The Plight of Mariestown

When people cannot for some reason govern themselves – they turn to a small group of people to do it for them. They lack the belief in their own abilities to fix something, so they turn to an outside force to level the playing field. The irony here is that the playing field itself was never tilted to begin with. As such, it is the idea that everyone is equal regardless of physical or mental attributes that grant the illusion of a tilted field.

Yet illusions can destroy entire towns. Such was the case in Mariestown.

Peaceful petite Mary is intimidated by 6’3” guy walking past her down the street. To make Mary feel more secure – a police force is enacted by fifteen others just like Mary.

It is not wrong for Mary to feel uneasy at the giant walking by her – especially if he appears rough around the edges. It is a natural reaction that warns of possible danger. It is therefore not only natural but smart of Mary to want some kind of protection. However Mary needs to consider the cost of protection, as well as its long term effects.

Fifteen Mary’s will rarely pool their money to buy a police force to watch over all of them – they could not afford to. In the old days, the Mary’s used to limit their activities to safer areas where help could easily be found. Such Mary’s see the other ladies carry means of protection, and scowl – after all, they live in a civilized society where no protection should be needed.

After enough badgering at town halls, the Maries finally get the police they called for. The problem then becomes that the town cannot afford to pay such a force a full wage equal to the towns average income. As a result the new force is only 2 men, and a jail house.  This works okay at first as the town is fairly small.

Yet the now strained town budget takes a sudden hit when bad wiring in the court house causes it to burn. The fire department responds, but is not big enough to save the whole building so it loses its west wing. It cannot afford to replace this wing because it used its extra money to hire the police and build their little jail which so far goes unoccupied. This will soon be remedied.

Court fees are raised temporarily to pay for the damage. In a small town this never bodes well. Even worse is that the Mary’s no longer stay in safer places being that they have police now. And yes, they still refuse to arm themselves. They start realizing that the scummier parts of town they had previously avoided did not seem so bad after all. One night Mary is mugged. Mary screams for help, and before the thief can finish claiming her purse, one of the other woman of the town shows up, and maces the heck out of the thief – then promptly commences giving him the beat down of a lifetime. Mary is thankful to the woman, and then promptly heads home.

The next morning Mary is at the police station. Angry and indignant, she demands to know where they had been. They tell Mary that they were stopping another one like Mary from being robbed, and did not even know of her own little situation. Try as she might, the Mary cannot find a problem with them.

At the next town hall, several such occurrences have happened. In nearly every case, one of the Mary’s was saved by a passerby or one of the police. The one exception was where one of the Mary’s had not called for help, and had walked through the alley behind the bar to take the short cut home – a move she never previously would have made. However it is enough for all of the Mary’s to give the mayor a good reaming, and demand a larger police force.

The other women of the town are beyond appalled. Never in all of their years had anything like this happened, and now these Mary’s who had acted stupidly and refused to try to defend themselves were costing them and their significant others a good amount in raised taxes. To add icing on the cake, the courthouse remained unrepaired. The voices of the other towns woman were ignored though in favor of the pestering busybody Mary’s who claimed that the crime was always there – it was just a matter of time until they became victims of it.

These Mary’s pointed out to the Mayor that other larger neighboring towns had sizeable police forces and had no issues. This of course was nonsense. The neighboring towns had crime to – they just did not see it because they did not live there, and they just took the word of the busybodies of the other town that a police force was the answer.

More police were hired, and revenue was needed to pay for them. The question was how to pay for them.

The busybodies noted that drinking was not taxed. Surely alcohol was the cause of this whole mess, so it should be taxed, and the profit sent to the police.

The mayor held a special town hall to vote on the matter. It just so happened that most people could not make it, as a recent rain had created flood damage to crops and other businesses that needed their attention. So it was not surprising that the 15 Mary’s and their whipped men voted in the majority favor.

The next night the bar was full of some really angry patrons. Many of them did not even know about the special town hall, and the few who did refused to believe that the mayor would be idiotic enough to abide by the resulting vote. However the bartender could not operate without the Mayor’s approval, so he had to add the additional cost of the tax to his drinks. After a few drinks, the bar settled down to a fairly normal (albeit slower) night.

The next day the mayor’s treasurer came to collect the taxes from the bartender, and he was astounded at the amount collected. A whole week like this and not only could they pay the salary for the newly expanded police force, but they could fix the courthouse.

A week later however the business owners noticed that they were not selling as much of their wares as they usually did. Even the bartender was complaining about a slow in sales to the mayor.

The next town hall was packed. Suddenly the 15 Mary’s and their parties were outnumbered, and shouting matches soon erupted, filling the hall with a deafening roar that gave the mayor the worst headache of his life. Having enough, he called everyone to order. The new law would be given two weeks, and then if people still wanted the new law repealed (along with the police force), then it would be so.

Two weeks of nothing followed. Everyone in town – even the local urchins – was on their best behavior in hopes that this new law would go away, and the town could prosper again.

It never happened. The town hall was held as agreed, but the mayor came to a startling conclusion. He had determined that no crimes had been committed, and that it had been worth the slow in prosperity. Try as they might, the townspeople had no answer for that for at heart, they were mostly a fairly moral people, and maybe there was something to all this.

Yet most people in the town were either shop owners and workers and it was not long before their meager pickings started to grow slim – and at this rate, no one would be able to save for the coming winter – much less its festivities. So after the following town hall meeting, they had a meeting of their own. At the meeting, they mostly decided to brew their own drinks, and put their money back into their regular expenditures. Who needs a tavern?

The following week the town hall was interesting to say the least. The police were complaining because their pay was a fraction of what it was. The Mary’s were complaining because their protectors were suddenly not being provided for.  The mayor knew that his town loved their nightly drink, and figured out that they would be brewing their own to avoid the tax at the tavern. So he then decreed that no home brews were allowed, and anyone caught violating that would face a stiff fine or jail.

After a week or two of cat and mouse, the police started getting more aggressive in their searches to have their pay reinstated. How could they feed their families if they were not paid doing their job to keeping the women safe? You see they now had a vested interested in going beyond protecting and serving, and into the realm of law enforcement.

It was the last town hall that would ever be held in which the people had a direct vote. However the vote was no longer in favor of the townspeople. You see now the police were voting with their significant others, the bartender was voting to get his business back, the busybody Mary’s who started the whole thing were voting with their whipped men, and the town and its happy treasury was voting. So it came about that Law triumphed over rationale, justice, and moral code. Not that the law or those who clambered for it would think so – but then again – it’s all a matter of perspective is it not?

Over a hundred years later the town was now a city, with all the ghettos and slums a city could be expected to produce. Crime was overall far higher than it had ever been. Yet in spite of that, all the new Mary’s could say is this:

“Thank God for the police, for they keep the crime low, and keep order in our city. Without them, gangs would be running the streets, and mobs would be looting and stealing everything.”

It would be a funny twist of irony. That is, if it were not the story of almost every modern city in America today.

19 Responses to The Plight of Mariestown

  1. David Urban December 6, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    So the moral of this story is that Mary’s (I suppose we should extend that to anyone who is slight in physical stature than others) should stay in “safe” areas.
    ‘Not sure what makes those areas safe.

    Mary’s should never go out unescorted. Mary’s should avoid speaking their minds if their statements might be controversial. Mary’s should stay out of politics, clearly. Perhaps Mary’s should only speak when spoken to? Be seen and not heard?

    Women’s rights and freedoms become relegated to how well they can position themselves with respect to some sort of protectors.

    This isn’t revolutionary stuff and it surely isn’t “evolutionary” stuff.

    The small town that can’t pay full-time police would perhaps have volunteer police or part-time police. When the *distribution of labor* warranted it, the town would pay for full-time police as a profession. In any event, both volunteer and paid police implies government.

    More prescient though is the following:

    Mary produces the finest smoked sausage that lasts through the winters without a problem. Her sausages are so popular that she soon accumulates a large store of goods (can be money or traded goods or whatever). Being that Mary is small in stature and there are people that are larger but much less successful, she gives some of her wealth to large “Max’s” to protect her. She now has to find ways to bring in more goods to maintain her “comfort” level. She sees that the pig farmers are struggling and offers to buy their land and pigs in exchange for a steady source of goods/payment, albeit less than what they could make, at least somewhat secure. Mary has purchased all of the pig farms and because people love her sausages and have a steady amount of pork in her diet, she raises the price of pork. Some people don’t like her for this so she hires more security.

    Soon she realizes that she would be better off with the paprika farms as well. It was a dry summer and the paprika farmers don’t have enough to keep themselves fed. She buys their farms at bargain prices because she has plenty of resources. The next year is a great harvest and Mary reaps the benefits. However, she remembers how she bailed out the paprika farmers the year before and doesn’t feel the need to share the benefit. Why should she? The following year, one of the pig farmers breaks his leg tending to one of the sows. Productivity is down. Her income suffers. Mary feels forced to cut the wages of the pig farmers to compensate. Etc… etc.. etc…

  2. David Shirk December 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    “I suppose we should extend that to anyone who is slight in physical stature than others- not everyone short in stature etc is a Mary” – a Mary is a busybody – read the article and please stop filling in blanks that don’t exist in an effort to make your point. In the article the other people faired just fine. Your analogy would be like saying all small dogs are chihuahuas – doesn’t fit.

    “Not sure what makes those areas safe.” I would label an area unsafe that is dark, relatively empty, and with people you don’t know just standing around eyeballing you like ou don’t belong. What would you label as an unsafe area?

    “Mary’s should never go out unescorted.” – Wow…make an all encompassing statement off of something the article never said or implied…you really are one for the classic strawman aren’t you?

    “Mary’s should avoid speaking their minds if their statements might be controversial.” See above. Are you really so shallow that you are unable to differentiate situations and people, and thus use an out of context extreme to make a point that does not exist? At this point, I am trying very hard to take you seriously.

    “Mary’s should stay out of politics, clearly.” – If Mary shows the same amount of wisdom, experience, discretion, and charisma you do, she would make an excellent democrat.

    “Perhaps Mary’s should only speak when spoken to?” – Being this is another thing never found anywhere in the article, I am assuming you are bringing this up because you are either A – Still using an extreme case that no one in their right mind would back in the real world, or B – Are yourself a Mary not a Dave.

    “Be seen and not heard?” – You and Mary have a mouth too large and assuming not be heard – most will chose to ignore you instead as they have better things to do – which is why you and Mary would make an excellent democrats – your would talk so much and on so ridiculous terms that at the end of the day – you would be the only ones talking and thus the ones making the decisions…pathetic really.

    “Women’s rights and freedoms become relegated to how well they can position themselves with respect to some sort of protectors.” This is directly against the article as there were plenty of woman who saw to their own needs and defense and were well respected for it…did you read it? And if your issue is with woman having to provide for themselves the same security as the men do – then your issue is with equality itself.

    “This isn’t revolutionary stuff and it surely isn’t “evolutionary” stuff.” The article or your comment?

    “The small town that can’t pay full-time police would perhaps have volunteer police or part-time police.” True.

    “When the *distribution of labor* warranted it, the town would pay for full-time police as a profession.” – Really? Why? I know someone like you would as I certainly would not (You said it not me) – and thus you would be left with the tab – in short – you want a glorified body guard… Lol – I can just picture you singing ‘in the laand of the free, and the home of the brave’ rofl!

    “In any event, both volunteer and paid police implies government.” – Explain – a voluntary force would only serve those who pay them against direct crime – and would not use force to come after people for not obeying the wishes of the employers. Government in stark contrast writes laws that people like you ask – and then arrest people like me who never wanted them for not obeying your wishes. The fact that you cannot make this simple distinction once again calls me to question your mental capacity.

    More prescient though is the following:

    “Mary produces the finest smoked sausage that lasts through the winters without a problem. Her sausages are so popular that she soon accumulates a large store of goods (can be money or traded goods or whatever).” Good – so far Mary is hardly a busybody but rather a productive source.

    “Being that Mary is small in stature and there are people that are larger but much less successful, she gives some of her wealth to large “Max’s” to protect her.” A volunteer force for her protection only.

    “She now has to find ways to bring in more goods to maintain her “comfort” level.” – everything comes at a price.

    “She sees that the pig farmers are struggling and offers to buy their land and pigs in exchange for a steady source of goods/payment, albeit less than what they could make, at least somewhat secure.” – So the pig farmers who did so well before are suddenly losing all of their pigs for some unknown reason. The side effect is that Mary’s business suffers because the price of pork goes up. Mary is a sausage maker not a pig farmer. Realistically if she did somehow have enough money to buy the pig farms, maintain her protection, and still stay in business, she would have no more capitol to maintain it. In addition, this assumes the pig farmers after many years of success are suddenly unable to maintain their farms production levels. It also assumes that they would sell their farm (and thus their livelihood) to Mary who has no idea how to run a pig farm. Finally – Maries sausage was so freakin successful that she manages to buy her own store, hire bodyguards, buys all the pig farms, pay the old no longer producing pig farmers, hires new hands to manage the farms better. What part of that holds any base in realism to you?

    “Mary has purchased all of the pig farms and because people love her sausages and have a steady amount of pork in her diet, she raises the price of pork.” So people love Maries sausage so much, that they are willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for her sausage. This story just gets more and more believable.

    “Some people don’t like her for this so she hires more security.” = So she’s stupid, broke, no one is buying her overpriced sausage, and her body guards are not getting paid the wages they used to. Where did she get the money to take on even more body guards again?

    “Soon she realizes that she would be better off with the paprika farms as well.” Wow I was right, Mary would make an excellent democrat. She overextends herself and is no longer able to pay for what she has, and she is looking at taking on even more!

    “It was a dry summer and the paprika farmers don’t have enough to keep themselves fed.” So the pig farms and paprika farms that were doing well enough before are suddenly stricken to the point where they can no longer function. By selling sausage Mary was somehow able to build another store, make it successful, hire employees to run it and for their inventory, hire at least 4 bodyguards, buy all of the pig farms, all of the paprika farms, guards for the fields, pay the old and non productive employees of the farms, hire new productive employs, and feed them all. Wow….all from selling sausage! You could write something that makes Paul Bunyan look like a real story!

    “She buys their farms at bargain prices because she has plenty of resources.” – her sausage and geez…whats the freakin point….

    “The next year is a great harvest and Mary reaps the benefits.” Because Mary who has never run a pig farm or paprika farm, now runs them better then those who did so successfully for years. In a short year she turns them around to where they can pay for everything mary just bought…wow…just…wow…Donald Trump look out! Here comes Mary!

    “However, she remembers how she bailed out the paprika farmers the year before and doesn’t feel the need to share the benefit.” What benefit? She would be lucky to have even covered a fraction of her expenditures! Also – buying a farm and subsidizing the old employees was a dumb thing to do in the first place!

    “Why should she?” Who the heck knows at this point – you wrote this tall tale not me, and unlike you – I don’t make up words for you!

    “The following year, one of the pig farmers breaks his leg tending to one of the sows” I am confused, if she did not hire new farmers, then why would the old ones have sold her the farm to begin with that they owned making all the profit theirs? Earlier you said they sold her the farms – all of them. Why the heck would someone sell something that they own, and still do all the work to make a fraction of what they once did? Just when I though the story could not get any more unbelievable.

    “Productivity is down.” Really ya think?

    “Her income suffers.” Mary should have stuck to making sausages.

    “Mary feels forced to cut the wages of the pig farmers to compensate.” again? wow.

    So not only does your story have 0 to do with the article, it is full of nonsense anyway when you take into account the details with the reality of operating a business. Also, this has what to do with a police force? The only thing you just proved is that your a more entertaining story teller then I am because I am still laughing!

    :-) :-)

  3. David Shirk December 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    PS – You just wasted an hour of my time that I will never get back… Thanks…

  4. David Urban December 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    Extraordinary. I’ve wasted an hour of your time? For someone that seems to defend individual liberty and responsibility, you do a good job of laying blame. YOU spent an hour of YOUR time. Whether you consider it a waste is purely a reflection of how you approach strangers in the commons.

    Your personal attacks and your implication that responding was a waste of your time shows a lack of respect. Do you show such lack of respect for anyone that doesn’t like your stories or believes as you do? You have the right to your opinion even when you’re wrong. That doesn’t mean that I feel any hostility towards you.

    I notice that people seem to lack empathy these days. I think the two are related. It’s as if many people feel that there isn’t room for diversity of thought; that anyone who has a different opinion isn’t worthy of consideration. It’s the worst part of human nature. I think it has to do with fear as many of our social ills do.

    I’m not going to respond to your misunderstandings. You’re missing many, many points just as in your story, in which you also walk a very narrow path to your destination.

    Cutting to the chase, there are many examples of the acquisition of power resulting in tyranny towards others. Power is sometimes acquired through the legitimate skill and aptitude of people but often also through less legitimate means. Either way, it leads to an imposition on others’ freedoms. That’s my point.

    Your point which, by your statement, once again condescends towards others who would stand at odds with your opinion. The problem isn’t that there’s a Mary that thinks differently than you, the problem seems to be that she’s inferior to you: a “busybody.”

    I choose to stop spending my time on this if your response is hateful and personal. You, after all, don’t know the first thing about me. Peace, Freedom, Prosperity?? I don’t know about prosperity but you certainly fail at practicing the first of the two.

    I predict you will ultimately delete all of my comments regardless of how I approach this discussion. That would then truly be a waste of our time and most likely a disruption of your peace and my freedom of expression. This took me all of about 15 minutes; 15 minutes spent at my own volition.

  5. David Shirk December 7, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    @David Urban – Sorry I hurt your feelings. I was raised in quite a different environment – and my response would have been considered lighthearted. One 15 min response deserves another.

    1 – “I’m not going to respond to your misunderstandings. You’re missing many, many points just as in your story, in which you also walk a very narrow path to your destination.” – You never made a point – just another story to say I had left something out. When I rebuffed it – you said i was being mean, short sighted, disrespectful etc. Had you been making a clear point, it would have been easier to address in a more adult manner. Try making a point instead of taking out portions from an article and inserting y.

    2 – “Cutting to the chase, there are many examples of the acquisition of power resulting in tyranny towards others.” – I never argued that.

    3 – “Power is sometimes acquired through the legitimate skill and aptitude of people but often also through less legitimate means. ” – again a point i will not argue. Your little story did not convey this at all. Maybe I should have assumed more.

    4 – “Either way, it leads to an imposition on others’ freedoms. That’s my point.” – expound please – because what i took out of that is power acquired through just means is just as bad in the end as power acquired through unjust means – in which case I disagree. Will cite examples if you wish.

    5 – “once again condescends towards others who would stand at odds with your opinion.” My response to your comment was far more grounded in reality than your response and I clearly stated why. As to condescending – it was in response to your blanket statements and completely out of this world explanation. Truth be told, I was not even sure you were being serious.

    6 – “The problem isn’t that there’s a Mary that thinks differently than you, the problem seems to be that she’s inferior to you: ” – Mary seeks to impose her views on everyone else using government to enforce it to the detriment of society which my article conveyed. Rather then arguing from a historical perspective, you argued with a very benign counter that could not be possible in the real world. Being that my ideas are enough to get my by, they do not need the force of government to give me a warm fuzzy. Unlike most people, I will say that yes I am better then Mary in this case (though I will concede that she makes a better sausage – from what you have told me, that’s the only thing she has going for her). Unlike many others – I have fact to back me up – and if you ever read any of my other articles based on historical or current events you would know that this was written as a meaning to convey an idea nothing more – that I made plain from the outset. Mary is inferior to me because instead of asking someone to give me what i lack, I learn to do it myself, or use my own means to provide it – not someone else’s. If this hurts your sense of equality or whatever – I really could care less.

    7 – “I choose to stop spending my time on this if your response is hateful and personal. ” When did I make an attack on you? I only went after what you gave me.

    8 – “Do you show such lack of respect for anyone that doesn’t like your stories or believes as you do? ” – not at all – in fact when one presents valid arguments I am more then accommodating. As stated, I wasn’t sure if your response was serious or not. By the way – you still have yet to answer my counterpoints.

    9- “You, after all, don’t know the first thing about me. Peace, Freedom, Prosperity?? ” – Your right I do not – and you never told me anything about you except for some story. I know a lot about peace – I never fight and am usually able to resolve them quite quickly. Freedom – I am not the one looking to have the state force everyone to my whims. Prosperity – I do okay for my family and me – and it took a long hard road to get here. Sorry – but you don’t know me either.

    10 – “I predict you will ultimately delete all of my comments regardless of how I approach this discussion.” – Stick to your day job – telling the future is not your forte.

  6. David Shirk December 7, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Oh yeah “I notice that people seem to lack empathy these days”.

    Its not that I lack empathy. In fact anyone who really knows me would tell you the opposite. However what I do have is an insane amount of disgust for nonsensical arguments thrown at a real world on in fairy tale terms. Also – I am not in a good mood at all – mostly because my congressman (a ‘leader’ elected over me) is really playing Mr Please all, and is still getting a lot of support despite the fact that most of his statements are a far cry from the reality.

    Finally, I am most perturbed at how opinions are counted as crucial as fact when making decisions. I stated an example that though fictitious in place is historically true for most of America – and you came back with something bearing no resemblance. Then when I counter – you go on about lack of empathy, disrespect, opinion this and that, and that I don’t know the first thing about peace freedom and prosperity. Seriously – given the above – how did you expect me to respond?

    • David Urban December 7, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

      “Are you really so shallow that you are unable to differentiate situations and people, and thus use an out of context extreme to make a point that does not exist?”

      Shallow? Perhaps you just missed my line of reasoning. Your story starts out with a woman who is afraid of her lack of power when compared to a man of 6’3″. You go on to say she should stay in only “safe areas.” Areas that aren’t “dark.” WTF? Does crime only happen in “unsafe” areas? You were saying that Mary ultimately had to resort to demanding protection. This implies that she feels that there isn’t enough protection for her. I don’t think she needs to be a “busybody” for that rationale. So, without adequate public protection (I’m giving Mary more credit than you are), she must have to find alternate means of avoiding harm… e.g. staying in safe areas as you say but by extension, without protection also not going out alone and not making herself controversial. Humanity has had those conditions.

      Say what you will about today’s society. I’ll probably make many of the same criticisms. However, over the course of the past 200 years, we’ve developed more rights for more of our population than we’ve ever had (as far as we know – and certainly not including Native Americans who seemed to have been doing just fine without us).

      “If Mary shows the same amount of wisdom, experience, discretion, and charisma you do, she would make an excellent democrat.”

      That came out of left field! I’m uncharismatic, unwise, indiscreet and inexperienced? So if she were the same, that would make Mary a Democrat?? Huh? What do Democrats have to do with this discussion? Or how do those negative character traits represent them? C’mon. You’re quick to jump on the “adult” conversation meme… what was that?

      “This is directly against the article as there were plenty of woman who saw to their own needs and defense and were well respected for it”

      I see something about a vigilante action with mace but that isn’t the same as “plenty of women who saw to their own needs and defense…”

      “’In any event, both volunteer and paid police implies government.’ – Explain – a voluntary force would only serve those who pay them against direct crime – and would not use force to come after people for not obeying the wishes of the employers.”

      What are you talking about? Mercenaries or volunteers? Are we talking French energy companies using private armies in Africa or are we talking the Civil Defense? The former case clearly is not a government, the latter, I think has all of the trimmings of government. Maybe we disagree on the definition of the word “government.” Once people organize and create rules, you’ve got government, no matter how slight.

      “Government in stark contrast writes laws that people like you ask – and then arrest people like me who never wanted them for not obeying your wishes.”

      People like me?? Yeah. Ok. Laws should serve to protect freedom. Modern government’s stated goal is to protect freedom. Does it always achieve that goal? No. Does it sometimes completely lie about it? Yes.

      “The fact that you cannot make this simple distinction once again calls me to question your mental capacity.”
      There you go again with the ad hominem. The fact that I think that distinction doesn’t exist in practical terms – outside of your head – is no reason for you to once again proclaim my inferiority.

      You certainly seem to have been raised in an aggressive environment, as you say, by virtue of the tone of your replies. Kudos to you if you at least practice physical non-violence.

      In your story, I think you’re basically denigrating the need of all people to be safe and free. That’s what I take away from it. I don’t think it’s relevant to mention annoying personality traits as the roots of undesirable government. “Busybodies” sometimes make laws. Sometimes there are ridiculous laws. Often there are important laws. What about child labor? What about company labor camps? The Clean Air Act prevents hundreds of thousands of deaths each year and saves millions in health care costs. Just ask China.

      What do you say about Pinkerton security forces hired by industrialists to put down labor movements? That was not government.

      Consequently, there are laws to prevent the heinous situations of the 19th century. Do you think these laws are also the work of Mary’s?

      Granted, we seem to be slipping back from what seemed to be a gradual evolution but still… to say that all government is always bad…?

  7. David Urban December 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    “I stated an example that though fictitious in place is historically true for most of America – and you came back with something bearing no resemblance. ”

    And I have no idea what you’re talking about. Can you somehow legitimize the “historically true for most of America” statement? I just don’t see how what is unfair and unjust with our government is the result of Mary’s. I don’t think that’s how it happens at all and I think your story is a stretch.

    I hate the fact that we sometimes make reactionary laws. So yes, there are instances but still nowhere near “historically true for most of America.” I’d like to hear your defense of that.

    I’m sorry you’re not in a good mood.

  8. David Shirk December 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    Response in progress – sorry for the delay – but there is alot to address. Sorry for the snippiness earlier – and I mean it. You are right – I do not know you and should not have judged you so harshly. Thank you for the adult response – I will respond in kind :-)

  9. David Shirk December 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    1 – “Your story starts out with a woman who is afraid of her lack of power when compared to a man of 6’3″. You go on to say she should stay in only “safe areas.”
    Actually what I wrote was “In the old days, the Mary’s used to limit their activities to safer areas where help could easily be found.” – I never said what Mary should or should not do. In fact I pointed out that Mary should consider the cost benefit ratio when asking for protection. I also pointed out that other woman learned how to defend themselves just fine – just that the Mary’s did not care about their own defense enough to learn.
    2 – ” Areas that aren’t “dark.” WTF? Does crime only happen in “unsafe” areas? You were saying that Mary ultimately had to resort to demanding protection.”
    I never once said that. I just reread the articles and not once did I say that. I only said that Mary used to stick to safe areas. And I did not once say that just dark areas are unsafe either. What I said was ” dark, relatively empty, and with people you don’t know just standing around eyeballing you like you don’t belong.”. If you think such areas are safe – take a stroll in downtown Philly at 3 pm in the back alleys. I wouldn’t do that myself. If you think that unsafe areas do not exist, then I would have to call shenanigans. Also, I do go some places that many would not = not because I am stupid but because I know how to handle myself and to avoid conflicts by being aware of my surroundings.
    I also never said that Mary had to resort to demanding protection either. What I said was that Mary was wanting to go to places that made her ill at ease to say the best, but was intimidated by them. I also added that Mary refused to learn how to protect herself, and still wanted to be able to go to ‘unsafe’ places that others did. The only option left is to hire police to protect her in these areas which she did not feel she should have to do on her own. I even said that she wanted everyone else to pay the price for her protection – or at least their share – something they recieve no benefit from at all – just to make Mary happy. This is why I asked if you read the article or not because you are still removing what I wrote and adding your own assumptions.
    3 – ” I don’t think she needs to be a “busybody” for that rationale. So, without adequate public protection (I’m giving Mary more credit than you are),”
    Never once did I say that Mary was a busy body for wanting protection. I dubbed her a busybody because she wanted everyone else to pay for something she didn’t need in the first place to the extent that it ruined the towns budget and social structure.
    4 – “she must have to find alternate means of avoiding harm… e.g. staying in safe areas as you say but by extension, without protection also not going out alone and not making herself controversial.”
    Okay – if Mary has gone her entire life and is doing just fine (note that the only thing she wanted protection for was to go into the areas that she felt was unsafe) – where did your extension come from that she suddenly needs protection? Also – most people don’t go out alone anyway – and in fact – there are many people who gladly help people out in these cases. If an older lady or someone small of stature asks me to walk them to their car – I would never object and I don’t know anyone who would tell her no. However if such a one came up to me and said she wanted to walk around places I am cautious in just because she feels it is her right, I am going to say no. Asking for trouble is not a good way to defend oneself.
    As for not making herself controversial – why cant she? As stated in the article it was a mostly civilized town, and most people would either ignore her if she was just being a pain, or stand with her if she had a point. Think Nancy Grace.

    MORE FOLLOWING

  10. David Shirk December 8, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    6 – “That came out of left field! I’m uncharismatic, unwise, indiscreet and inexperienced? So if she were the same, that would make Mary a Democrat?? Huh? What do Democrats have to do with this discussion? Or how do those negative character traits represent them? C’mon. You’re quick to jump on the “adult” conversation meme… what was that?”
    I deserved that – and apologized for it.
    7 – “I see something about a vigilante action with mace but that isn’t the same as “plenty of women who saw to their own needs and defense…”
    Vigilante action? You mean fellow people helping someone out who needed it? before our country had a police force we had nothing but vigilante actions – and it worked just fine – seriously read up on the time frame. If it is wrong to help out someone being attacked simply because it is ‘vigilante’, than I can find no moral wrong there except that such actions are being called bad. As stated in the article, cops cannot be everywhere at once. Even in real life, they rarely prevent anything, and usually only respond to a crime already committed. If ‘vigilante women with mace’ protect themselves from being raped to begin with, why do you have a problem with that?
    8 – “What are you talking about? Mercenaries or volunteers? Are we talking French energy companies using private armies in Africa or are we talking the Civil Defense? The former case clearly is not a government, the latter, I think has all of the trimmings of government. Maybe we disagree on the definition of the word “government.” Once people organize and create rules, you’ve got government, no matter how slight.” – explained below
    “Government in stark contrast writes laws that people like you ask – and then arrest people like me who never wanted them for not obeying your wishes.”
    9 – “People like me?? Yeah. Ok. Laws should serve to protect freedom. Modern government’s stated goal is to protect freedom. Does it always achieve that goal? No. Does it sometimes completely lie about it? Yes.”
    The only laws that can possibly serve freedom are natural laws – laws like do not murder, do not steal – things like that. While modern governments stated goal is to protect freedom, its actions betray this goal on a mass scale.
    10 – “There you go again with the ad hominem. The fact that I think that distinction doesn’t exist in practical terms – outside of your head – is no reason for you to once again proclaim my inferiority.”
    ” The fact that I think that distinction doesn’t exist in practical terms” – really? So the distinction between government and a voluntary system where people get only paid for is in my head only? If so, then why does everyone pay such high taxes and regulatory fees, and still only have roads to show for it? Is that not a practicle term?
    ” is no reason for you to once again proclaim my inferiority.” – once again – I apologized.

    MORE FOLLOWING

  11. David Shirk December 8, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Missed 5 –
    5 – “Say what you will about today’s society. I’ll probably make many of the same criticisms. However, over the course of the past 200 years, we’ve developed more rights for more of our population than we’ve ever had ”
    In 200 years, Philadelphia went from being an average town with very low crime to a place where you watch where you go for fear of being mugged etc. In 200 years New York went from being a decent town to one worse the Philadelphia. Every – major – city. Read books from the 1780 – 1820 time period, and tell me that these towns are indeed better off today. What rights? In the Mid 1780’s women’s rights were making a drastic turn for the better. In the mid 1780’s, education began to boom.
    And to sustain all this, we are involved in more wars then I can name at a cost of trillions of dollars that we don’t even have. There are neighborhoods that not even the cops dare enter. We haven’t grown more civilized – we just displaced the violence. As a result, our prisons hold more people who never hurt, stole from, or damaged anyone than violent offenders. How is this more civilized?
    (as far as we know – and certainly not including Native Americans who seemed to have been doing just fine without us). – And why do you think they do just fine without us? They have no central government or bank.

    More following

  12. David Shirk December 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    11 – “You certainly seem to have been raised in an aggressive environment, as you say, by virtue of the tone of your replies. Kudos to you if you at least practice physical non-violence.”
    Had a bad day – and I apologized. Moving on.
    12 – “In your story, I think you’re basically denigrating the need of all people to be safe and free.”
    When did I say that? I merely pointed out that if people use their freedom to defend themselves and make sensible choices like not looking for trouble, that having a force to use that freedom for you is both costly and accomplishes only the opposite. People in the country before we had a police force were far safer then they are today. Just read up on that time and you will see what I mean.

    “That’s what I take away from it.”
    Sorry you misunderstood – largely from removing x and inserting y.
    12 – “I don’t think it’s relevant to mention annoying personality traits as the roots of undesirable government.”
    I usually do not either, except for people who see more benefit in taking things from others using government to do so to the detriment of their community is highly undesirable. Read Bastiat’s The Law.
    13 – Busybodies sometimes make laws. Sometimes there are ridiculous laws. Often there are important laws. What about child labor?
    The colonies never were China and never used child labor. However in the earliest days children would commonly help their parents with the chores etc. I started working when I was 15 – not because I was forced to but because I wanted to. I didn’t care what I was paid so much as long as at the end of the day I had something to show for it. Being this is the case, child labor laws have done what exactly for our country other than freed up a whole bunch of kids time for them to engage in mindless video games and television programs?
    ” What about company labor camps?” Not getting this – please explain what you mean.
    15 – “The Clean Air Act prevents hundreds of thousands of deaths each year and saves millions in health care costs.” Which one? Some were beneficial – some weren’t.
    ” Just ask China.” The child labor country?

    More following

  13. David Urban December 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    You’re going to hold me to be more precise in my language, huh? Ok, that’s good.

    There are some things that I’ve learned:
    1. You’re wrong and I’m right. Unless of course, I’m right and you’re wrong. Ha ha. No seriously, we’ll probably never convince each other of anything. I don’t try, but…

    2. A vigorous exchange can get you to better understand other viewpoints and better understand your own.

    So that’s how I approach. I think you’re way wrong. I’ll probably leave this discussion thinking that you’re still pretty wrong (though I try to have an open mind). BUT, I do want to hear what you have to say.

    I’ll respond soon, i just have eat.

  14. David Shirk December 8, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    16 – “What do you say about Pinkerton security forces hired by industrialists to put down labor movements? That was not government.”
    To be honest there is a lot of other things going on in the 1850’s – 1900’s – the end of the Mexican American War, the Civil War etc. To be quite blunt, there is simply too much to address with the Pinkerton issue on any one page. I will be more than happy to open a separate discussion on it if you wish. However instead of a Pinkerton agency once used to suppress union strikes etc, we have a government that uses regulatory bodies to suppress non union people with police etc to back it up.
    Also, this cannot be used to fairly contrast a private vs government ‘protection’. The Pinkertons were receiving compensation from very high powered entities in both the private and public sectors. They were insured and met all of the federal requirements for operations. In addition, most of the presidents at that time were very pro expansion meaning they would take little issues with a private sector enforcement agency doing their dirty work.
    17 – “Consequently, there are laws to prevent the heinous situations of the 19th century. Do you think these laws are also the work of Mary’s?” Yes and no. Yes because it was a private security firm with the blessings of the government at work, paid for by people who were major supporters of the current governing bodies. No because Mary’s are not high powered government friends but rather those who want something they could not provide for themselves that they do not need, using government to get it at the expense of everyone else.
    As for laws banning agencies like Pinkerton that Ohio did? – Now we have blackwater etc. So this is a moot point.
    18 – “Granted, we seem to be slipping back from what seemed to be a gradual evolution but still… to say that all government is always bad…?”
    You will never hear me say that. What I have said and will always say is that involuntary government is bad – IE having people telling you what to do, how to do it, making you pay for their ideas and actions not your own. If a town all get together and vote themselves a council leader or something, and have the power to remove them at any time – a council leader who cannot tell the rest of those who do not support him or his voters what to do – then I would be okay with that.

  15. David Urban December 8, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    8,9 “The only laws that can possibly serve freedom are natural laws – laws like do not murder, do not steal – things like that. While modern governments stated goal is to protect freedom, its actions betray this goal on a mass scale.”
    I’m curious about these natural laws. You mean, “do unto others…” laws? So, don’t pollute the water supply would be a natural law, right? Going back to something we like to call regulation, would you agree that something like the Clean Air act is beneficial then? (In bringing up China, I was just listening to a radio story about how polluted their air is, so that’s all I was alluding to – didn’t really fit in the discussion, technically) There are plenty of laws and regulations that protect society and individuals in ways individuals have never been successful. Of course, these include protection against pollution of all kinds but they also include protection against superior financial forces; laws against anti-competitive behavior. IMHO, this provides freedom to small business and opportunity to individuals to start businesses. Excuse my ignorance on the topic but I’m not really well versed on what the definition of a “natural law” would be.

    10 So the distinction between government and a voluntary system where people get only paid for is in my head only? If so, then why does everyone pay such high taxes and regulatory fees, and still only have roads to show for it? Is that not a practical term?

    I think we have more than roads to show for it. But that’s a different topic, too. I was just saying that even a voluntary system is government, something I think you also agree with later, in this paragraph:

    “will always say is that involuntary government is bad – … If a town all get together and vote themselves a council leader or something, and have the power to remove them at any time – a council leader who cannot tell the rest of those who do not support him or his voters what to do – then I would be okay with that.”

    5 “…over the course of the past 200 years, we’ve developed more rights for more of our population than we’ve ever had ” “Read books from the 1780 – 1820 time period, and tell me that these towns are indeed better off today. What rights? In the Mid 1780′s women’s rights were making a drastic turn for the better. In the mid 1780′s, education began to boom.”

    Yes, I’d say you’re right, things were beginning to change then. But we now commonly have women as elected officials (whether you believe in politicians or not) and heads of industry. We don’t bat an eye. It’s common. Then there’s suffrage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage Literacy rates are the highest they’ve been (except for a decline over the past few decades) – not that literacy is the end all of education or freedom but it’s a start. Life expectancy is longer. Work hours are shorter. http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/whaples.work.hours.us

    We can owe many of these things to labor laws, voting rights laws and public education. For Pete’s sake we no longer have widespread, accepted human slavery or segregation… the work of government. The last 200 years. I’m counting the Scottish Enlightenment, the Royal Society, and the change from Monarchy and Mercantilism as milestone type progress. That’s also what I mean by “the last 200 years.”

    On topic, isn’t the U.S. West of the mid-19th century similar to what you’re romanticizing? Everything I know about the West indicates that it was an inhospitable, dangerous place. But even if you can find some bright spots in that territorial civilization, it was almost exclusively an agrarian society. Things are different now. You can go be self-sustaining on a plot of land, by yourself. You can live the life of a homesteader but let’s face it, you probably won’t. Even if you do, most people won’t. We have modern problems now; urban problems. I’m not sure even the harsh 19th century solutions won’t even be as successful as they were then. This is what we saw as industrialization took place.

    “However in the earliest days children would commonly help their parents with the chores etc. I started working when I was 15”
    Yes, that’s all well and good, Newt.

    However, this is not:
    http://bit.ly/ttXHRZ
    http://bit.ly/uhqhB9

    Meanwhile there were “factory girls” http://bit.ly/t0LgAa who worked upwards of 80 hours a week, fed bread and gravy were at least as young as 11.

    Company labor camps or “company towns” were towns in which workers lived. The company would own the homes and the shops. Often the company would make excessive profits on the goods sold in the shops leaving the workers to never be able to advance. This was sometimes combined with unsavory loan practices for good purchased from the same stores.

    And the height of it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludlow_Massacre

    You get the picture. The labor protection we all enjoy today were hard fought over times of suffering.

    “As for laws banning agencies like Pinkerton that Ohio did? – Now we have blackwater etc. So this is a moot point.”

    No, I meant labor laws but, good point. We even began outsourcing intelligence in Afghanistan. Profit motivated intelligence analysis? How’s that for a conflict of interest. (off topic)

    “’certainly not including Native Americans who seemed to have been doing just fine without us.’ – And why do you think they do just fine without us? They have no central government or bank.”
    Yup. Or lawyers or police. Did the workers control the means of production? Ehh, maybe, but they certainly had no real concept of private property. They lived communal lives. About 11 million of them.

    17 “Yes and no. Yes because it was a private security firm with the blessings of the government at work, paid for by people who were major supporters of the current governing bodies. No because Mary’s are not high powered government friends but rather those who want something they could not provide for themselves that they do not need, using government to get it at the expense of everyone else.”

    And this is where I completely lose you. I think it goes back to wanting to know how you think this is the prevalent means of creating laws in the United States.

    So what is the check on private security forces? I mean if you advocate volunteer and/or mercenary enforcement of even “natural laws,” what prevents the excessive use of that force? I’m not sure that’s what you’re advocating. Please clarify. If I’m a powerful force in the community (political or commercial), what prevents me from using that force for my own prejudices or benefit?

    That’s why I brought up the French mercenaries in Africa. Same argument for WTF is going on in Iraq. Iraq, near as I can tell, turned out to be a cash generator for many at the expense of even more. An instance of government supporting the worst behavior of corporations. I think we go back to Eisenhower’s speech on the military-industrial complex.

    We’ve clearly gone astray. For a while there, the government was talking about “economic conversion,” remember? And, bless his neo-liberal heart, Clinton was pushing peaceful economies, before Monica. Then came the Project for a New American Century… people that held perspectives that have been pushing megalomaniac causes since WWII, at least. We should never have let that happen. We’ve clearly gone astray. And yes, we’ve been astray for a long time (“…to the shores of Tripoli…”).

    However, I can’t agree that we’re so astray that ill meaning Mary’s have conquered our public policy. Sorry.

    “involuntary government is bad – IE having people telling you what to do, how to do it, making you pay for their ideas and actions not your own. If a town all get together and vote themselves a council leader or something, and have the power to remove them at any time – a council leader who cannot tell the rest of those who do not support him or his voters what to do – then I would be okay with that.”

    Yeah, ok. That sure sounds good. However, what about that “involuntary government?” I don’t think our current government is as cut and dry as that. There isn’t “a government” that does bad things. Sometimes the government does bad things and sometimes it does good things. You, too, can get involved with government and do good things. There are actually good people in and involved with government; in both parties. Too bad there are only two sides.

    “That’s what I take away from it.”
    “Sorry you misunderstood – largely from removing x and inserting y.”
    Didn’t mean to. I guess that’s why we have dialog.

  16. David Urban December 8, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    P.S.

    “Sorry for the snippiness earlier – and I mean it.”

    That meant a lot. Thank you.

  17. David Shirk December 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    @David – response will come tomorrow – got busy for a second. Thank you for your patience!

  18. David Urban December 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    Oh, I know the feeling. I’m on about 4 hours sleep right now. Working a ~60hr/week job and trying to start a business on the side. Take your time.

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