Operationalism Is Synonymous With Human Action

I guess, I just assumed that it was so obvious that I didn’t need to say it. But apparently it’s not.

So why would you try to rely on all this Kantian nonsense, in order to justify human action? Instead, why wouldn’t you base the philosophy of human action, on human action?

What is the difference between, say, justifying something aprioristically, and simply stating that it appears that we are able to use description, deduction, induction, abduction given the amount of information available to us. But that deduction is possible only when describing constant relations?

What is the difference between stating, the obvious falsehood, that categorical descriptions of human actions are axiomatic, as in mathematics, and therefore not bounded by reality, rather than that any general description of human actions is theoretical, parsimonious, with broad explanatory power, but remains bounded by reality?

Why would one want to appeal to an authority using verbal contrivances, instead of honest descriptions of human actions? Why would you base the theoretical system upon which we analyze human actions on anything other than human actions? Especially when to do so you must misrepresent that which is ‘axiom-like’ but not axiomatic, as that which it is not?

Unless you were trying to justify an appeal to an authority? To grant to that which is empirical, scientific and theoretical, the authoritative content of mathematics and logic, which because both are axiomatic, are fully tautological and unbounded by reality?

Misesian reasoning, and rothbardian ethics, could be simply an intellectual error. Or it could be a dishonest use of obscurantism to hide the fact that human actions are observable. Even introspective actions are observable by the actor who makes them, and if communicated, observable by others. And as observable, those actions are empirical.

Theories may be very hard or very weak. Some theories are very hard, in that under most conditions they are true. But because of time and space, no economic theories are axiomatic. They are bounded by reality. This does not mean that they need to be tested. That is a fallacy of positivism. It means that there are always the possibility of conditions under which they may or may not apply, for any given period of time. In axiomatic systems this is never true. That is what defines them as axiomatic.

Operationalism solves the problem of reducing all statements to empirical (observable) and therefore sympathetically testable terms.

Praxeology is either an empirical science for the purpose of determining the rationality of human actions, and the voluntary exchange of property, and therefore it is the test of moral action – or it is another of the many, many, cosmopolitan and continental fallacies.

If you cannot explain human actions as human actions, then you are either unsure of what it is that you speak, or engaging in obscurantist deception. Continental and Cosmopolitan authors were (and are) trying to preserve traditional authority in the face of science, for the purpose of maintaining group homogeneity. We must treat their arguments as specious. Because they are.

All we need is property rights, a contract for their fullest expression enforceable under the private, common, law, and the willingness to organize and use violence for the purpose of obtaining the opportunity to construct those property rights, contract, and private common law.

Everything else is obscurant nonsense.

Science won.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute.

Why Did The Philosophers Of Science Only Partly Succeed?


(cross posted for archival purposes)

Did you ever read a novel, which you felt passionate about, and thought that the story was enthralling and insightful, then returned years later to re-read it thinking it was ok, but childish? You wonder what you were thinking?

The story didn’t change, you did.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the problems of ethics and politics and found my way to Instrumentalism, Operationalism, and Intuitionism as means of placing higher constraints on our theories (and arguments) such that we are unable to engage in deception and self-deception.

So when I read almost all philosophers, popper included, I have the same reaction to their ‘allegorical’ imaginary arguments, that others would have to even weaker allegorical religious or platonist arguments.

Now, in many cases, you can convey the same relationships (understanding) through supernatural, platonist, abstract imaginary, and operational terms. But the difference in correspondence between your terms and reality is narrowest at the operational end of that spectrum, and widest at the supernatural end.

Popper is one of the best philosophers of the past century. Certainly one who had the most impact upon me. But he had the most impact on me because I am predisposed to think scientifically, and in the manner that he sought to convince us.

Only a minority of us are predisposed to think as such. For those who are not so predisposed, they fail to grasp Popper’s arguments. And unlike other philosophers (Smith and Hume for example) Popper failed to sufficiently articulate his ideas such that one not be predisposed to agree with them. And the evidence confirms this.

The reverse test is also telling: if one cannot articulate poppers ideas operationally, then one merely agrees with them allegorically, but does not understand them operationally. Now, I can articulate CR/CP operationally, but I’m less certain about falsificationary ideas, and I’m less sure about verisimilitude.

If we put popper’s work into the context of ethics and politics, he is in the same position as Taleb, Hayek, and the rest: the moral prohibition on government, is to make small tests and measure the results, rather than large risk-inducing, fragility-creating irreversible programs. However, it is in the interests of the redistributionists, if not all rent-seekers, to do precisely that.

Telling us what NOT to do, is very different from telling us WHAT to do. And this is the problem with taking the philosophy of science, which pursues absolute, most parsimonious theories, in pursue of absolute truth, regardless of time and cost, and applying it to human affairs whose purpose is to outwit the dark forces of time and ignorance at the lowest possible current cost.

Human cooperation requires solutions to the problem of institutions that facilitate our cooperation in ever expanding ways, most quickly, at the lowest cost. To tell us what we should not do, is not very useful in telling us what we should do. But they cannot tell us what we should do, because they failed to solve the problem of the social science. And they failed to solve that problem, because the dramatic increase in the legitimacy of science due to its successes encouraged philosophers to copy the methods and assumptions of science, which does not equilibrate in reaction to investigation, and apply those methods to human cooperation which does equilibrate in reaction to investigation.

As such, Popper remains, largely a moral philosopher. He tells us what not to do. His recommendations are simple enough to apply to the problem of science, which does NOT require complex coordination in real time, and incentives needed to construct a voluntary organization of production. But it is not explanatory enough, that he could provide a solution to the problem of

I suspect that he maintained the error of classical liberalism: “Us and We where there is neither.” Once we abandon that fallacy, politics and ethics are no longer an impossible equation to solve, they are solvable entirely. Because one can calculate means of cooperation, but one cannot calculate ends of cooperation.

So, this is why I have a different perspective from you. To move from A to B is one thing. To move from B to C is another. Popper brings us to B. But in light of the fact that the problem is to bring us to C, he fails, like all other philosophers of his era failed. And we continue to bear the problem of that failure.

I hope that adds some clarity to my position.


Rothbardianism: A Religion For Betas

Convenient. Isn’t it?

You can feel good that you’re a beta, but you don’t have to do anything about it except whine. Feed the internal social status junkie? Just like progressives feed it by conspicuous consumption of other people’s wealth?

(Nuff said?)

If you’re not a beta. And you’re not a coward. And you’re not a free-rider, and you desire liberty in practice rather liberty in fantasy, come over to Aristocratic Egalitarianism. Liberty for alphas. No pussy-tarians allowed.

Liberty is obtained against the will of free riders at the end of pointy objects. Property rights are obtained in exchange for insuring the property rights of others who do the same.


ht: Chris Lavan

Strategy? Revolution Only Takes Individuals Now


Now, we have spent the past century or more criticizing the keynesians, leftists, and progressives for creating systemic fragility. Not only in our culture, our laws, our institutions, our economy – but in our complex infrastructure and systems.

It used to take armies to implement political change. Then it took mobs. Recently is takes insurgents. And at present it takes only individuals.

Welcome to fragility.

They made it possible to get our freedom back.

Ending The Debilitating Libertarian Dependence Upon Rothbard’s NAP


*Ending the debilitating libertarian dependence on Rothbardian Libertarianism and the NAP.*

There is a very great difference between a general rule of thumb, and the necessary basis for a body of law whose properties are reducible to property rights, that are sufficient for the resolution of conflicts between individuals, such that they do not desire an authority to resolve or prevent conflicts via means other than the law reducible to property rights. Furthermore, the means of violation of a persons’ property is not, as Hoppe has demonstrated, important, but instead, the definition of property regardless of how it is violated. To define property by aggression is to confuse cause and consequence. Aggression (NAP) against Intersubjectively Verifiable Property (IVP) as the basis for the law and resolution of disputes, is not only insufficient in the coverage of human disputes that require resolution, but NAP/IVP licenses deception and externalities, and prohibits retaliation for deception (unethical) and externalities(immoral). Meaning that objectively, the NAP/IVP licenses deception(unethical) and externalized (immoral) actions. The fact that very few human beings seem to be able to rationally articulate that NAP/IVP is immoral, or that Aggression is an insufficient prohibition for constraining unethical and immoral trade, or that defining property by means of prohibition rather than its origin as human action is non-logical, doesn’t seem to alter the fact, that the majority of humans simply intuit that something is ‘wrong’ with Rothbardian Libertarian Ethics.

Jan Lester has taken the logical route to define property as logically reflecting human actions, and quite nearly found the correct answer with ‘imposed costs’ – at least he has been closer than anyone else. However, as we have stated above, we must reduce imposed costs, up what precisely? We must have a definition of property to impose costs against. (He does, but it’s not sufficient either – and will clarify in a moment.)

So how do we define property that can be transgressed against; upon which we prohibit the imposition of costs; and limit legal transfers to and from, to voluntary, fully informed, warrantied exchange?

We can try to rely upon reason, or we can instead, look empirically at what is necessary for the elimination of demand for the state. My first question is, how do we eliminate the state, by eliminating demand for the state? It is not “what should we ask people to believe?” But what basis of organic law is sufficient for elimination of demand for the state as either a suppressor of unethical and immoral action, or a suppressor of retaliation for unethical and immoral actions, regardless of what people believe or desire.

Now, while It is difficult to imagine people wanting to enter into contracts that permit unethical behavior, if people want to enter into contracts that license various forms of immoral behavior, then that is entirely permissible – in fact it is desirable. It allows us to ‘trade’ immoralities between classes. It sets terms and limits on immoral behavior, gives contractual license, but does not redefine the fact that immoral behavior is in fact, the involuntary transfer, or consumption, of paid in capital, or the ‘imposition of costs’ upon others. As such contractual exchange allows us to conduct voluntary exchanges of ‘immoral behavior’ via market means. When no other such means of exchange is possible. So if you were to choose some normative violation, as long as you exchanged contractual terms with some other class, an exchange occurs, not a violation of property rights.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine

Which Is The Basis Of Social Order: The Prohibition On Free Riding Vs The Promotion Of Private Property

(worth repeating)

If I am right, and I think I am, then we just look at private property incorrectly because it’s a positive assertion. But the negative assertion is more informative: free riding. Because it is free riding that mirrors the human moral instincts that evolved with us because they were necessary for cooperation. And while we can suppress free riding (and parasitism) and obtain private property as a defense against the state, in order to form a polity we must also suppress unethical and immoral conduct so that we do not have demand for the state. And to form an anarchic polity free of the state, we must further suppress conspiracy and statism so that those who desire to free ride cannot band together to do so. As such, ‘private property’ is not the basis for society, but the basis for the voluntary organization of, and execution of, production. The suppression of free riding then, is the basis for society, and private property is one of its byproducts. Instead of only codifying private property in law, if we restate all moral instincts as property rights, then we can construct a legal code that mirrors completely the human moral code, and one which, allows both the resolution of differences over property, but also eliminates demand for the state, as well as forbids the formation of a state (monopoly). In this sense, morality, stated as a prohibition on free riding, is the basis for the velocity of cooperation, private property is the basis of the voluntary structure of production, prohibition on unethical and immoral conduct is the basis for a polity, and prohibition on conspiracy to construct a monopoly is the basis for anarchy. And altogether this full spectrum of prohibitions on free riding, delivers us to liberty and the maximum opportunity for prosperity.

I think this is the correct analysis.

Duchesne On Hegel’s Reason For Western Uniqueness

–“What drew Hegel’s attention was the seemingly restless desire of Western reason to become fully conscious of itself as **free activity**.”–

Ok. so you know, this is what I mean. Translate that into operational language and tell me what the hell it means. I mean, I know what it *should* mean.

–“According to Hegel, individuals become what they are potentially – rationally self-conscious agents – when they recognized themselves as free in their institutions and laws. …. the effort of human reason to become what it is intrinsically: the free author of its own concepts, values, and practices. “–

–“The Phenomenology thus exhibits the ways in which diverse but interrelated outlooks held sway and conviction for some time only to be seen as limited in their inability to provide answers consistent with the demands of beings that are becoming more aware of themselves as the free creators of their own beliefs, laws, and institutions”–

You are free when you think freely. But what is the cause? Why isn’t the cause property? The taste for property and status, and the distaste for losing one’s property and status to an authority.

–“The Phenomenology, however, should not be viewed as a strictly
chronological history of the development of consciousness”–

Well, you know, I view intellectual history outside of the sciences as reactive and justificationary. Those justifications are later used as causes, but I don’t see much evidence that our thinkers all that innovative. It seems like we justify as a means of mitigating conflicts. Justifications solve problems for current and later generations. But the problem exists prior to its solution.

So what was the problem or cause? I think that it’s not complicated, that it’s just the warrior tactics and private property. Gimbutas doesn’t reduce it to property, but that’s just because she wasn’t interested in economic institutions.

And I really don’t know a lot of thinkers that have connected instinctual evolutionary morality and property other than myself. But if we start out with that instinctual prohibition against free riding and therefore in favor of some form of property, and we add voluntary associations of men who conduct cattle raiding, who because of risk, retain their stolen assets, and from that we get property and warriors who covet status and property, then we get heroism and individualism from that point forward. I think all intellectual activity is simply an effort to maintain that relationship of sovereignty in the context of current circumstances. It’s certainly the most simplistic explanation. It satisfies occam’s razor.

If we add to the preference for private property, the fact that europe is riddled with waterways that make trade possible and relatively less expensive. If we add to that observation that our economic development was also aided by four seas: the Aegean, the Mediterranean, the North Sea and the Atlantic that both facilitate trade and form barriers to conflict – then we do not have to really account for intellectual history for western character as other than justificationary.

The greeks then are merely improving means of exchanging property. Exchanging property requires objective truth to avoid conflict between sovereigns. And Aristotle (etc) invents science as a consequence of objective truth. (Greeks aren’t actually individualistic but familial but it’s close enough to produce the same outcome: property.)

–“What Hegel suggests to me, albeit in a very general way, is that there
were already in Greece – before the polis – characters unwilling to
submit to despotic rule.”–

–“let me state for now that the polis was created by a pre-existing aristocratic culture whose values were physical prowess, courage, fi erce protection of one’s family, friends, and property, and above all, one’s personal honor and reputation.”–

–“The polis grew out of a peculiar social landscape of tribal republics
in which individual rivalry for prestige and victory had the highest
value, and in which hatred of monarchical government was the norm.
Before citizenship was expanded to include independent farmers and
hoplite soldiers, the Greek mainland was dominated by a warrior aristocracy. This expansive and aggressive aristocracy was the original persona of Western civilization.”–

–“What Hegel criticized was the liberal contractual argument that there
was an “original state of nature” in which man “was in the possession
of his natural rights and the unlimited exercise and enjoyment of his
freedom” (1978: 54). He rejected the assumption that, if all the products
of culture and history were somehow stripped away, one would
find humans living in a state of natural freedom, or in a condition in
which each was the possessor of individual rights. The concept of
right, for Hegel, was not “negative” in the sense that it was free from all
“positive” content, from the weight of social norms and history. Man
“in his immediate and natural way of existence” – that is, in the state of
nature – was not the possessor of natural rights. The freedoms of men
were “acquired and won…only through an infinite process of the discipline
of knowledge and will power” (54). Humans had to acquire the
capacity for self-control to achieve freedom, which was rather difficult
in the state of nature (1971: 175). Hegel thus spoke of the state of nature
in terms of the “primitive conditions” of human existence, as a time
when human relations were “marked by brute passions and acts of

*The state of nature, therefore, is rather the state of injustice, violence,
untamed natural impulses, of inhuman deeds and emotions (54).”

Hegel wrote elsewhere, in fact, that “the fight for recognition…can only
occur in the natural state, where men exist only as single, separate individuals”

(1971: 172). The struggle for recognition ceases to be a violent engagement when civil society proper is consolidated. In civil society individuals can achieve recognition peacefully, or in a less capricious manner, by obeying the law and doing what is socially acceptable, pursuing a profession or following a trade.

The state tries to achieve prestige by fighting other states but the state no longer condones violent feuding between citizens.”–

CURT: The struggle for status. The universal availability of status. Limited to organizing or participating in production. (and by consequence the lesser status, and envy of status, of those who cannot engage in production).

–“self consciousness makes its appearance in the decision “of Man” to fight to the death for the sake of recognition. Kojeve explains that “Man” starts to become “truly” self-conscious only to the extent that he “actively”
engages in a fight where he risks his life “for something that does not
exist really” – that is, “solely ‘for glory’ or for the sake of his ‘vanity’
alone (which by this risk, ceases to be ‘vain’ and becomes the specifi –
cally human value of honor” (1999: 226).”–

Sorry. But I Like Church.

Sorry. But I like church. I like monumental architecture. I like Catholic pageantry. I like Protestant ceremony. I wish we still ‘stood and voiced our minds’. I prefer the heroic pagan ethos to that of christian suffering. I prefer the historical narrative of Athens to that of Babylonian mysticism. But mostly I like the whole listening and singing and chanting together thing – because for a few minutes each week I get to feel part of an enormous extended family – a big, safe, pack.

It has never bothered me that some people do not distinguish between mystical allegory and historical fact, while others fail to grasp the value of mystical allegory as more accessible, less subject to human error, and less fragile than reason.

The reason that religion can be a problem is because we can, especially under democracy, use government to apply violence based upon on mythological principles, rather than use religion as a means of including others in our manners, ethics, morals, myths and rituals so that we extend kinship trust to those who are not our kin, and to ostracize those who will not adopt those manners, ethics, morals, myths and rituals. Not because myths and rituals are true, but because the cost of observing those myths and rituals is evidence of one’s commitment to his moral kin.

Secular ratio-scientific education provides us with myths, but few and infrequent rituals, and ignores the necessity to pay costs to demonstrate and adhere to kinship trust that facilitates the extension of kinship trust.

Consumerism is a nice temporary alternative to kin, but it’s a devil’s bargain. We are lost and lonely at the end of that selfish satisfaction.

Buyer Beware vs Seller Beware

(worth repeating)

–“Under rothbardian ethics the buyer must beware, and under propertarian ethics the seller must beware. Propertarian ethics put warranty in the hands of the person with the greatest knowledge and therefore produces the least asymmetry of knowledge. ‘ —

Propertarian ethics solve the problem of libertarian morality.

The Virtue Of Critical Rationalism

The chief personal virtue that Critical Rationalism bestows upon you, is the understanding that you never know the ultimate truth, you merely know enough to take action given the knowledge at your disposal, and only by our failures do we learn more about the truth, than we knew before – confirmation may be efficient and rewarding but it does not increase our competitive ability against each other, or against the forces of universe itself.