Boundaries of Order by Butler Shaffer

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Boundaries of Order by Butler Shaffer

Post by Tom Palven » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:23 am

Just finished Boundaries of Order, 2009, by Butler Shaffer, a professor at Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles. It was a fairly difficult, but enjoyable read for me. Shaffer argues that institutions, particularly governments, organized from the top down in pyramidal fashion are inherently dehumanizing, and he calls collectivism "the ultimate pyramid". He says on page 169 "Today, there is scarcely a realm of human actvity over which the state does not demand the powers of micromanagement."

On page Shaffer argues for individual sovereignty, saying that "It goes to the very essence of what it means to be a human being. Individual liberty and self ownership are synonymous concepts"; and he says on page 282 that "We pay too little attention to history...the sanctioning of state authority to regulate even one percent of our conduct is to admit its authority as to the rest."

I agreed with every single thing that Shaffer said that I understood. He endorses a horizontally arranged, rather than pyradmidal society, but also says on page 275 "Systems based on the a decentralized, holographic model of organization may provide the best means of generating social behavior capable of protecting both individual liberty and cooperative undertakings; thus ending the diviseness that inheres in institutionalism." He talks about chaos theory and explains what he calls the "holographic model" in chapter three, and then mention it at other points during the book, but I didn't grasp the concept, and have to go back and see if I can understand what he's saying.
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire
I may not agree with the what you say, but I will defend your right to say it. --Voltaire
Mankind will not be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. --Denis Diderot
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Re: Boundaries of Order by Butler Shaffer

Post by JO 753 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:10 am

Shame on me for jujing a book I havent red, but this soundz like the kind uv stuf youd expect frum sumbudy who haznt spent much time in the real world.

"the sanctioning of state authority to regulate even one percent of our conduct is to admit its authority as to the rest."

There are bad people out there. Lots uv them. Stupid, ignorant, evil and usually all 3 to sum degree. Thats why we hav locks and governments.

The problem with the way government iz usually conducted iz trying to make rulez that replace thinking. Maybe getting away frum that iz wut hiz holografic model iz.

It haz probably occured to at least a few sci fi writerz that alien beingz more intelligent than us may never create government. If everybody wuz smart enuf to realize that it makes sense to do thingz that are advantagous for yourself only wen its not disadvantagous to the group, government woudnt exist.

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Re: Boundaries of Order by Butler Shaffer

Post by Tom Palven » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:39 am

Butler Shafffer has spent 74 years in the world. I'm not sure that I'm qualified to say whether this was in the real world or not.
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire
I may not agree with the what you say, but I will defend your right to say it. --Voltaire
Mankind will not be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. --Denis Diderot
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Re: Boundaries of Order by Butler Shaffer

Post by JO 753 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:16 am

"Individual liberty and self ownership are synonymous concepts"

How many beer slurping NRA memberz do you know who woud understand that line?

Again, not having red the book, I'll concede that the linez you quote coud seem completely realistic in context.

Its a no-brainer that bad systemz generate bad people, so discounting flawed human nature, maybe people growing up in a whole new form uv governance woudnt turn out bad in such large persentajez.

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Re: Boundaries of Order by Butler Shaffer

Post by xbacksideslider » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:11 pm

Liberty and, under law Equality of opportunity, not of result.

I am not a slave.
I own the product of my labor, be it of my hands, back, or mind.
I may trade the product of may labor in consideration of whatever . . .
That is, I may contract with others.

I can even trade my labor for beer to slurp or for guns to shoot or a newspaper to read.

A Constitution is a super contract of mutual government by which I, and others, submit ourselves to government and law, explicitly subordinate to us under the terms of that super contract, in order to obtain protection of my property and person.

Is this - constitutional government - where Shafer's "horizontal" comes in?
"One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary." --Ayn Rand

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Re: Boundaries of Order by Butler Shaffer

Post by Tom Palven » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:26 pm

No. Shaffer is a law professor, and it seems to be his opinion that constitutional government is long dead. As I said in another thread, IMHO the US constitutional republic was a great leap forward from the divine rights of kings and popes, but the US government has invariably sided with royalty, status quo dictators, and colonial oppressors thorughout it's history, and now enables royalty in the Mid-East, while it was communists who overthrew the royal caste systems in Russia and China and the European colonial powers throughout Indo-China and Africa. However, collectivism has proved itself time and again to be an unethical and unproductive system in the long run.

The choices are not simply trying to go backward to a constitutional republic, or forward to increased authoritarian collectivism. David Friedman, The Machinery fo Freedom, 1989, and Butler Shaffer, Boundaries of Order, 2009 , have proposed a non-pyramidal-shaped, non-hierarchical, but horizonally shaped social system that takes the Founding Father's "individual liberty" a step further with regard to self-ownership and non-coercion. Slaves and serfs have been freed and women have made great strides with regard to equal rights, so total self-ownership for all could be next. This might be something to work toward if and when the ethically and financially bankrupt government of the US crumbles of it's own weight.

BTW, I agree with Lysander Spooner and others that a person can't logically be bound by a document that s/he didn't sign, despite Hobbes, Rousseau, and others arguing for an implcit "social contract". They are specious arguments for tyranny.
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire
I may not agree with the what you say, but I will defend your right to say it. --Voltaire
Mankind will not be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. --Denis Diderot
I haven't abandoned my vices. My vices have abandoned me. --Denis Diderot

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Re: Boundaries of Order by Butler Shaffer

Post by xbacksideslider » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:35 am

I graduated from Southwestern nearly 30 years ago and Shafer was there then; I have a passing acquaintance with the professor.

IMO the US Constitution, rightly understood, and IF its black letter were followed, IS horizontal. That is, the government expressly is subordinate to the people. The Declaration of Independence (admittedly not incorporated in the Constitution) offers a littany of government abuses which the Framers saw as legitimate cause to overthrow government; the Bill of Rights, particularly the 1st and 2nd Amendments, guarantee individual rights which are critical means of overthrow.

I will have to get a copy of Boundaries of Order.
"One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary." --Ayn Rand

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Re: Boundaries of Order by Butler Shaffer

Post by Tom Palven » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:12 am

I was told that Prof Shaffer is one of the scheduled speakers at some kind of freedom rally out in San Francisco, I think, this summer. I can't make it so I didn't get the details, but, if I remember correctly it included a number of early luminaries of the Libertarian Party. If you're out that way or are interested anyway, I'll try to check back correspondence. (edited to add an "n" to luminaries.)
Last edited by Tom Palven on Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire
I may not agree with the what you say, but I will defend your right to say it. --Voltaire
Mankind will not be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. --Denis Diderot
I haven't abandoned my vices. My vices have abandoned me. --Denis Diderot

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Re: Boundaries of Order by Butler Shaffer

Post by xbacksideslider » Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:53 am

Thanks, maybe after I read some or all of his book.
"One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary." --Ayn Rand