... Meanwhile, those of you invoking what is reasonable and not so reasonable to decide democratically (and those invoking Nozick's name to justify local regulation) might look at this. ...I was the only one invoking Nozick's name, so that'd apparently be me. The "at this" is the Tale of the Slave (also in Anarchy, State, & Utopia) which follows:
Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.I'm guessing that the inference I'm supposed to make is that everyone in a community is a slave if the community has the power to impose restrictions on any of its members, even (or perhaps especially) if the community is democratic. I think this makes light of the horrors and oppression that real slaves experience, but hey, I'm willing to go along with it. I pointed out that later in the book that Nozick supports individuals selling themselves into slavery (after all, if you're truly free, your free to do something as stupid as that as well), and so I still contend that Nozick would support the concept of a community, such as Montgomery County, imposing restrictions on its members, such as a ban on trans-fats.
The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?
- There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master's whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.
- The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.
- The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.
- The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.
- The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.
- The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.
Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.
- Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.
- In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)
- They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.
For amusement, I've also rewritten the above parable. I call it The "Tail" [sic] of the Wife:
1. There is a husband completely at the mercy of his brutal wife's whims. He often is cruelly denied sex, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.
2. The wife is kindlier and denies sex to the husband only for stated infractions of her rules (not fulfilling the honey do quota, leaving the toilet seat up, and so on). She gives the husband some free time.
3. Not applicable.
4. The wife allows her husband four days on his own and requires him to work only three days a week on her honey do's. The rest of the time (3 minutes per month) is his own.
5. The wife allows her husband to go off and work in the city (or anywhere he wishes) for wages. She requires only that he let her spend six-sevenths of his wages. She also retains the power to recall him to the plantation if some emergency, like a clogged toilet, threatens her land; and to raise or lower the six-sevenths amount required to be turned over to her. She further retains the right to restrict the husband from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten her financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking, flirting with other women.
6. Not applicable.
7. Though still not having the vote, the husband is at liberty (and is given the right) to enter into the discussions with the wife, to try to persuade her to adopt various policies and to treat him and herself in a certain way. She then ignores him and goes off and decides upon policies covering the vast range of her powers.
8. In appreciation of his useful contributions to discussion, the wife allows him to vote if she can't make up her mind; she commits herself to this procedure. In the eventuality that she can't make up her mind on some issue, she'll consider his vote and do the opposite (er, um, gee, I think the slaves do better than the husbands at this point). This happens nearly continuously.
9. The wife throws the husband's vote in with hers. If they are exactly tied her vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.
Clearly, the first thing that libertarians should do if they ever get power is to outlaw marriage! Easily the most freedom restricting institution ever invented!!!My belief is that most people have a need to be bound to a wife, to a community, even to a nation and are willing to put up with the resulting restrictions. I'm a great a fan of federalism, but for me libertarianism is more a direction than a destination. In other words, here we are, if we need to evolve in some direction or other, moving somewhat towards libertarianism is fine, but I don't think society would do well with a strict libertarian form of government. I certainly don't think that switching over suddenly to a libertarian form of government would work at all.
I think Hayek would agree.