Well, The World May or May Not Be Overpopulated – But It's Energy Production Not Geography That Determines Population Limits.

I love Don Boudreaux. But as a conservative, this post troubled me. It troubled me because while I agree with the conclusion, that conclusion isn’t based upon sound reasoning, and would lead to policy that increased fragility.

The World is UNDERpopulated by DON BOUDREAUX … While many myths compete with “the-world-is-over-populated-with-humans” myth for the honor of being the myth with least empirical and theoretical support, no myth surpasses the over-population myth in groundlessness and, really, absurdity pregnant with totalitarian impulses.

From there Don points to some wonderful graphics that show how little of the earth would be consumed if we had different population densities.

But, one wise visitor replies:

The real limits to population are determined by the energy supply. With energy and food being interconvertable,

And I expand with:

Yes. That is correct. And moreover, moral arguments are nonsense. Political arguments are nonsense. The question of population is determined only how much energy an be converted and put to use.

What we claim (here and elsewhere) are benefits of our ‘technology’ and ‘limitless human creativity” is almost entirely attributable to our ability to convert energy stores to our immediate use. All consequential innovations are dependent upon that one set of technologies. We are coming very close to known physical limits of conversion. And while we are vastly ignorant of our own economies, due to the fact that we collect very poor data, and categorize it even more poorly, we are not vastly ignorant of the laws of physics.

Nor does History consist of ever-onward progress. Quite the contrary. It consists of multiple periods of regression to subsistence. In a world where we can all return to the fields, we just suffer. In a world where we cannot return to the fields, those who can’t are dead.

Black swans that cause these changes are not rare. They are just unforeseen and incalculable. Our only rational choice is to build a world that is not fragile. And to rail against those who create fragility.

I am not arguing with the general criticism of the population myth. I’m arguing that the REASONS why it is excessive or not are not included in anyone’s argument above, and as such the statements above are nothing but naive egoistic folly. Or put in proper economic terms “an attempt to obtain a discount on current consumption by exporting risk onto others.”

It is probably not obvious that there is an identical correspondence between the argument for sound money, and the argument for preserving land against immigration. And if it is acceptable to immigrate, then it is acceptable to debase the currency. But that is another story altogether. The fact that current austrian thinking does not account for opportunity costs — from Mises onward through Rothbard, even though somewhat obtusely corrected by Hoppe, is either a oversight or a deception. I do not know. But Misesians do not account for land holding. If economics is limited in scope to money, and avoids status and opportunity costs, then is not a social science. It is a justification for plunder.

Walter Russel Meade Falsely Calls Me A Racist And A Troll

Comments were shut down on Walther Russell Meade’s site, and they called me a Racist and a Troll. I get called every name in the book. I’m a frequent critic of opposing viewpoints, more than a popularizer of existing libertarian ideas. So I interject opposing viewpoints into all sorts of silly online discussions. And in these interjections I use propertarian analysis rather than so called ‘moral arguments’. This tends to expose arguments for what they really are: forms of theft, or deception. It’s a more complex version of ‘follow the money’. And, I’m not out to avoid offense. Economics and politics are not matters for nicety. They’re too serious. I’m trying to get at the truth. And that’s upsetting to people.

Meade invited criticism not just from myself but others, by posting a self=congratulatory article about the anniversary of Mein Kampf and then pandering to conservatives and jews by stating how ostensibly high-minded we have become. This nonsense attracted criticism from a number of us. ( Obviously they don’t get referenced on the Drudge Report or they would have been overwhelmed by comments similar to mine. ) I absolutely despise self congratulatory nonsense that is a cover for transfers of wealth, status and power. And I made it clear I wasn’t alone. After a few back and forth comments, they shut down the comments section and (I think) dropped the article from the site. I can’t find it any longer.

LABELS AS A FALURE OF IDEAS
Casting labels at people such as ‘racist’ or ‘anti-semitic’ so that you can shut down an argument is a convenient tactic. It’s very convenient. Especially when it’s not true. If I state that men vote conservatively, and woman progressively. Or that women vote heavily on looks rather than policy. Those are true empirical statements. If I argue that jews as a block are predominantly progressive, then that’s simply factual.

Here is what they said:

Writing about race and religion brings out the trolls; Via Meadia‘s normally urbane and civilized comment pages have been invaded recently by two groups of posters. One wants to argue simultaneously that anti-Semitism doesn’t exist and that it is caused by the bad behavior of Jews. The other wants to turn discussions of urban policy into an argument over alleged genetic differences between the races. We have already trashed many of the worst of these comments. Readers can imagine what some of them were like.

In this sentence, the “group” in question is me.

One wants to argue simultaneously that anti-Semitism doesn’t exist and that it is caused by the bad behavior of Jews.

Which is not what I said. I said that:

    1) Christians (white people) are acting like a minority, and will continue to expand their behavior as a minority.
    2) That the Jewish voting block demonstrates a preference for leftist politics. (This is empirically true from polls and from campaign finance data.)
    3) That white males are whipping posts and open to all criticism. (This is empirically true – at least in academic papers, entertainment, media, and news reports.)
    4) That accusations of anti-Semitism, racism, culturism and any other -ism are used to escape all criticism of political biases.
    5) That as an emerging minority white (males) are reacting against the perception of privilege accorded to jews who use the cover of anti Semitism, and everyone else that relies on such tactics for defense of their group.
    6) That this behavior among white males is an expression of frustration driven by the loss of status and political power due to their emerging minority status.
    7) That along with their minority status they will lose what they see as ‘freedom’.

That’s What I Said. And it’s true. (See my other articles on the subject.) The tea party is the most obvious evidence that whites are acting as a minority.

IRRATIONAL RACISM
If someone is biased against a gene pool, that is simply ridiculous behavior. It is irrational to judge an individual by the properties of his or her class. It’s just idiocy. It is not however, irrational to judge a class by the properties of its individuals. That is just rational. Every marketer in the country, and every pollster, does it every single day.

RATIONAL STATEMENTS ABOUT RACE
To economically disenfranchise people from a market is clearly racism. To criticize their beliefs, particularly if those beliefs are racially motivated, is simply honest discourse. These are just facts that explain behavior. I would argue that white male christians would be very happy if jewish males voted more conservatively.

So, I do not see why it’s anti-semitic (racist) to make these observations. It’s just TRUE. And if it were not true then there would be laws protecting the rights of white men, rather than a vast array of laws stacked against them. But there aren’t. And therefore people ACT racially, and the government acts racially. So we cannot both have racial policies and deny they exist.

PEOPLE DEMONSTRATE RACIAL PREFERENCES
Female dating and marriage preferences demonstrate overwhelming adherence to racial lines. (From large empirical studies of dating sites.) Friendship circles demonstrate a racial preference. Moving and housing patterns reflect dramatic preferences for same race (U-Haul rental patterns). Voting patterns match racial distributions. Work environments demonstrate racial preferences. Race is a motivating factor in associations. Racial issues are common in political discourse. Some races are expressly racist (North Koreans and Jews.)

RACE IS A FACTOR IN POLITICAL DISCOURSE
Politics is the art and science of obtaining political power for the purpose of obtaining a) rents (see [glossary:rent-seeking] for non economists) b) redistributions, c) privileges (economic opportunities) d) and most importantly, redistributing SOCIAL STATUS. Social status controls access to mates and access to opportunities. People ACT as racial blocks when voting. That’s just data. It is what it is.

WHY ARE PEOPLE RACIALLY MOTIVATED?
1) because status signals are superior within racial group than out of group – except under marginal circumstances. That’s the single most important reason why racial groups stick together.
2) And, because human beings do attach a hierarchy to the different races, and to skin color within each race. This is just true. Plain and simple.

LIMITS
We should not enact policy that does anything other than treat all people equally regardless of race. Furthermore, we should not fear political discourse about races, since people ACT racially.

RACIAL PREFERENCES ARE GROUNDS FOR LEGITIMATE CRITICISM
It’s the ideas in people’s head’s that’s problematic in political discourse, not their genes. If members of a gene pool demonstrate political preferences, if they form political organizations, if they write, speak and demonstrate their political preferences, and if those preferences are controversial, then it is simply honest to criticize them. It isn’t racism. It’s simply FACT. And in turn if those people hide under the cover of racism, then that’s simply dishonest political discourse. But these [glossary:schumpeterian intellectuals] feel perfectly happy to pat themselves on the head for high mindedness, when it’s really just pandering.

As a conservative libertarian I pick away daily at those [glossary:schumpeterian intellectuals] on the web who abuse the sentiments, traditions, ideals motivations of those who would continue to deprive us of our freedom. I criticize the double standard. I am, like many white males, tired of bias against us in news and the courts. I am tired of having my rights taken, rather than rights granted to others. And I am very protective of our freedom. And the most important way of protecting that freedom is to protect the culture and the constitution that promotes it.

So if you want to get into name calling as a means of providing yourself with cover by which to attack people with the same values I do, then I’ll be there with a hundred others to refute you.

Because that is honest political discourse.

Curt

Mark Thoma Asks A Fallacy Of False Choice With "Which Tax Is Preferable?"

On Economists View, Mark asks:

Is it important for taxes to be progressive? Or is progressivity in the net benefits the only important consideration?

In this context:

In Europe, the VAT is used extensively. VATs are regressive, but they’re an important source of revenue for the highly progressive tax-and-transfer systems in Europe. That is, although the tax itself is regressive, it is very good at producing revenue and once the distribution of benefits is accounted for (both cash transfers and other benefits), the systems are highly progressive overall.

I have always argued for progressive taxes, in particular for the principle of “equal marginal sacrifice” (the lost dollar paid in taxes should lower utility by the same amount or everyone, and since the marginal utility of a dollar falls with income this implies a progressive structure). But increasingly I’m wondering if a flatter structure that brings in more revenue and ends up more progressive once the benefits are accounted for might not be better.

The political right seems to think there is something valuable about the pain from paying taxes, that’s why they complain when people are able to avoid them (unless you are rich and manage this through legal avoidance). 1 When people are forced to feel the pain from taxes, they argue, that helps to keep government small (this seems to argue for equal marginal sacrifice and progressivity so that the marginal pain is the same).

My argument for progressivity is a bit different. It is based upon equity. It seems fair to have those with more pay proportionately more. But why shouldn’t the overall outcome be the important consideration?

So, he bases his question on the assumption of ‘Equity’ in result, meaning that ‘a moral sense of equity’ is the means by which decisions should be made.

A SELF SERVING DEFINITION OF EQUITY.
Even if Mark’s right that ‘equal marginal sacrifice’ is the definition of ‘equity’, it is a selective definition because it only considers money transferred. But far more than money is reallocated in these transfers. He’s using (as do most progressives) a conveniently selective definition of ‘transfers’. All transfers have secondary effects called ‘externalities’. An economist who selectively chooses to ignore externalities in transfers is effectively committing a form of deception. In Mark’s case, given his consistency, it’s a form of self deception that humans commonly use to deceive themselves and others in order to justify obtaining their preferences.

What are the Non-Monetary transfers under ‘equal marginal sacrifice’?

    1) By laundering the relationship between producer and consumer through the artifice of government, the producers are deprived of the social status they have earned by serving consumers in the market. This is most important, because social status is as much or more important to humans as is money. People use money to pursue social status. Social status provides both entertainment, access to stimuli and experiences, and most importantly access to other people a) in terms of opportunities, and b) in terms of mates.

    The side effect of ‘status opacity’ has been that the upper classes have abandoned society both culturally, morally, and financially. And while any civilization can

    2) The CHOICE of what ends to put this ‘equal marginal sacrifice’ (money) to is taken from the people who produce and given to the people who consume. So, producers are deprived of determining how their wealth can be best put to use for the common good.

    3) Worse, since any producer in a market economy must serve consumers in order to create wealth, then they have more and better knowledge of how to create wealth than bureaucrats, and because they must create and run market organizations that serve consumers, they also have better understanding of how to achieve ends in an economy. So society is deprived of the knowledge of how to better itself. And producers are deprived of the opportunity to increase their wealth, society’s wealth, and their social status.2

    4) Even worse, producers are deprive of their influence on the social norms we call ‘culture’. No civilization has survived the loss of it’s aristocracy. And aristocrats work very hard to preserve their social status by demonstrating how ‘good’ they are for the people. They create arts. They create culture. They create new products and services – in fact, they create almost all interesting and beneficial products and services. THey are a culture’s research and development organization. But in purely social terms, they create a race for the top, rather than a race for the bottom.

SIGNALS MATTERS
Humans will sacrifice food and money to observe their alphas. They learn from their alphas. There are alphas in every social group, and every economic group. Without social status, there would be little signal for people to learn from. People would invent ‘black market signals’ for social status. The benefit of the western model is that social status is earned through the service of consumers in the market, not mysticism, or violence.

While redistribution of money may be sound, redistribution of status is HARMFUL.3 This is not to say that there isn’t a Pareto efficient system of redistribution that transfers no status, creates no aristocratic disincentives, and that deprives society of no knowledge. There is such thing. But it is not ‘knowable’ or ‘calculable’ using politicians.

PERVERTED INCENTIVES
As an political economist, what I object to most about this discourse, is that the function of the ‘state’ is to determine how the spoils are split, instead of how to increase the pool of spoils. After all, entrepreneurs risk their lives and homes to create wealth. It does not magically happen. And specialization being what it is, and humans having the incentives and motivations that they do, there is a regressive conflict of interest between having one political organization focus on the EASY task of redistribution AND the VERY HARD task of creating prosperity via the market. Humans universally select those politically rewarding and easily understood problems. Innovation is a very hard problem where one can be wrong at all times. It involves risk. Redistribution is quite simple. Trivial. Fun even. Everyone wants to give away someone else’s money. No one wants to be responsible and accountable for creating returns on investment. Instead, if we had two houses: one which created wealth through investment, and another which could distribute returns on that investment, then the conversation about our society would be quite different. Equity would be something both ends of the spectrum desired.

THE FALSE CHOICE
Mark’s question is a false choice. There is no equity in forcible transfer. There is equity in charity because of the social status people award to contributors to society, and along with social status, ability to command adherence to norms. There is equity in voluntary exchange. But there is no equity in forcible redistribution of money, no equity in deprivation of status, no equity in debasement of norms, no equity in involuntary transfer, no equity in appropriation of political power. So the question is not one of equity. It may perhaps, be one of UTILITY: in that keeping the lower classes well fed, well protected, and gainfully employed is actually CHEAPER than having them ill fed, uneducated, and engaged in career mischief. But any claim of “Equity” assumes a community of shared interests toward ends and means. And under involuntary transfer – theft – there is no possibility of community in a domestic empire as diverse as the USA.

TAX DEMOCRACY INSTEAD OF REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY
Furthermore, any assessment of ‘equity’ requires that some random person in ‘authority’ determines how ‘equity’ is measured (if at all), who to take money from, how much to take, and what purposes to put it to. And this process is highly politicized.

So the question is false as it is structured. But there is still an alternative:

Assuming that instead, all people above certain incomes were required to contribute an aggressive and progressive amount of their income by purchasing auctions for the purpose of fulfilling community ends – then they would actually have choice in the matter. And because of transparency, these people could be controlled — assuming that their contributions were visible, and their names attached, so that they would be checked by market forces.

The process of ‘elections’ then would be turned from one of class warfare, abstract rhetoric, and demagoguery wherein we create that most horrid of specialists – the politician. TO one where we actively engaged and encouraged our upper classes to participate in society, rather than make as much as they can before abandoning it. Sick bureaucracies would be eliminated easily and quickly. Government waste would be radically reduced. Our precious ‘Universal Insurance’ programs would be managed by market forces. And society would be steered by popular sentiment, rather than political diatribe.

In other words, an tax democracy:

    1) It would be difficult for people to contribute to purposes and ends to which they disagree – or at least, they would choose those ends with which they least disagreed.

    2) Status would neither be redistributed or appropriated by professional politicians, and class cooperation would prevail over class warfare.

    3) Society is not deprived of knowledge.

    4) Society is not deprived of positive norms.

ANSWERING MARK’S QUESTION
Under such a system a highly progressive income tax would be superior to a VAT, because a VAT puts unnecessary burden on the lower classes, and creates unnecessary and expensive administration costs.

POLITICIANS ARE ARTIFACTS
The political class is an artifact of our prior lack of the information technology needed to make directly democratic decisions. We no longer lack that technology. We no longer need politicians. We need technology, free speech, courts, and public intellectuals. We do not need politicians. Politicians are commissioned salesmen for the transfer of wealth from producers to those in need, and transfer of social status from those who have earned it to those politicians who do not.

We do not need rulers. We only need rules and tools.

WHY PEOPLE OBJECT TO GOVERNMENT
It is not taxes people object to. It is the disagreeable use of them. Especially uses that take from them status and the political power to defend themselves. It’s not the abstract of government that people object to. It is the dishonesty of electoral politics the technique of fomenting class warfare, the transfer of earned social status, and the incompetence and self service of bureaucracy.

  1. Note: Mark makes another mistake in criticizing the rich for avoiding taxes, when the reason that they avoid them is their disagreement over how they are USED, and the unequal risk they must take to create wealth. Again, financial sector aside. Conservatives think in terms of business people. Progressives think in terms of bankers. []
  2. Note: that if you consider government sponsored fiat money bankers as part of the private sector, I’m stating that by definition they are not producers, but government sponsored semi-political entities who privatize wins and socialize losses. Banking under fiat money is a government sponsored monopoly. Period. []
  3. I differ from my other libertarian friends on redistribution for TECHNICAL and LOGICAL reasons that I believe would invalidate propertarian analysis. An accidental side effect of Hoppe’s interpretation of Habermas. []

A Letter To James Hanley

James,

Most commenters on your site, and you yourself, frequently argue against the positions of that subset of libertarians called Rothbardian Anarchists and in the process smear the rest of the libertarian movement. Rothbardian anarchists have attempted to appropriate the term “libertarian” as well as the term “austrian economics” in order to gain legitimacy and popularity. The reason I’m appealing to you is so that you don’t further Jaundice the libertarian movement because of the behavior of it’s radical anarchic wing. While the anarchic wing is popularizing libertarian ideas, it is also obscuring and discrediting the broader movement’s rational foundation in economics.

Classical liberals had to coin the term Libertarian because ‘liberal’ was taken over by socialists. Now they’re in the same position again and trying to find an identity that’s been stolen by the anarchists. Appropriation of identity and ideas by radicals is one of the many challenges faced by moderates and pragmatists.

I’m going to appeal to you to use the term “Anarchist Libertarians” or “anarchists” or “rothbardians” rather than to assist in the appropriation of libertarian thinking by the anarchists.

BACKGROUND
You’re not alone in confusing ‘anarchism’ with ‘libertarianism’. The ‘anarchist’ wing of the libertarian movement has been highly successful in their efforts to appropriate the term ‘libertarian’ for their own use. To such an extent that the rest of us are abandoning it and adopting the term “NeoClassical Liberals”. Over the past few years there has been a bit of back-and-forth banter between CATO’s Establishment Republican Libertarianism, George Mason University’s more NeoClassical Liberal economics, and The Mises Institute’s radical evangelical anti-statists. The Private Law libertarianism of Hoppe’s Property and Freedom Society has far less influence but is where the thought leadership seems to be originating today.

GMU has posted about the problem at The Coordination Problem.

Lew Rockewell defends his organization by way of attacking GMU at LewRockwell.com.

Mises.Org And The Pop Culture Rothbardians
I am not necessarily happy criticizing the Mises organization since they are largely responsible for the popularity of libertarian thought, even if it’s too often the pop culture ideology of Rothbard. And I think that promoting pop libertarianism is not a bad thing in this particular era. It has attracted many people to the cause of freedom, and in return some of those who’ve come, will mature into more sophisticated thinkers. Promoting an ideology is by definition a function of appealing to the masses. So I would rather have a lot of ‘Pop Libertarian Rothbardian Anarchists’ and a few classical liberal deep thinkers affecting the political discourse than I would just a few deep thinkers.

Libertarians (classical liberals, and now NeoClassical Liberals) do not advocate the extremes that the Anarchists do. If you read Hayek you would understand that ‘Pop Libertariansm’ of Rothbard is just that – ideological anarchism.

Hayek on the other hand is a sophisticated political thinker in the tradition of Aristotle, Machiavelli, Pareto, and Weber, who illustrates the various practical realities we consider in political theory once we have a grasp of economics.

The Neo Classical Libertarian Movement
You are obviously not aware of this ongoing battle for legitimacy, but there is a growing movement among some of us to drop the Austrian/Libertarian label and start calling ourselves “NeoClassical Liberals” in order to escape the “Pop Libertarianism” of the Rothbardian anarchists.

The NeoClassical liberals are challenged because they rely upon a skeptical, rational and empirical system of philosophy that suggests ‘we simply do not know’. While the progressive and the anarchists suggest ‘we do know’. Ideologies are always progressive, and certitude is more useful to ideologists than skepticism. Rothbardian libertarianism, and to some degree Misesian Praxeology, are doctrines of certitude. Luddite certitude perhaps but certitude none the less.

Some of the people working on this problem are setting up shop at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

Hoppe And Private Government
Hoppe’s contribution is that a private government is superior to a state (corporate) government – and he’s stated why it is superior in detail. A private government under the common law is by definition anarchic. The state is an unaccountable, epistemologically impossible abstraction, and that’s the problem with it. It’s as absurd as the other corporate entity we call ‘god’. But that is far too complicated a conversation for people who are motivated by ‘Pop Culture Ideology” regardless of stripe.

Rand Is A Doorway
Rand is a literary doorway into philosophy for the young and inexperienced. As such she is valuable to philosophy. Rothbard is a great and often underrated historian but a pop philosopher at best. Hayek is a great philosopher that bears reading and re-reading. And Mises is the only saint among economists despite his reliance on an incomplete system of logic he calls praxeology.

I hope this is helpful to you.

Thanks

Curt

(NOTE: I have been a participant in Mises.org and have contributed something on the order of 30K to the organization over the years. I also have contributed not insignificant funds the Property and Freedom Society.)

American Conservatism Is Not An Ideology

The purpose of an ideology is to assist a group or class in obtaining political power.

The purpose of American Conservatism is to prevent groups or classes from obtaining political power.

It’s that simple.

Understanding Libertarianism As A Technical Philosophy

Over On “League of Ordinary Gentlemen” there is a very long thread fitfully attempting to be critical of Libertarianism.

It’s interesting how almost no one on the thread understands anything other than what they’ve read in the popular press about libertarianism.

Which is common, because like any doctrine, people adopt it because of the appeal of it’s general sentiments, not because they actually understand it. And they propagate the sentiments very simplistically. Then, those who have adopted other doctrines because those doctrines appeal to their own sentiments, react to these simplistic statements of sentimentality, rather than to the libertarian doctrine itself –and all potential opportunity for rational discourse is lost in the chaos.

A TECHNICAL, EMPIRICAL PHILOSOPHY
But Libertarianism is a technical philosophy that can be rationally articulated. It is often, for historical reasons, articulated as a moral philosophy as is most western ideology. THis is because the French enlightenment philosophers ‘Catholicized’ what was an empirical Anglo philosophical system and converted it to sentimental, moral, and rational system of thought. It was this moral, rational, and sentimental French framework, not the empirical Anglo framework that was popularized by continental philosophers and through their writings, distributed to the world in printed literature — thereby removing precisely what made the Classical Liberal economic political program innovative: that it was procedural and empirical rather than rational.

HISTORY
The term “Libertarian” was coined by Classical Liberals because the left appropriated the term “liberal” for their Moral political program.

PRINCIPLES

First Principle: Economics
Libertarianism relies on economics.

    a) The best society is the most prosperous because more people have more choices, and because all humans seem to demonstrate a preference for additional material choices whenever possible.
    b) Prosperity is the result of increases in production made possible by a division of labor where prices signal demand, and function as the information system by which people coordinate their actions.
    c) Maintaining prosperity requires constant increases in production are due to rapid innovation – a process which we call competition.
    d) Personal property rights are necessary for the form of planning we call ‘economic calculation’, and to create incentives for as many individuals as possible to participate in innovation.
    e) Planning production with personal property requires predictable and constant rules of transfer, contract, and dispute resolution.
    f) Government is the means by which we determine the rules of contract, transfer and dispute resolution.

So, in any political discourse, given a multitude of possible choices, libertarians ‘err on the side of liberty’ because they believe liberty will have the most positive and the least negative side effects.

Second Principle: Anti-Bureaucracy
Libertarians use the term government as a synonym for bureaucracy. They use anti-authoritarian arguments. Anti authoritarian arguments are Moral and rational arguments. Anti-bureaucratic arguments are rational and empirical arguments: meaning that the evidence is that bureaucracies universally consolidate power and abuse it because of the processes and incentives necessary for humans to operate in a bureaucratic organization. (See Michels and Mises).

Libertarianism then, is an anti-bureaucratic rather than anti-government philosophical framework. It suggests that people can and do organize into groups we call governments. It suggests that in almost all cases, privately owned, market-driven service providers will provide better services at lower cost with less danger of bureaucratic abuse of group members than the alternatives.

Third Principle: Voluntary Transfer
Libertarians use moral arguments to criticize involuntary transfer of property. However, the rational and empirical argument is that only voluntary transfer allows people to ‘calculate’ positive social ends together by making use of their collective knowledge, rather than the supposed knowledge of one or more bureaucrats – and that ‘externalities’ (the secondary effects) are beneficial when transfers are voluntary.

The single moral property that defines all libertarian philosophy is that individuals have a monopoly on the use of their minds, bodies and property.

LIBERTARIANISM
Libertarian is a middle class (commercial) philosophy.
It consists (largely) of two wings:

    1) Classical Liberal (Protestant Empirical) – Hayek/Jefferson
    a) Constitutionalism and Rule of law, b) Small State, c) Cautious Redistribution that does not create a dependency d) conservative monetary policy. e) Privatization f) a dependence on empirical institutions. (This is the important part that is lost on everyone – libertarians included. It is an empirical system of government.) and g) Meritocratic rotation of elites through demonstrated service to consumers in the market (rather than politics) and h) Multiple houses of government that reflect the class structure of society.

    The Classical Liberal wing of Libertarianism advocates an empirical method of government whose purpose is to prevent the rise of bureaucracy and systemic risk. It is effectively a restatement of european post-aristocratic philosophy in contemporary terms. ie: it has the structure of formal institutions we call government.

    2) Anarchist (Jewish Moral) – Rothbard/Rand
    a) No state. b) No redistribution c) No community d) Ideological Individualism. e) gold standard f) Absolute propertarianism.

    Anarchism is a form of rebellion against the status quo.

    It is effectively a restatement of the jewish moral code in modern economic terms. In that sense it is a non-empirical, moral, non-institutional form of government. ie: it has the structure of a religion.

THE VALUE OF LIBERTARIANISM
The libertarian research program has contributed significantly to political discourse because it has:

    1) Provided the understanding of why Socialism and Communism are economically impossible. (Economic Calculation and Incentives)

    2) Contributed to political thought by developing the means by which services can be provided by privatization. (These arguments are persuasive. The west is a minority civilization that depends upon technical creativity in order to maintain it’s standard of living and only individual property rights make rapid and disruptive innovation possible.)

    3) Demonstrated that freedom is synonymous with constitutionalism and the rule of COMMON law, without which freedom is impossible.

    4) Produced a more predictive view of economic cycles, and in particular, correctly argued that the use of aggregates in economics and the DSGEM is not only anti-empirical, but actually irrational.

    5) That social classes make decisions according to different time preferences, and that these preferences appear to be impervious to change.

CONCLUSIONS
In the end, the combination of poor data collection, fiat monetary policy, use of the DSGEM in economics and it’s ‘static’ limitations, undermining the constituion’s implied but unstated empirical nature, and the democratic rather than class-based process of debate, have put us in a position where it is not possible to make rational economic and political judgements.

Thanks to Libertarians, we know that whether or not we have moral ambitions, we cannot currently make rational decisions in our form of government with the information at our disposal. And that is profound.

We Don't Disagree On Objectives

On Modeled Behavior, Karl posts that Unemployment is ‘Awful’. And he posts a chart illustrating that losing a job is a serious emotional experience.

But, the most obvious conclusion from the data in that chart is that “separation from your social and familial group” – separation from your tribe – is what troubles human beings the most. There is nothing to be learned about ‘money’ from the list of psychological stressors.

That aside, and back to your point: No one disagrees that unemployment is bad. The disagreement results from our differences in opinion over how to improve unemployment while producing the least damaging externalities.

The difference between conservatives and progressives is largely one of creating systemic fixes with positive externalities using the private sector that may take time on the one hand, and creating dependencies that create negative externalities using the government sector that produce immediate relief and long term negative consequences that serve to reduce liberty on the other.

And in the different evaluation of those externalities by the two sides. To progressives, a powerful state that helps them oppose the market is beneficial. To conservatives a powerful state that opposes the market is a threat.

It is inconceivable to conservatives that freedom is not more important than temporary stress. Conservatives in the US are classical liberals, which by definition means liberty-seekers. Freedom is an intrinsic good. They do not understand that freedom is, and always has been, a minority proposition, and that only under rare circumstances can freedom be obtained – precisely because a large percentage of people do not want it, and another group can achieve elite status by preventing any group from obtaining it.

Market prosperity requires personal freedom: property rights. Market prosperity does not require political or national freedom. Given the distribution of freedom seekers versus security seekers, Political freedom for the majority is a guarantee that the freedom-seeking minority will lose both political and personal freedom.

Freedom is not a desire of the many. Inexpensive goods that result from freedom are. But freedom to take risks in the market is, and always has been, a minority proposition that is only possible during periods where the majority of citizens are small business people – such as under expansionist agrarianism in both Classical Greece, MIgration Period Settlement, Ascendent England, and the conquest of the american continent.

The rest of the time, most people are some form of dependent – serfs – to the minority of people who actually take personal speculative risk in creating production for the market.

The progressive vision of the universe is that there is a world of plenty from which they are ostracized. The conservative vision of the universe is that there is a world of scarcity which must be constantly replenished through risk taking and experimentation. The progressive sees human reason as able to solve anything we can agree upon. The conservative vision sees human reason as demonstrably frail, and that our hubris is what undermines our success – only discipline and work can create material improvement.

Conservative Strategy Since 1980

The Leftist blog Economists View posts that Stiglitz writes that there is an ideological crisis in western capitalism. by which he simply means the “right is wrong”, and Stiglitz is right.

Really. That’s all he says.

And, of course, Stiglitz’s analysis is a straw man.

CONSERVATIVE STRATEGY
The conservative strategy since 1980 has been:
1) Defeat ideological communism as a threat to the international order, and to American trade interests – and to borrow any amount of money to do so.
2) Dismantle the left wing “great society’ movement, and if possible privatize education, social security and medicare as a means of starving and de-politicizing the government.
3) Starve the government either by over commitment or over extension, forcing either the dismantlement or privatization of ‘socialist’ programs.
4) Support of the entrepreneurial class, and increase home ownership in order expand conservative sentiments.

UNEXPECTED
a) The replacement of ideological communism with ideological Islam was an unexpected threat and a high cost.
b) The christian whites have become a minority was faster than they expected, and the transition of christian whites into a political block that acts like an minority was also unexpected. Therefore the conservative movement has not been able to ideologically adapt to this change fully – they still remain attached to the Classical LIberal Constitutional model, despite the obvious evidence that the model has failed them and (per Epstein) attacks on constitutionalism by the courts and leftist cultural indoctrination by the schools has been largely successful. The next development in conservatism will be to acknowledge that failure and to become a more consistently adversarial, entrenched and likely racially or culturally identifiable block.

RESULTS
The end result is :
a) that the country remains center-right, and will continue to remain center-right for any politically actionable period of time.
b) the process of converting the rest of the world to some form of capitalism, albeit, totalitarian capitalism, or social democratic capitalism, is complete, outside of Islam, which now only needs one or more likely two core states to emerge – neither of which will be an expansionist and militant Iran.
c) the country is fragmenting into permanent regional blocks opposed to one another. Family moving patterns suggest that this trend will continue to create stronger divisions, further amplifying the effects created by the end of southern conservatism’s association with the Democratic party.
d) the attempt to move people into home ownership as a means of encouraging the conservative sentiment has failed and was an unwise plan in the first place. THe lower class population needs to be mobile and increasingly urbanized to compete.
e) the right will claim that the constitution has been sufficiently undermined that it no longer holds sway, and that the left will simply use temporary political power to circumvent it, and there the right will develop the mantra that ‘it’s just mob rule’ and that the constitution is simply ‘how we conservatives shackle each other and give the left time to undermine freedom.’ This will be the next political movement for the right. It is only logical.
f) it may be true that Chicago monetarism has been undermined, but it is also true that almost all quantitative DSGEM theory has been undermined. But the institutional investment in academia in the failed doctrine will continue to persist until a radical paradigmatic changes has been developed elsewhere.

TRENDS
The general trend that will drive support for conservative sentiments will be:
1) the regionalization and fractionalization of domestic culture due to demographic concentrations. and the eventual exhaustion of the population’s tolerance for discord. It appears from the data that our urban centers are headed toward the south american model of an elite urban (white) center, surrounded by a ring of poverty, and a (white) conservative rural culture.
2) the increase in small businesses due to repositioning of the US work force in the global economy.
3) the increase sense of threat from weakened US strategic and economic power.
4) the extended economic stress that will likely lose a generation of permanently displaced workers.

STRAW MAN
So, Stiglitz simply does not understand conservative strategy or motivations and is arguing against a straw man by assuming that conservative and liberal goals are the same.

FREEDOM IS A GOAL IN ITSELF
To conservatives, freedom is the goal itself, and freedom is incompatible with the left’s agenda. And the willingness to protect that freedom is infinite. Revolt works from both directions. The left is willing to create the totalitarian redistributive society by class warfare and destruction of the western identity. The right is wiling to bankrupt what they see as a corrupt government in order to preserve it’s identity.

The fact that one monetary or economic policy or another was used to accomplish this is immaterial.

July 4th: A mistake?

I love my country. The world is a better place because of the American Constitution. And the evidence is clear that everyone has been better off having been an English colony than a French one. But the colonists declared independence largely to escape paying the costs incurred by England in protecting the colonies during the Seven Years War. Which was at the very least, an unjust avoidance of responsibility by the colonists. Personally, I would prefer we had remained a colony. And I would still prefer a King or Queen to a president. History is a better thing to admire than politicians, and the evidence appears to suggest that monarchs were far better governors that our elected representatives have been. Despite the comforting untruths we tell ourselves.

I still like the fireworks. :)