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Is There An Unassailable Argument Against The Religion Of Rand? (And Whacky Derivatives Like Galambos?)

Regarding Philosophy, Religion, and Government:

a) A Philosophy is a set of related ideas for the purpose of allowing humans to take actions that accomplish ends in the face of necessary uncertainty about the future.
b) A Religion is a habituated philosophical framework, for political purposes, using pedagogy for indoctrination, and which relies ostensibly upon voluntary participation, but because of habituation by the individual and within the environment, is largely involuntary.
c) A Government is an institutionalized philosophical framework using forcible coercion, and therefore relies upon involuntary participation.

What separates a philosophy, from a religion, from a government, is the formality of the institutions, where the increasing formality of the institutions eliminate human choice. What starts as a personal conceptual framework, becomes a framework that a group teaches to others, becomes formal institutions that compel others to adhere to the principles of the philosophy. It is an arbitrary

Everything, every idea, has to come from somewhere. Humans may have natural sentiments. But ideas are something that they come by.

Military, Political, judicial and pedagogical (religious) institutions do not require belief or consent. They compel adherence by the application of force, or, by near universal habituation, deprivation of opportunity for non-conformers. Philosophy alone allows voluntary adherence to Military, Policial, Judicial, Pedagogical as well as Moral, Ethical and Mannerism frameworks. But let’s look at the problem of choosing philosophy a bit…

If there is anyone who is willing to debate me on the limitations of Rand, I’ll take the bet. Even if you bring Peikoff to the table. Yet, despite those limitations, I can defend her propositions against all classical arguments. However, the one I cannot defend it against, is the idea that it is in the interest of the common man, to adopt a political philosophy that is not in his or her individual, temporal, interest. We have but one life, and it consists of limited time. And the proletariat therefore, has a shorter term time horizon than the upper classes.

So, Marxism is in the poor’s interest. Democratic socialism is in the working and lower middle class interest. Libertarianism is in the upper middle class interest. And classical liberalism is in the upper class interest. To argue that Rand is anything other than a class philosophy, is to argue that men are equal. Since men are not equal in ability, health, age, knowledge, experience, skill, resources, and relationships — then any philosophy that attempts to be universal to man is by definition a religion. That’s the provence of religion: universal application. Even if some adhere to tenets out of mysticism, some out of allegory, and some out of rational moral analysis, the tenets are the same. That’s the elegance of a religion, and the cultural principles of cooperation that religious idea sets contain.

Unfortunately religions rely on mysticism in order to capture the attention of the poor and ignorant proletariat. The secular religion does not. It simply attempts to buy their conformity with services, consumer goods and redistribution. It is cheaper to rely upon mysticism. More expensive to rely on redistribution. And it appears to be more economically productive to rely on redistribution. The question is only how to achieve the redistribution, and the limits of it.

Rand, like Marx, Trotsky, Mises and Rothbard, (and Simmel) is simply trying to apply Jewish diasporic religious sentiments to political philosophy. An attempt, that despite the obvious evidence that jewish philosophy is the result of either an arrested or failed civilization. A failed civilization wherein the members of the faith are either unwilling or unable to pay the social sacrifices necessary to hold land. And, having held land, created create the institutions of land holding, and then, by consequence, the institutions of property and built capital needed for an advanced society consisting of a division of labor wherein the natural inequality of humans is expressed by their unequal rewards from participating in the market.

All humans seek to JUSTIFY their SENTIMENTS. An act which is anything but scientific. And an act which is arguably religious – it seeks justification rather than exposition.

[callout]A political philosophy that requires unanimity of belief, that does not have cooperative institutions, even private institutions as Hoppe recommends, is to argue that men will adopt a philosophy that is in the interest of other men, particularly those in a competing social class, and is against their interests economically, and socially (status being the human political economy), is not scientific. It is not scientific Because it is COUNTER TO OBSERVATION AND COUNTER TO REASON. [/callout]

A political philosophy that requires unanimity of belief, that does not have cooperative institutions, even private institutions as Hoppe recommends, is to argue that men will adopt a philosophy that is in the interest of other men, particularly those in a competing social class, and is against their interests economically, and socially (status being the human political economy), is not scientific. It is not scientific Because it is COUNTER TO OBSERVATION AND COUNTER TO REASON.

Social status is the native human accounting system. We need no devices to sense it. We must rely upon social status so that human animals can know who to imitate, and learn from and associate with in order to best achieve their potential, and the group’s potential. People form groups: Race, Religion, Language, Nation, Class, Generation and Skill Set or career, then hierarchy within that career, are the broadest and most common. Social cues intra-group are lower cost than social cues extra-group. Therefore people specialize in intra-group social cues. This is why individuals in small homogenous single-city-state societies are more egalitarian than in empires. Empires may be able to dictate terms of commerce and issue inflationary currency, but why they are socially tumultuous if the groups can use the political system rather than the market to compete with other groups.

As Randianism (and Galmbosianism) is counter to reason, because it requires unanimity of belief, despite not being the interest of the working or judicial classes, then it is unscientific. If it requires unanimity of belief then it is by definition a religion. Because it is the belief in the impossible and irrational.

It has replaced superstitious belief in god, with a superstitious belief in the behavior of man.

The market economy is superior because the pricing system is the most effective way of informing people as to the behavior that they must exhibit in order to create a low cost high production society where even the poor have more than our ancestors ever dreamed of. However, the market requires institutions and a minimal private government, which we consider a network of contractual agreements. And if individuals simply REFRAIN from theft, fraud, and violence, then they are in effect, shareholders in that society and due profits on their contributions to it. As such, some minimal distribution from the results of the market are due those minority shareholders. The argument that they pay no costs, and make no contribution to the market is false. Since inaction, even the inaction of refraining from theft, fraud, and violence, is a form of action. To say otherwise is to say only money is action.

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Yes, It Would Be Nice If We Could Withdraw The Empire And It’s Costs – In Exchange For Reduced Standard Of Living

Having created, by accident, the empire, and having done so for the purpose of exporting our market system, and its trade routes, we are stuck with the very real consequences of creating power vacuums if we withdraw our military power, and create opportunity for the greater cost of NOT acting as we are acting.

We have, after all, made a nice profit out of bringing the Hindu and Sinic cultures into the modern era. We have, and continue, to make a profit bringing the Islamic cultures into the modern era – by exporting debt (that we may questionably have to pay for) rather than by collecting tariffs or taxes for having done so. These efforts have been made under the rubric of political democracy for the purpose of popular opinion, but are actually for the institutional purpose of creating an economically incentivized and politically enfranchised middle class that is invested in perpetuating the world market system.

I do not think that there is disagreement among political economists that we would be better off without having to support the empire. But when faced with the very real, and very negative impact that a withdrawal would have on the average (pampered) american, and on the average (schumpeterian) public intellectual, practical heads prevail.

[callout] Property rights are indeed the basis for prosperity. However, property rights are an institution that is created by the application of organized institutional violence. This fact is usually lost of ideological libertarians. [/callout]

As I understand it, the general thinking among the strategic thinkers (those who study military, political, and economic relationships, rather than just political, financial and social relationships) is that if we bear the burden long enough, the world will evolve into a sufficiently middle class economy (a synonym for democratic) that the purpose of the empire will decline at a rate equal to the relative importance of the american economy, allowing us to withdraw without creating shocks to the international system.

A failure to understand military history is what separates ideological political economy from practicable political economy. Property rights are indeed the basis for prosperity. However, property rights are an institution that is created by the application of organized institutional violence.

This fact is usually lost of ideological libertarians.

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You Can’t Define Away ‘Structural Unemployment’

The term “Structural unemployment” has a technical definition and a colloquial definition. And authors frequently criticize the colloquial as not matching the technical, rather than the premise put forth by the colloquial. However, the colloquial definition is correct. That is, that there are people trained and experienced in skills that will not return to the economy, and that there are few if any sectors of expansion available to absorb them in any potential recovery, and if unemployed long term, they may be permanently ostracized from the work force. As an aside, it is unlikely that the USA will return to a consumer-debt economy. We will not be ABLE to. Not unless we play tariff and protectionist games, and deprive other geographies of their ability to arbitrage prices.

The high current level of liquidity is limited to the financial sector, and even there, to a narrow band of the financial sector. There are no savings going on anywhere, and instead there is debt reduction going on everywhere.. The country is operating at higher efficiency out of fear and necessity — a combination which cannot persist indefinitely.

So, the colloquial concept of Structural Unemployment is accurate in it’s usage.

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Economics Is A Moral Philosophy Because It Solves For Political Ends

From Economist’s View (In reference to Schiller’s argument (in an exceptional recent paper) that economists should be more interdisciplinary.)

Is Adam Smith Partly an Economist, or Wholly a Moral Philosopher?, by Brad DeLong: Tiago at History of Economics Playground reacted very negatively to an AEA Annual Meeting presentation by Robert Shiller and Virginia Shiller:

This is a question that posits a false dichotomy.

The correct question is either:

a) “Is adam smith … an econometrician, or a moral philosopher?” He is a moral philosopher.
b) “Is adam smith … an economist or an econometrician?” He is an economist.
c) “Is an econometrician an economist?” The answer is “No.” An econometrician is a statistician that works on economic data.

Why? Economics is a branch of moral philosophy, because the all branches of economics SOLVE for a political end – an end, and an input, without which the profession cannot exist as a discipline. (Yes, that’s right.) Therefore one cannot be an economist unless one is a moral philosopher, unless economics is a branch of statistics, in which case, there are no economic facts because there are no facts without theories. A fact is impossible to define without a theory in which to analyze it.

Because being an economist in academia has lost it’s philosophical content, it is possible for Brad to ask this silly question. And if more economists spent more time on philosophy before interpreting statistics, they would understand the erroneous and somewhat ridiculous claims made by the profession are not grounded in demonstrable scientific reality.

And they are not grounded in demonstrable scientific reality because economics is currently explanatory, but not predictive.

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Doolittle’s Law: Any Mention Of Sweden In An Economic Discourse Means The Argument Is False

Do you know Godwin’s law? That any internet discourse eventually devolves into something involving Hitler?

There is a new law. I’m coining it, as Doolittle’s law: The minute someone mentions Sweden in an economic argument, you know that they’re analysis is wrong.

1) As Felix Salmon states, Wealth is very different from Income. The WEALTH distribution in the USA and Sweden is similar because sweden is a capitalist country albiet one with a great deal of redistribution, and wealth must be in the hands of the people with the knowledge to EMPLOY that wealth in order for wealth to exist.

2) Felix also states that countries with great retirement schemes require less wealth accumulation, since wealth accumulation is a retirement scheme. So individuals with retirement schemes have less incentive to develop wealth. Swedes have fewer incentives to accumulate weath.

[callout]Doolittle’s law: The minute someone mentions Sweden in an economic argument, you know that they’re analysis is wrong.[/callout]

3) Redistribution that affects one’s family, tribe and culture is one thing. Redistribution that allows a group or class to compete with you is something else. Redistribution that is used for purposes that one objects to is something else entirely. No one is against redistribution. It’s the USE of redistribution that gets people up in arms – whether it’s the concentration of wealth in the hands of a competing minority or class, or redistribution to minorities seeking political power. And they’re right to do so. Homogenous cultures are comfortably redistributive. Heterogeneous cultures aren’t. That’s why multiculturalism fails, and always will fail. One can only have multiculturalism under a political system where there is no means by which competing interests can gain political power, and no matter of redistribution. This is why european cities were multicultural before the advent of democracy and nationalism.

4) Sweden is an outlier. It is a small, genetically homogenous, protestant, ascetic, nordic, resource economy with no border issues that did not experience the second world war. It is an abnormal country. It cannot be compared to heterogeneous countries of much larger size. The cultural comparison at scale is Japan, not the USA. Japan is an island based, racially homogenous ascetic culture.

5) Sweden doesn’t have all that much ‘wealth’ with which to create a distortion. The bigger the economy, the greater the potential for concentration of wealth. Sweden is a small country of 10M people, 85% of whom live in a very dense area, and who benefit from the remainder of the country’s low population density and the ability to export natural resources easily into europe. In the USA we have cities that big – and they are full of tribal and competitive minorities, and complex social class structures competing for political influence in order to demonstrate social status for themselves and their tribes. So, that’s why there isn’t a vast difference in income. It’s because sweden is a small country, it isn’t an empire, it doesn’t have the ability to concentrate capital, it doesn’t have the ability to create liquidity and it has a small market.

6) When comparing the USA to another country you must use the whole of western europe, because that is the degree of diversity in the USA. We live in the Nine Nations of North America. And different nations are not generous to each other. They cannot be. I’m happy to debate this with anyone. But humans cannot build a large country with complex relationships and have high redistribution, unless they want to invite civil war.

7) The evidence is pretty clear. You an live a better life with more choices in the USA for less money if you ‘enter the system’. Entering the system means consumer credit, housing, and working reasonably hard for a living. If you don’t want to ‘enter the system’ you’re going to be in the lower quintiles. It’s pretty simple. Furthermore, It’s terribly expensive to live in Sweden and it takes little research of expat writings to see how few people from the USA want to live there after trying, and inversely, how many swedes come the USA and stay here because of greater economic freedom.

Social status matters because it determines access to opportunity, and access to mates. Status hierarchies are more valuable in-group than across groups, which means that humans will always be naturally racist and anti-culturalist except under two scenarios: a) at the margins where mate selection is advantageous for one or two generations, or b) (as in the UK) where a a social class can gain temporary social status for one or two generations by demonstrating ‘tolerance’.

No data will demonstrate otherwise. And that is what makes good economics. Use of statistics to create ‘errors of aggregation’ and ‘ignoring causality’ in order to intentionally create a false argument is bad economics. Whether bad economics is a a form of fraud and deception, or whether it is immoral, is a matter for someone else to decide. But I’m willing to stipulate that regardless of those potentialities, it’s is simply bad economics.

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Zeus: The One True God. The One True Religion.

So, this silly person sends me a religious diatribe quoting scripture and all manner of other deists as if it’s some scientific and scholarly work that will convince me that it’s the will of god that I do this or that. What I love most about their arguments, is a failure to account for the ‘other gods’. The majority of people worship some ‘other god’. They have some other doctrine. Some other set of social assumptions. Yet they all take on faith that their god is the right one, their prophet the correct one, and their interpretation the best one.

But if we look at the OUTCOME of worshipping a particular god as the measure of any religious philosophy, the LAST god you want to worship is Jehova or his Janus-masked inverse Allah. They’re a near guarantees of social, economic, political, and technological failure. Or the poor Russians, who, because of their trade relationship with Byzantium, the Czar chose Byzantine Christianity over Western Christianity, and forever exacerbated their cultural and economic problems. And under that analysis, the Chinese repression of organized religion is a much wiser strategy than is our convenient and commercially beneficial strategy of “tolerance”.

Now, I’m not anti-christianity by any means. I understand the value of Christian monarchy, and the christian ethos. But I also realize that christianity is european paganism more so than it is biblical.

But you can’t argue with these people using reason. You have to meet them on their turf. It gives them nowhere to do. So I use this kind of argument pretty frequently. It almost always works. And the outcome is almost always humorous:

There is only one true god, and only one true religion.

Zeus. Jupiter. Dios Pater. Dyaus Pitar. Sky Father. Sun God. The God of Indo-European peoples.

His prophets are Homer and Aristotle, his acolytes are the rational philosophers, his ministers lawyers and judges, his clerics are the scientists and technologists, his disciples are the warriors and craftsmen, his laws The Natural Law for men, and Science for the universe.

Their tools are reason, technology, and the transformation of the earth for the benefit of man, in order to make the universe a heaven for man.

Zeus desires only that his children join him, and take their place next to him, among the gods. He asks nothing in return. He only offers wisdom.

The other prophets, the prophets of the false gods, are all dupes of the devil. They do the devil’s bidding. They serve the devil’s ends. They spread the devil’s lies.

Jehova is the devil. He teaches submission. Only the devil wishes submission. Only the devil would wish submission. Submission is the end of man and the beginning of slavery.

Jehova is the devil. The god of the hindus, buddhists, jews and muslims is a god that creates ignorance and poverty. This is the truth that history reveals to us.

Allah is the devil. The god of muslims. He asks submission, and in return, his worshippers live in ignorance, poverty, violence and are the lowest peoples of the earth.

The Hindus, and the Buddha teach followers to ignore the real world. To pretend it does not exist. And they live in poverty and ignorance because of it.

Zeus is the one true god, and reason is the one true religion, and history is the one true mythology, and study and accomplishment are the one true ritual.

We worship Zeus by with our achievements. We listen to his advice. We honor him by raising ourselves from animals to gods.

Only reason, history, study and technology make it possible for man to join the gods, by transforming the real world into heaven.

Only a devil would want man to seek submission and ignorance.

Jehova is the devil in disguise. Selling the slavery of ignorance and pover under the ruse of false salvation and submission.

Zeus seeks nothing in exchange. Jehova has nothing to trade. Allah has nothing to offer but ignorance.

Hail Odin! Zeus! Jupiter! Dios Pater! Dyaus Pitar! Sky Father! Sun God!

((Thanks to the Monliari Society for inspiration.))

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Just To Play Fair..

I argue that anarchic propertarianism is a brilliant and fruitful research program. But it is, as currently envisioned, another luddite fantasy rather than an institutional solution to modernity that can compete with democratic secular humanism and irrational financial probabilism. Until we unite Austrianism with New Institutional Economics with modern technology we will not have a rational pragmatic alternative that preserves freedom.