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Shaffer-testen: Hvilken av disse kandidatene får stemmen din?

Et lite utdrag fra “A Libertarian Critique Of Intellectual Property”. Formateringen er min egen. 

Butler Shaffer knows how to make people question their fundamental assumptions. He sometimes asks his students at Southwestern Law School, where for many years he has been professor of law, to vote between two candidates. 

Candidate A is identified as “a well- known critic of government, this man has been involved in tax protest movements, and has openly advocated secession, armed rebellion against the existing national government, and even the overthrow of that government. He is a known member of a militia group that was involved in a shoot-out with law enforcement authorities. 

He opposes gun control efforts of the present national government, as well as restrictions on open immigra- tion into this country. He is a business- man who has earned his fortune from such businesses as alcohol, tobacco, retail- ing, and smuggling.” 

Candidate B is described thusly: “A decorated army war veteran, this man is an avowed nonsmoker and dedicated public health advocate. His public health interests include the fostering of medical research and his dedication to eliminating cancer. He opposes the use of animals in conducting such research. 

He has supported restrictions on the use of asbestos, pesticides, and radiation, and favors government- determined occupational health and safety standards, as well as the promotion of such foods as whole-grain bread and soybeans. He is an advocate of government gun- control measures. An ardent opponent of tobacco, he has supported increased restrictions on both the use of and advertising for tobacco products. 

Such advertising restrictions include: (1) not allowing tobacco use to be portrayed as harmless or a sign of masculinity; (2) not allowing such advertising to be directed to women; (3) not drawing attention to the low nicotine content of tobacco products; and, (4) limitations as to where such advertisements may be made. 

This man is a champion of environmental and conservationist programs, and believes in the importance of sending troops into foreign countries in order to maintain order therein.”

How do the students vote? 

“Over the years, the voting results have given Candidate B about 75 percent of the vote, while Candidate A gets the remaining 25 percent. After completing the exercise and tabulating the results, I [Shaffer] inform the students that Candidate A is a composite of the American “founding fathers” (e.g., Sam Adams, John Han- cock, Thomas Jefferson, George Wash- ington, etc.). Candidate B, on the other hand, is Adolf Hitler.” 

As one can readily imagine, the students react with shock. 

Why do the students vote this way? 

The program of Candidate B “sounds good” to them, but they did not ask themselves a key question, and it is this question that Shaffer wishes by his experiment to bring to their attention. That question is this: How did Candidate B intend to bring his program into effect? 

The answer in this case is quite clear: by using the force and violence of the State. That led to disaster, and this Shaffer maintains, is necessarily the case.

In his great book Boundaries of Order, Shaffer argues that people can best solve their problems and progress through peaceful social cooperation. To cooperate peacefully, they need to delimit property rights. 

As Shaffer puts it, 

“If we are to have the resilience to make life-enhancing responses to the world—to assess risks and other costs, and to settle upon an efficacious course of action—we must enjoy the autonomy to act upon our portion of the world without interference from others, a liberty to be found only in a system of privately owned property.”

Nadeem J. Qureshi