- Aristocratic Reading List : Doolittle’s List
- Richard Duchesne’s Cited Works (TUOWC)
- Ralph Raico’s References on The European Miracle
- The Conservative Reading List
- Human Biodiversity Reading List
- The Library Of The Dark Enlightenment
- The Dark Enlightenment Reading List
- Anarcho Capitalism : Hoppe’s List
- Liberty: David Gordon’s List
- Lew Rockwell’s Liberty Reading List
- On Debate
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.
Economic reasoning would argue that people follow incentives.
The incentives of scientists are to prosecute an idea regardless of its merit.
Science does not progress because scientists are self aware, or because they employ rational criticism and judgement. (Although I think this criticism applies to the 90% at the bottom more so than the 10% at the top.)
Science advances because either another’s career advance is obtained by discrediting an existing idea, or because its author dies and can no longer defend it from, or adapt it to, criticism.
For these reasons, requesting that scientists demonstrate "understanding" of the philosophy of science is overrated – unless incentives exist to enforce that understanding.
Since it is not in a scientist’s interest to use critical rationalism, it is very hard to imagine they will.
Philosophers are primarily cops: critics and articulators of what we humans say and do but do not fully understand. And honestly we are rarely inventors. And we function as critics of scientists, since it is in our interests to obtain status by criticizing scientists.
A scientist collects data and forms hypotheses. We collect arguments in support of hypotheses and criticize those arguments. That is our incentive: it is our specialization. Not data collection: criticism.
But it is patently irrational to expect scientists alone to demontrate behaviors counter to their incentives.
It’s a division of knowledge and labor in real time.
And we are supposed to be the rational ones after all.
Draft of the principles of the libertarian reformation.
1) Our generation’s challenge is not socialism, it’s the state religion of anti-scientific, anti-rational Postmodernism. (The religion of progressivism.) The dogma, literature, and ideological bias of the libertarian movement is a generation behind. Emphasis on past heroes is not constructive or valuable. It is indicative of the failure to produce successful solutions to the communalist adaptation to the failure of socialism in theory and practice: Postmodernism.
2) Government per se, is not a ‘bad’. What’s ‘bad’ is the corporeal state, monopoly, bureaucracy, majority rule, and legislative law. When we fail to make this distinction we are in fact, ‘wrong’. A government that consists of a monopolistically articulated set of property rights and the terms of dispute resolution, operating under the common law, and a group of people whose purpose is to facilitate investments in the commons by voluntary contract, but who cannot make legislative law, is in fact, a government. And it is a good government. It may not be necessary government among people with homogenous preferences and beliefs. But it is somewhere between necessary and beneficial government for people with heterogeneous preferences and beliefs. It is however, not a bad government. A monopoly set of property rights is necessary for the rational resolution of disputes, with the lowest friction possible.
3) Property is unnatural to man. Tribal human settlement is matrilineal, egalitarian, malthusian and poor. Mate selection is determined by sexual favors within the group, and raiding, capturing and killing for women outside the group whenever there was a shortage of women.
4) Property rights and paternalism were an innovation made possible by the domestication of animals and the ability of males to accumulate wealth outside of the matrilineal order. Property rather than sexual favors was such an advantage that it inverted the relationship between the sexes and determined mate selection. (The feminists are correct.)
5) Property rights were created by a minority who granted equality of property rights to one another in exchange for service in warfare. The source of property rights is the organized application of violence to create those property rights. Because property rights are the desire of the minority. However, property rights created such an increase in prosperity and consumption that others sought to join the ranks of property owners.
6) The redistributive state that was voted into power by women, has reversed the innovation of private property and in concert with feminists, is eroding the nuclear family, and the male ability to collect property. The institutions of marriage, nuclear family, and private property cannot survive when a democratic majority can deprive men of private property rights, and their ability to control mating and reproduction.
7 ) Rothbardian Libertarian ethics are ‘insufficient’. The high trust society forbids involuntary transfers by externality and asymmetry of information, and enforces this demand with a requirement for warranty. The ethics of the high trust society forbid all involuntary transfers except through competition in the market. They also boycott although they do not forbid, profit without demonstrated addition of value.
8 ) Rothbardian ethics are wrong (and bad): The market incentives alone are not high enough to overcome corruption, and create the high trust society without these two additional moral prohibitions instituted both formally and as norms: norms are a commons. They are property. Conservatives are right. “Externality and Symmetry Enforced By Warranty” are ethical constraints necessary for markets to function as the only permissible involuntary transfer: by competition in the market.
9 ) Libertarians do not exist in sufficient numbers. And it is not possible to enfranchise the conservatives (classical liberals) with Rothbardian ‘ghetto’ ethics. Without conservatives, who have the broader set of moral biases, and demand for adherence to norms, the libertarian bias is morally objectionable to too large a population, and libertarians are too small in number to accumulate and hold the power necessary to determine property rights in a geography. It’s important to understand that Rothbardian ethics are ‘wrong’ because they are insufficient to achieve what they claim to.
(Contrary to Searle’s nonsense. More in line with Bentham’s nonsense. Minor improvement to Hoppe. )
You DEMAND contractual RIGHTS in EXCHANGE for entering into a CONTRACT with others for some specific terms – and in the libertarian bias we demand absolute private property rights, and the right of first possession by transformation and homesteading.
Other people agree to NONE, SOME or ALL of those demands, in exchange for their specific terms. Non-aggressing on some terms, and preserving the opportunity to aggress on others.
One cannot ‘have rights’ without the presence of others to grant them in exchange.
i ) One can suggest the world will be better for all if we grant each other certain rights.
ii ) One can ‘demand rights’ in order for cooperation instead of conflict.
iii ) One can ‘need and require necessary’ rights from others in order to survive.
But without the consent of others, one cannot ‘have or possess’ them.
The majority of the world cultures and subcultures evolved an allocation of each’s portfolio of property rights between the private and the commons on one axis, and between a) normative (habits, manners, ethics and morals), b) real (land, built capital, portable property, and c) artificial (intellectual property, limited monopoly privileges) on the other axis.
Those DEMANDS do you very little good without the ability to enforce your demands. In the case of private property, the coalition of statists is powerful enough to deny you demands, and force you to adhere to THEIR definition of property rights.
Might doesn’t make best.
Might doesn’t make right.
Might makes possible whatever property rights you have demanded.
So you must possess the might to institute the property rights you desire.
Why on earth, would you assume, that ethical principles must assume we agree upon ends? Seriously? Why is it that the study of ethics assumes that there are optimum ends for all? That’s, really, ABSURD on it’s face, isn’t it? I mean. That’s ridiculous. Why not that ethics agree upon means, but not ends? Is ‘group think’ or ‘group-ness’ such an instinct? I think not. I think it is fear of making the wrong decision about which group to belong to. Or simply a cover for theft…
We have spent millennia now trying to apply the rules of the family and extended family and tribe to the market, and to justify takings, and thefts and redistributions so that there can be a monopoly of ethical statements. But that’s not necessary. The market doesn’t require that at all. We cooperate on means, but not ends. We don’t even largely know wo we’re cooperating with. The same is true in banking. We don’t know what use our money is put to. We cooperate with people in exchange for interest.
The market, and banking, are institutions that help us cooperate on means even if not on ends.
If we instead of monopolies imposing homogeneity via law (commands), our institutions relied upon the voluntary exchange of property (contracts) between GROUPS with different property rights internal to the groups, but consistent across the groups, then
Law and monopoly are means of one class forcing another class. Democracy is an attempt to legitimize forcing transfers between classes. But why can’t our classes conduct exchanges?
There isn’t any reason.
Classical Liberalism cannot be restored with women in the voting pool. Property rights can’t be restored with women voting. It’s not possible. Marriage cannot be restored with high participation rates of women in the work force. Birth rates can’t be restored with women in high participation in the work place. Intergenerational saving can’t be restored because of social programs and tax rates for intergenerational redistribution – boomers spent their income and their grandchildren’s. Immigration can’t be reversed so cultural identity, and civic participation can’t be recreated. Growth can’t be restored with the globalization of the work force. We have consumed much of the low hanging fruit of industrialization and work force participation.
Progressives are philosophically wrong, historically and empirically wrong, and conservatives and libertarians are living under the illusion of putting the genie back into the bottle.
But, we have developed new institutions before. We’re going to have to do it again. But those institutions will not include universally homogenous property rights. They can’t. Because property rights correspond to the moral intuitions of those that make use of them, and males and females have competing reproductive strategies and corresponding moral codes. In male terms, women are immoral, and vice-versa.
Marriage was a truce that worked during agrarianism. That truce is over. We’re back at war. And women have the numbers on their side.
Property is the product of the organized application of violence by a minority willing to create it. Property isn’t a moral preference of the majority. The majority are free riders and rent seekers. It’s human nature writ large.
We can learn from history that allegorical mythology was converted to factual description by taking advantage of the desire for certainty, and inventing the scriptural religions – despite the obervable and logical contradiction of mystical statements with reality of experience.
We can observe the continuing human desire for marxism, communism, socialism and redistributive social democracy despite its irrefutable logical impossibility, despite its universal failure, and despite our scientific knowledge of human behavior.
We can observe that humans desire to believe the many contradictory falsehoods in Postmodern thought that form the current progressive ideology, and which is taught in our schools as the civic religion of the state.
None if this should give us confidence that reason and fact will prevail, or that people desire reason and fact. Evidence is to the contrary.
Progressivism, freudianism, postmodernism, and marxism are – as Hayek warned us – a new mysticism ushered in by Marx (1848) and Freud (1902AD), just as Zoroaster (~1800BC), Abraham (~1800BC), Jesus, Peter and Paul (<~50BC) ushered in ages of mysticism for political purposes.
And we are, thanks to them, and thanks to human desires, despite our progress in the physical sciences, living in an age of regressive, pervasive, social mysticism.
That is the evidence.
Hayek suggested that future generations would see this as an age of mysticism. But there is little evidence of that in history. Instead, generations are perfectly happy to persist the social narrative and the scientific and economic narrative as if they were independent frames of reference for describing human history.
Property, truth, and reason are aristocratic values and virtues, and their dominance in any culture the result of the organized application of violence by aristocrats to protect themselves from the ignorance, mysticism, and desires of the many.
That humans benefit from aristocratic virtues and values is evidentiary. That they will voluntarily adopt aristocratic virtues and values is contrary to all evidence.
And membership in aristocratic rationalism REQUIRES that we observe and respect that evidence.
If you persist in the illusion that either the enlightenment vision of equality of ability limited only by will, or the postmodern vision of equality limited only by environment, then you are, in fact, non-rational, unscientific.
Reason, property rights, and aristocratic virtues and values will exist only where a minority is willing to use violence to impose them on an unwilling population more desirous of mysticism and mental comfort than objective truth.
Violence is the highest virtue, and the greatest asset one can possess. Everything else is just rhetorical justification to obtain property rights at a discount. And that is not aristocratic: it is fraud.
Gist is right. Primary sources are better. Our knowledge is better today. But we are shaking off centuries of bias about our natural state, only to discover that humans organize according to production units counterbalanced by the competition between male and female reproductive competition. Not much more to it than that. We have a lot more detail, but in the end, if our survival depends upon it, we alter our informal and formal institutions to support our economic (productive and consumptive) demands.
Now, it’s certainly true that we often adopt BAD ways of doing things. And it’s certainly true that we resist adopting GOOD things when they disrupt (reorder) our existing formal and informal institutions. But cultures that adopt BAD things, or resist GOOD things are almost always "out gunned, out germ-ed, and out steeled" by cultures that make superior decisions.
Temporary destructive innovations like mongol and arab mounted raiding techniques paired with lack of supporting formal institutions, or the forcible adoption of socialism by the bolsheviks, the maoists, and the Cambodians as examples of what works as a promise in the short term, but fails in actuality the long.
The purpose of enlightenment program was isolate thought, morality and politics from the superstition of Magian religion. It was to launder superstition in favor of empirical reasoning in The analytic program’s objective was to incorporate the physical sciences into philosophy, but to hold onto the metaphysical program. The naturalistic, praxeological (action) and economic programs are attempting to launder the metaphysical program from philosophy. (Or that’s close enough for our purposes here.)
1) All language is allegory to experience. The most complex terms are simply increasingly loaded combinations of basic experiences.
2) Our experiences are limited. We can only sense so much on our own, with the physical bodies that we have to work with.
3) Language allows us to collect a greater range of experiences than we can on our own. Even experiences separated by time and space.
4) Our ‘calculative’ (not computational) ability is limited. We can only ‘figure out’ so much on our own.
5) Language allows others to help us calculate what we could not calculate on our own.
6) Systems of measurement allow us to ‘sense’ what we cannot sense with our senses alone.
7) Systems of calculation and computation let us compare and contrast what we cannot figure out on our own.
8 ) Language, Measurement, and Calculation and Reason allow us to extend our perceptions, and to create symbols that we can manipulate with the limited abilities that we do possess.
9) The purpose of philosophy is to test, integrate, reconstruct, rearrange, evaluate, prioritize and articulate our body of knowledge to our advantage given the new information available to our senses by way of our tools, measurements, communications, and calculations, so that we can make best use of the information at our disposal.
The assumption in this line of reasoning, this set of priorities, is that with more knowledge we have more choices to determine how to make ourselves most happy through the accumulation of experiences.
The other line of reasoning, is that human beings are able at present to be happy if they seek to obtain
The problem is that humans demonstrate a preference for the consumption provided by the first, and demonstrate a preference to expend the intellectual and physical labor of the second. More accurately: they want others to expend the effort on the first, and to reserve for themselves the experiences of the second.
We call conflict of ambitions a desire for ‘free riding’. In fact, we can argue that more human calculation is performed for the purpose of pursuing free riding than any other end except sex.
(NOTE 1: “Calculation, in its broadest sense, refers to any comparison that permits a judgement. So while numeric computation is included in the definition of calculation, but so is ‘Where can I get a peanut butter sandwich?’ and ‘Do I like chocolate or vanilla ice cream more today?’. We use ‘calculation’ to distinguish simplistic processes from reasoning, which has a higher standard of demands – namely substitution and transformation.)
(NOTE 2: This approach abandons the metaphysical program.)
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.
Are There Objectively Moral Statements?
18 days ago
Property, Praxeology And Violence
18 days ago
Statism And Corporatism vs Partnerships And The Common Law
18 days ago
Reading: On Law As A Problem Of Calculation, Coordination, And Dispute Resolution, In The Face Of Necessary Ignorance And Diversity Of Interest
18 days ago
On White Males and Libertarianism
74 days ago
Libertarianism as a Class Philosophy
74 days ago
The Religion of Postmodernism as a Reformation of Christianity
95 days ago
Rights, Punishment and Human Rights
95 days ago
- Are There Objectively Moral Statements?