Given that Don Finnegan has just hit a nerve by reminding me about Friedman’s perspective on Irish Law, I’m going to throw something out here that may not be as obvious and important as it seems.
As usual it might take me a bit to get there. But I think it’s worth the journey.
1) MAN MUST SENSE
2) MAN MUST PERCEIVE
3) MAN MUST REMEMBER
4) MAN MUST CALCULATE (PLAN)
5) MAN MUST CHOOSE.
6) MAN MUST ACT ON HIS CHOICE, AND HAS NOT EMPIRICALLY DEMONSTRATED HIS CHOICE UNTIL HE HAS ACTED.
7) MAN MUST CHOOSE WITH INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION, BECAUSE OUTWITTING NATURE IS HIS ONLY CHANCE FOR PROFIT.
It is impossible to make guesses without some basis for decision. And every civilization constructs a set of narratives that contain those metaphysical means of decision making. Those rules or guidelines, or recommendations not only make decisions possible, and rational, in the presence of insufficient informaiton, but the biases contained in those metaphysical assumptions allow us to FUND by micropayments, of all kinds, our norms. We create a reality with them. And we cooperate at the metaphysical level. (We have to.) We couldn’t think otherwise.
The truth is that in almost no circumstance can humans make decisions as a group without shared metaphysical assumptions. Sure, without property man cannot form a division of knowledge and labor. But without metaphysical value judgements groups cannot cooperate at all.
We have a healthy literature of cultural differences in cognition. Cultural differences in verbal and spatial intelligence, and cultural and genetic differences in the distribution of intelligence. The east and west differ between emphasis on verb and noun, on connectivity versus particularism. On constitution versus Shape.
Most importantly, they differ ON BALANCE VERSUS TRANSFORMATION: “The purpose of man is to bend nature to his will, and to leave the world better for having lived in it”. That is the western metaphysics. Almost everything can be reduced to that statement of individual action. “Truth and debate mean the rapid resolution of differences by conflict” (See Donald Kagan); versus deception and delay until matters resolve themselves in the eastern sense (See Kissinger and Huntington.)
And for example Jewish civilization and western civilization vary between the rebellious ethics of the bazaar and ghetto (Rothbardian ethics) and the land owning ethics and morality of the aristocratic egalitarians in the high trust society. These are metaphysical group assumptions that constitute the primary means of decision making for each group given it’s evolutionary strategy.
For example, in the we often talk about Bouridans’ ass. The problem when you must choose between two orange vendors both offering equal oranges at equal prices. How do you choose? The only thing interesting about any exchange is this very question. Why? Because in large, any commodity is chosen not on price, or on consumption value, but on signal value, and the signal we most often pay for is contribution to our commons.
ie: price is meaningless, since it is rarely what is purchased. We largely pay for signals and norms, and we pay for our factions and our preferences. And therefore all the Misesian and Rothbardian ordinal arguments to price are meaningless outside of commodities trading, and nothing at all to do with social order AT ALL PERIOD. In, fact, it is quite easy to case Rothbard and Mises as continuing the cultural tradition of intentionally ignoring the normative economy of land holders as a means of rebelling against it.
When I first heard this argument from Dr Herbner, I was kind of stupefied that Misesians thought clearing preferences was ordinal predicated on price rather than a network (technically a graph) predicated largely on signals on norms, where price was merely the first marginal criteria. IN fact, the only way to argue for the ordinal versus the graph, was to argue AGAINST payment for norms, which puts Mises, Rothbard and Hayek into perspective. (And is why I criticize Mises and Rothbard. It’s why they failed.)
IN OTHER WORDS
WE DID NOT KONW OUR METAPHYSICS NOR WRITE IT DOWN. As such we have been largely defenseless against jewish rhetoric, and franco-germanic counter-englightenment figures, desperate to restore the church under the authority of the educational institution. Desperate to wrest control of society back into obscurant language and moral mysticism, and away from the hands of the engineers, scientists, lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs and consumers who create and maintain the society we live in.
Conservatives are largely right. But WE HAVE FAILED TO ARTICULATE FREEDOM AND LIBERTY in rational terms with MORAL DEPTH sufficient for they and their numbers to adopt in favor of the west.
We can be free amongst a majority of conservatives. But we cannot be free amongst a majority of statists. The state and democracy are just communism and are antithetical to liberty, private property, common law, personal sovereignty.
PROGRESSIVE LIBERTARIANISM IS TO LIBERTY WHAT THE FRANKFURT SCHOOL WAS TO CLASSICAL LIBERALISM.