Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tribal Madness

I promised that I'd explain exactly what prompted my question earlier, so I'll fulfill that obligation here and now with pleasure. UNFORTUNATELY I'm not sure how to make it appear listed under the current date - so it may get buried like the other posts. I'm going to have to start writing on my PC if this keeps up.

The folks on the Mises forum were discussing the merits of anarcho-capitalism in comparison to the perceptions of need in certain capacities for a state. It was asserted by one participant that government performs an essential peacekeeping and law-enforcement duty which makes the market possible - this is consistent with a Misesian, minarchist perspective. Government is usually bad, but when it comes to some goods, it's a necessary beast.

Another gentleman suggested that it's ridiculous to presume that a society of rational actors would go around killing each other in cold blood if the police disappear. Actually, he said something like "drink their blood, eat their still-beating heart, and dance in their entrails." But that's just hyperbolic.

Before I get on with it (yeah, Tim, hurry up!), I'd like to say that I basically agree 100% with that statement. Normal, well-adjusted people are not going to off their neighbors, just like K-mart is not going to bomb Saks.

But here's what I'm bringing to the table: this is almost to the letter exactly what happens in many tribal societies all the time. Australian aboriginals routinely engage in revenge-killings, which bounce back and forth as one family takes revenge on one killing, just to spark another killing to avenge that death. According to Jared Diamond (love him or hate him), it's much more widespread than that, and controlling this behavior through compulsion, he supposes, is largely part of the reason why states flourished (and continue to do so).

A more close-to-home example might also do the trick. Take the feud of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Their fued from 1880 to 1891 ended with just over a family member a year being killed, and a spate of kidnappings and other crimes.

Now take in mind that they were both supposedly involved in criminal enterprise, according to Wikipedia, and the dispute was nominally over property. Nevertheless, for 11 years right here (well, there, if you want my perspective from Russia), they were killing each other at an extremely high rate.

So it's possible, even today, under the right circumstances. That's a given in my eyes. But is it likely? I think not, especially if private defense agencies are doing their job to protect their clients. Impartial security no longer has to be provided by the government, in my opinion. But it's something worth thinking about. It may be "insane", but remember, sometimes people do go insane, and indeed, sometimes even sane people can do things they later regret. Just waving off the issue seems a bit irresponsible to me - let's take it head-on like true scholars, eh?

And in other news, it looks like I'll be moving back to the US in a few months to Pheonix, Arizona. Sounds like a lovely place, except for the murderously scorching summers - which, if you think about it, is the perfect way to balance out my Siberian winter with -50 temperatures (BOTH temperature scales) and nasty wind.


David said...

You're moving to Phoenix? Mike's living there!

Tim said...

Cool, I'll have to get in touch with him. My parents decided to live in sunny "Peoria", I think, and I'll be joining them there for a time.

It's gonna be crazy with the baby, the wife, and half my family there to see us. But that's what a year out of the US will do, I guess.

Is it me or are the logical spam-bot filters better? They actually rely on something more advanced than character recognition. "What color is the sky?" etc. Of course, it's a matter of time until it becomes trivial, but nevertheless, it saves ME time versus some pages where I must type the extremely unnatural xqprtm44jil.

Tim said...

Actually, I'm encouraged - the garbage men make over 50 grand a year. Sign me up! Jobs Americans won't do? My butt. Secretaries do well too, from 12.50 to 25 an hour. I'd live with that - one hour of work is what I could make in a week here - although work here isn't usually very challenging.