For a Less Divided America, Let People Pick Their Own Laws

It sure beats endless battles over who gets to stuff their preferred governance down the throats of the vanquished.


VITTA GALLERY/Westend61 GmbH/Newscom

After last week's hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, it became pretty obvious that the questions, answers, tears, and grandstanding had changed few, if any, minds. "Today felt very much like an update of the 1850s: 2 very distinct parts of US that no longer care to even fake that they respect or value the other," tweeted Ronald Brownstein of CNN and The Atlantic.

The 1850s? We know how that ended: badly. Why not head off continued conflict by letting these "very distinct parts" of the U.S. be even more distinct—so much so that there's less for them to battle over. We could even break with the past and try political solutions that let people live side by side without submitting to the authority of opponents they neither respect not value.

Brownstein wasn't the only observer to notice the political breach—a breach that appears to be growing.

"It is hard to believe that Democrats and Republicans were watching the same hearings," the YouGov polling firm marveled while reporting that Democrats disbelieved Kavanaugh and believed Ford, his accuser, in almost exactly the same numbers that Republicans disbelieved Ford and believed Kavanaugh.

"The United States is one country, but Americans are living in two separate worlds," pointed out Emma Green for The Atlantic, while reporting on July 2018 polling data. "[T]hey have become radically split in their basic perceptions of reality."

If Americans are living in separate worlds, it hardly makes sense to continue forcing them to live in the same country, under policies one faction imposes on another, based not only on different priorities but incompatible perceptions of the world around them. Messy secession or civil war scenarios grab headlines in reaction to this divide, but they offer incomplete—or horrific—outcomes. There may be a better way—one that would allow people to live alongside each other according to different sets of rules, and by the authority of their preferred decision-makers.

"Even the wisest and best of governments never functions with the full and free consent of all its subjects observed the Belgian economist Paul Emile de Puydt in the 1860 article "Panarchy," noting that "there are parties, either victorious or defeated; there are majorities and minorities in perpetual struggle; and the more confused their notions are, the more passionately they hold to their ideals."

"Parties…in perpetual struggle" would seem to describe any political system in which the prize of power becomes too valuable to surrender. And it really seems to ring a bell in our world of political factions inhabiting separate realities and worlds.

What solution did de Puydt offer?

"I hope we can all go on living together wherever we are, or elsewhere, if one likes, but without discord, like brothers, each freely holding his opinions and submitting only to a power personally chosen and accepted," offered the author. He proposed that people be able to freely register their support for, or withdrawal from, any variety of political associations that could draw sufficient support to maintain their existence.

"Ultimately," continued de Puydt, "everyone would live in his own individual political community, quite as if there were not another, nay, ten other, political communities nearby, each having its own contributors too."

He compared the system he proposed to Swiss cantons or American states, operating within a larger nation, although not separated geographically. They could settle disputes, he argued, "between subjects of different governments, or between one government and a subject of another…observing the principles hitherto observed between neighbouring peaceful States."

More recently, scholars have described the very real world practice of varying and overlapping jurisdictions negotiating the boundaries of their authority as "polycentrism." The scholars Michael Polanyi and Elinor and Vincent Ostrom are probably most closely associated with the idea of "social systems of many decision centers having limited and autonomous prerogatives and operating under an overarching set of rules."

Polanyi argued that the sciences, arts, religion, and especially the market owed their dynamism and advancement to the freedom people enjoy to engage in independent activities on their own or through varied institutions, subject to broad, generally agreed upon values. The Ostroms pointed to the overlapping federal, state, and local jurisdictions and agencies in American cities as examples that agencies with duplicate responsibilities and authority could actually be evidence of healthy competition and could coordinate with minimal conflict.

Other thinkers, like Bruce Benson, Randy Barnett, Gary Chartier, and Tom W. Bell take the next step and apply the ideal of polycentric law and governance to individuals.

In "Polycentric Law," published in 1992, Bell pointed to "Gaul and Italy during the early Middle Ages, when Roman and Germanic laws existed side by side with people opting to define themselves as either Romans or Franks/Burgundians/Lombards—something that became increasingly a matter of choice as time passed."

Laws selected as a matter of preferred identity? That sounds an awful lot like de Puydt's panarchy dwellers, registering for the political and legal systems of their choice. Or maybe like Republicans, Democrats, libertarians, and everybody else choosing their own governments while still living and working together.

Is the idea of an America made up of united states of choice—Californias and New Hampshires of the mind—a bit out there? You bet. It would be a big change, and anything of that magnitude is out there right up until it happens.

But when pundits talk about Americans living in separate world and evoke the 1850s as a parallel for the current political moment, a big change may be just what is needed. A big change allowing people to peacefully pick the laws they live by while respecting their neighbors' right to do the same is better than endless battles over who gets to stuff their preferred governance down the throats of the vanquished.

NEXT: 'New Rights' for Air Travelers in Senate Bill Are Anything But: Reason Roundup

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  1. “He compared the system he proposed to Swiss cantons or American states”

    In 1860?

    1. Hey, 2-chilli, what’s David Friedman, chopped liver? How can you write an article on polycentrism and not mention him?

      1. I was thinking the same thing. When I saw the title I thought it was going to primarily be about his theory of law from arbitration firms as an alternative to govt law enforcement

      2. Tucille was politely trying not to posthumously embarrass David’s sane father.

  2. There’s a word for when you can pick among competing “governments” as to whose legal regime you wish to follow: anarchy. As in literally “no ruler”. If you can decline a government’s * attentions *, it ain’t a government.

    P.S. That’s a good thing, IMO.

    1. Anarchy is the absence of government.
      Panarchy is choosing between multiple competing governments. “None of the above” may or may not be an option.

  3. I wish Citizen X was here for this. What the heck happened to that guy?

    1. Was wondering the same thing. CItizen X, where are you?

      1. Have you tried saying his name three times in a mirror?

    2. This was the last comment I saw from him:

      Citizen X|7.14.18 @ 10:11AM|#

      Nick Sarwark (aka BUCS) has ruined the comment thread with his decency and calm demeanor. I refuse to share a comment thread with a man who trashes Tom Woods. Citizen X- OUT

      1. Honestly, maybe he’s at Glibs or something. The guy was hilarious

        1. Considering how often he trashed the Glibs on here, I doubt it. But yeah, he was funny as hell. I loved setting him up for a joke, or vibing off one of his jokes. He is missed.

          1. OK, but BUCS should really apologize for the way he’s run the LP. I’m sorry, he’s a nice guy and everything, but I don’t support his chairmanship

            1. When I become libertarian god-king of Phoenix, you will regret your words. You best hope that I let you beg when that time comes.

              1. I don’t recognize Arizona anyways. My flag only has 47 stars and I’ll never buy a new one

                1. Well, then I hope you have to pay a high excise tax on all the Arizona Cactus and Alaskan King Crab you consume.

                  1. The Diamondbacks suck

                    1. As much as I trash Arizona, it is a beautiful state.

                2. One of those missing stars better be Maryland.

        2. Doesn’t seem quite insular enough for the Glibs crowd. Unless it’s changed there is a certain groupthink feel about a lot of Glibs I think.

          1. That’s what I like about this place. We hate on each other quite a bit, but, in the end, we tolerate each other rather well on here. You just know that if Tony stopped commenting on here, John would fall into a deep depression, and vice versa. Same thing for Buttplug and Sevo.

      2. Well fuck him if he and Woods are too busy butt fucking to recognize his innate shiftiness.

      3. Wasn’t there a rumour he was Crusty?

        And now both are AWOL.

        /strokes chin.

        1. Crusty was here yesterday. He just stopped coming as much because he got a job.

          Same reason I’m posting less honestly. New job actually has work to do.

          1. Well, understandable, as long as you don’t stop commenting completely.

            As for Crusty, I am glad he was finally able to move out of the chinchilla cage. I hope he took his roommate with him to his new digs.

          2. Someone employable infiltrated the Reaspublican comments section?

  4. OK, for those of us who are attracted to the idea but experience a bit of skepticism as to how it will work out in practice, humor me with examples of how the following situations will be resolved:

    A criminal commits a burglary in one place and flees to another “independent jurisdiction.” For a variation on this question, what if the jurisdiction where the alleged crime took place disagrees with the asylum government about fundamental criminal justice issues, like do you have juries, what about ethnic bias against the accused or victim, etc?

    A person in one “independent state” has a condition which neighboring “independent states” consider an environmental hazard.”

    I’m sure I could come up with others.

    1. Or, of course, a third-party foreign enemy tries to either conquer a bunch of neighboring “independent states” or to destabilize them with acts of terrorism.

      1. This isn’t a new problem- indeed for many years that was a problem in the states, where a thief would evade capture from police by moving across county lines, where they didn’t have jurisdiction. I imagine we would deal with the problem the same way- through agreements/treaties, or by sucking it up and dealing with this small cost.

      2. They aren’t neighboring. They occupy the same geographic area.

    2. I wonder if you are setting the bar too high. Clearly the system described would be imperfect. But would it be materially better than the current system? I think it would. And it probably wouldn’t be a ‘pure’ system either, but rather a large collection or relatively stable political entities into and out of citizens could move freely. And I suppose some ‘agreements’ addressing cross border issues. Honestly, simply stripping a bunch of power from the federal government decentralizing that power to the 50 states would go a long way towards the vision Puydt describes.

    3. The fact is, it will not work well. Not just because of those random examples, but because of a million others that would all be a pain in the ass. Stuff like Libertarians wanting to pay close to zero taxes, while shit libs demanding tons of services, and then bitching about Libertarians free riding… Etc. Physical jurisdictions make more sense.

      Physical areas could ALMOST work. But that will never happen either IMO. Not within the same NATIONAL government anyway….

      1. Why are you perpetuating the stereotype of libertarians as free riders? We just want to pay for services we actually use or support. Taxes as a way to redistribute wealth is the real problem.

      2. Easy. Don’t pay, you don’t get to use those services. Roads would probably all go the toll route, at least for long distances.

      3. I don’t think we are free riders… I’m just saying that the leftists will call us that. Also, some things are unavoidable, or nearly so.

        Imagine a big, fancy public park that commies fund. You COULD allow members of The Prog government to enter free, and charge members of other groups that pay lower taxes… But then you need employees to check this on entry. What about going to a pork barrel sports stadium? Different rates for different groups? Same for trains, city buses, even perhaps toll roads…

        It’s not that you couldn’t come up with some convoluted way of dealing with it, but it’s a mess, and would just annoy and piss people off. It’s just a dumb idea that people will never get behind.

        If we could get people behind the concept of fee for service government, we wouldn’t NEED to do this in the first place! LOL Geographic division is what is needed to be workable in the real world, as it actually exists, not in fantasy land.

    4. As I understand the proposal, it’s not based on geographic “jurisdictions” but is purely based on political associations.

      If the “criminal” belongs to a political association with no theft law, he can’t be prosecuted.

      1. If that is what this is, that is insane. There is really no way to politiely describe it. It is just insane.

        1. It would be boon to lawyers who will be appealing to the various government jurisdictions to come to a resolution of the differences. In other words, it’s worse than what we have today, because it’s no longer “the rule of law” but instead conflicting “rules of law” without any means to resolve conflicts between jurisdictions.

        2. Agreed.

        3. Allowing 51 percent of the voters to steal 30 percent of my income every month is what’s insane.

      2. That would be a criminal organization not a political one. Big distinction. Nobody would recognize it as legitimate. Basic property and civil rights would be a minimum requirement.

      3. No, the victim’s government prosecutes the crime.

        1. No. The proposal is that each person gets to choose a political association with laws they like and they are only bound by that association’s laws.

          1. My government doesn’t recognize so-called “murder” or “torture” as a crime, unless it occurs to a member of the same government or another in the same treaty group.
            His government was ejected from the treaty group for not reining in its “citizens” from preying upon the members of the other governments.
            So, he can stay at home, and my “fists of justice” won’t find him, but then he’s also staying out of trouble, so win either way.

            My concern is that some other “Government” has managed to secure a 51% majority…and an Abrams tank. And they’re telling me that they don’t recognize my claim to my property.
            Not much change, really.

    5. There are independent jurisdictions now. Some have extradition, some don’t.

      In this proposed system, there is no independent geographical jurisdiction. The government of the person you robbed can track you down wherever you go.

      1. “The government of the person you robbed can track you down wherever you go.”

        But by the rules of the proposal, you are not answerable to their laws, only to the laws of the association you belong to.

  5. Saw the headline. Knew it was Tuccille.

    1. 2-chili and Doherty are the two most libertarian writers on reason, now that Sheldon Richman (a hardcore ancap Rothbardian, AFAICT) doesn’t contribute anymore.

      1. Richman and Horton have their own thing now. There articles are good, but some of the contributing articles are not so much


          That’s cool. I like both of those guys. Both are very committed anti-interventionists, and we know there is nothing less libertarian than an unjustified war.

          1. The Libertarian Institute

            Sheldon Richman and Scott Horton both run it.

      2. I knew Sheldon when I lived in DC but I don’t think he’s Rothbardian any more – he spouts some serious cultural Marxist fuckery over at C4SS.

    2. The quality and relevance were dead giveaways, but some examples from Snow Crash would have been illustrative.

      1. The problem with using illustrations, such as from the fictional novel “Snow Crash”, as working examples, is they can be very convincing, and yet very wrong.
        I’d still rather live in that world, as described, but I’m not sure it would be as described.

        1. Besides. I prefer the illustrations from L. Neil Smith and Scott Beiser anyway.


          Scroll down to “Polycentric Law”. This COULD work, but I suspect there’d be a lot of unanticipated roadblocks along the way. Kind of like Fusion power plants.

  6. The last century has been dominated by progressivism, and requires collective participation.
    Progressives will not allow choice.

    1. Collectivism FTW! Amirite people?

      1. Bake the Cake

      2. chemjeff radical collectivist chimes in again.

      3. I just heard a credible eviction from a party.

    2. Individualism allows socialists to contract with each other for voluntary socialism. I realize this doesn’t satisfy many, perhaps most, who want to force others to their will. But those who want socialism as a crutch to help them do “good” would find it is 99% of what they crave.

      State coerced socialism cannot tolerate individualism, by definition.

  7. Except for many of our most controversial issues the people advocating for laws want them for other people to live by. Of course, the other problem is, if everybody lives by their own law, what do you do when someone’s personal law says it okay to sexually assault other people when they interact with someone whose personal law says that is a capital crime? You cannot have laws protecting people’s rights if the law is optional.

    Also, where the barbarian tribes encroaching on Roman territory getting concessions for their own law represents a breakdown in civilization that led to the Medieval period. I am not sure that is really what anyone wants.

    1. The other people is that no area is entirely homogenous. Hey, lets let the Muslims have their Sharia law zone. I guess everyone who lives in these areas that doesn’t like Sharia law can get bent.

      A magazine that fanatically supports open borders is now claiming what they really want is a patchwork of popular sovereignty. You know what they call a group living they laws of their own choice? A nation state.

      1. If you get more than the airbrushing of the theory given in the article above, there is really very little to object to. It really is just an example of Pre-Civil War United States. People are free to move between polities and self sort however they choose.

        You are correct that there is a switching cost as these polities form. Minorities would not necessarily have the protections that you get today from a strong Federal Government. I would say we already have this effect to an extent- there are little Italy’s, Chinatowns, etc around the country.

        1. Well, it’s even talking about doing it in a non geographic way… Which is a non starter IMO.

          Those examples in the German conquered lands in Italy are really a situation of the new rulers applying their law to their people, and allowing their new serfs to keep some silly old traditions they believed in… Unless of course their new rulers decided to punish them by Germanic laws because they wanted to.

          Non geographic is a non starter IMO.

          1. That is where trial by ordeal came from, the germanic traditions for settling disputes that were modified by the church because the tribesmen did not trust the adversarial legal system of Roman law.

            1. Yup. And modern parliamentary systems were largely influenced by Germanic leadership councils that would elect leaders too. Eventually the different systems tended to merge, because having multiple totally separate sets of rules is just not a very workable solution in the real world.

        2. There is very little to object to if everyone respects some base framework of human rights and laws. If you have that, then the differences between the soveriegnty is one of tastes and interests and not something that people in the minority in those areas can really object to. If you don’t have that, you have fundemental conflict between those soveriegnties and likely in at least some of the areas real abuses of human rights and minorities.

          Like a lot of Libertarians, Reason forgets the importance of culture and shared values and respect for human rights in society and government. These sorts of schemes only work in societies that have those things.

          1. Yeah, it seems the basic framework you mention is exactly what is lacking. If the right to speak and the right to defend and the right to privacy/property are in question, that doesn’t leave much to work from.

      2. I wonder what reason’s position would be if one or more of these areas of popular sovereignty decided they wanted closed borders and a 100% white populace?

        For some reason, I suspect that THESE areas of popular sovereignty would not be allowed. For some reason.

        1. I bet you’re right! And that WOULD happen. So would 100% black areas, Hispanic areas, Muslim areas, etc.

          This would all work GREAT! Until one side or another decided they outnumbered the next area over and decided to conquer them.

          There’s a reason nation-states, with a unified set of rules, and usually based on ethno-religious grounds have de facto existed since pre-history… They make sense, and are functional.

  8. Bake the cake

  9. Isn’t this what we use to call “federalism”?

    1. Yes, I think the founding fathers essentially addressed this issue in their vision for how the US would be governed. If we simply moved back to that model, it would solve so many problems.

    2. That’s what I think. We don’t really need ‘big change’. Our current situation is not like the 1850’s at all. It’s much easier to fix. We have two nationally-driven top-down ‘vectors of power’ – each very well established and seeking to go in incompatible directions. The ‘unfixable’ problem there is not their incompatibility but their ‘top-downness’.

      What we need now is a third vector of power that seeks only to break down the top-down imposition. It would not seek ‘the best’ of the other two vectors. It would seek to subvert them both in favor of the individual, the local, the state-level. It could mobilize both FDR and Reagan in that – while also decrying both FDR and Reagan in their violations of that. There are a ton of examples of how it still works (notably Canada and Switzerland – both based on ours originally) – even if the US is no longer an example (we’re not even a member of the international NGO that focuses on how to do decentralization/federalism). And we have the constitutional/legal basis (interstate compact) to convert most of the national/fed level to a non-coercive level of govt – overnight and without having to even argue with the two vectors of power that are causing the problems.

      1. The simplest solution would be to just allow the red states and blue states to separate into two different countries. Not perfect, but easy, and it would make a lot of people happier.

        Go down to the county level after that, to decide which state (and hence which country) the county wants to belong to. You might even only allow neighboring counties to choose to switch states, and hence have borders shifting over time.

        1. You don’t need to have separate countries. take education – states do need to cooperate and share info (is your grade 8 equal to our grade 8 for a student who’s moving?). There’s no irreconcilable – until someone decides there has to be a mandate. And interstate compacts don’t have broad authority to mandate. We had an interstate compact on education long before we had a Dept of Educ. That was mostly gutted – but the DeRps easily cooperate on the IC. They are educ professionals more than partisans. It’s only DC where they become more partisan than professional.

          There is NEVER anything simple about ‘separate countries’.

          1. You’re confusing something that is THEORETICALLY possible, with something that is ACTUALLY possible in the real world.

            You also forget that as a unified nation, we still have to have a lot of stuff stemming from the Feds. Are we going to go to war in XYZ country? Is it legal for California to completely ban all guns that aren’t black powder?

            Well, if the shit libs want to ban them guns, and the Supreme Court says no… That’s a friggin’ problem.

            It’s not that this idea doesn’t work on paper, but it will never work to the extent you want it to IRL. We can and should have vastly less top down control, but it has its limits. IMO the USA is too divided on too many important and central matters to stand.

            1. You’re the one pretending that an actual solution is not real? The ACTUAL US is not that hopelessly divided at all. People of different parties work together at the local and state level all the time every day. It is only DC that is poison – and it is only the most deluded fantasyland-residing DeRps who can see no possible option to that other than some fantasyland option that in reality is merely invoking a civil war. A civil war that when pointed out IS the outcome of your fantasyland nonsense is simply ignored by people like you with even more fantasyland nonsense.

              Grow Up! You people are like a particularly delusional two year old throwing temper tantrums. There are plenty of places with more serious ‘lack of unity’ problems than us who are able to make decentralization work. And even more who understand that the only way to make ANYTHING work in real life is to actually focus on ACTUAL changes that can happen in this world – not to pretend that their brain farts are reality or that what they imagine is actually real.

              1. Did the breaking up of the USSR results in an immediate civil war? How about Czechoslovakia?

                That’s what I thought.

                We COULD have a civil war… Or it could be totally peaceful. I opt for peaceful.

                And it’s not all sunshine and rainbows outside of DC. I live in Seattle. The politicians here are so insane, I’ve been meeting tons of life long Democrats who have told me, unprovoked, that they vote for every R on the ballot now.

                The political dysfunction is ALL OVER the place. We have 2 major camps, and a lot of smaller ones that have more or less affinity towards the bigguns, and the major camps are so diametrically opposed on major issues that they can never reconcile.

                Our government is already 10,000 times too left wing for me to stomach. Any “compromise” taking us further left will infuriate me even more, and still leave a lefty pissed that it didn’t go far enough. Likewise any compromise towards libertarian/conservative values that makes me happy will have the lefty shitting a brick.

                We’re too far apart to meet in the middle and have anybody be happy anymore. So it’s a peaceful separation, or a brutal divorce.

    3. Except, that under federalism “jurisdiction” and “the rule of law” applies based upon where the conflict/violation of law occurred. So there’s a means, via the government, to resolve conflicts. With Tuccile’s idea, there’s no firm jurisdiction, no way to ensure what jurisdiction to which people belong, and it’s akin to judge/jurisdiction shopping for any specific situation.

      The idea of “Let People Pick Their Own Laws” fails, because no one knows what laws apply when interacting and transacting with others. It’s far better to limit government so people are free to do what they want (even if it’s offensive to others) provided they don’t harm others. That libertarian live and let live political approach prevents conflicts whereby busybodies believe it’s their right to demand government punish the offensive, and tell people how to live their lives.

      1. Agree. There is a potential for ‘let people pick their own legislators’ – what wiki calls delegative democracy. So that people aren’t stuck with the representative who is mandated/coerced on them by a plurality/majority in their geography.

        But that still is entirely different from the Chinese menu approach to everything including the very structure of government itself. Tuccille’s approach is just idle silliness masquerading as a ‘great idea’ that will always be just beyond reach.

      2. Adjudicate crimes in the victim’s courts.
        Adjudicate torts in a neutral third court.

    4. I was looking for someone to bring up the U.S. Constitution. It amazes me how these “new plans” are nothing more than ACTUALLY following the Constitution of which is suppose to be the supreme law of the land. Funny how modern times has practically written the thing off since it really IS what this country IS.

      Our “Union of States” organization (i.e. The Federal Government) which was created by the states to begin with was only yielded international affairs (period)!!! To join the states in defense of foreign attack.

      How education, welfare, health-care, housing, agriculture, etc… etc.. etc.. ever became a “federal” matter is a huge violation upon which this country was founded on. Those are matters of the State/County/City officials.

      Funny how socialists and communists and well frankly Democrats – Can even read the Constitution and manipulate it to mean anything but what it ACTUALLY SAYS! I think they must have a problem with basic comprehension.

  10. So reason is all for popular sovereignty and local communities making their own laws. I guess that is why they so strongly objected to the Supreme Court forcing every state in the union to recognize gay marriage over the objection of their electorates, right?

    Stop writing things you don’t actually believe. It is not a good look.

    1. You can’t lump Tuccile in with all the other writers.

      1. Tuccille is their token libertarian.

    2. I have a suspicion that they just don’t think “the true voice of the people” would choose laws they would object to. Or perhaps, it is simply lazy thinking that does not actually consider what their pretty theory would look like if implemented in the real world.

      1. Honestly, I would want to live in a world most Reason writers would HATE.

        It’s not that I even care about a lot of the stuff from some super moral angle, just the practical benefits. Living in a city where only native born, proficient English speakers, who make $100K a year or more, who all own guns, and explicitly hold libertarian beliefs could live, or something to that effect… Nobody who doesn’t meet that criteria is allowed to cross the border! That would be a serious paradise to live in. It would also be about 95% white and 4% Asian, with 1% everyone else, or something to that effect. AKA RACIST!!! And also awesome.

        1. The best world to live in would be a world where everyone shared a set of common values that involved, honesty, hard work, respect for each other’s privacy and dignity and the common good and the order of the commons. It is not so much that the reason staff would hate that world. It is that they would think it would be improved by importing people who didn’t shared and in some cases despised those values because said people run delicious food trucks and diversity is groovy. The staff’s problem is that they think a well ordered free society just magically happens if only the government gets out of the way.

          1. Very true. A civilization is a result of the culture and values the people in that civilization believe in. They can’t grasp this concept.

        2. Of course. Liberty through ethnic cleansing!!

          It’s a wonder that such a no-brainer idea hasn’t taken off.

          1. It has all over the world. Do you ever watch the news?

            1. What has taken off is ethnic cleansing. Once that happens, the next step is always – yet more jackboot. Golly. Whodathunk it.

              1. It is not a good thing. But it is what happens when you have two groups of people with entirely incompatable values.

              2. Not quite.

                The Americas were populated via ethnic cleansing… America produced the most free and prosperous nation in the history of the world… Spanish controlled areas not so much, but still far better than the status quo had been in the areas they conquered. I mean they stopped cutting out peoples hearts for blood sacrifices at least…

                But yeah, cramming people together who have completely different world views tends to result in violence. One side wins, the other is either made into 2nd class citizens, exterminated outright, or bred out.

                History isn’t pretty, but there are a lot of lessons to be learned from it… Like that when two cultures come together en masse, the above is what ALWAYS happens. It’s never turned into a multicultural utopia historically. I see no reason to expect the norm to not play out this time too frankly. Wishful, but delusional, thinking often doesn’t work out IRL.

                1. Well I can assure you that you can never learn any lessons from history because you are far too busy trying to interpret history-as-mangled-thru-ideology rather than actual history-as-it-happened.

                  There is nothing more common than people who want to use dead people from history to serve their own ends today. After all. They’re not around to contradict your interpretation – or counter your strawmen (like creating your ‘utopia’ was their goal in life).

                  1. LOL

                    Sorry buddy, but I’d bet my life I know a lot more history than you do.

                    Name me a multicultural society that didn’t end in war, strife, OR eventually after MANY generations simply blending the 2 cultures. Of course it has to be kept together through violence during the interim while the cultures are blending. Think Muslim Iberia for instance.

                    Lest you think I am merely some 6’6″ blonde haired, blue eyed SS officer type… I am actually part Mexican on my moms side, and part native on my dads side. Brown hair and eyes, and I tan like a mother fucker. I’m a direct results of the last major ethnic cleansing/blending that happened on this continent. That said, I don’t want to see another.

                    All I’m saying is that it’s likely to happen again should we have too many immigrants in a short span of time. It always happens that way. Hopefully I’m wrong, and this will magically be the ONE time in all of history where it’s all sunshine and rainbows… But I won’t hold my breath.

          2. Well, I didn’t say it too explicitly… But my point wasn’t that it would be specifically white only, just that all those other criteria would mean it would end up thus. Hence the Reason staff would hate it, because they prize multiculturalism above any actual objective results. I don’t mind non whites being around, but setting a high bar in those other areas tends to leave you with mostly whites and Asians around.

            As far as things go, ethno-nationalism HAS been tried… It’s been the default position throughout all of history. And HAS created the best countries in history. Every single 1st world country on earth has been ethno-nationalist until the last couple decades. Japan and South Korea still are.

            The United States was explicitly a white nationalist country until 1965. Europe largely even later than that. And yes, those countries were all the best on earth… Funny thing is, they largely started unraveling once they STOPPED having immigration policies that favored groups they figured would integrate in well… Funny that.

        3. Sounds kinda OK. But people that work in the grocery stores, gas stations, tasty restaurants, cut my grass, clean my house/pool, and do all the other shit I don’t want to do all make less than $100k a year. I would be happier if they were well read/educated than a dollar amount.

          1. Well, that was merely a random example I rattled off. You could cut the wage minimum down. Or simply allow in authorized workers from the outside wastelands! As far as things go though, most poor people that do menial tasks just aren’t that well read any which way… You’d have a hard time finding a lot of lawn guys who understand Austrian Economics under any circumstances.

            But, the political litmus test angle, owning guns, etc would be the primary drivers of awesome there.

        4. Welcome to WhiteKanda

  11. So what happens when, to pick one of a legion of examples why this idea won’t work, an employer who has “chosen” a set of labor laws that allow him to bust unions leans that his employees have chosen labor laws that protect their right to form unions?

      1. In a world like this, I’d do it old school with guns and baseball bats for them uppity workers!

      2. For one pretty simple example, what if an employer joined a “political association” that adopted the pre-Wagner Act legal regime where employers were free to fire employees for their union activity.

        1. Why should not employers be free to fire employees for union activity?

          No one is entitled to a job, after all.

          1. Michael, the normative question of whether firing employees for union activity is irrelevant to the original point I was making, which is about the unworkability of Tuccille’s “everyone should choose which laws they want to follow” argument.

            But to address your point, the reason is the same as the reason employers should not be free to fire employees for joining a church the employer doesn’t approve of. It is not an employer’s business.

    1. They don’t have to work there.

  12. The problem is that each side (Red or Blue) feels very strongly that they have a moral obligation to defeat the other side. For Team Red-they must stop the killing of the unborn and the marriage of homos per God’s will. For Team Blue, they must stop the oppression of women trans and brown people and the killing of polar bears because??? Well, somebody told them that Team Red is doing it and they need to stop it. It doesn’t matter if there might be some people on Team Red who agree with Team Blue on some things, or vice versa, you have to buy into the whole package, or you are against them.

    1. Yeh they’d stalk each other all the time regardless.

      But the left are worse and more dangerous. I stick by that.

      Even if we were to create this Atlantis, progs would enter and ruin it.

      My image of the left is Ned when he was a bully as a kid: ‘Take that prune face!”

    2. I honestly don’t think anyone in the Red states gives a shit if gays can get married in blue states provided they are not required to recognize those marriages. And while some people care about abortion in all circumstances, I think the vast majority of pro life people would be content if they could ban it in their state or community and not be expected to pay for it when it happens in other communities.

      The two sides are nowhere near as equivilent as you are claiming they are.

      1. It’s been my experience and observation you’re more right than wrong.

      2. You’re probably right, and that has been my experience. I advocate forcing the blue states to accept our values though, because it has become obvious that this is highlander and there can be only one.

        So, if I have to live in a world where trannies and gays proselytize my kids or we ban trannies and gays and electo-shock them into submission, I pick option 2. Our enemies aren’t content with leaving us alone. We cant pretend we can let them be.

        1. That’s the thing this all comes down to.

          Whether anybody likes it or not, THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

          This is how it always works in human history. People can let little side issues slide no problem. Federalism can work to a point. But ONLY to a point. On major issues, or if there are too many little issues, it always goes back to forcing agreement. Or at least obedience.

          Anybody who expects anything else to happen is delusional. Human nature is what it is.

  13. This is what we have.

    A union of states, each governed slightly differently as the people living there chose.

    The key here is that past tense–‘chose’.

    See, these decisions were made already–people today have to deal with the inertia. If you want “any variety of political associations that could draw sufficient support to maintain their existence” you have to build it, and convince enough others to come along with you.

    Most of the people whining simply don’t want to put in the effort required to do it. They want it handed to them, already finished.

    But that’s not how it works. People BUILT New York, from the ground up. The infrastructure, the buildings themselves, all over the state, the institutions, the customs and traditions. They DID this. It takes a lot of work.

    The whiners weren’t here to see it so they think it didn’t happen.

    The mechanisms for change are all still in place. What’s missing is the gumption.

    1. Largely true. I really like the idea behind the Free State Project… Honestly it is a good one. I don’t know why such an idea hasn’t really taken off. I mean it could easily be done for multiple states even. Or a larger state.

      I live in Washington. It JUST barely flipped shit lib, but used to be a very libertarian tinged centrist state when my family first moved here. A mere couple hundred thousand libertarians or libertarian leaning conservatives could set the whole state right again easily because the population isn’t that big here.

      But it just doesn’t happen. Oh well!

      1. Well, nobody wants to live in New Hampshire. Too rural and too cold. If we had picked a more reasonable state, or better yet in terms of autonomy, territory, we would have been much more popular. I bet every single Puerto Rican would have traded places with a libertarian on the mainland, given the chance to swap houses.

        1. PR would actually be a pretty awesome place to do it because of their special privileges.

          As a second option, I vote for Washingon!

          It may be self serving… But it really is a pretty awesome state geographically, and it tears me up that it has gone so off the deep end just in the last several years.

          We literally JUST tipped in what is probably the final flip this last election. If one looks at trends, we will have permanent one party rule from here on out most likely, assuming no major changes.

          But we still have pretty awesome laws on the books right now… It’s just that I know what is coming in the future that scares me. So if a few hundred thousand conservatives or libertarians moved here RIGHT NOW, we could save it as an awesome state to live in.

  14. A collection of independent political soveriegnties only works if all of them share a set of basic assumptions about government and how and which rights should be respected. Without that, you end up with Northern Ireland or the Balkans. I would think Libertarians of all people would understand that you can’t just collectivize people into neat little groups and grant each one of them a soverienty. Society is more complex than that. You have to have a basic set of assumptions about human rights and how government has to operate or you end up with groups just pounding minorities without their areas and engaging in ethnic cleansing to solve the problem of objectors and minorities. All this article is advocating for is an advanced form of tribalism.

    1. We wouldn’t want to be tribal, after all. That’s why you think Republicans should get their way on everything, no matter how orange, fat, stupid, demented, insane, cynical, rapey, and cunty the man who carries your baton is.

      Do you know why he attacks the press? He said it out loud for all to hear: he wants to make sure any negative stories about him are immediately discredited by the mouth-breathing morons who think he’s actually a good person and president.

      Go fix your people. They are going to kill us all if they don’t stop being so fucking stupid.

      1. You really need to evict Trump from your head. This debate has nothing to do with him. Just tell him to get out of your mind.

        1. There is no known cure for the TDS virus.

          1. Is TDS AIDS? It can’t be HIV, because I think Magic Johnson cured that

          2. I can think of one.

            1. And that would be?

  15. I only skimmed, but did this article endorse letting slave states keep their slaves in the name of comity?

    1. If you take it’s logic far enough, yes. It doesn’t really mean to do that. It is just assuming that everyone would be nice and get along and wouldn’t ever do that.

      1. If only people were angles, my sincerely held political worldview would work!

        1. You said something true for once!

          This is why I am not a purist libertarian. Purist libertarians are every bit as delusional about human nature as purist communists IMO.

        2. If only people were angles, you’d still be obtuse.

    2. Slavery was an affront to natural rights. I’d imagine that issues such as natural rights must be enforced in every state with we are to have a semblance of a free society

      1. Yes, but that carves out a rather large and important exception to the ability to choose your own laws, and how do you enforce that without a federal government?

        So it just gets you back where you started.

        1. Women’s reproductive rights must be enforced in every state with we are to have a semblance of a free society.
          Same for LGBT rights.

          Back to square 1?

      2. Is the freedom of movement a natural right? What if a Muslim community doesn’t want to allow any of them dirty Jews to go through their land? Or blacks don’t want to let in evil white oppressors? Or, of course, honkies who only wanted whites in an area?

        Some people think this shit wouldn’t happen… I think nobody figured it would 10 or 15 years ago… But I am 110% sure it would. And it wouldn’t just be whites wanting to do it either. They’d probably be some of the least likely to care.

        1. There are obviously holes in the argument. But, if we returned the US even to the 1980’s, in terms of law, that would be a major leap toward decentralization. That’s how I took it to be

          1. I’d prefer to go back to late 1960s, before Nixon and his ilk made a gordian knot out of marijuana laws.

          2. I’m all for devolving power. Also, as a strong libertarian leaner, I don’t have a problem with some of the “holes” that some people would. I wouldn’t personally demand I live in an area where there was some 100% racial or religious requirement… But I also don’t know that it’s THAT much of a problem if it does happen.

            But I think it practical terms, most people would have an issue with it. Which is why at this point I don’t think decentralizing power is enough. Back in the day America essentially had blacks and whites who might want/need their own space… Now it’d be, what, a dozen groups or more?

            At a certain point it just breaks down as being practical, and it’s easier to just break the country up. I think we’re there. Bringing federalism back stronger would just be slapping lipstick on a pig at this point. We’re too heterogeneous for it to be enough to hold us together nowadays. That is the great gift daft progressives have given us! We’re beyond repair thanks their their dumb shit policies of the last 50-60 years.

      3. God says black people don’t have natural rights, what with not being full humans.

        –People who use mysticism to justify their beliefs

        1. A very large contingent of the abolitionist movement were people saying that God held the opposite as true.

          Is mysticism the problem or rationalizing an outcome that benefits you?

        2. Amusingly, the Catholic Church condemned slavery–even enslaving the pagan indigenous populations of the new world–in the 1500’s. Centuries before the US existed.

          Because it was an affront to God and the rights he instilled in all of us

        3. Blacks have natural rights… But that doesn’t give them special rights to infringe on the rights of others, because they don’t like certain outcomes.

          Such as their hatred of freedom of association. I don’t have a problem with blacks having all black clubs (or neighborhoods if they so choose), but they likewise shouldn’t be able to force an all white, or all Jew, or all Asian club from accepting them either.

          Dig? Freedom goes both ways.

    3. I only skimmed, but did this article endorse letting slave states keep their slaves in the name of comity?

      Is this the part where we pretend that *every state* shouldering unborn children with tax debt isn’t slavery? Where cotton fields are an unconditional evil but prison yards are just how things are done?

  16. I don’t want to be part of anything that would have me in it.

  17. Aren’t people already self-segragting anyway?

    I know I am. Nike does something I don’t like? I quietly don’t buy their stuff. There are plenty of other options. Woke TV shows and movies? I simply don’t watch or read about it. SJW comedians coming to town? Pass. Ditto musicians. No money for you Bongo and Roger Waters and Steely Dan and Bruce Springsteen! The last thing I need is to listen to pop entertainers engage in empty didactics. ESPN wanna ram Kate Fagan or politics down my throat? Change the channel. Restaurant wanna be political? I just go to the next one.

    And so on.

    What I’m trying to say is I’d rather read ‘Faust’.

    Which I highly doubt most of these shrill illiterates on the left have done.

    I mean, old, dead, white guy who spoke German that Goethe, amirite? So what’s the point?

    1. The problem with self segregating is that if you take it too far, you end up very poor. The reason why tribal socieities are always so poor and capitalism never seems to work very well in them is because capitalism is about trading with people based on comparitive advantage and not tribe. In tribal societies, people trade based on tribe a lot of the time. And this makes them very poor. You can’t have a world class corporation if you are prohibited from hiring by merit and must instead hire based on the leadership’s family and tribal connections, for example. People cannot accumulate wealth and capital if the social mores of their culture requires them to share their wealth with their extended family and tribe rather than keeping it for themselves. We are a rich society in no small part because we are an open society where people are free to make decisions based on their own personal interests and bear the responsibility and reap the benefits of their decisions.

      1. Tribalism. Saw a movie about Aussie Aborigines… besides getting stuck in the AU equivalent of the Res, and being hopeless drunkards, even the ones that “make it big” in the art world end up impoverished again. Their culture demands that they give the money to whoever asks for it. It was a sad and interesting film. Don’t remember the name. I’ve also heard that a problem on some US reservations is that everything is owned in common, which makes it nearly impossible to get a loan to start a business. So, even those who want to join the capitalist world can’t do it.

      2. “You can’t have a world class corporation if you are prohibited from hiring by merit and must instead hire based on the leadership’s family and tribal connections, for example.”

        Funny thing is, this is exactly what the left is demanding, because some of their chosen minorities don’t do well on merit… Affirmative action quotas, whether legal requirements or simply de facto out of fear of lawsuits, have driven them to hire literally millions of people that aren’t qualified for the level of work they do in the US. It’s not that they couldn’t do something above scrubbing toilets, but there’s that endless drive to put them above where they belong. If you’re a 2nd tier engineer, you shouldn’t be promoted to a position that only a top tier engineer should have etc.

        IMO this is a large part of why so much stuff seems to simply not be functioning so well anymore. Everything seems to be degrading in quality, functionality, competent management etc.

        1. Between the affirmative action quotas and the gender wage gap nonsense (and the new arbitrary demand that 50% of CEOs be female that the MSM has been harping on) they just don’t seem to get it. The affirmative action people we had way back in medical school were near the bottom of the class and some of them got special testing conditions where they either got extra time or unlimited time to take the same timed test the rest of the class took. Hard not to think…if I had my choice of physician do I want the one at the top of the class or the one that barely passed with a handicap so they could say they had more minority graduates.

          1. Yup. Who the hell wants a shitty sub par doctor? Or sub par engineer designing a bridge they’re entrusting their life to?

            A friend of mind actually said outright that next time he gets a new doctor he’s only going to go to a male who is white or Asian… Not because there aren’t good black, or female, or whatever doctors… But you can never know with them if they only got in because of affirmative action.

            If you get a white or Asian man, they actually get handicapped in entrance requirements, so you know they’ll be people who made it through on merit.

            As far as things go, they shouldn’t be allowing people to go above where merit dictates. I’m sure 100% of affirmative action black female doctors that make it through to get their doctorate have above average smarts… But if they’re not cut out to be an actual full on doctor, how about a nurse, or a registered nurse, which might be more in line with their actual skill level? It’s not like those are horrible gigs either.

  18. Never. Gonna. Work.

    Multiple sets of laws in the same space is nonsense. This is why it is almost unheard of historically, except in cases of conquerors and conquered (generally they always merged laws eventually AFAIK), or systems where nobles/peasants had different laws.

    Based along geographic lines, you can obviously have a lot of localization of stuff. That can work. But only to a point.

    Honestly, I think that we’re so far apart now in this country that even if the FedGov got cut down to true libertarian minded bare bones, we’d STILL be at each others throats. In our system the Supreme Court still matters. Can Cali ban all guns? Can Texas allow full auto machine guns? Abortion, murder or not? Etc etc etc.

    1. Frankly I think splitting the country is the only sensible way to deal with things. People have this nonsense idea that it is WORTH being forced together in the same political entity with people that have 180 degree opposing views.

      IT IS NOT. There is nothing GOOD about being stuck with assholes you hate in a nation state. It’s an awful idea, that simply leads to tons of fighting, stress, wasted energy, etc. There is a reason that the ethno-religious state is the default historically. You can replace the religion part of that with culture/morals if ya like for the modern world.

      If the US split into 2 or even 3 nations, what is the downside? Everybody would get more of what they wanted, especially after people moved to their preferred version of the country.

      About the only thing I can think of is that we wouldn’t be the hands down most powerful country on earth anymore… But I’m not big on The American Empire anyway. Our foreign adventures have been a net negative for us since The Mexican American War, which was probably the last worthwhile conquest we made.

      We would be 2 of the most powerful countries on earth though, depending on how the split was done. You don’t need to be big to be prosperous. We could also have a military pact for protection, and free trade, etc.

      But everybody would be a lot happier if we just did this. I don’t get why some are so opposed. Nations ALWAYS break up or change eventually, and we’re due for it to happen here.

      1. Lets be honest, as nice as this sounds, how long before one of the nations decided to conquer the other and force their ideals on them?

        1. It wouldn’t have to be that way. We haven’t really contemplated going to war with Canada since it was still part of the British Empire during The Pig War, which was just before the American Civil War.

          We could co-exist just fine as neighbors, and even allies. Once we don’t have to worry about dealing with the bullshit being imposed on us by them, that takes away 98% of the reason to want to use force to impose views.

          But sure, if they did stuff to antagonize us, it could happen. But it is far from a sure thing.

      2. And what many don’t understand is that according to the U.S. Constitution we are already divided into 50! Yes, 50 sovereign states – only united to protect BASIC human rights and International Defense…

        If the federal government would FOLLOW the Constitution – You’d have your 50-nations to choose from with a “union” that does ONLY what a “union of states” (i.e. Federal Government) is suppose to do.

        1. You’re correct-ish.

          Even something as simple as defense is too much common ground to come up with anymore.

          As I have said elsewhere, yes federalism can fix some issues. But since we bailed on the Articles Of Confederation, we are too much of a real country for that to solve all issues.

          Also, if it were to really work out the way you think it does in your head, what difference would it make to merely have separate federal governments anyway???

          Other than for empire, there is nothing to be gained by being united under a single federal government. You don’t need it for economics, defense, or anything else.

          Opinions are simply too divergent in the USA today for us to hold together. The only way any semblance of freedom will return to America is by shedding a few tens of millions of people who hate the idea of freedom. Period.

  19. This is the ideal, of course. The problem is that as long as people continue to crave the ability to jam their views down others’ throats, even with force, it’s never going to happen. We won’t achieve enlightenment until people stop acting on that craving.

    The 50 federalist states thing made sense too, but abridging their rights and forming what’s essentially a singular unit is a natural consequence that no constitution could ever dream of protecting from. Borders don’t matter, whether between states or between countries. The US has been trying to abridge other countries as well (and they’ve been highly successful, by the way) ever since it became technologically feasible to do so.

    This is why the NAP is so vitally important. Not because it justifies lower taxes or fewer wars, etc. But because it is literally the only way to resist the human trait of conquest (in its various forms) and therefore the only way to promote autonomy.

    1. Saying you resist the human trait of consquest by adopting the NAP is just a tautology. If everyone respected each other, we wouldn’t have wars. No kidding.

      1. It’s not about respect. It’s about acknowledging that the initiation of force is not a valid option for building communities or resolving disputes.

        1. The problem is that it IS a “valid” option. It’s often the best option at that. It’s just not a “moral” option by many peoples standards. As long as it is often the best, most direct way to achieve major goals a person/nation might have, violence will always happen.

  20. Hezbollah, the Shia political organization from Lebanon, is a good contemporary example of letting people pick their own laws. They started as an organization to attend to women’s health issues in poor neighbourhoods and expanded from there.

    1. Hezbollah is one of the most violent and nasty groups in the world. I don’t think that example proves what you think it does.

      1. Hezbollah is situated in a tough neighbourhood. They are fighting an outfit called ISIS at the moment in Syria. Violence and nastiness are probably necessary in the eradication of ISIS, at least in Hezbollah eyes. Violence and nastiness worked well chasing Israel out of Lebanon on two occasions, why meddle with success?

        Not sure why you have trouble with my example. Hezbollah grew out of extremely fractious civil war conflicted Lebanon. It grew from bottom up support and participation from the public. It seems to fit well with the ideas of decentralized actors outlined in the article.

  21. The article starts from the wrong premise. We’re not two divided nations – we have three distinct “populations”. What this article misses (but a recent Volokh article explains nicely) is that the rank partisanship and deep divides are limited to a fairly small “political class”. The vast majority of Americans hold views that do not line up neatly with the one-dimensional left vs right dichotomy and just want to be left alone. And more importantly, while the partisanship among the political class is up sharply, their numbers are down. The independent middle is the largest its been since we started keeping track.

  22. “The independent middle is the largest its been since we started keeping track.”

    It’s larger still if you include sheep and cattle in their number. But you don’t exercise political power by wishing to be left alone. That’s a formula for subjugation. The Dems and GOP both understand this. Hezbollah understands this. Without the will to engage in politics, numbers add up to nothing.

  23. confused their notions are, the more passionately they hold to their ideals.

    That certainly explains a lot of what I’m seeing lately.

  24. confused their notions are, the more passionately they hold to their ideals.

    That certainly explains a lot of what I’m seeing lately.

  25. The world is already a panarchy. For instance, Saudi Arabia has different rules for how and what women are allowed to do in society. And we frown on it.

  26. Let the people pick their own laws?
    Such heresay!
    Only the over-educated, clueless, elitist morons should pick the laws for all us little people.
    After all, they’ve done a great job fucking up our lives for years.
    Why ruin a good thing now?

  27. What a stupid idea.

    Kinda defeats the purpose of having laws in the first place.

    Laws ensure corrupt people DON’T do whatever they want. Laws are a prerequisite for civilization.

    1. Wrong. Law is created organically by people in a common social setting….

  28. Q: Will my political choice protect my stuff from being stolen by the political systems other folks choose?

    1. No, it’s part of the political process which by definition is how those who want something you have get it. It’s the basis for how politicians make sure they are reelected.

  29. Someone earlier mentioned something to the effect that the flames are fanned by the political class. If they would all back off and take a deep breath perhaps the political temperature would drop. Who knows?

  30. Elections have consequences!
    You want a greater voice in which laws are passed (or repealed), elect “better” representatives.

    1. Will you say the same thing if in 2021 the Democrats get control of Congress and Elizabeth Warren gets elected President?

      I didn’t think so…

  31. Basically, what he’s talking about here are scofflaws. I’ve been a scofflaw all my life. If I perceive a law as stupid and useless I simply ignore it. Fuck ’em and the jackasses they rode in on.

  32. Would Tuccille take his recommendation “…allowing people to peacefully pick the laws they live by while respecting their neighbors right to do the same…” to its logical conclusion and admit peace requires individuals to be free from the initiation of violence when enforcing the law? Doesn’t this preclude rulers? Doesn’t rule mean rulers and rulers mean the initiation of force? This is the present worldwide paradigm. It doesn’t allow deviation. It doesn’t allow for a voluntary political paradigm. It threatens violence when argument fails. It is not open to choice. It pretends to be reasonable and justice-oriented but no experimentation, no challenge by trial & error is permitted. It is close-minded. It substitutes violence; it reverts to violence immediately upon failure to convince by argument.
    The violent paradigm claims to be the only way for order to prevail but is their order in violence and death? Or is the present paradigm the way to social chaos? Doesn’t this explain war, domestic conflict, and poverty? Isn’t this socially unsustainable? Aren’t “we the people” wrong to force the majority vote on dissenters? Isn’t this tyranny? Isn’t democracy unfair, immoral, and hypocritical in “a land of the free”?

  33. Great idea. Imagine if your vote really determined your outcome, and didn’t depend on getting 51 percent to agree with you.

    We have separate (competing and cooperating) banking and credit card and auto insurance providers in the same geographical area,why not separate (competing and cooperating) governments in the same geographical area?

    Crimes could be adjudicated in the courts of the victim (no victim, no crime). Torts could be adjudicated in a third neutral court system.

    You would pay taxes and obey laws that the leaders you selected to govern you passed.

    Of course, some people still want to rule everyone else, but they may eventually like this new system better than having Trump or Pence or some other Hitler rule them every 8 or 12 years.

    1. If people are too worried about chaos or rogue factions, set an arbitrary minimum vote count to enact a standalone government, say one million votes. That would probably limit things to 4 or 5 governments initially.

      National defense (and how to pay for it) would be a sticking point, but you could make any declaration of war require unanimous consent of all governments, since all would be subject to counterattack.

  34. Let’s start by removing Accomplice Liability Laws!
    These laws have been used to incriminate some individuals for the actions of others.

  35. Ummm… You could almost make that work for criminal law, where it’s a matter of punishing somebody. Even there, I think want a Libertarian party minimum. Otherwise you might get a Nazi killing a Jew and pleading guilty (under Nazi laws) to misdemeanor property damage (for getting the Jew’s blood on the floor of somebody else’s store or some such).

    But civil law — when people sue each other for damages — would be a nightmare. What happens when a member of the Peace and Freedom party feels wronged by a member of the Republican Party and sues for damages? Or when an American Nazi Party member feels wronged by a Black Panther and sues. Or…

  36. We did have something like that prior to 1860. Half the nation did not accept slavery and the other half did. Then the slaves started escaping North, and the Southern States demanded that the fugitives be returned, to the point of sending Federal marshalls to raid homes and farms of people who were obeying the laws of the States they lived in, in that they gave aid and succor to the fugitives, since for them slavery was not legal.

    It ended up badly.

  37. How about letting every taxpayer direct some or all of their taxes towards what each one chooses? Just giving it a thunk.

  38. There is nothing BAD about breaking up the country and letting people get what they want. I don’t understand this obsession with forcing people who hate each other to live together.

    Imagine 2 people living together in a house. One roommate is a devout Christian who lives a clean life, quiet, is a neat freak, pays his bills on time, etc. The other a Satan worshiper who gets high constantly, loud at all hours, is a slob, is always late on his bills, etc. Complete opposites.

    They have their bedrooms, where they can do their thing. By strictly enforcing bedroom privacy that avoids a lot of trouble… The problem is the kitchen, living room, garage, etc are all still common areas where they have to deal with each other. They make each other completely miserable. Even if they tolerate each other, every time they pass in the hall it pisses them off knowing the other is a horrible person.

    The idea proposed here is they just suffer living with each other, BECAUSE REASONS. Being tolerant is good I guess? A virtue above all others? Nonsense.

    Everybody and their grandma knows the best solution is for them each to find a roommate that agrees with their way of life on a lot more fronts. Then, when they walk to the kitchen they’ll have a nice conversation with their roomie about Jesus, or the new butt plug they just bought or whatever. This is better than a horrible sneer.

    1. The idea that tolerating people that are polar opposites is somehow the highest virtue is nonsense. Tolerance is cool to a point of course… But sometimes when the gap is too big, it is no longer workable.

      The obvious solution for the roomies above is to not live in the same house. Merely by being next door neighbors, versus in the same house, 95% of the problem is solved. If they lived in entirely different cities still more would be solved.

      The gaps in the USA are too big for one country at this point. I don’t want to live with insane internationalists progressives. I would rather DIE than live in a world ruled by them. And they’re not going to give up on forcing their will on me.

      So peaceful splitting is the only thing that will ever work. Federalism could improve things a bit, but not enough to save the USA. A country is just a place where enough people agree on a basic premise to make it a thing… We don’t have that anymore, and never will again without splitting. Non geographical stuff is a nonsense non starter.

  39. … 2 very distinct parts of US that no longer care to even fake that they respect or value the other

    Well it mostly on the shoulders of the politicians. We all know the only thing they give half a shit about is their jobs. If that means whipping people into a violent frenzy so be it as long as it gets them reelected. Doing the people’s work has just as much meaning as the ‘protect and serve’ gag line on the side of a cop car. It’s much easier to keep power when the masses are too busy fighting each other to realize they’re being stripped of their rights by the authoritarians at the top.

    1. Almost true. But all it takes is a few percent consistently casting spoiler votes outside of the duopoly to control the nation’s jurisprudence. Spoiler votes gain their clout by covering the gap between looters and losers PRECISELY because those parasites care about nothing but their butts on leather upholstery and a hand in the till. Now that the commies and nazis have made the evils of socialism all too apparent, the LP can be the new sheriff in town for the price of maybe three votes in a hundred. This can only improve as more and more rats swim away from the shrinking kleptocracy.

  40. ” A big change allowing people to peacefully pick the laws they live by while respecting their neighbors’ right to do the same is better than endless battles over who gets to stuff their preferred governance down the throats of the vanquished”

    A founding principle of this nation is that everyone is governed by the same laws. This is also known as the blind application of justice. Individuals picking the laws they live by is the worst form of tribalism. As an example: it is ok for me to murder my neighbors, but not ok for them to murder me.

  41. It’s already been fictionalized:
    Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer

  42. Context sheds light. In the 1850s Brits again liquidated US investments and attacked China (and Afghanistan) to further opium dumping. The resulting dearth of boodle prompted another Tariff of Abominations and South Carolina again went for nullification–this time by secession. God’s Own Plutocrats referred to a revenue-only tariff as “free trade” and the fight was on. California gold seized in the war with China’s trade partner (Mexico) during the previous Opium War was a hedge against any serious financial problems in the War to Fasten the Second Tariff of Abominations on Southern Traffickers in Women (and men). By Union the Yankees meant Customs Union, and their ultimatum to the South was that of Lysander Spooner’s highwayman: Stand and deliver! (Or be shot like curs). The “shall not be questioned” verbiage in the 14th Amendment is an unsubtle reminder that we don’ need no steenkin balanced budget.

  43. The problem with “pick your own laws” is that it assumes that everybody has a floor of what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

    That is an unfounded assumption.

    I mentioned to somoene who talked about “religious liberty” that we could afford these debates now because the Spaniards did NOT respect the religious liberty of the Aztecs (“no human sacrifices followed by cannibalism”).

    Would you want to live in a place where pedophilia was legal? Where headhunting was a rite of passage? No matter how awful, appalling things went on in the past (and still happen, specially to women and children), there will be people who will yearn for the good old days. And given a chance, will make it legal, unless stopped.

  44. Hank Phillips, when you mention taht the victims of that Abomination Tariff were traffickers of women (and men) – and children ripped off their mother’s arms, my reaction was “Could not have happened to nicer guys”

    Seriously, when it comes to slavery, all other complains about liberty infringements by teh Governmetn seem small potatoes.

  45. Kind of hard to find middle ground if you keep trying to pass off a pickle as a banana.

  46. ..Years ago Ayn Rand wrote an article on competing governments. Obviously, you did not read it. She refuted the idea of competing laws as well as competing governments. Civilizations arise from basic agreements on premises, but may allow citizen to agree to disagree on the implementation of their individual goals or aims or values.
    … The U.S.A. is an example of a civilization; its form is a tripartite government based on the Rule of Rational and Substantive Law. Its officials are elected.
    … I suggest you begin by defining what a law is, and what government is, before you suggest that laws may just be arbitrary, or optional choices that will support a “pick and choose” society.
    …The current battle between Republican/Conservatives and the Democrat/Socialists is a fight over fundamental philosophical premises, not which laws will best suit conflicting values. The premise of “Innocent until proven guilty” is contradicted by and incompatible with the premise of “guilty until proven innocent.” P.S. If you read Aristotle, you know there is no ” third way” premise of middle ground.
    …So what are the premises of those who recognize the existence of a “Panarchy” in today”society, or should they have said, “today’s Anarchy?”. And where has “Polycentrism” been attempted and demonstrated to be feasible? I think you are pushing a form of Utopia, but you haven’t apparently considered the unintended consequences.

  47. ..Years ago Ayn Rand wrote an article on competing governments. Obviously, you didn’t read it. She refuted the idea of competing laws as well as competing governments. Civilizations arise from basic agreements on premises, but may allow citizen to agree to disagree on the implementation of their individual goals or values.
    … The U.S.A. is an example of a civilization; its form is a tripartite government based on the Rule of Rational (Natural) Substantive Law. Its officials are elected.
    … I suggest you go back and define what a law is, and what functions a government performs, before you suggest that laws may be arbitrary, or optional, choices that will support a “pick and choose” society.
    …The current battle between Republican/Conservatives and the Democrat/Socialists is a fight over fundamental philosophical premises. The premise of “Innocent until proven guilty” is contradicted by and incompatible with the premise of “guilty until proven innocent.” P.S. If you read Aristotle, you know there is no ” third way” premise or legal middle ground.
    …So what are the premises of those who recognize the existence of a “Panarchy” in today”society, or should they have said, “today’s Anarchy?”. And where has “Polycentrism” been attempted and demonstrated to be feasible? I think you are pushing a form of Utopia, but you haven’t apparently considered the unintended consequences.

  48. The problem is both sides, for the most part, wish to steal other peoples’ money and use it to control them. This is the essence of a democracy. The problem is the reason the USA was founded as a republic, which was intended to greatly limit peoples’ abilities to do exactly what they do today. Granted, true “constitutionalists” (conservatives who wish to conserve the constitution and republic) and libertarians may be ready to give up their thieving and controlling ways, but most people are not yet ready to do so, because it requires giving up their government-supplied “free lunch,” if nothing else.

    So this article is a pipe dream, because government (people) are not ready to “Let People Pick Their Own Laws!”

  49. The good solution to the “divisions” in the country would be a libertarian society where people with different ideas and values went their own ways without the ability to force their beliefs on others. That is not likely now. The best of the bad other outcomes might be an increase in federalism, where states (and perhaps cities and counties) had more autonomy, and the national government was involved in fewer things. While there is nothing intrinsically better about being pushed around by local politicians and bureaucrats than by federal ones, at least a person could move.

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