Critique of capitalism
The mutual-protection-insurance-groups of 18th century England work this way: Same with the criminal-prosecutor bribes; someone thinks it up, it leaves both sides better off, so everybody who hears about it does it.
Conflict is an especially fertile ground for cultural innovation. Friedman stresses how many legal systems, including advanced ones with lawyers and codes and everything, show signs of originating from feud systems, which might be the most basic form of law. They work like this: A slightly more advanced version that takes account of possibly power differentials between offender and victim: So we end up with an even more advanced version: The Somali system seems to be somewhere around here: In fact, one of the most interesting things I got from this book is that all legal systems need a punishment of last resort — one that can be enforced whether or not the offender agrees with it — but these punishments practically never happen in real life.
The English will hang criminals at the drop of a hat — but since the threat of hanging incentivizes them to bribe prosecutors, in reality few people will need to be hanged.
The Icelandic courts could declare offenders outlaws who can be killed without repercussion — but the threat encourages Icelanders to pay the wergeld, and nobody has to get outlawed. The Somalis are ready to have murderous family feuds — but the possibility of such a feud keeps people willing to go to arbitration. Even our own legal system works like this. The police can physically drag you to jail, kicking and screaming. First , something kept seeming off about all the legal systems mentioned, which only clicked into place about halfway through: A lot of them worked on a principle like: As weird as it is to punish murder with a fine, the fines these societies levied for murder sounded really high: If a member got convicted of a crime, everyone else would come together to help them pony up the money.
But it has the same feeling of nobody expecting very many crimes to be committed. One little-admitted but much-worried-about justification for mass incarceration in our society is the concern that some people are just so naturally violent that, left in the outside world, they would offend again and again until they died.
If someone killed, their family would give up the relevant number of camels, and then everyone would be on their way. As far as I can tell, the Amish have no idea what to do about any crime more dire than using a telephone.
Nobody used anything at all like incarceration. A few far-leftists have flirted with the idea of abolishing police, and the only way I can make sense of this is by analogy to something like Somali or Icelandic law. These were genuine community-based non-hierarchical legal systems. And, for the place and the time, they seem to have worked really well Somaliland, which uses traditional Somali law, is doing way better than Somalia proper, whose law system is somewhat westernized. Just cancel all funding for the Baltimore Police Department and hope for the best?
And also, the cultural evolution idea is really optimistic. And if anyone tries to prevent him from doing that, he can arrange to have that person beheaded. In New York, Orthodox Jews with business disputes still bring them before a tribunal of rabbis, who judge them based on Jewish law. In Pennsylvania, the Amish live their own lives in their own way pretty much completely disconnected from US government decisions although they needed a decent lobby group, the Amish Steering Committee, to work out a few special exemptions like from the draft.
Socialists occasionally set up worker-owned companies run for the good of the proletariat, and they make products and earn money just like everyone else. But you can add as many new laws as you want, enforced by threat of ostracism from your community, plus any other clever commitment mechanisms you can think of. But if the doctor only saw patients in their own community, and everyone in the community had mutual arbitration methods that worked better than the courts, maybe they could charge a fraction of the current price.
But some small seeds are starting to sprout. Social justice communities have sexual harassment policies much stronger than those of the country at large, and enforce them by ostracism and public shaming. Christians are trying to build the Benedict Option , an embedded society that works on Christian norms and rules. Legal Systems Very Different From Ours hints that we could build something like Archipelago gradually, without anybody noticing.
The Jews and Gypsies did something like it. So did the Amish. And if anyone can figure out decent ways for a Robin-Hanson-ian em-clan to put together a similar sort of internal legal system for its members, and can describe how cultural-evolutionary pressures would lead em-clans to tend towards any particular systemic details, I would love to read about it.
But these conflicts arise because people want different things. In practice, if a person disappears under suspicious circumstances, their spouse is the prime suspect in the investigation. Em clans do not have this problem. The essential unit of an em clan is a collection of entities which are duplicates from a common source. Applying the practical, contemporary common uses of the legal system, we immediately start to run into problems.
The real genius of the idea of an em clan is that everyone in the clan wants the same things, in a world where the subset of things they can have and trade are extremely limited. Things like server time, hardware, maybe certain goods in meatspace.
I think em clans could operate just fine as a true democracy — all contentious decisions are resolved by a vote from every member of the clan. No logistical problems, no voters significantly less intelligent than any other. Prior to voting, different ems remember, effectively the same person can publicly declare the reasons the other ems should support their particular take on the issue, and there might be structured debate as well.
I imagine that such a system would probably be mostly formal, and that the only issue that might ever be sorely contested is whether a group of ems should be allowed to leave the clan and start a new one. If someone killed, their family would pony up the relevant number of camels, and then everyone would be on their way.
As I understand it, medieval societies gave out a lot of death penalties relative to modern societies. As an actual expert I have two degrees with the word medieval in the title… , I would ask which society you are referring to here, since medieval is a rather big catchall: But in general medieval systems did not enforce death penalties, preferring to use the threat to enforce compromise and reduce the capacity for feud.
Only where there was a strong central authority, such as some medieval Chinese states, whoever sat in Byzantium in a very constrained local area or apprarently the theological rulers of the monumental American cultures, or one-off rulers with a lot of personal power, would you find the ability to enforce death sentances. I basically mean, killing of people due to rules or orders seems to me to have been practically par for the course in the middle ages, in Europe.
You make it sound like that was uncommon. So, perhaps an example. Would those who were killed during the Harrying of the North England, —70 count as death penalties?
A couple of brief quotes from the wikipedia page:. To his shame, William made no effort to control his fury, punishing the innocent with the guilty. He ordered that crops and herds, tools and food be burned to ashes.
More than , people perished of starvation. His army destroyed crops and settlements and forced rebels into hiding. In the New Year of he split his army into smaller units and sent them out to burn, loot, and terrify.
Food stores and livestock were destroyed so that anyone surviving the initial massacre would succumb to starvation over the winter.
It certainly seems to me that some people might feel justified in considering that as a stack of death penalties. I would suggest a death penalty is a penalty applied by a legal process however defined — I am not expert in enough areas to define this for the medieval period to a person for their acts, or in some cases for an action of a member of their close family.
I would exclude those killed in acts of warfare and otherwise asserting lordship, which is what the harrying of the north was: The reason for this slightly long and questionably relevant divergence is that it picks up on your question about royal authority. He was in no place to be imposing death sentences for crimes, which requires a full acceptance of authority or an occupying army, also impossible at the time as the nearest professional army was probably in Byzantium.
Note also that the spiritual authority of the time, the Catholic church, was not concerned with punishment of crimes, and was only just beginning to ask secular authorities to punish heretics. There were strong rulers who could impose laws — often they are commemorated as lawmakers and very often their laws are not recorded just to keep historians busy. And the norm would be till the thirteenth century at least that localities would be autonomous subject to their agreement to the general principles of law.
Quickly running through the Wikipedia pages for 11th-century English monarchs turns up a number of references to executions. All of nobles, but they do show the death penalty definitely existed in eleventh-century England. I think death penalties can only be counted when its on the ingroup acting within their legal framework.
In addition, a death penalty is viewed as a legitimate process. Members of the ingroup accept that they have the death penalty. So if an Amish community or whatever were to adopt the death penalty for some offense, and then carried it out, and the United States Government or whatever found out and the guy in charge of that community was arrested and sentenced to death for murder, would that count as a death penalty?
For Amish who reject all authority of the US government it would be an unlawful killing by a foreign power. For those who view the US government as having legitimate authority over the Amish it would be. I think the perspective that the Amish accept government power, but the government uses a light touch is correct.
Many, perhaps most, would claim a different legal framework where given the opportunity. Your distinction would therefore mean that such prosecutions are tiny wars rather than legal cases.
Amenta kind of ate a lot of rationalist tumblr I found. Although some yellows and even some purples would do math or statistics as part of their jobs. And even without that, the sheer cultural force of the Internet seems like a powerfully flattening cultural force, giving all of society access to the same information—and same temptations.
In some ways, it seems similar to the original federalist ideals of the early United States. Wade is an order of magnitude larger than the number of people that were ever slaves in the US. And the whole deal with trans children and hormones is probably going to only become more intensely argued, as each side gradually comes to believe rightly or wrongly that the other is abusing children, whether by exposing them to or preventing them from using hormones.
These moral divides exist. The people who sincerely believed that those other people over there had an immoral way of life that needed to be abolished became, um, the people who sincerely believe that those other people over there have an immoral way of life that needs to be abolished. Except instead of slavery, it was drinking alcohol, and then it was having cultural norms against homosexuality, polygamy, and pederasty yes, really, look up Wilhelm Reich , and then it was Christianity at all, and….
But I very much doubt that there are as many people in the US who are worked up about demanding bakers make wedding cakes for gay marriage, or that transgender children get medical treatment to suppress puberty, than are worked up about banning abortion.
But given inertia, does that matter? Perhaps included a Forbidden Word or something. But the more overheated members of Team Right like to say that Team Left are in league with the actual devil note for the avoidance of doubt: Which would, again, be worse than the Nazis. So much for the rhetoric. What about the law? Team Right, on the other hand, fought very hard to make it impossible for gay couples to have weddings, including delightful rhetorical moves like trying to link homosexuality with pederasty.
Team Left makes occasional attempts to stop churches claim tax exemptions at the same time as making political pronouncements from the pulpit. So it seems to me like Team Right has a stronger track record of 1 serious abolish-the-other-side rhetoric and 2 serious abolish-the-other-side lawmaking than Team Left. It should be a warning sign, when your conclusions are extremely comfortable ones my tribe is the good guys, their tribe is insincere and evil.
But you know the rules, you gotta burn a little incense in the Temple of the Emperors. I reckon the first of those 1 affects a lot fewer people and 2 is much less onerous than the second for those whom it does affect. That would be about k bakers.
On the other hand, there seem to be somewhere around half a million same-sex married couples in the US, so about a million people in such marriages. Making judgements about which of two impositions is worse, check. So is this … an isolated demand for rigour? It sure seems like one. Standing in the Shadows: Interesting choice of parallel. Jews and Christians can point to central things in their sacred scriptures saying that making sacrifices to gods other than their own is strictly forbidden.
There are even things that seem like they point clearly in the opposite direction. Jesus was questioned about Roman taxes, and he said to pay them; that tax revenue was definitely used for maintaining Roman temples, not to mention oppressing Jews. The early Christians were almost all living in a society much, much more hostile to Christian ethics and religious sensibilities than the present-day US, and you will search the New Testament in vain for anything telling them to refuse to do work that might end up helping pagans in their paganism.
Of course this is a separate question from whether being forbidden to refuse to provide your professional services for the use of gay couples at their weddings is a severe, or an excessive, imposition. Those are my excuses for allowing the statement to go without the benefit of my reply and opinion. And maybe there should be something of the sorrt, but in any any case you can rest assured that the lack of one was in at least one case not due to its being viewed as unobjectionable.
Rather the post made clear it was not respondable to at the rational level, and no one has, yet, chosen to engage at the level of spirit or tarring. To be clear, none of which proves that here was a good call for reflection, I made no statement, or judgement, on that. Given there were a lot more things forbidden than marriage to someone of the same sex, are there any others you still deem as intolerable? Or can you tolerate them all except that one?
Jesus was questioned about Roman taxes, and he said to pay them; that tax revenue was definitely used for maintaining Roman temples,. I was trying to clarify the question: And I was trying to do that because I had made a claim about which was worse and albatross11 was, unless I badly misunderstood, claiming that I was wrong about that.
It seems to me that a good way to assess which of two things is a worse imposition is to think about which would be more unpleasant to have done to you. If so, what approaches do you think would be better? I suppose I should add, because it looks as if there may be some confusion on this score, that my own marriage happens to be an opposite-sex one and I have no personal interest in marrying someone of the same sex.
As for proximate versus remote: Because I feel exactly the reverse. Similarly, if I regarded same-sex marriage as a moral evil, I would far rather bake a cake for a same-sex wedding than give its price to a group trying to promote same-sex marriage.
More to the point, he also tells people to obey the government. And yet, when ordered to stop being Christian, he chose martyrdom instead. How many people are there who will want to refrain from pro-gay speech acts, or otherwise in act in ways that the cake precedent will rule out?
Probably a lot more than want to do so using cakes. And probably even more than people who are on Main Street and want to do so using cakes. That is still too narrow. This particular case is merely one example of one basis for decision that the state disapproves of. Which is why I described the decision as a very mild example of slavery.
The state deciding whom you can be married to if you want the state to recognize your marriage is a much smaller infringement than the state deciding whom you must provide services to.
The Original Mr X: No suggestion that if you are a Christian musician you should refuse to perform at gladiatorial games. Nothing remotely along those lines.
Also, you seem more confident about what happened to St Paul than the actually available evidence warrants. I used the example of bakers because I was replying to someone who complained about bakers.
Just … a cake. Which was going to be eaten at a same-sex wedding. The transaction is clear in the first case, while the latter seems to go out of its way to embroil me in proceedings I want nothing to do with. There are plenty of admonitions not to be too closely involved with pagans, which would a fortiori prevent providing supplies for pagan sacrifices and the like.
To take a milder example, asking me to refrain from telling a woman that she is ugly seems like a weaker constraint than asking me to tell her she is beautiful when I in fact think she is ugly. Getting a little closer to the case discussed, drafting someone—telling him he must do the particular job you have assigned to him or you will put him in jail—seems like a greater infringement on his liberty than telling him that if he does a particular job—becomes a doctor, say, without state approval—you will put him in jail.
Do you have difficulty seeing why someone might see the state commanding someone to do a particular job for a particular customer under threat of punishment if he refuses as a mild form of slavery? You have the option of not being a baker , after all. I think your view of the analogous school situation differs from mine. Though in fact what the law enforces is weaker than that, because it will let you refuse to do that except when doing so discriminates against people in a limited number of protected classes.
No way, no how. Despite it being less powerful than others which I can legally buy. I consider that onerous. In the interests of mathematical and historical accuracy and really bad taste that is at least probably offensive to everybody, this needs correcting.
I am not sure if there is an exact dating for the holocaust, but it has to be contained within the bounds of the second world war in Europe, and therefore has to have lasted less than six years, which is a shorter period of time than the nine years presumably the number here was chosen to allow the comparison cited for abortions. So the number of aborted babies murdered is not as bad as the holocaust, which is of course the only measure that matters in this sort of debate.
Also, the devil is by definition worse than Hitler. Embodiments of the opposite of God who torture people for all eternity are probably not in the same sphere of comparison as human beings, however evil.
That conception of the Devil would require that innocent people get tortured in Hell. It was my impression that people who believe in Hell at all believe that people are sent to Hell for sinning as punishment for the sin and that any torture there is approved by God.
I would, er, credit the Holocaust to the Nazi regime as a whole rather than specifically to the second world war. That would be to , or about 12 years. Which is longer than 9 years. Seems to me that the separation was just the earliest stage, and the mass murder the latest stage, in the process of Getting Rid Of The Jews, which started as soon as the Nazis took power and was brought to an end by their defeat in WW2.
Other reasons why the comparison is kinda nonsensical: Gay weddings were never illegal, they were just unrecognized. At any point a gay couple could have hired any willing clergyman to witness them saying vows to each other and they would not have been arrested or punished.
They just would not have received the recognition of their marriage by the state. In contrast people who refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings are prosecuted and fined by the state. And that a big difference. Why, just last week I baked at least one cake but no same-sex wedding cakes at all, and no one came banging at my door to arrest me for it! Not the exact same thing, of course; but the same sort of thing. So, if you want to bake cakes, and even sell them, without having the government interfere when you refuse to sell them to black people same-sex couples, you can do it.
Of course you may get less business that way, and it may e. Just one quick point about baking:. Before she became a teacher my mother was a pastry chef and briefly ran an illegal bakery out of my house. One of her friends was busted and put out of business for exactly that. And you have the right to engage in commerce and sell wares.
Right up there with you can have sex for free. In general, I have the right to tell lies; I have the right to advertise my goods or services; but the government may object if I tell lies when advertising my goods or services. I have the right to do things for money; I have the right to vote how I please; but the government may object if I sell my vote for money.
I have the right to have sex with other people; I have the right to spend time with my year-old daughter; but if I try to combine those then again the government may take an interest. And X-as-such can be fine and Y-as-such can be fine even if there is some interaction between X and Y that makes combining them a problem. Some years ago, I was working as a consultant, and my company took a contract with an online gambling company. After working on this for awhile, I realized I was really uncomfortable with it, and asked my boss if I could avoid working on this kind of thing in the future.
He arranged things so I never got assigned online gambling clients again. So what happened here? And I was allowed, in this situation, to refrain from working on a project that offending my moral beliefs, one that I thought made the world a worse place. And I suspect different people put a different value on not having to take part in evil. The tradeoff here is that this enables discrimination. As best I can tell, there is simply no way to avoid this conflict.
A boycott is precisely a group of buyers refusing to do business with someone they think is too involved in some evil action. A divestment campaign is an attempt to get investors to refuse to invest their money with companies they think are too involved in some evil action. I agree with pretty much everything you say. Forbidding people to do business with whomever they choose on whatever terms they choose is a restriction on their freedom, and in some cases they may feel it as an onerous restriction; this regrettably trades off against discrimination, and a variety of ways to make the tradeoff are defensible.
On what grounds, though, would shops, restaurants, or hotels refuse to serve gay people? I see no evidence that this is a realistic prospect, and plenty of evidence of companies tripping over themselves to show off their pro-gay credentials. The point is that in some places there are really strong prejudices that might tempt them to do so.
This sort of thing is still within living memory. Such things are in the past now, and for sure no one thinks about gay people that way?
Though this level of explicitly-stated prejudice seems to be rare. You left out a critical point—that discrimination is not a restriction on freedom, in the moral or political sense of the word it is a restriction on power, which on some contexts is referred to as freedom. I only have the right to interact with him if both of us want the interaction to occur. For a context in which I think almost everyone could see that point, consider marriage. The refusal of the woman I love to marry me would impose a much larger cost on me than the refusal of a baker to bake a wedding cake for me.
I remark that such discrimination does comonly reduce the freedom of the people discriminated against, though. For a parent to refuse to use powerful drugs on a child for a condition that will in the vast majority of cases resolve itself with nothing more than not encouraging the child is among the most basic duties of parenthood.
As kindly and patiently as I can manage, let me just remind everyone that this is not what happened. Because slavery was ultimately in fact abolished, all at once with zero compensation, people have a lazy tendency to backdate that intention to before the Civil War.
Abolitionism was a vocal faction, but a tiny minority. They loom large in our history because they were right, and we honor them for that, but at the time, they were pariahs. Even in the North, anti-abolitionist mobs would show up from time to time to disrupt their meetings , burn their buildings, destroy their presses , and sometimes murder them.
Arguments about slavery before the Civil War were about issues on the edges: Directly attacking slavery in the South was largely unthinkable for anyone to the right of William Lloyd Garrison. Both sides believed that if slavery were confined to a limited territory, and not allowed to expand, it would eventually die.
The future of slavery was at stake. Rather, the South, accustomed to compliant leaders in Washington, pre-emptively seceded following the election of a president who was unsympathetic. Rather, they showed up to put down the rebellion and defend the Union and the Constitution. In the end, yes, the Northern troops invaded the South and freed all the slaves.
But only after the two sides had escalated to total war. And perhaps just as important, after the pro-slavery voices had removed themselves from the moral conversation in the North. Had there not been slavery, there would have been no need to have the discussion. The more explicit concession I was thinking of was the importation clause, which prohibited Congress from banning the importation of slaves e. Which even pro-slavery but pro-union Northerners could support.
I think you understate the degree to which the institution of slavery was, in fact, a substantive moral issue between South and North. The edges are were the battle is fought, even when there are strong convictions on both sides. Compromise does not imply agreement ; if anything, the opposite is true. There was strong disagreement on the issue of slavery, and the most charged political moments of our antebellum politics were driven by those differences.
And outside the Senate, the divide was even more stark, and compromise nowhere to be found. What was Bleeding Kansas a dispute over, if not slavery? Union soldiers seemed to think otherwise.
There were relatively few absolutist abolitionists, and many Northern Copperhead Democrats, and a desire to keep the Union together was strongly motivating.
But the only reason the Union threatened to divide in the first place was slavery. It all comes back to that issue. Rank-and-file men on either side may not have seen that, and may have justified it to themselves in different, more proximate terms — but lofty causes are rarely transparent to the meek, and the decisions that led to the Civil War were fundamentally driven by a dispute over the future of slavery.
To extend the analogy I mentioned before: But is the solution to immediately shut down the oil and coal industries? Almost no one advocates that. It was indirectly a large factor even in non-slave states: And of course slaveholders held tremendous power in American politics right up through But it was socially unacceptable in most circles to call for an immediate end to slavery in the Southern states.
There was a very widespread view that abolition would infringe on the property rights of slave owners, and that compensating them would be impossibly expensive. Similarly, today, someone who as you mention advocates for universal background checks on gun sales will vigorously disclaim any desire to confiscate all privately-held firearms, or even just handguns.
Extremists who openly call for such confiscation are seen, by politicians and activists advocating pragmatic measures like background checks, as an embarrassment and a hindrance to the cause. In his autobiography, Andrew Dickson White, who was an ardent anti-slavery activist in the s, sneers at abolitionists as follows:.
But the abolition forces had the defects of their qualities, and their main difficulty really arose from the stimulus given to a thin fanaticism. More than once in those days I hung my head in disgust as I listened to these people, and wondered, for the moment, whether, after all, even the supremacy of slaveholders might not be more tolerable than the new heavens and the new earth, in which should dwell such bedraggled, screaming, denunciatory creatures.
He hung his head in disgust! And White was surely even more vehemently anti-slavery than Abraham Lincoln was at the time. It was precisely a dispute over whether slavery should be expanded to a new state. As I wrote above, both sides assumed that slavery needed to expand its geographic reach to survive.
Kansas represented the future. John Brown fed the paranoia of the South, but before the war started, the raid had very little support in the North. He was, after all, leading an armed insurrection.
And the Battle Hymn lyrics were written by Julia Ward Howe, who had been an abolitionist before the war. The war changed things very quickly. It was less than two years from Fort Sumter to the Emancipation Proclamation. The 13th Amendment passed the Senate only sixteen months after that. Had Lincoln been an abolitionist in , he never could have been nominated or elected. Even most Republicans would have deserted him. Even most gun control advocates or environmentalists would not have found such an extreme platform appealing.
Have you ever been to San Francisco, Portland, or Seattle? Or for just the first point, New York or Chicago? Ok, I think we agree a great deal more than I assumed we did. Re-reading, I also realize that I most likely grandstood grandstanded?
Sorry for that too. Now, in light of what we agree on, I think my original case is supported. There are moral differences in America today that have this same character. Relatively few people really want every last zygote saved, just as relatively few want every abortion legal up until the last moment of pregnancy.
Ditto for having the right to have artillery in your backyard, or confiscating every gun everywhere. However, this seeming moderateness of both sides can belie the fact that the issues themselves are very serious, and could in fact be the kind of thing wars are fought over. And if people self-select into communities founded in large part around those common beliefs, ensuing polarization could result in escalating strife which might become such a war.
And unless we want to heighten the contradictions and immanentize the eschaton of the just war to come, we should probably be wary of reorganizing society in this way or, more particularly, making the structural changes that would enable this reorganization. And perhaps just as important [as a cause], after the pro-slavery voices had removed themselves from the moral conversation in the North. Immanentizing the Archipelago would isolate our moral conversations, even more than social media is already doing so.
I spent some time a while back attending a city council meeting which was considering, among other things, gun regulation. The people speaking for the regulation put all of their arguments in terms of the harms produced by guns, such as increasing the suicide rate.
The regulation was a requirement than guns be either locked up or have trigger locks on them when the owner was out of the house, which would have no effect on the suicide rate—no direct effect on any of the harms the speakers were describing. One speaker pointed that out, arguing for a much stronger regulation. The only sense I could make of the speeches and the regulation was that the objective was to reduce the number of guns out there by making owing a firearm somewhat more expensive and less convenient.
I made that point, analogizing it to states that cannot make abortion illegal so do their best to make it as inconvenient as possible. Islamic law has no problem treating customary law as a valid source of precedent.
The notion that customary law lies outside the sharia is itself a symptom of the drift towards a modern state legal system. And Salafis make the same mistake, deeming heretical practices that have been longstanding parts of the sharia for centuries simply because they do not have a textual basis. So you might be more right than Scott gives you credit for about sharia, without having read the book or knowing the evidence to allow me to substantiate this hypothesis, but that may be because sharia can be used to justify local practices by selecting the examples and priortising those aspects important to the user.
There is despite the efforts of at least one Egyptian university no single corpus of sharia for any sect of Islam I have encountered some of the smaller ones might however be small enough that they can have a set sharia, which would function presumably like the requirements of the Amish churches.
There is despite the efforts of at least one Egyptian university no single corpus of sharia for any sect of Islam I have encountered. This makes Islamic law sound more fractured than it is. A large majority of Muslims are Sunni.
There are four madhabs , schools of law, in Sunni Islam. They agree on most of the law, tend to disagree on relatively fine points—how many lashes as punishment for a particular offense, exactly what drinks are covered by the prohibition on wine. As I interpret the terminology—not everyone agrees—none of them believe that they know what sharia is, because sharia is law as it exists in the mind of God.
Their theories are fiqh , jurisprudence, the human attempt to approximate the implications of the divine commands. Point taken, but I am not convinced that interpretations within the schools are that consistent. Yet the teachers in question are in the same schools, and probably use the same resources modern technology might function to unify Sharia to some extent through providing accessible resources. My understanding is that it is not the fine details that are the major issue here, but the actual deciding lines on issues like is a divorce allowable — the interpretation of the law at a functional rather than technical level.
And more so than a corpus, the sharia is an interpretive framework in no way bound to any specific locality. You could try and define a large corpus of works and opinions as the sharia should you wish, but it seems tricky, since any interpretation under sharia is using a selection from that corpus, and the framework used itself is one of those things selected.
The fact teachers moved about is not evidence against this — fixed laws tend to limit mobility, whereas flexibility allows for people to move more easily and establish themselves elsewhere due to the fact there is a market for ideas and interpretations. Islam is not anarchic, and there are plenty of things that are agreed or were until modern schools started appearing under all interpretations of sharia, but I feel the direct article is only applicable to the entire corpus and not to any practical application of this.
And the framework used varies quite significantly in, say, American constitutional jurisprudence as well. For one notable example, a North African legal scholar appointed as the chief Maliki qadi of Delhi. Which is to say, a key part of the whole Archipelago idea is exit rights. And obviously the Amish case is based around limited exit rights! Seasteading, sure, but social justice? A big way they recruit and retain members is by convincing you that everything outside is intolerable.
Not my idea of a positive example. I suppose I am doing exactly what Robin Hanson would warn against — comparing against perfection rather than current institutions.
So indeed such a quasi-Archipelago might well be an improvement. I do still want to point out that gap, though, between such a quasi-Archipelago and a full Archipelago with some way to ensure exit rights. Although I guess my need for exit rights is somewhat reduced compared to such situations given that we have stronger individual rights here in the first place than a lot of these communities.
What if the thing you want exit from is a community in which some of those individual rights are making things worse? For example, modern US society makes alcohol readily available for adults, and not too hard for kids to get. Maybe you would be happier living in a community where it was really hard to get. I think some American Indian reservations are dry, in response to the genetic predisposition to alcoholism of some tribes. How would you feel about living in a society where it was considered a moral imperative to allow anyone over the age of 12 complete sexual freedom, and year-olds sleeping with adults was just part of that freedom?
Take atomization as an example. There are people I see only at work whose social life looks a lot like mine: This is obviously bad, but what are we going to do? And the last few times I went to church I was the only person between 10 and 50 years old, so…. I suspect that almost everything that does happen makes a point of not making its presence known, as a direct response to high cultural diversity. I can keep all my money without even changing bank accounts. French citizens are also quite free to convert their money to gold bullion and move to Somalia if they feel an abiding desire to live under a decentralised anarcho-capitalist legal system.
No government will stop them from doing so. No one speaks your language at least, nowhere near fluently. It is extremely easy to cause grievous offence, commit a crime, or even die outright by making some small mistake; it is incredibly difficult to do anything productive because all of your skills are millennia out of date. But it does put the exit option out of reach of most people.
In the case of the Amish, things are made much more easy by the existence of non-Amish Mennonite communities, which are culturally very similar to the Amish, but slightly more forgiving.
They could always go to the Mennonites, stay in the closet for a while and gradually move on to more open communities. However, the very reason for the controversy is that many individual congregations in this orbit are accepting openly gay members, leading in turn to controversy about the membership of the congregation itself within various regional and national conferences of churches.
While perhaps all such congregations will be modernized, there remains significant cultural heritage and affinity such that they would likely prove a great source of help for such a person.
Indeed, although this is probably not a forum where anything will come of the following, I have such an abundance of useful contacts for anyone in this situation that I would encourage such a person to contact me or be referred to me. However, my internet presence is crap, so instead please contact theunitofcaring, who will refer you to me.
That is entirely true, but in the context of the discussion started by Bugmaster, it is worth explaining that Mennonite communities with cultural and geographic proximity make it less intimidating for teens not to join the Amish. Tons of people come here despite the language barrier, huge difference in technology and society, and active defenses trying to keep them from coming or force them to leave.
Not my impression at all. Quite a few Amish who stay Amish make good money by trading with the outside world, see for instance or for a more marginal but very cool example see here. Right — having grown up near Amish country, this is very much a thing. My parents have an Amish toolshed. High-quality crafting is one of the traditional niches for insular Christian communities — see Shaker carpentry or Oneida Community silverware. I would just add that the Amish seem to be very much aware of the choice involved.
Leave that sort of sniping out, would you? I kind of agree with you, but I think your position is too absolutist. Community requires each individual to surrender some rights, by definition. To use a softer example, you may be compelled to surrender some of the fruits of your labor, in exchange for roads and bridges. The question is, how many individual rights are you willing to surrender, and is the tradeoff worth it?
Nor am I objecting to taxation — especially given how government is often needed to protect individual rights. I realize that probably sounds like some kind of strawman, and when stated in such an extreme form perhaps it is, but, these communities exist at least in less extreme form , and often a larger government has to step in and stand up for the rights of the people in these communities!
I agree with some of your examples, and disagree with some of the others depending on severity ; but the more important question is, how do you decide where to draw the line?
You and I believe that e. Differentiate between what people really want, and their beliefs about whether the system delivers it for them. People in cast-based societies probably value different things from us, but we can still compare their desires with what the system gives them. And our desires with what our system gives us.
And then try and optimise the system s. And whether that statement is true or not seems an empirical question. I disagree with, or at least doubt, everything in that sentence.
Sure, you can invent whatever society you like, but what people really want is for the castes to stay the same as they have always been, so as to bring order to a chaotic world.
Or to enforce Judeo-Christian moral values so as to bring order to a chaotic world. Or to foster Englihtenment values so as… well, you get the idea. Civilization is finding the balance between community standards and individual liberties. Yes, a community that stifles individual rights is stifling, but a group of individuals with no respect for community standards is not a community.
Civilization exists in the boundary between chaos and order. You can grow up Amish, never choose to join the community, and leave with no legal consequences. A right to exit, even an expensive one, gives Betty the ability to leave, and makes the world a better place. The thing is, any community worth being called that is going to have exit costs, and the better the community, the higher the exit costs. The Romani idea of pollution seems to be one of these.
These artificial barriers would, I wager, be more likely to be harmful to individuals. Leaving the community will therefore cost you not only your insurance but most of your client list too. There are absolutely costs to changing communities. I could be in a near ideal community, but know that there is a nearly identical one next door that I could join tomorrow that also has tacos on Tuesday.
In order to truly be free of the US tax code, I have to renounce my citizenship, which is a long and burdensome process complete with taxes on any and all property I wish to retain for myself, and restrictions on my future ability to return. Basically, the economy becomes based to a significant extent on convict labour. As far as I can tell, such a situation is compatible with the US Constitution and could evolve organically without any sort of revolution. Our economy does not need a huge pool of unskilled laborers.
A significant percentage of people violate the terms of their parole; showing up every day to an unpleasant job is presumably more onerous than your typical parole conditions, thus the percentage of violations will be even higher. And the US can allow for extreme punishments — your constitutional rights are defended by a subset of the judicial elite that Colin suggests remember, and their interpretations change to suit social demands hence the liberalisation of the twentieth century.
If this scenario came about we could expect the Supreme Court to interpret the constitution in a way to allow the use of punishment to support the system, not to be a barrier to the development of the system on a long-term scale.
Which could end up looking like, essentially, much higher tax rates for the convicted underclass, combined with loss of voting rights less ability to reform the system, or protest, etc.
Which is not a good way of running it. Bob Murphy sketches out a very interesting view of how private prisons might function in an AnCap society in this lecture. Under AnCap, people would get shunned and starve to death for minor disagreements on social arrangements. AnCap would result in excessive penalties for minor deviations!
Why is that interesting? The other short answer is a question: This is a pretty common sentiment, that the prison system is a modern day version of plantation slavery. I hear this sort of thing constantly. The problem is that planters actually made money on their slaves.
Convict labor loses money. So where is the money coming from exactly? The reality is that the kind of guy who winds up behind bars was never going to make anyone any money and is currently a huge drain on society. Keeping him locked up, or limiting his options when he gets out, is about mitigating that loss.
Private prisons in our world typically have their basic costs covered by the taxpayer, so any money they make by making convicts work is profit. Thats different from a plantation where each slave has to provide for themself. And we certainly lock people up for things that have little to do with violence- ending the drug war would be pretty big.
I think this is where cross-country analyses come into play. Lots of things other than incarceration have changed over time that can effect crime rates — as Scott has written about before, banning leaded gas was a major one. Drug dealers are generally career criminals involved in a lot of bad stuff, but the drug crimes are the easiest to prosecute, so you get a lot of people who were guilty of all kinds of stuff, the police had enough evidence to charge them, but it was easier all around to just get them to plead guilty to the drug charges.
The police got them for drug dealing. The naturally violent people can be easily distingushed by community. Note that the actual Nazis and Soviets punished the thieves and murderers less severely than heretics. I think one of the reasons that fines were extreme and they were mostly concerned about really rare crimes is that they were aimed at controlling the actions of kings and other powerful figures.
I think back in the day a lot of things relied on the ability of individuals to deliver a beating or kill someone freelance without recourse to whatever judicial system existed. Much like sewer and political systems , the technology needed to handle what humans do by the hundreds of thousands or millions is on a fundamentally different level than that needed by a few dozen or a few hundred or even a few thousand if most of them live miles apart from each other.
How many pairings are there in Irish law? Equally exempt from legal suit for each is whatever one of them may have given the other, whatever one of them may have used as against the other, without violent crime, without stealth. Repayment, by simple replacement, of what is taken without permission and complained about is all that is required until there is evasion of the legal obligations that arise from fasting, or legal default.
Anything taken by stealth, by violent crime, anything taken without permission, that is complained about and ignored, is levied with its penalty fine. Hunger strikes have a long history in Ireland as a means of invoking social opprobrium on the enemy. Crucially, this is all rank and status based, which means those at the very lowest level of society or who have lost their status often have little or no recourse in law.
I guess this ties into your second thought in the last section: Humans are social animals. Punishing defectors is an adaptive trait in social animals. As a result, humans enjoy punishing defectors. Vengeance is not just limited to humans in nature. I know of a few examples among birds — crows harassing people who are cruel to other crows, cowbirds destroying the nests of birds which eject their parasitic offspring. If anything, the point of the legal system seems to be limiting and formalizing that punishment.
If I remember correctly, only the first victim is himself innocent—after that each killer is himself killed as the next round. The Icelandic system also had the option of lesser outlawry, either as a court verdict or part of an out of court settlement which is how the vast majority of cases seem to have ended.
That meant three years out of Iceland, after which the offender was free to return. One thing I got wrong in my old article on the system and corrected in the chapter in the book has to do with the relation between outlawry and wergeld. If you killed someone and the process went all the way through the court to a conviction you got outlawed even though you paid the wergeld.
But almost all cases actually settled out of court, and the usual settlement terms for a killing were wergeld without outlawry. All of this has to be qualified by some uncertainty. There is a good deal of inconsistency between the very late written accounts of the legal rules we have and what happens in the sagas—including Sturlung sagas.
I discuss this in the chapter. Aristotle considered Carthage to have been a republic as it had a political system similar to that of some of the Greek cities, notably Sparta, but avoided some of the defects that affected them. Both Livy , a Roman historian, and Plutarch , who is noted for his biographies and moral essays, described how Rome had developed its legislation, notably the transition from a kingdom to a republic , by following the example of the Greeks.
Some of this history, composed more than years after the events, with scant written sources to rely on, may be fictitious reconstruction. The Greek historian Polybius , writing in the mid-2nd century BCE, emphasized in Book 6 the role played by the Roman Republic as an institutional form in the dramatic rise of Rome's hegemony over the Mediterranean.
Polybius exerted a great influence on Cicero as he wrote his politico-philosophical works in the 1st century BCE. In one of these works, De re publica , Cicero linked the Roman concept of res publica to the Greek politeia. The modern term "republic", despite its derivation, is not synonymous with the Roman res publica. Among the several meanings of the term res publica , it is most often translated "republic" where the Latin expression refers to the Roman state, and its form of government, between the era of the Kings and the era of the Emperors.
This Roman Republic would, by a modern understanding of the word, still be defined as a true republic, even if not coinciding entirely.
Thus, Enlightenment philosophers saw the Roman Republic as an ideal system because it included features like a systematic separation of powers. Romans still called their state "Res Publica" in the era of the early emperors because, on the surface, the organization of the state had been preserved by the first emperors without significant alteration.
Several offices from the Republican era, held by individuals, were combined under the control of a single person. These changes became permanent, and gradually conferred sovereignty on the Emperor.
Cicero's description of the ideal state, in De re Publica , does not equate to a modern-day "republic"; it is more like enlightened absolutism. His philosophical works were influential when Enlightenment philosophers such as Voltaire developed their political concepts.
In its classical meaning, a republic was any stable well-governed political community. Both Plato and Aristotle identified three forms of government: First Plato and Aristotle, and then Polybius and Cicero, held that the ideal republic is a mixture of these three forms of government.
The writers of the Renaissance embraced this notion. Cicero expressed reservations concerning the republican form of government. Eventually, that opposition led to his death and Cicero can be seen as a victim of his own Republican ideals. Tacitus , a contemporary of Plutarch, was not concerned with whether a form of government could be analyzed as a "republic" or a "monarchy". Nor was the Roman Republic "forced" to give away these powers: Tacitus was one of the first to ask whether such powers were given to the head of state because the citizens wanted to give them, or whether they were given for other reasons for example, because one had a deified ancestor.
The latter case led more easily to abuses of power. In Tacitus' opinion, the trend away from a true republic was irreversible only when Tiberius established power, shortly after Augustus' death in 14 CE much later than most historians place the start of the Imperial form of government in Rome. By this time, too many principles defining some powers as "untouchable" had been implemented.
In Europe, republicanism was revived in the late Middle Ages when a number of states, which arose from medieval communes , embraced a republican system of government. Haakonssen notes that by the Renaissance, Europe was divided, such that those states controlled by a landed elite were monarchies, and those controlled by a commercial elite were republics. One notable exception was Dithmarschen , a group of largely autonomous villages, who confederated in a peasants' republic.
Building upon concepts of medieval feudalism , Renaissance scholars used the ideas of the ancient world to advance their view of an ideal government. Thus the republicanism developed during the Renaissance is known as 'classical republicanism' because it relied on classical models. This terminology was developed by Zera Fink in the s,  but some modern scholars, such as Brugger, consider it confuses the "classical republic" with the system of government used in the ancient world.
It is also sometimes called civic humanism. Beyond simply a non-monarchy, early modern thinkers conceived of an ideal republic, in which mixed government was an important element, and the notion that virtue and the common good were central to good government.
Republicanism also developed its own distinct view of liberty. Renaissance authors who spoke highly of republics were rarely critical of monarchies. The early modern writers did not see the republican model as universally applicable; most thought that it could be successful only in very small and highly urbanized city-states.
Jean Bodin in Six Books of the Commonwealth identified monarchy with republic. Classical writers like Tacitus , and Renaissance writers like Machiavelli tried to avoid an outspoken preference for one government system or another.
Enlightenment philosophers, on the other hand, expressed a clear opinion. Thomas More , writing before the Age of Enlightenment, was too outspoken for the reigning king's taste, even though he coded his political preferences in a utopian allegory. In England a type of republicanism evolved that was not wholly opposed to monarchy; thinkers such as Thomas More and Sir Thomas Smith saw a monarchy, firmly constrained by law, as compatible with republicanism.
Anti-monarchism became more strident in the Dutch Republic during and after the Eighty Years' War , which began in This anti-monarchism was more propaganda than a political philosophy; most of the anti-monarchist works appeared in the form of widely distributed pamphlets.
This evolved into a systematic critique of monarchy, written by men such as the brothers Johan and Peter de la Court. They saw all monarchies as illegitimate tyrannies that were inherently corrupt. These authors were more concerned with preventing the position of Stadholder from evolving into a monarchy, than with attacking their former rulers. Dutch republicanism also influenced on French Huguenots during the Wars of Religion. In the other states of early modern Europe republicanism was more moderate.
In the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth , republicanism was the influential ideology. After the establishment of the Commonwealth of Two Nations, republicans supported the status quo, of having a very weak monarch, and opposed those who thought a stronger monarchy was needed. Atypically, Polish—Lithuanian republicanism was not the ideology of the commercial class, but rather of the landed nobility, which would lose power if the monarchy were expanded.
This resulted in an oligarchy of the great landed magnates. Oliver Cromwell set up a republic called the Commonwealth of England — which he ruled after the overthrow of King Charles I. James Harrington was then a leading philosopher of republicanism. John Milton was another important Republican thinker at this time, expressing his views in political tracts as well as through poetry and prose.
The collapse of the Commonwealth of England in and the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II discredited republicanism among England's ruling circles. Nevertheless they welcomed the liberalism , and emphasis on rights, of John Locke , which played a major role in the Glorious Revolution of Even so, republicanism flourished in the "country" party of the early 18th century commonwealthmen , which denounced the corruption of the "court" party, producing a political theory that heavily influenced the American colonists.
In general, the English ruling classes of the 18th century vehemently opposed republicanism, typified by the attacks on John Wilkes , and especially on the American Revolution and the French Revolution. French and Swiss Enlightenment thinkers, such as Baron Charles de Montesquieu and later Jean-Jacques Rousseau , expanded upon and altered the ideas of what an ideal republic should be: Concepts they contributed, or heavily elaborated, were social contract , positive law , and mixed government.
They also borrowed from, and distinguished republicanism from, the ideas of liberalism that were developing at the same time. Liberalism and republicanism were frequently conflated during this period, because they both opposed absolute monarchy.
Modern scholars see them as two distinct streams that both contributed to the democratic ideals of the modern world. An important distinction is that, while republicanism stressed the importance of civic virtue and the common good , liberalism was based on economics and individualism. It is clearest in the matter of private property, which, according to some, can be maintained only under the protection of established positive law.
Jules Ferry , Prime Minister of France from to , followed both these schools of thought. He eventually enacted the Ferry Laws , which he intended to overturn the Falloux Laws by embracing the anti-clerical thinking of the Philosophs. These laws ended the Catholic Church's involvement in many government institutions in late 19th-century France, including schools. In recent years a debate has developed over the role of republicanism in the American Revolution and in the British radicalism of the 18th century.
For many decades the consensus was that liberalism , especially that of John Locke , was paramount and that republicanism had a distinctly secondary role. The new interpretations were pioneered by J. Pocock , who argued in The Machiavellian Moment that, at least in the early 18th century, republican ideas were just as important as liberal ones.
Pocock's view is now widely accepted. Cornell University professor Isaac Kramnick , on the other hand, argues that Americans have always been highly individualistic and therefore Lockean.
In the decades before the American Revolution , the intellectual and political leaders of the colonies studied history intently, looking for models of good government. They especially followed the development of republican ideas in England.
The Whig canon and the neo-Harringtonians, John Milton , James Harrington and Sidney , Trenchard , Gordon and Bolingbroke , together with the Greek, Roman, and Renaissance masters of the tradition as far as Montesquieu , formed the authoritative literature of this culture; and its values and concepts were those with which we have grown familiar: A neoclassical politics provided both the ethos of the elites and the rhetoric of the upwardly mobile, and accounts for the singular cultural and intellectual homogeneity of the Founding Fathers and their generation.
The commitment of most Americans to these republican values made the American Revolution inevitable. Britain was increasingly seen as corrupt and hostile to republicanism, and as a threat to the established liberties the Americans enjoyed.
Leopold von Ranke in claimed that American republicanism played a crucial role in the development of European liberalism: By abandoning English constitutionalism and creating a new republic based on the rights of the individual, the North Americans introduced a new force in the world. Ideas spread most rapidly when they have found adequate concrete expression. Up to this point, the conviction had prevailed in Europe that monarchy best served the interests of the nation.
Now the idea spread that the nation should govern itself. But only after a state had actually been formed on the basis of the theory of representation did the full significance of this idea become clear. All later revolutionary movements have this same goal This was the complete reversal of a principle. Until then, a king who ruled by the grace of God had been the center around which everything turned.
Now the idea emerged that power should come from below These two principles are like two opposite poles, and it is the conflict between them that determines the course of the modern world. In Europe the conflict between them had not yet taken on concrete form; with the French Revolution it did. Republicanism, especially that of Rousseau, played a central role in the French Revolution and foreshadowed modern republicanism. The revolutionaries, after overthrowing the French monarchy in the s, began by setting up a republic; Napoleon converted it into an Empire with a new aristocracy.
In the s Belgium adopted some of the innovations of the progressive political philosophers of the Enlightenment. It is a form of social contract , deduced from Jean-Jacques Rousseau 's idea of a general will. Ideally, each citizen is engaged in a direct relationship with the state , removing the need for identity politics based on local, religious, or racial identification.
The inaugural meeting of the United Irishmen in Belfast on 18 October approved a declaration of the society's objectives. It identified the central grievance that Ireland had no national government: The declaration, then, urged constitutional reform, union among Irish people and the removal of all religious disqualifications. The fall of the Bastille was to be celebrated in Belfast on 14 July by a Volunteer meeting.
At the request of Thomas Russell , Tone drafted suitable resolutions for the occasion, including one favouring the inclusion of Catholics in any reforms.
In a covering letter to Russell, Tone wrote, "I have not said one word that looks like a wish for separation, though I give it to you and your friends as my most decided opinion that such an event would be a regeneration of their country".
The culmination was an uprising against British rule in Ireland lasting from May to September — the Irish Rebellion of — with military support from revolutionary France in August and again October During the Enlightenment, anti-monarchism extended beyond the civic humanism of the Renaissance.
Classical republicanism, still supported by philosophers such as Rousseau and Montesquieu , was only one of several theories seeking to limit the power of monarchies rather than directly opposing them.