- On Debate
For the past tewlve years I’ve been working on political philosophy, and for the past three years, nearly full time. And now and then, as arguments evolve, I’ve updated the site to reflect the voice I’m currently using, and the position in the market for philosophy that I’m addressing.
Over the past three years, my work at extending Hoppe and Rothbard’s ethical model to address heterogeneous societies has matured into a fairly complete philosophical system, the scope of which hasn’t really been attempted in recent memory by anyone other than Heidegger. And it’s a task that is greater than I may be talented enough to complete.
But that said, I’m still doing a yeoman’s labor, and changing the title of my public workshop to accurately reflect the my emphasis on the Propertarian system of ethics, is overdue.
This change partly driven by our work at the Propertarian Institute at www.propertarians.com, where we promote propertarian reasoning as a means of understanding and comparing the different libertarian and conservative ideological platforms, in rational rather than moral terms. And where I am but one small participant in a large research program that has been advancing since Burke was struck cold by the horrors of the French Revolution.
White males (the european, or perhaps germanic, race) seek status under the ancient indo-european proscription for heroism via competition. The west is unique for having produced this philosophy of aristocratic egalitarianism – inclusion in equalitarian leadership, and therefore obtaining the reward of property rights, by demonstrated heroism. And the high trust society of the west is the result of aristocratic egalitarianism (heroic achievement, demonstrated excellence, virtue).
For most of history, and pre-history, males could achieve this only through combat. With the advent of manorialism, males could demonstrate their fitness through hard work. With the advent of chivalry males could demonstrate their heroic status by charitable service. With the advent of consumer capitalism, males could demonstrate their heroic fitness in commerce.
Heroic achievemnet grants access to mates (we have a lof of data on this now that confirms this fact – to the point where we know how many dollars in income per inch of height under 5’10″ you must earn to gain the same quality of attractive woman…. Really.) Women are as shallow about status as men are about physical attraction – and the data is the data.
As such, white males are intuitively attracted to libertarianism if they see in libertarianism a means of pursuing traditional signals for mating, social status, and wealth.
That libertarianism is a rigorous philospohy equalled in detail only by Marxism, and is articulated in economic language and analytical philosophy. It is accessible only to those people with both incentive to learn it, and the ability to understand it. This is why libertarianism is a minority white male philosophy. It is an aristocratic philosophy and difficult to access.
Other cultures lack both the mythology and cultural values for heroism and egalitarianism Which is why other cultures also cannot produce the high trust society. And without the high trust society, the wealth necessary for redistribution (charity) is impossible to achieve at scale.
All philosophy is class philosophy. Libertarianism is a class philosophy. All philosophies give precedence to one class or another.
Just as socialism suggests that all are better off if we give primacy to the objective of equality, and political power to the lower classes; just as postmodernism suggests that we will all be better off if we give primacy to equality and political power to the academic and public intellectual classes; just as clssical liberalism suggests that we will be better off if we give primacy to the institution of the family to conduct the family as a business without the interference of the state, and give power to family property owners; libertarianism suggests that we will be better off if we give primacy to individuals who pursue commercial innovation, and political power to the rule of law (contracts) that allow this innovation to persist unfettered.
Libertarianism is an economic philosophy that states that (a) we all demonstrate a preference for having our own choices (b) that wealth makes possible our choices (c) that wealth is the product of innovation (creating inequalities which we then pay to equilibrate.)
Libertarianism as a political philosophy that states that (a) all monopolies are bad because people cannot use competition to constrain the bad behavior of people in monopolies (b) all bureaucracies are bad because people in bureaucracies pursue the interest of the bureaucracy at the expense of those it purports to serve (c) government is a monopoly and a bureaucracy that pursues its interests at the expense of those who do ‘real work’ of innovating, producing, risking.
Libertarianism is not against ‘government’. It is against monopoly and bureaucracy which hinder individual innovation and competition, and the creating of ‘differences’ (inequalities) which we then seek to eliminate.
Libertarianism allows us to form our own communities with our own rules and norms, in a balance of power between communities with similar interests. These communities will then compete with one another for population, talent, and services. And people can choose which community to belong to. In this model there is no ‘state’. There are just collections of people who form contractual alliances. Just as we make voluntary commercial organizations, we can make voluntary civic organizations.
Libertarianism is not a prohibition on government. IT IS A PROHIBITION ON A MONOPOLY BUREAUCRACY that we call the STATE, that is able to issue COMMANDS under the guise of LAWS, because it maintains a monopoly on th euse of violence to enforce those commands, because that state is isolated from competition, and as such, can pursue the interests of the bureaucracy, or become a tool of special interests that likewise desire monopoly privileges, at the expense of the citizenry.
Consumers arre very important. Without consumers and credit it is impossible for commercial organizations to make money, and without the ability to make money there is no ability for people to organize into groups. The lower classes are consumers, and quite honestly, produce very little of value other than their consumption. Lower classes in the libertarian model will either exchange adoption to norms for redistributions in wealthy communities, or organize into their own organizations and charge fees for access to their consumers, which can then be redistributed, thereby minimizing profit.
The market for competition lets us compete toward different ends and preferences, even if we cooperate on means of achieving them. Monopoly government forces us to compete in government in a win-lose battle for control of the monopoly bureaucracy. Humans have been cooperating in the market on means, despite having disparate ends, for millennia There is no reason that we cannot take this insight as far as possible.
That is, unless your desire is to STEAL rather than EXCHANGE. And you are most likely to want to STEAL rather than exchange if governmetn provides a systematic means of stealing from others. And that’s what government does. It provides a systematic means of stealing. THe common law and property rights provide a systematic means of exchanging instead of stealing.
ANARCHISM, or anarcho capitalism (a branch of libertarianism) is a RESEARCH PROGRAM that seeks to find solutions to political problems without the use of the monopolistic bureaucratic state. Libertarian writers have done a thorough job of solving all but one or two very large problems (I think I may have solved those remaning issues in my work but I am not yet certain.)
ROTHBARDIAN Libertarianism, which is prominent on the web, was designed to be an ideological religion based upon rigorously defended philosophy combining jewish ethics of resistance (the ghetto) with christian legal and moral arguments (natural law) as a means of resisting both socialism and postmodernism. As and ideology he reduced that philosophy to very simple moral principles that can function as an ideology (generating emotion) rather than as an institutional prescription (generating arguments.) This is because Rothbard and his generation understood that the communists had produced a significant literature but could not win the hearts and minds of ordinary voters unless this philosophy was reduced to policy (the ten planks) and ideology (simple, repeatable, emotionally moralistic statements that would incite people to talk and act in support of those ideas. So Rothbardian libertarianism is an ideological philosophy not a prescription for institutional solutions to the problems of politics.
THE PURPOSE OF RELIGION IS TO CONCENTRATE POLITICAL POWER
Either as a resistance, or as a military force. That is the purpose of a religion. EIther to take power, or to resist power. Religions concentrate human efforts.
POSTMODERNISM IS A REFORMATION OF CHRISTIANITY
Postmodernism is just the most recent religion in a long history of religions.
7) Postmodernism is a reformation of Protestantism. – Resisting Capitalism in response to the failure of socialism in both theory and practice (1960ad).
6) Socialism is a reformation of catholicism – French, then german, then worldwide resistance to anglo industrial capitalism. (1850ad)
5) Protestantism is a reformation of Catholicism. – Germanic countries exiting Mediterranean taxation and occupation. (1520ad)
4) Islam is a reformation of Judaism and Christianity – Enabling arab conquest of the Byzantines and Sassanids who were exhausted by war with each other. (600ad)
3) Christianity (Catholicism) is a reformation of Judaism. – adaptation to the roman conquest. (80ad), and eventual success by mobilizing the underclasses and women. Made possible by exhaustion of seafaring Rome by conquering landed Europe.
2) Judaism is a reformation of Zoroastrianism. – Exiting persian conquest, as a means of unifying various tribes. (650bc)
1) Zoroastrianism was authored by Zarathustra (Zoroaster) ( 1500-1000bc) Exiting the stone age, and adapting to the agrarian revolution, in order to concentrate political and military power, possibly to separate western tribes from eastern tribes.
Religion is the means by which we make people believe untrue things in order to get them to cooperate according to one scheme or another.
When someone violates NATURAL RIGHTS (life, liberty, property, by fraud, theft or violence) we punish them by removing their NATURAL RIGHTS, by imprisoning them. Natural rights are NECESSARY RIGHTS to engage in cooperation via exchanges within society: life, liberty, and property.
We pay for our natural rights by forgoing our opportunity for fraud, theft and violence.
We also pay for access to opportunities to interact with others by paying the cost of effort to deonstrate manners, and the cost of forgone opportunities for stealing from others by respecting ethics and morals.
For violations of normative laws, we are ostracized from opportunity (boycotted) rather than punished or incarcerated. But we retain our natural rights as long as we can find someone to voluntarily exchange with us who does not refuse to boycott us because of our manners, ethics and morals.
However, we do not remove anyone’s HUMAN RIGHTS any longer for any reason. This is in no small part, because we are wealthy enough that deprivation from society and consumption alone are enough to coerce people into respecting both natural laws, and for normative laws.
The international declaration of human rights was created in no small part to control the abuse of individuals by communist countries. It is a DESIRED list of rights. This DESIRED list of rights is a CONTRACT between GOVERNMENTS. This contract is a TREATY. This treaty demands that member countries hold governments accountable for the treatment of individuals, and to sanction those countries if they do not. Even to the point of replacing a government for their abuses of their individuals.
It is important that we understad that this charter is a treaty by governments that like a treaty for the promise of mutual defense, binds other countries such that they are required to use legal, financial and economic sanctions against countries that violate the rights that the charter agrees all people in all countries, regardless of government, possess.
In effect, as a worldwide treaty, it is a worldwide constitution for that limits the powers of governemnts. This is waht RULE OF LAW means: it means that governemtns, and the people in them, are limited to the actions that are allowed in their constitutions. Rule of law does not mean that there are laws. It means that the government itself is bound by law.
The Charter of human rights is a very simple document. It is vaguely divided into sections. The first few are restatements of NATURAL LAW. After that there are a variety of prohibitions against the government, that require that all people in society must be treated equally before the law. That they have the right to live ordinary lives, marry, have a family, make friends, earn a living,
Articles 23, 24, 25, and 26, were necessary to gain the support of the socialist and communist countries, in the same way that the north was required to allow slavery in order to gain the signatures of the south during the american civil war. This is the primary problem with the declaration of human rights: is that these are not possible, not testable, and not achievable except in rare circumstances and for short periods of time – and they create a moral hazard as well as perverse incentives. These are POSITIVE rights. And positive rights can only exist as preferences, not rights.
Article 29 specifies how you PAY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, and that is by granting them to other people equally. Rights require exchange. Without exchange the term ‘rights’ is meaningless. One does not HAVE human rights as if they fall from heavens. One is granted them by others, and pays for them over one’s lifetime by granting the same rights to others.
Otherwise the document is not terribly different from the American Bill of Rights.
What I hope to get accross here is that these are not divine rights, nor necesary and therefore natural rights, they are human rights, and human rights are those that we choose to require, by threat of force and economic punishment, that all governments must hold to.
A “right” is a claim against other members of a contract, wherein each party grants the other party something (a right) in exchange for somthing else (an obligation). Each person then has ‘rights’ as agreed upon in the contract, as well as obligations. This is the meaning of the term ‘right’. A right is something that you obtain from others in exchange for granting them something. There is no other logical meaning of the term, unless you invent a god or demon, or some equivalent that you are supposedly in contract with. (Although the term ‘right’ is abused by way of analogy and metaphor, which I will explain below.)
A contract can be discreetly created, such as a handshake, a promise, or an agreement. Or a contract can be written as a note, a written contract, or a constitution. A contract can be created by habituation as a “norm”, such as manners, ethics and morals.
While very few people understand this, ethical and moral statements are those that compensate for asymmetry of information between members of a contract for norms. This contract for norms is we call a society. Manners are promises that you will respect ethical and moral norms. Ethics are rules that we follow to make sure that there are no involuntary transfers of prooperty due to asymmetry of information in an exchange. Morals are general rules that we will follow to make sure there are no involuntary transfers from others who are outside (external to) any action or exchange. (Having a chid that you cannot pay for, and expecting others to support it, is an involuntary transfer from others. That is why it’s generally been considered immoral.)
One can voluntarily enter discreet contracts. But normative contracts are a necessity because people cannot peacefully and productively cooperate without them. One can generally move between groups with different normative contracts (societies, and communities) but it is all but impossible to avoid them entirely, and it is entirely impossible to exist in a community without adhering to that contract – usually people are excluded from opportunity, punished, imprisoned, ostracized, or deported, for violations of the normative contract.
3) NATURAL RIGHTS:
Some contract rights are both necessary for humans to engage in contracts, and possible to grant in contracts. Such as surrendering our opportunity for violence theft and fraud, from those with whom we are in contract. If we surrender our opportunity to use violence theft and fraud, we define this set of forgone opportunities “property rights’. Because these rights are necessary for peaceful cooperation, and necessary for contracts to function, we call these necessary rights ‘Natural Rights’ – in an effort to limit the ability of governments to violate the contract rights that are necessary for human cooperation when they make laws.
If we define our minds and bodies as our property. And we define those objects, that we freely obtained through exchange as our property, then there is only one natural right and that is property. It is the only right necessary, and the only right universally possible to grant to one another – because we must refrain from something, rather than do something. In this sense, there is only one possible human right, and all other rights derive from it.
3) HUMAN RIGHTS:
Some contract rights are not necessary but beneficial. These rights generally can be categorized as forms of ‘insurance’. They cannot be direclty exchanged without an intermediary institution acting as the insurer. People cannot equally contribute to their costs. We call these rights ‘Human Rights’.
Sometimes we attempt to seek privileges not rights – a privilege is something that unlike insurance, is something we are likely to obtain, and which comes at a cost to others, without our providing something else in exchange. These are not rights, but privileges at the expense of others.
5) RENTS (Corruption)
In contemporary politics, unscrupulous people attempt to label privileges as rights, so that they can obtain something from others at no cost to themselves This is not seeking rights but seeking privileges. It is a form of corruption, which is just an indirect form of theft.
In economics, seeking privileges from government is a form of corruption called ‘rent-seeking’. (Which admittedly, is an old and confusing name. In previous centuries, people would seek to obtain an interest in land so that they could collect rents on it.) Today, people seek an interest in tax revenue so that they can collect income from it. This is Rent-Seeking. The government, in practice, if not in theory, owns all land, and we rent it from the government by taxes. If you cannot pay your taxes, you cannot keep your land. Taxes today, are no different from taxes under feudalism. We have just replaced private landowners with a political bureaucracy. In both cases we are renting our land, and in many cases the homes we build, from the government. Taxes are our rents. And people who seek to own part of taxes are rent-seekers.
6) DIVIDENDS (REDISTRIBUTION)
if you obey norms (manners, ethics and morals) and obey natural rights (property), you do so at a cost to you.
If you think of society as a business (it is, because it must be), and the business is to grow the local market (it is, at least to maintain it), because everyone in the local market will profit from it. (they do). Then these businesses (societies) grow through phases, just as businesses do (or really, business go through phases like society does, just a lot faster because they’re smaller), and in certain early phases(startups) they require a lot of investments from their shareholders (citizens), and in other phases they produce tremendous surpluses (mature, commoditized businesses), then we can see that most of the problem we deal with in politics, is who makes what contributions, and who collects what dividends, and how those dividends are used.
PROBLEMS WITH DETERMINING DIVIDENDS (REDISTRIBUTION)
It is very hard to argue against dividends (redistribution) if people respect (adhere to) manners, ethics, morals, and natural rights (property rights), as well as whatever arbitrary laws are created that affect all people equally.
The general argument, which is true, is that by adhering to maners, ethics, morals, natural rights and arbitrary laws, you earn the right to participate in the market for goods and services. And that dividends are a due only to those people who provide goods and services in the market.
The problem with dividends (redistribution) is not the logical requirement for dividends (redistribution), but the problem with how to determine what a dividend is, how to collect them, who has earned them, and how to allocate them, and how to distribute them.
But I will have to leave that discussion for another time.
DEMOCRATIC SECULAR HUMANISM IS A RELIGION
It is based upon false premises, and counter to observable fact.
It is no less mystical or absurd than an omniscient omnipotent, artificial deity.
It’s purpose is to accumulate power.
IT IS A WAR ON AN OLD RELIGION BY A NEW RELIGION.
The equality of man, the relativity of values, the irrelevance of norms, the equality of cultures, the permanence that technical innovation will ‘save us’, and a dozen other mythos, attribute untrue properties to man and society, in an effort to cast the extended order of human cooperation and competition as an extended family.
Humans do not act in this way. Even practitioners of the religion do not act this way. If they did, they would tolerate the old religion. But they don’t. And, in fact, they only tolerate any religion with lower status signals than their religion.
TRADING THE HIGH TRUST SOCIETY FOR FALSE, FREE STATUS SIGNALS
And those free status signals are the ‘psychological device’ that provides the incentive for adopting the new democratic religion, rather than the old religion’s promise of life after death.
This is the technological innovation of democratic secular humanism: it has replaced false promise of afterlife, true status signals, true suppositions about human nature, and true economic principles, with false status signals, false suppositions about human nature, and false economic principles.
The net of this new religion has been the destruction of the nuclear family and a the slow regression away from the high trust society that the west built by local outbreeding over more than a thousand years.
Because trust in *kindness*, which is an emotionally loaded term for the human need for acceptance and positive status signals, is counterproductive to the economic requirement for trust in trade and contract. [IDEA: positive signals for mere existence versus positive signals for economic action.]
The innovation of the west that allowed it to create greater relative wealth at lower rates of corruption, and to tolerate higher risk and innovation, finally consumer credit, was the high trust society. And we can demonstrate empirically that increases in diversity of norms and culture, even race, cause accelerating decreases in trust. Our governmental conflict is just an expression of this difference.
It is NOT POSSIBLE to create a civic religion without status signals. Humans value status more than money. No civic religion will ever exist that does not. However, the question is, what actions do those signals produce in the real world? Let’s see:
SIGNALS OF TRUSTWORTHINESS IN CONTRACT
Absolute respect for the commons and private property, Competition, Individualism, the nuclear family, truth telling, adherence to contract, and conformity to commercial norms, were innovations adopted by the western cultures under manorialism (feudalism), as people sought to demonstrate that they were fit to rent land.
Males embraced chivalry because it allowed them to achieve status signals without fighting, and in turn, it allowed them to achieve status through service. Further it did not require extraordinary wealth to do services, as did fighting.
That it takes a long time to change signaling strategies once the capture of fossile fuels permits industrialization, therefore freeing the woman from the drudgery of the home and the man from teh drudgery of the field, and gives us enough free wealth and time to afford to educate our young is certainly good reason to extend property rights to women, and to extend political enfranchise to all consumers and laborers. This is true.
But the practical reality is our goods and services may be cheaper and the least of us we may live better than nobility of the past, but that does not change the reality that we are vastly unequal in temperament and ability, and most of us require extraordinary training and reinforcement by others to maintain the high trust society that we buit by accident was counter to intuition and behaviorally expensive to maintain. People universally demonstrate a preference for the benefits of material productivity. Always. Yet they long for the behavior of the tribe and family, despite universal and inescapable tribal poverty, and despite universal and inescapable low trust in family-dominated, in-breeding-in-extended family societies.
Be careful what you wish for. You’re getting it.
Progressive ideology is a longing for a return to the tribe. It is cheap false status signals that produce negative economic consequences. Cultures are empirically demonstrable to be unequal, and democracy only works in the west because the west started out as aristocratic. Without western culture the west will be like every other barbaric low trust civilization on the planet.
Progressive ideology is to the west what christianity was to rome. There is no difference.
It is mysticism in different robes.
Property rights are a means of cooperation between peers. Every means of acquiring them, other than organized violence, is an insipid appeal, an act of fraud, an involuntary transfer, from those who pay the cost of property rights by the preparation for, and threat of violence, by those who would obtain property rights at a discount.
Enfranchisement was always how one earned property rights. Thats because they can’t be earned any other way.
The weak, the lazy, the deceitful, all want property rights at a discount. Now, one could argue, that it is possible to PAY people in some way, to extend to you property rights. To HIRE your property rights. And we might argue that, that is, in part, what we use taxes for – but only if I get property rights in return. If I don’t get them, then I’ve given up my violence – meaning my opportunity to use violence for self interest instead of property rights for self interest – for free. It’s theft.
Humor: Rothbard was a scam artist. :)
We can use organized violence to create government.
We can use organized violence to create property rights.
We can use organized violence to enforce property rights.
We can use organized violence to destroy property rights.
But you can have neither government nor property rights without violence.
The source of freedom is violence.
Violence is a virtue.
Seattle, WA, United States
I am an independent theorist of Political Economy in the Conservative Libertarian tradition. And as a methodological Propertarian I attempt to complete the work of Rothbard and Hoppe by suggesting post-democratic political solutions for heterogeneous polities.
"De Philosophia Aristocratia"
Anglo Conservatism is the remnant of the European Aristocratic Manorial system and the Classical Liberal philosophy of the Enlightenment, combined with our ancient tribal instincts for group persistence and land-holding. It currently consists as a set of sentiments rather than as an articulated rational philosophy. And without that rational articulation, conservatives lack the ability to create and promote a plan that is a positive and rhetorically defensible alternative to the hazards of accidental bureaucracy and purposeful socialism.
This lack of an articulated philosophy leaves conservatives vulnerable in the public debate with Schumpeterian public intellectuals whose advantage in both volume of production, and simplicity of argument poses a nearly insurmountable challenge.
Libertarianism by contrast, is a rational philosophy of an articulate but permanent minority. It is based upon a solid, rational and critical methodology, even if it is flawed in its initial assumption: the principle of non-violence.
Unfortunately the Rothbardian Anarchist movement has appropriated the term "Libertarian", and left Classical Liberals and Conservatives alienated from the only system of thought with which they need to articulate their political sentiments in rational and empirical rather than moralistic and sentimental form.
By repairing the flaws in Libertarian philosophy we can use its methodology to provide a rhetorical solution for conservatives - a language which in turn may become an articulated philosophical body of argument and advocacy for the frustrated conservative majority.
Kinsella’s Criticism of Locke, and My Explanation of Locke’s Reasonable Mistake, and What To Do About It.
66 days ago
Liberty Isn't Inherent. It's unnatural. We create it with Organized Violence.
70 days ago
Propertarian Definition: REVOLUTION
70 days ago
Giving Rorty Another Try
70 days ago
An Skeleton Argument In Defense Of Rorty From Hoppe
70 days ago
A Propertarian Definition of Ruthless
70 days ago
The Self Deception Of The Enlightenment View Of Man
70 days ago
On Rent Seeking
70 days ago
- Kinsella’s Criticism of Locke, and My Explanation of Locke’s Reasonable Mistake, and What To Do About It.