The Court Is Required To Address All Thefts

The manner of theft is immaterial. Either the court provides a means of remedy for a theft, or we are free to use violence to obtain remedy for the theft. The court does not grant what we may do. It holds provision only over those conflicts which it agrees to resolve via property rights.

See Burke
—-“In a state of nature, it is true, that a man of superior force may beat or rob me; but then it is true, that I am at full liberty to defend myself, or make reprisal by surprise or by cunning, or by any other way in which I may be superior to him.

But in political society [, outside of the state of nature], a rich man may rob me in another way. [And] I cannot defend myself; for money is the only weapon with which we are allowed to fight [in political society]. If I attempt to avenge myself, the whole force of that society is ready to complete my ruin.” -– Edmund Burke

Ergo, political society fails, and juridical society succeeds.

Contra Locke on Self-Ownership

Guest Post by Michael Phillip

Locke’s argument starts with the notion that we own ourselves. It does not rest on us being the creation of our own labour, but a notion of self-ownership. By “mixing our labour” with things acquired from nature we “create” property by a process of extension of our self-ownership.

There are a series of problems with this argument. First, if we own ourselves, do we really think that we can therefore sell ourselves, either entire or by amputation and alienation of bits? And, if not, in what sense is this ownership? Is there not something perverse about a concept which implies an acceptable separation of our physical self (in whole or in part) from ourself.

To be property is to be owned by something that is not itself and which can be passed on to others. So, to be property, even of ourself, is to be lessened from what we feel is the proper status of being a moral agent.

A notion of self-dominion makes more sense; we control ourselves and property extends from that control. By taking some unowned thing from nature, we assert control over it; it is the assertion and acceptance of control which creates property.

As ever, slavery provides a limiting case. The institution of slavery contradicts Locke’s notion that we own ourselves. Slavery is morally obnoxious (a violation of self-dominion, and so human autonomy, in the most profound sense) but it does not make slaves any less property. It is the acknowledged assertion of control over the slave that creates slavery, not the labour of the slaveowner (even if it is directed to that end) extending the slaver’s self-ownership to cover the slave.

Do we really think that the process of enslaving is a process of the slaver “mixing their labour” with the slave? Surely not; neither as a description nor as some act of legitimation. No amount of applied labour by the slaver makes slavery legitimate nor is it what makes slaves property.

The process of enslaving is a process of getting acknowledged control over the slave. The more difficulty involved, the more the slaver has to act to do so, but the effort required does not affect any “level” of being property, merely whether it is worth the bother.

Locke’s use of the term ‘labour’ directs attention to the effort and not to what is being effected. (Hence the connection to the labour theory of value, which makes the same error.)

Note: My position is that the necessity of cooperation determines property, not self owenrship. Michael (as usual) is correct. – Curt

Against “Reverse Racism”

Guest Post by Michael Phillip

I don’t think “reverse racism” is a useful or even entirely coherent concept, and I don’t think thought-experiments are a particularly helpful way to think about racism in the first place: in my view, something about the subject demands an “ecological” or “in vivo” rather than thought-experimental approach.

In other words, the topic demands engagement with the living, breathing complexity of real-live experiences of racism, not with thought-experiments that abstract away from them.

I also think that if the topic is racism, as it should be, focusing on black-white relations in the U.S. is overly narrow, and problematically distortive of our thinking.

It doesn’t even capture race relations in the U.S., much less race relations beyond American borders.


Why Do White People Have Cargo?

A lot of people hate white people. I have been discriminated against by Jews, Asians and Blacks in particular. But I have a lot of options within my tribe. So it’s an outlier condition. But it begs the question: Why don’t others have so many options within their tribes? Why isn’t opportunity in white organizations an outlier?

Or as Yali1 asked: why do white people have cargo?

Note: The answer is “Trust”.

  1. Guns Germs and Steel []

The Ultimate Question of Economic Science: Eugenia or Dysgenia

Peter Boettke posted an article by Paul Krugman yesterday which referred to the divisions in economics – with derision.

And it’s been bothering me all night:

Progressives, libertarians, and conservatives demonstrate an inter-temporal division of reproductive labor in their moral biases and cognitive biases.

So why wouldn’t economists follow the same moral, inter-temporal division of labor?

Well, they do. All humans do.

Austrians represent the conservative long term: accumulation and competitiveness, and new Keynesian progressives the short term: consumption and reproduction.

The question is whether consumption/dysgenia or accumulation/eugenia is preferable.

This is the central proposition. And we avoid answering it just as much as our ancestors avoided the question of the existence of gods.

Until we answer that question all economic debate is just obscurant deception as a means of avoiding the central question of economics: what is it that we are solving for?

I can answer that question because western history answered it for us.


The only moral society is one in which property, morality and law are synonyms.

(i) PROPERTY : that which we demonstrate. 
(ii) MORALITY: that which we require. 
(iii) LAW: that which we promise.

Sketch on Obverse/Inverse and Positive/Negative as Context/Rule

I have been working on this idea, and I finally gotten close to expressing it tangibly as measurement.  The examples I give are the golden(positive) vs the silver rule(negative),  property(positive) vs property rights(negative).  And I want to construct a general rule for requiring both positive(contextual precision) and negative(general rule).  Because I feel its necessary to unify the sciences, philosophy morality and law in order to eliminate ‘escape routes’ by various forms of verbalism, that man will try to employ as a means of circumventing the moral constraint of truth-speaking.

IDENTICAL: indistinguishable from one another.
FUNGIBLE: each unit of a commodity is replaceable other units of the same commodity.
SUBSTITUTABLE: performs the same utility in the context of a given purpose.

MARGINALLY INDIFFERENT: insufficiently different to cause a change in state.
MARGINALLY DIFFERENT: sufficiently different to cause a change in state.
COMMENSURABLE: measurable by the same standard.
INCOMMENSURABLE: having no common standard of measurement.

DECIDABLE: A decision can be made without the addition of external information.
CALCULABLE: An operation can be performed without the addition of external information.
DEDUCIBLE: A prediction can be made without the need for external information.
OPERATIONAL: a conclusion can be reached by a series of existentially possible operations.
STRICTLY OPERATIONAL : the theory is constructible (i)using existentially possible operations, (ii)does not include use of analogy, (iii)does not require inference (deduction), and (iv) survives all argumentative falsification. 
ORIGINAL INTENTION (CONTEXT / ARBITRARY PRECISION) : in interpreting a text, a court should determine what the authors of the text were trying to achieve, and to give effect to what they intended the statute to accomplish, the actual text of the legislation notwithstanding.

TEXTUAL / NARROW/ TRUE (Conservative – normative and legislative) vs ALLEGORICAL / WIDE / MEANING(judicial) interpretation.
In textual/Narrow/True (conservative) legal interpretation, a law is analogous to an operational recipe and changes to the recipe must be enacted by the legislature. In Allegorical / Wide / Meaning (Progressive) interpretation, the judges can invent law if they can justify the extension of the principle of the law into new areas of application not considered by it’s authors. In practice conservative TRUTH and progressive MEANING place the construction of law into the hands of the judiciary rather than the hands of the legislature and people.

The life of the law may have been experience but that is not license for judges to write law at will – it is an admission of the failure of legal theorists to develop propertarianism, and to separate the resolution of disputes according to the law, from the development of contracts (legislative law) on behalf of the citizenry. The separation of functions of government is necessary for the defense of the people against tyranny. Holmes justified tyranny with his deceptive use of rationalism.

See Wiki (or legal dictionary) Textualism (the law is only what is written in the text), Originalism(the text must be interpreted as the authors intended it) and Strict Constructionism ( which is weak textualism and is not practiced ).

In Propertarianism, have attempted to prevent deceptions by requiring law be written to include its precision – original intention – as a preamble for any prohibition, thus requiring both the obverse and inverse propositions, such that when conditions fail (precision is exceeded) then we must revert to strict operationalism to construct new law.

In history, judges ‘discovered’ law, and asked the people (the legislature) to approve it. This constraint – the request for legislative approval – extends the period of resolution of disputes. (Which I address elsewhere.) But under Propertarian Property rights, it should be possible to construct new precision from first principles – or not. If not, then it is not a matter of law, but a matter of contract. If it is a matter of contractual exchange, then it is a legislative matter, not one for the courts to decide.

The American constitution was an innovative experiment that nearly achieved law in logical form. However, the problem of contextual precision that we came to understand in the twentieth century was not known at the time.

The purpose of the law is to (negative or inverse) identify and prohibit involuntary operations, and to (positive or obverse) identify and codify voluntary operations.

Obverse statements determine precision (conditions), that operational analysis can later demonstrate conditions to have exceeded. Such extensions then require new law (new conditions) constructed as Obverse (positive) statements.

(Much more … but too much of a headache)

Property is Settled Science

We Don’t Need To Further Research Property – it’s Settled Science.

1) Property that we consider ours, is that which we bear costs to obtain or bear costs if we lose.

2) Property that is necessary within a cooperative kinship group is determined by that which is necessary to prevent free-riding.

3) Property that we demonstrate to others that we consider ours, is determined by what one is willing to defend.

4) Property rights demonstrated by others are limited to the property that others are willing to defend on our behalf.

The question then, is not what is property, but how willing are we to defend the property that we demonstrate.

We don’t need to invent property – or a limit to it.

We need to adjudicate disputes over what we demonstrate to be property ourselves, among our cooperatives and kin, from those who we must defend it from, and those who we ask to help us in that defense.

Every other argument is merely an attempt to gain a discount through verbal deception.

(Punish The Wicked)

Property Rights are Cheaper than Slavery


Property exists prior to codification in a constitution. So does promise, prior to the institution of contract. A constitution is merely an agreement for reciprocal insurance of the terms of property and contract.

It so happens that allocation of property rights determines the incentives possible, and the incentives determine the degree of market participation – how many hands make the work light – and therefore the cost of providing individuals with incentives.

It’s just cheaper for the strong to give everyone property rights – so long as none of the weak band together to extract from the strong under platonic justification via those self-same rules.

This is the same reason that Slavery is illogical as well as immoral: assuming the prior slaves respect property rights and do not form a government of extraction, then it is merely cheaper and easier to have one’s slaves as vendors and customers.

We Discovered Truth Telling

While Propertarianism does provide the missing logic of cooperation that Mises promised us, and that the prohibition of free riding is the single cooperative problem to be overcome, that the central proposition of Propertarianism is the western struggle to testify truthfully to one’s jury, and that trust is the result of that struggle, and economic velocity the result of that trust. And that economic velocity is the reason for both phases of the west’s rapid advancement: the classical and modern worlds that both times have dragged man out of ignorance, and in our most recent case, dragged him out of poverty.

So if I want something to be learned, it is that: we discovered truth telling.