To many on the right, the state is something approaching an end in itself; on the left, it is simply a means to an end. ThoughtCrime1969 (talk) 19:32, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

This is a pretty sweeping statement. Can you provide any specific examples regarding actions by perceived authority figures that actually bear this out, where a leftist authority figure has said "You do not/did not have to obey me because I am/was wrong."?StopTheViolence (talk) 21:48, 31 August 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

Social Contract[edit]

I stopped reading and started the eye rolling at this line: Government is an organization that claims a right to have a legitimate right to violence and which enforces its claimed monopoly on violence with violence. You completely fail to understand the relationship between people and government, which is unsurprising for an anarchist.-- Token Conservative Feminist Thought Police 20:48, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

So you say. However you have not provided a rational argument to back your assertion. This statement is fallacious in that it is a naked assertion. Further, you "rolled your eyes" is a fallacious, yet subtle argument ad hominem, as is your unsupported assertion that I "fail to understand the relationship between people and government." Rolling your eyes does nothing to advance your assertion. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_by_assertion http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_hominem

StopTheViolence (talk) 21:25, 31 August 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

Further, your statement does not even state a position on the subject matter. The subject is "Is statism a form of authoritarianism?". The topic is NOT "Does StopTheViolence understand the relationship between people and government?". You have not even addressed the subject in any meaningful way, your post is simply an irrational, irrelevant and prejudicial personal attack/straw man.StopTheViolence (talk) 21:33, 31 August 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

Read Plato's Crito, Republic and Laws, then the Social Contract by Rousseau, and finally the Federalist Papers. Also, understanding the relationship between the government and the people is pretty important to the broader debate. It's kind of like you arguing "quantum physics proves the existence of god" with you clearly not understanding the first thing about quantum physics.-- Token Conservative Feminist Thought Police 21:55, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the recommended reading. However "read these books" is not a rational argument in furtherance of your assertions. I agree that having a grasp on these power relationships is important to the larger debate. However "read these books" does nothing to logically further your assertion that I do not understand said relationships. You are merely asserting such an alleged lack of "understanding" with no facts, evidence, or logical reasoning to support such an assertion. "Read these books", "I rolled my eyes" and "I stopped reading" are not arguments that do anything to logically support your assertion.

StopTheViolence (talk) 22:35, 31 August 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

Further, your comments do not directly address any of the premises of my argument.StopTheViolence (talk) 22:48, 31 August 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

We cannot have a debate about something you clearly do not understand. Until you do, there is no point in my responding.-- Token Conservative Feminist Thought Police 22:52, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Again, you assert that I "do not understand", yet you have provided zero facts, evidence and zero logical argument to support your assertion. I would recommend you read up on logic and argumentation theory.StopTheViolence (talk) 07:35, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
You clearly do not understand logic or argumentation theory, evidenced by the fact that your attempt at forming an argument is wholly fallacious.StopTheViolence (talk) 08:05, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

Tautology[edit]

You have defined statism as a subset of authoritarianism. There is nothing to debate until you use the definition most people use. Even then there is no debate, because your assertion will then be false. AtomicPlayboy (talk) 23:27, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

Indeed. Most people would say that an authoritarian state has some or all of these characteristics: Non-democratic. No or little press freedom. No right to public debate or criticism of the state - no freedom of speech. A legal system which allow the state to make up the rules as it goes along and in which a citizen has no right to a defence. (There are probably others which don't occur to me at this moment.) Pretty obviously authoritarian states will have these characteristics. Equally obviously non-authoritarian ones won't.
But that isn't the question - it's "Is statism a type of authoritarianism?". So the proposer simply redefines a "type of authoritarianism" and away you go because the waters are sufficiently muddied with "type of" that he can defend his postion. A clearer question would have been "Are all states authoritarian?"--Weirdstuff (talk) 07:31, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Do you have a counter argument to my argument that using the words "blindly" and "unquestioning" are prejudicial terms to have in the definition? OR do you agree that they prejudice the discussion?
And can you propose a better definition of the term that does not include prejudicial, vague, and subjective terms, but that would define it in a precise and objective sense?
I am not objecting to improving the definition, but using imprecise subjective figurative terms like "blindly" and "unquestioning" also prejudices and muddies the waters too, would you agree? No one is wholly unquestioning, so if we use "unquestioning" in the definition, then taken to its logical conclusion, then no one is an authoritarian and the term becomes meaningless, since everyone will question some perceived authority figure on some level at some point. Even Hitler's main guys would question him behind his back in private.StopTheViolence (talk) 07:52, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Also, to say "no freedom of speech" is similarly prejudicial, since everywhere has some level of freedom of speech, and no state allows complete and unlimited freedom of speech, see Brad Manning. StopTheViolence (talk) 07:56, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
I don't understand why you think that the terms 'blind' and 'unquestioning' are prejudicial, vague and subjective. Personally, I think they have a perfectly clear meaning. I also disagree that, if those terms were used in the definition, they would lead to a supposed logical conclusion of nobody being authoritarian (which is what you said, and I don't see how that is so). In short, I have no problems at all with AD's proposed change to the definition, which to reiterate, is: "Authoritarianism is favoring or enforcing blind, unquestioning, or absolute obedience to a perceived authority, esp. that of the government." Nullahnung (talk) 08:13, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
So, you really think there are any people who literally do not question authority ever on any level, even in their own minds? Even Hitler's guys would question him in private behind his back, were they then not authoritarians? You really deny that "blind" when used in this context is a figurative sense, or is gouging out eyeballs a necessary component of authoritarian?StopTheViolence (talk) 15:32, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Yes, I'm just as sure as you are that Hitler's guys questioned him in private. However, the thing that made it authoritarianism is that they would not dare to give him the slightest hint of questioning attitudes, otherwise they would be executed. If you look at the proposed definition, that is clearly in line with "favoring (even if not able to 100% enforce, but they do keep trying to enforce) unquestioning obedience", as unquestioning obedience was indeed expected in the Third Reich and anybody that gave the slightest hint of deviating would be executed. Also, that is completely in line with "favoring (even if not able to 100% enforce, but they do keep trying to enforce) blind obedience". 'Blind' as a word in combination with 'obedience' obviously means not examining reasons and consequences of rules and has not much of anything to do with physical eye sight. You can talk about 'literal' or 'figurative' all you like, but at the end of the day the meaning is crystal clear and not of detriment to the discussion. Nullahnung (talk) 15:42, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Ah, I see that StopTheViolence has now changed his definition of authoritarianism to the proposed one by AD (up there in the 'Proposition' section). Nullahnung (talk) 16:09, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
He doesn't seem to understand the actual words... it seems as though he thinks that "unquestioning" means that literally no one could ask Hitler any questions, or that "blind" means that literally no one could look closely at Hitler.--ADtalkModerator 16:26, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I have explained it to him just now, though. Hopefully he now understands what is meant. Nullahnung (talk) 16:29, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Please give simple definition of state authoritarianism in the sense that you are using it. Without that we are wasting our time.--Weirdstuff (talk) 08:43, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

I believe his "simple definition of state authoritatianism in the sense that he is using it", as you put it, is this: "Authoritarianism is favoring or enforcing obedience to a perceived authority, esp. that of the government" as stated above. There is a proposed change to that definition that we are currently discussing (which was by AD somewhere up there). Nullahnung (talk) 08:49, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks I was looking for but couldn't find it. In that case, and using his definition, he's right. But if we use the items which I mentioned above which define authoritarian states he's wrong.--Weirdstuff (talk) 08:53, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

OP is an idiot, here's actual interesting discussion[edit]

Statism is the belief that a governmental state is necessary for the proper functioning of a society. Several sorts of idiot claim that such states hold a monopoly on legitimate use of force (to compel obedience to the law or to defend interests with the military), ignoring complicating things in their lazy thinking like contrasting centers of power (i.e. Arizona and county sheriffs and the National Guard, etc.), bodyguards, or even football.

Authoritarianism is favoring or enforcing blind, unquestioning, or absolute obedience to a perceived authority, esp. that of the government.

Under these terms, is any belief in statism also a belief in authoritarianism? Many would say that it more fair to say that some states are authoritarian and some are not, but given the trend towards declining civil liberties we have observed in even liberal democratic republics around the world, does statism at least tend to lead towards authoritarianism?--ADtalkModerator 14:21, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Well, presumably you need to have an authority (in this case a state) before that authority can start to arbitrarily impose its will. So obviously it's a necessary condition for for an authoritarian state. But it's hardly a sufficient condition.--Weirdstuff (talk) 14:44, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Please specify "declining civil liberties". What picture are we looking at. I myself got the impression that whatever you could mean by civil liberties has been developping rather positively on the whole when considering the big picture over the last century or so (but then again I'm also an insufferably naive optimist). Nullahnung (talk) 14:50, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Without endorsing that actual view, I would say that declining civil liberties refers to, for example, the increasingly small sphere of privacy being left in the lives of Americans, the British, and so on, as electronic surveillance becomes increasingly routine and ubiquitous. However, I also left the term deliberately vague, so your mileage may vary. It is certainly possible to argue that civil liberties have dramatically increased over the long term, particularly for many minority groups.--ADtalkModerator 15:05, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I honestly don't know and can only speculate as to the tendencies of states in general (or statism) towards authoritarianism. One could say that with technology developing, states would get more means/power/control to encroach upon people's privacy a la George Orwell. One could also hazard that a state that goes on long enough without revolution or sweeping reforms would get bogged down in an increasingly intricate law system and bureaucracy and that would then become more and more conducive to authoritarianism. I'm sure I missed out on some factors, though. Nullahnung (talk) 15:49, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I suppose that if we look at the historical evidence, we see that the overwhelming majority - on the order of 99% of all states have either been authoritarian from the start or become so. But on the other hand, that (a) fails to account for the staggering progress that has occurred over time, and (b) weights things according to number of states rather than their longevity.
Maybe it would be helpful to look at the best-case scenario... a liberal democratic republic of the modern age. If such an entity tends towards authoritarianism, then empirically we would not have a good case against the tendency of states to inevitably become authoritarian.
Thankfully, I'm hard-pressed to call even the USA authoritarian, when politicians live in fear of the public to such an extent that they scurry to deceive and demogogue as best they can. There are obvious problems with that - corruption, corporate influence, etc. - but I'd say that on the whole, the USA is not an authoritarian government as I'd normally use the word. But am I just deluding myself?--ADtalkModerator 15:50, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
I wonder how big of a role the media and technology play in keeping a state like the US democratic. Having such free, uncensored and easy flow of information seems very integral to a democratic society that is as huge in population/scale as the US, but I may be falling prey to seeing a consequence as a cause (or maybe it can be both?). For me that's another reason I don't really want to look at the past history so much as modern examples. I consider the possibility that some technological advancements and developments in different sectors such as media as having a significant effect on society and by extension on how the state works. That would also complicate the question of whether states in general tend towards authoritarianism, since there are external factors outside of the state itself that we have to consider with every example. Also, focusing on looking at such modern times will make it difficult to conclude anything empirically, because we haven't had much time to see things evolve. Nullahnung (talk) 16:41, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
"Statism is the belief that a governmental state is necessary for the proper functioning of a society. Several sorts of idiot claim that such states hold a monopoly on legitimate use of force (to compel obedience to the law or to defend interests with the military), ignoring complicating things in their lazy thinking like contrasting centers of power (i.e. Arizona and county sheriffs and the National Guard, etc.), bodyguards, or even football."
Here is the flaw in your argument: National Guard and AZ sheriff's are both agencies of the state, and football and bodyguarding are both licensed under state licensing schemes. So your argument is a fallacious non-sequitur in that your argument does not support your premise.StopTheViolence (talk) 15:22, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
That wasn't an argument, it was just pointing out that your view was extremely simplistic. And now you're stretching credulity with your arguments. I can go play football with my friends, right now, without a state license. Bodyguards don't have to be licensed in some states, either, if they don't carry. And the point of the different agencies is that they are often in conflict and come from different and contrasting power bases, rather than one monolithic "state." To declare that only some single state agency has a monopoly on all forms of violence is silly, and quite beside your point, anyway.--ADtalkModerator 16:14, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
You can play football with your friends, good, that is nice that the state allows you to do so, but if you go play football in the park and the cops come and say you need a permit, are you gonna just do it anyway? You play football insofar as you are allowed by the gvt. Bodyguards don't all need licenses, true, but on the other hand, they cannot just go around willy-nilly beating people up, there is still regulation on what uses of force are permitted by a "state". You can't even play football in your own yard w/o gvt approval because they can just take your yard if they want under "eminent domain", or if they wished, they could just ban it by ordinance. AZ Sheriffs and National Guard both fall under the organizational umbrella of "The United States Of America", which does represent a monolithic state. The white house has even released a statement in response to succession petitions(based on Lincoln's invasion of the confederate states) that the states are not "allowed" to succeed, so yes there is a monolithic state.StopTheViolence (talk) 17:29, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
The cops can't require a permit for the public to use public land, except inasmuch as park regulations set out certain areas for more ordered use (i.e. sometimes you need to reserve shelters at a park). And I can go play football in my backyard at any time, with anyone.
Are you seriously and honestly trying to argue that I must get permission from the government before I play football with my friends? Stop and actually think about whether you truly think that is the case, don't just reflexively try to "beat" me in debate.
And yes, bodyguards can't go beat people up willy-nilly. I never said they could (hint: you are creating a straw man out of my actual statement). Instead, I just pointed out that I can hire bodyguards without government permission. They are capable of using force in protecting my interests or those of my property, within certain reasonable limits. If someone was unpleasant in my bar, my employees - licensed or not - could physically eject them from the premises, as long as they used reasonable force in doing so (i.e. not punching them). That is an initiation of force begun by me, through my employees, in which the state is in no way involved.
The states are allowed to succeed, you are immensely wrong. I have suspicions about what you might actually have meant by your bizarre statement, but it might be helpful for you to work this out on your own. You can do it.
Anyway, when the National Guard went into Alabama and enforced segregation, against the force of the local sheriff and governor, which body was that undivided monolithic state? My point is that it is not a single entity within the USA that has a monopoly on force, but rather than contraveiling levels of force emanate from several power bases, most particularly the right of the states versus the federal government.--ADtalkModerator 17:38, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
If someone is in your bar and refuses to leave after you have asked them to, then they are violating your property rights, and so therefore they have initiated the aggression. Throwing them out by force would be defensive force rather than initiatory force, since it is in defense of your property rights. StopTheViolence (talk) 18:20, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Are you claiming that if someone stays on my property and refuses to leave, they are using force against me? That does not make immediate sense to me, and doesn't equate with how I would normally use such words as "force" or "aggression."
I know that this is a common libertarian claim, but I suspect you've never examined it critically. If "force" includes abstract concepts such as "refusing to leave when asked," then wasn't the real initiator of force myself, who requested that the person leave? After all, I am the one who has decided to make them depart, regardless of their preferences, right?
Note: I am not saying that I wouldn't have the right to control my property and ask them to leave. I am just pointing out that there is a chain of events: I implicitly invite a member of the public into my establishment by making it available; they displease me somehow; I ask them to leave; they refuse; I have bodyguards eject them. You have arbitrarily picked a point along this line and declared that only there was force initiated, where I would argue that force was also used (in this vague sense) when I required them to depart, under implicit threat of ejection.
But even beyond all this: I see that you have admitted that I can use defensive force without government license. So you are admitting that the government doesn't have a monopoly on force, are you not?--ADtalkModerator 18:40, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Likewise, they could also pass legislation to require a bodyguard license. They can even pass legislation to prohibit you from defending yourself. Yes you do not need "permission" to do something that isn't currently prohibited, yet it could be prohibited by legislators if they so desired, at which point you would need permission to do those things without putting yourself in jeopardy of state violence. Thus you can play football insofar as it is allowed by gvt. About the bar thing, I would liken it to a burglary. If you clobber a burglar climbing in your second story window, you are doing so out of defense. I would consider the trespasser to be the aggressor. Kind of going off topic on this tangent, but it depends how you define property rights, which could be a debate in itself.StopTheViolence (talk) 19:10, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
What? This is such a jumble of nonsense.... sigh...
Okay, taking this one at a time: you now seem to be switching to hypothetical mode. You claimed, very vigorously, that the government has a monopoly on force. But now you are saying that they hypothetically might create a monopoly on force, by passing new laws. Do you not see that these are very different claims?
For example, it would not be fair if I claimed that the government persecutes Jewish people because they might hypothetically make bar mitzvahs illegal, would it?
It seems pretty clear to me that you have to admit that your claim that the state has a monopoly on the use of force is in error. It was based on sloppy thinking, despite the vigor with which you defend the proposition.
Returning to the bar example, you are simply changing the hypothetical completely. Yes, of course if someone was attempting to break into my house, they would be the clear initiator of "force" in this sense. But that's just because you're changing the example! Stick to the example under discussion, please: why am I not the initiator of force, when I am the one who is trying to force someone to leave my business under threat of physical ejection?
The fact that you have to alter the proposition you claim to be defending and the example you are examining should be clues that your analysis is faulty.--ADtalkModerator 19:20, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I am sorry, but I have to slightly play devil's advocate here. Supposedly you are not the initiator of force, because you asked the person to leave the bar, which is perfectly within your rights, but then the person refused to leave, which is not at all within his/her rights. So that's the reason said person would be initiator of force...
Also, supposedly the mere possibility that the government is allowed to pass any legislation and you are not allowed to stop them in any remotely convenient way is apparently a sign of authoritarianism. Nullahnung (talk) 19:31, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
It seems to me that you are arguing about who first violated someone's rights, not who initiated force. I do not immediately see that the two are equivalent.
On the latter point, I don't see its validity, either. The government can pass any legislation it wants, but until it passes such legislation that it becomes authoritarian, that ability does not make it authoritarian, as far as I can see. I can punch someone, but I'm not fighting them until I actually do.--ADtalkModerator 20:00, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
But you are not claiming that you alone have a "right" to decides who gets to punch and who doesn't. And by going into "is it authoritarian"(or not) is kind of not what we were really debating, we were debating the concept of "monopoly of force".StopTheViolence (talk) 20:17, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Where does the U.S. government claim that it has the right to pass any such legislation? Inasmuch as I am aware, there exists a document which delineates only a certain sector of actions over which the government has authority, and an additional list of wide-ranging sectors of action over which it specifically can never pass laws.--ADtalkModerator 20:22, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/our-states-remain-united Here is a verbatim quote from whitehouse.gov:"Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States "in order to form a more perfect union" through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot -- a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it. As President Abraham Lincoln explained in his first inaugural address in 1861, "in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual." Does that look like the Feds are gonna "allow" succesion?StopTheViolence (talk) 18:30, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Okay, I guess you got close enough... the word is "secession." "Succession" is when one thing follows another, like when an heir succeeds to a throne. "Success" is when a goal has been accomplished. The distinction between these words is important if you want to be taken seriously and communicate effectively.
Anyway, the ability of a state to arbitrarily leave the the Union does not affect the fact that there are states' rights. There is language in the Constitution to that effect. Your assignment: find it and read it. You might find Wikipedia helpful on this one, too.--ADtalkModerator 18:40, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=9034015 "East LA youth football team banned from county parks" http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/02/14/la-county-updating-beach-regulations/ 18:36, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
I think this is a bad decision. But regardless, can you identify the other factor at work? What other interest, paramount in the responsibilities of a state agency, is the county worried about in making this decision?--ADtalkModerator 18:43, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
It is irrelevant. The point is that the gvt could stop you from playing football if it wanted to. The "goodness" or "reason" behind it is a strawman. StopTheViolence (talk) 19:02, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheVilence
It seems pretty relevant to me. If I was playing football on the White House lawn, the fact that they stopped me would have nothing to do with the football!
The fact remains - and I can't believe I have to even defend this - that I do not need government permission to play football. I mean, honestly! Read that statement and think about it!--ADtalkModerator 19:23, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I know you don't, and I'm glad for that. One generally does not need permission to do something that is not prohibited. I don't need permission to have a joint, if I wanted to, either(I'm in Colorado). Yet I'm able to smoke without jeopardy of state violence because the gvt allows it to be so, in other places the gvt does not allow it in that it is prohibited. Likewise, although you do not need permission, it is because that activity is not prohibited.StopTheViolence (talk) 19:46, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Excellent. I am glad that you have ceded the point that I do not need permission to play football, and that this form of violence is another one over which the state does not have a monopoly.--ADtalkModerator 19:56, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I haven't ceded that point that there is no monopoly of force over football, the point is that it simply isn't currently prohibited. It could be though, if state actors decided it to be so, as illustrated in the stories I linked to. And when something is prohibited, do you appeal the issue to a "higher" "authority" than the government? The government has a monopoly in that if they chose to prohibit it, as in the case of the LA team, they could use force in the form of police powers to stop it, and there is really no non-"state" higher "authority" to appeal to. The "state" claims the right to the final say-so. Look at what are called "mutual combat" states, that allow two people to fight each other if they both consent, and it is not defined under statute as a crime if it is done within the parameters of what is allowed. Compare that to other "states" where it is banned. If legislators wished, they would ban mutual combat, but the fact that they haven't doesn't mean that they couldn't if they so chose.StopTheViolence (talk) 20:11, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Yes, football is not prohibited. I may freely engage in that form of violent entertainment with my friends, as well as spectate the experience in various venues. The government has no monopoly on that form of violence or the force involved.
The fact that the state could prohibit it does not seem relevant. The fact remains that currently the state does not have a monopoly on force. That was the point of dispute. If in the future all forms of force not flowing from the state are banned, then you will be correct. Right now, you are wrong.
Again, an example: would it be correct for me to call you an anti-Semite because you could, whenever you chose, begin attacking all Jewish people in your area? Of course not, I'd be silly and stupid if I made such a claim! I would be correct to say you have the potential to conceivably become an anti-Semite... just like you could say the U.S. government could become a monopoly on force. But not now. For now, you are just wrong.--ADtalkModerator 20:20, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
The state claims a monopoly on regulating commerce, yet you are able to spend your own money, insofar as it is not prohibited.StopTheViolence (talk) 20:41, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Yes, the state claims a monopoly on regulating commerce. Not sure why I am bothering at this point... please at least try reading what you write aloud and thinking about it, first.--ADtalkModerator 21:44, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@AD: I have to say you are wrong on this count. I believe the phrase "monopoly on violence" was coined by Max Weber. The argument is not that only the state can exercise violent force -- this is clearly false -- but that it lays sole claim to legitimate use of force or delegation of that use of force. Thus, defending your own private property does not refute this idea. The state delegates that right to use violent force to you, and could rescind that permission if it wanted to. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:48, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

With the inclusion of the delegation of that use of force, that certainly works. I hadn't heard it formulated precisely that way before, but it would be much more defensible.--ADtalkModerator 23:46, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
To bring this back on topic (why did we launch into this tangent?): Now that we have established that it is defensible to view the state as having a monopoly of (legitimate) force, what exactly does that have to do with authoritarianism? Personally I would argue that it doesn't really relate, because looking back at our definition, the conditions of blind, unquestioning or absolute obedience are not necessarily favored or enforced by the state. Nullahnung (talk) 02:52, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Why did we go on the tangent? Because it cuts right to the heart of the issue of "what is a state?" and therefore :"what is statism?"StopTheViolence (talk) 06:30, 2 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheVilence

Edit break[edit]

Okay, notwithstanding my stated objections to these terms as prejudicial: Statism is still always authoritarian under your definition in that every form of statism is founded upon logical fallacies and is thus illogical, therefore support of the illogic is therefore "blind" and "unquestioning" in that those who support it do not even recognize the fallacies that they use in their rationalization of it. Even the rationalizations for the most "liberal" "democracies" are founded upon fallacies, denialism, irrationality, and superstitions.StopTheViolence (talk) 15:48, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

I think you're jumping to a lot of conclusions there, but it's hard to argue with you when you won't even explain in exhaustive detail what you mean with all these assertions. Nullahnung (talk) 16:13, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
First of all, I think that you are barely even making sense, much less making a point. To baldly assert that "every form of statism is based upon logical fallacies" is to make the hugest of unsupported claims as if it were no matter at all... surely you recognize that such a statement needs more than your own statement to make it true?
But even if I were to cede that point (I am not, because it is inane) then how would that be relevant?
Let us say that Examplia, a democratic republic that strongly resembles the USA in most governmental ways, states in its founding document that the sky is both blue and not-blue, and that is why the government has a separation of powers and so on... the whole of its government is supported, ideologically, by this irrational statement, a violation of the law of identity in one of its classic forms. How would that in any way change (a) the justness of the resulting arrangement when viewed from a different ethical perspective, or (b) whether or not the arrangement in practice was authoritarian?
The qualities of a system of governance come from the way it works and its nature, not some sort of attack on the root beliefs behind it. Interestingly, in the process of your nigh-interminable accusations of logical fallacies ("YOU HAVE USED THE WORD 'THE' WHICH IS A LOGICAL FALLACY") you have employed one yourself: the argument from fallacy. Look it up. Look many things up.--ADtalkModerator 16:23, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Okay, I updated my argument with better definitions and better logic.
I believe your are conflating "the justness" of the gvt with the "unquestioning" and "blind" support. To address your questions:
(a) The justness is not the issue, as I said opening up the debate, let's stay away from straw man arguments, which is what you are making here. I haven't made any claim as to any value judgment of the gvt as "just" or "unjust". I have not made an argument here that authoritarian governments are unjust. The justness is irrelevant.
(b) I have updated my definition in the "proposal" section to reflect your definition. Part of the criteria you use in your definition is that support or obedience is "blind" or "unquestioning". The support would be "blind" if the supporters based their support on a superstitious premise. And if that premise were never challenged, but the people just went along with it, there support would be "unquestioning".StopTheViolence (talk) 16:48, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
So, therefore, your statement that I have made an argument from fallacy is in error. Argument from fallacy is the formal fallacy of analyzing an argument and inferring that, since it contains a fallacy, its conclusion must be false. If I had argued that government were invalid because it is based on a false premise, yes I agree that would be an argument from fallacy. I have not argued that the "conclusion" of the government is "false", I have argued that believing in a government and basing that belief on fallacies would be blind and unquestioning, as the terms are used in this context.StopTheViolence (talk) 17:04, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Please note that every new paragraph must also be indented, if you want your comments to look decent. I have been doing this for you, but it would be nice if you did it yourself. Thanks :)
More topically:
Your fallacy was an argument from fallacy, which you really should have looked up (edit conflict: I see that you did, just now!), in addition to the fallacy of just asserting something as true. To wit: you claim that governments are based on fallacies, therefore they are "illogic." But as I said, you need to judge them based on their own merits, regardless of any fallacious reasoning that led to them.
This is extremely difficult to debate, because you just don't seem to be following what I am saying. Perhaps it is the clarity of my communication that is the problem, or else your own ability to comprehend it. I will review.
You claim that states are all based on fallacies, and that because the adherents of all states do not recognize these fallacies, they must be blind and unquestioning in their obedience to those states. I believe this is a fair summary of your initial argument here, but please correct me if I am wrong.
I countered by pointing out that someone can support a system despite recognizing it comes from a fallacious origin, and that your argument to the contrary was an argument from fallacy. In other words, an atheist citizen might support the USA as it currently exists, despite the idea that the inalienable rights enjoyed by citizens are granted by God.
Your reply is... um... I'm not sure. It seems as though you're just repeating your original statement. So I guess I will just point out that people may recognize the fallacious beginnings of something, like Sanger's goal of limiting the numbers of minorities when helping found Planned Parenthood, without opposing that thing as a result.--ADtalkModerator 17:17, 1 September 2013 (UTC)


AD, will you please refrain from the childish name calling and try to keep the discussion on an adult level? I have started this debate to have a rational discussion, ad hominems are logical fallcies, and not logical arguments. Let's not turn this into a name calling contest. Can you please refrain from the irrational personal attacks?StopTheViolence (talk) 15:21, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
That was just side commentary to an overall discussion; it's also fairly self-evident to everyone but you at this point, so I don't see much need to try to support it beyond your own gibbering invocations of whatever quasi-technical term happens to come to mind.--ADtalkModerator 16:14, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Your argument is invalid, your premise is not supported by the fallacy: "it's also fairly self-evident to everyone", which is an Argumentum_ad_populum, an "appeal to numbers". I'm trying to keep the discussion based on rationality.StopTheViolence (talk) 16:26, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
I'm not going to do this every time, but I'll explain why you are invoking this fallacy incorrectly. You do this a lot, so I can't do it for each example, but I will here.
You say that I am using an "appeal to numbers." But instead, I have said that your idiocy is self-evident - that is to say, it is immediately apparent to anyone who examines the discussion. If I were appealing to numbers, then I would have said, "We took a poll and a majority disagree with you." The essence of the fallacy is to presume that popular opinion dictates truth, when often the majority of people believe things that do not reflect reality.
I have not appealed to the beliefs of the masses for support, but instead I have claimed that your words themselves are evidence for the quality I am claiming (that you are an idiot). It is almost, in fact, the exact opposite of argument ad populum.
You are wrong, in almost every conceivable way. So earth-shatteringly, mind-bogglingly wrong that I expect that if we could concentrate your foolishness into a single point, that point would begin to swell and consume all sensibility around it, draining logic into its soul-devouring wrongness with the hunger of a thousand black holes. And when your idiocy had waxed and devoured the last fragment of alien intelligence, encompassing the whole of a million million civilizations across the galaxy, then, as the flickering light of logic guttered in the eyes of the last child, I might agree with some single fragment of your statement.--ADtalkModerator 16:34, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
It is so self-evident that you can't explain it? You just assert that it is self evident, and the only support you provide for this statement is that it is evident to "everyone"? If you cannot provide any support for your assertion that it is self-evident beyond asserting that it is evident to "everyone", then yes, it is an appeal to numbers.StopTheViolence (talk) 16:54, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Once again, an actual appeal to numbers would involve specifically meaning to argue the validity/truthfulness of a statement by virtue of the number of people who support the statement. Apparently that hasn't happened, therefore there is no appeal to numbers here. Nullahnung (talk) 17:00, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
So, the use of the word "everyone" does not connote a "number of people"? Doesn't "everyone" mean 100% of people? Isn't 100% a number?StopTheViolence (talk) 17:08, 1 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Aha, but did he mean to argue the validity/truthfulness of his assertion of idiocy from that 'everyone', that 100% number? He himself has stated above that he in fact did not do that. What he is doing instead is to simply assert that his assertion of idiocy is in fact self-evident as a statement to a hypothetical person who has followed the discussion. This is of course an assertion in the style of "just trust me on this!", and so you are not obliged to accept it. But there you go, it is not an appeal to numbers. Nullahnung (talk) 17:14, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

An interesting Court Precedent[edit]

I want to include some interesting quotes from a court opinion issued by the so-called "U.S. Supreme Court." that I think may provide some interesting food for thought. The case is: PROPRIETORS OF CHARLES RIVER BRIDGE v. PROPRIETORS OF, 36 U.S. 420 (1837) 36 U.S. 420 (Pet.) The Proprietors of the CHARLES RIVER BRIDGE, Plaintiffs in error, v. The Proprietors of the WARREN BRIDGE and others. January Term, 1837[ Proprietors of Charles River Bridge v. Proprietors of 36 U.S. 420 (1837) ] http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=36&invol=420 Quoting the court opinion: "The right to make war, to impose embargoes and non-intercourse acts, to change public policy, to regulate intercourse with foreign countries, and to do and perform many other things-all which may subject the people to great hazards and losses-has never, and can never, be questioned, whatever may be their influence upon trade or individual property. But however disastrous such acts may be, and whatever losses may be sustained, the citizens are without remedy. These mutations make one poor, and another rich; but they are incident to the social and political condition of mankind. Public policy, and public laws, cannot be made to bear upon all alike. New ways, for example, must be provided. In doing this, the property of one, which is not touched, is nearly ruined, by being abandoned by the travel, while that of another is benefited by the passage of the new way over it. But all who hold property, hold it subject to the right to make these changes, for the public good demands it; and the right to do it, must, I think, stand unquestioned. It is one of those attributes of sovereignty, which must be constantly exercised; and such property, be it what it may, must be taken, as is necessary to meet the exigencies of the public for ways."StopTheViolence (talk) 06:06, 2 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

Further it goes on to say: "It is plain, therefore, that no property is exempt from this liability [36 U.S. 420, 507] to be taken, unless the state has agreed to exempt it; and it may well be doubted, whether the legislature of a state has any authority to bind the state to a contract to exempt property from this liability beyond the pleasure of the state. This power bears a strong resemblance to the taxing power; and in Providence Bank v. Billings the right to perpetually exempt property from taxation, is considered doubtful. If the sovereign right to make roads, can be alienated as to a small territory, it may be as to a large; and thus the state might, by legislative power, be dispossessed of one of its most necessary and essential powers for ever. The sovereignty of a state seems to me to be an unfit matter for bargain and sale, in perpetuum; and hence, the right is acknowledged, whenever the public exigency demands it, to lay new ways over ways already granted, as in the case before us, by compensating for the property taken."StopTheViolence (talk) 06:12, 2 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

In other words, "The government can govern, and that it can is obvious." I think you need to work on understanding nuance, both here and in analysis of other arguments above. For example, AD wasn't saying that you're wrong because you're an idiot; he was saying that you're wrong and you're an idiot, which is not specifically an ad hominem, and since he wasn't using it to support his topical argument, it's not some other fallacy. Likewise, the existence of a legal framework which can in principle allow authoritarian behavior is not the same thing as a system which exhibits authoritarian behavior in practice. If you do not understand and account for this difference, your argument will go nowhere. 192․168․1․42 (talk) 06:42, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
So, then if, as you say, him calling me an idiot is irrelevant to the topical argument then what is the purpose of including it, beyond simple harassment/vandalism/aggression/abuse? If it serves no legitimate purpose within the context of the debate, then it should be edited out, correct?StopTheViolence (talk) 08:49, 2 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
The purpose is to express disdain for deficiencies in your contributinos to the debate, and doing so in that manner is kosher; it's part of a "heated debate" criticizing your performance in the debate rather than harassment (he's not following you around the wiki calling you an idiot) or vandalism (it's a continuation of the debate on a debate page). This kind of "aggression/abuse" is rather mild, and it conveys the message "your arguments are bad and you should feel bad," which you are welcome to interpret as a prompt to consider why that may be. Especially following your apparent refusal to brush up on relevant information like mainstream views of the topic at hand and what logical fallacies actually are, it's not unexpected that people would try to get their points across in other ways. 192․168․1․42 (talk) 10:03, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Nah, it's a government plot to oppress him and remove his rights. Innocent Bystander (talk) 10:16, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
@User:192․168․1․42|192․168․1․42 You state that his personal attacks are "kosher" and then embed a link to this, as if you think it actually provides some support for your position:
"Discussions here sometimes get heated, but resorting to personal attacks is strongly frowned upon, however justified they may seem." Do you really not get the contradiction?StopTheViolence (talk) 12:09, 2 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Not only that, but your assertions are completely unsupported by any facts, evidence, or reasoned argument.StopTheViolence (talk) 12:11, 2 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Ok, let's all calm down. This is a perfect example of why ad homs are never conducive to civil discussion. I would ask you to forgive AD (actually I have no right to ask things in other people's stead without their permission, but eh), he was probably in a bad mood and got very frustrated by all of the flaws he perceived of you that he wasn't gonna fix any time soon, therefore he let off some steam via ad hom. It is worth noting that most of the people on this site have a MUCH shorter patience fuse than AD, which is why this discussion is even still sort of half alive instead of having descended into mud-flinging and dismissal. Also, I note that you have significantly changed the above proposition for the debate. In future, at least let people know at what time such a change happened by posting a note of the update with the signature which will show the time. Be more considerate to keeping the debate well-structured and use sound book-keeping, please. Nullahnung (talk) 12:35, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
It's fairly clear to me that StopTheViolence is not persuadable, and can barely maintain an actual conversation or comprehend replies. Heck, there are no fewer than three people who have been working just to maintain his legibility. Naturally, in the absence of productive discussion, I'm just going to amuse myself. Nothing is being lost. It's not sophisticated, but at least it's fun.--ADtalkModerator 16:01, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
And what is the relevance of this extensive quote from a decision made in 1837?--ADtalkModerator 16:02, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
This is why I believe statists/authoritarians frequently lash out at those who question their faith: Instead of using logic to approach the question of statism, statists first accept the superstitions of the cult of statism as a matter of faith (most likely through societal conditioning, since statist superstitions are highly prevalent in society), which they then try to rationalize through denialism. When one confronts them on the logical fallacies behind their superstitions, they feel they are being attacked, because so much of their ego is invested in their faith. Since they naturally do not have a rational argument in support of their illogical faith, statists still feel they must resort to attacking the one who is challenging their faith, to quell the cognitive dissonance they experience when trying to defend something irrational but in which their egos are so heavily invested. StopTheViolence (talk) 00:20, 3 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Is it a secret? Can you not tell me what its relevance is? Is it a hidden cabalistic message directed only at those baptized in the fires of Atlas Shrugged?--ADtalkModerator 00:35, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
It goes to support that the state requires unquestioning, blind, absolute obedience.
It says that the right to make war can never be questioned, how much more 1984 Oceania can you get? It even goes so far as to say that the right to make war cannot be questioned, even insofar as it subjects the people to great hazards and losses, and the people are to be without remedy. It is basically saying that the government has a "right" to injure its "subjects". It also identifies the state (an abstraction) as sovereign, and the "people" as subordinate to the state. And bear in mind, this is considered to be the law in America, supposedly one of the freest "states" in the world.StopTheViolence (talk) 02:27, 3 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
You may consider the possibility that what you cited is horribly outdated by now, since that was back in 1837. Nullahnung (talk) 02:46, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
The right of the government to declare war (and to do various other things) can't be legally questioned because it's explicitly granted to it in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8 - I suggest you read it). As I said above, that quote amounts to "The government can govern, and that it can is obvious." Do you understand that that's not the same thing as authoritarianism? 192․168․1․42 (talk) 02:59, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Factually, what is the constitution?StopTheViolence (talk) 13:43, 3 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
A constitution is "a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed." The Constitution (in this context, the US Constitution) "is the supreme law of the United States of America" that describes how the government operates. It can be changed by amendment or convention, but that's changing rather than questioning it (legally questioning a law involves testing its Constitutionality in court, which obviously can't be done successfully to the Constitution itself). It was put in place to give the federal government more power because the Articles of Confederation (which emphasized decentralization) really sucked as a way of running a country. Now, do you understand the difference between a government capable of governing and authoritarianism, or were you going somewhere else with that? 192․168․1․42 (talk) 19:24, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
You say the US constitution is the "supreme law of the United States." Do you have any evidence to support this assertion, or are we to take it unquestioningly on faith alone?StopTheViolence (talk) 19:31, 3 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
During the Revolutionary War, the rebelling colonies banded together as an organization described by the Articles of Confederation. In order to form a more perfect union, they sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention which produced the Constitution. The states ratified it, so it replaced the Articles as the legal foundation of the US government. Do you dispute any of this? Because this is getting into odd territory. 192․168․1․42 (talk) 19:44, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
I do not dispute the facts as you have alleged, I dispute that "the states ratified it" is EVIDENCE to support the assertion that the Constitution is the supreme law. It is an appeal to democracy, a type of fallacious proof known as an appeal to numbers. I'm asking for evidence. The argument is founded on the premise that enough people believe in it, it becomes real. StopTheViolence (talk) 22:38, 3 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Further, you are making a circular argument in that you are saying the government gets its authority constitution from the constitution, and the constitution got its authority from the government. Also, your argument includes as appeal to authority. StopTheViolence (talk) 20:30, 4 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Fascinating. ...and what color is the sky on your planet? 68.116.168.154 (talk) 20:51, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
It's curious... it sounds much like an adult human, but it seems to lack the ability to understanding abstract thought at all.
Anyway, StopTheViolence, your objection is borderline-crazy. Any government that derives its power from the consent of the governed, delegating elected representatives put into power by regular voting, is going to agree on things. That agreement is not an "appeal to numbers" just because more than one person is involved. Please stop invoking fallacies, because you do not understand them. If three people agree to order pizza for lunch, then one of them can't decide to order Chinese for everyone instead and claim that the agreement had been an "appeal to numbers"... in the case of agreements, be they lunchtime ones or high laws, the very fact of agreement is the proof unto its own existence.
Another example: if your class at school all elected a class representative, what is the proof of that class representative's power? Is it a "fallacious appeal to numbers?" No, it's the actual fact that when the active force behind something's existence is the volition of voting participants, those votes have actual meaning!
When any law is passed, its role and nature and very reality all exist depending on the agreement of the participants. In the USA, we have set forth a system by which such laws can be passed in the Constitution, and we have declared that to be the supreme legal document of the country. If, tomorrow, everyone decided it was just absolutely terrible junk, it would be meaningless... just a piece of paper. That's staggeringly unlikely to happen, and it has its own methods for alteration in accordance with changing opinion, via amendments, but it is a fact. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land because everyone agrees on that fact.
That's not an appeal to numbers. You do not know what an appeal to numbers is. Stop saying it, I'm getting too embarrassed for you.--ADtalkModerator 21:51, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
In your analogy, let's say instead two people agree to split lunch but the third person does not wish to participate in their agreement, can the two people legitimately force him to split lunch, and pay for the pizza that he does not want to eat? Why or why not?StopTheViolence (talk) 23:11, 4 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
If they have to order and eat lunch together, then they might agree that majority rules, and force the third person to pay and eat some pizza. Much like a country is inhabited by people with diverse beliefs who agree, in forming a government, that a legitimate government comes from the will of a majority of the people. That's what happened in the USA, after all. A country, unlike most sorts of contracts, is an evolving contract into which we are born, but which is continually endorsed by the consent of the people - and from which you are free to depart, voting with your feet.
They will cover this in class with you in a few years, in Civics.--ADtalkModerator 00:16, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Saying the constitution is the law is not a fact, it is a legal opinion, and it does not become a fact just because "everyone" believes in it. Factually, the constitution is 4 pieces of paper, that is a fact. Further, not "everyone" agrees to that opinion that it is the law. When you say "We" set forth " system of laws..." Who is "we"? In your analogy, you say "if they HAVE TO order and eat lunch together". Well let's not gloss over: why should we presume they have to do this? Why does the third person have to go with the other two?StopTheViolence (talk) 00:54, 5 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────That the constitution is the law is, without doubt, an institutional fact. You may be confused about the difference between institutional facts and brute facts. It is an institutional fact pertaining to fiat currency that a Federal Reserve note is "money." It is institutional fact that makes it a medium of exchange, and when I give one of them to George up at the corner store in exchange for a Klondike bar, the brute facts of the foil/paper wrapper coming off and my teeth fracturing the chocolate surrounding the ice cream are beyond dispute. Sometimes I use a chef's knife to slice one in two to share with my wife. We then adhere to one of the few genuinely working rules of general application in a non-authoritarian life, namely, "I cut, you choose." Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:13, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

John Searle's theory of "institutional facts" is a fallacious concept. It is based on an appeal to numbers. Argumentum ad populum: In argumentation theory, an argumentum ad populum (Latin for "appeal to the people") is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it. In other words, the basic idea of the argument is: "If many believe so, it is so." That is the underlying premise behind the theory of "institutional facts": that enough people believe in it, it's a "fact". But a social convention said to be an institutional fact is not necessarily a fact at all. Arguendo, under Searle's theory of institutional facts, "jews must be killed" would have been an "institutional fact" in Nazi Germany. Can we really say "jews must be killed" is a "fact", though?StopTheViolence (talk) 16:16, 5 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Not if I can help it, it isn't ... But that said, "jews must be killed" WAS ACTUALLY a fact for some Nazis back in the day, which is part of the reason so many jews died. But back to your calling on argumentum ad populum... You're doing it wrong. To be entirely precise, it shouldn't be "If many people believe there is a state, then there is a state.", it should be "If many people want to form a state, they will go do it, and thus having formed a state, a state exists." Nullahnung (talk) 16:33, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
[ec] I know what ad populum means, and in your case, I'll not mention ad cellarium except this once. (Please don't think you should give me a lecture about ad hominem as well.) Mentioning the humanitarian failings of the Thousand-Year Reich is not a good way to be taken seriously in any discussion that didn't start out with that particular historical focus. If the fiat currency so prevalent in the US is so fallacious, why is George still willing to give me a Klondike bar in exchange for a piece of paper with a dead white guy's picture on it?
You seem to be fond of slippery slopes, a quality I associate with being a drama queen without many years' experience in the world. I suppose it's good that RW gives you a venue for practising your rhetorical typing skills, but from where I sit it looks like a lot of articulate hot air. There is no way the mass of the US population gives the state anything even close to "blind obedience." Have fun with your dramatic victimhood, Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 16:35, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
We could likewise say that "virgins must be sacrificed so that it will rain enough to grow food" would have been an "institutional fact" in the aztec society. If we accept any proposition based on how many people accept it as true within a functioning society, we get some absurd conclusions, such as the notion that virgins had to be sacrificed so there could be a harvest and hey that's just a fact, because people at the time agreed with it. That is kind of the point of reason behind the ad populum as a concept, once you accept a so-called "institutional fact" (or any purported fact)as literally being a fact on the grounds that "many/most/all believe it", you get some absurd conclusions, and of course blind, unquestioning obedience doesn't seem so illogical, or so blind, since those who perceive the perceived "facts" as actual facts can convince themselves that any manner of irrationality makes sense since they perceive that it is based on the "facts"(which may or may not in reality be actual facts). The "institutional facts" theory has been the subject of lots of criticism, I'm not the first person to point out some of the flaws in it.StopTheViolence (talk) 20:11, 5 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
I don't think you can really have an open and honest debate where "authoritarianism" is a central topic of discussion but where Nazism is off limits for discussion. Yes, it's over-used in other debates, but we are talking about authoritarianism and the state, I think at some point the topic of one of the most authoritarian states in the world is gonna have to come up, naturally. I'm not saying statists are all nazi's or something so radical as that, and I used another example that shows the same concept, so I'm not just basing my argument on Nazism. StopTheViolence (talk) 20:19, 5 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Actually, putting some things off-limits can lead to enhanced discussion, particularly where those taboo items are emotionally loaded or over-used (and often poorly understood.)
Institutional facts, or social facts, if you prefer that term, are situated in their time and place. For an unblemished Aztec youth, the social reality very much included the possibility of being sacrificed. Argue all you want about the tenuous connection between that and measurable rainfall, the sacrifices seem to have been a social fact.
This is the slippery slope again, and to me it looks a lot like an appeal to emotion. By the time we start talking about blood spurting all over a sacrificial altar, we have strayed from the original topic, and are being distracted from what the various forms of taxation actually accomplish. Makes for tiresome discourse, IMO. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 20:49, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Can we at least agree that "institutional facts" as conceptualized by Searle are not necessarily facts, but can actually contain untruths, and can be non-factual, or can be wholly constituted by opinion, rather than fact?StopTheViolence (talk) 21:56, 5 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
No, because that is nonsense: an institutional fact is a fact by definition, but it is a fact that depends on human agreement to exist. You must wait in line at the DMV... that's a fact, even if it is an institutional fact because the only reason you "must" wait in line is because the DMV employees, the superiors who make the rules, and most everyone else in the process agrees that lines are the best way to manage human traffic fairly.
Whether they are based on untruth or misunderstandings is irrelevant to their actual demonstrable existence: even if the DMV would do much better to handle issues according to urgency, rather than in order of arrival, it remains a fact that you have to wait in line at the DMV. The virtues or errors of the policy don't change that.
In the same way, governments and laws are based on human agreement, but that doesn't make them "appeals to numbers," any more than the DMV policy might not be real just because it exists thanks to human agreement. They're both real, since their very nature means that their existence corresponds with the number of people who believe them.
An appeal to numbers would be if I told you that the urgency method would be the superior way to conduct business at the DMV, and that my "proof" was that 78% of people surveyed agreed that it was the superior way in terms of speed and satisfaction. That's fallacious: it doesn't matter how many people agree with that opinion. Valid proof would instead be if I pointed to other institutions that used the method, and the surveyed satisfaction of their users, for example.
Again: I strongly, strongly urge you to stop invoking fallacies. You do not seem to be able to grasp the salient concepts, and indeed seem to be struggling just to maintain coherence.--ADtalkModerator 23:19, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
What if a whole bunch of people agree with each other to declare that a certain street is called Sesame Street within the confines of the conversations these people have? That street is then called Sesame Street by said bunch of people by virtue of agreement, isn't it? Can you refute that by somehow showing that it's an appeal to numbers fallacy, StopTheViolence? (Hint:You can't.) Nullahnung (talk) 02:56, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

The changed proposition[edit]

Ok, first of all, let's talk about statism before we talk about any link to authoritarianism.

So your argument is now apparently that statism is based on a whole heap of logical fallacies. A lot of that hinges on the questions of "What is authority?" and "Why does the state have any authority?", so let's start there with the discussion.

To answer the first question, we define authority: "Authority is the justification and right to exercise the ability to influence somebody to do something that he/she would not have done." Note that authority is not power over others, it is the right to exercise that power.

Examining said definition may lead us to the conclusion that if one is to have any authority, that authority must be acknowledged by the subjects of said authority. This acknowledgement is a necessary and sufficient condition. Now, do citizens acknowledge the authority of the state? Well, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, for whatever reasons they may have. When enough of them do, we have a stable state, and when enough of them don't, that may lead to sweeping reforms or revolution. Let me know if you think I'm missing something here, but as far as I know, it's just that simple. Nullahnung (talk) 15:45, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Now, your statement actually contains a non-sequitor if it is read literally:
You ask these questions: "why does the state have any authority?"
and then ask "do citizens acknowledge the authority of the state?", and then answer these questions with: "When enough of them do, we have a stable state, and when enough of them don't, that may lead to sweeping reforms or revolution." Your "answer" doesn't actually answer the questions you asked. Let's look at each question individually and then answer it with the answer provided to highlight the non-sequitor:
1. Q:Why does the state have any authority? A: When enough people acknowledge the authority of the state, we have a stable state. when enough of them don't, that may lead to sweeping reforms or revolution. When you look at it like this, can you see the non-sequitor? The question isn't "when do we have a stable state?";the answer actually doesn't address the question asked.
2. Q: "do citizens acknowledge the authority of the state?" A: "When enough of them do, we have a stable state, and when enough of them don't, that may lead to sweeping reforms or revolution." Can you see the non-sequitor here? You have asked a yes/no question and then answered yourself with an answer that doesn't say yes, they do, or no they don't.StopTheViolence (talk) 17:24, 2 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
You (mis-)took some of my words, mashed them together non-sensically in a supposed question-answer relationship and then tried to make sense of them... then of course they're gonna come out as non-sequitur! Here's a tip: When you read what seems like a bunch of non-sequiturs, consider the possibility that you've read it wrong and try again.
Here, let me correct you by telling you what I ACTUALLY wrote (which you should be able to find in what I wrote above):
1. Q:Why does the state have any authority? A:The state gains authority via acknowledgement of that authority by the people who are its subjects.
2. Q:Do citizens acknowledge the authority of the state? A:Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, for whatever reasons they may have.
Of course those two question-answer relationships aren't the only content in my above post, it's just that you completely misunderstood that part, so I restated it for you. Nullahnung (talk) 17:47, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
K, thanks for the clarification, I think I did partly misconstrue what you were saying.StopTheViolence (talk) 23:44, 2 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
"The state gains authority via acknowledgement of that authority by the people who are its subjects." You might say that the state gains its authority by "acknowledgement" from its "subjects", yet the state still demands absolute obedience from those who do not acknowledge it as having a "legitimate" authority. So, if it still demands absolute obedience from those who do not consent or acknowledge its claimed authority, then it is acting beyond the scope of its authority in using violence to enforce its edicts onto those who do not consent, right? StopTheViolence (talk) 23:57, 2 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Does it, though? Does the state really demand absolute obedience from those who do not acknowledge its authority? Okay, maybe some totalitarian states like the Third Reich or Soviet Russia will take issue if you don't pledge yourself to them. But for less or non-authoritarian states, as far as the state is concerned, you can do whatever you want as long as you don't disrupt anything. You could even rip your passport, birth certificate and anything else that reminds you of a connection to the state, row a boat to some forgotten island and declare yourself free from any state influence. The state doesn't care. If you want to live under the state, then of course you gotta play by the rules (or try and change the rules through arduous efforts towards reforms or revolution, which are then of course likely to meet resistance). Nullahnung (talk) 02:42, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Really? You can do whatever you want as long as it doesn't disrupt anything? Those who see themselves as acting on behalf of the state are prepared use violence, up to the point of killing you for not wearing a seatbelt, for gardening, for not mowing your lawn, for not obeying some arbitrary command from an authority figure, for telling the truth about what the "authorities" are doing(ostensibly on your behalf), etc. What do you mean "live under the state"? You realize we are discussing an abstraction, right? Why do you say "you gotta play by the rules?" Why do I? Why does anyone? From where does the obligation derive to obey the abstraction of "the state?" Can you give me a more concise reason than "Of Course"?StopTheViolence (talk) 14:02, 3 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Obligation? If you don't want any obligations, you don't have to have them. On the other hand, if you want them, then you have them. Very simple. If you want a kid, you gotta care for it. If you want to live in a state, you gotta pay the taxes and obey the rules. You can also choose to not have a kid or not live in a state (good luck with that). Nullahnung (talk) 14:11, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
What do you mean live in a state, and live under a state? And what is the reasoning behind: "If you want to live in a state, you gotta pay the taxes and obey the rules"? How do we know this is true?StopTheViolence (talk) 19:25, 3 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
'Living in a state' and 'living under a state' could be summarized as 'being a citizen of a state'. If you consider yourself a citizen of a state, then you should act like a citizen of that state and obey its rules (or attempt to change them to fit your needs). That's all I'm trying to say. It's like saying: If you want to be an Olympics competitor, then you should act like an Olympics competitor. That would include playing by the rules of the Olympics, which you MUST obey to be considered a legitimate participant. This is all pretty self-evident and I'm not sure if there is any other reasoning you could possibly ask of me. Nullahnung (talk) 19:38, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
And what is a citizen? One who lives under a state? And one who lives under a state is a citizen? Circular much? It's one of those things that is self-evident only through reification fallacy. To one who does not believe in your abstraction of the state it is not self-evident, but rather only by those who share the same shared hallucination/delusion.Yes I agree that it is like the olympics thing in that it is essentially a circular argument. An Olympian should act like an Olympian by acting like an Olympian should act so he can be an Olympian, in other words.StopTheViolence (talk) 20:33, 3 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
How is it that you misunderstand me so much? Maybe I need to work on my clarity of phrasing? It is not circular, you may consider reading my post again. I said that 'citizen' and 'one who lives under a state' refer to the same thing. Saying that one thing refers to the same thing as something else is not a circular argument, it is a plain equivalency statement. I made the equivalency statement in the hope that you would be able to understand it better if I expressed the same thing with different words.
To legitimately be considered an Olympic competitor you must participate in the Olympic games and abide by the rules of said games. There is nothing circular about that. It is a simple matter of definition. Simple enough? Nullahnung (talk) 21:06, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Kind of trying to simplify:Citizens live under the state.If you think you are a citizen of a state, you should act like a citizen should act and obey its rules. Which begs the question of why should a citizen obey the state? And also: What if one does not believe in the state? Can we agree that the "legitimate authority" of the state is but an abstraction? Or can you show me evidence? You may say it is self evident, like the sky is blue, but the sky is blue actually can evidenced outside of its self-evident quality, so it goes beyond self evident:https://www.google.com/search?q=picture+of+the+sky&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=v1cmUu6pOe2GyQHah4Ew&ved=0CCwQsAQ&biw=1528&bih=804. Can you describe any physical properties of the "legitimate authority of the state"? What is its state of matter, solid, liquid, gas or plasma?StopTheViolence (talk) 21:45, 3 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────First, let me say that your attempt to find physical properties of "legitimate authority of the state" is ridiculously absurd, let me tell you why. Authority is defined as a type of right or justification (above). A right or justification does not have physical properties, it is just a concept that we use to justify our actions. Therefore authority does not have physical properties. Therefore legitimate authority does not have physical properties. Therefore legitimate authority of the state does not have physical properties. They are all concepts that we use to structure society. You want evidence of that? Look around you. People's actions are structured by these concepts and this should be easy to deduce from just living in a city, where there are all sorts of regulations in place.

Secondly, why should a citizen obey the state? For the same reason an Olympics participant should obey the rules of the Olympic games. If you don't do that, you get disqualified from participation (remember that participation in the Olympics is a requirement to being an Olympics participant, just like participation in the state is a requirement to being a citizen, that's just a simple matter of definition). Now, what if one does not believe in the state? Well, if you consider yourself to be a citizen and don't believe in the state, that's your problem. That's like considering yourself to be a high school teacher, yet you don't believe in high schools. It's probably possible, but presents a problem when it happens. If you don't consider yourself a citizen, then why are we even discussing this question? Nullahnung (talk) 04:04, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

You say a citizen is one who lives under a state, which you admit is just a mental abstraction. It exists only in the mind and has no physical properties.
So to say it is self-evident is to argue "It is evident because I thought it" or "It is evident because I imagined it". Now what if someone recognized your imagined abstraction to be just that: imagined? Why do they have any reason to "obey" your imagined "state"? What if they recognized the fallacies which go into the construction of the concept itself? Does the imagined state with its imagined legitimate monopoly on force still have any authority over such a person? Further, I think we can say that if we recognize the concept of the state as a fallacious abstraction, then we also can deduce a citizen to be fallacious concept. A person inclined toward such self-honesty would also, therefore, consider it that there really is no such thing as a citizen, that it is a political distinction based on irrational and violent superstitions.StopTheViolence (talk) 21:14, 4 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
You keep repeating that there are fallacies, but you have yet to show that there are any. You don't seem to realize how mental abstractions work either. They have consequences and therefore become more than just mental abstractions if people agree to them and act physically in response.
It's very simple, I'll repeat it for you, since you don't seem to have understood it from what I wrote above:
1. If people agree with each other that there be a state, then there is a state by virtue of agreement. That is a truth. That is how these things are constructed.
2. If someone disagrees to said state from 1. (which still exists by virtue of there being others who agree to it), then he/she does not have to obey anything like that. He/She is free to disagree and disobey anything he/she wants (and face the consequences of that of course). That is a conclusion logically drawn from a truth.
3. In case it is still not clear, let me make an analogy: If 5 people agree to form a study group that convenes every Monday, then there is a study group that convenes every Monday. That is a truth. That is how these things are constructed. If one of those 5 people disagrees with said study group, he/she does not have to keep participating in the study group and therefore does not have to convene on Monday. That is a conclusion logically drawn from a truth. And that directly counters all of your arguments. Nullahnung (talk) 02:41, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Okay, now we are onto a different analogy, you didn't really address the question I asked on the other analogy, but I'll ask a similar question here: If a 5th member of the study group decides to no longer participate, can the other 4 force him to abide by the rules of the study group? Why or why not? Let's say the rules say he has to read a book every week, does he still have to read the book? Can the other 4 legitimately force him through violence to read books he doesn't want to read? Why or why not?StopTheViolence (talk) 16:36, 5 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
I JUST answered this question in my above post... But ok I'll restate it in the context of your last post: If a 5th member of the study group decides to no longer participate, there is nothing the other 4 can do. He simply won't come to the study group anymore. Period. Why? Because that is just how study groups work. You show up and play nice if you want to be a part of it, if you don't want to be a part of it, you simply leave. Nullahnung (talk) 16:45, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
What if the other 4 have established a consensus among themselves (unanimously ratified) that it is an "institutional fact" that #5 must be part of the group, and that he is still subject to their rules, can they then legitimately force him to be part of the group, and to pay a membership fee? If not, then why not?StopTheViolence (talk) 21:51, 5 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
That would be one of the worst forms of authoritarianism. I don't believe any proper study group should ratify such measures. If they do ratify such measures, then yes, it will be fact FOR THEM that the 5th member has to be part of the group and that they have the right to use force for that. However, it is NOT fact for said 5th member, because he/she already considered himself/herself to be outside of the study group. In this case, whether they have the right or not depends on perspective. Nullahnung (talk) 03:03, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Would it be an appeal to numbers for the four to decide that their "Ratification" of the "institutional fact" gave them a "right" to force #5 to obey the rules of the club? Because it had been voted on and they all 4(but not #5) agreed to it? StopTheViolence (talk) 21:36, 6 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
It would not be an appeal to numbers, for these 4 have defined "right" for themselves to be "whatever the hell we decided to be right", and that's perfectly true, because it only pertains to themselves. Now, the 5th member, let's say, has defined "right" to be "whatever I agreed to be right", so the other 4 would not have a "right" in the eyes of the 5th member. Again, whether the 4 have a right to carry out said force depends on perspective. Nullahnung (talk) 03:04, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

A little fairy tale[edit]

Once upon a time there was a village consisting entirely of sheep herders - well, I did say it was a fairy tale - and, every day they all herded their sheep on the common, watching them grow fatter and fatter. The village prospered.

And then, one day, one of the shepherds noticed that the grass was getting very sparse. She called all the shepherds together for a big meeting.

"Fellow shepherd," she said. "We're overgrazing the common. Unless we put a limit on the number of sheep we graze then we shall all suffer from the tragedy of the commons. I have done the maths and each family can have two hundred sheep. Can we agree to each obey this limit."

All the shepherds agreed and, from then on, there was a limit to the number of sheep that each family can graze.

Roll forward a generation or so and one of the shepherds starts grazing two hundred and one sheep, two hundred and two sheep...

"Stop! Stop!" the other shepherds cry. "We have an arrangement."

"Look, look how the state is oppressing me! I never entered into that arrangement. You're just an oppressive authoritarian system"

But the other shepherds just thought he was a jerk. Innocent Bystander (talk) 12:27, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

A true tale[edit]

Once upon a time there was a real place called planet earth. The earth was populated by creatures called humans. Humans had a greater capacity for mental abstraction than any other creature. This ability to abstract thinking allowed them to think up abstract concepts like "government", "Alchemy","science","conspiracy theories", "big foot", "sheep herder fairy tales","language" etc. Some of these abstractions allow for humans to further expand their knowledge and level of understanding, because they are based on reason and true knowledge. Some of these abstract concepts are superstitions in that they are based on illogic, irrationality and denialism. I have made a well-reasoned argument to show the superstitious nature of the state and the belief in statism. As Larken Rose says, it is the most dangerous superstition of them all. Why is it so dangerous? Because its proponents have used it to rationalize violence on an epic scale, on a scale that threatens to destroy the planet, even.StopTheViolence (talk) 20:53, 4 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence

"Well-reasoned arguments"? Pat yourself on the back much? You have yet to show that your arguments are well-reasoned. Nullahnung (talk) 21:06, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
I do believe they support my premises, can you find a non-sequitor?[insert crickets]StopTheViolence (talk) 21:18, 4 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
I can't find a non-sequitur because I can't find a thread of logic within which there might be a non sequitur. Your position appears to be 'states make the laws, therefore they are oppressive' which raises (note, does not beg) the question of whether laws are a Good Thing or whether 'do what you will shall be all of the law'. Innocent Bystander (talk) 22:34, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
You have grossly misconstrued my position. My position is that the formulation of the state is founded on illogic and violence, and that it demands blind unquestioning or absolute obedience. Whether or not it is oppressive is beside the point. Again, I keep reiterating that over and over, I don't get why it keeps going back to "the justness of the law" or the "oppressiveness" of the state. "Statism is bad/oppressive/unjust" simply is not a premise that I am arguing on here, can we try to stay off these red herrings?StopTheViolence (talk) 01:02, 5 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
A lot of your non sequiturs arise from the fact that you're not calling the appeal to numbers correctly. You don't seem to be able to grasp that when people agree to something, that's called an agreement and has consequences. When someone doesn't agree to something, that's called a disagreement and also has consequences. These two things I just said are all true, wouldn't you agree? Nullahnung (talk) 02:20, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Agreements have consequences, and disagreements have consequences, I agree with that. I do not agree with the assertions that I'm not "calling the appeal to numbers" "correctly" or that I don't grasp that agreements have consequences. Saying something is true because many people say it's true is an appeal to numbers. StopTheViolence (talk) 16:30, 5 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Yes, but you're detecting appeal to numbers where there isn't. Nullahnung (talk) 16:36, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Here's a question. If your arguments are so "well reasoned" why is it that so few are buying into it? Why, in particular, are you persuading on one on this site? Is it because

  • We're all brain dead sheeple?
  • You're amazingly clever/perceptive/wise or whatever and therefore your arguments are only perceivable to those of similar intelect?
  • Your arguments are unconvincing?

What do you think? Innocent Bystander (talk) 22:20, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Everyone involved here is a statist, besides me. Statism, as a form of authoritarianism requires absolute, unquestioning and blind obedience. I would presume all the statists on here went to public school and has had authoritarian superstitions inculcated into them for years. I'm speculating of course. Trying to answer your question, though. Also, your question contains the supposition that no one is being persuaded, there is no evidence of that.StopTheViolence (talk) 21:42, 6 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
BTW, I'm not a statist. Don't make unfounded blanket statements and don't jump to conclusions about your opponents, please. Nullahnung (talk) 08:39, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
I tried to make it clear my statement was speculation, the question itself calls for speculation. The question also includes controversial suppositions and is a complex, fallacious, loaded question so maybe I should just state my objections and leave it at that. However, I believe if a question is relevant, one should try to address it if one is to participate in a debate, and the question does seem to include some relevant substance, even if it is flawed in its structure.StopTheViolence (talk) 23:20, 9 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
If you can't show how it is flawed, then that's that. Below I told you who I meant by "we". Still waiting for your response. Nullahnung (talk) 02:40, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
@Nallahnung: Can you tell me, if one were to formulate an appeal to numbers in an attempt to justify a constitution, what WOULD be an appeal to numbers? In other words, if the arguments presented would not be an appeal to numbers, can you give me an example of an appeal to numbers that would be trying to make the same point?StopTheViolence (talk) 21:47, 6 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
I'm not him, but here's one: you are wrong, because a survey says that 73% of people agree that statism is not authoritarian. Note that the salient point of support for the argument's validity is the sheer bulk of people in agreement, rather than any other argument.--ADtalkModerator 00:41, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Exactly. A real appeal to numbers in an attempt to justify a constitution would be: "Well, a lot of people say that you need to do what the constitution says. That's why you need to do what the constitution says." But that is not the kind of argument we are making. The kind of argument we are making is that the constitution is part of the agreement we made forming a state. Now, if you haven't made that agreement, you can think about whether you want to make it or not. If you want to make the agreement, you can honour that agreement by obeying the rules (or help change them towards what you think they should be). That is simply how agreements work. If you don't want to make the agreement, then that's fine (that's gonna have consequences too, as does every decision in life). Nullahnung (talk) 02:56, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Who is the "We" that made the agreement forming a state?StopTheViolence (talk) 04:33, 8 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
The "We" is inclusive of everyone who decides to be part (thus forming part) of the state. Thus if you want to be one who makes said agreement, then you are. Nullahnung (talk) 08:21, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
In the case of the USA, "We the people" might ring a bell for you... those who founded the country and agreed upon the binding supreme document, the Constitution. Being a citizen makes you implicitly a part of that group, which renews the legitimacy of that agreement by regular elections, and from which you may freely depart by voting with your feet and leaving the country.--ADtalkModerator 12:34, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
"those who founded the country and agreed upon the binding supreme document, the Constitution. " So, then about 40 guys, right? All white male landholders, a tiny minority of Americans, right?StopTheViolence (talk) 23:21, 9 September 2013 (UTC)StopTheViolence
Elected representatives - imperfectly representative, of course, but representative nonetheless. And thankfully, now the poor, minorities, and women all vote and have the ability to leave the country.--ADtalkModerator 00:26, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it is[edit]

The very existence of the state is a form of oppressive Right Wing authoritarianism. The state is nothing more than the repressive arm of the powerful oppressor class. The state and all forms of authority and hierarchy must be abolished in favor of communist, anarchist, direct democratic society of the oppressed. I have a micropenis (talk) 01:15, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Well, as long as it works... Nullahnung (talk) 02:37, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Sounds nice in theory. In practice we got far-left dictators who ruled like right-wingers. ClothCoat (talk) 23:45, 9 September 2013 (UTC)