TCS Daily


The Arbiter with the Golden Scepter: A Theory of Government

By Arnold Kling - March 22, 2007 12:00 AM

"In competitive market societies, the flow of novelty and innovation undermines existing conventions, habits, and institutions of commitment. It reinforces a bias for the short term. To secure commitment, people accept a great deal of voluntary restraint and even compulsion...voters have narrowed their own freedom of choice and surrendered control of their futures to social agencies...Government is the commitment agent of last resort, and frequently first resort as well."
-- Avner Offer, The Challenge of Affluence

I differ with Avner offer. He views exercise of government power as a good thing. He wants government to Stop Me Before I...smoke...or...forego health insurance...or...turn into a spendaholic.

In this essay, I will offer a theory of how government arises.

1. People have a propensity to get into disputes. Property rights, commerce, status, and other matters all lead to conflict. In order to resolve these disputes peacefully, people must submit disputes to an Arbiter, who makes impartial decisions in light of common law.

2. In order to ensure that the Arbiter's decision is final, and that the loser does not resort to violence, people have to give the Arbiter overwhelming power to quell violence. I call this overwhelming power the Golden Scepter.

3. Once we acquiesce to government as the Arbiter with the Golden Scepter, the powers of government are potentially unlimited. Some of us might prefer that government limit its role to ensuring that disputes are settled peacefully. However, others, as the quote from Avner Offer illustrates, can rationalize a more enlarged view of government, from providing retirement income security to regulating personal consumption of trans fats.

The Arbiter

Disputes happen all the time. If we did not have disputes, we would not need umpires in baseball -- players could just call the balls and strikes themselves. We would not need contracts in marriage or commerce. We would not need courts. We would not need title registries for land or copyrights for creative works. We would not need nightclub bouncers, store detectives, or security guards.

However, the mere fact that we have disputes does not by itself require government. In fact, most mechanisms for resolving disputes are private. Baseball umpires are not government employees. Corporate disputes might be resolved by mediation. A couple having marital difficulty might see a counselor.

For disputes to be resolved peacefully, we have to accept the Arbiter's ruling as final. Baseball players and fans must not resort to violence when the umpire's calls go against their team. When a mediator rules against our side, we still must comply. There is no point in going to an Arbiter unless we agree that the Arbiter is the final judge.

The Golden Scepter

Suppose that you and I are meeting with an Arbiter to resolve a dispute, and you notice that I am carrying a gun. You might wonder about my commitment to fair arbitration. Indeed, you might reasonably worry that I am not going to comply with the Arbiter's decision if it goes against me. Rather than accept the decision, I might take out my gun and demand that you comply with my wishes in our dispute.

In order to demonstrate my commitment to resolving the dispute peacefully, I could give my gun to the Arbiter. Once the arbiter has my gun, then you can have confidence that I will go along with the Arbiter's decision. Giving the Arbiter my gun is a commitment strategy on my part. It shows that I am committed to accepting the decision of the Arbiter, which in turn gives you confidence that going to the Arbiter is worthwhile.

Before reading further, you should ask yourself whether or not giving the Arbiter overwhelming force is the only commitment strategy that will work. It is not a good idea to accept these sorts of "commitment strategy" arguments without thinking very hard about them.

We do not give guns to baseball umpires, and still we accept their decisions as final. However, I would argue that baseball games are peaceful in the context of a society in which we expect government to enforce the peace. Thus, although umpires are not employed by the state, their authority to resolve baseball disputes is indirectly backed by the state, in the sense that if you engage in violence to try to overturn an umpire's call, you can be punished by the state.

In contrast, if you are a heroin dealer involved in a dispute with another heroin dealer, it is much harder to commit to peaceful resolution of a dispute. Because you are involved in a business that is not sanctioned by the government, you cannot submit your dispute to an Arbiter who has ultimate backing from the state. Thus, it becomes difficult to develop peaceful mechanisms for resolving disputes among heroin dealers.

The state's credibility in resolving disputes depends on the state holding what I call the Golden Scepter. That is, if the state has enough force at its disposal, it can enforce its decisions in resolving disputes. Thus, the state can be defined as the Arbiter with the Golden Scepter.

Let me reiterate that the state does not have to resolve all disputes. Any Arbiter that is recognized by the state will have the implicit backing of the Golden Scepter. Baseball is recognized by the state, so umpires ultimately are backed by the Golden Scepter. Heroin dealing is not recognized by the state, so that no Arbiter for heroin dealers has the backing of the Golden Scepter.

One could argue that the state emerges as an institution because people require an Arbiter with a Golden Scepter in order to avert "the war of all against all." Such a neo-Hobbesian account for government may or may not be correct. In practice, a group may first seize the Golden Scepter and then be granted the role of Arbiter. The Arbiter with the Golden Scepter can be a tyrant (more Scepter than Arbiter) or an impartial judge (more Arbiter than Scepter) or anything in between. The important fact is that the governments of modern states do perform the function of the Arbiter with the Golden Scepter.

Expanded Powers

Ideally, I would argue that government's function ought to be limited to playing the role of the ultimate Arbiter in rare instances. Ideally, people would set up many types of voluntary mechanisms for resolving disputes. In almost all cases, private security forces could provide protection. In almost all cases, private institutions, such as baseball umpires, could resolve disputes. On rare occasions, unusual conflicts might arise that require the use of the Arbiter with the Golden Scepter to settle the matter.

This idea of limited government is even more constrained than that envisioned in the American Constitution. I am suggesting that property rights could be established and protected primarily by private institutions. Only when these private institutions fail to resolve conflict would the Arbiter be necessary.

The bad news is that there is no way to ensure that limited government will remain limited. Once the Arbiter has the Golden Scepter, this power can be used for other things. The Arbiter can step in to resolve disputes even when not asked to do so. The Arbiter can enact laws and regulations. The Arbiter can engage in corruption and extortion.

Our Constitution was designed to try to limit the expansion of government power. To some extent, it was successful. However, we have gradually become accustomed to much larger government power than I would prefer, or than my reading of the Constitution would support.

Too Much Democracy

I would argue that government's expanded power has not come at gunpoint. Instead, it has been achieved largely through democratic means. In fact, I would argue that we have too much democracy.

Our elections have become a ritual endorsement of government expansion. They are a media event, like the Super Bowl. We root for candidates the way that fans root for teams. Just as watching the Super Bowl affirms our allegiance to professional football, watching the election coverage affirms our allegiance to government involvement in more aspects of life than I would prefer.

The National Football League does an outstanding job of marketing its product to the public. Similarly, the two parties do an outstanding job of marketing their product to the public. Most people believe that without Social Security the elderly would be destitute. They believe that without public schooling most people would not be educated. They believe that without government regulation of smoking most restaurants, bars, and individuals would not be able to regulate themselves.

All that the Arbiter needs in order to operate is legitimacy. If people accept the Arbiter's decisions, then the Arbiter can resolve disputes peacefully. This creates a wide range of possibilities for legitimate government. Government might be minimalist and remain legitimate. However, government can retain its legitimacy even when it expands into many areas that I personally regard as inappropriate. Even though I do not approve of the way that government spends my taxes, I pay my taxes, anyway.

A Comparison with Corporate Governance

In a corporation, the Chief Executive Officer appears to be the Arbiter with the Golden Scepter. If disputes within the organization cannot be resolved at lower levels, the CEO settles the dispute. If my boss orders me to clear out my desk and leave, I have to comply. If I order my boss to clear out her desk and leave, she does not have to comply.

However, the CEO, like a baseball umpire, is an Arbiter whose decisions are accepted within a certain realm by convention, not because of wielding a Golden Scepter. Ultimately, the conventions of corporate governance depend on the backing of external authorities. In fact, there are circumstances under which employment law protects me from being sacked by my boss, in which case I am permitted to defy an order to clear out my desk. It is always possible, at least in theory, for a dispute that originates within a corporation to require an external Arbiter for settlement. In order to ensure peaceful compliance with a ruling, the parties probably have to accept the rulings of a government court as final. They may choose to settle without going to a government court, but in the end it is presence of the government Arbiter, possessing the Golden Scepter, that tells an employee and a boss that their dispute is going to be resolved peacefully, one way or the other.

Well-run corporations, like well-functioning societies, have rich mechanisms for settling disputes that do not require going to the highest Arbiter. Suppose my boss turns down my excellent suggestion, and so I try a "run-around" by passing my suggestion directly to the CEO. If the CEO rules in my favor, this not only undermines my boss but also encourages everyone to believe that no decision made below the level of CEO is final. This will cause the CEO to become burdened with making every decision in the company. The end result would be micromanagement -- hardly a strategy for success.

For corporations, the market sets a limit on the scope of decisions that management can make. The top executives at Microsoft would undoubtedly prefer to be the leaders in instant messaging or Internet search, but their attempts to penetrate those markets have not been very effective so far. Time-Warner's executives thought that vertical integration with America Online would be a winning strategy, but they were wrong.

When the Arbiter with the Golden Scepter reaches into an area where it cannot operate effectively, there are no checks provided by profit and loss. Unwise corporate acquisitions get spun out again. Unwise additions to government authority are much less often reversed.

The Good Society

People on the Left tend to see society as consisting of individuals (often weak or poorly informed), markets (efficient but uncaring), and government (looking out for the collective good). Instead, what I see are many layers of institutions that can solve collective problems. These institutions of civil society are -- unlike government -- flexible, creative, and capable of downsizing or disappearing as they lose relevance or effectiveness.

The Left's view, static and impaired, is that when a social problem arises, any solution requires government. The Left's approach of referring every possible problem to the Arbiter would, if it were embedded in a corporate setting, be considered micromanagement and over-reaching of the worst sort.

The alternative view, dynamic and entrepreneurial, is that solutions to social problems can emerge in many ways from the institutions of civil society. Government should function as an Arbiter only when necessary. It should not use its Golden Scepter to force its way into decision-making processes that are working peacefully. People who want to improve society should be encouraged to form associations that produce constructive solutions, rather than to root for politicians.

Arnold Kling is the author of Learning Economics and Crisis of Abundance

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146 Comments

limited government
It was a noble and bold experiment that the US tried to actually limit govnmt, unlike Europe. Too bad it was only partially successful, and is now succumbing to statism. I've read that they started breaking the consititution pretty much before the ink was dry. Probably the US will end up, as it's going, like any other old nanny welfare state like France and Germany; too bad.

So, Arnold: it's Los Angeles 1960
And children are sick because smog is making the basin air poisonous. Tell us how your no-golden-scepter system would attack this problem.

handling pollution without government
There is no perfect system for handling pollution. There are imperfect systems involving government. There are imperfect systems involving moral suasion, private coalitions, and assignment of property rights.

The classic Coase argument is that if you assign the polluter the right to pollute, then a coalition of air-breathers will need to pay the polluter to stop polluting; conversely, if you assign the air-breathers the right to clean air, the polluter will have to pay the air-breathers for the right to pollute.

See also the book "The Not So Wild West" for a history of non-governmental solutions to environmental issues.

But who does the assigning??
This just raises more issues without seeming to solve any of them.

>he classic Coase argument is that if you assign the polluter the right to pollute, then a coalition of air-breathers will need to pay the polluter to stop polluting; conversely, if you assign the air-breathers the right to clean air, the polluter will have to pay the air-breathers for the right to pollute.

Who does the assigning? What happens if there's a disagreement? What does the book you recommend have as a solution?

A thought provoking essay.
A thought provoking essay.

In me it first it provoked a thought of the bible where God wants the Israelites to just have judges, your arbiter but the people wanted a king. Then Samuel list all the reason that a king is a bad idea. Whether one is a theist or not it very interesting and I think true dialog.

Then having been a basketball lover all my life I think of your baseball example and a phenomenon that has changed over the years. At one time if a player was on breakaway an opposing player would pay the best defense he could and if the player scored he scored. Today players are coached in a refereed game to just grab and hold the offensive player because the chance of him missing the foul shots are greater than the chances of him missing the score. In un-refereed games there is a social agreement that you play it strait. Therefore the referee leads to worse game. It is almost always better to resolve disputes among the parties before escalating to arbiters and the to courts etc.

Society does have rules and almost everyone knows those rules. We also have laws no one knows all the laws.


The other thing that comes to mind is that the government does a very, very poor job as arbiter or enforcer of rules and yet there is a constant call to expand its role. Consider the amount of fraud around.

First I belive that you pointed out a case where Government...
...Has a legitimate role.

But if you want a private means that MIGHT work how about the News outlets do stories about the situation pointing out the companies that are doing the polluting and owners of the companies. The companies and owners might not like the shunning that they would get and they would either make their case to the people or reduce the pollution or setup some arbiter between the companies and the harmed people. It is possible that the company owners could choose to remain pariahs and save the cost of the cleanup in that case you would need government to step in to prevent mob violence against the company owners.


Now questions for you Lem...
...Why do we allow government to prevent a man with a poor son from allowing him the son to build a sub standard shack on his proerty to live in?

What justification is there for focing a resident to pay through taxes for a sports facility that he does not want?


answers
regarding the shack, in many places (outside of cities) there's no problem doing this. In cities, substandard shacks can be fire hazards that threaten the neighborhood and also lower the property values of the shack neighbors.

Regarding the sports faclity, I couldn't agree with you more, and I detest thie practice.

here's the problem
you don't just have one or two big factories causing the problem. You have thousands and thousands of place, from dry cleaners to tire recappers to you name it. And you have millions and millions of cars. The list of polluters turns into the combined yellow and white pages - and why would anyone in a competitive situation stop unless there was a requirement that everyone stop?

Your utter love of government is showing...
...

Your lack of a convincing and credible alternative to the problem posed is obvious
But post away; just becase you don't have anything to say shouyldn't stop you from typing.

the problem is you pre-define credible as being government
no other solution is ever credible in your eyes.

can be fire hazards ...
...sure, if a dwelling is a fire hazard and a real danger to the neighbors, that is legitimate but not every substandard shack is a fire hazard. I think that home values is not good excuse for the use of Government power. You get into some very trick items with that. Noise smell yes but home values naw.

Government with power often do things that even democrats do not like, like the sports stadiums. So be careful when you advocate more and more power for Government and the majority. You may find yourself in the minority tromped on by the majority.

good question
I think you are right to question this point. But come up with an alternative, credible solution.

I think that lots of other solutions are credible for many problems that are commonly thought of as "public-goods" problems. You can address poverty through charity, for example. You can address law enforcement through private security agencies and private courts.

But getting people to settle disputes peacefully is not so easy to do, if the Arbiter is weaker than one of the disputants. At least, as far as I can figure out.

Baseball without an umpire...
"... players could just call the balls and strikes themselves."

In a friendly game among friends we did call the balls and strikes ourselves. This allowed us to create a solid working knowledge regarding the integrity of our friends. The game was more to prepare us for life and less to win or lose. That is why they call it a game.

We definitely did not invite anyone's father to umpire pickup games for us or to referee when we played sandlot football.

"...baseball games are peaceful in the context of a society in which we expect government to enforce the peace."

Group behavior and social morality rule. We call this culture. Players typically do not misbehave violently during a baseball game because the culture of reasonable behavior is commonly held. You simply do not bring a gun onto the baseball field. You always drop the bat when you occasionally must charge the mound. You never punch an umpire. If the manager puts his hand out the pitcher gives him the ball and walks to the dugout. When you are called out you go sit down. The worst criminal is fully expected to follow the rules in a baseball game. He expects himself to play by the rules.

All human social interactions are guided by the culture of group behavior. Typically we are most comfortable with people we know and who know us. The sovereign imposes himself at the top of our social hierarchy. And typically his agents are strangers to us. This unnatural condition is sustained with violence or the threat of violence on the part of the government.

"...if you are a heroin dealer..." Of course. This is a different game with different rules. Again, the culture of group morality validates another paradigm regarding what is considered to be reasonable behavior. The government cannot insinuate itself to make the rules at the top of the criminal drug hierarchy.

The enduring problem with drug dealers is that our society buys illegal drugs and someone (breaking the law) must sell them. This group behavior is rewarded at a premium by society due to certain, obvious risks involved. Nevertheless, as long as our society buys drugs, there will be drug dealers. We might remove all the individual drug dealers we want (and they are astoundingly easy to catch) but as long as the group itself exists, and society continues to pay well, then individuals will switch from what they were doing into drug distribution. If you made the rewards high enough (one million dollars a day!)...who among us (remember John De Lorean?) would not consider it? (OK, the Pope...but he's already pretty wealthy.)

If the government removes too many highly skilled drug dealers from the street (depleting the natural talent pool) then less qualified, less experienced candidates must be recruited. Because illegal drugs are dangerous substances themselves and because drug dealers are heavily armed it follows that young amateur criminals only make matters worse.

I am not arguing that recreational drugs should be made legal. But the problem is with the society itself and the society must solve it. In this case "the Arbiter with the Golden Scepter" has not been very helpful.







"a theory of how government arises"...
Governments came about through military imperialism and force of arms. This includes all the governments of the New World nations that were once colonies and that fought wars of independence.

Smaller social groups with various cultures were assembled into mixed civilizations through conquest and immigration. The government was the martial organization (already managing the army) having overrun lands and having captured populations. Civilian governers might have been installed but these administrators worked for the king and derived their authority to rule through his military franchise.

The captured people had to be put to work creating wealth to support themselves and to pay taxes to the government. Disputes that damaged the king's property or harmed the king's workers were disruptive to this process and cost him money. Obviously, anyone who was able to defend his own interests might turn that strength against the Arbiter with the Golden Scepter. Typically, common citizens were not allowed to own state-of-the-art weapons. Of course, that is still true today.

The sovereign places himself at the top of the social hierarchy. He writes the rules and directs his military police to enforce them. He often engages religious leaders to replace the ethical leaders of the several cultures and to promulgate their own uniform set of laws "given to mankind by God" and sanctioned by the state.

The idea that "...voters have narrowed their own freedom of choice and surrendered control of their futures to social agencies..." is specious. Our freedom was taken by force and no amount of voting will ever get it back.

Technically, it's a form of insubordination, not micromanagement
Micromanagement is someone at a higher level telling someone several levels, or even one level below exactly and in great detail how to do their job. Failure to follow the chain of command is basically insubordination by not following the orders of your immediate superior and appealing to higher levels of rank or management without permission.

Government : Structurally Unsound
Its not that in the record of humanity, there's ever been a government that didn't try to expand its own power. Some take the direct route of Tienamen square aggression, but the truly dangerous ones favor the methods of "bread and circuses" thats so favored in the West.

The problem is in part structural.

First: the power of appropriation and expenditure is vested in the same body, today virtually without limit. In the commercial world, the power to exact a price is limited by the customer's recourse to the market. There's no such limit with taxes-government not only has no competition but the tool of incarceration-and the taxpayer no power of escape.

Once, the power to spend was checked by constitutional and statuatory limitation. Today politicians have learned to ignore those limits with impunity and the acquiesence of dedicated statists, the plainly envious and courts. Of course the cheerleaders not only actively encourage plunder - but vililfy those who advise caution and understand that a government that it big and powerful enough to provide everything, needs to be big and powerful enough to take what it deems necessary. This allows politicians to find an endless and amazing variety of ways to find "problems", "crises" and "issues" that demand "investment". It doesn't matter that we never seem to solve these problems and in fact often worsen them. Hence every election sends a substantial proportion of individuals who seek to exploit this problem-who seek power and priviledge while selling themselves as "public sevants". Unfortunately there seems to be no end to his problem.

Second, thanks to the misuse of poll taxes for racial disenfranchisement, we can't adbide by the idea that the right to have a say over the public treasury should be balanced by a responsibility to contribute. Instead, most of us see our "indispensible" drop of a government program as to small and insignificant in the flood of government taxes and intrusions that burden us with increasing confusion and exhaustion.

Third, even with the best electorate, group dynamics will always provide opportunities for collectively ill thought out decisions-hence the election of Adolph Hitler. The founders knew this and divided power not only among the three branches of government-they divided it among three levels of government. They built in firewalls against fraud, whim and other problems. Think its an accident that the power hungry want to get rid of the electoral college? As it stands, the value of the kind of fraud our big cities are famous for is limited by a fixed number of electors-but our dumbed down civics education is no more sophisticated than the idea "majority rules". Until we get back to coralling power-we'll get more untrammeled majoritrianism, with all its wisdom and restraint of the herd frightened by the scent of predators real and imagined.

Weak central government...
People might not always settle their disputes peacefully. In certain venues with weak governments business contracts are not enforced and titles to property are not guaranteed by the state. Wealthy families are not adequately protected from kidnapping or milder forms of extortion.

By definition the Arbiter must be stronger than any one of his subordinate entities (or that citizen would become the de facto ruler, wouldn't he?). But the sovereign might not be strong enough to protect the interests of such entities from each other. In this case it is necessary for private parties to have their own guns.

Sometimes you call these private entities criminal families (mafioso) and in other countries you prefer to use the word warlord. If this weak government enjoys a democracy then the powerful families (with their own guns) probably have politicians among them. If the government is weak then the economy is probably underdeveloped. The tax base is modest and government workers are poorly paid. Therefore, bribes become an important part of their livelihood. An orderly culture of such corruption is far better than the anarchy of disorganized crime, of course.

The larger problem is that Arbiter rule of law (enforcement) requires significant bureaucratic overhead and a sustainable taxbase funded by a robust GDP. Actually, you also need a solid economy to overcome poverty. Charity does not work.

For any weak government to become strong enough to perform its "public-good" tasks the nations's economy must first develop to the point that it can be substantially taxed.

The economy is the horse and the government is the cart. We must figure out how to breed horses before we start building horse carts.

home values not important?
A home's the main asset most people have. I think lots of homeowners realize that its value is depedent in many ways on government, unless they live on desert island. You may not like this, but check out the hisotry of things like zoning, public health legistlation and more.

Billions of silicon scepters
The beauty of the US Constitution was 1) it defined a limited set of authority for the federal government and 2) left all other government decisions up to the states.

Ever since its inception, nationalists have been battling the federalists. And the federalists have been losing from the beginning.

What may be the federalists salvation is the ultimate federal system, the internet.

Decentralized computer networks are demonstrating they are more robust and powerful than centralized systems.

Notice how governments around the world are trying to control the internet?

Do you think they see their power evaporating into the ether?

Who is that?...
Robert?

silicon not well implanted
If you think the constitution is so beautiful, you must be devastated that it was defiled before the ink was dry. We often see lists of cases whereby it is being violated. Even your comment about silicon is another example. You will remember how recently the puritanical US tried to ban online gambling with the predicable result that many of the main companies moved over to places like Ireland, and Costa Rica, etc. So, the US is supposed to be free, but the big brother keeps trying to repres it over the past 200 years.

silicon not well implanted
If you think the constitution is so beautiful, you must be devastated that it was defiled before the ink was dry. We often see lists of cases whereby it is being violated. Even your comment about silicon is another example. You will remember how recently the puritanical US tried to ban online gambling with the predicable result that many of the main companies moved over to places like Ireland, and Costa Rica, etc. So, the US is supposed to be free, but the big brother keeps trying to repres it over the past 200 years.

"Machinery of Freedom"
In this book, Friedman argues that private defense agencies, while individually small, would sign mutual defense pacts with other such agencies.

Such that, provided a mutually recognized arbitrer has ruled, all defense agencies that are part of the pact are obligated to help the winning agency collect from the losing party.

So the arbiter himself doesn't have to be strong. It's just that those who stand behind the arbiter, due to mutual self interest, are strong.

actually it is both
Going around your manager can be insubordination.
However if the higher level manager reacts to this insubordination by over ruling the lower level manager, that would be micro-management.

Every company that I have been involved with has mechanisms by which employees can bypass their immediate supervisor if they disagree with a decision. Usually they can do this without the knowledge of the immediate supervisor.

It's not insubordination if the company has pre-approved it.

Modern governments control information at all levels.
Government control of the internet is nothing new.

Can't have too much liberty can we?

It has little to do with liberty
It has everything to do with population control through propaganda.

This widely recognized as an essential role of government. National image building (both internal and external) has been studied in the emerging Balkan countries.

The US has one of the most extensive and effective propaganda networks on the planet.

It's amazing how liberals defend their inability to convince people
to the alleged affectiveness of other people's propaganda.

And just where might these mythical organs of public confusion be found oh purveyor of historically innaccurate wisdom?

Whitehouse Press Secretary, for one.
Pretty much every branch of the government has their own press office.

Duh!

But hush-hush now. Remember lose lips sink ships!

Such mechanisms and competition...
Mark,

By "private defense agencies" in this context we are talking about my private entities who provide for their own security because the weak central government does not have the resources to enforce its own laws of contracts, property or to protect the safety of wealthy private citizens.

Each such private entity typically maintains a day to day core of personal security personnel (bodyguards) plus armed guards at their businesses and homes. During political campaigns, for example, they bulk up their defense teams with free-lance individuals (proven killers), retired military specialists and off-duty policemen.

These armed teams are adjusted to the requirements of the family. Within the same province there will be many such operations according to how many wealthy entities live and work there. The serious players (with the largest defense forces) indulge in certain criminal enterprises that are lucrative and competitive.

It is quite unlikely that large rivals in the same businesses would defend each other or the Arbiter. They maintain only enough guns to defend their own immediate interests. And their Sovereign is the enemy when it is his laws that are being broken via "business as usual".

If any coalition of private parties (with their own guns) would become stronger than central government then this new entity would de facto take over the country. This must be true because many of their businesses would be considered criminal enterprises. And the government has, all along, not been able to do anything about it.

If more than one such regional player wanted to come to power the resulting conflict would contitute a civil war.

"it has everything to do with population control through propaganda. "
Like Al Gore's propaganda?

"The US has one of the most extensive and effective propaganda networks on the planet."

If what you say is true, why do you, your fellow liberals and the rest of the world hate the USA?
Unless the goal of USA propaganda is to get the world to hate the USA, then it is very effective.

"Why do you, your fellow liberals and the rest of the world hate the USA?"
Feel a bit self-consious do you?

First of all, I am not a liberal.

Second of all, liberals love America more than you neconservatives. After all, they care enough to talk about and do something positive for the problems rather than shout and cuss when people don't agree with them. They do not blame foreign countries for the mistakes that the US has made nor do are they bigots, like you.

Third, "the rest of the world" does not "hate the USA" as you put it. Many are disappointed. Take for example, the Germans (vda infra). Also, the internal image that a country paints of itself (among the intrinsic population) is very different than the image expressed abroad. There are two different goals and two different sets of press releases. You might want to do a bit of reseqarch into this before you make a fool out of yourself again.

Here is the latest from Germany...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2038135,00.html

German envoy attacks US policy


Ian Traynor, Europe editor
Tuesday March 20, 2007
The Guardian


The Bush administration has forfeited legitimacy and credibility in the eyes of most of the world, crippling its capacity to engineer a breakthrough on the gravest problems on the international agenda, a senior German official argues today.

In an unusually robust public critique of US foreign policy, Wolfgang Ischinger, the German ambassador to Britain, says the widespread collapse in confidence in the Bush administration offers Europe an opportunity to step up to the plate, setting a new agenda on the Middle East, global warming, the spread of nuclear weapons and other pressing matters.

Writing in the Guardian, Mr Ischinger, a former ambassador to the US and ex-political director of Germany's foreign ministry, says a "European moment" is needed over the next several months, a period that coincides with Germany's presidency of both the EU and the G8 group of industrialised countries.

"Through the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Washington's international legitimacy and credibility have suffered," he states. "It does not make for pleasant viewing to see US leadership damaged and questioned. But expectations are low today regarding the ability of the United States to lead the international community toward solutions of the most pressing international issues."

Mr Ischinger stakes a claim to a greater German or European role in world leadership, saying America's time as the "undisputed leader of the free world" is over.

He singles out the nuclear dispute with Iran, the challenges posed by global warming and the Middle East conflict, as well as the broader issue of "constructive" relations between the west and Islam, as key policy areas where the US is discredited and Europe can make a difference.

However, Mr Ischinger also warns against European "hubris" and makes plain that Europe could not succeed by challenging or seeking to rival the US.

It's about time Europe began to be responsible for themselves.
The USA saved millions of Europeans during the 20th century.

What have they done with their liberty? They have turned into narcissistic hedonists.

It is about time Europe started taking care of themselves.

Lets hope they can get along better than they did in the 19th century.

"First of all, I am not a liberal."
I forgot, you are a socialist.

I'm not a socialist either.
In fact, you do not know what I am. All you know is that I have answers to all of your mistakes and that I get at the root of your belief. I suppose you think that makes me dangerous. Actually, I am simply educated.

liberals talk?
YOu said that liberals like to talk about and solve problems etc. If that's the case why do disrupt so many people they don't agree with, like speakers at colleges and such? Also, why do they seem to throw so many pies at speakers in public? And why do they seem to throw like girls, cus most of the time they can't even hit their target.

"I am simply educated."
This I agree with.

"why do they disrupt so many people they don't agree with, like speakers at colleges and such?"
Because their BS alarms go off.

Actually, I have never seen this but I know that David really has a sour taste in his mouth about this. He has repeated this so many times now that it has because the mantra of the neoconservative party. He is the master at generting propaganda and hype so one doesn't know if this is a trend or an isolated event.

On the other hand, we do know that **** Cheney cusses in congress. Refers to US Congressmen using foul four letter words, cuts people off, lies, etc.. And this is the Vice President of the USA! Cheney is just one. Rice, Rumsfeld, Norton, they're all a bunch of snotty closed minded dictators. This would be fine if they were right. But their policies have been disastrously wrong!

And yet the conservative christians just love these folks.

That, my dear friend, is what I call blind ignorance.

The machine substitutes **** for Cheney's first name. LOL
Perhaps this is appropriate.

Liberal Tolerance?
You did not answer why supposedly tolerant liberals try to physically assault those they disagree with.

And since you are not a liberal, why would you try to explain their actions?

What's your point?

"OK, the Pope...but he's already pretty wealthy."
How wealthy is the Pope?

"You did not answer why supposedly tolerant liberals try to physically assault those they disagree w
I don't feel that is a question for me to answer.

Perhaps yan you in turn tell me why neoconservatives verbal assault, fire or otherwise try to get people fired, and try to physically assault those that disagree with them?

I try to explain actions when I see bigots attacking people they do not know simply based on generalizations, misinformation, and neoconservative propaganda. I guess I am more reasonable than most in that regard because I feel that everyone is entitled to their opinion as long as they are trying to learn the truth.

Oh, simply that David Horowitz is the person who starts those rumors
and/or fans the flames.

I am pointing out that one man can have an extreme influence over your, what you know, and what you say.

Don't you find it the least bit interesting that you are brainwashed into repeating the neoconservative mantras? When you do ther research; poof! There's no truth to the matter?

Actually, I did answer the question.
Now you answer mine.

Bigot: A conservative winning an argument with a liberal.
"Name: Dietmar
Subject: liberals talk?
Date/Time: 24 Mar 2007, 1:36 AM

YOu said that liberals like to talk about and solve problems etc. If that's the case why do disrupt so many people they don't agree with, like speakers at colleges and such? Also, why do they seem to throw so many pies at speakers in public? And why do they seem to throw like girls, cus most of the time they can't even hit their target. "

This is a specific reference to 'liberals' who throw pies at Ann Coulter when she is invited to speak on university campus. I saw the video of an attack at the University of AZ.

And I suspect Horowitz has been physically asaulted when he tries to speak as well.


Maybe you could be more specific about any conservatives physically assaulting liberals?

And you claim you are not a liberal. You love to toss around the term 'bigot'.

What 'rumors'?

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