[p2p-research] Building Alliances

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Sat Nov 7 03:51:34 CET 2009

Respectfully, I disagree.

It may well be a strong state that makes possible P2P. Who else is going to 
stand up to copyright barons? Who else will ensure the networks are not 
tampered with? Who else has supported some major networking inititatives? 
Who else has supported the universities that contributed?

Well, there are who elses. :-) It's not just been the state. But the state 
has been part of it, for good or bad.

I've paid a lot of taxes in my life. I'm not that concerned about the paying 
part. What I'm more concerned about is what do I get for them? If I got 
universal health care, universal access to high quality copyrigh-free 
digital works, and open source robotics, and maybe even a basic income for 
everyone, I'd say the money was well spent. :-)

There is an aspect of taxes which is about leveling the playing field. That 
is one reason groups of companies even lobby for their own regulation, to 
get everyone playing together and keep senseless arms races from spiraling 
out of control. If everyone paid 33% of their income towards a universal 
basic income, then people would not have to use that for conspicuous 
consumption to compete with others, either. So, we might all be better off, 
including wealthy people who would get happier communities to live in.

On taxes, consider:
   "A Non-Libertarian FAQ."
#  If you don't pay your taxes, men with guns will show up at your house, 
initiate force and put you in jail.
   This is not initiation of force. It is enforcement of contract, in this 
case an explicit social contract. Many libertarians make a big deal of "men 
with guns" enforcing laws, yet try to overlook the fact that "men with guns" 
are the basis of enforcement of any complete social system. [I don't fully 
agree with this -- non-cooperation can work wonders too.] Even if 
libertarians reduced all law to "don't commit fraud or initiate force", they 
would still enforce with guns.
# Social Contract? I never signed no steenking social contract.
   That argument and some of the following libertarian arguments are 
commonly quoted from Lysander Spooner.
   The constitution and the laws are our written contracts with the government.
   There are several explicit means by which people make the social contract 
with government. The commonest is when your parents choose your residency 
and/or citizenship after your birth. In that case, your parents or guardians 
are contracting for you, exercising their power of custody. No further 
explicit action is required on your part to continue the agreement, and you 
may end it at any time by departing and renouncing your citizenship.
   Immigrants, residents, and visitors contract through the oath of 
citizenship (swearing to uphold the laws and constitution), residency 
permits, and visas. Citizens reaffirm it in whole or part when they take 
political office, join the armed forces, etc. This contract has a fairly 
common form: once entered into, it is implicitly continued until explicitly 
revoked. Many other contracts have this form: some leases, most utility 
services (such as phone and electricity), etc.
   Some libertarians make a big deal about needing to actually sign a 
contract. Take them to a restaurant and see if they think it ethical to walk 
out without paying because they didn't sign anything. Even if it is a 
restaurant with a minimum charge and they haven't ordered anything. The 
restaurant gets to set the price and the method of contract so that even 
your presence creates a debt. What is a libertarian going to do about that? 
Create a regulation?

All activities in a state take place within the context of a contract with 
the state. So, I think you are trying to create a false dichotomy here, an 
either/or, when you can have both, as Michel suggests.

--Paul Fernhout

Ryan Lanham wrote:
> Paul,
> Very few people who benefit from taxes ever see them as immoral.  Those who
> pay them...another story.  In the end, it is a theory of
> compulsion...coercion.  As such, it cannot be reconciled with a strong P2P
> mentality in my opinion.  I think Kevin Carson has accurately recognized
> that one cannot be for a strong state and P2P.
> Ryan
> On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 10:22 AM, Paul D. Fernhout <
> pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:
>> Ryan-
>> I don't think redistributing tax money as a basic income so people had more
>> time to do p2p things would be immoral, because I'm coming to believe it is
>> a human right for everyone to have access to the fruits of the industrial
>> commons (which in turn depends on the cultural commons and the land commons
>> and the biospheric commons).

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