Libertarian Writing Bleg

By skepticlawyer

As a few people around the place know, I’m currently writing a novel. I’d originally had grand plans of getting it finished before starting at Oxford in 2007, but that didn’t happen. It does look likely that it’ll be finished by the end of this year, however, which is both a great relief and slightly terrifying, in that I haven’t had to go through the whole publication rigmarole for, what is it, fifteen years now. 

Part of what I’m writing falls into the realm of what is often called ‘speculative fiction’ (I’d like to say ‘alternative history’, but that’s not quite true) and I’m using some libertarian ideas. However, I do still have a thesis to write, so being able to track down interesting stuff at speed without biting into thesis writing time is — shall we say — a very good thing. 

So — a request to my libertarian/classical liberal readers — the things listed below are some questions I’m exploring. If you have recommended readings or insights to share, please drop them in the comments and we’ll chat. I’d be very grateful if other libertarians around the traps could link to this post and send interested readers and commenters my way.

Issues I’m exploring:

1. What a regime of fully legalised drugs (not decriminalized) would look like, and how — if a given state did this — it should operate.

2. Arguments for and against a property qualification for holding public office.

3. Arguments for and against a property/education qualification in order to vote. 

4. What a system of private tax collection would look like if implemented now; any pitfalls and good aspects.

5. Arguments for and against blending democratic governance with monarchial governance in order to prevent people voting themselves largesse from the treasury and — long term — bankrupting it (I know Hans Herman Hoppe has done some research on this question — there may be others).

6. What the world would look like if the largest and most powerful countries had never abandoned the Gold Standard, and whether we would enjoy the same levels of economic prosperity we currently do. As part of this question, I’m also interested in discussions of the different versions of the Gold Standard — it doesn’t have to be the very pure ‘gold specie’ standard that often emerges in discussions on this topic.

7. The extent to which good governance in one’s home country is compromised when one seeks to export ‘good governance’ to other countries, including by military force/creation of client states/development aid. This is a slightly different question from the traditional libertarian concern with non-intervention (ie, the arguments against intervening in Afghanistan and Iraq etc). I’m assuming (and have portrayed in what I’m writing) the corrupting influence on governance in the conquered countries — to be honest, I think that goes without saying. I’m interested in the effects it has in the home country.

8. Arguments for and against completely privatised marriage arrangements backed by a system of well-designed defaults. I know that Sunstein and Thaler (I’m using this in my thesis) make a version of this proposal in their book Nudge, and it’s one with which I broadly agree. Their proposal is designed to drain the angst out of the gay marriage debate, but it doesn’t address the fact that privatised marriage would — and should, if it’s to be consistent — allow a plethora of other relationship arrangements, including polygamy (in the form of concubinage) and time-limited marriage contracts (‘five years, with an option to renew’) and all manner of other things. There is one civilisation in the libertarian test-tube on this — the Romans privatised marriage (you could get a licence from the state, but most people didn’t bother) and let’s just say the arrangements that emerged were, ahem, diverse.

9. The economic effects of abolishing chattel slavery across a large territory (assuming, of course, that a war doesn’t ensue).

That’ll do for now — there may be further libertarian blegs in due course…

39 Comments

  1. Posted April 23, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    1. What a regime of fully legalised drugs (not decriminalized) would look like, and how — if a given state did this — it should operate.

    Legalize and tax according to the harm (which the epidemiologists can tell you) – but only with appropriate quality control (like you can’t have methanol in alcoholic beverages).

    2. Arguments for and against a property qualification for holding public office.

    Perhaps having above a certain level of property/capital (notional or real) should DISQUALIFY from holding public office (and it might actually give them incentive to help the poor). Sez me thinking of Plato’s guardians, although actually I’ll side with More: those seeking office should be forever barred.

    3. Arguments for and against a property/education qualification in order to vote.

    Unfortunately, ill-informed parliamentarians making policy in their areas of ignorance are more dangerous. David Suzuki did a study a few years back, giving US pollies (a nuclear state) a few basic science questions…. and the average federal pollie had trouble explaining the difference between a neutron and a nucleus…. about year 10 questions. Why not give parliamentarians (and especially ministers) an exam on the subjects where they have influence before they are allowed to screw things up?

    4. What a system of private tax collection would look like if implemented now; any pitfalls and good aspects.

    Probably not much different from the scams of the tax-gatherers in Asia Minor during Roman times. (Oooh, and the websites that would “out” the tax gatherers…. and what would happen… OUCH)

    Best wishes for the writing, and they are good questions…. even though I’m only a libertarian on personal issues, as you probably know

  2. Posted April 23, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Oh, on the marriage thingy….
    debate on marriage at on-line opinion (arguing that single-sex couples should be able to marry – while some of us are arguing that the state should have nothing to do with marriage or any sacrament. Might be something relevant in the many comments.

  3. Posted April 23, 2009 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Dave, can you provide more detail on your drugs regime (ie — most harmful/least harmful, what some specie regs might look like?). Feel free to drop links into the comments — I’ll let you out of the spammer if you put too many links in.

    LE: the regime for abolition I had in mind (so it didn’t turn into a war) is based on what the British did in 1807:

    1. No new slaves could be created, but existing ones move out of the condition of slavery over time. In parts of the West Indies this involved being apprenticed in stages, in other parts it involved no new slaves could be created (so there were still some old slaves around quite a few years after abolition).

    2. Compensation for slave traders (reportedly, this cost the Crown a billion pounds; this being 1807, that was real money).

    3. Incentives for manumission (eg, tax breaks).

    It does seem to have averted a war, but is also quite cynically economic.

  4. Posted April 23, 2009 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    SL: I’ll get back on the harm/cost issues, offline with some perspectives coming from my previous life.

    New Scientist has covered this a lot recently.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126882.400-radical-alternatives-needed-to-cannabis-prohibition.html

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/04/08/portugal/index.html

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126940.500-cannabis-and-crime.html

    But my old pharmacology textbook (Bowman and Rand, Textbook of Pharmacology, 1980, Blackwell Scientific) had a really good section on “Social Pharmacology” covering the social and pharmacological (quotes from the La Guardia report etc) effects of everything from betel nut, through caffeine and alcohol to what most people call “drugs”. It should be an easy enough read for you. Dunno if there is a newer edition or if so, if the chapter is still there, but you’ll probably be able to dredge one up.

  5. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    With so many topics I think you are creating a difficult thread. Oh well.

    3. Arguments for and against a property/education qualification in order to vote.

    4. What a system of private tax collection would look like if implemented now; any pitfalls and good aspects.

    Assuming a US style system of government with a separated legislative branch and executive branch we could put these clauses in the constitution.

    i) There shall be no taxation.
    ii) All citizens may vote at general elections to decide the members of the legislative branch.
    iii) On payment of 80 gold grams any citzen may cast a single vote for the executive branch.
    iv) All citizens can vote in referendums including referendums to amend the voting fee outlined in clause iii above.

    In this way everybody is represented in deciding the law of the land. However only those that contribute financially get to hob nob at polling booths and help choose the government of the day.

    For those that favour big government there is an incentive to hike the cost of voting. However obviously this limits the franchise so there is an incentive to not hike it too much.

    Perhaps this doesn’t answer your question but at least I have got it off my chest.

  6. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    If you are writing a book to be entertaining then I’d keep any gold standard reasonably simple. I’d look to Australia pre 1910 as an example. That is safe because it is a real rather than an imagined system. With some simplification the key attributes of the system were as follows:-

    1. Gold was the unit of account.# Tax liabilities were denominated in unit of gold weight. So were almost all private contracts such as building leases, salaries, futures contracts etc.

    2. There was no national currency.

    3. There were some state issued paper currencies. Essentially these were bearer bonds. In other words bonds where the principal was payable (in gold coin) on demand to whoever happened to hold the bond. These bonds circulated as a form of currency.

    4. Most notes in circulation were privately issued bearer bonds. See either of my links below for a picture of one.

    5. In general we practiced a close approximation of free banking.

    http://terjepetersen.wordpress.com/2007/04/12/the-bank-notes-act-of-1910/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Bank_Notes_Tax_Act_1910

    # this is the simplification because actually the unit of account in pre-1910 Australia was British Pounds that were gold linked.

  7. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    p.s. If you want the private sector rather than the government mint producing the gold coins that sit at the bottom of the pyramid then you need to think about incentives. Nobody will privately produce gold coins unless at market gold coins are worth more than raw gold. This will almost always be true although excess coin production will squeeze the margins almost right up to the point where production ceases.

    Some gold bugs want to criminalise coins that are worth more than the gold in them. There’s a subplot for you right there.

    See the link below for some thoughts on government run coinage:-

    http://terjepetersen.wordpress.com/2007/01/02/circulating-legal-tender-gold-coins/

  8. Posted April 24, 2009 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    Problem with the property/education requirement in order to vote – the laws imposed by those properly elected will apply just as much to the poor or stupid as the rich and educated. It’s the “taxation without representation” problem.

  9. pedro
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    SL, fully legalised drugs existed in our societies not so long ago so it should be easy to get a handle on it.

    Contract marriage is a silly idea and a lawyer should spot the problems pretty easily.

  10. Posted April 24, 2009 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    I think you’re right on the drugs, Pedro, but getting the pharmacology part right is useful, hence me picking Dave’s brains!

    Have a look at Ch 15 of Nudge, by Sunstein and Thaler for contract marriage. Sunstein is a good lawyer and makes effective use of defaults (this is copied from the Roman system). I do think it’s worth considering, although we also need to be realistic about the arrangements that will ensue (which Sunstein & Thaler don’t touch on very much).

    EG part of the Roman system of concubinage was a response to a divorce default that split the property equally, and wealthy men (obviously) stood to lose a great deal from it. It wasn’t usually a ‘mistress’ arrangement, but one whereby the man was protecting his estate. He had to acknowledge and support any children from the relationship, however.

  11. Posted April 24, 2009 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Novel and a thesis? I’m impressed. But then you don’t knit, do you? (Please tell me you don’t…)

  12. Posted April 24, 2009 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    No, I don’t knit! I did try to learn once, but failed miserably. I can crochet, but I’m very rusty…

  13. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I think some people might view a libertarian world as tough and gritty like an old western. I don’t see it that way. I think it would be high tech, innovative and materially, artistically and culturally rich. I think politics would be fast and vigourous with local laws that come and go in an highly experimental way.

    I think culturally we would generally have more hope and optimism about what our neighbours were up to. And occasionally bad guys would take advantage of our faith in humanity just as they do today but mostly we’d clean them up quickly.

    Gone would be hospital queues and immigration queues. Although the basic timeless problems of humanity would persist. People would still struggle to differentiate themselves from the mainstream and would still identify with lost causes. There would be socialists and communists still trying to sell their snake oil.

    The long view of history suggests that societys tend towards centralised state control. So a libertarian society would be one that had built an institutional framework to hold back the impulse. Most legislation would be subject to mandatory sunset clauses. Political power would be divided via some federalist system. Nowhere would there be pure libertarianism, but the build up of legacies that clog our institutions today would be reset and cleared by various mechanisms. The world would be in perpetual yet peaceful revolution.

    Would it be a materially more egalitarian world. Perhaps. Perhaps not. However I think ultimately it would be a more just world.

  14. John Greenfield
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    SL

    Bloody hell, woman, do you want us to drop and give you 50 as well!!?? 🙂

  15. Posted April 24, 2009 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    [email protected] said:

    With so many topics I think you are creating a difficult thread. Oh well.

    Thread? It’ll be a gordian knot! (OMG! I wholeheartedly agree with T!) Perhaps split it up between the personal and economic liberties issues.

    On the educational qualification for enfranchisement (but first, for office!), it’s worth pondering that where anthropoid apes that use sign language have been given IQ tests (designed for deaf kids), they’ve come in between 80 and 85… less than one standard deviation below the mean, and therefore higher than 15% of the human population. Working in polling booths, I’ve had to assist people voting who wouldn’t reach that mark.

    With an educational qualification for voting, the ruling classes have no incentive to educate the masses to the threshold, as this only causes loss of power by the ruling class. Unless the ruling classes are as well motivated as Huxley’s BNW alphas, who took their duties seriously, trying hard to, and succeeding at making the betas and gammas happy, it would all get ugly…. but that means the alphas need to be indoctrinated almost from birth about their duty, and not having the freedom to enrich themselves. The challenge and genius of BNW is that the system has an obnoxious design, but it succeeded at having everybody happy.

    As for me on gold standard… I’m a labor theory of value guy, and I think controlling currency value is a very useful policy lever for governments.

  16. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I’m a labor theory of value guy

    I’ve been meaning to write a blog article on why the labour theory of value isn’t completely wrong. Thanks for the reminder. 😉

  17. Posted April 24, 2009 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    I think some people might view a libertarian world as tough and gritty like an old western. I don’t see it that way. I think it would be high tech, innovative and materially, artistically and culturally rich. I think politics would be fast and vigourous with local laws that come and go in an highly experimental way.

    Yeah just like in Somalia.

  18. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Posted April 25, 2009 at 4:49 am | Permalink

    Somalia isn’t libertarian. It is more like an anarchy that failed to remain an anarchy and became your run of the mill fiefdom. And now that their “government” has opted for sharia law it is well and truely up the creek. For a brief period Somalia did demonstrate some of the benefits of leaving everything to the market but ultimately I think it came unstuck due to the fact that political power was unregulated. As I alluded to above I think political power needs to be institutionally divided and regulated in order to sustain a libertarian society. One can not simply assume that the socialists elements of society will behave themselves and leave stuff alone.

  19. Posey
    Posted April 25, 2009 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Touché Saint. My thoughts of TerjeP’s earnest picture were chattel slavery, absolute monarchies, totalitarian dictatorships and neo-liberalism, or variants thereof, 20th century onwards.

  20. Posted April 25, 2009 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    What a regime of fully legalised drugs (not decriminalized) would look like, and how — if a given state did this — it should operate.
    .
    You might try Transmetropolitan which gives a scenario where that obtains. The good stuff and the bad.
    .
    The trouble with completely legalized drugs, a position I tend toward cautiously, is that drugs are addictive. Pretty much anything that gives you pleasure is addictive. As Burroughs says:

    Junk is the ultimate merchandise. The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to the product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise, he degrades and simplifies the client… Junk is the ideal product… the ultimate merchandise. No sales talk necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy.”

    One may say, yeah well that’s because it’s criminal and if it were legal and sld in nice fresh looking pharma-superstores it’d be different. But no. There are plenty of legally drugs that will get you hooked. Doctors know this good and well. But it’s still prescribed. To be an addict is not to be at liberty.

    Thing is if you’re trying to conceive of a state of social liberty does not the capacity of merchants to addict their customers run in the face of this? That’s the paradox at the heart of this issue and other issues of liberty.

    For example:

    2. Arguments for and against a property qualification for holding public office.

    3. Arguments for and against a property/education qualification in order to vote.

    Is the education qualification left out of holding public office intentionally.

    Again the paradox surfaces. Complex human societies are always class societies. And class societies are based on the determination to make status heritable. If persons of high stature can pass this status on to their offspring this will necessitate the exclusion of those born to the ‘lower orders’ the opportunity to rise. If the state is the property of the wealthy than the wealthy will act in concert to maintain their position. To do this will require closing the market to a certain extent.

    One could say, well if we make it an education qualification that will be different. But why? In the expanding technocracy education is the ultimate capital. Again the status gain obtains. And it’s hardwired because intelligence is to a certain extent heritable.

    But does a society ruled by the smart fare any better? Is being smart the same as being wise or being creative?

    Israel, Korea and Japan are societies containing a higher level of average intelligence than other countries. One would assume that their political system would be superior. But they’re not. Nepotistic quasi-feudalism is rife in Japan and Korea. And Israelis change their government more often than they change their sheets.

    In any event can one be free if one is excluded from political franchise categorically. It seems to me that to do so would entrench a class system and some kind of casual feudalism would result.

    The heritability of status and wealth is something that John Stuart Mill considered a problem. He even went so far as to suggest that wealth not be heritable. I like the idea of everyone starting on the same line.

    Trouble is you never really do and all the alternatives are worse.

  21. Posted April 25, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Bloody hell, woman, do you want us to drop and give you 50 as well!!??

    Probably. 🙂

  22. Posted April 25, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Terje – Somalia isn’t libertarian. It is more like an anarchy that failed to remain an anarchy and became your run of the mill fiefdom.

    Anarchy properly speaking is a civil association of humans sans law or anything resembling it. In realty without law what obtains is feudalism. This is because of human nature. And I think that lies at the heart of the paradox of freedom (no I haven’t read Hives’ book and ain’t gonna).

  23. Posted April 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Adrien, anarchy doesn’t mean “without law”, it means “without rulers”. Often the term is used to mean chaos and lawlessness though. This is why I think it’s a terrible term to use for a libertarian endgame.

  24. Posted April 25, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Steven – As I understand law it means rules that can be enforced. The idea of principles of interaction that do not require any kind of coercive authority is an idea that goes belong law. Essentially it’s a series of agreements that need no law because people won’t break them.

    There is no endgame.

    Well there is, but it has nothing to do with human political philosophy.

  25. Jacques Chester
    Posted April 25, 2009 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Of course, if you haven’t already, look at the soc.history.what-if newsgroup. You can look at it through a newsreader or the google groups interface, including the archive which will probably turn up discussions on some of these questions. They also have FAQ.

    In terms of the franchise, I proposed a while back that it be limited only to those who do not receive government money.

    There’s a bit of complication in that you have define how this is measured — does it mean being a government official, or receiving net positive income (tax vs welfare), working for a subcontractor etc etc.

  26. Posted April 25, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Is the education qualification left out of holding public office intentionally.

    Actually, no — that was carelessness on my part when I was writing the post, sorry ’bout that. I must admit I had something like Mill’s ‘two votes for graduates of Oxbridge/Scottish Universities’ system in mind. I’ve always found it intriguing (it comes up in my thesis), as it struggles so obviously with his view that people can do what they want, when they want — so long as they do not harm others. He respects autonomous decision-making, but also recognises that some (many) people will make bad decisions, not only about themselves, but about others too.

  27. Posted April 26, 2009 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Go read Distraction by Bruce Sterling. Not for similar ideas so much as a contrasting reference beam.

  28. Posted April 26, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Actually, no

    Yeah thought so. Just had to ask.

    I think the argument for a property qualification would probably be justified by one of the interesting and seldom voiced facts that Sinclair alluded to recently at the Cat. The rich foot most of the bills for the State.

    That said the rich also gain most of the rewards that come of said State. Aristotle argued that they didn’t have a special claim on the State because of this. A friend of mine who does medieval history says Aristotle is never wrong

    ‘Cept on women, slaves, physics… 🙂

    He respects autonomous decision-making, but also recognises that some (many) people will make bad decisions, not only about themselves, but about others too.

    Mill was called a blockhead by Nietzsche even tho’ I’m convinced that Nietzsche personaly endorsed much of the sensibility contained in On Liberty. The mistake of the Enlightenment, as po-mo tells us in the most tiresome of fashions, is the assumption that one can ever see anything objectively. Mill thought he was being objective but he was seeing things from the point of view of a man who’d been a child prodigy and an experiment in progressive education. On the campus it’s easy to feel that this place and these people are the best.

    But there are things they simply don’t and simply can’t see.

    I’m a little skeptical of the assumption that people with a formal education tend to make better decisions. After all aren’t governments stuffed to the brim with such people? I’ve met a lot of very canny people who never graduated from high school. And I’ve met a lot of very stupid people with more than one tertiary qualification.

    My father, for example, was a brilliant engineer. But politically, altho’ he was fundamentally a small govt conservative and an old school liberal, he voted for Joh religiously! On politics he was a total blockhead when it came to knowing what was really going on.

    But at least he was good at what he did. I’ve met others (a very obnoxious psychology post-grad comes to mind) who are thoroughly useless. Their qualifications only serve to give them the power to do way more damage.

    I know Aristotle’s a bit past it. But he still makes sense in many things particularly in the matters of government design. His view is, that to make democracy work, you need a strong middle-class and you need the political coherence that comes of having the poor and the rich firmly involved. As he says if the former are excluded it leads to revolution, if the latter: an oligarchical coup. That’s the problem with Latin America.

    A lot of libertarians, I think following Marx, believe democracy leads to socialism. But, despite what’s been said by John Quiggin and others over at LP, I think they’ve accepted much of the common sense notions viz what was called neoliberalism: the principle that business should be as unencumbered as possible. True they’ve also rejected certain fundamentals as well, the ‘deregulation’ of the labour market for example. But my point is that they will accept the need for liberal policy directions if necessary. And they will firmly reject undesirable socialism, eg the Oz ID. card.

    One of the founding arguments for public education was developed in the 18th century. A radical idea at the time it stated that everyone need be taught to read, write and do sums. Why? How else would they be able to function in the market.

    I think that the results tend to show that most people will make sensible decisions most of the time. I don’t think an oligarchy of the rich and/or educated will prevent stupid decisions. Just make them worse in the event.

    Again and finally Aristotle states that altho’ a monarchy is the best system when someone good is on the throne. And altho’ and aristocracy is the second-best system when it really is the rule of the best. They’re also the worst systems when those in charge aren’t so good.

    Democracy’s frustrating because the mediocre inevitably tugs the excellent down a few pegs. But it does provide insurance against the very worst of times. And anyway if the excellent really are excellent they should be able to get around the obstacles emplaced by visitors the Porlockian swill.

  29. pedro
    Posted April 27, 2009 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    SL, most of marriage/family law is about welfare and custody issues. You want to move that to contracts? Imagine how useful the original contract will be after 15 years of marriage. Both parties will be arguing all sorts of term variations by express and implied agreement. The social cost would be huge.

  30. Posey
    Posted April 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    err, marriage is a legal contract last time I looked.

  31. pedro
    Posted April 28, 2009 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    No it isn’t posey. It is a legal state under the law, not a contract. Try suing your spouse for breach. You used to be able to sue for breach of promise to marry. I don’t know whether that action was abolished by common law or statute.

  32. Posted April 28, 2009 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    SL:
    Pressed for time… I /will/ get back to you, but a quick thought on drug regulations.

    The US has done something right…. it’s the FDA, because the lines between foods and drugs are very blurry, especially in the days of functional foods. Thinking in this mode raises a very good example: Pufferfish (fugu) regulations. Work fugu regulations out in your head, (I reckon people are going for the “high” of the thrillseeker) and you’ll be touching on most of the issues you’ll need, without the irrational aspects that distract most people from the real issues.

  33. Nanu
    Posted April 28, 2009 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Posey –

    Pedro has missed the point that marriage is a de jure state and at the same time a de facto contract.

    SL & LE

    ..comment welcome

    http://www.catallaxyfiles.com/blog/?p=4648#comment-126862

  34. Posey
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Pedro & Nanu –
    It’s you who miss the point. Frankly, m’dears, many people don’t give a damn about marriage or its law whatever the heck that may or may not be. What a con. An uncontested divorce today costs around $500 minimum and yep lawyers and bridal caterers love the biz, but at what price and to what end?

    The thing was seriously dying out there for a bit and voilà! up popped the counterinsurgency of tawdry faux made-to-order spiritual palaver with its strong encouragement of worst non-spiritual instincts.

    Still steadily declining overall rates though. The rich and powerful eventually will once again become the only ones who marry. That’s the trend. Let them and their faithful servants figure out their own Byzantine property laws and regulations.

  35. Nanu
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Posey –

    Seriously, read the Catallaxy thread, that comment can’t be for me or Pedro. We are only debating the legal aspect.

  36. Nanu
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Notice: NOT ON TOPIC
    _______________________

    L E –

    “Yeah I dunno about these state sponsored funerals for the very, very rich. Seems like they should be the last people whose funerals should be paid for by the state.”

    State funerals aren’t about wealth.

  37. Posted May 3, 2009 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Skpetic

    I just thought I ‘d let you know that I’m trying to come up with something constructive to say here.

    One thing that occurs is that I’m not sure what kind of scenario you have in mind. Is it a libertarian world, a non-libertarian world? What’s the conflict?

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