Sunday, March 20, 2011

" The Ring": long and boring only read if bored

I found myself often drifting away from the text in chapter ten and into a Hayekian safari as I read. It was the language at the beginning of chapter ten about the most fundamental foundations of what we know as law. It seems we all obey rules with no active thought, I thought about us as not being different from animals in this way, and an imaginary animal confrontation.

Hayek begs us to think about our own action as we stray from our home turf. He brings up the example of animals and their likely hood to fight over food or basic resources with its proximity to the animals home turf. Naturally, this likelihood to initiate a conflict drops the farther an animal goes from its home. Two animals living at a reasonable distance will realize a natural equilibrium where if each animal goes farther it know it will risk starting a conflict and it is unwilling to partake in one at that distance from its home turf. This equilibrium will define the borders of each animals territory with respect to the other.

Are we any different? Look at two college room mates in the UAF dorms. They both have as there home turf with in a shared room furniture and a bed. Typically from my experience and observations each room mate will respect the others territory. However what would you do if you came back to your room to find your room mate had emptied out one of your drawers and replaced the contents with his or her own? Most people would engage in a conflict of some sort. I have never seen this happen, and it is because no rational person wants to invite this sort of conflict upon themselves. There are these natural mutually respected laws, it seems regardless of if you are human or animal.

Imagine a pair of the most entertaining animals you can, exotic monkey variants, lamas, etc. They follow the natural laws as mention above but sometimes one or the other or both can error in stressful situations. Imagine animal one is at the communal watering hole and has in its possession something of great importance but it does not belong to it, yet for the time being animal one exercises total control over it. Animal two also had a perfect substitute of similarly great importance but as animal one watched in horror a great big demonic lightening bolt shot out of the crystal clear ocean blue sky and in an instant vaporised animal twos object of great importance. There is only one object of great importance and both animals need it. Here we have a set up for a potential conflict.

Animal two lacking the object of great importance goes over to animal one. As animal two approaches its follows another typical rule, smile when you great someone. Animal one felt badly for animal two. It also knew the object of great importance was not animal ones to give. Animal one was also stressed out knowing it would be forced to reject animal twos plea for help since the object was not its to give. In addition animal one also was low on sleep and generally socially awkward. Thus when animal one greeted animal two back with a smile it either over smiled and or smiled to long thus giving animal two the impression that it was enjoying animals twos loss when in fact ironicly the opposite had happened. The stage was completely set.

Animal two was naturally offended at its interpretation of animal ones smile and called out animal two on it in, what animal one believed to be, a most extremely highly offensive manner. In retaliation animal one broke out the equivalent of a verbal tactical nuclear war head of epic proportions and ran off with the object of great importance. Shortly there after animal one began to piece together what had happened and understand animal twos perspective. While still offended by animal two's accusation that it had enjoyed animal twos pain, animal one began to regret using the nuclear arsenal. It was an overreaction. Also animal one was saddened that animal two believed it was evil for enjoying suffering. Since animal one still had respect for animal two, the situation sorely ruined its week.

And so the imaginary confrontation ended and I realized Hayek had just told me that we need only uniform laws, and if they are equally applied to law makers, enforcers, and civilians the likelihood of overly coercive laws being created and enforced is very low.

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