—“Propertarianism is a formal logic of morality, ethics and politics – and the necessary basis for a non-arbitrary, value-independent, universal, body of law; upon which any and all political orders can be constructed, and with which all questions of morality, ethics and politics can be commensurably compared and all such propositions decided.”—-
Propertarianism refers to a logical methodology that evolved first from John Locke, and then through the American libertarian movement, that attempts to express all ethical, moral, and political questions as consisting of various forms of property that can be voluntarily exchanged.
This methodology reduces all moral propositions to testable statements: if something is ethical, moral, right and just, then what was exchanged, and was it voluntarily exchanged with full knowledge of consequences?
The term is used casually to suggest that all questions of liberty are reducible to a statements of property and its voluntary transfer; then more accurately, that property rights are deontologically constructed necessities of human existence under natural law; and lastly, formally, the term is used to refer to a complete system of philosophy named ‘Propertarianism’ developed by Curt Doolittle for the analysis and criticism of all political moral and ethical questions, whether libertarian or not. (Where complete means that it both answers metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political and aesthetic questions, and also satisfies Owen Flanagan‘s test of a sufficient moral psychology.)
Usage: Propertarianism, (capitalized) for the explicit philosophy; and lower case for ‘propertarian’, which is used to refer to all three senses: “Locke was the first to state a propertarian argument.”
In grammatically correct usage, one makes a propertarian argument; one ‘is’ a propertarian if he merely holds ideological bias in favor of its use; one relies upon propertarian reasoning if he can make use of it, or one advocates propertarianism in some manner or other; and the name of the formal philosophy is Propertarianism.
DIFFERENCES FROM LIBERTARIANISM
Apples and oranges: Propertarianism is a logical system for the rational comparison of human moral propositions across all possible moral codes. Libertarianism is an ideological system of thought for the purpose of either obtaining political power, denying others political power, or bringing about a particular social and ethical system.
So while libertarianism may make use of Propertarianism and propertarian reasoning, because perhaps it best suits libertarian preferences, and because it evolved out of the libertarian movement, Propertarianism is a system of logical analysis of human cooperation, and not an advocacy of any particular political bias. It is just as easy to construct conservative and progressive arguments using Propertarianism as it is libertarian. It’s just that propertarianism, as a method of argument, makes it extremely difficult to ‘cheat’ and deceive others (or mislead yourself) when conducting a political argument or negotiation.
To the contrary, Doolittle uses Propertarianism to specifically criticize those libertarians who attempt to escape paying for the behavioral costs that make a libertarian society under the rule of law possible. Instead Doolittle argues that conservatives are more right than other groups in their moral preferences, they merely haven’t developed a rational language for discussion of their ideas, advocacy of their ideas, or, most importantly, the reformation of their ideas when we obtain sufficient knowledge via science to reform those ideas.