What Does Exit Really Mean?

If you aren't currently following the discussion in Steve Schreiber's Freedom of Movement post, then you really should be. I've just a quick comment here with, perhaps, more to follow later.

In response to Steve's worries about the viability of exit, John T. Kennedy comments that

There’s no problem in principle as long as cities are allowing exit even if no one else allows entrance. It may be a practical problem for you but no one owes you positive liberty.

Now it's entirely possible that this point is exactly right. I do have some worries, though. Maybe considering an analogy will be useful.

Suppose that I were to say something like,

I'm going to allow everyone in my society to vote. But when it comes to actually governing society, I am not actually going to base any decisions on the results of your vote. You may dislike this or think it unfair. If so, you're perfectly free to voice that displeasure in the next election.

I think that you can all see the problem here. For voice to be meaningful as a strategy, it must necessarily be the case that, at least in some form, that voice connects up to actual decisions. (Let's leave aside all the well-known difficulties with voice as a strategy here. I'm not actually trying to argue for voice, only to point out that the strategy of voice logically entails a social structure that, in some way or another, incorporates voice into governing.)

I would be inclined to posit something similar for exit as a strategy. To say that an arrangement is consentual because I am free to exit if I wish logically entails that there be some place for me to go when I exit. If you say, "Hey, you're free to go," but everyplace I might actually go is pointing a gun at me saying, "Step across that line and I'll kill you," then I don't really have exit in any meaningful sense.

None of this is to say that I think that exit is a bad or doomed strategy. Nor is it to say that people must have rights of entry in addition to rights of exit. Frankly, I'm not making any claim at all about what rights anyone has. My point here is meant to be purely conceptual: exit logically entails entry somewhere else. How that plays out for anarcho-capitalism is beyond me at the moment. I do think, however, that we can't just magically wish the point away.

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