I’m confident making the statement that there is NO ARGUMENT that justifies the bureaucratic ownership of property, other than to justify the violent theft from citizens for the benefit of the bureaucracy.1
I’m confident, because there are no longer geographically defined communities. Community property depends upon a fixed geography, and population limited to organic birth rates. There is no longer a geographically defined community because of the mobility of labor, and because of tax farming by the state. Instead, the state forces us to become renters, not owners. We are wage slaves to taxation and unable to retire, and forced from our communities by prohibitive taxation. And the state destroys any possible sense of community through its appropriation of assets in service of the bureaucracy.
Thankfully, problem of controlling this abuse of us is resolvable by property rights and a prohibition on incalculability that is just as impermeable as our prohibition on involuntary transfers.
Rothbard failed to provide a **complete solution** to his ethical and political philosophy. He failed for the following reasons.
a) He failed to provide a solution to the problem of formal institutions and instead relied entirely upon informal normative institutions, creating a religion that must be independent of geography rather than a means of maintaining a set of norms in a geography.
b) He failed to include the principles of i) warrantee and ii) symmetrical ethics and iii) prohibition on external involuntary transfers in his analysis The Ethics Of Liberty. The high-trust society that makes competitive capitalism in the west a material advantage over the endemic corruption in other cultures, particularly the bazaar culture of the middle east and india, and the familial culture of the east, is caused by the inclusion of these three prohibitions on involuntary transfer in the ethics of exchange.
But Hoppe succeeded where Rothbard failed. Where hoppe failed, was his implied choice for a preferred type of community. He did not explain the institutions that would make possible a larger community using the same principles. He did not demonstrate how to create federations. It was not his objective. It was not necessary.
But Hoppe did not address the importance of the distinction between bazaar/peasant ethic and the warrior/landowner ethic directly (that I know of), instead, he relied upon Germanic individual responsibility. Which, first is unique to the civilization, possibly genetic in origin, and is less of a problem in a smaller community than it is in a larger one, where it is impossible to possess knowledge sufficient to protect one’s self from fraud, and others from theft by external involuntary transfer because of our participation in such fraud.
So both Hoppe and Rothbard effectively place a prohibition on collective action. I argue that this is impossible. Man acts. That is true. It is the premise behind aristotelian and Misesian reasoning. But Man Organizes is as equally true. And his most profound works are the result of organization, in extraordinary complexity, made possible by the pricing system.
While Rothbard argues that property is a moral construct, and Hoppe that property is a preferential construct, and Hayek a utilitarian construct, these issues miss the point: The necessary function of Property is Calculability: It allows humans to plan production amidst competition for plastic resources in a division of knowledge and labor where members are unequally productive and incentivized to cheat by conducting involuntary transfers. The norm of property exists to both prevent violence, fraud and theft, and therefore allow us to plan to avoid disputes, and by avoiding disputes allow us to plan increasingly complex production.
Property therefore must be calculable. If it is not calculable it is by definition a hazard: a form of involuntary transfer that encourages cheating. Several property and Shareholder Property are legitimate because they are calculable. Community property is not legitimate for productive uses because its use is incalculable.
Community property is only legitimate for non-productive uses. And even then, there must be control of such ‘community’ property, simply to prevent its use. And so if there is rotation out of an incalculable pool of owners, or it is possible by democratic means to ‘immigrate’ and therefore sieze control of the resource, then all the forgone opportunity for use by immigrants into the pool of community property participants is simply taken by theft of involuntary transfer from those who refrained from using it before.
This is why people object to involuntary immigration. It’s theft. Plain and simple. Immigration is incompatible with public (common) property.
In practice, the bureaucracy, like the monarchy and the church before it, is incentivized to create as much ‘community’ property as possible, which it then leases out to individuals by way of taxation. These bureaucracies then use as many means possible to launder causal relations, and quantitative relations, by pooling property and its costs into aggregates. But the resulting property is not ‘community property’. The government is just another business that acquires and profits from assets, except that it relies upon the application of violence rather than voluntary exchange for obtaining its property and continuing its survival.
Our only solution is to Privatize everything. Everything that cannot be privatized must be calculable. Non calculability is a means of theft. It does not matter if it’s community property, or pooling tax monies. It’s theft if it is incalculable. Plain and simple.
- For those critics who argue that I have not covered all the permutations in one essay, I’m sorry but that would be impractical. Walter Block is the prolific applier of Rothbardian ideas and provides those answers in his work even if you may find his answers either incomplete or unsatisfying for reasons I’ll explain below. However, the fact that I don’t cover them all here, does not mean that it cannot be done. [↩]