Friday, June 23, 2017

Security services

There is obviously no such thing as a "police force" in Libertopia. We learned our lesson from those last few chaotic years before the collapse of the State. It's a mistake, and body count, we won't repeat!

What we do have, almost everywhere, are security services. What would have been called "private security" back during the government era. Now, since everything is "private", the distinction is meaningless.

Of course, there are many variations in security providing services-- just about any variation you can imagine.

The services they provide vary. The majority are simply there to help train people in defense. Everyone can benefit from expert advice and tips.

A few will actually take on the job of defending their clients; mainly the very old, the crippled, and those whose personal beliefs make them prefer to pay someone for defense rather than doing the job themselves. However, new defensive tools make even those with physical difficulties perfectly capable of defending themselves, if they care to (and most do).

But, of those who take a more active role, the services offered are fairly standardized. Some will help stop attacks and theft. Some will act as bodyguards. Some as night watchmen, for homes or businesses. Sometimes a customer may request something more out of the ordinary-- which, as long as there is no aggression or property violations requested, the sky is the limit. The price may go up depending on the amount of effort the job entails.

The ways security service employees dress vary-- although, as far as I know, none seek to replicate the look of the police uniforms of old. That would be a way to go out of business in a hurry; the negative memory is still too sharp, even after all these years. If you want to be shunned, appear in public (outside of Halloween or a costume party) dressed as "law enforcement" or other type of government extremist.

Most dress in a way which keeps the tools of the job close and handy. Two or three guns, restrains, video recorders, a communication device (to instantly let the customer know of an incident, and call for help of whatever kind might be necessary). Penetration-resistant clothing is common, although rarely necessary. It is so inexpensive there's really no reason to not use it. Generally, bright colors are chosen for the clothing, to identify a person as security services. On the very rare occasions when stealth is prudent, color-changing clothing is preferred so that the identity of the security provider can be known as soon as possible- as soon as dark clothing is no longer necessary. Identity-concealing masks are never worn-- the good guys don't dress like losers.

To get a job with any of the security provider companies, it is necessary to pass a thorough examination to demonstrate a non-aggressive personality, an understanding of non-aggression/Voluntaryism, and to make sure there is no tendency to try to weasel out of accountability if something goes wrong and force or property violations occur during the performance of the job. The bar for accountability is set very high for a reason-- there is no room in security services for cowards/bullies, trigger-happy liars, or anyone else who is seeking an opportunity to use violence against the innocent. If your security provider violates anyone during the course of his employment, you can be held accountable for hiring an unreliable person, and the cost of restitution can be very high. No one wants to risk it.

Security services are available just about anywhere, but they are never very large companies. Most people don't want to pay for something they can do for themselves so easily. It's a niche market, and a decent job opportunity for those who like to feel useful while doing a rather boring and safe job.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Theft in Libertopia

If I remember correctly, April 15 used to be a day to celebrate thieves or something. We don't do that anymore.

It's not that there is no theft in Libertopia- the thieves just no longer have the luxury of calling theft "taxation". And, "taxation" was always the most common excuse for theft back during the "Age of Authority".

How is theft dealt with in Libertopia? Quite handily, thank you.

In fact, there are lots of people who get their inspiration from the Robin Hood of legend. He's the guy who retrieved stolen property and returned it to its rightful owner- even though I have heard that truth was perverted into "he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor" for a time. But not anymore.

Our robinhoods retrieve stolen property and return it to its rightful owner, and only ask for a small percentage of the value of that which is returned. And they only ask for that in cases where the owner can afford it. Although most people are so grateful to get their stuff back that they'd pay the robinhood even if he didn't ask.

The way this usually works is that arbitrators will put out a list of those who have refused to abide by the outcome of arbitration- or have refused arbitration at all. This list is used to inform others of people who they may want to shun, or publicize as untrustworthy. Some, such as the robinhoods, take a more active approach.

Robinhoods will look at the list and decide if any of the cases would be something they'd like to pursue. Most robinhoods limit themselves to stolen property cases, but some will take on other types of damage that resulted in a monetary judgement- that's just up to the individual.

In cases of stolen property, the robinhood will try to get the actual property back. If that's not possible, he will try to get something from the thief of equal value. This is then turned over to an arbitrator- preferably the one who oversaw the original dispute. The arbitrator then contacts the interested parties and facilitates an arrangement between them. The property may be sold and the theft victim paid, with any amount above that going back to the thief. Robinhoods try to be very careful to not go too far, lest they find themselves on the wrong side.

Sometimes the robinhoods will still find themselves called into arbitration on accusations of theft or trespassing, but unless the robinhood was unusually "zealous" in carrying out his job, the case doesn't normally go far.

As you may see, theft doesn't pay here unless you can hide what you have done so well that even people with expertise in solving the case can't find you. And that is extremely rare.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

The fate of the Warlord

Once, years ago, here in Libertopia there was a guy who decided he could use his wealth to his advantage in a way some would once have called becoming a "Warlord".

It didn't turn out well for him.

What happened was that he was a very successful business owner who got a little too ambitious. He hired a large security force and sent them out to intimidate his competitors. He tried to force his will on everyone around him and extort protection fees from everyone he could.

But people who have tasted real liberty aren't so anxious to give it up.

Even though he often got his way, through force, word began to spread. More and more people stopped doing business with him and his profits began to fall. He tried to ramp up his intimidation of his competitors, but that only went so far. Some went out of business, some moved, and other new competition sprung up- started by people not so easily intimidated.

He refused to abide by arbitration, and eventually started ignoring all requests for arbitration at all. He thought he was powerful enough to do whatever he wanted to anyone. He got quite a surprise.

Quietly those he was violating began to pool resources to fund a bounty on him. As word got around, more and more people contributed and pledged their help. After all, this guy wasn't just bluster, but was actually initiating force, fraud, and theft. He was a real and imminent threat to everyone.

It didn't take long until the bounty was large enough that it couldn't be kept secret, and he began to fear his own security forces. He started purging the ranks of anyone he doubted, which backfired and destroyed the loyalty of those who would have otherwise remained loyal. The guy got so paranoid he withdrew to his underground bunker. He wouldn't have contact with anyone, and was trying to check any food, water, and air coming into his bunker for poisons- which consumed his time and energy. His remaining security forces began to feel the pressure of being shunned. What good is money when no one will do business with you? The same went for those who helped keep his bunker running. It was mostly self-contained, but repairs still need to be carried out.

Before long, he didn't have enough supporters to keep going. His life support systems failed and his bunker became uninhabitable. In fact, he couldn't get out and he died there in his secure fortress. No one knows- or cares- if he starved or suffocated. But his life is a warning to all who get the idea to follow in his footsteps.

And the bounty was never even paid out. Some was returned to the original donors, some was used to help those he had harmed, and some- the majority- was rolled over into a fund to pay a bounty on any future would-be warlord.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

"Planet Government"

It started with an idea: "Planet Government".

Someone proposed, a couple of decades ago, that we find a dead world somewhere and let all the rulers and would-be rulers of the world emigrate there, along with all their militaries.  And those who just can't get along with others.

Let them fight it out among themselves as much as they want, but warn them that if they ever return to Earth, they will be expected to abide by the Zero Aggression Principle and the Covenant of Unanimous Consent, and if they don't they will be subject to self-defensive actions.  Just like any other thug.  They will never again have a "position" or any veil of legitimacy to hide behind.

It wasn't an exile, but was completely voluntary.  And, it was shocking how many jumped at the chance to live in a constant Hell of fighting and power struggles, rather than forgo getting what they wanted by coercion.

The authoritarian types were already becoming miserable here.  Too much peace.  Too few controls, and too little "crime".  They had already lost power, and since that was all that gave their lives meaning, they chose to leave rather than adapt to a voluntary life.

It took several years, and a LOT of money, willingly donated, but it did happen.  They launched long ago.  The thing is, no one here knows if the ship ever made it to its destination or not.  Their ship does have the capability to communicate with Earth, but no one was interested enough to monitor their progress.

I hope that whatever happened to them, they are happy.  And I hope they never try to come back.  But if they do, we are ready for them.  Without their lingering influence, society is more "polite" than ever- by which I mean it is the rare individual who goes anywhere unarmed- almost everyone is ready to defend against theft or aggression.  And there are anti-asteroid hobbyists who could deal effectively with the threat of an incoming hostile ship or missile.

Life is better here without them.


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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Getting the Mail

I actually had to go pick up some mail today.

Normally the delivery comes to my house, no matter which service brings it. Not that I get anything too often, since almost everything is "delivered" electronically. But a couple of times a week I actually get a physical piece of mail.

But today I got an email notification that I had a bit of mail at the local "post office" that had come in after the delivery had left. I could wait until the next delivery (in a couple of hours) or, if I would be out of the house, I could get it as I went by. This was something I had been anxiously awaiting, so, I went up to the drive-through window, swiped my card, and took the mail. So inconvenient! But no one said Libertopia would be perfect.


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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hired "representatives"

I touched on this a little in the previous post, but most people in Libertopia hire someone, either an individual or a company, who works as their representative. To handle day-to-day business that could affect their reputation rating.

This representative goes by many different names ("reps", "watchers", "negotiators", etc.), none of which is important.

These "reps" will make arrangements for arbitration if needed, but will usually actually negotiate you out of it.

Obviously, if you are really a jerk who can't stay out of trouble, they will either charge you a very large price for the trouble you cause, or they will refuse to represent you anymore. Representing a known troublemaker could damage their reputation, after all.


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Monday, December 12, 2011

Arbitration

So, how exactly does this "arbitration" thing work here in Libertopia?

Suppose you have a dispute with a neighbor. You can't reach an agreement on your own- each of you thinks he is right and refuses to budge. Do you start beating the neighbor with a rake? Well, hopefully not.

The common solution is to seek arbitration.

Now, there is no "only way" this is done, but there are some fairly consistent trends, and this is what I'll describe to you now.

Either you choose a mutually-satisfactory arbitrator, or you allow your respective representatives (you do have one, right?) to get together to hire one for the case. There are many who offer arbitration services full-time, and even more people who have gained a reputation for fairness and wisdom who are sought out even though it is not their "real job". Any fees are paid up front.

If a person simply refuses to enter arbitration, or will not agree to any arbitrator that is suggested, they have already "lost". I'll discuss the "loser" later.

The arbitrator will hear both sides, and do any investigation he deems necessary (either personally or through investigators employed for that specific purpose).

Rights, and respect for liberty are the top considerations. Contracts and other agreements fall only slightly below those- and it will be considered whether those agreements violate natural rights in any way. That isn't always a deal-breaker, though.

The decision is then rendered, and the parties will have already agreed to abide by the decision as a part of signing on for the arbitration.

Now, there is no "enforcement" of a decision. So how do you make the "loser" follow through? You don't. However, failing to abide by the decision is a huge strike against an individual's reputation, and reputation is very important in Libertopia.

The "winner" who is left holding the bag is perfectly free to spread the word about the failure of the "loser" to live up to his obligation. Most people will choose to avoid entering into deals with people who are known to not be trustworthy. Or, they will charge more due to perceived risk.

And if you think it is getting hard to hide from your past in the early days of the internet, wait til you get here! Sure, it can be done, but it is complicated and inconvenient enough that it will still usually remove the uncooperative fellow from your life so that at least he won't be bothering you anymore. And even if he runs far away, his past will probably still come back to haunt him since a man without an established reputation will find it hard to do business with anyone (without, once again, paying a premium).

Is this perfect? No. Fallible human beings are involved. Is it the best system yet devised? I certainly think so, and so do a lot of others apparently, since it is all completely voluntary and very few choose to opt out.


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