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Rendering Rothbardian Fallacies Intellectually Embarrassing And Argumentatively Impossible

(intellectual arms dealing) (retaking the brand of liberty from the lunatic fringe)

[R]othbardians are relying upon and spreading numerous fallacies: (a) the fallacy of the NAP/IVP as the moral and legal basis for an anarchic polity, (b) the fallacy of aggression rather than the necessity of trust, (c) and the fallacies of the origin of property rights as either intrinsic or augmentative, (d) and the fallacy that economics is aprioristic rather than empirical and operational.

And because of these fallacies, all Rothbardians – and in practice, all anarcho-libertarians who subscribe to these fallacies – expend politically wasted effort themselves, distract from more productive efforts of others, perpetuate ideas that have been demonstrated to fail in the market for political preference, materially harmed the brand of liberty, and hindered our possibility of obtaining liberty by confusion, misdirection and delay. Rothbardian ethics are objectively immoral under rational analysis, and the market has deemed them immoral by experience, consideration and intuition. All forward motion on liberty has been toward classical liberalism and classical liberal ethics, and decidedly against rothbardian ethics – contrary to the claims of rothbardians.

Since libertarian leaders have worked for and achieved a cult language and cult status that is insulated from criticism and innovation by faith in these principles; then the only alternative is to make rothbardian and misesian arguments intellectually embarrassing, and argumentatively impossible to use in public discourse, by arming opponents with the means to defeat them.

At the very least this will limit the damage that they can do. But it will also cleanse the liberty movement, and the brand name ‘libertarian’ of its acquired continental and cosmopolitan absurdity, and allow classical liberals, aristocratic egalitarians, and private government advocates, all of whom advocate for high trust societies, to return the discourse on liberty to rational, empirical, and historical grounds.


-free riding vs natural rights-
1) Upon agreeing to cooperate, one takes upon the moral hazard of free riding. Free riding is an logical antagonist to cooperation. If free riding is present, then it is not logical to cooperate. Property emerged prior to economic production as a prohibition on free riding prior to the division of labor and most likely as monogamy. The property rights constitute a precise, positive legal articulation of the general negative necessity of preventing free riding such that cooperation is a rational choice.

– minimum necessary set of property rights-
2) The minimum necessary prohibitions on free riding include both the criminal and the ethical, with the option for negotiation on the moral. Otherwise transaction costs are too high for the rational choice of an anarchic polity over an authoritarian one. No ingroup polity of any kind exists without inclusively criminal, ethical, and moral prohibitions. It is possible to construct a federation of polities, as the medieval monarchies demonstrated, wherein cooperation between factions is limited to low trust – enforcement of merely criminal prohibitions – but it is not possible to form a voluntary polity without prohibition of at least criminal and ethical, if not some modicum of moral prohibitions. People demonstrate that they will demand an authority to suppress immoral action, or to mandate universal moral behavior, if the common law does not provide a means of preventing immoral behavior. (Where immoral behavior constitutes an involuntary transfer of costs by moral hazard, most commonly in the form of free riding.) In other words, the jewish quarter and the transient gypsies can only survive if they constitute small minorities at the will of an omnipotent host ruler – which we saw under both byzantine, muslim and aristocratic european societies. That is not liberty. That is merely a form of tolerance used to reduce costs.

– the NAP/ISV is insufficient in scope for the formation of a voluntary polity –
3) The NAP under ISV only prohibits criminal, but not unethical or immoral or conspiratorial, or conquest behaviors. For this reason it is insufficient basis for the discipline of cooperation: ethics and morality, and as basis for the institution of law: the definition of property rights.

Instead, property rights must address all ethical and moral conflicts that are necessary to eliminate market demand for authoritarian intervention. And since all objective moral arguments and corresponding property definitions, consist of involuntary transfers that violate the prohibition on free riding, we can construct no libertarian argument against it.

Unless the scope of prohibitions on free riding is sufficient, transaction costs render demand for the state preferable to demand for liberty.

-the degree of trust determines economic velocity: wealth-
4) Secure, and extensive Property rights, that suppress free riding, such that all are required to contribute to production, rather than survive off of parasitism, create trust: the ability to take risks, and to increase the velocity of production and trade, by reducing transaction costs.

The level of trust corresponds directly to the degree of suppression of free riding created by the scope of prohibition of property rights, enforceable under law.

The economic velocity of an economy corresponds directly to the degree of trust formed in a polity by the legal enforcement of property rights.

-Mises’ legacy is that he failed to produce a constructivist argument-
4) During the late nineteenth century a movement to prevent a newly emergent form of logical mysticism (platonism) emerged under various names: intuitionistic and constructivist mathematics, operationalism in science, various linguistic movements in logic, and misesian praxeology in economics.

All of these movements correctly intuited some problem with the emerging platonic concept of truth, but failed to accomplish it. This is because, constructive proof, correspondent proof (testing) and correspondent hardening (falsification) were not understood as ethical prohibitions on truth claims – and that truth was performative. That the act of testimony required demonstration of construction (internal consistency) demonstrating knowledge of construction, in addition to correspondence (external correspondence which demonstrates knowledge of use), and attempted falsification (demonstrating knowledge of durability).

Mises intuited correctly, like intellectuals in other fields, that something was erroneous with the work of positivist (correlative, but not causal) economists. But he failed to grasp that praxeology was a problem of empirical observation, reduction to operations, testing those operations by sympathetic experience, before one could make a truth claim about any economic phenomenon.

Mises simply failed. He failed worse than the advocates of operationalism and intuitionism. Who only failed to overcome objections. But his failure was compounded by the fact that had he correctly identified the problem of performative truth – that the constraint upon economic statements was one of testimony (truth telling), rather than deduction from first principles, it is possible that the leaders of other fields would have understood their predicament, and correctly distinguished between performative truth, constructive truth, correspondent truth, and ultimate truth.

-praxeology is both an empirical, and an ethical constraint-
5) As such, praxeology, whether we constaint it to action (rational action), cooperation (ethics), or economics (the voluntary organization of production) is a scientific process like all other epistemic processes, where we make observations, construct a theory, test it for proof of correspondence, falsify it for proof of durability, test our knowledge of construction for proof construction, and testify that we have proofs of correspondence, falsification, construction, and therefore possess the ethical right to make a truth claim. Once we have made such a claim we have a theory. If we, as all specialists, cannot find a means of falsifying it, then we have a law.

All empirical concepts must follow this process. All technological innovation must follow this process. All acts of production must follow this process. All pursuit of knowledge must follow this process.

(Note: I am not sure if falsification is a test of parsimony or not. I think that may be the correct terminology – or something close.)

-Conflation of Theoretically Descriptive Science with Axiomatically Prescriptive Logic-
6) The conflation of theoretical systems which are limited to their correspondence to reality, and axiomatic systems which are limited only to their statements. Theoretical systems consist of descriptive statements constrained by reality, and axiomatic systems consist of *prescriptive* statements, not constrained by reality. Mises claim that economics is both aprioristic, axiomatic and scientific is by definition a pseudoscientific statement, since the definition of a science is that which adheres to the scientific method. Models may be constructed by axiomatic declarations, but any correspondence with reality requires that we accept that those axiomatic declarations, constitute analogies to theoretical descriptions whose basis is always empirical.

-Analysis of human behavior is an empirical pursuit-
7) Praxeology (the study of action) , The Logic of Cooperation (the study of ethics), and Economics (the study of the voluntary organization of production) meet the criteria for empirical sciences, under which, through observation, we can reduce to hypothesis, theory and law.

And with these laws we can construct axioms, for use in models, which function as logical instruments that allow us to contemplate what our limited cognitive abilities cannot contemplate without the use of various logical instruments: language, narrative, Operationalism, logic, numbers, mathematics.

We can then test the truth of these axioms operationally and attempt to deduce whether it is possible for rational actors to perform according to the hypothesis, theory and law. If we cannot operationally describe those actions, and validate them through sympathetic experience as being rational, then they are not true. (This is the technique used in intuitionist mathematics.)

-constancy of relations vs arbitrary precision-
While cooperative relations are inconstant, and arguably each action is unique, patterns of relations are not inconstant and unique, and because of chaotic distribution of information, information, incentives and actions (changes in state) organically distribute (evolve) at different rates. Therefore we can predict trends of patterns, but not individual actions, any more than we can predict the position of any given physical entity at the subatomic level.

That we cannot predict anything other than as a probability over a given period of time, does not render something unobservable, or unscientific. We need only be able to demonstrate that in fact, regularity exists at some given level of precision over some period of time. That is what determines whether a deductive statement is expressible as an hypothesis, theory or law: whether we can determine some regularity at some **scale** – some level of precision. Infinite precision is not possible, but the standard of precision is determined by the maximum utility we can obtain at the minimum level of regularity we can observe and describe.

This constitutes “the problem of arbitrary precision”: General rules (theories) require us to adopt the available level of precision. Pure mathematics uses completely arbitrary precision, which is why it scales infinitely. But once we apply any general mathematical rule, to any particular description of reality, we include the necessary level of precision in the context. Machining valve, sawing a 2×4, navigating a ship, navigating an interplanetary satellite, and measuring the distance to the farthest observable object require different levels of precision, and we can only achieve certain levels of precision. That does not mean we cannot perform those operations using the same mathematics. It merely means we must apply contextual precision.

-the scope of newton’s laws-
Newton’s laws for example, and geometry for that matter, remain constant at human scale. But at very large and very small scale, due to the problems of velocity and immeasurability these rules fail. There are no universal statements expressible as operations that are not reductio fallacies. All hypotheses, theories and laws are subject to increases in precision or loss of utility by replacement with other hypotheses theories and laws.

-the unpredictability of gasses-
We cannot predict the course of any particular molecule when releasing a gas, but that does not mean that we cannot predict the overall distribution of molecules upon their release, and the rate of its dispersion.

-the neutrality of money-
We argue that money is neutral, but only over long and unpredictable periods of time. Is that an empirical question, or a logical one? We can deduce it, and it appears logical, but is our evidence sufficient to consider it a Law, Theory or Hypothesis. At present it is merely an hypothesis. But it is certainly not a law.

-the minimum wage-
We argue that minimum wage increases unemployment. Is that a logical or empirical question but it does not increase unemployment for all of those employed, and it occurs over unpredictable periods of time.

-emergent phenomenon: the stickiness of prices-
We did not deduce that prices would be as sticky as they are. We discovered it empirically – by observation. Is the stickiness of prices sufficient to meet the standard of hypothesis, theory or law? At present it is a theory that is widely accepted.

-the non-deducibility of emergent phenomenon-
We cannot deduce nor have we deduced emergent economic phenomenon. We can validate economic propositions deductively by reducing them to a series of actions, each of which is subject to sympathetic experience, and as such open to a subjective test of rationality. But that too is an empirical test. We observe and sense our reactions.

ARGUMENTATION (I don’t state this well enough yet)
-The fallacy of argumentation ethics-
8) Argumentation Ethics are fallacious because the choice of the strong is always between the use of violence to obtain what one desires, or the value of voluntary exchange, or boycott of worthless interactions.

Human choice is always ternary: violence, cooperation or boycott, and never, under any condition, reduced to the binary choice of cooperation or boycott – argumentative contradiction is a fallacy since and agreement to temporarily cooperate on a given scope is merely utilitarian, and conveys nothing beyond the matter in question.

Whereas, a contract for cooperation consists of a gamble that long term cooperation will be more beneficial, even if it results in various profits and losses. Numerous authors have stated similar arguments in non operational means. But Operationalism tells us that argumentation is empty – because we never surrender our violence, and as such never enter into a contradiction, merely demonstrate a preference.

Curt Doolittle
The Philosophy of Aristocracy
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev Ukraine.


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