Libertarian Moral-spectrum Blindness

April 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

You can’t reason with a libertarian who relies upon moral intuition any more than you can reason with a progressive who relies upon moral intuition.

So, it’s pretty clear to me today, that libertarians are as morally blind (or in Haidt’s terms ‘tasteless’) as progressives are (albeit at a different part of the spectrum), and that the only conservatives can carry on a rational moral discussion – because only conservatives are not affected by large moral blind spots. The data says it. But I just experienced it first hand. And I hate what it means. It means that libertarians are just as irrational and impenetrable as progressives.

That doesn’t mean that libertarians haven’t solved the problem of formal institutions. They have. (Hoppe has.) But it means that except as a sort of minority conducting intellectual experiments, libertarians are useless for the purpose of discussing political solutions. They’re by definition ‘immoral’. Or perhaps a form of moral color-blindness in which the majority of the spectrum is invisible to them.

I’m a conservative libertarian. I place a premium on liberty and discount all the other moral values. That’s the definition of the moral intuitions of a libertarian. But that PERSONAL intuition and personal objective, is different from my understanding of POLITICS as a set of institutions that allow heterogeneous peoples to cooperate on means even if they possess competing ends. (Give the citizenry a circus and let their actions sort them out.)

1) RED : PROGRESSIVISM – Sees only red. (Harm/Care : the adaptive challenge of caring for vulnerable children.)
2) BLUE : CONSERVATISM – Sees red, blue and yellow (Harm/Care, Proportionality, Authority/Hierarchy/Duty, Loyalty, Purity/Sanctity, Liberty/Oppression)
3) GREEN : LIBERTARIANISM – Sees only green (Liberty/Oppression : )

– Libertarians are “Red/Blue color blind.”
– Progressives are “Green/Blue color blind.”
– Conservatives are not color blind at all.

Just how it is.


You can’t actually reason with a libertarian who relies upon moral intuition. It’s as irrational as trying to reason with a progressive who relies upon moral intuition. Both just justify their positions.

You can reason to a conservative, or conservative libertarian, *EVEN IF* they rely on moral intuition. Because they aren’t morally blind to any part of the spectrum.

And here I keep thinking (stupidly) that because I am not morally blind, even though I place a premium on liberty, and because I understand the RESULT of libertarian moral blindness: the reduction of all rights to property rights – that other libertarians will of course be as rational as I am.

But that’s not true. I am literally talking to people who are for all intents and purposes, physically incapable of moral discourse, just as a color blind person is physically incapable of aesthetic discourse on colors that he cannot see. (Or the disability called “Ageusia” which prohibits taste.)


There is some point at which individuals abandon intuitionism (feelings) and resort to either rationalism (rules), or ratio-empirical science ( outcomes) for their epistemic judgements. The only libertarians that one can speak to rationally about morality are those that have abandoned intuitionism. And since it APPEARS to me that rationalism is just a form of justification, then further it appears that only those who adopt the ratio-scientific level of thought, abandon both intuition and justification, are capable of discourse.

That means that we are very limited in the number those people who possess the capacity for rational discourse on ethics and politics. And that since only conservatives are not morally spectrum blind, that it is only conservatives who can rationally discuss these issues EVEN IF they are relegated only to intuition.


Conservatives form the base of an inverted pyramid.
Progressives and Libertarians are specialized variants of human.
Progressives are ‘excessively female’ and libertarians ‘excessively male’.
(I think some conservatives specialize in being ‘warriors’ but they’re indistinguishable because they have identical moral intuitions.)
Where progressive, conservative and libertarian refer to moral intuitions.


The more I work on this problem the more I see humans of different moral persuasions just like specialized forms of ants. ‘Cause pretty much, that’s what we are.

Unfortunately, Pseudoscientific Language Is Really Useful.

April 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

The question is whether “truth” in the context of Critical Rationalism is an analogy or not. I posit that it’s analogistic language just like nearly all uses of ‘truth’. The only action that can exist is attestation. And nothing can be said to be ‘true’ independent of someone’s cognition.

I’m trying to eliminate pseudoscientific language. Because pseudoscientific language is unethical and immoral. It may be efficient. It may be useful. It may even in some cases be conceptually necessary.

All disciplines rely upon such contrivances for the sake of brevity and ease.

These contrivances my be utilitarian, but that is different from saying that they are ‘true’.

We Are Morally Blind, Limited In Our Perceptions And Memory, And Severely In Our Reason. The Last Thing We Should Do Is Construct Large Risk-prone Intentionally Managed States.

April 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I have to accept the evidence, but I do not like it.

I would like very much to believe that we grasp the world as it is. And it appears that, at least with the help of instrumentalism (logic and science), we can grasp the physical world with a high degree of accuracy – at least, sufficiently to make use of it for our purposes.

The cooperative world of human beings consists of inconstant relations, we desperately try to reduce to an ideal type, a stereotype, a single simple rule, a universal value. But it is more complex than the physical world that consists of constant relations. For that reason we may be limited to a logic of cooperation and every prohibited from a mathematics of cooperation – except at the highest levels.

The data is conclusive: we are far more morally blind than I had expected. Our moral and ethical intuitions are genetically weighted but our moral biases evolve and are emergent – still invariant. Our metaphysical assumptions (assumptions about the way the world functions) are far more unconscious and unalterable than I’d expected. And very, very, very few of us are capable of working hard to modify those assumptions. (The process of which I am at this moment writing about.)

Libertarians can speak of morality in it’s logical language: economics. But that is partly because libertarians are both severely affected by moral blindness, less dependent upon others for information and decision making, and less vulnerable to deception. Libertarians not only are blind to morality, but discount it because it’s not useful to them.

Our language, common protocol that it is, fools us into a sense of similarity.

Progressives are interesting in that the world appears simple to them, and is simple to them computationally, because like any form single-variable calculation, it is in fact much simpler to reason with. But they are also the most morally blind demographic: progressives dysgenically and anti-socially apply their moral simplicity to all matters – like the mother of a serial killer who believes her son is merely misunderstood, and incapable of the crime. That analogy is all one needs to understand the moral blindness of progressives.

Conservatives have the worst computational problem. They weigh all of the moral instincts about the same. Which means that they must contend with seven or more different weights and values that must be compared at any given time – something that the single-axis human capacity for reason cannot possibly manage, and abandons to the wind. So conservatives speak in moral language. Partly because it is simply too complicated to speak in any other. And largely because we have only recently understood these underlying intuitions. While Machiavelli, Hume, Pareto, Durkheim and others have attempted to derive the answers, only in the past twenty years with the help of science, anthropology and experimental psychology, have we been able to understand them.

We humans speak to justify our genes. That is about all.

The very last thing that we should try to engage in, is the politics of anything larger than an extended and homogenous family.

The market – in this case, a market of communities (states) – is the only possible means of computing and calculating the future by scientific means.

The Crime Of Statism : Conspiracy

April 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I disagree vehemently with Walter Block on ethics, but I agree with his proposition that Statism should be criminalized.

Under Propertarianism it’s the crime of conspiracy. And can be brought to justice by any citizen against any other.

Transnational Insurgencies : “Save For Future Use”

April 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Aristocratic Egalitarianism, in which we obtain property rights in exchange with others, to whom we grant them, under the agreement that we will defend each other’s rights, can or cannot know boundaries. I cannot understand how it can consider boundaries.

It should be just as easy for a dedicated minority of insurgents to influence western property rights as it has been for a dedicated minority of insurgents in other cultures to attempt to alter their allocations of property and property rights – albeit, they don’t use that conceptualization or terminology.

Knights are just as important today as they were in the past.


Argument, Moral Blindness, and Institutions

April 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I can tell your moral code and political preference by the method you use to argue, as much as I can the moral bias of your arguments.

And I’m still surprised at myself, despite knowing that (other than conservatives) people are morally blind, I try to reason with people.

Now the fact is, that I know when I’m doing it, that it’s impossible. Like anyone else I hope to do a little education – to provide a light into the moral darkness.

But, my objective is actually to learn how to state my arguments in a multitude of fashions, such that they explain those different areas of moral blindness. I know I cannot convince others to change their moral bias. It’s genetic. But I can consistently improve my arguments.

My arguments are prescriptive. I know that is impossible. What I can do is construct institutions that allow us to cooperate despite these moral biases.

But in the end, we are other than gene-machines, using very elaborate language to justify our reproductive strategies.

On English As The Language Of Ethics

April 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

(cross posted for archival purposes)

English is a very precise and technical language. Probably the most empirically framed language we have. As such it’s burdensome. The verb “to-be” problem (the problem of ‘is’, and solved with E’) evolved and exists largely as an operational simplifier in an already burdensome language.

Secondly it’s an emotionally unloaded language – very german. And so we have to invent all sorts of devices to add emotion to an emotionally unloaded language. We used to do that with artistry – riddle, poetry, rhyme, insinuation, innuendo, and allegory. I think that with the rise of mass education, marketing, military and technical language, as well as cultural diversity those more artistic means of adding emotional content have been replaced by simplistic exaggeration and euphemism as you’ve mentioned above.

Now, assuming that we want to eliminate mysticism, platonism, postmodernism, obscurantism, and various forms of loading and framing, so that we can construct a scientific language of ethics, morality, law and politics (a logic of cooperation), in which it is impossible to obscure involuntary transfers (thefts); and assuming that the performative theory of truth is correct and that it requires an individual to possess not only knowledge of use, but knowledge of construction; and assuming that with such knowledge one can, and must, and assuming that the only means by which we can test both transparency of transfers and and knowledge of construction, and therefore the only means of speaking honestly is with E’ in operational language; then the burden on the speaker is quite high. Extraordinarily so.

This set of ethical and moral constraints upon language of produces a few very interesting consequences:
(a) Because of that high burden, similar to the burden of memorization placed on ‘wise men’ in oral tradition societies, it severely limits the number of people who can participate in public discourse – effectively recreating our druidic ancestors.
(b) it makes it possible for anyone to prosecute obscurantists of all kinds for conspiracy to commit fraud, under the common law. Public intellectuals, attempted statists, lawyers, judges, and the common folk included.

Actually, I don’t think it’s possible to state a logic of ethical, moral, legal, and political argument in any language OTHER than English or German – and I’m not sure about German. (I only studied it for one year and I can’t speak it at all. I just understand its structure.)


Jeannine DiPerna, Michael Pattinson and Eric Field like this.

Curt Doolittle (hat tip to Paul Bakhmut)

    Two more thoughts:

    I don’t really care what languages we make use of but I only know how to solve the problem of obscurantism in English by relying upon E’, and operational language that demonstrates knowledge of construction – each step of which is open to subjective testing via sympathy as a test of involuntary transfer.

    The language not as important as the central observations that (a) this solution would reduce and create demand for, those who could demonstrate knowledge of construction and thereby avoid obscurantism. And (b) that it wold be possible to regulate such speech under the common law.


Stakes In The Heart of Rothbardian Vampires

April 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

(status) (against walking-dead libertarianism)

OK. So praxeology is dead. I’m done with that. Rothbardian ethics and the NAP are dead. I’m done with that. Intersubjectively verifiable private property as insufficient is done. Although I have a long post I’m almost done with on it.

I’m pretty much there on performative truth (testimony). The scientific method as a moral constraint under performative truth. And platonism, obscurantism, pseUdoscIence, mysticism, and ‘non-construction’ an non-operational language as immoral AND THEREFORE NOT TRUE.

So I’m pretty close on Moral Realism. I have a lot of work on formal grammar and logic of cooperation but that’s drudgery that I think is for the appendix. Because no matter where else I put it in the chapter order it’s a departure from the argument.

I still have the problem of stating the argument for the necessary scope of common law as one of eliminating demand for the state, rather than justifying liberty. I am pretty close but I need to work on the clarity of that argument a bit more. That will take me a couple of weeks – albeit I’ll be traveling so I won’t get as much done.

It’s been a very fruitful year. Really.

Categories of Knowledge: Improving on Mokyr

April 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Wondering…. Hmmm.

I don’t like Mokyr’s categories of knowledge. I tend to state them as “knowledge of construction” and “knowledge of use”. Now he’s been trying to talk about the knowledge economy, so only usable knowledge is meaningful to him.

But I think this is the correct expanded hierarchy.

0) Knowledge of identity. (we are aware of it)
1) Knowledge of consequence. (what changes in state we can observe)
2) Knowledge of use. (how to put it under out control to change states)
3) Knowledge of construction. (what its made of and how its made)


Q: “Curt, Why Is Praxeology A Pseudoscience And Therefore False?”

April 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

A: For a host of reasons:

1) The different properties of axiomatic (proof) vs theoretic (truth) systems. Axiomatic systems are not bounded by correspondence with reality, and theoretic systems are not bounded by our understanding of causes. The reason that we can describe the physical universe with mathematics is not only that the universe consists of constant relations, but that mathematics is constructed on purpose as a set of general rules independent of scale; and since the sale of a single unit (“1″) can be anything imaginable, then it is possible to describe literally anything that consists of constant relations regardless of scale. By contrast, the universe is not constructed of single units but more complex building blocks, and like protein foldings, and various number fields, and as we see demonstrated by the Periodic Table, cannot construct all possible permutations. As such while mathematics can describe all of the universe, the universe cannot describe all of mathematics.

The same criticism applies to logic: It is possible in any logically axiomatic system to describe far more than is semantically meaningful. And vastly more than it correspondent with physical reality.

As such, axiomatic systems are PRESCRIPTIVE sets that are not bounded by semantic meaning, or correspondence with reality, while theoretic systems consist of DESCRIPTIVE sets that ARE bounded by semantic meaning and correspondence with reality.

Reality consists of often innumerable causes, while any given event, that we describe for the purpose of any given utility, is possible to describe by a limited number of causes beyond which the outcome produced is marginally indifferent for that articulated utility. Completeness (truth) of any theory then is limited to the utility of the expression.

2) The impossibility of deducing emergent (unpredictable) properties of systems. Despite the possibility of deducing the causes of emergent phenomenon once they are observed, as the consequences of human decisions.

The absurd kantian confusion, exacerbated by Mises, that the a prioiri: “knowledge that proceeds from theoretical deduction rather than from observation or experience” is somehow extant prior to experience, rather than reconstructed via introspection from memories by the observation of memories and use of logical instrumentation.

What we CAN honestly say is apprehensible a priori is the result of our sympathetic testing of the rationality of any incentives given the same amount of information as any other person. This is because all humans are marginally indifferent in their incentives if we possess sufficient understanding of their incentives, even if they may be marginally different in their sets of moral preferences because we are marginally different in our reproductive strategies, and our reproductive strategies determine our moral preferences.

Note: This is a much longer topic, but hopefully the obvious statement that introspection and observation are synonyms, and logic is a form of instrumentation required for the reduction of that which we cannot perceive to something which we can perceive and compare, just as physical instrumentation is required for the reduction of that which we cannot perceive to that which we can perceive and compare. Our comparison ability is severely limited and subject to a multitude of errors and biases. And all but the most reductio of experiential concepts require either logical or physical instrumentation in order to reduce the imperceptible to the comparable.

3) The claim that praxeology is a science and therefore follows the scientific method, rather than a logic. For a set of statements to be classified as pseudoscientific requires only (a) that the author (speaker) argue that his process or claims are scientific, without having followed the scientific method. For falsification purposes that defend the scientific method itself, we can further stipulate (b) that the claims of the author(speaker) are not not produced. Under both the minimum criteria of having followed the scientific method, and the falsification criteria, of having produced stated outcomes, praxeology fails to meet the criteria of a science.

4) The evidence that science identified emergent properties of economics, while deduction did not. (the list is long but sticky prices are enough of an example).

5) The evidence that science identified cognitive biases, while deduction from first principles did not.
(a) The evidence is that as productivity increases the prices for the purpose of consumption evolve to price points of marginal indifference, and as a consequence signaling and moral factors determine the majority of choices. Preferences then are not cleared ordinarily but as various weights in a network of preferences that exist independently of prices. Substitution rates of consumption are extremely sticky, just like prices and contracts. Because the cost of reordering networks of choices and preferences and the signals that result as a consequence, is extremely high. Habits must be restructured, expectations set, and time devoted to new solutions to problems of household production, maintenance and care. (Bouridan’s ass never starves.) ie: we clear networks of partial preferences, not ordinal stacks subject to cheap substitution by price. Even businesses avoid this at all costs. (Only an investor or banker, who does not engage in production, would make Mises’ error – compounded by Rothbard.)

6) The evidence that reason (deduction) is inferior to ratio-scientific analysis (internal consistency plus external correspondence) for the purpose of exploration. ie: the requirement that any theory of human cooperation consist of both correspondent tests (actions) that we call and internally consistent tests (logic) that instrumentally compensate for our inherent frailty of reason. Science (ratio scientific argument) requires both tests of action and tests of logic, both of which are stated in operational language. Without operational language we do not know if the author (speaker) relies upon knowledge of construction, or knowledge of use. He can attest to consequences via knowledge of use, but he cannot attest to cause without articulating knowledge of construction.

Without the full set of tests, including: constructed, consistent, correspondent, and falsified, we cannot claim to morally attest to the truth of any argument by means of our own cognition. (The profundity of that statement is not something to ignore.) The scientific method “the ratio-empirical method” is a moral constraint on our utterances. There is no platonic universe we are describing when we assert the truth of something.

Conversely, without demonstration that one has articulated a theory as constructed, consistent, correspondent, and falsified, any truth claim, is predicated on the platonic, magical or the divine, and one cannot ‘attest’ to he truth of it. One cannot morally claim that he speaks the truth.

Truth is a performative action, necessary for recreating meaning – not an intrinsic property outside of human attestation.

One of our many human cognitive biases is our instinctual avoidance of blame wherever and whenever possible. It is usually destructive to, and antithetical to debate. As such, over the millennia, in the art of our arguments, we have systematically avoided the social discomfort of blame by using verbal contrivances to cast truth as a platonic construct rather than what it is: an attestation that one’s testimony (theory, construction, proof, demonstration and falsifications) are true witness, not dependent upon deception, here-say, assumption, imagination, or error.
(This version of the performative theory of truth is an extremely important concept which solves many of the empty verbal problems of philosophy.)

(Note: To avoid further complexity, I have not above, included the additional requirements of “context or utility” of a theory which determines the scope of the attestation, the “completeness” of the theory, and the “parsimony” of its causes. The compete set of tests of the ratio-scientific method should include: Utility (problem), theory, construction, proof, demonstration, falsification, completeness and parsimony. This places a much higher constraint on truth than all other theories of truth, and relegates all other statements of ‘truth’ as subservient to the performative theory. The discussion of the resulting hierarchy of truth claims and what they claim and do not can be reduced to “I can say X given the partial truth condition Y”. This solves, completely, the problem of multiple competing definitions of truth. But that discussion is outside of the scope of this one.)

7) The stipulation that any set of statements describing cooperation, that are reduced to a sequence of human actions, are open to the individual, sympathetic test of rational voluntary transfer. As such, the value of “praxeological” analysis is not in determining outcomes, or emergent phenomenon, but in the determination of whether any exchange is rational, ethical and moral to the actors. This is the proper value of the logic of cooperation. Just as we can loosely test whether red = red, we can also loosely test whether an exchange is rational, ethical and moral or not.

8) Even if we can subjectively test the rationality of incentives, it turns out that we are (Libertarians in particular) morally blind enough that we cannot ascertain the sympathetic appreciation of incentives available to the majority of peoples when they conduct an exchange or transfer when any moral question is a member of the set of preferences that must be satisfied (cleared). As such our ability to correctly value moral properties of human interactions is extremely ‘nearsighted’ and limited to the very obvious forms of harm and visible theft, but as we enter ethical, moral and political questions we cannot correctly sympathize and therefore test the rationality of incentives.

For these reasons as well as others that I don’t think are necessary to go into, Praxeology is a pseudoscience. Economics and human cooperation are, as I have stated, an empirical endeavor.

Our rational abilities are quite frail. It is only through instrumentation both logical and physical that we sense, perceive, and judge that which is beyond the very simple and pre-cognitive.

This is not my final word on this matter, but it is my first draft, and while extensible it should be sufficient enough that we discard Praxeology and instead work upon articulating a theory of cooperation expressible as a formal logic of institutions.

If we combine this effort with a theory of property that corresponds completely to the criminal, ethical, moral and political spectrum, then it is possible to render all possible disputes in and across all groups resolvable by means of the common law. And thereby eliminate demand for the state as a means of suppressing criminal, unethical and immoral transaction costs.

What remains then, is merely the need for formal institutions that allow for the construction of commons while preventing the privatization of and socialization of losses onto those commons. Competition in the marketplace is virtuous, but competition in the production of commons produces transaction costs that always and everywhere create demand for the state.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute

Curt Doolittle
That ought to keep a few smart guys busy for a while. lol