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  1. Warheads found in Iraq not chemical weapons, military says

    BAGHDAD (AFP) Jul 02, 2004

    Multinational forces in Iraq said on Friday that more than a dozen
    missile
    warheads said to contain mustard gas or sarin have tested negative for
    chemical agents.

    Washington had announced the find by Polish troops on Thursday, which
    was
    later confirmed by Warsaw.

    The head of Poland's military intelligence service also said on Friday
    that "terrorist" groups were seeking to acquire the weapons.
    But the 122mm warheads, found in late June, have been found not to
    contain
    the deadly chemicals, a statement from multinational forces here said.
    "Those 16 rounds were all empty and tested negative for any type of
    chemicals," it said.

    Two other warheads found in mid-June were found to contain an
    insignificant amount of sarin gas. The armaments were left over from
    the
    Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, the statement said.

    "Due to the deteriorated state of the rounds and small quantity of
    remaining agent, these rounds were determined to have limited to no
    impact
    if used by insurgents against coalition forces."

    Washington justified leading the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 by
    claiming the country was harbouring weapons of mass destruction.
    However,
    none has yet been found.

    All rights reserved. Copyright 2003 Agence France-Presse. Sections of
    the
    information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos)
    are
    protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence
    France-Presse.
    As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit,
    publish,
    display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this
    section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.
     
    Vendicar Decarian, Jul 4, 2004
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  2. Ron Hunter

    bob Guest

    I find VD (Nuddly Spewright) kooky. You would too if you weren't so
    stupid.
     
    bob, Jul 4, 2004
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  3. Ron Hunter

    bob Guest

    I learnt it at the Florida state fair. They have portraits of all the
    state's governors there.
     
    bob, Jul 4, 2004
  4. As long as it takes.


    16. CONSCRIPTION AND THE MILITARY

    Recognizing that registration is the first step toward full
    conscription, we oppose all attempts at compulsory registration of any
    person and all schemes for automatic registration through government
    invasions of the privacy of school, motor vehicle, or other records.
    We call for the abolition of the still-functioning elements of the
    Selective Service System, believing that impressment of individuals
    into the armed forces is involuntary servitude. We call for the
    destruction of all files in computer-readable or hard-copy form
    compiled by the Selective Service System. We also oppose any form of
    national service, such as a compulsory youth labor program.

    We oppose adding women to the pool of those eligible for and subject
    to the draft, not because we think that as a rule women are unfit for
    combat, but because we believe that this step enlarges the number of
    people subjected to government tyranny.

    We support the immediate and unconditional exoneration of all who have
    been accused or convicted of draft evasion, desertion from the
    military, and other acts of resistance to such transgressions as
    imperialistic wars and aggressive acts of the military. Members of
    the military should have the same right to quit their jobs as other
    persons.

    We call for the end of the Defense Department practice of discharging
    armed forces personnel for homosexual conduct. We further call for
    retraction of all less-than-honorable discharges previously assigned
    for such reasons and deletion of such information from military
    personnel files.

    We recommend the repeal of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and
    the recognition and equal protection of the rights of armed forces
    members. This will thereby promote morale, dignity, and a sense of
    justice within the military.
     
    Vendicar Decarian, Jul 4, 2004

  5. CIVIL RIGHTS - A POLITICAL COMMUNIST FRONT


    Since the time of the Civil War, statutory civil rights legislation has
    been used to centralize power in and to the national government,
    usurping the power rightfully belonging to the several States. So far we
    can see that the State governments allow such usurping by the national
    government and are in conspiricy against the letter and spirit to the
    original Constitution. The Ninth and Tenth Articles in Amendment are
    clear as to the powers belonging to either the States or the State
    citizens.

    The national government uses statutory civil rights as a vehicle and
    excuse to break down the limitation on the national govenment that was
    imposed upon them by the original constitution. Every time the national
    government empowers itself in a question of civil rights it
    correspondingly restricts or deprives the several States of its
    sovereignty in the same area by federal preemption. This is not just my
    opinion but the very opinion expressed on the floor of Congress in one
    way or another when a new civil rights bill was being discussed in 1957,
    wherein a civil rights act (H.R. 6127) was debated.

    In this debate several representatives pointed out that federal enacted
    civil rights, among other things, were supported by a communist movement
    to undermine our form of government by undermining through the years the
    sovereignty of the several States. This also included undermining of
    State citizenship.

    I am only going to point out the following excert, one of the most
    concise statements made about the use of so called statutory civil
    rights usurping our form of government and to control politics to that
    end.

    "With respect to the contention that communism has been
    behind the centralization of power in the United States,
    Representative Abernethy, Mississippi, made the most
    concise statement outlining the point;

    "The civil-rights business is all according to a studied and
    well defined plan. It may be news to some of you, but the
    course of the advocates of this legislation was carefully
    planed and outlined more than 45 years ago. Israel Cohen,
    a leading Communist in England, in his "A Racial Program"
    for the 20th Century, wrote in 1912 the following:

    "We must realize that our party's most powerful weapon is
    racial tension. By propounding into the consciousness of the
    dark race that for centuries they have been oppressed by the
    whites, we can mould them to the program of the Communist
    Party. In America we will aim for subtle victory while
    inflaming the Negro minority against the whites, we will
    endeavor to instill in the whites a guilt complex for their
    exploitation of the Negroes. We will aid the Negroes to rise in
    prominence in every walk of life, in the professions and in the
    world of sports and entertainment. With this prestige, the Negro
    will be able to intermarry with whites and begin a process which
    will deliver America to our cause.

    "What truer prophecy could there have been 40 year ago of what
    we now see taking place in America, than that made by Isreal
    Cohen."

    It is now some 87 years since Isreal Cohen made the statement to
    indoctrinate America into his communist party and some 37 years sence
    Representative Abernethy, Mississippi brought it forth upon the floor of
    Congress. Today, Isreal Cohen would be please with Americas progress
    towards deliverance to the Communist party.

    The Congressional Record - House Debat of a civil rights Act (H.R. 6127)
    June 7, 1957, pp. 8554 -8561, will be available to read on ARIZONA
    SENTINEL Information Network BBS.

    Condensed from

    BEHOLD Newsletter
    by Randy Geiszler
     
    Vendicar Decarian, Jul 4, 2004
  6. PRIVATELY PRODUCED LAW

    By Tom W. Bell

    Legal Notes No. 16

    ISSN 0267-7083 ISBN 1 85637 053 4

    An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance
    25 Chapter Chambers, Esterbrooke Street, London SW1P 4NN

    (c) 1991: Libertarian Alliance, Tom W. Bell

    This article was first published in "Extropy" Vol. 3 No. 1, Spring 1991,
    and is reprinted with permission.

    Tom W. Bell, who is a member of the editorial committee of "Extropy", is
    studying Law at the University of Chicago Law School, having received a
    Masters in philosophy from the University of Southern California.

    The views expressed in this publication are those of the author, and not
    necessarily those of the Libertarian Alliance, its Committee, Advisory
    Council or subscribers.

    LA Director: Chris R. Tame Editorial Director: Brian Micklethwait

    FOR LIFE, LIBERTY AND PROPERTY

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The revolutions which have recently swept through Central and Eastern
    Europe have deal a killing blow to socialist ideology. State-ownership
    has been tried and discarded. Cries of "Privatize!" herald the dawn of
    a more free and prosperous age. But the light of this new day reveals a
    vexing question: "Privatize what?"

    Virtually everyone in these newly freed countries agrees that farms,
    steel mills, ship yards, and other manufacturing industries ought to be
    privatized. Some go further and argue for the privatization of
    industries that are often state-owned in the West: railways, television,
    and radio. A very brave few, secretly influenced by long-banished
    libertarian authors, call for an unprecedented leap to private schools,
    postal services, and social security insurance.

    We should ask ourselves the same question: "Privatize what?" If those
    who have known only totalitarian socialism can imagine a society less
    statist than our own, we ought to be able to conceive of a society even
    more free. Why stop at private schools, postal services, and social
    security? Why not privatize *everything*?

    That is what anarcho-capitalists would have us do. Their extreme
    position puts them even further from conventional discourse than their
    libertarian kin who advocate a minimal state. Minimal statists argue
    that some services *must* be nationalized. Usually anarcho-capitalists
    and minimal statists debate about whether or not national defense
    *could* be privatized, and whether or not police protection *should* be
    privatized. Less frequently, they argue over who should issue currency
    (discussing this topic requires a good deal of economic expertise).

    Useful and interesting though these debates may be, they fail to resolve
    the fundamental conflict between anarcho-capitalism and minimal statism.
    A state could contract out its national defense, its police forces, and
    its mint and still remain a state - so long as it held onto the law.
    Soldiers, cops, and minters just follow orders; the law is the real
    source of the state's power. Strip away its flattering pretenses and
    you'll find only raw, brutal force.

    That's the real issue here: who is going to lay down the law? Statists
    or consumers? I am going to argue on behalf of the latter. [1]

    Note that I am not calling for the abolition of all laws. Humans cannot
    live in complex societies without the guidance of laws. They can,
    however, live without the coercive imposition of laws. This is an
    essential distinction, for anarcho-capitalists are often misunderstood
    as denying the validity of laws per se. Nothing could be further from
    the truth. Anarcho-capitalists see the state as a criminal
    organization. In their eyes, state law is essentially *lawless*.

    What is the alternative to state law? Overlapping jurisdictions or
    privately produced law in free and open competition - a polycentric
    legal system. In what follows, I will provide a brief introduction to
    the history and principles of privately produced law, and argue that it
    offers a more efficient and just alternative to state law.

    LAW PRIOR TO THE STATE

    Friedrich A. Hayek finds the origins of law in the natural selection of
    social orders. Not all types of behaviour support social life, he
    explains. Some - like violence, theft, and deceit - render it
    impossible.

    Society can thus exist only if by a process of selection rules have
    evolved which lead individuals to behave in a manner which makes
    social life possible. [2]

    The development of these rules predates courts, written law, and even
    the concept of law itself:

    At least in primitive human society, scarcely less than in animal
    societies, the structure of social life is determined by rules of
    conduct which manifest themselves only by being in fact observed.
    [3]

    Because such customary laws exist prior to state laws, they have
    attracted the attention of those who research polycentric legal systems.
    In "The Enterprise of Law", Bruce Benson concentrates on the legal
    system of the Kapauku Papuans of West New Guinea. [4] This "primitive"
    legal system exhibited some remarkably sophisticated qualities. It
    emphasized individualism, physical freedom, and private property rights;
    sorted out fantastically complicated jurisdictional conflicts; and
    provided mechanisms for "legislating" changes to customary law. [5] In
    a separate work, `Enforcement of Property Rights in Primitive Societies:
    Law Without Government', [6] Benson points out similar features in the
    legal systems of the Yuroks of Northern California [7] and the Ifuago of
    Northern Luzon. [8]

    David Friedman adopts medieval Iceland as his favorite example of a
    polycentric legal system. He writes that it

    ... might almost have been invented by a mad economist to test the
    lengths to which market systems could supplant government in its
    most fundamental functions. [9]

    Murray Rothbard backs up his arguments for privately produced law by
    pointing to a thousand years of Celtic Irish Law. [10]

    These and many other examples of customary legal systems demonstrate
    that we don't need states to have laws. They also tell us what sort of
    laws arise free of state interference. After an extensive review of
    customary legal systems, Benson finds that they tend to share six basic
    features:

    1) a predominant concern for individual rights and private property;

    2) laws encorced by victims backed by reciprocal agreements;

    3) standard adjudicative procedures established to avoid violence;

    4) offenses treated as torts punishable by economic restitution;

    5) strong incentives for the guilty to yield to prescribed punishment
    due to the threat of social ostracism; and

    6) legal change via an evolutionary process of developing customes and
    norms. [11]

    ANGLO-SAXON CUSTOMARY LAW

    The ancient Anglo-Saxon legal system gives us a particularly good
    example of customary law. Under this system a set of ten to twelve
    individuals, defined at first by a kinship but later by neighborhood,
    would form a group to pledge surety for the good behaviour of its
    members. The group would back up this pledge by paying the fines of its
    members if they were found guilty of violating common law. A surety
    group thus had strong financial incentives to police its members and
    exclude those who persistently engaged in criminal behaviour. Exclusion
    served as a powerful sanction:

    Every person either had sureties and pledge associates or one would
    not be able to function beyond one's own land, as no one would deal
    with one who had no bond or who could not get anyone to pledge
    their surety to them. [12]

    Such reciprocal voluntary agreements have a certain timeless appeal.
    Consider the modern parallels: like insurance agencies, the surety
    groups helped members to spread risks by pooling assets; like credit
    bureaus, they vouched for the good standing of their own members and
    denied access to outsiders who had demonstrated their untrustworthiness.
    [13]

    The Anglo-Saxon courts, called "moots", were public assemblies of common
    men and neighbors. The moots did not expend their efforts on
    interpreting the law; they left that to custom. The outcome of a
    dispute turned entirely on the facts of the case, which were usually
    established through ritual oathgiving. The disputants first swore to
    their accusations and denials. Each party then called on oath helpers
    (including members of their surety groups) to back up these claims with
    oaths of their own. For the court to accept any one of these oaths, it
    would have to be given flawlessly - though the poetic form of the oaths
    made it easier to meet this requirement. Deadlocks were often settled
    by ordeals of fire or water.

    Anglo-Saxon law had no category for crimes against the state or against
    society - it recognized only crimes against *individuals*. As in other
    customary legal systems, the moots typically demanded that criminals pay
    restitution to their victims - or else face the hazards of outlawry and
    blood-feud. Murderers owed "wergeld" (literally, "man-gold") to their
    victims' kin, while lesser criminals owed their victims lesser fines,
    elaborately graded according to the victim's status and the importance
    of the limb, hand, digit, fingertip, etc., that had been lost. In
    recognition of the importance of private property, heavier penalties
    were also imposed for crimes, heavier penalties were also imposed for
    crimes occurring in or about the home.

    Like the surety groups, these courts depended on voluntary cooperation.
    Berman writes that:

    ... jurisdiction in most types of cases depended on the consent of
    the parties. Even if they consented to appear they might not
    remain throughout, and even if they remained, the moot generally
    could not compel them to submit to its decision. Thus the
    procedure of the moot had to assume, and to help create, a
    sufficient degree of trust between the parties to permit the system
    to operate ... [14]

    This Ango-Saxon customary legal system protected the liberties of the
    English long and well, but eventually it was consumed by royal law. The
    story of this downfall tells us much about the contrasting natures of
    private and state law.

    THE RISE OF STATE LAW

    In many societies, state law has advanced rapidly on the heels of
    military conquest. It entered England, however, with almost
    imperceptible subtlety. Two factors prepared the stage. Firstly, the
    constant threat of foreign invaders, particularly the Danes, had
    concentrated power in the hands of England's defenders. Secondly, the
    influence of Christianity imbued the throne with a divine quality,
    enshrining the king as vicar of Christ. Onto this stage strode Alfred,
    king of England during the last quarter of the ninth century.

    Prior to Alfred, men served their kings voluntarily. A king had to
    offer battle gear, food, and plunder to get others to follow him into
    battle. More importantly, he volunteered to champion the cause of the
    weak - for a fee. Weak victims sometimes found it difficult to convince
    their much stronger offenders to appear before the court. Kings
    balanced the scales by backing the claims of such plaintiffs. This
    forced brazen defendants to face the court, where they faced the usual
    fines *plus* a surcharge that went to the king as paying for his
    services.

    This surcharge, called "wite", made enforcing the law a profitable
    business. King Alfred, strengthened by the threat of invasion and
    emboldened by his holy title, assumed the duty of preventing all
    fighting within his kingdom. He declared that anyone found guilty of
    assault owed him "wite" for violating the king's peace. Alfred lacked
    the ability to back up this claim, however, and it went largely ignored.
    But he had set a trend in motion. Over the next few centuries royal law
    would grow stronger - especially after the Norman invasion of 1066.
    Eventually it consumed virtually all of England's legal order, as did
    the royal law of countries throughout Europe. But first royal law would
    have to contend with some stiff competition.

    FROM POLYCENTRIC LAW TO STATE LAW

    A legal revolution swept through Europe in the years between 1050 and
    1200. While the power of the Church rose to rival that of kings, the
    law of the church, inspired by the newly rediscovered Justinian
    codification of Roman law, rose to new levels of sophistication. But
    the Church's new-found independence helped to develop the state, as
    kings reformed royal law to give it the order and strength of
    ecclesiastical law.

    Other legal systems entered the fray. Thousands of new cities and towns
    sprang up, leading to new centers of power and the development of urban
    law. The support of the church and a labor shortage introduced an
    element of reciprocity to the relations between peasants and lords,
    triggering the emergence of manorial law. Vassals likewise won standing
    in the separate jurisdiction of feudal law. And the rise of a populous,
    mobile merchant class promoted the evolution of the law merchant. [15]

    Berman provides the single best source of information about this legal
    tangle in his magisterial "Law and Revolution". He there explains how
    competition between jurisdictions helped to protect individual liberty:

    A serf might run to the town court for protection against his
    master. A vassal might run to the king's court for protection
    against his lord. A cleric might run to the ecclesiastical court
    for protection against the king. [16]

    For the most part, royal law won this competition among jurisdictions.
    It had two important advantages over its rivals. The power to tax
    allowed it to subsidize its legal services. Royal courts absorbed the
    local functions of the law merchant, for instance, by adopting its
    precendents and offering to enforce them at bargain rates. Royal law
    also wielded far greater coercive power than competing legal systems,
    which depended on reciprocity and trust for their operation. Consider
    Henry II's effective resolution of his bitter struggle with Archbishop
    Thomas Becket over the proper boundary between royal and church
    jurisdictions: he had Becket killed.

    Through this and other measures Henry II rapidly extended England's
    royal law. He established a permanent court of professional judges, the
    use of inquisatorial juries, and regular circuits for itinerant judges.
    The latter measure, in particular, reveals Henry's motivations; his
    itinerant justices also served as tax collectors.

    The legal conquests of King Henry II and kings thoughout late-medieval
    Europe established a reign of state law that has lasted to this day.
    Although grafted to the good stock of customary law, state law grew in
    strange, twisted ways. It classified murder, rape, theft, and so on as
    crimes against the *state*, rather than as crimes against individuals.
    Fines went to the king. Victims got only the satisfaction of seeing
    criminals suffer corporal punishment. Dissatisfied individuals
    continued to seek restitution out of court, so state officials forbade
    them to take justice into their own hands. This sharply reduced
    victims' incentives to pursue criminals, and statutes demanding the
    victims' cooperation had little effect. The state therefore developed
    the police powers necessary to enforce its laws on criminals and victims
    alike. [17]

    THE PERSISTENCE OF POLYCENTRIC LAW

    Although state legal systems have amassed immense monopolistic powers,
    they have never entirely quashed competition among legal systems.
    States themselves compete to attract human and finacial capital. And
    the law merchant has continued to survive in that realm safely beyond
    the reach of any one state's laws: international trade. But even within
    state boundaries polycentricity has survived.

    The United States in particular has enjoyed a rich variety of competing
    jurisdictions. Each federal, state, county, municipal, and military
    court system has its own substantive and procedural rules - rules that
    often come into conflict. But these "official" jurisdictions barely
    scratch the surface. In "Justice Without Law?" Jerold S. Auerbach
    records several groups that produced systems of private law: the early
    Puritan, Quaker, and Dutch settlers; the many various nineteenth century
    utopian communes; the newly- freed slaves; the Mormons; the Chinese,
    Jewish, and other immigrant communities; merchants; and uneasy
    labor/management couplings. [18]

    Pioneers moving beyond the reach of state law also created their own
    private legal systems. Terry L. Anderson and P. J. Hill provide an
    excellent summary of the laws of the land clubs, cattlemans'
    associations, mining camps, and wagon trains. [19] See Benson for a
    fascinating account of vigilante justice on the western frontier. [20]

    Privately produced law continues to thrive in the U.S. and gives every
    indication of growing stronger. Americans have a special knack for
    forming private organizations, each of which produces a set of rules we
    can justifiably call "law". Leon Fuller explains:

    If the law is considered as "the enterprise of subjecting human
    conduct to the governance of rules," [Fuller's definition] then
    this enterprise is being conducted, not on two or three fronts, but
    on thousands. Engaged in this enterprise are those who draft and
    administer rules governing the internal affairs of clubs, churches,
    schools, labor unions, trade associations, agricultural fairs, and
    a hundred and one other forms of human association ... there are in
    this country alone "systems of law" numbering in the hundreds of
    thousands. [21]

    Many of the organizations that Fuller lists provide law in areas that
    the state has overlooked or willfully ignored. In recent years,
    however, privately produced law has grown most rapidly in an area where
    it competes directly with state law: commercial arbitration.

    Private arbitration has removed entire classes of disputes from state
    courts. The insurance, construction, stock exchange, and textile
    industries (among others) all make heavy use of arbitration. [22] There
    are currently about 600 arbitration associations in the U.S. The
    largest of them, the American Arbitration Association, reported 52,520
    case filings in 1989 - up more than 36% from 1980's figures. Overall,
    some 90,000 cases were filed with arbitrators in 1989. [23] Why are
    state courts losing so much business? Because private courts offer
    greater speed and efficiency than state courts.

    THEORIES OF PRIVATELY PRODUCED LAW

    Economists since Adam Smith have argued that competition in production
    serves consumers' interests, while monopolies tend toward sloth and
    waste. Gustave de Molinari was probably the first legal theorist who
    dared to ask why this should not be as true of the law as it is of
    apples, cotton, and iron. He argued that under the state's monopoly of
    law:

    Justice becomes slow and costly, the police vexatious, individual
    liberty is no longer respected, [and] the price of security is
    abusively inflated and inequitably apportioned ... [24]

    He therefore advocated a non-monopolistic legal system and projected
    that once

    ... all artificial obstacles to the free action of the natural laws
    that govern the economic world have disappeared, the situation of
    the various members of society will become the best possible. [25]

    Since de Molinari, other scholars have developed sophisticated theories
    of polycentric law. In addition to the work drawing on customary law
    referred to above, the work of Randy E. Barnett and Morris and Linda
    Tannehill merits special attention. Barnett criticizes the state's
    monopoly in law from first-hand experience and promotes a forward
    looking polycentric alternative. [26] Although Ayn Rand supported state
    law, the Tannehills employ her objectivist ethics to derive the moral
    superiority and basic features of a system of privately produced law.

    The polycentric legal systems advocated by these theorists share several
    features: the protection of individual rights and private property;
    voluntary agreements for the provision of security; non-violent dispute
    resolution; restitution (backed up by insurance against crime losses);
    compliance enforced primarily through the threat of ostracism; and the
    evolution of legal norms through entrepreneurial activity. Note that
    these are essentially modernized versions of the six features that
    Benson discovered common to all customary legal systems (above).

    Advocates of polycentric legal systems disagree about how to justify
    these common features, however. Rothbard, for instance, argues that
    private courts would have to obey a precise legal code

    ... established on the basis of acknowledged libertarian principle,
    of nonaggression against the person or property of others; in
    short, on the basis of reason rather than on mere tradition. [27]

    Friedman, on the other hand, argues that the market in law will tend to
    protect individual rights because people

    ... are willing to pay a much higher price to be left alone than
    anyone is willing to pay to push them around. [28]

    These two forms of justification represent extreme versions of two
    approaches to the study of polycentric law: the philosophical/normative
    approach and the economic/descriptive approach. Although many legal
    theorists mix these two methods, they provide useful means of
    classifying research in polycentric law.

    In "Anarchy, State and Utopia" Robert Nozick employs the
    philsophical/normative approach to impugn the desirability of a
    polycentric legal system. [29] His work has triggered a number of
    defenses of privately produced law couched in terms of moral rights.
    [30]

    Fuller's "Morality and the Law" introduced polycentric law to mainstream
    legal philosophy. [31] Fuller defines "law" in terms broad enough to
    encompass privately produced law (as we saw in the quote above), and
    criticizes legal positivism's authoritarian tendencies. Barnett argues
    that Fuller's assumptions should lead him to repudiate monopolistic
    legal systems altogether and outlines a program for bridging the gap
    between the two contrasting approaches that I have descibed. [32]

    Researchers of polycentric law employ the economic/descriptive approach
    more often than the philosophical/normative one. Barnett and Benson
    apply public choice arguments to analyze the actions of state agents and
    critique the perverse incentives created by state legal institutions.
    [33] Gerald J. Postema [34] and Robert Sugden [35] support Hayek's
    theory of the spontaneous develpment of law with game theoretic proofs
    of the important role social conventions play in coordinating behaviour.

    Economic analysis cuts both ways, however. The most sophisticated
    critique of polycentric law comes from William M. Landes and Richard A.
    Posner, who argue on economic grounds that private adjudication depends
    on state courts to back up its decisions; that it under-produces
    precendents; and that it creates a confusing hodge-podge of conflicting
    jurisdictions. [36] Benson offers convincing counter-arguments to these
    claims, calling in part on examples of successful private legal systems
    like the law merchant mentioned above. [37]

    Advocates of polycentric legal systems have yet to employ the
    economic/descriptive approach to their fullest advantage. The analogy
    between the private production of law and the private production of
    money deserves further attention. [38] Note, for example, that courts
    in a polycentric system do not simply sell judgements. Anyone can name
    one party of a dispute "the winner". By demonstrating wisdom and
    impartiality, private courts sell judgements that people will *respect*.
    Consider the parallel with privately produced money: anyone can call a
    piece of paper "money", but people will only respect the currency of
    banks that demonstrate adequate reserves and good management.

    The analogy goes still deeper. Banknotes represent claims to
    commodities. In a free banking system, only those banks that
    successfully back up their claims will be able to keep currency in
    circulation. Bruno Leoni explains the law in simlar terms: "Individuals
    make the law insofar as they make successful claims." [39] By this he
    means that legal norms arise out of the sorts of claims that have a good
    probability of being satisfied in a given society. This takes
    polycentricity to its logical extreme; there are as many potential
    sources of law as there are individually successful claims.

    As we have been seen, polycentric legal systems tend to generate
    successful claims to restitution. Just as the claim to a commodity can
    be transferred from one party to another (via the exchange of
    banknotes), so too the right to restitution can be transferred from one
    party to another (via the exchange of "courtnotes" we might say). For
    example, individuals in a polycentric legal system would probably buy
    insurance to protect themselves against losses due to others' illegal
    activity (in addition to buying insurance to cover their own liability).
    When insurance companies had to cover their clients' losses they would
    assume the rigth to demand restitution from the responsible parties.
    The claim to restitution would thus transfer from the original victim to
    the insurance company. Insurance companies would probably transfer
    claims to restitution among themselves to settle their accounts, giving
    rise to features analogous to those that arose among private banks:
    transferable courtnotes, clearinghouses, and client information bureaus.

    THE FUTURE OF PRIVATELY PRODUCED LAW

    Having learned something of the history of privately produced law and
    the theories that explain its operation, we can now look into the future
    to see what sort of legal system might arise in a free society. This is
    highly speculative, of course, for we cannot tell exactly what legal
    entrepreneurs will come up with. But we can paint a plausible picture
    of the future development of privately produced law by borrowing from
    Barnett, Friedman, Rothbard, and the Tannehills.

    Disputes arising out of contractual relations usually won't present too
    much of a problem, since contracts can simply stipulate that all
    disputes be settled before a named arbitrator. As mentioned above, this
    is a practice which is already common to many areas of trade and rapidly
    spreading to others.

    But what if you signed a contract without such a stipulation and a
    dispute arises? You and the other party to the dispute can always agree
    to take your dispute to a private court after the dispute arises. There
    should be no shortage of objective courts to choose from - biased courts
    would go out of business rather quickly.

    But what if the opposing party knows he will probably lose and thus
    refuses to go to court? This is where the insurance companies alluded
    to above come into play. [40] Like most people in a society where law
    is produced privately, you will have bought legal insurance for just
    such occasions. You tell your insurance agent of the other party's
    recalcitrance, file a claim under your policy, collect compensation for
    your losses, and leave the matter in your agent's hands.

    The right to take the other party to court now transfers to your
    insurance company, which contacts his insurance company (or whatever
    organization through which he purchases legal representation) and
    arranges a hearing. Upon losing, your opponent can expect his legal
    insurance premiums to skyrocket - if he does not lose his policy
    altogether. In either case, if he tries to get a policy from another
    insurance company he will find that it has heard of his behavior through
    a legal credit bureau set up and run by the insurance industry. Such
    consequences will prevent most people from refusing to go to court
    voluntarily.

    But what if your opponent doesn't have any legal insurance to lose? In
    that case, you probably wouldn't have done business with him in the
    first place, having discovered that upon your request he couldn't give a
    legal proof of legal coverage. What if you forgot to check? Firstly,
    you can expect your own insurance premiums to increase for having
    engaged in such high risk behavior. Secondly, your insurance company
    will assume the right to demand restitution once again - this time
    they'll go after the scoff-law himself, rather than his insurance
    company. Or, if they don't handle such dirty work, they might sell the
    right to restitution to a private police agency or a free-lance
    bounty-hunter.

    Whoever catches the outlaw will not want to punish him; there's no
    profit in pointless suffering. Rather they will want monetary
    restitution. If there are no assets to seize, they will reserve the
    right to garnish the outlaw's paycheck. In the worst-case scenario,
    they will place him in a workhouse until he works off his debts. Such
    unpleasant consequences should convince most people to take out legal
    insurance or otherwise obtain legal representation.

    Disputes arising out of criminal activity will unfold in much the same
    way, though criminals' uncooperative disposition will probably put such
    cases in the hands of insurance companies, private police agencies, or
    bounty hunters rather quickly.

    Where do the laws come from in this system? From the desires of
    consumers. You'll get to choose the court of law, and hence the legal
    system, under which your cases are heard - subject, of course, to the
    agreement of the party opposing you. This unanimity requirement,
    combined with the economic benefits of following general standards, will
    probably result in a basic legal code accepted by almost all courts.
    (Some courts will still of course offer specialized laws for particular
    sorts of cases.) What will this basic code look like? Rothbard
    probably has it right when he claims that it will follow the principle
    of nonaggression against the person or property of others - but Friedman
    is probably right to point out that it will look this way for reasons of
    economics, not ideology.

    What happens when legal systems conflict? Most people fear that war
    would erupt in a system of purely private law, but such fears are
    ill-founded. First of all, note that war is expensive. Those who
    produce laws in a private system can't depend on taxes for their income;
    they have to find willing purchasers of their product. But warlike
    law-merchants are at a competitive disadvantage, for they must subsidize
    their aggression by offering less or lower quality legal services per
    unit of purchasing power. Military dictators would quickly go bankrupt
    in a polycentric legal system. But what if one who aspires to military
    dictatorship tries to alleviate his cash-flow problem by introducing
    taxation, thereby turning his customers into slaves? In that case he
    will have reestablished a state - and its warts can hardly be taken to
    impugn a system of privately produced law.

    We should still be concerned, however, if a system of privately produced
    law made it easy for military dictators to succeed in reestablishing
    states. But this does not seem likely. In a polycentric legal system,
    power is widely dispersed. There are no borders to violate, no capitals
    to seize, no leaders to assassinate. And yet the would-be tyrant faces
    countless obstacles, for each coercive step he takes in a free society
    incurs the wrath of a private protection agency. Together or apart,
    these agencies would hold the tyrant and his servants [41] responsible
    for correcting every wrong they commit.

    Of course, no one can guarantee that privately produced law would work.
    The success of any social organisation depends on the attitudes and
    beliefs of those who take part in it. If most people feel that they
    need and want coervicely imposed laws, they shall have them. But if a
    certain critical mass of people - not necessarily a majority of the
    population - believe that they should be free to choose their own legal
    standards, then privately produced law has a good chance at taking off.
    And take off it has. A polycentric legal system has already taken root
    in the cracks of the state's legal monolith. The greater efficiency,
    justice, and resilience of purely private law gives it a good chance of
    shooting skyward. Its continued growth will split the state's power
    asunder, and leave us free to enjoy the sweet fruits of a legal system
    based on real consent.

    NOTES

    1. I do not consider myself to be an anarcho-capitalist. Until I hear a
    convincing justification of statism, however, I will continue to
    advocate the idea of real consent in all human relations - including the
    law.

    2. Friedrich A. Hayek, "Law, Legislation and Liberty", Vol. I,
    University of Chicago Press, 1973, p. 44.

    3. Hayek, "Law, Legislation and Liberty", Vol. I, p. 43.

    4. Bruce L. Benson, "The Enterprise of Law", Pacific Research Institute,
    San Francisco, 1990, pp. 15-21.

    5. For detailed information about the Kapauku legal system turn to
    Benson's main source: Leopold Popisil, "Anthropology of Law: A
    Comparative Theory", Harper and Row, New York, 1971.

    6. Bruce L. Benson, `Enforcement of Property Rights in Primitive
    Societies: Law Without Government', "Journal of Libertarian Studies" 9,
    Winter 1989, pp. 1-26.

    7. Benson's main source: Walter Goldsmidt, `Ethics and the Structure of
    Society: An Ethnological Contribution to the Sociology of Knowledge',
    "American Anthropologist" 53, October-December 1951, pp. 506-524.

    8. Benson's main sources: E. Adamson Hoebel, "The Law of Primitive Man",
    Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and R. F. Barton,
    `Procedure Among the Ifugao', in Paul Buchanon, ed., "Law and Warfare",
    The National History Press, Garden City, NY, 1967. Benson also repeats
    many of the observations about the Ifugao that he makes in `Enforcement
    of Property Rights in Primitive Societies: Law Without Government' in
    his article `The Lost Victim and Other Failures of the Public Law
    Experiment', "Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy" 9, Spring 1986,
    pp. 399-427.

    9. David D. Friedman, `Private Creation and Enforcement of Law: A
    Historical Case', "Journal of Legal Studies" 8, March 1979, p. 400.
    Friedman summarizes and interprets research on Icelandic law more
    briefly in his book "The Machinery of Freedom", 2nd ed., Open Court, La
    Salle, Illinois, 1989.

    10. Murray Rothbard, "For A New Liberty", Revised edn., Collier, New
    York, 1978, pp. 231-234.

    11. Benson, "The Enterprise of Law", p. 21. Benson's analysis draws
    heavily from his earlier article, `Enforcement of Property Rights in
    Primitive Societies: Law Without Governments'.

    12. Leonard P. Liggio, `The Transportation of Criminals: A Brief
    Politico- Economic History', in Barnett and Hagel, eds., "Assessing the
    Criminal: Restitution, Retribution and the Legal Process", Ballinger,
    Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1977, p. 273.

    13. For in-depth treatment of the frankpledge system, see William A.
    Morris, "The Frankpledge System", Longmans Green, New York, 1910, and J.
    E. A. Joliffe, "The Constitutional History of Medieval England", Norton,
    New York, 1961.

    14. Berman, "Law and Revolution", p. 56.

    15. For an excellent source of information about the law merchant see
    Leon E. Trakman, "The Law Merchant: The Evolution of Commercial Law",
    Fred B. Rothman, Littleton, Colorado, 1983.

    16. Berman, "Law and Revolution", p. 10.

    17. For a paricularly shocking account of the treatment of victims in
    the U.S. legal system, see William F. MacDonald, `The Role of the Victim
    in America', in Barnett and Hagel, eds., "Assessing the Criminal:
    Restitution, Retribution, and the Legal Process".

    18. Jerold S. Auerbach, "Justice Without Law?", Oxford University Press,
    New York, 1983.

    19. Terry L. Anderson and P. J. Hill, `An American Experiment in
    Anarcho- Capitalism: The Not So Wild Wild West', "Journal of Libertarian
    Studies" 3, 1979, pp. 9-29.

    20. Benson, "The Enterprise of Law", pp. 312-321.

    21. Fuller, pp. 124-125.

    22. Benson, "The Enterprice of Law", p. 219.

    23. Andrew Patner, `Arbitration Settles A Lot, Unsettles a Few', "The
    Wall Street Journal", April 13 1990, p. B1.

    24. Gustave de Molinari, "The Production of Security", translated by J.
    H. McCulloch, Center for Libertarian Studies, New York, 1977, p. 14.

    25. Ibid., p. 15, de Molinari's emphasis.

    26. Randy E. Barnett, `Pursuing Justice in a Free Society: Part One -
    Power vs. Liberty', "Criminal Justice Ethics", Summer/Fall 1985, pp.
    50-72; `Pursuing Justice in a Free Society: Part Two - Crime Prevention
    and the Legal Order', ibid., Winter/Spring 1986, pp. 30-53.

    27. Rothbard, "For A New Liberty", p. 230.

    28. Friedman, "The Machinery of Freedom", pp. 127-128.

    29. Robert Nozick, "Anarchy, State and Utopia", Basic Books, New York,
    1974.

    30. You will find several of these critiques conveniently gathered in
    one place; see Randy E. Barnett, `Whither Anarchy? Has Robert Nozick
    Justified the State?', "Journal of Libertarian Studies" 1, Winter 1977,
    pp. 15-21; Roy A. Childs, Jr., `The Invisible Hand Strikes Back', ibid.,
    p. 22-23; John T. Sanders, `The Free Market Model Versus Government: A
    Reply to Nozick', ibid., pp. 35-44; and Murray N. Rothbard, `Robert
    Nozick and the Immaculate Conception of the State', ibid., pp. 45-47.
    For another series of articles triggered by Nozick's work, see George H.
    Smith's excellent mix of rights- theory and economics, `Justice
    Entrepreneurship in a Free Market', "Journal of Libertarian Studies",
    Vol. 3, No. 4, 1979, pp. 405-426, and its accompanying commentaries.

    31. Fuller, "The Morality of Law".

    32. Randy E. Barnett, `Towards a Theory of Legal Naturalism', "Journal
    of Libertarian Studies", Vol. 2. No. 2, 1978, pp. 97- 107.

    33. Barnett, `Pursuing Justice in a Free Society: Part One - Power vs.
    Liberty'; Barnett, `Pursuing Justice in a Free Society: Part Two - Crime
    and the Legal Order'; and Benson, "The Enterprise of Law".

    34. Gerald J. Postema, `Coordination and Convention at the Foundations
    of Law', "Journal of Legal Studies" 11, January 1982, pp. 165-203.

    35. Robert Sugden, "The Economics of Rights, Cooperation and Welfare",
    Blackwell, Oxford, 1986.

    36. William M. Landes and Richard A. Posner, `Adjudication as a Public
    Good', "Journal of Legal Studies" 8, March 1979, pp. 235- 284.

    37. Benson, "The Enterprise of Law", pp. 221, 277-281, 299-300.

    38. The private production of money is often called "free banking". For
    excellent works on free banking see Lawrence H. White, "Free Banking in
    Britain: Theory, Experience, and Debate, 1800-1845", Cambridge
    University Press, 1984; George A. Selgin, "The Theory of Free Banking:
    Money Supply Under Competitive Note Issue", Rowman and Littlefield,
    Totowa, New Jersey, 1988; and, as a general overview, Kurt Schuler,
    `Free Banking', "Humane Studies Review" 6, Fall 1988, p. 11.

    39. Bruno Leoni, `The Law as the Claim of the Individual', "Archives for
    Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy" 40, 1964, p. 58.

    40. Of course you might have taken your dispute to the insurance company
    as soon as the dispute arose if your policy so allowed. Policies
    calling for such attention would of course cost more than those
    requiring you to make good faith efforts to settle the dispute on your
    own.

    41. Holding the tyrant's servants fully responsible is perhaps even more
    important, from the public choice point of view, than holding the tyrant
    responsible. The servants would realize that they cannot escape
    liability by hiding behind their uniforms, and would thus hesitate to
    take the tyrant's orders.
    
     
    Vendicar Decarian, Jul 4, 2004
  7. Ron Hunter

    Mike Russell Guest

    bob wrote:
    ....
    Hate to tell you like this, but those were the past winners of the pie
    eating contest.
     
    Mike Russell, Jul 4, 2004
  8. Ron Hunter

    Dave Head Guest

    I wish for a newsgroup reader that, unlike Agent, will filter message text.

    That way, when I go to a photo newsgroup, or a karting newsgroup, or a scuba
    newsgroup, I can filter out all the messages with the words "Bush", "Cheney",
    "Republican", "Democrat", "Kerry", "Liberal", "Conservative", etc. and MAYBE
    read about photography, karting, scuba, or whatever.

    Of the new messages in most any group I go to, a lot - sometimes 80% of them,
    are this nonsense.

    I see that this is crossposted from political newsgroups. Into a newsgroup
    like rec.photo.digital? Why? Crossposts in rec.auto.driving usally involve
    alt.law-enforcment, which is at least somewhat of a logical choice, but...
    politics in a photo group?

    A recent message in the karting newsgroup answered a post about what the
    newsgroup was for, and someone replied, "Karting - but nobody's talking.
    They're using those sissy web page forums." Most likely to avoid the spam and
    the political blather.

    Such buffoonery will eventually kill usenet.

    Dave Head
     
    Dave Head, Jul 4, 2004
  9. Ron Hunter

    bob Guest

    Really?
     
    bob, Jul 4, 2004
  10. Dave Head hates unregulated freedom.
     
    Vendicar Decarian, Jul 4, 2004
  11. Ron Hunter

    Dave Head Guest

    Naw, just abuse of that freedom.
     
    Dave Head, Jul 4, 2004
  12. The essence of freedom is that it can never be abused.

    This stems directly from the very definition of freedom.
     
    Vendicar Decarian, Jul 5, 2004
  13. Ron Hunter

    Dave Head Guest

    Well, hell then - lets just eliminate all the 30,000-some newsgroups, make one
    big one labeled "anything" and we'll all talk about whatever we please without
    regard to efficiency, other peoples feelings, wasting time reading junk you're
    not interested in, etc.

    Dave Head
     
    Dave Head, Jul 5, 2004
  14. If you don't like it, don't read it. You communist dupe.
     
    Vendicar Decarian, Jul 5, 2004
  15. Ron Hunter

    Dave Head Guest

    And with an ideal newsreader, I could also add the word "communist" to a photo
    newsgroup and never see this nonsense either. And I forgot the word "Nader"
    last time, too...

    DPH
     
    Dave Head, Jul 5, 2004
  16. The death of Usenet is imminent, and always will be.
    --
    V.G.

    Change pobox dot alaska to gci.
    "I wanted a car I could run down pedestrians with. But one with a comfy ride, like a sofa on wheels." - Father Haskell

    "No doubt about it, 9-11 was orchestrated by Lockheed." - *lexa 'connects the dots' ()
    (This sig file contains not less than 80% recycled SPAM)

    Sarcasm is my sword, Apathy is my shield.
     
    Vanilla Gorilla (Monkey Boy), Jul 5, 2004
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