- On Debate
THE PROBLEM OF DEFINING PROPERTY RIGHTS WHERE THEY DO NOT EXIST IS STILL OPEN.
To start with, definitions help us communicate clearly. And they both force us to be honest, and prevent others from making false arguments against us.
1) Liberty is a sentiment. It is a minority sentiment. It is a sentiment held by some percentage of the people that favors the ability to obtain new experiences without external constraint, as long as they harm no others in doing so. (see Haidt)
2) Libertarianism is a political bias. That bias favors various forms of minimal government. It eschews the concentration of power, and the loss of sovereignty. It is a sentiment that is embedded in the western tradition. That western tradition is the egalitarian union of aristocracy. That Aristocratic Egalitarianism is a social adaptation to early Indo-European battle tactics which required independent but coordinated action by self-funded warriors. This social strategy allowed a professionalized minority using advanced weapon technology to conquer or fend off conquerors with much greater numbers. (see Duchesne)
3) Libertarianism it is a philosophical framework authored by Murray Rothbard. This framework argues that all possible rights are reducible to articulated property rights. It contains errors. (Which I have discussed elsewhere). Those errors are significant in that they are morally, and therefore socially and economically regressive. However, the fundamental insight that human actions can be reduced to property rights remains valid, and the errors in Rothbard’s incomplete ethical framework are repairable.
Rothbard was unable to solve the problem of institutions, so his framework describes little more than a secular moral religion of opposition to the state. Hoppe solved the problem of cooperative institutions, but did not correct Rothbard’s (or Mises’) initial errors. He did not solve the problem of heterogeneous societies which we live in. So for these two reasons he has described small governments. (I have tried to repair Mises and Rothbard’s errors, and use Hoppe’s insights to create solutions for the problem of heterogeneous and therefore large governments consisting of voluntary institutions which preserve the aristocratic egalitarian ethical system of property rights. But my work is incomplete and not yet available for analysis and criticism.)
4) Anarchy is a) a state of disorder – an inability for humans to organize. Propertarians argue that this means little more than an absence of homogeneous property rights. b) Anarchy is a Utopian idea of an ordered society without any articulated form of order other than human instincts.
5) Property is a form of establishing order – the ability of humans to organize. It is a very simple rule that matches, with some significant variation, the human moral instinct, while allowing us to cooperate in a vast division of knowledge and labor, the result of which is lower prices and increased choices.
Since a) property can vary from the purely private to the purely common, and since b) the utility of property at any point on that spectrum is different for those with different abilities, and c) since the genetic bias of men and women has shown us a demonstrated preference for different points on that spectrum, which better suit the reproductive strategies of each gender, therefore, the preferred monopoly of property rights varies by class and gender, as well as, perhaps, race whenever a population is heterogeneous.
6) Anarchism is a philosophical research program the purpose of which is to find institutional solutions (organizations, processes and rules) that are an alternative to a monopoly power that we grant to the state, when we create a government in order to institute some set of property rights, and therefore establish order.
Since our invention of politics, we cannot seem to limit the republican or democratic state to the functions that preserve our aristocratic egalitarian order: a) the defense of those property rights, and b) the concentration of capital for shared investment at the same time. And by doing so, force people to cooperate in the market, instead of by violence, or the proxy of physical violence we call politics. So, because of that failure of democratic institutions, the anarchic research program seeks to use competition for services to eliminate the corporeal state’s monopoly on power, while maintaining a monopoly on the articulated enumeration of some set of property rights within a geography.
The a) libertarian sentiment, b) Libertarian history (the classical liberal model) and c) the libertarian philosophy (all of which are different things) do not answer this problem. The anarchic research program has attempted to. And any attempt by libertarians to state that we have solved this problem is either a failure to understand the state of our intellectual development, or an intentional misrepresentation of it.
But in no case do Anarchists or Libertarians suggest there is no ‘governance’. A set of articulated property rights and a judiciary that resolves conflicts over property, is a government. It is just a reactive government. A government or rules. Judges under the common law cannot make law. They can discover it. And they can be overruled by other judges through market competition. But they cannot proactively make law. As such, there is a government under all libertarian models that have been articulated to any degree.
The problem remains only in how we first establish a set of property rights. In the west this is not as difficult as elsewhere because those property rights are native to the framework of thought that we inherited with our Aristocratic Egalitarianism. Anyone who is enfranchised (fights) has a right to property which is not abridge-able by his peers. We extended the requirement to fighting, first to those who demonstrated nobility through service of any kind (chivalry). And third to those who demonstrated nobility through exchange and trade. But the principle of property is fundamental regardless of which means one earns his enfranchisement.
When anarchists say that they advocate anarchy, it means that they eschew the concentration of power to alter the set of property rights involuntarily, since it breaks with the Aristocratic Egalitarian ethics. Ethics which allow each of us who is enfranchised to experiement and add value to ourselves and society as long as we commit no involuntary transfer from others who are enfranchised.
CREATING THAT SYSTEM
What anarchists and libertarians of all stripes have failed to do is describe how we create a monopoly definition of property rights without the application of force to do it. In the west, the aristocracy created it out of habitual necessity. And they did it by force. Rome in particular was a powerful machine that mandated a set of property rights and then defended them because it was simply profitable to do so.
CRITICS AND ADVOCATES
Critics are wrong in the sense that libertarianism will not work in somalia. But they are right in that libertarians and anarchists have not provided a means by which to institute a monopoly of property rights without it first existing.
FILLING THE HOLES IN ANARCHISM AND LIBERTARIANISM
As I’ve stated above, we are less than a century into our research program at articulating our ancient system of cooperation that we call the libertarian sentiment, but which is more accurately termed the political system called Aristocratic Egalitarianism with its dependency on property rights.
While I have filled the hole in our ethics. The hole in our institutional process of implementing a monopoly of individual property rights by other than organized violence is still in need of filling.
And we should ask our critics to help us answer that problem, rather than deny we have it.
VS ROTHBARD: ARISTOCRATIC VERSUS GHETTO ETHICS
The aristocratic egalitarian ethic requires all able men capable of bearing arms, deny access to power, to anyone and everyone. I usually refer to this (erroneously) as the warrior ethic, since it originates with the Indo European warrior caste.
The ethic of the bazaar or ghetto (incorrectly referred to as the slave ethic), requires only that we fail to engage in trade with those who would seek power. It is a form of ostracization.
Rothbard returned to his cultural history to develop his ethics when he could not sovle the problem of institutions. And in doing so, he regressed ethics into that same ghetto by ignoring the aristocratic ethical requirements of a) symmetry of knowledge, b) warranty that provides proof of that symmetry of knowledge, and c) a prohibition on external involuntary transfer.
All three of these ethical constraints are necessary to create the high trust society. Yet they are also insufficient.
The fourth constraint appears to require d) outbreeding by forbidding cousin-marriage. Outbreeding creates a universalist ethic, which in the west we call ‘christian love’ but which means treating all humans regardless of family origin with the same ethical constraints as you would the members of your immediate family or even tribe.
This is why libertarianism under Rothbard failed to gain the same level of traction that it has gained under Ron Paul. Ron Paul is promoting Aristocratic Egalitarian Ethics (even if he does not know how to articulate such a thing) while Rothbard was promoting the ethics of the Bazzaar and ghetto (even if he did not understand his actions in this context.)
Humans are not terribly bright when it comes to rationalism. But we can sense moral patterns and status signals and ‘feel’ positives and negative moral reactions due to those patterns whether or not we can analytically separate and articulate those moral instincts and reactions.
Propertarianism allows us to articulate these moral instincts as reducible to different concpets of property rights. Propertariansm makes moral differences commensurable.
If you can grasp that idea, you may eventually understand that Propertarianism is the solution to the problem of the incompleteness of Misesian and Rothbardian praxeology, and explains the causal property of Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics, rendering it descriptive, not causal. This explanation then, in turn, provides us with the tools to solve the 2500 year old problem of politics that the greeks, and the english, and the americans failed to solve.
For the past tewlve years I’ve been working on political philosophy, and for the past three years, nearly full time. And now and then, as arguments evolve, I’ve updated the site to reflect the voice I’m currently using, and the position in the market for philosophy that I’m addressing.
Over the past three years, my work at extending Hoppe and Rothbard’s ethical model to address heterogeneous societies has matured into a fairly complete philosophical system, the scope of which hasn’t really been attempted in recent memory by anyone other than Heidegger. And it’s a task that is greater than I may be talented enough to complete.
But that said, I’m still doing a yeoman’s labor, and changing the title of my public workshop to accurately reflect the my emphasis on the Propertarian system of ethics, is overdue.
This change partly driven by our work at the Propertarian Institute at www.propertarians.com, where we promote propertarian reasoning as a means of understanding and comparing the different libertarian and conservative ideological platforms, in rational rather than moral terms. And where I am but one small participant in a large research program that has been advancing since Burke was struck cold by the horrors of the French Revolution.
The human moral sense is not so much egalitarian as that egalitarianism is the outcome of four competing instincts: the desire to constrain alphas, with the desire to be them, with the desire to breed them, with the desire to raise young who perpetuate our genes.
We know that humans try to constrain alphas. We know that we had to do so in order to develop cooperation. It is possible that it’s the singular reason we developed cooperation – unlike our ape relatives.
Once we suppress violence with the institution of property, alphas demonstrate their superiority with asset accumulation in all its forms.
There is a vast difference from constraining an alpha from creating involuntary transfers because of a concentration of capital of some kind, and constraining alphas in order to improve one’s signaling potential.
The first is to prevent theft. The second is an act of theft.
The institution of property answers everything.
There is only one law, and that is property.
If the different forms of property are understood: life, private property, common property, norms as property, and if the forms of theft are understood: risk transfer, indirect involuntary transfer, direct involuntary transfer, theft, fraud and violence, then no other law need exist, and people need be educated to confirm to no other laws.
But once the principle of property is violated, so that we allow various forms of theft, we must create a multiplicity of artificial laws the same way that by telling one lie we must tell a dozen to hide it, and a dozen for each of them, and a dozen for each of them.
Complexity in life comes from lies in all their forms. Telling the truth makes for a simple life. Complexity in the politics of life comes from abuses of the one law of property. Respecting property in all its forms makes for a simple life, and a simple government.
All else that we need can come from contracts and not laws. Contracts exist within the one law of property, in all its forms. Contracts can be fulfilled, they have a definite time period, they require specific performance, and specific When you move to an area, you can sign the contracts that are currently in place, or not move to that area. And the contracts may not violate the one law of property, and judges can resolve conflicts over them easily.
The problem judges face is largely to do with the complex network of ‘commands’ and institutionalized thefts masquerading as laws that distort or violate the law of property.
The second problem judges face comes from the complexity that arises by justifying the monopoly of the state: the artificial scarcity of judges, the necessity of taking cases rather than taking cases on merit, and the inability to specialize.
And the side effect of violating the law of property, is that we MUST degenerate into totalitarianism of commands: the lies and the impact of the lies, the commands masquerading as law, the thefts masquerading as contracts. We must degenerate, because there is no longer a common principle that these laws share. And it is the commonality of principles which determines the habits of the population that must make judgements day in and day out over generations. People who must memorize overlapping complex commands, will soon abandon them.
There is only one law, and that is property. The rest is lies masquerading as law. The purpose of which is to empower government with the ability to enslave.
Does this mean that redistribution is not warranted, and that we must rely on voluntary investment? Or that the unfortunate must be left to charity? No. It does not. If we have contracts that require performance there must be a return on that performance, otherwise it is not an exchange, but a theft. Markets must have consumers and providers: buyers and sellers just as do shopping malls. just as the mall obtains profits for its shareholders, so do the marketplace’s investors obtain profits for their investment in their market: their geography.
To become an investor in that market one need only respect property, and the contracts that are required of the participants in that market. And as an investor, one is due returns on it. Since we all take the same actions to join the market, by adhering to contract, and the one law of property, which are payments in the forgone opportunities for theft, we are equally due returns on our investment in that market. Since we unequally take commercial risks in that market we are unequally due returns from our commercial risks, even if we are equally due returns from our investment in forgone opportunity, which we call respect for the one law of property: which makes the market possible.
The commission that investors make on transactions in their market – commissions which can come from sales transactions, or rental fees that come from uses of the commons, can vary, and can be progressive. Otherwise there is an involuntary transfer from the market. However, the contracted terms must not be open to alteration. Because if they are, then there is an opportunity for the majority of shareholders to steal from the minority of shareholders through the act of fraud that we call ‘bait and switch.’
If services are privatized, so that they are not run by a bureaucracy, and contracts cannot be violated by that bureaucracy, and all relations outside of those contracts are voluntary, then we do not create the problem with government: bureaucracy and regulation which manufacture commands and organized thefts masquerading as law. If we do not have ‘elected representatives’ but hire professionals who must respect that law of property, then we do not create the opportunity for government to be a vehicle by which individuals and the artifice of bureaucracy can be purchased by special interests whose entire function is to violate the one law of property and the contracts that have been established.
Elected representatives were only necessary because of a lack of ability to communicate preferences in time and space, and the lack of education in the population. If it is not possible to violate the law of property, only to issue new contracts as old one’s expire, and if these contracts are marketed like any other good or service, then they can be purchased by investors who vote their shares. There is no need for the system of theft and corruption we call bureaucratic government.
There may indeed be a need for a judiciary. And a record of the common laws which illustrate the means by which knowledge of property evolves over time. And there is certainly the need to hire administrative talent to manage the investment that all members make in their market by their forgone opportunities for fraud theft and violence. But there is no need to allow them to create laws, rather than to administer contracts. There is no need to grant them that special ability to violate the law of property. To create an opportunity for individuals to be purchased by special interests – which we call corruption. There is no need to create a vehicle for our enslavement.
Because we are no longer limited in our ability to communicate. So we no longer need to delegate our decision making to anyone.
Society is the market. Property is required to make the market. And legislative representative government is the means by which we destroy the institution of property which makes that market possible.
It is not a government that protects people. It is the judiciary and the common law, under the one law of property. If all people are possible to sue, and no person is given special protection from it, and the court has the ability to enforce the one law of property, and punishment is limited to restitution, then the institution of property will naturally prevail.
We only have problems of abuse within capitalism because the government engages in corporatism: granting thefts we call privileges. SO this is not an appeal to anarchy. It is not an appeal to the absence of government per se. It is government by law: the one law, that no one can violate. Where we do not ask mere human beings to both respect the one law, the rule of law, while at the same time, create an institutionalized means by which their sole purpose is to violate that institutions of property.
That we even engage in so foolish a conflict of motives is confirmation of our ability to use the power of myth to deny the obvious.
Society is easy to construct with the one rule of property.
It is easy to destroy without it.
We are each born with a capacity for violence. Some more. Some less.
During our lives we develop that capacity. Some more some less.
Prior to the institution of property, this violence is one of our forms of wealth.
We trade our wealth of violence in exchange for the institution of property.
If our property is taken from us then we no longer need exchange our wealth in violence for it.
And we may now use our wealth of violence for other purposes.
We pay for property with our wealth in violence.
The source of all property is violence.
Natural law is a convenient construct of the church in order to obscure the inconvenient truth that the source of property is the application of violence.
Understood correctly, this means that natural law is an attempt at redistribution: to obtain the expensive right of property at a dramatic discount.
As such. Arguments to natural law are acts of fraud.
The source of property is violence.
- Curt Doolittle ( libertarians have fun trying to get out of that box. ).
”I DIDN’T LEAVE AMERICA. AMERICA LEFT ME.”1
Any country that wants to demonize white males, is welcome to. I’m a libertarian: You’re welcome to do what you want, just not welcome to do what you want with me.
I don’t want to live in a country where I’m preyed upon by the state, and hold second class legal status because of my race and gender. Where my heritage is disowned and discredited. And where I’m demonized in exchange for my entrepreneurship.
Our enemy: The State. Democracy is the slow road to totalitarianism.
- A reference to Regan’s statement ‘I didn’t leave the democratic party, the democratic party left me.’ [↩]
SINGLE WOMEN RULE AMERICA
“President Obama won women by a 55 to 44 percent margin and lost men by a 45 to 52 percent margin, leaving an 18-point gender gap, up from 12 points in 2008. But this difference is dwarfed by the marriage gap—the margin between married and unmarried women. Married women supported the Republican candidate in 2012 by a comfortable six-point margin. It is Obama’s huge victory among unmarried women that delivered the women’s vote and with it, the White House. There is a 43-point difference in the margin between married women and unmarried women, a number which exceeds the gender gap by a factor of two. ” — Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (firm)
Women are marrying the state, and returning to their natural preference: to bear children at will and place the responsibility for raising them on the tribe.
(Now, as much as I argue that this will undermine the truce in reproductive strategies that we call monogamy, and by consequence I believe it will undermine the high trust society, I am also cognizant of the fact that we never had the technology before to make it possible to have BOTH a division of labor AND unregulated childbirth. The problem is that I just don’t know. I can’t see how it’s possible. But then, i’m not omniscient either.)
Seattle, WA, United States
I am an independent theorist of Political Economy in the Conservative Libertarian tradition. And as a methodological Propertarian I attempt to complete the work of Rothbard and Hoppe by suggesting post-democratic political solutions for heterogeneous polities.
"De Philosophia Aristocratia"
Anglo Conservatism is the remnant of the European Aristocratic Manorial system and the Classical Liberal philosophy of the Enlightenment, combined with our ancient tribal instincts for group persistence and land-holding. It currently consists as a set of sentiments rather than as an articulated rational philosophy. And without that rational articulation, conservatives lack the ability to create and promote a plan that is a positive and rhetorically defensible alternative to the hazards of accidental bureaucracy and purposeful socialism.
This lack of an articulated philosophy leaves conservatives vulnerable in the public debate with Schumpeterian public intellectuals whose advantage in both volume of production, and simplicity of argument poses a nearly insurmountable challenge.
Libertarianism by contrast, is a rational philosophy of an articulate but permanent minority. It is based upon a solid, rational and critical methodology, even if it is flawed in its initial assumption: the principle of non-violence.
Unfortunately the Rothbardian Anarchist movement has appropriated the term "Libertarian", and left Classical Liberals and Conservatives alienated from the only system of thought with which they need to articulate their political sentiments in rational and empirical rather than moralistic and sentimental form.
By repairing the flaws in Libertarian philosophy we can use its methodology to provide a rhetorical solution for conservatives - a language which in turn may become an articulated philosophical body of argument and advocacy for the frustrated conservative majority.
Kinsella’s Criticism of Locke, and My Explanation of Locke’s Reasonable Mistake, and What To Do About It.
69 days ago
Liberty Isn't Inherent. It's unnatural. We create it with Organized Violence.
74 days ago
Propertarian Definition: REVOLUTION
74 days ago
Giving Rorty Another Try
74 days ago
An Skeleton Argument In Defense Of Rorty From Hoppe
74 days ago
A Propertarian Definition of Ruthless
74 days ago
The Self Deception Of The Enlightenment View Of Man
74 days ago
On Rent Seeking
74 days ago
- Kinsella’s Criticism of Locke, and My Explanation of Locke’s Reasonable Mistake, and What To Do About It.