Uncategorized

The Value of Hoppe's Anarcho Capitalist Research Program

Dear libertarian(s)

Some of your statements trouble me, because we need passionate and articulate advocacy of libertarianism. And you’re clearly a passionate and articulate advocate. But it’s better if all of us are the best quality advocates possible, so that we reduce internal friction as wasted effort, and direct it elsewhere where it can be more benefit to liberty.

As Caplan has recently argued, Libertarians tend to behave as moral specialists. The cause of this behavior is the libertarian sentiment – the bias against coercion, and the forced sacrifice of opportunity that causes no loss either directly or by externality. But the problem with sentimental and moral arguments is that they since they ARE intuitive, and intuition is limited to whatever it is that we have mastered by experience.

In order to agree with Bastiat and Hayek (which, like you I do) we must also intuit that they are morally correct. But that we intuit that they are correct is not sufficient to argue apodeictically (rationally) or scientifically (empirically) that they are correct independent of that intuition.

[callout]…prior to Hoppe and Rothbard, the classical liberal … program had failed to produce a … rational, analytical argument for liberty that was anywhere near the argumentative depth and veracity of marxism.[/callout]

To understand the contributions of the Anarcho-Capistalist movement, of Rothbard and Hoppe to the advance of liberty, libertarian ethics, and libertarian institutions, we need only appreciate that prior to Hoppe and Rothbard, the classical liberal (libertarian) program had failed to produce a non-intuitive, rational, analytical argument for liberty that was anywhere near the argumentative depth and veracity of marxism. Had it not been for Rothbard and Hoppe in ethics and Friedman in Economics, and Hayek in politics the world might be a very different place.

It is arguable that the conservative intellectual program has been a failure even if the political program has been a strategic success. And conversely, our intellectual program has been a success, but by empirical standards, a political failure.

The reason we have failed is Rothbard’s ‘ghetto’ ethics are not only intuitively insufficient for the majority who possess classical liberal ethics – they are intuitively reprehensible to them. And for an intuitive system of ethics to evoke intuitively negative emotions is politically problematic. It’s a non-starter. And for us it has been.

[callout]What is it that conservatives cannot rationally articulate or empirically demonstrate, but ‘sells’, and what what is it about our ethics we can rationally articulate but cannot sell? [/callout]

If we again look at what the conservatives have accomplished by focusing entirely on the moral sentiments, and not on ratio-scientific argument, it’s instructive. What is it that conservatives cannot rationally articulate or empirically demonstrate, but ‘sells’, and what what is it about our ethics we can rationally articulate but cannot sell?

I think I know that answer: and it is what is missing from Rothbardian and Anarcho capitalist ethics. Rothbard gave us the ethics of the ghetto – an ethic of rebellion. He did not give us the ethics of the high trust society – the aristocratic egalitarian, Christian, Protestant ethic of the high trust society, in which symmetry of knowledge is mandated by warranty, and externality is prohibited by morality and law.

While the Anarcho Capitalist program is certainly incomplete (I would like to complete it), it is the only advance in political theory that is substantive in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Rothbard reduced all rights to property rights. And he restated history to demonstrate that assertion. It was a fundamental insight, and provided us with an analytical language for responding to marxists. But his analysis of the scope of those rights is artificially narrow, and he provided us with no institutional means of obtaining or holding those rights – possibly because he could not solve the problem of institutions. I am extremely critical of Rothbard for these reasons, because he gave us both an insufficient definition of what is moral, and what is essentially a toothless voluntary religion to hold it with.

Hoppe has explained to us the incentives of why democracy fails, and why monarchy succeeded. He has tried to give us institutions that will provide services without monopoly bureaucracy, or even legislative law. Hoppe solved the problem of institutions – at least in a homogenous polity – and he did it in rigorous language.

He did not solve the problem of heterogeneous polities. (I think I may have, but I am not sure yet.) Neither of these insights were minimal in impact. Rothbard effectively made ethics non-arbitrary, and Hoppe provided a means of ethical governance. Both of them did this by eliminating the monopoly power of government.

Hoppe’s weaknesses are a) he relies argumentatively on rational rather than ratio-scientific arguments, which while I might argue are functionally correct, are causally weak, and we now have the ratio-scientific evidence to prove them without relying on complex (and nearly indefensible) rational arguments alone. b) That he is excessively fawning of Rothbard, for personally legitimate reasons – but that Rothbard is sufficiently tainted by the failure of his moral arguments to hinder Hoppe’s legacy, and his arguments. c) Style issues are those of politically active moralism against Marxists. His native german prose only lends itself to anglo articulation after he has reduced it through repetition. He uncomfortably peppers it with unnecessary ridicule as did Rothbard – which I have been consistently critical of, and which he has slowly laundered from his formal works, but not his speech – because it is in fact highly entertaining to audiences.

These are problems of argumentative method alone, not of intellectual contribution. Hoppe has given us solutions to serious political problems that are two and a half millennia old. That he did so in the language of his time is something to be acknowledged, but the results simply appreciated for the visionary insights that they are.

[callout]…just because we agree with something, and we intuit it, is meaningless, since that is exactly what the people on the other pole of the moral spectrum inuit. Intuitions must be defensible.[/callout]

We cannot say that one is rationally or scientifically arguing for something without a rational or scientific argument. The fact that we are moral specialists, and rely upon moral arguments, and moral arguments that are intuitive to us, may in fact, suggest that our intuitions are correct, if and only if we can ALSO support those intuitions with rational, scientific and institutional solutions. Otherwise, the fact that we intuit liberty to be something moral, is merely an accident of evolutionary biology and nothing meaningful can be said about it.

So I would caution you, and most libertarians, who are, in fact, sentimental, rather than rational, ratio-scientific, and institutionally empirical, advocates, that just because we agree with something, and we intuit it, is meaningless, since that is exactly what the people on the other pole of the moral spectrum inuit. Intuitions must be defensible.

So while I assume you agree with Bob Murphy (who is our best economist) and Bastiat (who is the father of our institutional rhetoric), I would argue that you correctly intuit classical liberal ethics of the high trust society. In this sense you are superior in intuition to Rothbardian intuitionists.

However, we must also acknowledge that the classical liberal political system failed upon the introduction of women and non-property owners into enfranchisement. This is because those without property hold very different ethics – if ethics can be used to describe them. And the female reproductive strategy is to bear children and place the burden of their upkeep on the tribe (society). Private property was an innovation, that allowed males to once again take control of reproductive strategy, and the marriage that resulted from that innovation was a truce between the male and female strategies. A truce that feminists and socialists, and communists, and those that lack property, all seek to break. Private Property and the nuclear family, and the high trust ethic are both politically indivisible. And the classical liberal program cannot survive in their absence.

And no one else has provided us with a solution to this problem other than the feminists and socialists – who which to destroy private property, and the anarcho capitalists, who wish to preserve our freedom, and property.

And as far as I know, I am the only libertarian who is trying to solve the problem of freedom in the absence of the nuclear family that functioned as a uniform reproductive order now that we are in the order of production we call the industrial and technical age.

So these are not questions of sentimental intuition, or belief, or morality. They are questions of institutional, philosophical, and argumentative solutions to the problem of cooperation when the agrarian order of the nuclear and extended family has been replaced by the individualistic and familially diverse.

Political theory is not a trivial pursuit.

Cheers
Curt Doolittle
Kiev.

Uncategorized

A Critique Of The Anarchic Program Compared To The Intuitive and Conservative Programs

Dear libertarian(s)

Some of your statements trouble me, because we need passionate and articulate advocacy of libertarianism. And you’re clearly a passionate and articulate advocate. But it’s better if all of us are the best quality advocates possible, so that we reduce internal friction as wasted effort, and direct it elsewhere where it can be more benefit to liberty.

As Caplan has recently argued, Libertarians tend to behave as moral specialists. The cause of this behavior is the libertarian sentiment – the bias against coercion, and the forced sacrifice of opportunity that causes no loss either directly or by externality. But the problem with sentimental and moral arguments is that they since they ARE intuitive, and intuition is limited to whatever it is that we have mastered by experience.

In order to agree with Bastiat and Hayek (which, like you I do) we must also intuit that they are morally correct. But that we intuit that they are correct is not sufficient to argue apodeictically (rationally) or scientifically (empirically) that they are correct independent of that intuition.

To understand the contributions of the Anarcho-Capistalist movement, of Rothbard and Hoppe to the advance of liberty, libertarian ethics, and libertarian institutions, we need only appreciate that prior to Hoppe and Rothbard, the classical liberal (libertarian) program had failed to produce a non-intuitive, rational, analytical argument for liberty that was anywhere near the argumentative depth and veracity of marxism. Had it not been for Rothbard and Hoppe in ethics and Friedman in Economics, and Hayek in politics the world might be a very different place.

It is arguable that the conservative intellectual program has been a failure even if the political program has been a strategic success. And conversely, our intellectual program has been a success, but by empirical standards, a political failure.

The reason we have failed is Rothbard’s ‘ghetto’ ethics are not only intuitively insufficient, to the majority who possess classical liberal ethics. The are intuitively reprehensible to them. And for an intuitive system of ethics to evoke intuitively negative emotions is politically problematic. It’s a non-starter. And for us it has been. If we again look at what the conservatives have accomplished by focusing entirely on the moral sentiments, and not the ratio-scientific argument, it’s instructive. What is it that conservatives cannot rationally articulate or empirically demonstrate, but ‘sells’, and what what is it about our ethics we can rationally articulate but cannot sell? I think I know that answer: and it is what is missing from Rothbardian and Anarcho capitalist ethics. Rothbard gave us the ethics of the ghetto – an ethic of rebellion. He did not give us the ethics of the high trust society – the aristocratic egalitarian, Christian, Protestant ethic of the high trust society, in which symmetry of knowledge is mandated by warranty, and externality is prohibited by morality and law.

While the Anarcho Capitalist program is certainly incomplete (I would like to complete it), it is the only advance in political theory that is substantive in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Rothbard reduced all rights to property rights. And he restated history to demonstrate that assertion. It was a fundamental insight, and provided us with an analytical language for responding to marxists. But his analysis of the scope of those rights is artificially narrow, and he provided us with no institutional means of obtaining or holding those rights – possibly because he could not solve the problem of institutions. I am extremely critical of Rothbard for these reasons, because he gave us both an insufficient definition of what is moral, and what is essentially a toothless voluntary religion to hold it with. Hoppe has explained to us the incentives of why democracy fails, and why monarchy succeeded. He has tried to give us institutions that will provide services without monopoly bureaucracy, or even legislative law. Hoppe solved the problem of institutions – at least in a homogenous polity – and he did it in rigorous language. He did not solve the problem of heterogeneous polities. (I think I may have, but I am not sure yet.) Neither of these insights were minimal in impact. Rothbard effectively made ethics non-arbitrary, and Hoppe provided a means of ethical governance. Both of them did this by eliminating the monopoly power of government.

Hoppe’s weaknesses are a) c) he relies argumentatively on rational rather than ratio-scientific arguments, which while I might argue are functionally correct, are causally weak, and we now have the ratio-scientific evidence to prove them without relying on complex (and nearly indefensible) rational arguments alone. b) That he is excessively fawning of Rothbard, for personally legitimate reasons – but that Rothbard is sufficiently tainted by the failure of his moral arguments to hinder Hoppe’s legacy, and his arguments. c) Style issues are those of politically active moralism against Marxists. His native german prose only lends itself to anglo articulation after he has reduced it through repetition. He uncomfortably peppers it with unnecessary ridicule as did Rothbard – which I have been consistently critical of, and which he has slowly laundered from his formal works, but not his speech – because it is in fact highly entertaining to audiences.

These are problems of argumentative method alone, not of intellectual contribution. Hoppe has given us solutions to serious political problems that are two and a half millennia old. That he did so in the language of his time is something to be acknowledged, but the results simply appreciated for the visionary insights that they are.

We cannot say that one is rationally or scientifically arguing for something without a rational or scientific argument. The fact that we are moral specialists, and rely upon moral arguments, and moral arguments that are intuitive to us, may in fact, suggest that our intuitions are correct, if and only if we can ALSO support those intuitions with rational, scientific and institutional solutions. Otherwise, the fact that we intuit liberty to be something moral, is merely an accident of evolutionary biology and nothing meaningful can be said about it.

So I would caution you, and most libertarians, who are, in fact, sentimental, rather than rational, ratio-scientific, and institutionally empirical, advocates, that just because we agree with something, and we intuit it, is meaningless, since that is exactly what the people on the other pole of the moral spectrum inuit. Intuitions must be defensible.

So while I assume you agree with Bob Murphy (who is our best economist) and Bastiat (who is the father of our institutional rhetoric), I would argue that you correctly intuit classical liberal ethics of the high trust society. In this sense you are superior in intuition to Rothbardian intuitionists.

However, we must also acknowledge that the classical liberal political system failed upon the introduction of women and non-property owners into enfranchisement. This is because those without property hold very different ethics – if ethics can be used to describe it, And the female reproductive strategy is to bear children and place the burden of their upkeep on the tribe (society). Private property was an innovation, that allowed males to once again take control of reproductive strategy, and the marriage that resulted from that innovation was a truce between the male and female strategies. A truce that feminists and socialists, and communists, and those that lack property, all seek to break. Private Property and the nuclear family, and the high trust ethic are both politically indivisible. And the classical liberal program cannot survive in their absence.

And no one else has provided us with a solution to this problem other than the feminists and socialists – who which to destroy private property, and the anarcho capitalists, who wish to preserve our freedom, and property.

And as far as I know, I am the only libertarian who is trying to solve the problem of freedom in the absence of the nuclear family as a uniform reproductive order in the order of production we call the industrial and technical age.

So these are not questions of sentimental intuition, or belief, or morality. They are questions of institutional, philosophical, and argumentative solutions to the problem of cooperation when the agrarian order of the nuclear and extended family has been replaced by the individualistic and familially diverse.

Political theory is not a trivial pursuit.

Cheers
Curt Doolittle
Kiev.

Uncategorized

The Necessity, Virtue And Morality Of Organized Violence

THE SOURCE OF PROPERTY: THE NECESSITY, VIRTUE AND MORALITY OF ORGANIZED VIOLENCE

I (we) may not be able to coerce you into accepting freedom – individual monopoly of control over property obtained by voluntary exchange production or homesteading – as a superior form of cooperation to all other forms of cooperation. But you may not coerce me (us) into abandoning freedom as our preferred, committed, required, demanded and threatened form of cooperation.

THE SOURCE OF PROPERTY IS VIOLENCE

The source of property is the use of violence to create, obtain, and protect it.
Only those who performed militial service created private property.
Only those who performed militial service obtained private property.
Only those who perform militial service will keep private property.

A militia is a voluntary alliance of property owners whose common interest is the preservation of private property rights. A militia is not the same as an army, any more than freedom is the same as liberty. You create freedom by using violence. You request or desire liberty from someone else.

The purpose of a libertarian government is to create private property through the organized application of violence to create it. And libertarian pacifists and moralists are in fact the reason we are losing it.

VIOLENCE IS A VIRTUE.
Violence is a virtue not a vice. If all rights are property rights. If property defines morality, then violence to create property is the first moral action upon which all other morality rests.

We should encourage the mastery of violence in all men at all times, and the exercise of violence by all men at all times, in the defense of property rights, the highest form of morality that a man can display.

Because by acts of violence to preserve property he pays the highest contribution to morality possible.

Defense of property does not require words. It requires actions.

FREEDOM IS SYNONYMOUS WITH MILITIA
The only free people are, and must be, a people whose government is a militia, and whose resolution of disputes over property is decided by judges using the single rule of private property as their criteria for adjudication. A militia is synonymous with enfranchisement. No one else has paid for his or her right of property. They merely free ride on the expenses of others.

Therefore, political democracy is synonymous with militial participation. No other meaning is possible. All other attributions are acts of theft by fraud.

Militial participation requires no more than the personal use of violence to protect property rights. The use of the militia is to create and preserve property rights. The use of judges is to resolve conflicts without violence. The use of democratic government is not to create laws, but to create physical commons. The use of public intellectuals, is to carry on the public debate over which commons we may choose to invest in, and which not. The use of ‘religion’ and literature is to teach us these necessary and immutable laws of human cooperation so that we never forget them – and by forgetting them lose our freedom.

You cannot obtain the right of private property at a discount. It is an extremely costly right to possess. It is an extremely costly right to maintain. Those who attempt to gain freedom – property – at a discount, will obtain an inferior product to those who pay for a better one. And the only currency of freedom -property – is violence.

Be armed. Be willing. Be vigilant. And Act.

—–
Curt Doolittle
Kiev, 2013
“Putting violence back into liberty one sentence at a time.”

Uncategorized

Property Rights And Taxes As Loans

(ironic humor)

The exchange of free riding, fraud, theft and violence for property rights functions as an involuntary loan of the opportunity to consume by way of free riding, fraud, theft and violence, on the unproductive. In exchange for which, at some later time, they receive the service of less toil, lower prices and greater variation, and freedom from slavery.

Under democracy, the unproductive tax the income of the productive, so that the unproductive receive the same benefit as if they were productive.

The problem is that the productive need the unproductive to have money to spend, in order to maintain momentum (velocity) in the economy, from which the productive benefit.

So as long as the tax money of the productive is given to consumers, and not the government, and not to competing social interests, it’s a necessary and reasonable exchange of value – instead of a forced loan of free riding, fraud, theft and violence from the unproductive for the purpose of consumption, it’s a forced loan from the productive to the consumer.

Now, if the productive could SAVE enough that when they got off the hamster wheel of velocity, that they could maintain their standard of living, I kind of think that this system works in a sort of madcap kind of way. I don’t like it very much. Because the hamster wheel is really risky for entrepreneurs. And I don’t want to suppress the lottery effect. that drives innovation under capitalism. But it might be possible to solve the problem of rewarding entrepreneurship differently from investment and lending.

I think, if I work a little bit more at this I can explain it all in moral language that average ‘folk’ can understand. ‘Cause the language of man is morality not empiricism.

The world we have made is a hysterically funny place.