Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hoppe on Argumentation Ethics

The two major Austrian defences of absolute rights to property are Rothbard’s natural rights theory (which I have criticised here) and argumentation ethics.

It is Hans-Hermann Hoppe who defends libertarianism by using argumentation ethics, or what is sometimes called discourse ethics. What is rather peculiar to my mind is that discourse ethics was originally developed by the Marxists Jürgen Habermas and Karl-Otto Apel, the Second Generation Critical Theorists of the Frankfurt School, a trendy Marxist cult whose babblings in cultural “criticism” and “philosophy” are on a par with the nonsense of Postmodernism and Post-structuralism (but formally the Frankfurt School and Post-structuralism should be distinguished as different intellectual traditions, even though the former has had an influence on the latter).

In the video below, Hoppe gives us a brief spiel on his argumentation ethical theory, which is laid out at length in his book The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy (Boston and London, 1993).

The obvious and major problem with argumentation ethics is that it cannot even overcome the “ought” from “is” dilemma of David Hume. In the case of Hoppe, one can note that, just because you require the use of certain body parts in debate, it simply does not follow from this that you have any absolute moral right to the use of your body, and certainly not of any external property. Another absurd statement in this video is Hoppe’s view (from 5.04 minutes) that without the right to exclusive control over and ownership of previously un-owned resources society would die out! In fact, a society with communal ownership of resources is not only a theoretical possibility, but also there are many real world examples of such viable societies with communal ownership of property.




BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann, 1989. A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism: Economics, Politics, and Ethics, Kluwer, Boston and London.

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann, 1993. The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston and London.

Kinsella, Stephan, “Defending Argumentation Ethics: Reply to Murphy & Callahan,” Anti-State.com, 9/19/2002
http://www.anti-state.com/article.php?article_id=312

Murphy, Robert P. and Gene Callahan, 2006. “Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethic: A Critique,” Journal of Libertarian Studies 20.2: 53–64.
http://mises.org/journals/jls/20_2/20_2_3.pdf

Tucker, Jeffrey, “Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics, Again,” Mises.org, August 13, 2010
http://blog.mises.org/13557/hoppes-argumentation-ethics-again/

210 comments:

  1. LK, since you believe you have no moral right to the use of your body and any external property, do you mind if I call dibs? Please post your identity login and password so that I, anonymous, can take over running your blog. I appreciate your cooperation for the greater collective good.

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  2. "LK, since you believe you have no moral right to the use of your body and any external property, ...

    Rights are ethical constructs, requiring human institutions and human beings to enforce them.

    The right to be free from unjustifiable coercion and the limited right to control over property is justifiable via consequentialist ethics. Your laughable comment misses the point: I do not think there are any rights that can be defended by natural rights or Hoppe's argumentation ethic, the underlying theories are unsound.

    That does not mean I reject all possible rights to property or to life, etc., defended by other moral theories.

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  3. Another seeming problem: just because I stop someone from attacking me, in this case, this anonymous Libertarian troll, doesn't mean I believe I own myself or my computer. Ownership implies outside forces, a society to recognize ownership. It's right in the definition, pretty much. (I may well be fighting you off for a different reason, for instance, like believing you in my territory is a threat to my family, the species of the human race, since it might prevent me from reproducing.)

    Think of another problem of absolute ownership. Just because you control something, doesn't mean you own it.

    Libertarians give this fallacious argument all the time, but it's basically fallacious: that if you control something, you own it, therefore you own yourself. I still have a debate saved I believe where a Libertarian made that argument.

    By that logic i could go outside, hotwire a car, and claim it's mine.

    -successfulbuild

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  4. By that logic i could go outside, hotwire a car, and claim it's mine.

    The Rothbardian claimed exactly that, a few threads ago. In order to shoehorn the concept of "control means ownership," he conceded that stealing a car now means you own it, but it's unjust ownership. Solipsism at its best!

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  5. Hahaha. Are you serious? The funny thing is that it's a logic error. Wow. I wonder how we're going to sort out all this just and unjust ownership. Good lord these people are crazy.

    --SB

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  6. In fact, a society with communal ownership of resources is not only a theoretical possibility, but also there are many real world examples of such viable societies with communal ownership of property.

    The justified appropriation of property by conquest, or a sovereign or state having an interest on territorial property, including the right of taxation, has always been legally recognized in some sense. Since the libertarians subscribe to the "one drop" theory of property, even the possibility that something may not be entirely yours in every possible way means it isn't pure, and so in fact, in a strict libertarian sense there has never been a society with private property.

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  7. The obvious and major problem with argumentation ethics is that it cannot even overcome the “ought” from “is” dilemma of David Hume.

    That is not any problem, let alone a problem of Hoppe's argumentation ethics in particular.

    It is not any problem at all because ought simply cannot be derived from an is, period. No ethics can be so justified.

    It is not a problem of Hoppe's argumentation ethics in particular because he doesn't intend to establish an ought from an is, such that he "failed" to accomplish that goal.

    Hoppe writes:

    "In making this argument, one would not have to claim to have derived an “ought” from an “is.” In fact, one can readily subscribe to
    the almost generally accepted view that the gulf between “ought” and “is” is logically unbridgeable. Rather, classifying the rulings of the libertarian theory of property in this way is a purely cognitive matter."

    "It no more follows from the classification of the libertarian ethic as “fair” or “just” that one ought to act according to it, than it follows from the concept of validity or truth that one should always strive for it. To say that it is just also does not preclude the possibility of people proposing or even enforcing rules that are incompatible with this principle. As a matter of fact, the situation with respect to norms is very similar to that in other disciplines of scientific inquiry. The fact, for instance, that certain empirical statements are justified or justifiable and others are not does not imply that everybody only defends
    objective, valid statements. On the contrary, people can be wrong, even intentionally. But the distinction between objective and subjective, between true and false, does not lose any of its significance because of this."

    "Instead, people who would do so would have to be classified as either uninformed or intentionally lying. The case is similar with respect to norms. Of course there are people, lots of them, who do not propagate or enforce norms that can be classified as valid according to the meaning of justification I have given above. However, the distinction between justifiable and nonjustifiable norms does not dissolve because of this, just as that between objective and subjective statement does not crumble because of the existence of uninformed or lying people. Rather, and accordingly, those people who would propagate and enforce such different, invalid norms would again have to be classified as uninformed or dishonest, insofar as one had made it clear to them that their alternative norm proposals or enforcements cannot and never will be justifiable in argumentation." - "The Economics and Ethics of Private Property," pg 322-323

    In the case of Hoppe, one can note that, just because you require the use of certain body parts in debate, it simply does not follow from this that you have any absolute moral right to the use of your body, and certainly not of any external property.

    Hoppe has shown that this objection is a contradictory objection, and hence invalid. Whether you want to continue to adhere to it can only mean you are either uninformed or lying.

    Another absurd statement in this video

    But you haven't shown a first absurd statement, how can you say "another" as if you have?

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  8. is Hoppe’s view (from 5.04 minutes) that without the right to exclusive control over and ownership of previously un-owned resources society would die out! In fact, a society with communal ownership of resources is not only a theoretical possibility, but also there are many real world examples of such viable societies with communal ownership of property.

    Not surprisingly, you totally missed the argument.

    The argument is that as humans arise in the world in a naked fashion, and no humans were ever able to attain exclusive control over and ownership of previously unowned resources, then it would be impossible for any humans to live because humans would have to ask for permission first before they could control and own those resources. Because there are no other humans to ask permission for previously unowned resources, no humans could ever make that first step to decide on their own to control and own those resources. In order for any humans to have even lived, it is necessary that that humans did not ask for permission to control and own previously unowned resources from any other humans.

    Now, your example of a communal society is actually an example of a private property ethic. You say "a society," which of course implies there exists humans NOT in that "society," which of course reveals exclusive control and ownership of resources to the individuals in that "society" and no other.

    There is no "control and ownership" difference, in principle, between a "commune" of "communal ownership," and a "joint venture" of "capitalist owners or shareholders" each having an equal share vis a vis each other, but exclusive control and ownership vis a vis those NOT in the joint venture enterprise.

    There is no difference in principle between a commune in a localized socialist setting, and a household of spouses with equal ownership share in a universal capitalist setting. Both groups of people exercise exclusive control over and ownership of a set of resources.

    Imagine a commune of 10 people, and they have exclusive control and ownership over an area of land, say 100 hectares. Now suppose 1 person says to the other 9: "This land is now under your control and ownership, because I'm leaving to live another life."

    Does this land all of a sudden become private property, where now all of a sudden the 9 communal owners have to "share" that land with whoever stops by, no matter what they want, no matter when they arrive? No? The 9 remaining people still have a right to exclude others from controlling and owning that land? Well, the same principle of why the remaining 9 people can exercise exclusive control and ownership is the same reason why a remaining 8, or 7, or 6, or 5, or 4, or 3, or 2 people, or, (GASP!) 1 person can exercise exclusive control and ownership.

    You see, the fact that you even imagined "a communal society" necessarily already presupposes a private property ethic. The individuals in the commune retain exclusive control and ownership over that property, vis a vis individuals NOT in the commune. The fact that there is joint control and ownership between the communal members does not prove the existence of a non-private property ethic, any more than a jointly controlled and owned house in capitalism allegedly proves the existence of a non-private property ethic. Both presuppose a private property ethic of exclusive control and ownership.

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  9. Rights are ethical constructs, requiring human institutions and human beings to enforce them.

    Hoppe's ethics does not presume otherwise. He argues it is a purely cognitive matter. It arises from our minds, but that does not mean it is an illusion, or against our interests, or subjective. Our minds can hold objectively true propositions.

    The right to be free from unjustifiable coercion and the limited right to control over property is justifiable via consequentialist ethics.

    Consequentialist ethics is, as Hoppe as shown, contradictory and untenable. An ethic that tells us what we ought to do right here and now cannot possibly be based on future outcomes, for it does not tell us how we ought to act in the meantime, which is the question we are trying to figure out in the first place.

    Hoppe writes:

    "More specifically, as regards the consequentialist aspect of libertarianism, the proof shows its praxeological impossibility: the assignment of rights of exclusive control cannot be dependent on certain outcomes. One could never act and propose anything unless private property rights existed prior to a later outcome. A consequentialist ethic is a praxeological absurdity. Any ethic must instead be “aprioristic” or instantaneous in order to make it possible that one can act here and now and propose this or that rather than having to suspend acting until later. Nobody advocating a wait-for-the-outcome ethic would be around to say anything if he took his own advice seriously. Also, to the extent that utilitarian proponents are still around, they demonstrate through their actions that their consequentialist doctrine is and must be regarded as false. Acting and proposition-making require private property rights now and cannot wait for them to be assigned only later." - ibid, pg 344

    Your laughable comment misses the point: I do not think there are any rights that can be defended by natural rights or Hoppe's argumentation ethic, the underlying theories are unsound.

    You haven't shown how they are unsound. Merely claiming they are unsound doesn't show anything other than your opinion.

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  10. "Hoppe has shown that this objection is a contradictory objection, and hence invalid. "

    Oh really?
    Where?

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  11. Anonymous:

    Ownership implies outside forces, a society to recognize ownership.

    You mean government? Or do you mean other random people? What if there is nobody else around? What if there is a previously uncontrolled and unowned piece of land that a family homesteads? Do they not control and own that land? Is it all just an illusion until a random group of armed men, call them government or whatever, "okays" this family's claim to be exclusive owners? You must be presuming this random group of armed people to be ultimate controllers and owners of that family homesteaded land, such that they grant "use" rights to the family, but retain alloidal rights for themselves.

    But from where did the armed group of men acquire the right to grant such "okays" over that land, such that the family's claim is not justified?

    The justified appropriation of property by conquest, or a sovereign or state having an interest on territorial property, including the right of taxation, has always been legally recognized in some sense.

    Well, when you define "legally" as the naked threats of violence FROM the very people imposing the conquest and imposing a state that imposes unjust rules on others, then OF COURSE you will see 100% correlation between conquests and states on the one hand, and "legality" on the other hand!

    You're not saying anything other than historical facts. You're not showing any justification in such behavior.

    Since the libertarians subscribe to the "one drop" theory of property, even the possibility that something may not be entirely yours in every possible way means it isn't pure, and so in fact, in a strict libertarian sense there has never been a society with private property.

    This is false. Private property must exist before a state can arise. The onset of a state is the onset of taxation and territorial monopoly of security and protection. There must be people already there to tax, and there must already be previously homesteaded land and produced property for the state to tax in the first place.

    States do not arise when a group of explorers and colonists arrive at a place of previously uncontrolled and unowned land. Those are private property declarations from homesteaders. States arrive AFTER. States are groups of individuals who impose taxation on already existing private property owners, and declarers of a monopoly over protection and security over already privately owned land, full of people who retain final choice on who to pay for such services, and whose range of contracting extends only to the borders of each individual's own property, and does not include anyone else's property without their expressed permission. Taxation is by nature based on threatending dissenters with violence so that they don't pay anyone else for security except the monopolist.

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  12. "Hoppe has shown that this objection is a contradictory objection, and hence invalid."

    Oh really?

    Where?

    In his book "The Economics and Ethics of Private Property", part of which I already quoted here that answers that question.

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  13. "Hoppe writes:

    'More specifically, as regards the consequentialist aspect of libertarianism, the proof shows its praxeological impossibility: ...'"


    A reading of that passage and its proper context shows he is talking about consequentialist arguments for libertarianism, not against consequentialism per se.

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  14. "Hoppe writes:

    'In making this argument, one would not have to claim to have derived an “ought” from an “is.” In fact, one can readily subscribe to
    the almost generally accepted view that the gulf between “ought” and “is” is logically unbridgeable.'"


    I am well aware of this passage and his arguments in this book.

    Hoppe is utterly wrong: despite his claims to the contrary, not only does his position require the derivation of an "ought" from an "is", but also he provides no justification for any such derivation.

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  15. A reading of that passage and its proper context shows he is talking about consequentialist arguments for libertarianism, not against consequentialism per se.

    No, a reading of that passage and its proper context (which you clearly have not read because you asked me where did Hoppe refute consequentialism, which only means you don't actually know the context), shows that he is only using the libertarian strand of consequantialism as an example, as an argument to libertarians that consequentialism cannot be used to defend an ethical worldview.

    Hoppe's argument, if read in the property context, shows that his refutation of consequentialist libertarianism applies to ANY consequentialist ethic period. They all rest on the same fundemantal flaw of praxeological impossibility.

    He shows the consequentialist ASPECT of libertarianism is impossible, which of course means that it is the consequentialism that is impossible, not just that consequentialist libertarianism is impossible. Hoppe is a libertarian, and makes an argument in favor of libertarian ethics! He doesn't hold libertarianism as impossible. He holds consequentialist libertarianism, and hence consequentailism period, as impossible.

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  16. I am well aware of this passage and his arguments in this book.

    No, you're not, because you would not have made the fallacious claim that Hoppe's criticisms only apply to consequentialist libertarianism, and not consequentialism period.

    Hoppe is utterly wrong: despite his claims to the contrary, not only does his position require the derivation of an "ought" from an "is", but also he provides no justification for any such derivation.

    False. His position does not require the derivation of an ought from an is, and the fact that he doesn't provide any support for any such derivation is because he doesn't intend to, nor does his ethics require, such a derivation.

    Hoppe has shown that private property ethics is the only one that can be justified. Whether or not people actually do abide by it is a separate question.

    You're just making things up when you claim Hoppe "requires" deriving an ought from an is. His ethics require no such thing, and merely claiming it does, without showing where or why it does, is also not a justification but just your opinion.

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  17. LK, I know how hilariously fun it is to poke holes at the little joke that is libertarian philosophy, but I really feel that by constantly addressing the numerous issues in their philosophical thinking you make them seem more relevant than they actually are. Let us not give them that much credit.

    Myself, I stopped taking Hoppe seriously the moment he mentioned that his were "value-free ethics." Okay, I didn't, that would imply I ever took him seriously.

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  18. Anonymous:

    Myself, I stopped taking Hoppe seriously the moment he mentioned that his were "value-free ethics."

    Hoppe's ethics IS in fact "value-free." His entire argumentation ethics is entirely in the "is" sphere, and never makes any value judgment regarding what people ought to do.

    Hoppe writes:

    "The structure of the argument is this: (a) justification is propositional justification — a priori true is-statement; (b) argumentation presupposes property in one’s body and the homesteading principle — a priori true is-statement; and (c) then, no deviation from this ethic can be argumentatively justified — a priori true is-statement." - "The Economics and Ethics of Private Property", pg 345.

    In addition,

    "The proof also offers a key to an understanding of the nature of the fact-value dichotomy: Ought-statements cannot be derived from is statements. They belong to different logical realms. It is also clear, however, that one cannot even state that there are facts and values if no propositional exchanges exist, and that this practice of propositional exchanges in turn presupposes the acceptance of the private property ethic as valid. In other words, cognition and truth-seeking as such have a normative foundation, and the normative foundation on which cognition and truth rest is the recognition of private property rights." - pg 345.

    Okay, I didn't, that would imply I ever took him seriously.

    That proves the reason why you are ignorant. You won't take an argument that contradicts your beliefs seriously, which means you won't be able to progress.

    It's almost as if you WANT to stay in the dark.

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  19. Pete,

    You wrote:

    "The argument is that as humans arise in the world in a naked fashion, and no humans were ever able to attain exclusive control over and ownership of previously unowned resources, then it would be impossible for any humans to live because humans would have to ask for permission first before they could control and own those resources."

    I perfectly understand why humans have to control resources to survive.
    What I do not understand is why do they need ownership. Do I need to own an apple before I pluck it from a tree and eat it?

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  20. I find it confusing, LK, that you think highly of Noam Chomsky, regularly cite Sraffa and Joan Robinson, and yet dismiss the Frankfurt School so casually. I would not say that I find it convincing, but its propositions are certainly more interesting and coherent than post-modernism was.

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  21. "I find it confusing, LK, that you think highly of Noam Chomsky, regularly cite Sraffa and Joan Robinson, and yet dismiss the Frankfurt School so casually. I would not say that I find it convincing, but its propositions are certainly more interesting and coherent than post-modernism was"

    The Frankfurt School cultural Maxrists are indeed less objectionable than postmodernists, but is a relative judgement.

    As for Chomsky, he also has a very low opinion of Marxism.

    For example, see Undertsanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky (2002), pp. 227-228:

    "So Marxism, Freudianism: any one of these things I think is an irrational cult. They're theology, so they're whatever you think of theology; I don't think much of it. In fact, in my view that's exactly the right analogy: notions like Marxism and Freudianism belong to the history of organized religion."

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  22. "Hoppe's ethics IS in fact "value-free." His entire argumentation ethics is entirely in the "is" sphere, and never makes any value judgment regarding what people ought to do."

    My god. If you really believe that, then Hoppe clearly isn't engaged in ethics at all.

    An activity where a person NEVER "makes any value judgment regarding what people ought to do" cannot be called ethics, in any sense.

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  23. Ah, Hans-Hermann Hoppe a "libertarian" who can argue:

    "In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one's own tenant-property. One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very purpose of the covenant of preserving private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance towards democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society. Likewise in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They -- the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centred lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism -- will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order." (Democracy: the God that Failed, p. 218)

    As he put it elsewhere, the "natural outcome of the voluntary transactions between various private property owners is decidedly non-egalitarian, hierarchical and elitist." ("The Political Economy of Monarchy and Democracy and the Idea of a Natural Order," pp. 94-121, Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 11, p. 118)

    Does not sound very libertarian to me, but then again I use the term in the traditional sense (i.e., anti-state socialist) rather than in the right's Orwellian sense...

    To quote a genuine libertarian propertarianism has "no objection to tyranny as long as it is private tyranny" and "reduce[s] to advocacy of one or another form of illegitimate authority, quite often real tyranny." (Chomsky on Anarchism, p. 235 and p. 181)

    Iain
    An Anarchist FAQ

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  24. An activity where a person NEVER "makes any value judgment regarding what people ought to do" cannot be called ethics, in any sense.

    This. Thread over.

    "In other words, cognition and truth-seeking as such have a normative foundation, and the normative foundation on which cognition and truth rest is the recognition of private property rights."

    So, we're supposed to believe that because Hoppe says so? I thought there was supposed to be an actual argument somewhere. Typical libertarian nonsense. It's even worse than postmodernism: they aren't just grinding out word salad about metaphysics, they're making concrete attempts to influence social and economic policy to knock civilization back to the stone age. And there's a whole sociopathic subculture to back it up, which worships itself and sleeps with framed photos of Ayn Rand in a solid gold suit defecating on homeless orphans.

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  25. That proves the reason why you are ignorant.

    Sure thing, value-free ethics boy. Oh boy, this is funny even to write.

    ohwaityoureseriousletmelaughevenharder.jpg

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  26. LK, consequentialist ethics is fine but only for libertarians. Figuring out consequences of your actions, especially on government level, requires rigidly logical analysis, that is less "disgust, empathic concern, and neuroticism" and more "utilitarianism, need for cognition, and systemizing":
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1665934

    Natural rights are merely rules of thumb, best suited precisely for people like you.

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  27. Anonymous, there's already a link to that paper here.

    Figuring out consequences of your actions, especially on government level, requires rigidly logical analysis

    This is exactly what most of us expect from socially retarded adolescent boys, who bleat about the world's problems being very simple, offering solutions which they are convinced are the only way, all through the power of inner reasoning. Because we'll all come to the same conclusion if we just think hard enough, and disagreement is just the result of an arithmetic error someone else has made in their purely rational calculations.

    If someone persists in their disagreement, they just need it explained to them louder, right?

    When someone like this becomes older, and fails to shift focus from themselves and their inner fantasy world to the real world, fails to develop empathic, social relationships with other human beings, and continues to insist that everything reduces to pure logic, we call that person a libertarian and hope that they grow up someday.

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  28. "we call that person a libertarian and hope that they grow up someday."

    This one prefers to be called "Peterian" (rhymes with sectarian). And watch out...

    I can stand in judgment of all mankind because I adhere to rational principles that create a peaceful and productive society.
    -Pete

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  29. "It is also clear, however, that one cannot even state that there are facts and values if no propositional exchanges exist, and that this practice of propositional exchanges in turn presupposes the acceptance of the private property ethic as valid."

    I love this. Here, let me try:

    "It is also clear, however, that one cannot even masticate and swallow a bite of apple if one does not control one's actions. This in turn presupposes the acceptance of the private property ethic as valid across all parameters."

    "The sun rising is proof of the validity of an absolute private property ethic; we could not even be aware of such a thing as 'sun' or the act of 'rising' without ownership of our own cognitive faculties. Because we know there is a sun, collectivism in any form is self contradictory."

    "A tree falls in the woods and nobody is around. Consequently, denial of private property ethic constitutes a performative contradiction."

    "P -> Q. Therefore, M. You cannot claim ¬M, for M is the act of communication, and you must communicate said claim. Therefore, private property."

    Make your own Hoppe-style argument for private property!

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  30. I perfectly understand why humans have to control resources to survive.

    What I do not understand is why do they need ownership. Do I need to own an apple before I pluck it from a tree and eat it?

    That is not why humans "need" ownership. We don't "need" ownership so that you are physically capable of picking an apple off a tree.

    Ownership is a cognitive affair. If you were to pick an apple off a tree, then your physical actions are one thing. It is another thing to provide either yourself or others an intellectual justification for it.

    If the tree is not homesteaded and controlled by anyone else, or is not controlled by anyone else through trade, then what if there are other people there who want to pick and eat that apple? Since apples are a scarce resource, then exclusive rights to control (ownership) is necessary IF conflicts are to be avoided.

    If you wanted to eat the apple, and someone else wanted to eat the apple, it is obvious that both of you cannot the eat the apple. Only one of you can eat the apple. The concept of ownership is a cognitive affair that enables us to determine whether you or the other person, or neither you nor that other person but some third person, should have exclusive rights of control over the apple, so that conflicts can be avoided.

    Now, the question of which particular ownership schema should be selected is a different matter, (and Hoppe's argumentation ethics is to show that all ethical theories other than private property cannot be justifiably argued) but ownership qua ownership cannot be denied, again, cannot be denied IF we are to avoid conflict. If you are OK with perpetual conflict, where brute violence is the arbiter (physical, not intellectual), then ownership is not necessary. Everyone can just confiscate and plunder from anyone else, at any time, at any place, and they can also just rape, torture and kill each other indiscriminately, because human bodies could not be claimed to be owned by the individual either, and are so up for grabs by anyone. War of all against all.

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  31. "Since apples are a scarce resource, then exclusive rights to control (ownership) is necessary IF conflicts are to be avoided.

    Except that is rubbish. No "exclusive rights to control" the apples by one person are necessary. The tree could be common property, and the apples distributed to people on the basis of agreement or on some other criteria people have decided upon.

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  32. LK:

    My god. If you really believe that, then Hoppe clearly isn't engaged in ethics at all.

    Of course he is engaged in ethics. He is acting according to libertarian ethical principles.

    An activity where a person NEVER "makes any value judgment regarding what people ought to do" cannot be called ethics, in any sense.

    A physicist is not obligated to observe or to convince others to use the scientific method before the physicist can know that the scientific method is the only rationally justified epistemology.

    Similarly, Hoppe is not obligated to observe or convince others what to do before Hoppe can know that private property is the only rationally justified ethic.

    This is the case for every other individual as well.

    One does not have to tell others what they ought to do before one can know the only rationally justified behavior on what people ought to do.

    Hoppe makes value judgments on what Hoppe ought to do. He tells others not what they ought to do, but rather he tells others what the only rationally justifiable ethic happens to be.

    I don't have to tell you that you, LK, ought to abandon Post Keynesianism and instead adopt Austrian economics, before I can know that Austrian economics is intellectually and thus physically superior to Post Keynesianism.

    Telling others ex cathedra what they ought to do, without showing the ultimate foundation for why, is the permanent flaw of all relativistic ethics, which you adhere to.

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  33. "He tells others not what they ought to do, but rather he tells others what the only rationally justifiable ethic happens to be."

    In other words, he is engaged in ethics.

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  34. Anonymous:

    As he put it elsewhere, the "natural outcome of the voluntary transactions between various private property owners is decidedly non-egalitarian, hierarchical and elitist." ("The Political Economy of Monarchy and Democracy and the Idea of a Natural Order," pp. 94-121, Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 11, p. 118)

    Does not sound very libertarian to me, but then again I use the term in the traditional sense (i.e., anti-state socialist) rather than in the right's Orwellian sense...

    Libertarianism does not imply economic equality, income equality, or equality over control of scarce resources.

    You're conception of libertarianism is actually egalitarianism, which is inimical to libertarianism. An individual is not free if others do not allow him to freely act on his personal and circumstantial differences relative to others.

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  35. Anonymous:

    This. Thread over.

    No. See above. One does not need to tell others what they ought to do in order to show and in order to know the only rationally justifiable ethic.

    So, we're supposed to believe that because Hoppe says so?

    No, because his arguments say so. Not because Hoppe says so.

    What kind of rebuttal is that? By that logic, nobody should take anything you say seriously either.

    I thought there was supposed to be an actual argument somewhere.

    There is. You're ignoring it.

    Typical libertarian nonsense.

    Typical statist nonsense.

    It's even worse than postmodernism: they aren't just grinding out word salad about metaphysics, they're making concrete attempts to influence social and economic policy to knock civilization back to the stone age. And there's a whole sociopathic subculture to back it up, which worships itself and sleeps with framed photos of Ayn Rand in a solid gold suit defecating on homeless orphans.

    Meaningless platitudes that are nothing but attempts to smear, not understand.

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  36. Ok but what if two people homestead the same tree? Then does it boil down to who homesteads it more? What if one person homesteads for more time but the other is just better at homesteading, so they accomplish comparable homestead progress?

    ARE there grades of homesteadery? What is the minimum homesteading that must be done to own property? Is building a fence around it without touching the land within sufficient? Is the fence even strictly necessary, in that case, since we are talking about intellectual/rational justifications, after all? Is circling the property on foot all it takes? In that case, what if it can't be proved? What if all a person can say is that they DID homestead a piece of land, but you're just going to have to take it on faith? Heck, why can't someone just make a verbal claim on a given piece of land, then? Is that technically homesteading?

    What if one person homesteads a tree, then leaves for a month to visit a sick family member, and in that time, someone else has the idea of homesteading that same tree, unaware that it had been previously homestead. No homestead indicator has been left because the original homesteader is against branding trees - a perfectly valid preference, certainly.

    If the second homesteader has no right to the tree in that case, what if the second homesteader prevented said tree from burning down in the absence of the original homesteader?

    Finally: what if they just split the damned apples if they're both so hungry?

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  37. "Since apples are a scarce resource, then exclusive rights to control (ownership) is necessary IF conflicts are to be avoided."

    Except that is rubbish. No "exclusive rights to control" the apples by one person are necessary. The tree could be common property, and the apples distributed to people on the basis of agreement or on some other criteria people have decided upon.

    That is a private property ethic of exclusive rights of control! Not everyone can pick and eat the same apple. The agreement is that a particular group of people have declared themselves owners, with exclusive rights of control that nobody NOT in that group exercises.

    There is no difference to the private property ethic if one person has exclusive rights of control and everyone else NOT that individual have no exclusive rights of control, versus two or three or 10 people having exclusive rights of control and everyone else NOT that two or three or 10 people have no exclusive rights of control.

    All you're doing is ad hoc claiming that 1 individual cannot claim exclusive rights of control and thus ownership for a particular good (apple tree) but somehow, magically, two or more individuals can jointly claim exclusive rights of control and thus ownership for a particular goods (apple tree).

    In your example, you're ignoring the individuals NOT in that "commune" and pretending that they don't exist. You do this because you have denied single individuals owning anything, and that's enough for your worldview. It doesn't matter that the two or more joint owners of the tree exercise the exact same exclusive rights of control vis a vis OTHER PEOPLE STILL. The tree is not owned by an individual, and that is enough in your mind. In other words, your worldview is incomplete and just a vicious denial of individual ownership and thus individual freedom.

    For what if some foreign group of people arrive at this apple tree, and they intend to declare it their property? What can the individuals in the commune declare? What arguments can they make that will justify their private property rights? That they were there first? That they planted the tree? That they own the land? LOL private property and ownership rears its lovely head once again!

    "He tells others not what they ought to do, but rather he tells others what the only rationally justifiable ethic happens to be."

    In other words, he is engaged in ethics.

    I don't know what you mean by "engaged in." He is engaged in an intellectual activity using scarce means to make an argument about the only rationally justifiable ethics, i.e. private property.

    Every interpersonal human action presupposes some ethic. The question is whether or not the presupposed ethic can be rationally justified or not.

    Hoppe's argument is that only private property can be rationally justified. Whether or not people actually do practise it, whether people have practised it in the past, is all besides the point, exactly like it's besides the point of the rational foundation for the scientific method that people don't use it, intentionally or unintentionally.

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  38. Similarly, Hoppe is not obligated to observe or convince others what to do before Hoppe can know that private property is the only rationally justified ethic.

    The argument wasn't that ethical theories somehow obligate you to convince other people of their validity. Rather, by definition, to be engaged in ethics is to ascribe values to actions. Ethical theories ascribe values to actions. So a value-free ethic is an absurd self-contradiction.

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  39. Typo: "You're conception of libertarianism" should be "Your conception of libertarianism."

    Back to the topic, the following passage is I think crucial to understanding how a priori reasoning is carried out in Hoppe's system:

    "On the positive side, the most important notion for understanding the possibility of a priori knowledge, I submit, is that there are not only nature-given things which one has to learn about through experience, but that there are also artificial, man-made things which may require the existence or use of natural materials, but which to the very extent that they are constructs can nonetheless not only be fully understood in terms of their structure and implications, but which also can be analyzed for the question of whether or not their method of construction can conceivably be altered." - Theory of Socialism and Capitalism, pg 131

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  40. Can Anonymous posters give themselves a handle/pen name, please?

    It is getting confusing following threads where there might be multiple "Anonymous" posters.

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  41. Pete,

    You wrote:

    "If the tree is not homesteaded and controlled by anyone else, or is not controlled by anyone else through trade, then what if there are other people there who want to pick and eat that apple? Since apples are a scarce resource, then exclusive rights to control (ownership) is necessary IF conflicts are to be avoided."

    I get your point. But the problem with this argument is that it says nothing about the DEGREE of ownership.
    For example, nearly one million people own parts of forests in Finland, yet their ownership rights are limited - they cannot, for example, prevent anyone from entering into their forests. Same thing goes with animal ownership - you can feed your dog, for instance, but you cannot shoot him in the head. Thus, your ownership is also limited.
    I do not see why such a degree of ownership could not apply to your body or external objects. For example, why cannot one accept the Georgist conception of property, which says that you can have property in external objects, but you have to pay some compensation for them as they are not the product of your labor?

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  42. I am sorry, can anyone explain what "cultural Marxism" is? Does that have anything to do with Marxism itself, or is it just a cultural philosophy that is compared to what Marxism is to economics?

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  43. Prateek Sanjay,

    "I am sorry, can anyone explain what "cultural Marxism" is?"

    The theories of the Frankfurt school of critical theorists, with its all-star line up of theorists like Max Horkheimer or Theodor W. Adorno.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_School

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  44. This is exactly what most of us expect from socially retarded adolescent boys

    Note justice is blind, you may well say it is as socially retarded as ever. Adolescent? Quite the oppposite, note it is libertarians whose morality don't require other people to sacrifice themselves to serve libertarian goals, unlike with collectivists, whose ideology requires moulding other people's lives to serve purposes of God, Nation or Society, ie whatever collectivists believe they are). Collectiviests are like children who'd like the whole world turn around them.

    disagreement is just the result of an arithmetic error someone else has made in their purely rational calculations.

    Yes, collectivists err because they use empathy rather than reason when choosing economic systems, as simple as that.

    fails to develop empathic, social relationships with other human beings

    Libertarians do develop empathic relationships, it just does not cloud their reason as much, so they know there is place and time for that. The simple fact that you keep blabbering about empathic social relationships when discussing optimum economic systems is a proof of your irrational, emotional and hence erroneous approach.

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  45. "The obvious and major problem with argumentation ethics is that it cannot even overcome the “ought” from “is” dilemma of David Hume. In the case of Hoppe, one can note that, just because you require the use of certain body parts in debate, it simply does not follow from this that you have any absolute moral right to the use of your body, and certainly not of any external property."

    LK,
    There you go again, talking about the is -ought dilemma which turns out is easily solvable using goal directed behavior rules. I realize a goal directed ought is different than a moral ought, but GDB is the first breach.
    Second, even though I'm not a Hoppean I'll defend him anyway.
    You said "just because you require the use of certain body parts in you debate, does not follow that you have an absolute right to your own body"
    I beg to differ. Not an ABSOLUTE right yes, but maybe an "approxalute". (90% instead of a hundred percent?)
    You have this blog.
    Let us assume away for the moment the possibility of ghosts and note that you are a living breathing person. In order for you to be writing this blog, you have to be

    1. ALIVE
    2. Conscious
    3. Have a large degree of freedom of choice

    Furthermore. implicit in the assumption that you write and edit this blog, every moment you do so and do other things are choosing to remain alive. If you choose to commit suicide or murder you would forfeit such a claim to life, because you would in effect be saying to society, the universe and yourself that you dont respect human life. So this method of aprioristic reductionism is not perfect or apodictic But it has signifigance. Its not a matter of opinion or debate.
    Furthermore it is not trivial.
    The way to find out moral "oughts" is to look at what must be true FIRST in the greatest number of situations in order for a given goal to succeed, and to compare it to other possibe goals in other words, to derive oughts from oughts

    I dont understand why you are so against natural rights. Really I dont. You keep parodying NR theorists, by attacking easy targets like Rothbard and Hoppe, and disrespecting the history of NR thinkers like AristotleThomas Aquinas, Jean Barbeyrac, Richard Cumberland, Samuel von Pufendorf, Hugo Grotius, and John Locke.
    I don't understand the Benthamite "NR is nonsense upon stilts" snobbery and intellectual arrogance of you utilitarians. Except for Rothbard and Hoppe you dont find such snobbery and arrogance in NR theorists,
    Here's to you keeping an open mind,
    Ed

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  46. I should have made my meaning plainer.

    Because a person needs to be alive and have a degree of freedom of choice in order to do anyhting, why not prioritize life and freedom of choice, which are objective over "happiness" which is subjective

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  47. "There you go again, talking about the is -ought dilemma which turns out is easily solvable using goal directed behavior rules. I realize a goal directed ought is different than a moral ought, but GDB is the first breach."

    Goal directed "oughts" are not like the moral/ethical "ought" which is in a totally different ontological status.

    To say you ought to build this building here does not mean you are immoral/evil if you don't.

    The moral "ought" from "is" gap remains unbridgeable.

    "The way to find out moral "oughts" is to look at what must be true FIRST in the greatest number of situations in order for a given goal to succeed, and to compare it to other possibe goals in other words, to derive oughts from oughts"

    This is a very strange statement. It appears to verge on consequentialism.

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  48. "Goal directed "oughts" are not like the moral/ethical "ought" which is in a totally different ontological status."

    I didn't say they were the same, if you noticed, i said they were similar.

    "To say you ought to build this building here does not mean you are immoral/evil if you don't."

    Not without more information being provided. To use your example maybe the spot on which you plan to build is an earthquake zone, and you building there would definitely be a moral issue, based upon the consequences of your actions, and more.

    "The moral "ought" from "is" gap remains unbridgeable."

    When you make statements like these, you sound like a postmodernist, deconstructionist, derridaesque lunatic. It is nonsense. rubbish. pure Garbage, EVEN FROM A UTILITARIAN PERSPECTIVE. what you need to do is compare various goals with their alternatives and ask, does this conform to the rules that enhance overall happiness for the greatest possible number of people in the greatest number of situations.

    "This is a very strange statement. It appears to verge on consequentialism."

    It definitely has consequentialist elements to it yes. But what is so strange about it? Its how applied science is done. Find a fruitful theory that explains a large number of possible variables, and use it to predict whether your implied goal You don't need perfect knowledge in ethics. All you need are models that describe and predict the world based on a measurable standard, for you happiness, for me liberty, life AND THEN happiness.. My measuring rod is more crisp and objective, more easily definable, because happiness is purely subjective, whereas liberty and life are far more objective than subjective.

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  49. Heretic:

    I get your point. But the problem with this argument is that it says nothing about the DEGREE of ownership.

    Legitimate ownership is not a spectrum. It is binary. An individual either has it, or he doesn't.

    For example, nearly one million people own parts of forests in Finland, yet their ownership rights are limited - they cannot, for example, prevent anyone from entering into their forests.

    If the Finnish government uses threats of violence to prevent legitimate forest owners (homesteaders and free traders) from preventing trespassing, then the government is not destroying the concept of legitimate (binary) ownership, it is only interfering with legitimate ownership.

    Same thing goes with animal ownership - you can feed your dog, for instance, but you cannot shoot him in the head. Thus, your ownership is also limited.

    If the government uses threats of violence against any legitimate dog owner (breeded or traded) from shooting their dog in the head, then the government is merely interfering with legitimate ownership rights. It is not creating a spectrum of ownership rights.

    I think the problem here is that you are talking about a conception of government retaining ultimate alloidal titles to all property, and they merely grant to others mere usufruct rights and what have you. In this conception, the government is, unjustly, exercising the substantive, alloidal rights of ownership that I argue belong to the homesteader or trader only.

    I do not see why such a degree of ownership could not apply to your body or external objects.

    You have not justified the behavior of people in your two examples above. You merely stated what the government happens to do and what the people happen to do.

    Merely pointing to a governmental aggressor of property rights, does not mean that we can no longer see any reason why it shouldn't be universalized to people's bodies too. Goodness. It's like you see some unjustified violence, and say "Why not more?"

    For example, why cannot one accept the Georgist conception of property, which says that you can have property in external objects, but you have to pay some compensation for them as they are not the product of your labor?

    Pay compensation to whom? Why them and not the legitimate owner of the property? You have to justify the Georgist conception of property first before you can ask me to accept it.

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  50. Anonymous:
    "Similarly, Hoppe is not obligated to observe or convince others what to do before Hoppe can know that private property is the only rationally justified ethic."

    The argument wasn't that ethical theories somehow obligate you to convince other people of their validity. Rather, by definition, to be engaged in ethics is to ascribe values to actions. Ethical theories ascribe values to actions. So a value-free ethic is an absurd self-contradiction.

    No, that's false. Hoppe does not have to ascribe any personal valuation to the logical conclusion that is the private property ethic, nor does he have to ascribe a value to the fact that private property is the only logically consistent arguable ethic, not does he even have to ascribe a value to particular actions as opposed to other courses of actions.

    The only necessary valuation that is in his argument is the placing of highest value on his act of making the argument that private property is the only legitimate, logically consistent ethic that can be argued, when he in fact makes that argument as opposed to doing something else with his time.

    There is absolutely no other valuation implied in his argument.

    Hoppe is putting forth a value-free, logically deduced ethic.

    Whether or not people value it, Hoppe included, is an entirely different question from the actual argument itself.

    The way you can "test" the fact that Hoppe's ethics is value free is by realizing that nowhere is Hoppe telling people what they ought to do. All he is doing is telling people what the only legitimately arguable ought happens to be. The difference is subtle, but crucial.

    If you ask Hoppe point blank what he thinks people ought to do, then he'll say "the only legitimately arguable ethic, namely, private property." But that is an entirely separate argument from the propositional establishment of the only legitimately arguable ethic itself.

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  51. LK,

    I have enjoyed many of your posts critiquing Austrian theory/'ethics' but I agree with another poster that you are giving them too much time here. Anyone with sense can see that they are insane, and they, being insane, will never change their minds.

    Take a leaf out of your namesake's book and talk about alternatives rather than spending all your time rebutting Austrians. Keynes, after all, couldn't even be bothered to criticise Hayek himself and basically ignored Mises.

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  52. I've been giving some thought to anarcho-capitalistic ethics and I'm having trouble with aspects of the whole "non-aggression principle" thing.

    My problem is this: in an avowedly individualistic society, to breach one's implicit contract with an individual should mean nothing to the standing of your implicit contract with another. If you were to initiate violence against another person - let's say person A is out to blacken the eyes of person B for harassing his sister - obviously person C is completely uninvolved and would be entirely within his right to just shrug as A goes about his business. In fact, since C's contract with A still stands and would have otherwise remained intact, C would become the initiator of violence against A if he stepped in and restrained A.

    Now, I can think of an easy way around this particular issue: in this case we can say that C temporarily acted as property of B - that is, provided his labor to B at no cost, a gift or whatever. Thus, he was within his right to act in the interest of B.

    But this situation is not always applicable; suppose A walks into the room with B and C, raises a pistol, puts two bullets into B's head and then turns and walks out of the room. (For the sake of the discussion and to avoid the idea of an immediate response to the perception of a clear and present danger, we'll assume that all of this happens before C can react; by the time he starts reaching for his own weapon, A has holstered his and is halfway out the door, with no clear threat posed to C.) If B has no kin or partnerships that would enable someone to act in his stead, then as far as every other individual is concerned, there is no quarrel to be had with A. Nobody could attempt a reprisal with impunity since their implicit contracts with A stand. They can't provide B with a gift of work on his behalf, because B is dead, and the dead have no property rights.

    As far as I can see, to dispute what I have said above would imply that the rights at play are something OTHER than a network of implicit, natural contracts between individuals and/or joint ventures. That is, it would presuppose, at the very least, a broader entity of "the public" which might have been menaced by A's actions. But that would necessitate some sort of broader social contract, which is anathema to the neo-libertarian, individualistic natural rights doctrine.

    Does anyone ever address this issue?

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  53. Take a leaf out of your namesake's book and talk about alternatives rather than spending all your time rebutting Austrians. Keynes, after all, couldn't even be bothered to criticise Hayek himself and basically ignored Mises.

    That's a great point, really. Keynes was a genius at more than just economics. With that in mind,

    Hoppe is putting forth a value-free, logically deduced ethic.

    Pete, your lack of reading comprehension is an embarrassment even to Austrians. The very definition of ethics requires valuation, so a value-free ethic is a nonsensical idea. It's like number-free arithmetic.

    On a different note, Hayek's support for central banking and a guaranteed minimum income has always struck me as fascinating. The fact that there is no consistent Austrian perspective has already been addressed by Lord Keynes, of course.

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  54. Legitimate ownership is not a spectrum. It is binary. An individual either has it, or he doesn't.

    First, all of us here understand the spectrum of property rights to mean the various property interests recognized by common law and its variants. The bundle of sticks.

    So, if by binary you mean that the various property interests are clearly defined among individuals, and all add up, then maybe we agree. It can be a matter of contention, but ultimately resolved by the court.

    However, if you mean that ownership may only reside in one person, then you're interfering with my freedom to contract. In the modern legal sense, contract and property aren't the same, but if we're only concerned with the philosophical, we can ignore that for the sake of argument.

    If I want someone else to have partial ownership of something that I legitimately own, assuming that my legitimate ownership meets your criteria for such a thing, then I should be free to do that. If it's possible to write a contract to bind our mutual ownership, then either you have to reject your concept of property, or you have to reject freedom of contract. If it isn't possible, then contracts can't represent the full range of mutual subjective interests, and consequently your concept of property limits freedom.

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  55. Hedlund:

    Suppose A is the state.

    Now read your example again, keeping in mind that A is the state, and then ask yourself what should be done by C and/or anyone else in response.

    Then suppose A is a non-state entity once more, and ask yourself if C and/or anyone else has more control over A now, versus when A was supposed as a state.

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  56. Cahal:

    I have enjoyed many of your posts critiquing Austrian theory/'ethics' but I agree with another poster that you are giving them too much time here. Anyone with sense can see that they are insane, and they, being insane, will never change their minds.

    You're insane.

    Keynes, after all, couldn't even be bothered to criticise Hayek himself and basically ignored Mises.

    You say that as if Keynes is some standard bearer for what constitutes worthwhile intellectual endeavors and what does not. That's funny.

    It's not that Keynes couldn't be bothered to critique Hayek or Mises. It's that Keynes did not have the intellectual wherewithal to do it.

    Keynes read Mises' "Theory of Money and Credit," and dismissed it as being "unoriginal."

    Pretty damning, that is until we learn the reason why.

    In Keynes' "Treatise on Money", he confessed that:

    "in German, I can only clearly understand what I already know – so that new ideas are apt to be veiled from me by the difficulties of the language."

    In other words, Keynes' dismissal of Mises' book was not based on anything as elevated as informed disagreement, but rather on incomprehension.

    As for Hayek, Keynes wrote of Hayek's "Road to Serfdom":

    "In my opinion it is a grand book...Morally and philosophically I find myself in agreement with virtually the whole of it: and not only in agreement with it, but in deeply moved agreement."

    The fact that Keynes agreed with it, made me suspect that the book must be flawed in some way. And indeed it is. It is contradictory. While Hayek criticized movements towards socialism, he also supported movements towards socialism. As Block noted: "in making the case against socialism, Hayek was led into making all sort of compromises with what otherwise appeared to be his own philosophical perspective—so much so, that if a system was erected on the basis of them, it would not differ too sharply from what this author explicitly opposed."

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  57. Dr. K:

    Pete, your lack of reading comprehension is an embarrassment even to Austrians. The very definition of ethics requires valuation, so a value-free ethic is a nonsensical idea. It's like number-free arithmetic.

    Dr. K, you too are utterly confused. Note that you can dispense with the insults and smears because I do not take them seriously. If you need to do so in order to feel better, then just know that I know that you're in no way affecting my ideas by such invective.

    I wonder at whether or not you actually even understand Hoppe's arguments. Your statements do not convey any impression that you do.

    Yes, the definition of an ethic requires some valuation, but that does not mean that we cannot use logic to identify whether or not a particular ethic is presupposed in the very act of arguing ethical theories.

    What Hoppe is saying is that while all you relativist value-driven ethicists are yammering constantly at each other over which values are superior and which values are inferior, whether consequentialism is superior or inferior to deontologicalism, whether statism is superior or inferior to libertarianism, etc, etc, etc, Hoppe noticed that while it looks like you are all in seeming disagreement with each other over content, you are all nevertheless in agreement over form, namely, the praxeological categories of argumentation itself.

    Hoppe realized that arguments are not merely free floating propositions, that are abstracted from a subject. Arguments are actions. In addition, all confirmations and all refutations of arguments would themselves be arguments and therefore would also be actions. Praxeology can therefore tell us something about what it is that ethicists are doing, and more importantly, it can tell us what categories of action, and thus what ethic, is necessarily being presupposed in the act of espousing any particular ethic.

    Hoppe has shown that any ethic that is espoused by an actor, presupposes a particular ethic special to argumentation, namely, private property rights.

    As such, we can then conclude that it is possible to identify when an ethicist is committing a performative contradiction, and when they are not. They commit a performative contradiction when they espouse an ethic that contradicts the particular ethic that is necessarily presupposed in the very act of espousing the stated ethic through argument.

    The only ethic that can be espoused without committing the performative contradiction, is the private property ethic.

    You can read his books to see a more detailed explanation.

    As you can see, there are absolutely zero explicit value judgments in this thinking. It remains in the "is" world, and never steps into the "ought" world. That it remains in the "is" world does not mean that it has no ethics implications. It clearly does. It shows us that the only ethics that can be espoused by anyone without contradiction is the private property ethic. Whether or not people actually value espousing non-contradictory ethics is an entirely different matter.

    Just like I don't have to tell someone that they ought to follow the scientific method if they want their crops to grow, in order for me to know that the scientific method is the only method that is non-contradictory, so too do I not have to tell you that you ought to advance non-contradictory ethics, in order for me to know that private property is the only non-contradictory ethic.

    On a different note, Hayek's support for central banking and a guaranteed minimum income has always struck me as fascinating. The fact that there is no consistent Austrian perspective has already been addressed by Lord Keynes, of course.

    It should not be as "fascinating" when you realize that philosophically, Hayek was at root a statist.

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  58. Dr. K:

    "Legitimate ownership is not a spectrum. It is binary. An individual either has it, or he doesn't."

    First, all of us here understand the spectrum of property rights to mean the various property interests recognized by common law and its variants. The bundle of sticks.

    Legitimate ownership rights is not based on what is recognized by common law. It is based on the logic of action.

    So, if by binary you mean that the various property interests are clearly defined among individuals, and all add up, then maybe we agree. It can be a matter of contention, but ultimately resolved by the court.

    Close. Yes you're understanding of binary ownership is accurate, but property rights disputes is actually ultimately resolved by reason. After all, I am sure you will agree that certain courts can make mistakes, and that certain laws can be immoral. We would have no conception of "court mistakes" or "immoral laws" if there weren't a superior standard for judging laws and courts. Ultimately, everything boils down to human reason. It is the ultimate human tool.

    However, if you mean that ownership may only reside in one person, then you're interfering with my freedom to contract. In the modern legal sense, contract and property aren't the same, but if we're only concerned with the philosophical, we can ignore that for the sake of argument.

    Ownership may only reside with one party. If there are more than one individual within that party, then the binary ownership is manifested in the dichotomy between the individuals in the party, and all other individuals not in that party. Exclusive to the former party, excluded from the latter "party." And, binary ownership is also present within the party. Depending on the agreement made, each individual within the party will have a single equity stake, larger, smaller, or equal to other individuals, and they exclusively own that particular equity stake, and everyone else does not.

    If I want someone else to have partial ownership of something that I legitimately own, assuming that my legitimate ownership meets your criteria for such a thing, then I should be free to do that.

    Of course. In that case, the binary ownership concept goes from you as an individual having exclusive rights of control to that property, such that everyone else is excluded, to you and one other individual having joint exclusive rights of that property, such that everyone else is excluded.

    It's still private property, because there are still exclusive rights of control over a scarce resource. Instead of one person, it's now two people. Each individual in the two person group will have their own exclusive rights of control to some portion of the scarce resource according to space and/or time. If it's space related, then each individual has exclusive rights to their own section of the resource for unlimited periods of time. Each section of property is now it's own property. If it's time related, then each individual has exclusive rights over the whole resource for particular periods of time. If it's a combination of space and time, then each individual will have specific access to specific portions of the resource over specific time frames.

    If it's possible to write a contract to bind our mutual ownership, then either you have to reject your concept of property, or you have to reject freedom of contract. If it isn't possible, then contracts can't represent the full range of mutual subjective interests, and consequently your concept of property limits freedom.

    False dilemma. Writing a contract to bind a mutual ownership IS a valid property contract. You just incorrectly imagined that binary ownership makes joint ownership impossible.

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  59. "Hoppe has shown that any ethic that is espoused by an actor, presupposes a particular ethic special to argumentation, namely, private property rights."

    He has shown no such thing.

    He hasn't even shown an individual has exclusive control over his own body.

    In order to debate, a person merely requires the use of certain body parts. That does not mean he requires absolute ownership of his whole body at all or at all times, and certainly not of external property:

    "even if one grants the basic validity of Hoppe’s approach, he has still not made the case for universal, full self-ownership in the libertarian sense. At best, all Hoppe has proven is that it would be a performative contradiction for someone to deny in an argument that his debating opponent (and perhaps those in the same “class”) own the body parts (such as eyes, brain, and lungs) necessary for debate, for the duration of the debate."
    Murphy, Robert P. and Gene Callahan, 2006. “Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethic: A Critique,” Journal of Libertarian Studies 20.2: p. 60.

    Self-ownership simply isn't a prerequisite to
    debate.

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  60. Pete: "and ask yourself if C and/or anyone else has more control over A now, versus when A was supposed as a state."

    But a state cannot shoot someone in the head. A person can be induced to do so in the name of the state, but it's not exactly the same thing.

    Either way, C's degree of control over A is not the issue that I was broaching. Think of A, B and C as placeholders - like variables in a computer program that store objects of the Property_Owner class. I'm not interested in WHO they are, but how they interact based upon the system of rights which is supposedly natural and default.

    The person represented by A could be Jacob Argyle, freelance line dancer; it could be Henry Engelberg, a representative of the Dow Chemical Corporation; it could be Francis Coopenmeyer, officer of the state of Florida. None of these distinctions alter my scenario, nor do they address my concern. Ultimately, I am trying to work with the issue of individualistic natural rights on their own terms.

    Even if we COULD assume that A is "The State" as a monolithic entity, then we're already assuming the existence (and if not acceptance, then certainly dominance) of a system of positive law, which is getting away from the issue I am trying to raise. See what I mean?

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  61. Yes, the definition of an ethic requires some valuation. Hoppe is putting forth a value-free, logically deduced ethic.

    Ownership may only reside with one party. You just incorrectly imagined that binary ownership makes joint ownership impossible.

    So, an ethic requires valuation, but Hoppe's ethic does not require valuation. Property may only be owned by one person, but property may be owned by two people. This is apparently what passes for an argument in Austrian circles.

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  62. "Ownership", as in property rights, is the obligation people have not to interfere with my usage of a given thing. When Hoppe goes ahead and says that I need to use my body to argue, sure thing, I need to use my body and not be interfered with the usage of my body, but nowhere in this is the obligation of others not to interfere, which is the key feature of property rights and what distinguishes them from mere possession, presupposed.

    This also necessitates the bridging of the is-ought gap - Hoppe has to go from "I need to use my body when argumenting" to "others ought not to interfere with the usage of my body" in order for his a priori proof of property to be valid, because it is this restriction to the actions of others that make property rights what they are: rights, opposable erga omnes.

    Can we stop treating libertarianism as if it were intellectually relevant and worth discussing rather than dismissing outright now.

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  63. "Hoppe has shown that any ethic that is espoused by an actor, presupposes a particular ethic special to argumentation, namely, private property rights."

    He has shown no such thing.

    He hasn't even shown an individual has exclusive control over his own body.

    In order to debate, a person merely requires the use of certain body parts. That does not mean he requires absolute ownership of his whole body at all or at all times, and certainly not of external property:

    "even if one grants the basic validity of Hoppe’s approach, he has still not made the case for universal, full self-ownership in the libertarian sense. At best, all Hoppe has proven is that it would be a performative contradiction for someone to deny in an argument that his debating opponent (and perhaps those in the same “class”) own the body parts (such as eyes, brain, and lungs) necessary for debate, for the duration of the debate."

    Murphy, Robert P. and Gene Callahan, 2006. “Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethic: A Critique,” Journal of Libertarian Studies 20.2: p. 60.

    Self-ownership simply isn't a prerequisite to debate.

    It simply is a pre-requisite.

    Murphy and Callahan make the mistake of ignoring the universalizability criterion which refutes their claim that Hoppe's argument is only relevant to when arguments are actually made, and they make the mistake of arbitrarily splitting up a human into body parts that cannot exist on their own, because by definition a human includes all that is originally appropriated by the individual for the fact of being an individual human, which includes not only those body parts that seem to be a part of argument but cannot exist on their own, but all of them because the subject is human ethics, not the ethics of stripped away and thus lifeless body parts like lungs and vocal chords and brains.

    Kinsella, Stephen, 2002. "Defending Argumentation Ethics: Reply to Murphy & Callahan," http://www.anti-state.com/article.php?article_id=312

    Murphy and Callahan's critique is motivated by their belief that Hoppe is wrong because Hoppe's analysis makes no mention of God. Murphy and Callahan are devout Christians, so it should not be surprising that they would go out of their way to try and refute Hoppe's absolute human ethic of absolute human ownership. They think God owns everything.

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  64. Hedlund:

    But a state cannot shoot someone in the head.

    What do you mean the state cannot shoot someone in the head? Do you mean it is immoral for them to do so, or do you mean that some greater power than the state is physically preventing the state from doing so?

    Even if we COULD assume that A is "The State" as a monolithic entity, then we're already assuming the existence (and if not acceptance, then certainly dominance) of a system of positive law, which is getting away from the issue I am trying to raise. See what I mean?

    Well then ask yourself if positive laws can exist in a stateless society. If I hire someone to protect my property and my life, and they do so through enforcement, then is this not a positive law being enforced?

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  65. "Murphy and Callahan's critique is motivated by their belief that Hoppe is wrong because Hoppe's analysis makes no mention of God."

    They may well be Christians, but their critique of Hoppe does not require belief in god at all. Their arguments are mostly secular. They mention god on but 2 pages of the critique.

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  66. Pete,

    Maybe I didn't explain myself clearly.

    Let's start with a definition of ownership, shall we? Ownership is the morally legitimate exclusive control over a given entity, am I correct? If we agree to this definition of ownership, then I can now explain what I mean by "degree of ownership".

    If I pluck an apple from a tree, then implicitly I am acknowledging that it is morally legitimate for me to control the apple IN A GIVEN WAY. Similarly, when I engage in argumentation, I am implicitly acknowledging that it is morally legitimate for me to control my body IN A GIVEN WAY.

    Notice that just because it is morally legitimate for me to do some things with my body does NOT mean that I can do absolutely anything with it - it may be immoral, for instance, for me to put a knife in my stomach. There is no performative conttradiction - by mere arguing I did not implicitly acknowledge that it is moral for me to commit suicide.

    Same thing with the apple - just because it is moral for me to control it in certain ways (like touching or putting it in my mouth) does not mean I can do anything with it - it does not mean, for instance, that I can pluck it and throw it in the garbage can.

    In other words a degree of ownership is a degree of legitimate control. Some forms of control may be legitimate, others may not.

    That's why I mentioned an alternative conception of property. Just because I can control external resources does not mean that I shouldn't compensate those who are excluded from those resources by my actions.

    ReplyDelete
  67. "and they make the mistake of arbitrarily splitting up a human into body parts that cannot exist on their own, because by definition a human includes all that is originally appropriated by the individual for the fact of being an individual human,

    We are not debating the issue of what a "human being" is.

    Anyway, you do not necessarily require the use of or even ownership of your legs or even arms at all to have a debate. Stephen Hawking can debate quite well having no control of most of his body. So could an amputee.

    "which includes not only those body parts that seem to be a part of argument but cannot exist on their own, but all of them because the subject is human ethics

    A non sequitur.

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  68. Dr. K:

    So, an ethic requires valuation, but Hoppe's ethic does not require valuation.

    No. An ethic is a set of values. Hoppe's "ethic" is not an ethic. It is an understanding and explanation of what ethic is necessarily presupposed in making an ethics argument, which enables us to figure out who is contradicting themselves and who is not.

    Hoppe has shown, contrary to Murphy and Callahan's flawed response, that only the private property ethic can be argued without contradiction.

    Property may only be owned by one person, but property may be owned by two people.

    No. Property may be owned by one person exclusively, or two (or more) people exclusively. Within a multiple person joint ownership scenario, each individual owns a specific, exclusive right of control to some portion of the larger property, in other words to some smaller portion in particular. The exclusivity of the whole property resides with the two individuals vis a vis everyone else. The exclusivity of the parts of the property resides with the individual vis a vis the other individual.

    In a two person joint ownership scenario, the law of identity doesn't all of a sudden disappear. In a two person joint ownership scenario, each individual has full and exclusive rights of control to their specific portion of the greater property, in space and/or time. Each individual cannot also own the other individual's ownership stake, or else there would be a single individual owner, which contradicts the initial assumption of joint ownership.

    Two people, even joint owners, cannot have exclusive rights to the same property. It is physically and praxeologically impossible. In a joint ownership scenario, the concept of exclusivity remains.

    Suppose that an apple tree is jointly owned by two individuals. If they agree that each can pick and eat no more than 1 apple a day, or if they agree that they will split the total number of apples 50/50, or 60/40 or whatever, or if they agree that on even days A will have access to the tree, whereas on odd days B will have access to the tree, any and all possible agreements that include both parties will necessarily generate an exclusive set of rights for each individual. They both cannot pick and eat the same apples. They both cannot pick apples at the same exact time in the same exact place in the tree.

    Praxeology can show us that it is impossible for joint owners to have the same exclusive rights for a property as would a single owner.

    This is apparently what passes for an argument in Austrian circles.

    It would help things if you tried to understand it, rather than trying to smear your ideological enemies all the time. You're only hurting yourself.

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  69. "An ethic is a set of values. Hoppe's "ethic" is not an ethic."

    And black is not black, the sky is blue and not blue, etc. etc.

    ReplyDelete
  70. We are not debating the issue of what a "human being" is.

    One cannot debate a turtle ethic, or an elephant ethic, or a human ethic, unless we first understand what turtles or elephants or humans are.

    It was Murphy and Callahan who introduced a challenge to what a human is, by saying that it is possible for lungs, brains, and vocal chords divorced from the human body are valid human entities. That is what they did when they took Hoppe's human ethic arguments and said it can be true for non human entities like piles of lungs and brains.

    Anyway, you do not necessarily require the use of or even ownership of your legs or even arms at all to have a debate. Stephen Hawking can debate quite well having no control of most of his body. So could an amputee.

    You're missing the point. Hoppe isn't talking about biological capability. He is talking about the presuppositions of an inseparable and distinct acting entity, a SCARCE entity, like humans, making arguments.

    Murphy and Callahan's claim is that since you don't "need" your legs to make a argument, it must mean that Hoppe's arguments have nothing to say about someone chopping off another's legs. At best, his arguments can only apply to those body parts that are necessary to making an argument, like one's brain, one's lungs, etc. Everything else is "up for grabs", so to speak.

    This article:

    (Warning:PDF) http://rothbard.be/bestanden/frvandun/Texts/Articles/MurphyCallahan.pdf

    shows why Murphy and Callahan are wrong on this point. In short, they just aren't looking at the concept of argumentation closely enough, but rather they are getting sidetracked on biology and God.

    "which includes not only those body parts that seem to be a part of argument but cannot exist on their own, but all of them because the subject is human ethics"

    A non sequitur.

    No, it follows. We're not talking about an ethic for lifeless lungs or brains, we're talking about a human ethic, which means the relevant entity is human, not brains and lungs.

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  71. Pete: "What do you mean the state cannot shoot someone in the head? Do you mean it is immoral for them to do so, or do you mean that some greater power than the state is physically preventing the state from doing so?"

    I mean the state is not a being capable of action, but social structure. I thought I was being clear when I said that "a person can be induced to do so in the name of the state, but it's not exactly the same thing." Think of it this way: there is no dude who looks like Dr. Manhattan except with an eagle stamped on his forehead instead of the symbol of a hydrogen atom. Those social relationships have commonality in the way they are built, but they're ultimately only ever manifested through individual behaviors. The state cannot incarnate, and nor is it absolutely reified in the form of a single actor.

    Pete: "Well then ask yourself if positive laws can exist in a stateless society. If I hire someone to protect my property and my life, and they do so through enforcement, then is this not a positive law being enforced?"

    No, in that case what is being enforced is a "natural" law, as distinguished from positive law. Positive law does not use "positive" to mean "good" or "beneficial" but rather in the sense of "that which is posited." It's something anarcho-capitalists tend to oppose, from what I've read, since they view it as an untenable and arbitrary outcropping of statism. But as I said, I never set out to address positive rights or laws; my hypothetical case is intended to rest firmly within the realm of "natural" laws/rights.

    I hope this clears up what I meant.

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  72. "An ethic is a set of values. Hoppe's "ethic" is not an ethic."

    And black is not black, the sky is blue and not blue, etc. etc

    "black" is not black, and "blue" is not blue. Notice the quotes? It means that Hoppe's arguments are about what ethic is presupposed in argumentation. It is not a value system of oughts and ought nots. It is an analysis of what oughts and what ought nots are presupposed in making an ethical argument.

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  73. Pete,

    First, thanks for clearing up a fundamental misgiving I had about AE. Second, let me try to restate what you are saying (I know I could be rather presumptuous, but what the hell :) ).

    LK,

    You need to understand that what Hoppe is saying is that if you want to engage in any argument involving ethics (which you are), you have to first understand that by the very act of engaging in argument to establish an ethical framework, you are implicitly accepting the ethics of private property. When you argue otherwise, you are engaging in (what I think is) a performative contradiction, i.e., you are implicitly accepting the validity of a framework and explicitly arguing against it.

    So, unless you have something to defeat Hoppe's argument, you are just (as usual) blabbering.

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  74. by the very act of engaging in argument to establish an ethical framework, you are implicitly accepting the ethics of private property.

    I'm sure that similarly, the very act of being an individual makes one implicitly a libertarian.

    Hoppe has not made a legitimate argument in any rational sense, so there's nothing to defeat. This is lamented thoughtfully here, by no less than a supporter of Mises.

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  75. "You need to understand that what Hoppe is saying is that if you want to engage in any argument involving ethics (which you are), you have to first understand that by the very act of engaging in argument to establish an ethical framework, you are implicitly accepting the ethics of private property."

    Utter nonsense. All you need to concede is that the person you argue with must have the use of those parts of the body required for argument during the period of the argument. The person could be locked up or imprisoned, or even chained up, and still be able to argue.

    Even a slave working in the field could debate his master for a brief period when his master gives him the opportunity to use his speech organs to debate.

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  76. When you argue otherwise, you are engaging in (what I think is) a performative contradiction, i.e., you are implicitly accepting the validity of a framework and explicitly arguing against it.

    Uh, when you argue with someone, all you need to presuppose is that you can, in the ontological sense, use your body. That is, I need to presume just the causal chain that makes me using my body to argue a possibility. This is purely in the realm of "is" statements and as such, is not an ethic at all.

    For this presupposition to be an ethic in any form, it would need to be an "ought statement" in the form of a norm, such as "others ought not to interfere with the usage of my body" (because property is just that, an obligation upon others not to interfere with my designs regarding the usage of a given resource). But this normative statement is not presupposed in the act of argumentation, and Hoppe hasn't shown that to be the case in any way (which he needs to. His position hinges on me implicitling accepting a norm as valid. That is, he needs an ought-statement to be presupposed in the act of arguing).

    All of his argument - I will humor you and call that joke an argument - comes from equivocating the term "ownership"; he is treating the fact that I "own" myself the same way as I "own" that trace of land and trying to derive the later from the former, when both sentences mean something completely different (I have control of myself x I have the legal/moral decision-making power over that piece of land).

    In fact, come to think of it, it is just a rehash of the idiotic "how can you say property isn't presupposed? Don't you have YOUR arm or YOUR leg or YOUR mouth?? See the possessives?? ergo property LOLOLOLOL" with a little more jargon thrown in to appear more respectable. Christ, libertarians are such an embarrassment. I bet they are going to reply to this post by repeating the same point just a little bit louder.

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  77. Dr. K:

    Hoppe has not made a legitimate argument in any rational sense, so there's nothing to defeat.

    Hoppe has made an argument in the rational sense. If you say there is nothing to defeat, then you should be able to point out errors.

    This is lamented thoughtfully here, by no less than a supporter of Mises.

    Ah, so you Googled "Argumentation ethics critique", copied one of the hits, then raced back here and pasted it here, without showing even the slightest evidence that you read it and understand it.

    I read that article, and it is devoid of any systematic thinking or logical analysis. Not cited, referenced, nor even well written.

    I can't see anything in that article that refutes Hoppe's arguments.

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  78. "You need to understand that what Hoppe is saying is that if you want to engage in any argument involving ethics (which you are), you have to first understand that by the very act of engaging in argument to establish an ethical framework, you are implicitly accepting the ethics of private property."

    Utter nonsense.

    Utter garbage!

    Utter nonsense!

    Utter crap!

    Utter wrong!

    Utter blah!

    Utter bloo!

    Utter mutter!

    All you need to concede is that the person you argue with must have the use of those parts of the body required for argument during the period of the argument. The person could be locked up or imprisoned, or even chained up, and still be able to argue.

    Even a slave working in the field could debate his master for a brief period when his master gives him the opportunity to use his speech organs to debate.

    Such a response has already been refuted here:

    http://rothbard.be/bestanden/frvandun/Texts/Articles/MurphyCallahan.pdf

    Starting on page 6.

    Utter nonsense!

    Utter garbage! LOL

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  79. Claude:

    When you argue otherwise, you are engaging in (what I think is) a performative contradiction, i.e., you are implicitly accepting the validity of a framework and explicitly arguing against it.

    Uh, when you argue with someone, all you need to presuppose is that you can, in the ontological sense, use your body. That is, I need to presume just the causal chain that makes me using my body to argue a possibility.

    You're confusing syntactic contradiction with dialectical contradiction. You too need to read this article:

    http://rothbard.be/bestanden/frvandun/Texts/Articles/MurphyCallahan.pdf

    This is purely in the realm of "is" statements and as such, is not an ethic at all.

    It is an argument for the only non-contradictory ethic that can be argued.

    For this presupposition to be an ethic in any form, it would need to be an "ought statement" in the form of a norm, such as "others ought not to interfere with the usage of my body" (because property is just that, an obligation upon others not to interfere with my designs regarding the usage of a given resource). But this normative statement is not presupposed in the act of argumentation, and Hoppe hasn't shown that to be the case in any way (which he needs to. His position hinges on me implicitling accepting a norm as valid. That is, he needs an ought-statement to be presupposed in the act of arguing).

    The only value that is presupposed in Hoppe's arguments is that he values making the argument that private property is the only non-contradictory ethic that can be argued.

    To value making an argument of X does not mean that X is invalid.

    All of his argument - I will humor you and call that joke an argument

    You have not shown how his arguments are a "joke". Non-response.

    - comes from equivocating the term "ownership"; he is treating the fact that I "own" myself the same way as I "own" that trace of land and trying to derive the later from the former, when both sentences mean something completely different (I have control of myself x I have the legal/moral decision-making power over that piece of land).

    To have ownership over self and over something physical external to your self is not a false equivocation. They don't mean something different at all. You just believe they do because you are coming to the table with your own conception of external physical property origination, which you believe comes into fruition through "artificial" positive laws, government, etc, or some other mechanism that is not as "natural" as is owning one's self. That is a flawed worldview because ownership over external physical resources is as natural as is owning one's self. Original appropriation.

    You can in fact have exclusive control over physical the same way you can have exclusive control over your body.

    In fact, come to think of it, it is just a rehash of the idiotic "how can you say property isn't presupposed? Don't you have YOUR arm or YOUR leg or YOUR mouth?? See the possessives?? ergo property LOLOLOLOL" with a little more jargon thrown in to appear more respectable.

    This is just a sad reflection of your own warped mind that has nothing to do with argumentation ethics.

    Christ, libertarians are such an embarrassment.

    Satan, statists are such an embarrassment.

    I bet they are going to reply to this post by repeating the same point just a little bit louder.

    I bet you haven't read a single book from Hoppe, and you only reject it because it doesn't accept your flawed ethics, which my guess is some sort of socialism, mutualism, collectivism.

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  80. "The only value that is presupposed in Hoppe's arguments is that he values making the argument that private property is the only non-contradictory ethic that can be argued."

    So now his arguments presuppose a value judgement - an ethical concept?? But "Hoppe's 'ethic' is not an ethic." Pure genius.

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  81. Pete,

    Since this is a fun topic (btw, this blog is quickly becoming one of my favorites) then I hope you do response to my argument which I posted earlier to you.

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  82. Hoppe has made an argument in the rational sense. If you say there is nothing to defeat, then you should be able to point out errors.

    There's no logical connection between the concept of self-ownership and the ability to make arguments, without presupposing private property. Even the term "self-ownership" frames the argument in a propertarian way, making it effectively circular. Not everyone agrees that humans can be property, or that ownership and control are related, or that ownership is natural, or that natural is good. There's also no logical connection between argumentation and freedom, or private property and freedom, without first defining freedom in those terms. Which is also circular.

    There's also no way of choosing between ethical theories without presupposing some concept of value, implicitly or otherwise, which makes any meta-ethical theory itself an ethic, which means it can't be value-free.

    The compulsion of libertarians to attempt to reframe well-established perspectives, to redefine widely-understood terms, and to write at length about ideas which they have misunderstood, is truly exceptional. Libertarians deserve credit for pioneering new ways to be pointlessly, vacuously irritating.

    Personally, I find it repugnant to even entertain any ethical reasoning from someone with these beliefs:

    "There can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They-the advocates of alternative, non-family-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism-will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order." (Hoppe)

    So, no matter how much libertarians spout about Hoppe's ethics being the one true way, they have only made themselves out to be ironically violent authoritarian bigots. For the adults in the room, that by itself is a legitimate critique.

    Further, the only reason it's even worth responding is not that libertarians will ever listen to reason, but because the aggressive libertarian policy of indoctrinating the young and naive into a comfortably simplistic world view must be resisted. It can take a significant amount of effort to break that programming at the university level, but it's increasingly common for libertarians to simply be expelled for harassment before they can be corrected.

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  83. I can't see anything in that article that refutes Hoppe's arguments.

    "Hoppe is virtually unknown outside radical liberal and libertarian circles although some of his followers may wish to believe so."

    I'm sure you'll be able to see better when you wipe away the tears. I know it's hard for someone like you to feel marginalized.

    As the article points out, Hoppe has not even attempted to explain how his utopian ideal would sustain itself. Since an ethic can only be judged by its consequences, if the outcome is statism, then Hoppe's ideal is no different than anything else.

    How do we prevent states from forming? People will voluntarily assemble to attempt to subdue others, which makes that collection of people a de facto state. Any attempt to avoid that outcome requires superior coercive force, which is a de facto state. He does seem to advocate for eugenics, but again that requires coercive force. Since his argument comes down to "this would be an ideal world, if only I could change human nature," the essence of his theory can hardly be distinguished from Marxism.

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  84. "The only value that is presupposed in Hoppe's arguments is that he values making the argument that private property is the only non-contradictory ethic that can be argued."

    So now his arguments presuppose a value judgement - an ethical concept?? But "Hoppe's 'ethic' is not an ethic." Pure genius.

    You keep insinuating that your inability to understand argumentation ethics, and your constant hopping from one crude understanding to the next, is somehow me changing my story each time. My story is not changing at all. Your grasping at successive false interpretations is what keeps changing.

    Yes, by making an argument, one is presupposing a particular ethic. THAT'S HOPPE'S WHOLE POINT.

    The realization of this fact, the understanding of it, is not itself an ethic!

    Jeepers.

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  85. Heretic:

    I read your previous comments.

    My question to you is this:

    Under what basis, exactly, can one person use violence to prevent you, as the original appropriator of the apple, from throwing the apple away, or letting it rot in your house?

    Furthermore, under what basis can this second person claim ownership over that apple, which he is clearly doing by enforcing his desires regarding that apple, and "protecting" that apple from your treatment of it?

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  86. Dr. K:

    "Hoppe has made an argument in the rational sense. If you say there is nothing to defeat, then you should be able to point out errors."

    There's no logical connection between the concept of self-ownership and the ability to make arguments, without presupposing private property.

    Hoppe showed that there is. Merely denying it is not an argument.

    Even the term "self-ownership" frames the argument in a propertarian way, making it effectively circular.

    You haven't read a single book from Hoppe have you? Nor Kinsella? Nor Van Dun?

    Not everyone agrees that humans can be property, or that ownership and control are related, or that ownership is natural, or that natural is good.

    Irrelevant.

    There's also no logical connection between argumentation and freedom, or private property and freedom, without first defining freedom in those terms.

    False. Even the concept of "defining" is an argument, and thus presupposes argumentative ethic.

    There's also no way of choosing between ethical theories without presupposing some concept of value, implicitly or otherwise, which makes any meta-ethical theory itself an ethic, which means it can't be value-free.

    Of course. But just because people have to value science and choose science, doesn't take away from the validity of science. Similarly, that people have to value non-contradictory ethics and choose non-contradictory ethics, doesn't take away from the validity of the analysis concerning which ethics are contradictory and which are not.

    The compulsion of libertarians to attempt to reframe well-established perspectives, to redefine widely-understood terms, and to write at length about ideas which they have misunderstood, is truly exceptional.

    The compulsion of statists to attempt to reframe well-established perspectives, to redefine widely-understood terms, and to write at length about ideas which they have misunderstood, is truly exceptional.

    Libertarians deserve credit for pioneering new ways to be pointlessly, vacuously irritating.

    Statists deserve credit for pioneering new ways to be pointlessly, vacuously irritating.

    Personally, I find it repugnant to even entertain any ethical reasoning from someone with these beliefs:

    "There can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They-the advocates of alternative, non-family-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism-will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order." (Hoppe)

    Ad hominem tu quoque.

    Isaac Newton was an asshole. That doesn't mean his optics were wrong.

    Arguments can only be refuted by other arguments. Your only recourse is to smear, not elucidate.

    So, no matter how much libertarians spout about Hoppe's ethics being the one true way, they have only made themselves out to be ironically violent authoritarian bigots.

    Non sequitur.

    I don't have to be a homophobe before I can accept argumentation ethics.

    For the adults in the room, that by itself is a legitimate critique.

    You're a child.

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  87. Dr. K:

    Further, the only reason it's even worth responding is not that libertarians will ever listen to reason, but because the aggressive libertarian policy of indoctrinating the young and naive into a comfortably simplistic world view must be resisted.

    You confused statism for libertarianism. It is statism that children are indoctrinated into a "comfortably simplistic world view", namely, government is great, government is good, let us thank it for our loot, Amen.

    It can take a significant amount of effort to break that programming at the university level, but it's increasingly common for libertarians to simply be expelled for harassment before they can be corrected.

    Break that programming? We live in a statist society, not a libertarian one.

    By saying people have to have their programming broken at university, is to criticize government schools, which is where almost all children go from birth until university. LOL

    "I can't see anything in that article that refutes Hoppe's arguments."

    "Hoppe is virtually unknown outside radical liberal and libertarian circles although some of his followers may wish to believe so."

    Not an argument against Hoppe's arguments.

    I'm sure you'll be able to see better when you wipe away the tears. I know it's hard for someone like you to feel marginalized.

    Projection. I don't feel sad at all at being one of the few who are right.

    As the article points out, Hoppe has not even attempted to explain how his utopian ideal would sustain itself.

    There is no obligation for him to do that, any more than it would the obligation of the originator of the internal combustion engine to explain to the horse and buggy lobby why his invention is superior. Would the inventor of the engine be obligated to explain who will produce them, where, in what use, using what means, etc, etc? No.

    Since an ethic can only be judged by its consequences, if the outcome is statism, then Hoppe's ideal is no different than anything else.

    Anarchy is the antithesis of statism. If statism arises, it's because anarchy was abandoned, not because it failed.

    Peace doesn't become irrelevant simply because violence exists or spreads. If violence spreads, it's not the peace failed, it's that people chose violence instead of peace.

    How do we prevent states from forming?

    Same way we prevent theocracies from forming. Same way we prevent monarchies from forming. Same way we prevent feudalism from forming. Same way we prevent fascism from forming.

    By education, and by living anarchy.

    People will voluntarily assemble to attempt to subdue others, which makes that collection of people a de facto state.

    Only if most people accept the legitimacy of it, which is not a given.

    You're just presuming that statism is inevitable. It isn't. It just seems that way because it's been around so long.

    By your logic, Americans should never have stopped slavery, because prior to it, there was slavery for many years.

    Any attempt to avoid that outcome requires superior coercive force, which is a de facto state.

    Calling independent private security forces "de facto states" is a stupid semantics game.

    He does seem to advocate for eugenics, but again that requires coercive force.

    Hoppe is against initiations of force. He can't be FOR a mandatory eugenics policy on anyone.

    Since his argument comes down to "this would be an ideal world, if only I could change human nature," the essence of his theory can hardly be distinguished from Marxism.

    So all ideal worlds are Marxist?

    What kind of world do you want, given the fact that people choose to do evil? A more evil world? Is that your ideal?

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  88. I bet they are going to reply to this post by repeating the same point just a little bit louder.

    I'm a prophet.

    If anyone wants lottery numbers, please contact me. I don't charge much.

    ReplyDelete
  89. "Calling independent private security forces "de facto states" is a stupid semantics game."

    Far from it. If a private protection agency in a libertarian world attained a monopoly, or a number acted like a cartel, you would have a de facto government.

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  90. "Calling independent private security forces "de facto states" is a stupid semantics game."

    Far from it. If a private protection agency in a libertarian world attained a monopoly, or a number acted like a cartel, you would have a de facto government.

    You mean if a government arose, there would be government?

    You mean if independent private security forces no longer existed, and there were only one security force, that there will be government?

    Unequivocal, unabashed, total and complete tautological nonsense.

    "Anarchy is statism, because if a state arises, then it's statism."

    "Non-statism is statism, because if non-statism turns into statism, then there will exist a state."

    "Freedom is slavery, because if slavery arose under freedom, there would be slavery."

    "Up is down, because if up gave way to down, then down would exist."

    LOL

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  91. Claude:

    All statists have delusions of grandeur.

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  92. Hoppe is against initiations of force. He can't be FOR a mandatory eugenics policy on anyone.

    Hoppe argues for the physical removal from society of anyone he doesn't like. Not just social or economic ostracism, but an initiation of physical force.

    By saying people have to have their programming broken at university, is to criticize government schools, which is where almost all children go from birth until university.

    Like democracy, public school is the worst system of its kind, except for all the other ones. Certainly, Hoppe wouldn't continue to work for a state university if he found it objectionable, unless he's a hypocrite.

    As illustrated above, it's common for libertarians to attribute belief in the divine right of rulership, or the infallibility of state institutions, to anyone who believes in any form of state. Notice how it's consistent with the rejection of empirical reality.

    By your logic, Americans should never have stopped slavery, because prior to it, there was slavery for many years.

    According to libertarians, after Nozick, slavery never should have ended. The state is interfering in the right of self-owners to voluntarily transact their persons. If nothing else, I respect the ascetic consistency of that position.

    Prior to the abolition of slavery in Europe and the United States, it existed for the entirety of recorded history, not just hundreds of years. The circumstances around the abolition of slavery have almost nothing to do with ideology, though. It was through the initiation of superior force and the subjugation of the enemies of the state that slavery was finally abolished. If economic coercion hadn't been the tool of choice for bludgeoning the south, and the industrial revolution hadn't been so successful, slavery would still be common. If the military power of the West was not in place to enforce its ideology, slavery would be common again. Any similar arguments for the abolition of the state would be self-contradictory.

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  93. "Anarchy is statism, because if a state arises, then it's statism."

    "Non-statism is statism, because if non-statism turns into statism, then there will exist a state."

    "Freedom is slavery, because if slavery arose under freedom, there would be slavery."


    What's really funny is that all of those statements are true.

    If anarchy inevitably turns into statism, then anarchy is only a transitional form of society, not a stable one. So, anarchy is ultimately statism.

    Like Nozick argued, slavery is a necessary consequence of libertarian freedom. Chomsky argued that wage slavery arose out of our current form of freedom, so in either case freedom is indeed slavery.

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  94. Pete,

    "Under what basis, exactly, can one person use violence to prevent you, as the original appropriator of the apple, from throwing the apple away, or letting it rot in your house?"

    First thing - I asked why do you (and Hoppe) assume that just because some control is morally permissible, then that means you can do absolutely anything with a given entity. Replying with a question is not the best answer.

    Second thing, to answer your question - if something is morally not permissible, then by definition others may prevent you from doing something. Similarly, if something is morally right, then others have to stay away.

    From a practical point of view, minority ownership can solve this problem very easily. Some things you can do with no need for asking others, but to do other things you need the permission of others.

    "Furthermore, under what basis can this second person claim ownership over that apple, which he is clearly doing by enforcing his desires regarding that apple, and "protecting" that apple from your treatment of it?"

    See above.

    And now another thing that popped into my mind: how does Hoppe's argumentation ethic deal with moral nihilists?

    If "I own my body" means "it is morally legitimate for me to exclusively control my body" then denying self-ownership leads one into a contradiction. But a nihilist can simply reply that "morally legitimate" does not exist. How do you answer that?

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  95. Dr. K:

    "Hoppe is against initiations of force. He can't be FOR a mandatory eugenics policy on anyone."

    Hoppe argues for the physical removal from society of anyone he doesn't like. Not just social or economic ostracism, but an initiation of physical force.

    No, you misunderstand. By saying "physical removal from society", he meant for private property owners to use their own private property rights to prevent access to these people. He didn't mean it in the sense of physically grabbing people and ejecting them from their own private property in an aggressive manner.

    "By saying people have to have their programming broken at university, is to criticize government schools, which is where almost all children go from birth until university."

    Like democracy, public school is the worst system of its kind, except for all the other ones.

    Winston Churchill never considered private property anarchy.

    Certainly, Hoppe wouldn't continue to work for a state university if he found it objectionable, unless he's a hypocrite.

    He has been spending his recent years trying to become a citizen of Lichtenstein. It takes time.

    As illustrated above, it's common for libertarians to attribute belief in the divine right of rulership, or the infallibility of state institutions, to anyone who believes in any form of state.

    No, that's a straw man. It's not about religion or infallibility. What's common to libertarians is that statists hold the state to be morally justified, period.

    Notice how it's consistent with the rejection of empirical reality.

    Notice how you haven't shown that to be the case, and just made it up.

    "By your logic, Americans should never have stopped slavery, because prior to it, there was slavery for many years."

    According to libertarians, after Nozick, slavery never should have ended.

    False. According to libertarianism, slavery should end.

    The state is interfering in the right of self-owners to voluntarily transact their persons.

    Libertarians are against some humans claiming ownership over other humans.

    Prior to the abolition of slavery in Europe and the United States, it existed for the entirety of recorded history, not just hundreds of years.

    Red herring. Hundreds of years or thousands of years, my point still stands. By your historicism logic, because slavery existed for many thousands of years, you would hold slavery to be justified and that anyone who rejects slavery would be against "empirical reality."

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  96. Dr. K:

    The circumstances around the abolition of slavery have almost nothing to do with ideology, though.

    It had everything to do with ideology. All actions are based on some ideology.

    It was through the initiation of superior force and the subjugation of the enemies of the state that slavery was finally abolished.

    HAHAHAHA, I love it how you insinuate libertarianism and anti-slavery as being pro-slavery.

    You're pro-slavery because you're pro-state.

    If economic coercion hadn't been the tool of choice for bludgeoning the south, and the industrial revolution hadn't been so successful, slavery would still be common.

    False. Slavery ended in Europe without a civil war. Slaves bought their way to freedom there. 600,000 Americans died in a war that was fought over the North trying to impose draconian federalist economic controls over the South. Slavery was inconsequential. Lincoln said that if he could save the Union and not free the slaves, he would have chosen that over freeing the slaves and allowing the southern states to secede.

    If the military power of the West was not in place to enforce its ideology, slavery would be common again.

    The West supports dictators when it suits them. The Western governments are not anti-slavery. They are anti-anti-west.

    Any similar arguments for the abolition of the state would be self-contradictory.

    No, they wouldn't be self-contradictory. Private property is not a self-contradictory ethic.

    Statism is a self-contradictory ethic. Statists claim that murder, theft, and kidnapping are immoral and evil, but then they turn around and support statism which does just that.

    "Anarchy is statism, because if a state arises, then it's statism."

    "Non-statism is statism, because if non-statism turns into statism, then there will exist a state."

    "Freedom is slavery, because if slavery arose under freedom, there would be slavery."

    What's really funny is that all of those statements are true.

    What's even more funny is that you actually believe they are true statements.

    If anarchy inevitably turns into statism, then anarchy is only a transitional form of society, not a stable one.

    Nowhere did I say that anarchy inevitably turns into statism. The "if" means it is conditional, not necessary.

    So, anarchy is ultimately statism.

    False. That rests on the false premise that statism is inevitable. Statism is not inevitable. Statelessness is what is actually inevitable, because statism is based on a lie, and lies are inevitably exposed at some point.

    Like Nozick argued, slavery is a necessary consequence of libertarian freedom.

    Rothbard demolished Nozick's claim.

    Chomsky argued that wage slavery arose out of our current form of freedom, so in either case freedom is indeed slavery.

    Chomsky doesn't understand that wage earning is not slavery if the wage earner is not forced by violence to work. He contradicts the actual meaning of slavery.

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  97. Summing up this comment sectionOctober 28, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    Lolbertarian: "[Wrong argument]."

    Normal person: "This argument is wrong because A, B and C."

    Lolbertarian: "No. Because [same wrong argument]."

    CARRY ON

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  98. "Chomsky doesn't understand that wage earning is not slavery if the wage earner is not forced by violence to work."

    One doesn't need to use violence to force someone to do something.

    If the choice is (1) starve or (2) work as a de facto slave for an industrialist in dehumanising conditions, something is deeply immoral.

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  99. LK,

    Others have already made the argument about the use of starvation as a means of extortion and the expression of an unjust power relation, but Pete rejects it. As far as I can see, the underlying logic is "to accept this proposition would be devastating to my worldview, therefore [denial]."

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  100. Pete,

    "Chomsky doesn't understand that wage earning is not slavery if the wage earner is not forced by violence to work. He contradicts the actual meaning of slavery."

    In this case then taxation isn't slavery either - after all, in order to pay taxes you have to earn money, and nobody forces you to do that.

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  101. Summing up this comment section:

    Statistismbecile: "[Wrong argument]."

    Normal person: "This argument is wrong because A, B and C."

    Statistismbecile: "No. Because [same wrong argument]."

    CARRY ON

    LK:

    "Chomsky doesn't understand that wage earning is not slavery if the wage earner is not forced by violence to work."

    One doesn't need to use violence to force someone to do something.

    Yes, they do in fact have to use physical force, because in the absence of physical force, one is free to use one's mind to think and act.

    If the choice is (1) starve or (2) work as a de facto slave for an industrialist in dehumanising conditions, something is deeply immoral.

    You're begging the question, this time calling voluntary wage earning as "de facto" slavery. You're fallaciously presuming that A. An individual choosing work and live instead of not work and starve, is somehow the fault of the person who is gracious enough to pay wages and thus save the person's life, and B. That it is "immoral" that a person biologically requires food and water and shelter from the elements in order to live.

    You haven't shown that a biological need and the human choice of work and produce, or die from starvation, is somehow "immoral." The choice to work and produce, or else starve to death, is a choice that SOME people MUST make, or else the human race will go extinct. If nobody works and produces, then consumption will be impossible.

    A man stranded on a desert island will be forced to choose work and produce, or else starve.

    Just because in a modern division of labor society, a person who is forced to choose between work and produce, or else starve to death, happens to result in him working for someone else, instead of himself, doesn't mean that the person paying him is all of a sudden responsible for the biological need of humans to eat in order to live.

    You are literally conflating freedom with slavery. A man who is free is going to have to be initiated with violence in order to STOP him from working and producing. You're actually claiming that a man who is free to choose work and live, is somehow enslaved, because he can't live at someone else's expense when private property rights are respected.

    Your worldview is completely corrupt.

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  102. A:

    Others have already made the argument about the use of starvation as a means of extortion and the expression of an unjust power relation, but Pete rejects it. As far as I can see, the underlying logic is "to accept this proposition would be devastating to my worldview, therefore [denial]."

    Not even close. A person who pays another money in exchange for their labor, on a voluntary basis, is not "extorting" anything. He is in fact saving that person's life. Just because the person's alternative is starvation, that is not the fault of the person paying him money.

    How in the world can you blame the person paying money in any way, when there is nobody else paying that person any money or giving them food for free? It's as if you believe that if there is nobody else sacrificing themselves for the sake of this starving person, that the person who saves that person's life through wage labor is somehow evil, instead of what he actually is, which is acting good, peacefully, and saving that person's life!

    It is precisely you statist freaks whose worldview requires sanctioning and encouraging social parasitism, because if you were against it, then you'd have to be against the state, which is something you refuse to do, or else you'd have to give up YOUR OWN desire to either live as social parasites, or call on others to be sacrificed for the sake of social parasites.

    I have ZERO need to hide, be embarrassed about, nor ashamed of anything.

    What you call "unjust power relation" is perfectly and completely just, provided that the man paying the wages did not initiate any force against the starving person, for he did not cause the starving person's need for food. That's biology. Deal with it. Yes, I know you hate it that we humans have this real world finite bodies that are limited, and that makes you feel trapped and isolated and alone. But that's just a consequence of your irrational philosophy, which prevents you from understanding how reason is man's only tool for dealing with reality. You want people to be sacrificed, as long as one person in the world is starving. And yet, you are here on a website, wasting your time and money, while people are actually starving, and while evil greedy employers are actually saving people's lives through paying wages.

    What are you doing? That's what I thought.

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  103. Heretic:

    "Chomsky doesn't understand that wage earning is not slavery if the wage earner is not forced by violence to work. He contradicts the actual meaning of slavery."

    In this case then taxation isn't slavery either - after all, in order to pay taxes you have to earn money, and nobody forces you to do that.

    No, in order to pay taxes, the government has to threaten people with physical force (kidnapping, jail, theft, intimidation, etc). Taxes are not automatic. They are the result of choices made by the individuals in the state. Just because the individuals in the state only collect taxes from you when you earn them, that doesn't mean the taxpayers are choosing to pay taxes by virtue of choosing to work.

    By that crap logic, I could tell you that I will rob $50 from you every time you step out of your house, and then claim that when you do step out of your house, I am not in any way at fault, I did not make any choice, that somehow you are the only one who made choices, and you are the one who chose to pay me the $50.

    You people are all confused up the wazoo, because you're all trying to reconcile the immorality of theft and violence, with the theft and violence committed by the state. You desperately want to believe that theft and violence are perfectly justified, as long as your arbitrary criteria are present, i.e. they have a government badge and someone somewhere is starving.

    You're calling for different rights for different people, which is a core component of fascist ideology.

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  104. "Statismbecile" just doesn't roll out of the tongue as "lolbertarian", really.

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  105. This comment section disgusts meOctober 30, 2011 at 6:42 AM

    "Hello, Sally. I know times are hard for you, and in our glorious free world there is no social safety net for you to fall on, but times are hard for ME too (it is hard being a multimillionaire industrialist), and I have to fire you. But it's okay, there is one thing you can do to avoid this. You could, I don't know, sleep with me, I have always found you very beautiful. Only if you want, of course. But if you don't I'm firing you and you'll probably starve to death. But it's not like I'm forcing you to anything. You're free to choose."

    Pete: "Yeah! Show that b**** how freedom works!"

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  106. Pete:

    "By that crap logic, I could tell you that I will rob $50 from you every time you step out of your house, and then claim that when you do step out of your house, I am not in any way at fault, I did not make any choice, that somehow you are the only one who made choices, and you are the one who chose to pay me the $50."

    Good point, except that it is a major exaggeration.
    I have to leave my house in order to survive.
    I do not have to earn money IN A GIVEN STATE in order to survive.
    If AnCaps and libertarians were that serious, they would flock into one country and establish Libertarianland. After all, there's enough of them in order to do that - even if 0,1% of the world's population is libertarian then that still gives 7 million people. With 0,5% that jumps to 35 million.

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  107. Heretic:

    Good point, except that it is a major exaggeration. I have to leave my house in order to survive.

    Arbitrary standard. Humans need more than to just stay biologically alive. We can see this by the fact that when people have an opportunity to do more than just stay alive, they take that opportunity.

    I do not have to earn money IN A GIVEN STATE in order to survive.

    Irrelevant. You need to work and produce. The need to work and produce is not unique to a division of labor, monetary economy. It just makes a given amount of labor produce more wealth because the productivity of labor is higher.

    If AnCaps and libertarians were that serious, they would flock into one country and establish Libertarianland.

    We already tried to do that with the US, but you socialists came in and wrecked the place with your statism.

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  108. This comment section disgusts me:

    "Hello, Sally. I know times are hard for you, and in our glorious free world there is no social safety net for you to fall on, but times are hard for ME too (it is hard being a multimillionaire industrialist), and I have to fire you. But it's okay, there is one thing you can do to avoid this. You could, I don't know, sleep with me, I have always found you very beautiful. Only if you want, of course. But if you don't I'm firing you and you'll probably starve to death. But it's not like I'm forcing you to anything. You're free to choose."

    Exactly. There is no justification for the man paying the wages to be sacrificed of his values, which are manifested by his voluntary actions, just so that someone else can achieve their values.

    Need does not usurp rights and freedom. The belief that it does is what held back humanity's prosperity for tens of thousands of years. It wasn't until individual property rights were respected long enough and widespread enough; it wasn't until the violent redistributionist social parasites were beaten back far enough and long enough, could savings and investment take place, and capital could finally be accumulated on a wide enough scale, such that the average human being could engage in more productive labor than before, through utilizing more tools and equipment, which are the product of saving and investment.

    You fools believe that wealth comes out of thin air. You're like children who never grew up, and never learned how it is that their parents were able to put food on the table.

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  109. Sane person:

    "Statismbecile" just doesn't roll out of the tongue as "lolbertarian", really.

    It rolls off the tongue much better, because the letter "b" doesn't smoothly follow an "l" in words in the English language.

    statism and imbecile connect much more smoothly. Statism has an "ism" that sounds like is"im", which perfectly introduces the first part of the "im" in imbecile.

    lolbertarian sounds like one has a mouth full of marbles, which is fitting actually, since statismbeciles have skulls full of them.

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  110. Pete:

    "Arbitrary standard. Humans need more than to just stay biologically alive. We can see this by the fact that when people have an opportunity to do more than just stay alive, they take that opportunity."

    True. But we are talking about taxation in light of slavery, since that comparison is so often brought up. And the comparison is invalid, for slaves (among many other things) cannot choose when, for whom and how to work, like modern taxpayers can.

    "We already tried to do that with the US, but you socialists came in and wrecked the place with your statism."

    Nonsense. The US is a perfect example of NON-libertarianism, as it was established through state coercion being inflicted upon the original occupants of the land. Not to mention that it allowed slavery from the beginning.

    Btw, did you some years ago write on Reddit as "Waah"? Your style seems familiar.

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  111. Pete: I wasn't talking to you.

    However, since you felt the need to hammer off another rambling, spittle-flecked missive my way, how about a capstone: please remind me what it is about our finite resources as mortal beings that requires, as a matter of ethical principle, that some people should and some people should not have that same axe positioned over their head? (I am of course not asking why some people HAVE more than others, but rather why it is that your ethics dictate that some people are literally not even entitled to the full fruit of their own labor.)

    ReplyDelete
  112. It rolls off the tongue much better, because the letter "b" doesn't smoothly follow an "l" in words in the English language.

    You may have a point, here. How about 'liberventilator'?

    ReplyDelete
  113. A:

    Pete: I wasn't talking to you.

    A, you don't have to be before I write something in response to you, concerning comments you made about my posts.

    However, since you felt the need to hammer off another rambling, spittle-flecked missive my way

    Haha, the fact that you need to include such invective is only more evidence that you can't argue over ideas.

    how about a capstone: please remind me what it is about our finite resources as mortal beings that requires, as a matter of ethical principle, that some people should and some people should not have that same axe positioned over their head?

    I never argued that anyone should have an axe over their head.

    But if someone is defending themselves from an axe murderer, then it would be justified.

    (I am of course not asking why some people HAVE more than others, but rather why it is that your ethics dictate that some people are literally not even entitled to the full fruit of their own labor.)

    People are entitled to the fruits of their own labor. I just reject your claim that manual workers are entitled to the output that is the responsibility of the capitalist. The output is attributable to the capitalists, not the workers. The full product of the capitalist's labor is the output. The workers assist the capitalist produce the capitalist's products.

    The workers are entitled to the full product of their labor, which is the wages they earn, not the physical output they help the capitalist produce.

    Some people HAVE more than others because A. Some people PRODUCE more than others, and B. Because some people (the state, common criminals) steal from others.

    Anonymous:

    You may have a point, here. How about 'liberventilator'?

    I think statistooge is better.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Heretic:

    "Arbitrary standard. Humans need more than to just stay biologically alive. We can see this by the fact that when people have an opportunity to do more than just stay alive, they take that opportunity."

    True. But we are talking about taxation in light of slavery, since that comparison is so often brought up.

    We were talking about taxation in light of slavery because of how often it is brought up, and not because of what we are actually saying here?

    And the comparison is invalid, for slaves (among many other things) cannot choose when, for whom and how to work, like modern taxpayers can.

    What if slaves could only choose which master to work for? Would they no longer be slaves?

    "We already tried to do that with the US, but you socialists came in and wrecked the place with your statism."

    Nonsense. The US is a perfect example of NON-libertarianism, as it was established through state coercion being inflicted upon the original occupants of the land.

    I was talking about the original occupants of the land.

    Not to mention that it allowed slavery from the beginning.

    What's "it"? You mean government? Of course.

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  115. Haha, the fact that you need to include such invective is only more evidence that you can't argue over ideas.

    If you spent half as much time actually arguing as you do preening maybe we'd see if there were any truth to these words. Oh well.

    The full product of the capitalist's labor is the output. The workers assist the capitalist produce the capitalist's products.

    Yes, I hear what you're saying and I believe that you think it's the truth, but I just don't see a non-arbitrary argument underlying it.

    For instance, the one single point you've yet made against the LTV is to cite the diamond-water paradox. Not even making an argument, mind you; just SAYING "diamond-water paradox" and then congratulating yourself on a job well done. So? Let's see what you have to say about it. Pretend for a moment that I've never even heard of this paradox, and walk me through its implications for the LTV. (Bonus points if you can cite a relevant passage from Smith!)

    Some people HAVE more than others because A. Some people PRODUCE more than others, and B. Because some people (the state, common criminals) steal from others.

    I actually agree 100% with this. In fact, under conditions of simple commodity exchange, I even agree with the way you intend it.

    Under capitalism, though, you left out an important group from B. No hints.

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  116. A:

    1/2

    "Haha, the fact that you need to include such invective is only more evidence that you can't argue over ideas."

    If you spent half as much time actually arguing as you do preening maybe we'd see if there were any truth to these words. Oh well.

    Haha, yet more evidence that you can't argue over ideas.

    The full product of the capitalist's labor is the output. The workers assist the capitalist produce the capitalist's products.

    Yes, I hear what you're saying and I believe that you think it's the truth, but I just don't see a non-arbitrary argument underlying it.

    It's the capitalist's means of production, it's the capitalist's plans, it's the capitalist's money, it's the capitalist's intellectual direction. This is not arbitrary.

    What is arbitrary is the claim that because workers physically touch the means of production, and because the workers perform manual labor, that they somehow own the full output. This is arbitrary because it puts the responsibility of production behind manual labor as opposed to intellectual labor, and thus physicality as opposed to the mind. In production, it is the mind that is ultimately responsible for production. All the strong backs in the world won't be able to produce anything without a mind guiding it.

    In a division of labor society, the hierarchy between mind and body is manifested in a hierarchy of minds and bodies in production.

    For instance, the one single point you've yet made against the LTV is to cite the diamond-water paradox. Not even making an argument, mind you; just SAYING "diamond-water paradox" and then congratulating yourself on a job well done. So?

    So? You mean you don't understand the marginal revolution? You don't understand that value is projected outward from individual minds, and not objectively embodied in physical commodities devoid of individual valuation? You don't understand that even if there exists a relationship between labor costs and selling prices, that this does not mean that the LTV as propounded by mainstream conveyers of the theory is correct?

    The precise labor theory of value that I adhere to is fully compatible with supply and demand as determining prices, and it is fully consistent with the role of capitalists and investors as raising the standard of living of wage earners over time.

    The LTV I adhere to is this: A reduction in the quantity of labor required to produce goods (economic progress) makes it possible for the same total available labor to produce more goods. This increases the supply of goods relative to the supply labor. Importantly, this means a fall in prices relative to wage rates, and thus an increase in purchasing power of the wage earner's money. Who is responsible for this process? The capitalists. It is their minds, their constant searching out for profitable investment opportunities, that generates an accumulation of real capital (and not just a transfer of capital) over time, and that raises the productivity of labor and thus standard of living of wage earners.

    This is the LTV I adhere to, but the LTV as propounded by Marx and his followers, and almost all mainstream espousers today, are completely clueless. They are seemingly unaware of all the limitations of the LTV that the classical economists understood and emphasized. Ricardo for example wrote at length on all the other determinants of prices, such as the level of scarcity, the time required to produce goods, the rates of profit, and the differences in wage rates between industries, occupations, and countries. In some circumstances, the relative amount of labor required is not a determinant of prices at all.

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  117. A:

    2/2

    Let's see what you have to say about it. Pretend for a moment that I've never even heard of this paradox, and walk me through its implications for the LTV. (Bonus points if you can cite a relevant passage from Smith!)

    I highly suggest that you read Ricardo, to see exactly what the limitations of the LTV actually are. Unfortunately, Ricardo and other classical economists did not understand the importance of consumer demand and marginal utility in determining relative wage rates, and the prices of goods that cannot be increased in supply very quickly to every change in demand. Marx introduced his own twisted and garbled form of the LTV, which is what you and most others today who espouse it, understand it to be.

    I actually agree 100% with this. In fact, under conditions of simple commodity exchange, I even agree with the way you intend it.

    Do you know why you agree with it? There are two key points here. One, in voluntary trade, both parties expect to benefit, or else they would not voluntarily trade. Since more gains can be made through engaging in more than just one trade, there is an incentive for both parties to offer their best in any given trade. Two, wealth, real wealth, is not a zero sum game. Production enables more wealth to be produced that did not exist before, which enables one individual to grow wealthier and wealthier in real terms, without a corresponding impoverishment of anyone else.

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  118. A:


    Under capitalism, though, you left out an important group from B. No hints.

    I did not leave out anyone. You just want to believe that one party in a particular voluntary trade, that is, a trade where one party gives money, and the other party gives their labor, is a thief who is stealing something from the other party. This confusion is brought about by your fallacious belief in who the owners of the output are. You claim that the owner of an inventory of iPods are those who physically touched the means of producing iPods, those who performed manual labor, and not those who own the means of producing iPods, not those who intellectually guide the whole production process of making iPods, not those who pay money to the workers for the worker's labor, not those whose private property is where the workers work and earn money, not those who took the risk of paying money in the present which may or may not result in a gain in the future.

    You want to believe that manual laborers own the product because you believe physicality is more important than the mind, instead of vice versa.

    If I own a machine, and myself and some other party agree to trade in such a way that I let him use my machine, and he takes ownership of a sum of money that used to belong to me, and I retain ownership of the machine and the residual value of the output, which may be lower than the costs I incurred, depending on the actual valuation of the intended customers in the future, then you want to believe that I stole something from the person I am giving money to. You want to believe that even though it is my machine, my plans, my risk, my money, that the output somehow belongs to the other party, which means I get nothing in return. I gave my money, my time, my resources, and yet at the end you claim I am entitled to zero of the output. So the person who accepted money not only gets paid for his labor, but he also gets the full output as well. The only thing I get is a smaller bank account, and a used up machine.

    You want to believe that because it is possible for one person to pay another who are choosing work instead of immediate starvation, means that all those under capitalism who don't choose work or else immediate starvation, are somehow irrelevant and somehow does not change the alleged fact that all capitalists the world over are imposing "work or starve" on workers.

    Just because some individuals are faced with the choice of work and produce or else starve, that doesn't mean it's the capitalist's fault. Blame human biology. If an individual were stranded on a deserted island, then he would be compelled to choose work and produce or else starve, and you won't be able to blame any greedy evil capitalist then now could you?

    The same reason why an individual stranded on a deserted island is faced with the choice of work and produce or else starve, is the same reason why a worker in capitalism may have to make that choice as well. You want to believe that just because he's working for someone else and not himself, that it's immoral. But that ignores the fact that the overwhelming bulk of people are way better off working for others instead of themselves, because of the tremendous gains that can be made by participating in the division of labor, rather that self-sufficient farming. Most people in the world would die if they had to work and produce for themselves tomorrow.

    How many people have farmland on their property?

    The division of labor has increased the standard of living of the people immeasurably. It is not forcing anyone to take part in it. If you want to be a self-sufficient farmer, then you and all your other hippie friends can pool your resources, and buy up some super cheap land in the sticks, and set up your own non-division of labor society where nobody has to work for any capitalist. Good luck to you. Just don't steal anything from those of us who WANT to participate in the division of labor as "exploited workers".

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  119. Haha, yet more evidence that you can't argue over ideas.

    The fact that I called you on your empty bluster and you responded with more of the same? Perhaps your preference for rationalism has its roots in a fundamental failure to understand what "evidence" even is.

    In production, it is the mind that is ultimately responsible for production. All the strong backs in the world won't be able to produce anything without a mind guiding it.

    Yes, and all the minds in the world can't create physical goods without backs. The problem you have is that you're separating the two, when in fact the mind and the body are inseparable.

    Mark me, sooner or later, this debate is going to reduce to materialism versus substance dualism. The irony is that you, arguing for the latter, are the one who tends to wax poetic about how your opponents are "mystics." Pure projection.

    You mean you don't understand the marginal revolution?

    No effort to sharpen your appeal to authority. "It's true because the marginal revolution says so" is no more valid than that same sentiment with "marginal revolution" swapped out for "government." Make arguments.

    You don't understand that value is projected outward from individual minds, and not objectively embodied in physical commodities devoid of individual valuation?

    Individual valuation determines whether people want a thing. What they trade for it is another question entirely. As Marx noted, determining the uses of various things is the work of history, not political economy. As the Cambridge Capital Controversy demonstrated, marginalist value and capital theories as an explanation of price are ultimately incoherent.

    Ricardo for example wrote at length on all the other determinants of prices, such as the level of scarcity, the time required to produce goods, the rates of profit, and the differences in wage rates between industries, occupations, and countries.

    1) Scarcity can mean several things; it could mean a provisional monopolistic or oligopolistic situation giving rise to the extraction of rents. It can also mean that given resources are more generally difficult, costly or time consuming to obtain, which is ultimately a factor of socially necessary labor time.

    2) Time required to produce goods is a factor of socially necessary labor time.

    3) The differences between wage rates, profit rates, and the organic composition of capital across industries (etc.) are part of the market process which ultimately discovers values. When these prices rise above or fall below their values, the flow of capital is altered to gradually make these sectors commensurable.

    Remember: it is a theory of value, not price. It seeks to explain prices in terms of value, but the point is that the two are distinct; exchange values diverge from value all the time, but there is a dialectical process that continue to relate the two.

    You want to believe that manual laborers own the product because you believe physicality is more important than the mind, instead of vice versa.

    You need to stop presuming to tell me what I want and what I believe, because time and again you have proven yourself terrible at it. I've been pretty explicit that intellectual labor is still labor. "Ownership" as a factor of production is not labor. It creates rent, not value.

    The same reason why an individual stranded on a deserted island is faced with the choice of work and produce or else starve, is the same reason why a worker in capitalism may have to make that choice as well.

    The stranded man who labors on coconuts and bananas is entitled to the full product thereof, as opposed to some figure floating between the full product of his labor and the means of his own subsistence, with the rest going to some other party with a piece of paper (backed by force) saying the island is "his."

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  120. Pete:

    "What if slaves could only choose which master to work for? Would they no longer be slaves?"

    "Slavery" implies that A owns B - in this case A is the government and B is the individual. The less A has control over B, the less B is a slave. And it is pretty clear that A has ZERO control over B.

    Now, you could say that A is not "government" but "governments". In this case the situation is slightly different - after all, B cannot choose to have no masters (living in Somalia, I suppose, isn't a attractive alternative, and neither is the option of non-working). But, at best, you can say that taxation is a SMALL form of slavery, since the taxpayer's position is still many times superior to a "normal" slave's.

    Like I've been trying to explain to you, "ownership" implies different degrees of control.

    But you know what? AnCap doesn't solve the problem either, and that is easy to demonstrate. Suppose you are born in a world where everything is owned, and your parents - christian zealots - expel you from their property for being gay. Your only option is to accept the conditions that other property owners are willing to offer you in exchange for the possibility of staying on their property. If it means being f***** in the a** for the rest of your life, so be it - your only alternative is to die.

    You know what, I think this is far worse than "slavery".

    "I was talking about the original occupants of the land."

    The Native Americans were libertarians? And why bring up the US then?

    "What's "it"? You mean government? Of course."

    The why did you bring up the US in the first place?

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  121. A:

    1/2

    "Haha, yet more evidence that you can't argue over ideas."

    The fact that I called you on...

    ...absolutely nothing.

    In production, it is the mind that is ultimately responsible for production. All the strong backs in the world won't be able to produce anything without a mind guiding it.

    Yes, and all the minds in the world can't create physical goods without backs.

    Backs are a given to man. Thinking is not.

    The problem you have is that you're separating the two, when in fact the mind and the body are inseparable.

    No, it's not a "fact." That the mind is separable (conceptually, not physically) from the body is a fact. One can lose their arm but not lose any part of their ability to think.

    Mark me, sooner or later, this debate is going to reduce to materialism versus substance dualism.

    You could not even perceive materialism without dualism.

    The irony is that you, arguing for the latter, are the one who tends to wax poetic about how your opponents are "mystics." Pure projection.

    False. It is actually mysticism to deny the logical necessity of dualism. One reason why Marxism failed is due to its adherence to materialism and denial of reason.

    "You mean you don't understand the marginal revolution?"

    No effort to sharpen your appeal to authority.

    I'll take that as a no.

    "You don't understand that value is projected outward from individual minds, and not objectively embodied in physical commodities devoid of individual valuation?"

    Individual valuation determines whether people want a thing.

    I'll take that as a no as well.

    No, individual valuation IS the determination of someone wanting one thing rather than something else.

    What they trade for it is another question entirely.

    What they trade for IS a manifestation of their valuing the thing they trade for as higher than what they give up.

    As Marx noted

    Good grief, you're quoting Marx...favorably.

    determining the uses of various things is the work of history, not political economy.

    As Mises showed, Marx's belief on this is contradictory.

    As the Cambridge Capital Controversy demonstrated, marginalist value and capital theories as an explanation of price are ultimately incoherent.

    It's the other way around.

    "Ricardo for example wrote at length on all the other determinants of prices, such as the level of scarcity, the time required to produce goods, the rates of profit, and the differences in wage rates between industries, occupations, and countries."

    1) Scarcity can mean several things; it could mean a provisional monopolistic or oligopolistic situation giving rise to the extraction of rents. It can also mean that given resources are more generally difficult, costly or time consuming to obtain, which is ultimately a factor of socially necessary labor time.

    No, scarcity in economics means only one thing. Namely, that the supply of real wealth, physical resources, is always less than what humans desire.

    2) Time required to produce goods is a factor of socially necessary labor time.

    The concept of "socially necessary labor time" was exploded by Rothbard.

    3) The differences between wage rates, profit rates, and the organic composition of capital across industries (etc.) are part of the market process which ultimately discovers values. When these prices rise above or fall below their values, the flow of capital is altered to gradually make these sectors commensurable.

    "When these prices rise above or fall below their values" is meaningless.

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  122. A:

    2/2


    Remember: it is a theory of value, not price. It seeks to explain prices in terms of value, but the point is that the two are distinct; exchange values diverge from value all the time, but there is a dialectical process that continue to relate the two.

    There is no dialectical materialist process. That is a religion derived from Hegelian mysticism.

    And Marx could not reconcile the contradiction between his theory of value, and what prices actually were on the market. He promised to do so after Capital Volume 1, but he never did so.

    You want to believe that manual laborers own the product because you believe physicality is more important than the mind, instead of vice versa.

    You need to stop presuming to tell me what I want and what I believe, because time and again you have proven yourself terrible at it.

    It's not a presumption. It follows from what you are saying, and your quoting of Marx only gives more evidence for it.

    I've been pretty explicit that intellectual labor is still labor.

    You've been no such thing. You've only implied that manual laborers are the only ones performing labor, by saying that "labor should be entitled to its full product" as if it is not so in free market capitalism.

    "Ownership" as a factor of production is not labor. It creates rent, not value.

    Ownership is not a factor of production. Ownership is the identification of who has exclusive control over factors of production.

    "The same reason why an individual stranded on a deserted island is faced with the choice of work and produce or else starve, is the same reason why a worker in capitalism may have to make that choice as well."

    The stranded man who labors on coconuts and bananas is entitled to the full product thereof, as opposed to some figure floating between the full product of his labor and the means of his own subsistence, with the rest going to some other party with a piece of paper (backed by force) saying the island is "his."

    You are ignoring the fact that the man is compelled to choose between work and produce, or else starve, which you fallaciously claimed is an unjust choice that is the result of capitalism, which presumably means it will be eradicated if capitalism were abolished, as in a person stranded on a deserted island. But clearly it isn't so eradicated, because work and produce is a HUMAN choice that has to be made, not a particular choice that has to be made only under capitalism as you insinuated.

    The man working in capitalism who labors on iPods and automobiles is entitled to the full wages he earns, which are consistently above minimum subsistence and growing ever more beyond in free market capitalism, as opposed to being entitled to not only what he contracted for (wages) but also what he did not contract for (the output as well).

    Contractual agreements are not fake. They are real. And voluntary contracts are backed by consent, not violence. Aggressions against contractual agreements are what is backed by violence.

    It's unfortunate that you actually cling to Marxism, and not only the watered down version like most people adhere to, like the myth that workers are exploited by capitalists in free markets, but also Marx's economics, metaphysics as well. Rothbard and Bohm-Bawerk completely demolished Marx's and metaphysics and economics, respectively. Mises crushed Marx's epistemology.

    It would do you good to actually read criticisms of Marx, because it's only hurting you.

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  123. Heretic:

    Now, you could say that A is not "government" but "governments". In this case the situation is slightly different - after all, B cannot choose to have no masters (living in Somalia, I suppose, isn't a attractive alternative, and neither is the option of non-working). But, at best, you can say that taxation is a SMALL form of slavery, since the taxpayer's position is still many times superior to a "normal" slave's.

    What you call a "small form" of slavery, I call "50% of what we produce is stolen by local, state and federal levels of government", which isn't small, but substantial.

    Like I've been trying to explain to you, "ownership" implies different degrees of control.

    No, ownership means only one thing, namely, who has EXCLUSIVE rights of control over a thing. What you are talking about are violations of ownership rights, that are not total, but only partial, and then you want to say that the remaining "ownership" rights are true ownership rights.

    If I suddenly tie you up against your will, but allow you to speak, then I am violating your self-ownership rights. I cannot say that you have a "degree" of ownership rights. Your ownership rights are always absolute. The only question is whether or not they are violated.

    Rights are absolute.

    "But you know what? AnCap doesn't solve the problem either, and that is easy to demonstrate. Suppose you are born in a world where everything is owned, and your parents - christian zealots - expel you from their property for being gay. Your only option is to accept the conditions that other property owners are willing to offer you in exchange for the possibility of staying on their property. If it means being f***** in the a** for the rest of your life, so be it - your only alternative is to die.

    Anarcho-capitalism doesn't claim a perfect world is possible. Your example is silly, and not unique to any society, because it could potentially happen in any society. Suppose the GOVERNMENT was against homosexuality, and they expelled gay people from the country, and the only other option is for that person to live in a country where all new comers must be enslaved. There too your only alternative is to die.

    You're not making any argument against anarcho-capitalism. What you are really doing is making an argument against human perfection, which I will agree with.

    What my position happens to be is this: Anarcho-capitalism is the BEST system out of all other systems in a world with fallible and imperfect humans.

    You know what, I think this is far worse than "slavery".

    Yes, imagine end of the world type scenarios and pretend they don't exist in statism. That ought to suffice to refute anarchy!

    "I was talking about the original occupants of the land."

    The Native Americans were libertarians? And why bring up the US then?

    I never claimed the Natives were libertarians. I said I was talking about the property rights of the original homesteaders and free traders, which included not only the native homesteaders, but European settler homesteaders as well, after all, there were huge pockets of lands that were not homesteaded by any natives, but by settlers.

    Now, whether or not some natives killed settlers and stole their homesteaded land, or whether some settlers killed natives and stole their homesteaded land, is irrelevant to the fact that the onset of the state was ANOTHER introduction of violence against the rights of homesteaders and free traders.

    "What's "it"? You mean government? Of course."

    The why did you bring up the US in the first place?

    I just responded to your point by ensuring that when you said "they" as in "they allowed slavery from the beginning" you were talking about the government.

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  124. No, it's not a "fact." That the mind is separable (conceptually, not physically) from the body is a fact.

    The fact that you need to qualify your position with "conceptually" is telling. "The mind and brain are different things - for the intents and purposes of my argument. Also something about arms, I guess they're not the mind, either."

    You could not even perceive materialism without dualism.

    Yes, and God owns the essence of selfhood, I'm sure. To the extent that one is able, though, it is probably wise to separate one's metaphysics or ontology from epistemology.

    Individual valuation determines whether people want a thing.

    No, individual valuation IS the determination of someone wanting one thing rather than something else.


    "The answer is A." "No, the answer is A."

    If you had considered it for a moment you'd have noticed that the part you added is implied by my version (unless, of course, you believe that resources, such as the human body and mind and the objects of desire, are in no way scarce).

    As Mises showed, Marx's belief on this is contradictory.

    See, when I quote people, I at least give an outline of what they said, roughly. If I can't do that, I try to at least let people know where to look. Could you do this, too?

    It's the other way around.

    Thanks for clearing that up. (You did not actually clear anything up.)

    No, scarcity in economics means only one thing. Namely, that the supply of real wealth, physical resources, is always less than what humans desire.

    Broadly, yes. My explanation just went into slightly greater detail.

    The concept of "socially necessary labor time" was exploded by Rothbard.

    "It's the other way around." Man, Pete-style arguments are so much easier than what I've been doing!

    "When these prices rise above or fall below their values" is meaningless.

    Only if you fail to understand that "value" here is used in a manner slightly different from your preferred way.

    There is no dialectical materialist process.

    Never said dialectical materialism; I used "dialectical" to describe the continual movement of prices relative to their values. This has nothing to do with a particular theory of history.

    And Marx could not reconcile the contradiction between his theory of value, and what prices actually were on the market.

    The transformation problem is resolved using the temporal single-system interpretation. I can provide sources on request, but the single most complete statement of it is probably Kliman's Reclaiming Marx's Capital.

    You've been no such thing. You've only implied that manual laborers are the only ones performing labor

    Protip: Read what the person you are debating says. From October 3rd (7:07 pm), in our last discussion: "Labor is indeed intellectual. Engineers are labor, for example." - Me

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  125. Ownership is the identification of who has exclusive control over factors of production.

    Yes. But by implying that simple "ownership" entitles someone to more than they already own, you're admitting that they are contributing to the production process. Except they don't; they just attempt to reap where they haven't sowed, as the saying goes.

    If ownership contributes SO MUCH to the process of social reproduction and human prosperity, then why are we wasting our time with labor at all? Let's make EVERYONE financiers and capital holders. Nobody actually has to exert themselves physically or mentally, since the fact that they all own everything entitles them to whatever output is generated. All day, all anyone will do is move money around and congratulate one another on the tidiness of their factory floors. Just think of how wealthy the world would be!

    You are ignoring the fact that the man is compelled to choose between work and produce, or else starve, which you fallaciously claimed is an unjust choice that is the result of capitalism

    Please find where I said that the choice of work or starve exists under capitalism. You say, right up there, I "fallaciously claimed" it. So, where did that happen?

    Oh, wait. Later on you say I "insinuated" it. So, which is it? No, you know what, don't answer, I'll just clear it up now by saying what I've been saying all along, and hope you actually read it this time.

    My issue with capitalism is not intrinsically that starvation exists; it is a fact of the human condition. My issue with capitalism is that SOME people use this to extort others. "BUT IT'S VOLUNTARY," comes the retort. Yes, blackmail, extortion, fraud - these things are very often agreed to; after all, if fraud is known to be such up front, it often does not succeed. On the other hand, if the frauds are the ones setting the standards of property, it is quite conceivable that there's simply no alternative to being defrauded. At the present, there's certainly nothing actionable about this sort, but therein lies the travesty.

    Rothbard and Bohm-Bawerk completely demolished Marx's and metaphysics and economics, respectively. Mises crushed Marx's epistemology.

    Bohm-Bawerk's critique (fortunately, I know what you're talking about here) is based on a misreading that is also addressed in the Kliman book I mentioned (chapter 8, I think but I'll have to hunt around for my copy). Rothbard and Mises could have said anything, but if you're not going to actually admit into the discussion their arguments, either directly or with a reference to a document, I guess this'll just have to be chalked up to another appeal to authority.

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  126. Edit:

    Please find where I said that the choice of work or starve exists under capitalism.

    Should read "exists ONLY under capitalism." Almost fed you a really easy one, there. ;)

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  127. A:

    No, it's not a "fact." That the mind is separable (conceptually, not physically) from the body is a fact.

    The fact that you need to qualify your position with "conceptually" is telling.

    Telling what? My position is that ALL human knowledge is based on concepts.

    "The mind and brain are different things - for the intents and purposes of my argument. Also something about arms, I guess they're not the mind, either."

    I was talking about mind body, not mind brain.

    You could not even perceive materialism without dualism.

    Yes, and God owns the essence of selfhood, I'm sure.

    Non-answer.

    To the extent that one is able, though, it is probably wise to separate one's metaphysics or ontology from epistemology.

    It's wiser to know that they are insuperably connected and should not contradict each other.

    "No, individual valuation IS the determination of someone wanting one thing rather than something else."

    "The answer is A." "No, the answer is A."

    "Determines" means it serves as a causal reason. It cannot be considered causal. Valuation can only be considered primary. Again, this is epistemology that you are not able to integrate.

    If you had considered it for a moment you'd have noticed that the part you added is implied by my version (unless, of course, you believe that resources, such as the human body and mind and the objects of desire, are in no way scarce).

    It's not implied at all. It's incommensurable with what you said.

    "As Mises showed, Marx's belief on this is contradictory."

    See, when I quote people, I at least give an outline of what they said, roughly."

    Where?

    If I can't do that, I try to at least let people know where to look. Could you do this, too?

    Rothbard: History of Economic Thought, Volume 2.

    Bohm-Bawerk: Karl Marx and the Close of His System.

    You know, a little Googling might help you.

    "It's the other way around."

    Thanks for clearing that up. (You did not actually clear anything up.)

    Thanks for clearing up your initial claim to the contrary, that I rejected. (You did not actually clear anything up).

    No, scarcity in economics means only one thing. Namely, that the supply of real wealth, physical resources, is always less than what humans desire.

    Broadly, yes. My explanation just went into slightly greater detail.

    Haha, no. You spoke about "monopolistic restrictions of supply" which is not any version of scarcity at all.

    "The concept of "socially necessary labor time" was exploded by Rothbard."

    Wait for it...

    "It's the other way around." Man, Pete-style arguments are so much easier than what I've been doing!

    ..there it is!

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  128. A:


    "When these prices rise above or fall below "their values" is meaningless."

    Only if you fail to understand that "value" here is used in a manner slightly different from your preferred way.

    There is a difference between recognizing what you think you mean about value, and what value actually means from which I made that comment.

    There is no dialectical materialist process.

    Never said dialectical materialism; I used "dialectical" to describe the continual movement of prices relative to their values.

    That's not a dialectic. That's just an identification that value is not the same thing as price.

    Dialectic, properly understood, is much more specific than utilizations of the law of identity.

    This has nothing to do with a particular theory of history.

    So you're just throwing around terms willy nilly.

    "And Marx could not reconcile the contradiction between his theory of value, and what prices actually were on the market."

    The transformation problem is resolved using the temporal single-system interpretation. I can provide sources on request, but the single most complete statement of it is probably Kliman's Reclaiming Marx's Capital.

    Ah yes, the always tried tested and true excuse of "That's not what Marx meant. What he REALLY meant was this..."

    The sad fact is that proclaiming to know what Marx "REALLY meant" is the only recourse Marx's followers have.

    Not only Rothbard has unmasked this tactic, but David Laibman has as well.

    I'll stick with what Marx *actually* said, and not get lost in all of his follower's desperate attempts to salvage a contradictory political economy.

    The contradiction between what Marx said prices should be, and what prices are, is only a small fraction of Marx's false arguments. There is the inner contradiction of Marx's belief in an iron law of wages, and his belief that workers are progressively impoverished. There is the inner contradiction between his belief that class affiliation and class interest determines one's values and ideas, which means the bourgeoisie are only making claims and thinking and acting to further their class interest, and yet Marx considered himself a fighter of the proletariat even though he himself came from a bourgeoisie background. There is the inner contradiction inherent in Marx's historicism, which Mises exploded as I mentioned, which you can read in Human Action, and in more detail in Theory and History.

    There are countless others.


    "You've been no such thing. You've only implied that manual laborers are the only ones performing labor"

    Protip:

    I'd rather you admit what you implied, rather than try to backtrack.

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  129. A:


    "Ownership is the identification of who has exclusive control over factors of production."

    Yes. But by implying that simple "ownership" entitles someone to more than they already own, you're admitting that they are contributing to the production process.

    That is a contradiction of terms. Ownership is by definition no more and no less than what is (legitimately) owned. To say that ownership entitles one to own more than they own, is silly, and is not what I am saying or implying.

    Except they don't; they just attempt to reap where they haven't sowed, as the saying goes.

    But they have sewed it. The capitalists are reaping what they sewed when they buy factors of production, and buy labor, according to contractual agreements of payoffs. Just because a capitalist tends to receive a higher payoff than a given worker, that doesn't mean that they are "reaping what they haven't sewn."

    If ownership contributes SO MUCH to the process of social reproduction and human prosperity, then why are we wasting our time with labor at all? Let's make EVERYONE financiers and capital holders.

    That is the dumbest comment ever. Workers own their labor and their property no less than the capitalist owns their own bodies and their own property too.

    Just because the capitalist owns means of production, in addition to just consumer goods,
    that doesn't mean that the concept of ownership only applies to the capitalist. Good grief.

    Ownership over self and over all property, including means of production, is necessary if human conflicts over scarce resources is to be avoided and peaceful cooperation is to be had.

    Ownership is not something that is only applicable to capitalists. Only ownership of capital is applicable to capitalists. It's why workers who own capital are considered capitalists as well.

    A capitalist is not a person, it is an economic role.

    Anyone who buys for the purpose of making subsequent sales is performing a capitalist role.

    This is open to EVERYONE in free market capitalism.

    ReplyDelete
  130. A:

    Nobody actually has to exert themselves physically or mentally, since the fact that they all own everything entitles them to whatever output is generated.

    There you go again presuming that the only labor that exists is manual labor. You're ignoring the labor of the capitalist in directing, organizing, and guiding labor and means of production in the production process.

    You are arbitrarily denying the vital and indispensable role of the capitalist. There is no entrepreneur or innovator in your worldview. There are just sweaty toiling manual laborers, and fat cats doing nothing while making profits. Your worldview is crude and extremely outdated, not to mention terribly false.

    All day, all anyone will do is move money around and congratulate one another on the tidiness of their factory floors. Just think of how wealthy the world would be!

    You see? You have no clue of the role that entrepreneurs, innovators, capitalists, or investors play in division of labor economies, because your mind is stuck in non-division of labor thinking.

    No wonder you're confused. You've only read Marx and his followers, and are completely clueless of the market process, of entrepreneurship, of saving and investment.

    "You are ignoring the fact that the man is compelled to choose between work and produce, or else starve, which you fallaciously claimed is an unjust choice that is the result of capitalism"

    Please find where I said that the choice of work or starve exists under capitalism.

    Here:

    "Others have already made the argument about the use of starvation as a means of extortion and the expression of an unjust power relation"

    Here:

    "please remind me what it is about our finite resources as mortal beings that requires, as a matter of ethical principle, that some people should and some people should not have that same axe positioned over their head?"

    ReplyDelete
  131. A:


    My issue with capitalism is not intrinsically that starvation exists; it is a fact of the human condition.

    Oh great. Here comes more nonsense, this time existentialism.

    My issue with capitalism is that SOME people use this to extort others. "BUT IT'S VOLUNTARY," comes the retort. Yes, blackmail, extortion, fraud - these things are very often agreed to; after all, if fraud is known to be such up front, it often does not succeed.

    You are conflating voluntary behavior with involuntary behavior.

    Blackmail is not immoral or evil, provided the threat to act is not itself immoral or evil. For example, consumers threatening to boycott a bad company if they don't shape up, is blackmail. It's moral blackmail, because it's not threatening to engage in violence. Another example is a spouse threatening their wife/husband with divorce should they cheat. That is blackmail, but it's not immoral, because it's not a threat of violence. One final example is threatening someone with telling their secrets if they don't pay money. This is blackmail, but it's not immoral, because it's not a threat of force (I am assuming that the two people have no pre-existing contract of non-disclosure. If they do, then the blackmailer WOULD be acting immorally).

    Extortion and fraud are different beasts entirely. They are both violations of individual rights. They are the exact opposite of voluntary non-coercive agreements. They have no business in a discussion about voluntary trade between two parties where one gives their money and the other gives their labor.

    On the other hand, if the frauds are the ones setting the standards of property, it is quite conceivable that there's simply no alternative to being defrauded.

    Wage earning is not a fraud.

    At the present, there's certainly nothing actionable about this sort, but therein lies the travesty.

    The only travesty is your conflations of violence and peace, brought about by a perception that reality itself is violent, and it's the capitalist's fault.

    Rothbard and Bohm-Bawerk completely demolished Marx's and metaphysics and economics, respectively. Mises crushed Marx's epistemology.

    Bohm-Bawerk's critique (fortunately, I know what you're talking about here) is based on a misreading that is also addressed in the Kliman book I mentioned (chapter 8, I think but I'll have to hunt around for my copy).

    Yes, "misreading." "Misinterpretation." "Misunderstanding." It's not what Marx really meant. It's the same old story. But I'll be open to this newest interpretation for shits and giggles.

    Rothbard and Mises could have said anything, but if you're not going to actually admit into the discussion their arguments, either directly or with a reference to a document, I guess this'll just have to be chalked up to another appeal to authority.

    Yes, if your hand is not held, then blame everyone but yourself. Just like a nice Marxist would.

    ReplyDelete
  132. A:

    Please find where I said that the choice of work or starve exists under capitalism.

    Should read "exists ONLY under capitalism." Almost fed you a really easy one, there. ;)

    LOL, too late. I already replied to that one.

    ReplyDelete
  133. Pete:

    1)

    "What you call a "small form" of slavery, I call "50% of what we produce is stolen by local, state and federal levels of government", which isn't small, but substantial."

    That number depends on which country you live in. If its some Western EU country, then sure, but in the US, it is around 25%. Of course, some pay more, some less.
    More importantly, you completely ignore all other aspects of slavery, such as no liberty in your free time, no body autonomy, no choice in the job you perform and the complete lack of dignity. When you factor in all those things the amount of "slavery" that taxpayers face suddenly drops to a very low level.

    "Your ownership rights are always absolute. The only question is whether or not they are violated."

    You still haven't explained why exclusive control automatically means exclusive FULL control.
    It is not at all clear why, just because it is morally permissible for X to control entity Y in a given way, it follows that he can do absolutely anything with Y. So, if X can breed animals, then he also can torture them? Or: if X can walk in a (unowned) forest, then he can also burn it down? Not clear at all.

    ReplyDelete
  134. Pete:

    2)

    "Anarcho-capitalism doesn't claim a perfect world is possible. Your example is silly, and not unique to any society, because it could potentially happen in any society."

    True. But in AnCap there is nothing one can do about it, since the owners would be fully entitled to exercise their property rights.

    "Suppose the GOVERNMENT was against homosexuality, and they expelled gay people from the country, and the only other option is for that person to live in a country where all new comers must be enslaved. There too your only alternative is to die."

    But that depends on the ideology the government subscribes to.
    If its fascism, theocracy or radical conservatism, then sure, it could happen.
    But it couldn't happen in a social-democratic, liberal or moderately libertarian state. In such states the rights of minorities are protected.

    So the truth is that SOME forms of statism would handle this situation better.

    "Now, whether or not some natives killed settlers and stole their homesteaded land, or whether some settlers killed natives and stole their homesteaded land, is irrelevant to the fact that the onset of the state was ANOTHER introduction of violence against the rights of homesteaders and free traders."

    OK, that I now understand.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Heretic:

    That number depends on which country you live in. If its some Western EU country, then sure, but in the US, it is around 25%. Of course, some pay more, some less.
    More importantly, you completely ignore all other aspects of slavery, such as no liberty in your free time, no body autonomy, no choice in the job you perform and the complete lack of dignity. When you factor in all those things the amount of "slavery" that taxpayers face suddenly drops to a very low level.


    I am not trying to convince you that we are slaves like the blacks in the 1700s were slaves. So you can stop trying to defend statism like that. All I am saying is that there are slavery aspects in statism that are morally unjustified.

    In the US, it's not 25%. When you include local, state, and federal taxation, and inflation tax, it's approaching 50%.

    You still haven't explained why exclusive control automatically means exclusive FULL control.

    You want me to explain why exclusive control means exclusive control? Wow.

    It is not at all clear why, just because it is morally permissible for X to control entity Y in a given way, it follows that he can do absolutely anything with Y.

    I am not claiming he can do absolutely anything. He can't use his property to initiate force against other individual's person or property.

    So, if X can breed animals, then he also can torture them?

    Animals don't have human rights, so yes, as disgusting as it is, torturing animals does not call for violence to be initiated against the owner. He did not harm another human being.

    Or: if X can walk in a (unowned) forest, then he can also burn it down? Not clear at all.

    If a forest is unowned, then yes, he can burn it down. Who has a right to stop him?

    And who does that anyway?

    True. But in AnCap there is nothing one can do about it, since the owners would be fully entitled to exercise their property rights.

    Well, not quite. Just like there is something people can do "something" in democracy when states do evil, so too can individuals do "something" when private security agencies do evil. Except they will have more power because in anarchy, coercion to get people to keep paying bad private security agencies is forbidden, unlike in statism, where bad states still take people's money away from them.

    But that depends on the ideology the government subscribes to.

    The same thing is true for private security.

    What's better? 10,000 choices? Or 100? The chances of finding a private security that adheres to your ideology is much greater.

    If its fascism, theocracy or radical conservatism, then sure, it could happen.
    But it couldn't happen in a social-democratic, liberal or moderately libertarian state. In such states the rights of minorities are protected.


    That's utterly false. In democracy, the minority is not protected at all, but are exploited. When majority rules, the minority is ruled.

    It happens all the time in democracies all over the world. In the US, minorities are persecuted daily.

    So the truth is that SOME forms of statism would handle this situation better.

    Not true. You made an error in assuming that "it can't happen" in social democracy, when in fact it can, and does.

    OK, that I now understand.

    That's good to hear. You get what probably the majority of people don't.

    ReplyDelete
  136. I was talking about mind body, not mind brain.

    What part of "substance dualism" was unclear? It is implied by Mises' methodological dualism.

    It's not implied at all. It's incommensurable with what you said.

    Oh, ok. "A person buys a thing because he wants it" in no way implies "a person buys a thing because he wants it MORE than something else" AND is consistent with scarce resources. Walk me through this, if you would.

    Haha, no. You spoke about "monopolistic restrictions of supply" which is not any version of scarcity at all.

    This is tantamount to saying there is no possible way to artificially affect scarcity. Why would you say something so silly?

    So you're just throwing around terms willy nilly.

    This right here kind of makes it look like you've never seen the word used outside of Marx. Not saying that's the case, but just noting the appearance.

    his belief that workers are progressively impoverished.

    Not exactly. In the Grundrisse and Theories of Surplus Value (and as, it is supposed, the intended book on wage-labor would have further explicated), Marx notes that the value of labor power sets an effective minimum, not average. The actual wage will generally be monetarily determined and exceed said minimum. Thus, we've got a case of Labor-power < Avg. Wage < Labor Value, with the exact rate still being, as I said, determined by the balance of power, the moral-historical component.

    class interest determines one's values and ideas

    I've already covered this. However, if your decision was to simply ignore my argument without even providing a rebuttal (a DISMISSAL, sure) then I find myself wondering whether there's a point in retreading this ground.

    I'd rather you admit what you implied, rather than try to backtrack.

    What? You said I never said a thing. I demonstrated where I had, in fact, said this thing. Your premise has been falsified outright.

    You are REALLY unable to admit when you're wrong. But I suppose it's nothing new.

    You're ignoring the labor of the capitalist in directing, organizing, and guiding labor and means of production in the production process.

    They CAN play that role (remember my "small masters" comment?). Doesn't mean they HAVE to. They can just as well hire project managers, engineers, accountants, et al, and live an existence not at all unlike a rentier.

    Another example is a spouse threatening their wife/husband with divorce should they cheat. That is blackmail, but it's not immoral, because it's not a threat of violence.

    A clause indicating what constitutes a terminating breach of contract applies equally to both parties.

    A boycott would only be a suitable comparison if people continued to boycott the store even after their demands were met.

    Wage earning is not a fraud.

    If the one paying the wage is forthright enough to admit that he is paying less than what the work is worth, then sure.

    ReplyDelete
  137. Yes, if your hand is not held, then blame everyone but yourself. Just like a nice Marxist would.

    I wouldn't say that my preference for the Labor Theory of Value makes me ipso facto a Marxist any more than some of your views make you a Rothbardian (and I have tried to respect your preference for not being viewed as such).

    I understand that I don't know everything. However, I am in a perpetual process of learning, and as I do so I also take some time here and there to knock what I'm absorbing around, to engage others - especially those who see things VERY differently - to see what insights I may have missed.

    I get that you've recommended some doubtlessly detailed books, and I will read them (I have in fact already started on one). That said, it's a little silly to expect me to read them RIGHT NOW. You might as well say "meet me back here in five years and we'll pick up where we left off." For all you know, my views may have changed in other ways by then - as it is they've basically pulled a 180 in many respects over just the last five years.

    Not to mention, for all I know I'll walk outside tomorrow and get hit by a bus. Life is unpredictable like that.

    Anyway, so that's the thing. Again, I get that you're really emphatic about your sources, but it's not a good debate tactic to say, "if you want an answer, read thousands and thousands of pages in pursuit of it, then respond to me." If you know it, then it's really not unreasonable to request a condensed version. Five minutes to type a couple of paragraphs is really not that much to ask in the pursuit of promoting your cause through debate, right?

    ReplyDelete
  138. A:

    "I was talking about mind body, not mind brain."

    What part of "substance dualism" was unclear? It is implied by Mises' methodological dualism.

    Methodological dualism refers to the notion that a different methodology should be used in our attempts to analyze the actions of human beings than the methodology used in the physical sciences (i.e. physics, biology etc...) to study external events.

    Substance dualism on the other hand carries many meanings, but the one I adhere to is that additional attribute of self-conscious entities which cannot be understood or viewed by materialism alone.

    It is impossible for us to logically avoid categorizing one set of objects as causal, and another as teleological.

    "In fact, one can neither deny nor undo the view that there are two categorically different realms of phenomena, since such attempts would have to presuppose causally related events qua actions that take place within observational reality as well as the existence of intentionally rather than causally related phenomena in order to interpret such observational events as meaning to deny something."

    "Neither a causal, nor a teleological monism could be justified without running into an open contradiction: physically stating either position, and claiming to say something meaningful in so doing, the case is in fact made for an indisputable complementarity of both, a realm of causal and teleological phenomena." - Hoppe, "Economic Science and the Austrian Method."

    See also Mises, "Human Action," pg 25, and "The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science", pgs 6-8.

    "It's not implied at all. It's incommensurable with what you said."

    Oh, ok. "A person buys a thing because he wants it" in no way implies "a person buys a thing because he wants it MORE than something else" AND is consistent with scarce resources.

    That's not what I was denying was implied. I said that subjective value does not imply the LTV, that it is precisely the opposite. It is objectivity that underlies the LTV. That is what I was denying was implied.

    ReplyDelete
  139. A:

    Haha, no. You spoke about "monopolistic restrictions of supply" which is not any version of scarcity at all."

    this is tantamount to saying there is no possible way to artificially affect scarcity.

    There is no such thing as "artificial" scarcity. Scarcity is OBJECTIVE. It is unavoidable. It is presupposed in the very nature of human action. Scarcity is not a choice, it is a law of human nature vis a vis the physical world.

    "So you're just throwing around terms willy nilly."

    This right here kind of makes it look like you've never seen the word used outside of Marx. Not saying that's the case, but just noting the appearance.

    You were arguing from a Marxian perspective. The usage of the term "dialectic" is very specific in Marxism.

    "his belief that workers are progressively impoverished."

    Not exactly. In the Grundrisse and Theories of Surplus Value (and as, it is supposed, the intended book on wage-labor would have further explicated), Marx notes that the value of labor power sets an effective minimum, not average. The actual wage will generally be monetarily determined and exceed said minimum. Thus, we've got a case of Labor-power < Avg. Wage < Labor Value, with the exact rate still being, as I said, determined by the balance of power, the moral-historical component.

    In both Grundrisse and Theories of Surplus Value, as well as Critique of the Gotha Programme, and Capital, Volume 1, Chapter XXV, Marx explicitly lays out the position that in capitalism, wages DO IN FACT gravitate towards minimum subsistence. He never said it was an "effective minimum" as if all he said was the triviality that it is economically impossible for wage earners to work for less than minimum subsistence.

    "class interest determines one's values and ideas"

    I've already covered this.

    Where? Nowhere in this thread did you mention anything regarding class interest and its alleged determination of individual values.

    "I'd rather you admit what you implied, rather than try to backtrack."

    What? You said I never said a thing. I demonstrated where I had, in fact, said this thing. Your premise has been falsified outright.

    That makes no sense. I said that you didn't say it outright, but you implied it, and you denied that. Now you're saying you did say it, and that I denied you saying it. Can you make up your mind?

    ReplyDelete
  140. A:

    You are REALLY unable to admit when you're wrong. But I suppose it's nothing new.

    I am eager to admit when I am wrong. The problem is that you want me to admit that I am wrong about something that I am actually right about. That's insulting.

    "You're ignoring the labor of the capitalist in directing, organizing, and guiding labor and means of production in the production process."

    They CAN play that role (remember my "small masters" comment?).

    You made no "small masters" comment. Are you sure you have the right blog?

    And it's not just "can". When we talk of the role of capitalist, the "can" is in fact a "does."

    The act of directing, organizing and guiding labor and means of production IS the performance of the role of capitalist.

    You're stuck because when you hear the word "capitalist" you're picturing a particular person. But that's not how to think like an economist. You have to think in terms of the ROLES that people play when they act. To the extent that someone performs the role of directing, organizing, and guiding labor and means of production, they ARE performing the role of capitalist. There is no "can" as if a capitalist action may or may not be a capitalist action!

    ReplyDelete
  141. A:

    Doesn't mean they HAVE to. They can just as well hire project managers, engineers, accountants, et al, and live an existence not at all unlike a rentier.

    Then they are performing the role of investor, which is another role in the division of labor. Pensioners, widowers, and start up companies are among such "passive" capitalists.

    To be specific about "living an existence", such passive capitalists ABSTAIN from consuming in the present, which they could do with their money, and instead give their money to someone else who will consume more in the present, in exchange for a rate of return. Interest is payment for abstaining from consumption for a set period of time. To make an investment is risky. One could incur losses.

    There is no immorality in letting someone take ownership of your hard earned money, in exchange for them paying you back more in return at a future date. It would be impossible to start companies from scratch if this practice were outlawed.

    You're treating the role of passive capitalist as evil, because, GASP!, they aren't performing sweaty, grimy, bloody toiling righteous pure manual labor in the coal mines. If it weren't for these investors, coal miners could not even make an income while they are producing, before products are ready for sale. The saver performs the vital role of enabling people to be sustained while they work on goods that are only going to be ready for sale in the future. The more complex and capital intensive the production process, the more savings are required to sustain people while they work.

    Most importantly, I know this is impossible for you Marxists to comprehend, but the role of saver and capitalist is NOT cut off from the role of worker. They can be the same person, and in a modern healthy economy, very often they are. The workers in the coal mines could also be passive capitalists saving for their retirement. I know that your Marxist worldview compels you to pigeonhole everyone into either "capitalist/exploiter" or "worker/exploited" classes, even though that would be a gross characterization for many of us who are laborers and capitalists at the same time.

    Capitalism is OPEN to everyone. ANYONE can be a "greedy lazy capitalistic rentier pig", by simply taking a portions of one's earnings, and helping someone else by hiring them for a job, or by buying stocks and bonds in the market. The only thing they have to do is offer value to other people in exchange for other value, or seek charity. There is just no exploitative mechanism that people can take advantage of (the state) to live at the expense of others through violence and coercion. If people die, it's because of either natural causes (body, mind, environment, etc), or it is a consequence of their own choices (effort, desire, education, etc). I can't see any more moral system than this.

    Those who are against this are against peaceful cooperation, and they desire to exploit others backed by violence, through either themselves, some thug, or the state.

    All the crying, pleading, insulting, hating, and shouting in the world will never change the fact that violence is evil, and those who are against capitalism are really just against peaceful cooperation because they want to live at the expense of others by force, or they want others to live at the expense yet still others by force.

    ReplyDelete
  142. A:

    "Another example is a spouse threatening their wife/husband with divorce should they cheat. That is blackmail, but it's not immoral, because it's not a threat of violence."

    A clause indicating what constitutes a terminating breach of contract applies equally to both parties.

    Irrelevant. You're missing the point. Even without a prenup, a spouse can file for divorce anytime they want, for any reason they want. A spouse can blackmail the other, morally and peacefully, by threatening the other spouse with divorce should they cheat. The point is that you are wrong to characterize blackmail as immoral. It is not necessarily immoral. It is only immoral if the blackmail is a threat to initiate harm against the other individual's person or property.

    A boycott would only be a suitable comparison if people continued to boycott the store even after their demands were met.

    Why would they continue to boycott the store even after their demands were met? What is the point of threatening a store with boycotting if the point wasn't to consume from that store at a later date after the store shaped up?

    You're not making any sense.

    "Wage earning is not a fraud."

    If the one paying the wage is forthright enough to admit that he is paying less than what the work is worth, then sure.

    The work is worth whatever the buyer of labor and seller of labor agree to according to price. That IS what labor is worth. There is no other "worth". Again, you are appealing to some mystical realm where there supposedly exists a "true" price, and the price that exists in the market. The market price IS the true price.

    If the worker and employer agree to a wage, ANY WAGE AT ALL, then THAT WAGE is in fact what the work is worth.

    You are conflating your own subjective valuation of what others should accept and pay, with what they are actually willing to accept and pay. There is absolutely no truth value in your claim that two people are voluntarily trading at a price that is "above" or "below" what the thing is traded is "really worth." Value is subjective TO THE INDIVIDUALS IN THE ACTUAL TRADES, not you, not me, not the government, not anyone else. Value is from the individual, and if two individuals want to trade at a certain price, then that price IS what the job or good is "worth."

    Again, you clearly have no clue what the implications of the marginal revolution really are. You're stuck in backward and long ago refuted doctrines.

    ReplyDelete
  143. A:


    "Yes, if your hand is not held, then blame everyone but yourself. Just like a nice Marxist would."

    I wouldn't say that my preference for the Labor Theory of Value makes me ipso facto a Marxist any more than some of your views make you a Rothbardian (and I have tried to respect your preference for not being viewed as such).

    It's not just the LTV. It's your disdain for division of labor, it's your disdain for capitalists, it's your disdain for profit making, it's your disdain for capitalism, it's your advocacy of materialism, it's your rejection of free markets, it's your belief that workers are inherently exploited by capitalists, etc, etc, etc.

    I am very sensitive to all this because I myself used to believe in it. I read all the books and chanted all the slogans, just like you.

    Anyway, so that's the thing. Again, I get that you're really emphatic about your sources, but it's not a good debate tactic to say, "if you want an answer, read thousands and thousands of pages in pursuit of it, then respond to me." If you know it, then it's really not unreasonable to request a condensed version. Five minutes to type a couple of paragraphs is really not that much to ask in the pursuit of promoting your cause through debate, right?

    5 minute paragraphs will NOT do it justice.

    It is unbelievable how you can say that after all that I have responded to you. I could have just ignored your posts, but instead I am going through your posts literally almost line by line, and you're saying I am holding out? You're very greedy. It's almost as if you want to sit back like a evil capitalist and just live off of others, in this case people's minds, who are expected to carry your weight.

    If you want a reading list, here is a good one:

    Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

    A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism
    Democracy: The God That Failed
    The Economics and Ethics of Private Property
    Economic Science and the Austrian Method
    The Myth of National Defense

    George Reisman:

    Capitalism: A Treatise On Economics (This is, IMO, the greatest economics treatise ever written).

    Ludwig von Mises:

    Human Action
    The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science
    Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War

    Murray N. Rothbard:

    The Ethics of Liberty
    Man, Economy and State
    History of Economic Thought, Vols I and II. (These two books are an absolute must)
    For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto
    Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature
    The Irrepressible Rothbard
    Education: Free & Compulsory
    America’s Great Depression

    Henry Hazlitt:

    Time Will Run Back
    Economics in One Lesson

    Llewellyn H. Rockwell:

    The Free Market Reader: Essays in the Economics of Liberty
    The Economics of Liberty
    Speaking of Liberty

    Frederic Bastiat:

    The Law

    Milton Friedman:

    Capitalism and Freedom
    Free to Choose
    Tyranny of the Status Quo

    David Friedman:

    The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism

    Linda & Morris Tannehill:

    The Market for Liberty

    Randy Barnett:

    The Structure of Liberty

    Lysander Spooner:

    No Treason No. VI: The Constitution of No Authority
    The Lysander Spooner Reader

    ReplyDelete
  144. Pete:

    1)

    "I am not trying to convince you that we are slaves like the blacks in the 1700s were slaves. So you can stop trying to defend statism like that. All I am saying is that there are slavery aspects in statism that are morally unjustified."

    If you put it that way, then - provided that the AnCap theory of rights that you subscribe to is correct - you are right.
    But "slavery aspects" sure does sound weaker than "slavery".

    "You want me to explain why exclusive control means exclusive control? Wow."

    Sigh. There's a reason I wrote "full" in capital letters.
    Let me put it this way. Pretty much every sane person will agree that it is morally permissible for one to scratch his back. Moreover, pretty much every sane person will agree that the decision to scratch your back should be yours and yours only - without the need to ask anyone else. In other words, everyone will agree that you can exercise exclusive control over your back in certain ways.
    However, whether it is morally permissible for you to cut your back with a knife in front of your child is another matter, i.e. plenty of people will say that it is not. Notice that this is still your body, your back; but the TYPE of control has changed.

    I simply noticed that when libertarians say "I own my body" they mean "I can do anything with it (provided I don't violate someone else's rights).

    "Animals don't have human rights, so yes, as disgusting as it is, torturing animals does not call for violence to be initiated against the owner. He did not harm another human being."

    He did not harm another human being, but he is obviously harming the animal, and I don't know why you automatically assume that he is entitled to do so.
    Btw, how come rights can only apply to humans? Is it impossible for an animal to have self-ownership?

    "If a forest is unowned, then yes, he can burn it down. Who has a right to stop him?"

    You see nothing morally wrong with destroying scarce resources?

    ReplyDelete
  145. Pete:

    2)

    "Well, not quite. Just like there is something people can do "something" in democracy when states do evil, so too can individuals do "something" when private security agencies do evil."

    I didn't mention private security agencies. I mentioned private owners exercising their property rights. If the religious zealots expel their gay son from their property, his only choice is to accept the conditions that other property owners - more specifically, those that are nearest to him - are willing to offer him. And that's why his situation is hopeless - nothing in this scenario has violated AnCap laws.
    Sure, some distant property owner can - and probably will - offer him better conditions, but he has to get there first, and that may prove impossible.

    "Not true. You made an error in assuming that "it can't happen" in social democracy, when in fact it can, and does."

    When I wrote "social democracy" I meant a state that rules by social-democratic principles. And those principles clearly forbid repressing people because of their sexuality, race, age, sex etc.

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  146. Heretic:



    But "slavery aspects" sure does sound weaker than "slavery".

    Not to an anarcho-capitalist. It's like the difference between a 100 foot tsunami and a 1000 foot tsunami.

    Sigh. There's a reason I wrote "full" in capital letters.

    An ethic of "full" individual ownership would entail every individual having exclusive control over their property. That PRESUPPOSES that no individual will violate the exclusive control rights of another individual by way of acting with their own property.

    What must always be kept in mind are two things: 1. Universalizability, and 2. Logical consistency.

    It is silly to say that an ethic of "full" individual ownership cannot be had or should not be had on the basis that one individual can use his property to harm another person. It is silly to say that because it CONTRADICTS the very meaning of "an ethic of full individual ownership."

    Individual ownership doesn't mean just Tom's ownership, or just Harry's ownership. It means all individual owners taken together, identified as individuals in one's mind, but taken together at once.

    So individual ownership means EVERYONE is included. That means that maximum individual ownership, full ownership, exclusive rights ownership, whatever you want to call it, this entails maximal individual freedom. Each individual can do whatever he/she wants with their property, provided that they do not infringe on the individual property rights of others. That means that people have to refrain from the "anything goes" attitude that you seem to believe "full" individual ownership entails.

    Don't let the "individual" part confuse you. It doesn't mean a single person ignoring all others. It means every individual. It is a universal concept that applies to every human, just like height and weight do.

    I simply noticed that when libertarians say "I own my body" they mean "I can do anything with it (provided I don't violate someone else's rights).

    Exactly. More accurately, "I own my body" is a statement that an individual can make in a social ethic of "the individual owns their bodies". Do you see? In that social ethic, everyone owns their bodies, and everyone can say they own their bodies, without contradiction. "I own my body" cannot be interpreted to mean "I own my body so I can violate your ownership over your body by using my body to hit you on the head." For that would be a performative contradiction. His ethic "I own my body", meaning the individual owns his own body, is contradicted by his actions. It would be like saying "Murder is wrong" while murdering someone.

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  147. Heretic:


    He did not harm another human being, but he is obviously harming the animal, and I don't know why you automatically assume that he is entitled to do so.

    I am not automatically assuming it. I thought about it. Suppose we said that the individual ought not torture the animal. Then what? Well, in order for that "ought not" to even make sense, it has to be placed in an ethical worldview, correct? Well, an ethic is only an ethic if it is enforceable, not just in practise, but in theory as well. We have to be able to say "torturing animals is wrong" and then say "therefore anyone who does torture animals, will be subject to some form of punishment/force/retribution/violence/etc by so and so people."

    If your position is that torturing animals is evil, but you also have the position that no human to human violence is justified against anyone who does torture his animals, then it is the exact same, praxeologically speaking, as someone who holds that torturing animals is morally justified, and holds that anyone who uses force against the animal torturer to stop it, is acting unjustifiably and immorally.

    So the question you are really asking is not what justification someone has in torturing their animals, such that they have to justify themselves to you before they are "allowed" to do it. This is not the real question because it puts freedom on the wrong concept. It puts freedom on acts of violence, a logical absurdity by the way, and it's somehow up to the individual to justify why he ought to "infringe" on the "freedom" of the violence user by providing the "free" violence user with a justification for why torturing animals is justified behavior. If he can't so justify it in the mind of the violence user, then the violence user is "free" to use violence against the animal torturer.

    The real question concerns not when peace is justified, but when violence is justified. Humans are not omnipotent. We can't know what everyone plans do to, especially when people do new things that have never been done before. So the question is whether or not it is justified to use violence against someone who tortures his animals.

    There are many things people can do that you will never anticipate, and so it is silly to believe that the default should be violence against all behavior, except for specific "permitted" behaviors that we can identify like going to work, taking a jog, or eating at a restaurant.

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  148. Heretic:


    Btw, how come rights can only apply to humans? Is it impossible for an animal to have self-ownership?

    It is not impossible for animals to have self-ownership, but animals have to deal with their own natures and their own survival. We humans have our own ethic which means at the end of the day, humans should get what they want and animals should not. I am a human. I am not a fly or a snail or a bird. I am a human so I adhere to a human ethic. I can't live according to any other ethic. The only choice I have is whether my human ethic is moral or immoral, meaning whether my ethic does not call for violence against innocent humans (innocent meaning they have done no wrong to other humans), or whether it does call for violence against innocent humans.

    I do not consider a human killing his animal as "guilty" of any wrongdoing, because he is exercising his property rights over that animal.

    How do I arrive at this conclusion? Again, I consider the opposite and see where the logic takes me. Suppose then that humans did ought to abstain from killing or torturing animals. OK, how will that work? We couldn't step outside ever, because we will step on and kill tiny bugs. We could not build any houses, because that will kill worms. We could not even go to the doctor when we get sick, because that would result in killing bacteria and viruses. Think about how absurd this gets. If a child is infected with AIDS virus, the morally justified thing would be to not fight the disease.

    We could not, in short, do anything HUMAN. We would have to go against our very nature, and most likely go extinct.

    In order to realize ourselves as who we are capable of being, and who we are, it is impossible for humans to adopt an ethic that places human welfare above animal welfare.

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  149. Heretic:

    You see, the reason why you are even thinking that torturing animals is wrong, is because you are applying a human-centered standard against animals. You are personifying them. You want proof? I bet you a million dollars that the animals you had in mind when you contemplated animal torture, are animals that resemble humans in some way. Animals that cry, animals that act in ways that resemble human love (dog cuddling and horseplay and eager to see you when you come home), animals that have two eyes. Animals that walk. See where I am going with this? You're probably not even considering cockroaches or ants or flies or other nasty animals that you have no problems with smashing to little bits, and enjoying it too.

    No, you're probably thinking of cute and cuddly dogs, cats, and other animals like that.

    So then I ask myself, if you are going to be consistent with "no animal torture", then why is it that we only include SOME animals into that ethic, if we adopt it? Why do we pick the human-like animals, but ignore the multiple-eyed, multiple legged, slimy, prickly, creepy crawly vermin? It's because they have very little human-like characteristics, that's why.

    You think of someone torturing a puppy, and your stomach turns. This is the result of evolution. You imagine puppies being tortured, and then crying, you see wails of pain, you see blood, you see wriggling and other horrible images, because you imagine them being human baby cries, wails of pain, blood, etc. I mean, they LOOK and SOUND similar, don't they? But step on a bug, and it's who gives a fuck. Why? Because there's no crying, no blood, no wails of pain, NOTHING THAT REMINDS YOU OF HUMANITY, and thus nothing that reminds you of yourself. Thus, there is no human values being attributed to those animals.

    Well, I just take what you consider is morally ethical for how we treat bacteria, and apply it to ALL animals, and I don't let my emotions control my thinking. If I don't feel upset at people swatting at bugs, why should I feel upset at people destroying puppies?

    I am so comfortable with my humanity, so protective of human rights, that I feel NOTHING when I learn that someone squatted a bug. I am still working on feeling nothing when I learn of people torturing puppies, because, well, it's hard to ignore what millions of years of evolution has put into my body and mind. But there are far too many HUMAN problems that we should deal with before we start worrying about the AIDS virus and puppies.

    If you think this is "cruel", then I will ask you which is more "cruel": A starving person dying because you didn't let him eat a puppy that would have saved his life, or letting the starving person eat the puppy, and watching him eat the puppy alive.

    Your answer to this will shed light on whether you are alive and on this Earth to promote human life and well-being, or if you are here to destroy yourself and other humans.

    I choose letting that starving person tear that puppy up limb from limb in a bloody mess if that was the way he eats food, and be supremely happy that one more person was able to be free from coercion from other humans, to promote his own life, despite how it makes others feel.

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  150. Heretic:

    "If a forest is unowned, then yes, he can burn it down. Who has a right to stop him?"

    You see nothing morally wrong with destroying scarce resources?

    To label something as morally wrong means to label it as behavior that calls for positive action on the part of others in an enforcement capacity, i.e. using force.

    So I ask you again. Who has the right to stop him?

    When you ask me "You see nothing morally wrong with destroying scarce resources?" what you are really saying is whether or not I feel some emotional rejection at the thought of someone burning a forest down. Yes, I do feel that. But morally wrong? NO! For if that forest is unowned, then he is not aggressing against anyone's property. If the forest were so valuable, then there would have been someone already homesteading it. The fact that there is nobody else there to homestead it means that he is destroying what is not valued by anyone.

    Now, does this mean that people will burn forests down on purpose? Sure, there's always people who have such quirky personalities.

    But unless and until you can show me that his actions are harming someone else's person, or property, then he has every right in the world to do whatever he wants with that forest.

    This is exactly why one of the core tenets of my worldview is to put all land under private ownership. That way, if someone wants to arbitrarily destroy property, then he won't be able to destroy anyone's property but his own.

    You aren't thinking in some way that you have ownership rights of the entire world are you? Someone in Bulgaria burns a tree for shits and giggles, and you want to tell me that your feelings on the matter are even relevant, let alone interesting to me?

    Since you didn't answer my question concerning the guy who burns down an unowned forest, I will ask you again:

    Who has the right to stop him, and why?

    Then, after you answer that question, I ask that on your own you consider the logical implications of that premise, and see if it can be universalized, meaning applied in other situations. I guarantee you that your stated premise is going to lead to you contradict yourself.

    "Well, not quite. Just like there is something people can do "something" in democracy when states do evil, so too can individuals do "something" when private security agencies do evil."

    I didn't mention private security agencies. I mentioned private owners exercising their property rights.

    Work with me, Heretic. The same principle applies for both a private property owner who exercises his property rights by providing defense services, and a private property owner who exercises his property rights in some other capacity besides defense services, like muffin making, or widget manufacturing.

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  151. Heretic:


    If the religious zealots expel their gay son from their property, his only choice is to accept the conditions that other property owners - more specifically, those that are nearest to him - are willing to offer him.

    Why does it have to be those nearest him? Christ, my parents came to this country from Europe with absolutely no money whatsoever.

    Where's your sense of adventure? World of Warcraft?

    And that's why his situation is hopeless - nothing in this scenario has violated AnCap laws.

    You're hopeless. The situation is not. Grow a pair. If your parents kick you out, then work your ass off, meaning provide others with maximum value, and you will get value in return.

    Do you have any idea how many people are kicked out of their parents houses, and yet succeeded? I couldn't count them there are so many. For those who have a more difficult time, they can seek charity. If nobody offers any, then work. If you refuse to work, and friends refuse to help you, and family refuses to help you, then go live in the woods with the other homeless people. If you refuse to live in the woods with the other homeless people, then die with dignity because you clearly don't value your life.

    It's silly to wait for others to value your life. If humans in 4000 BC could survive with virtually zero technology, in the wilderness, then so can you.

    Sure, some distant property owner can - and probably will - offer him better conditions, but he has to get there first, and that may prove impossible.

    If homosexuals getting kicked out of their parents homes represented a large enough social problem, then profits can be made for those who hire such kids for labor at relatively lower market prices.

    Labor is the most scarce resource there is. And no, don't give me any crap about 9% unemployment right now, because they're all living at the expense of others and don't NEED to get jobs. Welfare, food stamps, unemployment insurance, savings, and minimum wage laws etc, etc. When all those goodies (and the draconian anti-poor people minimum wage laws) are removed, then abra cadabra, all of a sudden the unemployment problem will disappear as every unemployed person has to choose between starve or work for less than what they believe they deserve and not starve.

    "Not true. You made an error in assuming that "it can't happen" in social democracy, when in fact it can, and does."

    When I wrote "social democracy" I meant a state that rules by social-democratic principles. And those principles clearly forbid repressing people because of their sexuality, race, age, sex etc.

    Oh, so you were talking in theory, not in practice. OK then, in "theory", anarcho-capitalism forbids not only oppressing people because of sexuality, race, age, sex, etc, but it is also forbids oppressing THE INDIVIDUAL. Oh my God, that includes everyone!

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  152. Oops, typo.

    "In order to realize ourselves as who we are capable of being, and who we are, it is impossible for humans to adopt an ethic that places human welfare above animal welfare."

    Should read

    "In order to realize ourselves as who we are capable of being, and who we are, it is impossible for humans to adopt an ethic that places animal welfare above human welfare.

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  153. Methodological dualism refers to...

    Yes, I know what it means. What I am saying is that, in Mises's logic, this implies dualism of substance - indeed, the way you use it does so, too. Here I am using "substance dualism" in the Cartesian sense of mind/brain duality.

    "Neither a causal, nor a teleological monism could be justified without running into an open contradiction: physically stating either position, and claiming to say something meaningful in so doing, the case is in fact made for an indisputable complementarity of both, a realm of causal and teleological phenomena."

    So, to physically state a position of monism AND to make a claim to meaning, you're illustrating two realms? This is another one of those points where Hoppe seems to be going "I ate an orange, therefore my ethics are indisputable." To lay it out more clearly (I hope), "physically stating" - as in the pure act of moving air through the structure we identify as the larynx - and maintaining structures within the brain which interpret and generate the processes behind such events does not imply that the two factors are not ultimately physical in nature.

    That's not what I was denying was implied. I said that subjective value does not imply the LTV, that it is precisely the opposite. It is objectivity that underlies the LTV. That is what I was denying was implied.

    This is odd. So, I that your statement was implied by mine. You said it was not - in fact, the two are incommensurable. I lay the two statements side by side along with the underlying assumptions, and ask you to explain how it is that you could claim this. Now you are denying your previous denial and saying that you were in fact denying something I didn't say. Fair enough, I guess, but it's really neither here nor there.

    Someone who doesn't know you as well as I do might confuse that with backpedaling. At any rate, what objectivity were you denying? You seem to be quite comfortable claiming SOME things are objective, after all:

    There is no such thing as "artificial" scarcity. Scarcity is OBJECTIVE. It is unavoidable. It is presupposed in the very nature of human action. Scarcity is not a choice, it is a law of human nature vis a vis the physical world.

    Is this going to be another lexical thing, like all the confusion caused between Austrian and Neoclassical schools because Mises opted to use the word "rational" instead of the more clear "teleological"? Ok, yes, in the absolute sense, things either ARE or ARE NOT scarce. If I were less of a nominalist I might say something like "things can participate in the universal Idea or Form of Scarcity," just to wink some Plato at you. Except that this status (or participation) can change. My understanding (please correct me if you know a better definition) is that scarcity is the condition where if the resource were free, demand would exceed supply. Thing is, human (and natural) events can alter the state of what is and is not scarce. If tomorrow a massive chemical weapons botch-up or volcanic chain-explosion befouled the majority of the air in the atmosphere, air fit for human use would become scarce, whereas at this moment it is not.

    Now, when I used "scarcity" before, I was thinking of what we might here term "effective scarcity." Fluctuations in the availability of a good can have nothing to do with natural conditions, productive capacity or even gross quantity in existence - it is the amount that is generally accessible that ultimately affects price. Gold prices are not based on how much gold exists in the earth, but rather only that amount that we've yet made available to ourselves. You'll find an outstanding example of artificial scarcity in the case of the rice market in 2007.

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  154. In both Grundrisse and Theories of Surplus Value, as well as Critique of the Gotha Programme, and Capital, Volume 1, Chapter XXV, Marx explicitly lays out the position that in capitalism, wages DO IN FACT gravitate towards minimum subsistence

    Grundrisse (from "Money as Means of Circulation and as Independent Value," subsection "The Minimum of Wages"): "For the time being, necessary labour supposed as such; i.e. that the worker always obtains only the minimum of wages. This supposition is necessary, of course, so as to establish the laws of profit in so far as they are not determined by the rise and fall of wages or by the influence of landed property. All of these fixed suppositions themselves become fluid in the further course of development."

    Contrary to your claim, Capital Vol 1 Ch. XXV lays out both factors that can put pressure on wages in each direction, and lays out the practical limits of it either way. I have gone as far as to look it over again and then pull it up online to ctrl+f every instance of "wage" to see if there was something I missed. If you have a particular passage in mind, you'll have to quote it; unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I am unable to make your argument for you.

    I can point to lots of instances in ToSV in which he refers to the value of labor-power as the minimum (not average) wage. The closest he comes to saying the thing you're arguing is simply stating that it is in a producer's interests to seek the lowest prices possible on the means of production - including labor - and that certain situations aid this. But that much is self-evident. I have not found an instance of him arguing that wages have a downward tendency such that he stuck a "law" on it, as he did with the rate of profit.

    Thank you for pointing me to the Critique of the Gotha Programme, by the way, it was exactly the source I needed to rebut your claim: that wages demonstrate a secular trend toward impoverishment was precisely the claim (Lasalle's) that was among those being criticized.

    I will conclude by quoting someone very qualified to discuss Marx's political economy - Engels:

    "Thirdly, our people have allowed themselves to be saddled with the Lassallean “iron law of wages” which is based on a completely outmoded economic view, namely that on average the workers receive only the minimum wage because, according to the Malthusian theory of population, there are always too many workers (such was Lassalle’s reasoning). Now in Capital Marx has amply demonstrated that the laws governing wages are very complex, that, according to circumstances, now this law, now that, holds sway, that they are therefore by no means iron but are, on the contrary, exceedingly elastic, and that the subject really cannot be dismissed in a few words, as Lassalle imagined. Malthus’ argument, upon which the law Lassalle derived from him and Ricardo (whom he misinterpreted) is based, as that argument appears, for instance, on p. 5 of the Arbeiterlesebuch, where it is quoted from another pamphlet of Lassalle’s, is exhaustively refuted by Marx in the section on “Accumulation of Capital.” Thus, by adopting the Lassallean “iron law” one commits oneself to a false proposition and false reasoning in support of the same."

    Where? Nowhere in this thread did you mention anything regarding class interest and its alleged determination of individual values.

    It was in our previous discussion, from "Did Hayek Advocate Public Works in a Depression?" About a month ago, remember? It ultimately turned into a base/superstructure discussion in which I was maintaining that though the base sets the material stage for the superstructure, the latter then in turn informs details of the base and gradually participates in its evolution. You, on the other hand, insisted that in Marx's theory it was a strictly one-way street, etc.

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  155. That makes no sense. I said that you didn't say it outright, but you implied it, and you denied that. Now you're saying you did say it, and that I denied you saying it. Can you make up your mind?

    Okay, it's clear that you jumped ship somewhere along the line, since I have been perfectly consistent, as I will now demonstrate by reaching through the boundaries of electronic space and position all the relevant quotes side by side. Watch closely:

    A: I've been pretty explicit that intellectual labor is still labor.

    PETE: You've been no such thing. You've only implied that manual laborers are the only ones performing labor, by saying that "labor should be entitled to its full product" as if it is not so in free market capitalism.

    A: Protip: Read what the person you are debating says. From October 3rd (7:07 pm), in our last discussion: "Labor is indeed intellectual. Engineers are labor, for example." - Me (this occurred in the above-referenced debate)

    PETE: I'd rather you admit what you implied, rather than try to backtrack.

    A: What? You said I never said a thing. I demonstrated where I had, in fact, said this thing. Your premise has been falsified outright.


    I don't know if I can lay this out any more clearly.

    You made no "small masters" comment. Are you sure you have the right blog?

    See previously referenced discussion. I used the same handle and everything.

    To be specific about "living an existence", such passive capitalists ABSTAIN from consuming in the present

    The time preference argument does nothing to explain where value comes from; it's just an attempt to justify a particular distribution of said value, once realized. As a normative claim, it's also deficient. "I didn't eat now so I should eat double later" is a pretty near analogue to the just world fallacy. The poor abstain all the time, but you wouldn't concede that this entitles them to anything, would you?

    You're treating the role of passive capitalist as evil, because, GASP!, they aren't performing sweaty, grimy, bloody toiling righteous pure manual labor in the coal mines.

    They aren't providing the intellectual labor you love to crow about, either.

    If it weren't for these investors, coal miners could not even make an income while they are producing, before products are ready for sale.

    Sure, but that up-front outlay could just as easily be provided by, say, a "public utility" financial institution. But really, the point I'm dying to make is that the total output of society implies nothing about its distribution. What says that investors need to be relatively few and more powerful, as opposed to numerous and less so?

    Indeed, placing this power in the hands of the capitalists exposes a curious trait of capitalism; for all the supposed primacy of the preferences of the public, it only plays a significant role during the consumption phase of social reproduction. Under more egalitarian distribution, investable resources are decentralized, and in order to pursue a large-scale project, you'd first need to find enough people interested in participating in that over some other productive or consumptive activity.

    This is in stark contrast to a system in which only one person with his hand on money needs to like an idea, and the people who help him only need to like the idea of helping more than that of privation.

    In other words, both halves of the process become decentralized, evolutionary processes driven distinctly by individual preference. Surely this is an appealing notion?

    If people die, it's because of either natural causes (body, mind, environment, etc), or it is a consequence of their own choices (effort, desire, education, etc).

    Or their inability to pay for lifesaving treatments. Or, interestingly, a lack of allies, as Hedlund pointed out above.

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  156. You're not making any sense.

    The essence of my point was contained in the part that followed, re: wages not being fraud if the one paying is forthright.

    Again, you are appealing to some mystical realm where there supposedly exists a "true" price, and the price that exists in the market. The market price IS the true price.

    I am doing no such thing, certainly no more than you are by any of your rationalist derivations. Value as I employ the term is not an individual judgment but a social relation, immaterial yet objective.

    If the worker and employer agree to a wage, ANY WAGE AT ALL, then THAT WAGE is in fact what the work is worth.

    The market process is needed to determine the value, though; if we agree to $50 per hour for work that can be gotten otherwise for $10/hour, then this is no judgment on the actual worth of the task being performed. Perhaps the difference in price comes from the fact that the store owner is my uncle. In this case, there are an entire set of other factors in play, completely external to the market's determination on the stated nature of the work in question. Simply put, it is not an example of "economizing."

    Again, you clearly have no clue what the implications of the marginal revolution really are. You're stuck in backward and long ago refuted doctrines.

    I know what the implications are. I just reject them as being unsound.

    It's not just the LTV. It's your disdain for division of labor, it's your disdain for capitalists, it's your disdain for profit making, it's your disdain for capitalism, it's your advocacy of materialism, it's your rejection of free markets, it's your belief that workers are inherently exploited by capitalists, etc, etc, etc.

    1) I haven't explicitly complained about the division of labor; specialization has proven useful. 2) Lots of non-Marxists object to capitalism. 3) I don't disdain the creation of surplus when it is not expropriated. 4) My preference for a physicalist monism was established quite externally (and indeed, prior) to any of my more recent studies into economics. 5) I don't reject markets as such; just certain permutations thereof. 6) Well, this conclusion flows quite naturally from the LTV, which is another reason why some object to it on ideological grounds.

    I am very sensitive to all this because I myself used to believe in it. I read all the books and chanted all the slogans, just like you.

    Well, as I've previously indicated, I haven't read all the books. I'm only a year or so into my research. Also, I've never been fond of chanting, at social events or otherwise.

    You're very greedy. It's almost as if you want to sit back like a evil capitalist and just live off of others, in this case people's minds, who are expected to carry your weight.

    Don't be obtuse, I've been investing time and effort into this just like you. That's why I find it worth coming back to. Despite the frictions, I would wager that what we are having here is actually a pretty "good" exchange.

    If you want a reading list, here is a good one:

    Aw, man. You are trying to tie me down for decades, over here. If I keep moving the Summa down my list, I swear I'll never get to it...

    Capitalism: A Treatise On Economics (This is, IMO, the greatest economics treatise ever written).

    Incidentally, this is the one I said I had started reading.

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  157. Pete:

    "Each individual can do whatever he/she wants with their property, provided that they do not infringe on the individual property rights of others. That means that people have to refrain from the "anything goes" attitude that you seem to believe "full" individual ownership entails."

    Actually, that's not what I meant. I gave an example (back-scratching vs. back-cutting in front of your child) to illustrate my point.

    Maybe I am incapable of explaining myself clearly. But I will try again.

    Remember, we are still talking in light of Hoppe's argumentation ethic. In my opinion, Hoppe succeeded insofar as he proved that you have to exercise exclusive control of your body in order to act - and that it must be morally permissible (if it isn't, than the human race can't act and dies).

    However, the matter I constantly bring up is the DEGREE of control. My point is that just because SOME things you do with your body are morally permissible does not mean that EVERYTHING NON-VIOLENT is morally permissible.

    To give another example: if I say that it is immoral for anyone to talk, I clearly contradict myself, and the norm I propose is clearly invalid.

    But if I say: "it is immoral for anyone to curse", then I am in no performative contradiction, since I am not cursing while stating my proposition.

    Why am I bringing this up? Because according to the anarcho-capitalist ethic, cursing is non-violent (when I curse I do not invade anyone else's property) and therefore should be permitted. But it appears that Hoppe's argumentation ethic doesn't show it.

    Also - since I brought this up earlier and I think you didn't answer - how does Hoppe's argument deal against a moral nihilist? For a nihilist, moral/immoral do not exist - a nihilist will simply say that it is neither moral nor immoral that you exclusively control your body.

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  158. Pete:

    Btw, I have read all your other posts, and I appreciate them, but out of lack of time I will point just to certain things:

    "Suppose then that humans did ought to abstain from killing or torturing animals. OK, how will that work? We couldn't step outside ever, because we will step on and kill tiny bugs. We could not build any houses, because that will kill worms. We could not even go to the doctor when we get sick, because that would result in killing bacteria and viruses. Think about how absurd this gets."

    True. Also, I doubt if the human race could make it to this point without eating meat.
    But here you are justifying the lack of rights for animals on the grounds of the necessity of survival for the human race. But clearly the torture of animals - for instance - is not necessary for human survival, so why not grant animals some rights?

    "You're probably not even considering cockroaches or ants or flies or other nasty animals that you have no problems with smashing to little bits, and enjoying it too."

    Yes, but there's a reason for this: they are "nasty" as you have stated.
    I have no remorse when I smash a mosquito or a spider, because these animals are a threat to me - and evolution causes humans to feel no remorse for killing things that threaten them. A mosquito, for instance, invades my body and gives me unpleasant itches; it also prevents me from sleeping by buzzing. Likewise, a spider is a threat to me due to its poison, its bite, and its spiderwebs - walking into those gives me the creeps.

    Still, just because I kill these animals doesn't mean I think torturing them is moral. Torture is one step too far.

    "If you think this is "cruel", then I will ask you which is more "cruel": A starving person dying because you didn't let him eat a puppy that would have saved his life, or letting the starving person eat the puppy, and watching him eat the puppy alive."

    But this is a lifeboat scenario. Or, this is a scenario where one has to choose between two evils. Just because I might consider the survival of the starving man more important doesn't mean that eating puppies is morally right - it just means that it is morally permissible in THIS situation.

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  159. A:

    "Methodological dualism refers to..."

    Yes, I know what it means. What I am saying is that, in Mises's logic, this implies dualism of substance - indeed, the way you use it does so, too.

    Mises' methodological dualism does not actually imply substance dualism. Methodological dualism just means that economics should not be studied the way physics and chemistry should be studied, but rather like how mathematics and logic should be studied.

    Perhaps I'm missing it, but how does methodological dualism imply substance dualism?

    So, to physically state a position of monism AND to make a claim to meaning, you're illustrating two realms?

    You're illustrating two categories of phenomena, one ontological, the other teleological. The teleological part is your action. You are intending to do something, namely deny two categories of phenomena, you want it to mean that to your listeners, and you are using some means to do it, namely your PC, internet forums, your fingers on keyboard, etc.

    This is another one of those points where Hoppe seems to be going "I ate an orange, therefore my ethics are indisputable."

    Makes no sense.

    To lay it out more clearly (I hope), "physically stating" - as in the pure act of moving air through the structure we identify as the larynx - and maintaining structures within the brain which interpret and generate the processes behind such events does not imply that the two factors are not ultimately physical in nature.

    Hoppe is not denying physicality. Teleology is not attempting to smuggle in supernatural or spiritual concepts through the bank door. It is about how our minds are logically structured, and about how our minds are one of acting entities. We are not able to logically think otherwise, for any attempt to do so will result in logical contradiction.

    "That's not what I was denying was implied. I said that subjective value does not imply the LTV, that it is precisely the opposite. It is objectivity that underlies the LTV. That is what I was denying was implied."

    This is odd. So, I that your statement was implied by mine. You said it was not - in fact, the two are incommensurable.

    I showed you what was incommensurable.

    At any rate, what objectivity were you denying?

    This was made clear already. The LTV as you understand it.

    You seem to be quite comfortable claiming SOME things are objective, after all:

    What does identifying some concepts as objective have to do with my rejection of your assertion that the objective LTV as you espoused it determines value?

    Is this going to be another lexical thing, like all the confusion caused between Austrian and Neoclassical schools because Mises opted to use the word "rational" instead of the more clear "teleological"?

    No. The word objectivity here is shared by us both. We both agree that the number of labor hours to produce a good is objective. I reject the notion that this objective fact determines value.

    My understanding (please correct me if you know a better definition) is that scarcity is the condition where if the resource were free, demand would exceed supply.

    Scarce objects are objects of economic action.

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  160. A:

    Thing is, human (and natural) events can alter the state of what is and is not scarce.

    Of course. Scarcity does not imply the same things are scarce forever.

    Now, when I used "scarcity" before, I was thinking of what we might here term "effective scarcity." Fluctuations in the availability of a good can have nothing to do with natural conditions, productive capacity or even gross quantity in existence - it is the amount that is generally accessible that ultimately affects price. Gold prices are not based on how much gold exists in the earth, but rather only that amount that we've yet made available to ourselves. You'll find an outstanding example of artificial scarcity in the case of the rice market in 2007.

    This is supply and demand, founded upon the fundamental principle of scarcity. For gold and rice, if some gold or some rice is used in some capacity, then it can't be used in another capacity that might also satisfy wants. That's how to understand scarcity.

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  161. A:

    "In both Grundrisse and Theories of Surplus Value, as well as Critique of the Gotha Programme, and Capital, Volume 1, Chapter XXV, Marx explicitly lays out the position that in capitalism, wages DO IN FACT gravitate towards minimum subsistence"

    Grundrisse (from "Money as Means of Circulation and as Independent Value," subsection "The Minimum of Wages"): "For the time being, necessary labour supposed as such; i.e. that the worker always obtains only the minimum of wages. This supposition is necessary, of course, so as to establish the laws of profit in so far as they are not determined by the rise and fall of wages or by the influence of landed property. All of these fixed suppositions themselves become fluid in the further course of development."

    Grundrisse, chapter 5: "These are nevertheless all exoteric observations, relevant here only in so far as they show the demands of hypocritical bourgeois philanthropy to be self-contradictory and thus to prove precisely what they were supposed to refute, namely that in the exchange between the worker and capital, the worker finds himself in the relation of simple circulation, hence obtains not wealth but only subsistence, use values for immediate consumption."

    The important thing about "subsistence" is that Marx usually used this phrase in the strict biological sense. If employers can get away with it, they will pay wages sufficient to cover the only the cost of the commodities vitally necessary to the worker's survival. Marx writes:

    "Capital cares nothing for the length of life of labour-power. All that concerns it is simply and solely the maximum of labour-power, that can be rendered fluent in a given working day. It attains this end by shortening the extent of the labourer’s life, as a greedy farmer snatches increased produce from the soil by robbing it of its fertility." - Capital, Vol 1, Chapter 10.

    And

    “Given the individual, the production of labour-power consists in his reproduction of himself or his maintenance. For his maintenance he requires a given quantity of the means of subsistence. Therefore the labour-time requisite for the production of labour-power reduces itself to that necessary for the production of those means of subsistence; in other words, the value of labour-power is the value of the means of subsistence necessary for the maintenance of the labourer.” - Capital, Vol 1, Chapter 6.

    So when he said "these fixed suppositions themselves become fluid in the further course of development" he meant it in a fleeting, historical accident sort of way. Marx's belief of a permanent tendency down to subsistence wages in capitalism, which is what I actually alluded to, and not this notion that I believe Marx held that all wages everywhere at all times are subsistence wages, still remains.

    In no way did Marx write that wages can remain consistently above subsistence, let alone continuously grow as they do in capitalism.

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  162. A:

    Capital Vol 1 Ch. XXV lays out both factors that can put pressure on wages in each direction, and lays out the practical limits of it either way. I have gone as far as to look it over again and then pull it up online to ctrl+f every instance of "wage" to see if there was something I missed. If you have a particular passage in mind, you'll have to quote it; unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I am unable to make your argument for you.

    ctrl+f the term "subsistence"

    I can point to lots of instances in ToSV in which he refers to the value of labor-power as the minimum (not average) wage. The closest he comes to saying the thing you're arguing is simply stating that it is in a producer's interests to seek the lowest prices possible on the means of production - including labor - and that certain situations aid this. But that much is self-evident. I have not found an instance of him arguing that wages have a downward tendency such that he stuck a "law" on it, as he did with the rate of profit.

    Please point out these alleged passages that show Marx arguing that wages can consistently stay above subsistence, let alone progressively grow over time.

    Thank you for pointing me to the Critique of the Gotha Programme, by the way, it was exactly the source I needed to rebut your claim: that wages demonstrate a secular trend toward impoverishment was precisely the claim (Lasalle's) that was among those being criticized.

    Marx criticized LaSalle because of LaSalle's adherence to Ricardo's population growth argument. Marx held that it was the pursuit of profit and exploitation that did it, not population growth. Marx criticized LaSalle not because he disagreed with him on wages permanently tending towards subsistence in capitalism, but because of LaSalle's *reasons* for why they did. Marx wanted to introduce what he considered to be the real reason why wages tended toward subsistence. Marx writes:

    "Here, however, there enters another consideration. The manufacturer who calculates his cost of production and, in accordance with it, the price of the product, takes into account the wear and tear of the instruments of labour. If a machine costs him, for example, 1,000 shillings, and this machine is used up in 10 years, he adds 100 shillings annually to the price of the commodities, in order to be able after 10 years to replace the worn-out machine with a new one. In the same manner, the cost of production of simple labour-power must include the cost of propagation, by means of which the race of workers is enabled to multiply itself, and to replace worn-out workers with new ones. The wear and tear of the worker, therefore, is calculated in the same manner as the wear and tear of the machine."

    "Thus, the cost of production of simple labour-power amounts to the cost of the existence and propagation of the worker. The price of this cost of existence and propagation constitutes wages. The wages thus determined are called the minimum of wages. This minimum wage, like the determination of the price of commodities in general by cost of production, does not hold good for the single individual, but only for the race. Individual workers, indeed, millions of workers, do not receive enough to be able to exist and to propagate themselves; but the wages of the whole working class adjust themselves, within the limits of their fluctuations, to this minimum." - Wage Labor and Capital, pg 13.

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  163. A;

    I will conclude by quoting someone very qualified to discuss Marx's political economy - Engels:

    "Thirdly, our people have allowed themselves to be saddled with the Lassallean “iron law of wages” which is based on a completely outmoded economic view, namely that on average the workers receive only the minimum wage because, according to the Malthusian theory of population, there are always too many workers (such was Lassalle’s reasoning). Now in Capital Marx has amply demonstrated that the laws governing wages are very complex, that, according to circumstances, now this law, now that, holds sway, that they are therefore by no means iron but are, on the contrary, exceedingly elastic, and that the subject really cannot be dismissed in a few words, as Lassalle imagined. Malthus’ argument, upon which the law Lassalle derived from him and Ricardo (whom he misinterpreted) is based, as that argument appears, for instance, on p. 5 of the Arbeiterlesebuch, where it is quoted from another pamphlet of Lassalle’s, is exhaustively refuted by Marx in the section on “Accumulation of Capital.” Thus, by adopting the Lassallean “iron law” one commits oneself to a false proposition and false reasoning in support of the same."

    Thank you for proving my point. Notice how Engels too is criticizing LaSalle's REASONING for the iron law of wages. He says LaSalle is wrong to claim that wages tended towards subsistence because of Malthusian population growth. He didn't say that LaSalle is wrong to argue that wages tended towards subsistence. Marx, while indeed qualifying his version of the iron law of wages on more than one occasion, nevertheless held that the capitalist system's private ownership of capital and pursuit of profit had within itself a constant drive to push wages down to subsistence, and that in the long run, that is precisely what they are supposed to do. That they are supposed to do so is what Marx used as a major justification for the eventually overthrow of capitalism by the working class. That was one of the major reasons why the proletariat class eventually gets riled up enough in the first place to act as the motive force in transforming capitalism into socialism. They are the materialist dialectic force’s actors.

    Yes, Marx held that wages at any given moment could be above or below subsistence, and that there are some events that hold more sway than other events during such temporary fleeting times, such as landed property changes, differences in skill, etc. But this was Marx admitting that HIS version of iron law of wages couldn't explain wage rates at all times and at all places. This is why he introduced the concept of "socially necessary labor time", so that he could stick to his belief that capitalism had an inner drive to push wages down to subsistence, despite the fact that he observed wages in the real world not doing so according to his theory.

    "Where? Nowhere in this thread did you mention anything regarding class interest and its alleged determination of individual values."

    It was in our previous discussion, from "Did Hayek Advocate Public Works in a Depression?" About a month ago, remember? It ultimately turned into a base/superstructure discussion in which I was maintaining that though the base sets the material stage for the superstructure, the latter then in turn informs details of the base and gradually participates in its evolution. You, on the other hand, insisted that in Marx's theory it was a strictly one-way street, etc.

    I somewhat remember that discussion, and I somewhat remember saying that what you said is a Marxian interpretation by his followers, not what Marx actually wrote, which was that superstucture was primary and determines people's ideas and interests.

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  164. A:

    1/2

    "That makes no sense. I said that you didn't say it outright, but you implied it, and you denied that. Now you're saying you did say it, and that I denied you saying it. Can you make up your mind?"

    Okay, it's clear that you jumped ship somewhere along the line, since I have been perfectly consistent, as I will now demonstrate by reaching through the boundaries of electronic space and position all the relevant quotes side by side.

    OK, I now understand your confusion. Finally. Your confusion stems from believing that capitalism contains “ownership” as a “factor of production”, that “only creates rent and not value.” This is false. Ownership is not a specific creation in capitalism. ANY economic system would have to contain exclusive ownership over scarce means of production if conflicts are to be avoided. If it’s not private ownership, then the only other alternative is a single group of people who exercise exclusive control over all means of production, i.e. government ownership.

    Ownership as an economic category cannot be eradicated without violations of homesteading and free trade.

    As for the alleged “rent vs. value” dichotomy, private ownership of land INCREASES the value of land, by allowing economic competition among owners of land for attracting sales revenues. The pursuit of profit is the pursuit of improving the quality of land as it stands in relation to human values. Private ownership of land that is used for production, in a sphere of competition, results in innovations and improvements to the productivity of land. If a private owner of productive land does not improve the quality of that land, then he will lose profits and thus capital to his competitors who do improve the quality of their land.

    Value is destroyed when there is no private ownership of land because there would be no price system for that land. There would be no way for the central planners to know when they create value or when they destroy value. Without knowing when they create value and when they don’t, in terms of consumption, systematic creation of value becomes impossible.

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  165. A:

    2/2

    “Rents” can be positive or negative, depending on whether the land owner created value or did not create value. This includes hiring the right people and employing the right means of production for workers to use, instead of the wrong people and employing the wrong means of production for workers to use.

    You are ignoring the value generating activities that private ownership generates, because you’re fallaciously assuming that private ownership creates profits for the owners that would otherwise go to workers. But profit is the world’s original form of income. The first thing that people bought and sold were commodities, not labor. Commodity sales earn product sales revenues, and product sales revenues generate profits (if the money costs are lower than product sales revenues). Product sales revenues do NOT generate wages.

    “Demand for commodities is not demand for labor.” – John Stuart Mill.

    The onset of capitalism is not the onset of profits that would otherwise go to workers. The onset of capitalism is the onset of buying for the purposes of reselling, i.e. buying capital goods and labor. The onset of capitalism then, as strange as this may seem to you, actually REDUCED what would otherwise have been all profit, for now instead of people earning product sales revenues that are all profit (since they incurred no money costs of production on account of not being capitalists, i.e. not buying for the purpose of selling, whereby they just labored and produced basic commodities and then sold them for money), they now started to incur money costs that had to be deducted from product sales revenues. So profits went from being 100% of product sales revenues before capitalism, to less than 100% of product sales revenues after capitalism. The more capitalist actions there are, the more buying for the sake of selling, the lower profits become. The fact that profits average around 20% of product sales revenues, it means that out of every dollar spent, 80% is spent for the purposes of making subsequent sales and thus generating costs. Out of that 80% buying for the purpose of selling, there is buying capital and buying labor. If you want to increase wages, then the way to do that is to encourage maximum buying for the purpose of selling, and minimize consumption. In other words, what wage earners should want are a greater number of larger capitalists, i.e. more people who buy for the purpose of selling, and out of that group, for these people to have more and more money for them to spend on capital and on labor.

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  166. A:

    ”To be specific about "living an existence", such passive capitalists ABSTAIN from consuming in the present”

    The time preference argument does nothing to explain where value comes from;

    Time preference is not meant to explain where value comes from. Time preference is only meant to explain saving and investing relative to consumption. The more people save and invest relative to their consumption, the lower is said to be their time preference. Some people save and invest zero and consume everything they earn. These people are not progressing the economy. Other people do save and invest by abstaining somewhat from their consumption. These people are progressing the economy.

    The lower are people’s rates of time preference, the more they save and invest relative to their consumption, and the more the economy can progress. For those who earn wages, their interests are best served the more other people’s time preferences are low, meaning the more other people don’t consume everything, but abstain somewhat of their consumption and save and invest instead.

    it's just an attempt to justify a particular distribution of said value, once realized. As a normative claim, it's also deficient. "I didn't eat now so I should eat double later" is a pretty near analogue to the just world fallacy. The poor abstain all the time, but you wouldn't concede that this entitles them to anything, would you?

    The poor are certainly not abstaining from consumption. The poor are consuming 100% of their earnings. They are not saving and investing. Their time preference is maximally high. Someone who doesn’t eat because they lack food is not abstaining from consumption. Lack of consumption because one doesn’t have food is not what abstaining from consumption means. Abstaining from consumption is a choice not to consume when one had the ability to consume. Poor people are better off living in capitalism than in socialism, because the productivity of labor is much higher in capitalism than it is in socialism. Not only is a given quantity of their labor able to earn them more real income in capitalism, but there is so much wealth produced that charity is maximized as well. A poor person is economically much better off living in the US than in North Korea, and that’s not even including the political differences.

    Time preference is not a normative proposition. It is does not say “you ought to (or ought not to) abstain from consumption somewhat and save and invest.” Time preference is descriptive.

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  167. A:

    ”You're treating the role of passive capitalist as evil, because, GASP!, they aren't performing sweaty, grimy, bloody toiling righteous pure manual labor in the coal mines.”

    They aren't providing the intellectual labor you love to crow about, either.

    Yes, they are. They have to know who to hire, what means to employ, and what projects to undertake. That requires time and energy in the form of intellectually oriented labor.

    ”If it weren't for these investors, coal miners could not even make an income while they are producing, before products are ready for sale.”

    Sure, but that up-front outlay could just as easily be provided by, say, a "public utility" financial institution.

    Then that “public utility financial institution” is the investor, the capitalist that I’m talking about. You’re not refuting what I said. You’re just calling the same economic role a different name. That “public utility financial institution” would be an exclusive owner over a sum of money and an area of land property, with means of production like buildings and whatnot, all of which is exactly identical to what I call capitalist. You see that word and you recoil in disgust because of what Marx wrote. But the role is the exact same: Savers arise who abstain from their consumption (the money they lend to start ups is money they did not use to consume), and because they are lending that money, because they are sacrificing their consumption today, they would require a payoff for doing so later on, i.e. profit/interest.

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  168. A:

    But really, the point I'm dying to make is that the total output of society implies nothing about its distribution. What says that investors need to be relatively few and more powerful, as opposed to numerous and less so?

    Total output doesn’t need to say anything about “distribution” which is, quite frankly, a misnomer. Distribution conveys the impression that more wealth is arbitrarily doled out to some people by some God, while arbitrarily being withheld from other people by that same God. But wealth is produced by individual humans. The more an individual produces, the greater will be the wealth inequality between him and those below him and the smaller will be the inequality between him and those above him.

    As for “power”, that is a political concept, not an economic concept. No individual as an investor can exert any power over me, no matter how large of a sum of wealth they own. An individual can only exert power over me as some armed goon. In capitalism, those who are most productive tend to own the most means of production. Those who are wealthy tend to be those who produced the most.

    The only way to stop productive people from owning more wealth is by INTRODUCING violent power over people. If your goal is to reduce power, then it makes no sense to introduce power over other people! It’s like saying “We should reduce murder, so let’s go and murder people we dislike before they have a chance to murder us!”

    Becoming wealthy does not turn people evil. Evil people are evil regardless of their income.

    The only other choice besides private ownership of capital is to have one person or one collectivist group of people own all capital in society, i.e. socialism. That’s been tried, and the results were tyrannical.

    If you don’t advocate for tyrannical societies, then you’ll have to make do with capitalism.

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  169. A:

    Indeed, placing this power in the hands of the capitalists exposes a curious trait of capitalism;

    Nobody places any power in the hands of capitalists in capitalism. You’re talking about fascism.

    for all the supposed primacy of the preferences of the public, it only plays a significant role during the consumption phase of social reproduction.

    Consumption “phase”? Consumption is continual in human life. What are you talking about?

    Under more egalitarian distribution, investable resources are decentralized

    Tautology.

    And if you want to force this, it requires massive inequality, in that some people have the right to use violence and threats of violence to steal property from those who have more, whereas other people don’t have this right to use violence and threats of violence to steal property. Violence is inherently hierarchical and precisely unequal.

    There is NOTHING moral in equal incomes, equal wealth, or equal consumption. There is morality in equal freedoms, and equal property rights. That allows people’s special abilities and special desires and special ideas to flourish and improve the lives of everyone else.

    and in order to pursue a large-scale project, you'd first need to find enough people interested in participating in that over some other productive or consumptive activity.

    That’s exactly one of the major reasons why your worldview is horribly worse. Innovators are by nature those who see things and understand things before the masses see and understand them. Innovation is how progress is made in human life. ALLOWING individuals to be free, to work and produce and acquire through trade their own capital, and to experiment and try out new things that have not been tried before, without having to get the permission of mass populations of people first, is how inventors and entrepreneurs create new products that most others think will never work because they’re relatively more dense to see otherwise. The average person had no clue that the automobile would revolutionize human life. When it was first invented (in an economy that allowed individual entrepreneurs to own their own capital and try out new things), the average person thought it was stupid and wouldn’t work and was nothing but a toy of conceit for rich people to make them feel important, and all the rest.

    The more people you want in a decision making process, the more crude and base it will become, because the kinds of things that most people could agree on are highly simplified concepts. The more complex it is, the more the masses of people cannot comprehend, let alone agree.

    You need to base your worldview on THE INDIVIDUAL, not the mob, and not material matter that cannot act.

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  170. A:

    This is in stark contrast to a system in which only one person with his hand on money needs to like an idea, and the people who help him only need to like the idea of helping more than that of privation.

    That’s exactly a major reason for what makes it superior.

    In other words, both halves of the process become decentralized, evolutionary processes driven distinctly by individual preference. Surely this is an appealing notion?

    How can individual preferences be had when you’re depriving individuals of their wealth in order to make it so that everyone has more equal wealth by force, which necessarily requires a violent state?

    If people die, it's because of either natural causes (body, mind, environment, etc), or it is a consequence of their own choices (effort, desire, education, etc).

    Or their inability to pay for lifesaving treatments.

    That’s a function of either one of the two, or both, that I just mentioned.

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  171. A:

    The essence of my point was contained in the part that followed, re: wages not being fraud if the one paying is forthright.

    What you call “forthright” is just another word for the same confusion you have in trying to impose your own subjective values as overruling the values that are actually determined by others not you.

    Value, again, is subjective, meaning the individual decides it for himself. Not you, not me, not the state. I know that “letting go” is something that reminds you of yourself being let go by your guardians, and so you manifest this by pretending that you’re only talking about others being let go, and so you make yourself out to be a judge of values for everyone else. I know how your mind works. You reject individual reason, namely your own, so you can’t even consider individual reason in others too.

    You cloak this desire to determine other people’s values behind a veil of whether or not the person paying wages is being “forthright.” If they agree to a price lower than what you judge is valuable, then you say “they’re not being forthright.” If they agree to a price at or above than what you judge is valuable, then you say “they’re being forthright.”

    If two people AGREE to a particular price, then THAT PRICE is the valuable price, the fair price, the forthright price, the upfront price, the moral price, the true price, the best price, the optimal price, the pure price. Put any word you want in front of “price.”

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  172. A:

    ”Again, you are appealing to some mystical realm where there supposedly exists a "true" price, and the price that exists in the market. The market price IS the true price.”

    I am doing no such thing, certainly no more than you are by any of your rationalist derivations. Value as I employ the term is not an individual judgment but a social relation, immaterial yet objective.

    Value is an individual judgment. Value is not a “social relation.” This is because “social relations” are themselves determined by, a product of, individual value judgments. If an individual values working his ass off and producing that which others value, because he wants to accumulate capital, then the new “social relation” will be the result of his individual values and the individual values of those he outcompeted economically and the individual values of those customers that chose to reward him rather than his competitors.

    Individual value is primary to all social relations. “Immaterial yet objective” is a contradiction in terms.

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  173. A:

    ”If the worker and employer agree to a wage, ANY WAGE AT ALL, then THAT WAGE is in fact what the work is worth.”

    The market process is needed to determine the value, though;

    The market process IS the act of a worker and employer agreeing to a wage. That IS the market process in action!

    if we agree to $50 per hour for work that can be gotten otherwise for $10/hour, then this is no judgment on the actual worth of the task being performed.

    Yes it is. You’re ignoring opportunity costs. If we agree to $50 an hour, that you could have gotten for $10 an hour or $40 an hour or $70 an hour or $100 an hour, if you incurred costs of research, this does not mean that the value of that work is the lowest price and not the price you paid. The value of that work is $50. If you find a better price and then pay it, then that is a NEW value that is reflected by that new price and your new knowledge, and the costs you incurred. It doesn’t mean the original valuation doesn’t exist.

    Prices can change. People can pay prices for goods and services that they could have gotten by paying a different price to someone else if they incurred costs of research. It doesn’t mean that the price they did pay is not real or not a part of the market process. No human is omniscient. No human is perfect. True value is the values that individuals display in their voluntary actions at the time and place they make them. Just because I paid $50 for something I could have gotten for $10 if I were omniscient, or, at the very least, a more scrupulous shopper who incurred more costs, that doesn’t mean that the $50 is not the true price. That $50 is the true price, given my values, given the costs I was willing to incur, given everything I knew at the time.

    Prices aren’t supposed to, nor can they, reflect what every individual knows. They only reflect what buyers and sellers know at the time and place they trade.


    Perhaps the difference in price comes from the fact that the store owner is my uncle. In this case, there are an entire set of other factors in play, completely external to the market's determination on the stated nature of the work in question. Simply put, it is not an example of "economizing."

    False. All those “factors” are a part of the market process. The market process is voluntary exchange of private property and of services. How in the world is your uncle voluntarily selling a good to you at a price both of you are willing to accept, not a part of the market process? It is a part of the market process. Just because he is selling the good at a price that is lower for you than his “regular” customers, that doesn’t mean it is occurring “outside the market process.” It’s smack dab in the middle of it. The market process does not imply, nor is it morally obligated to imply, that people sell the same good for the same price to all people. Imagine a doctor being obligated by law to charge his own child the full price for curing his cancer, a price that the doctor charges in the open market to other people. It’s draconian and evil to demand what you’re demanding. Your conception of the market is crude and unusual.

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  174. A:

    ”Again, you clearly have no clue what the implications of the marginal revolution really are. You're stuck in backward and long ago refuted doctrines.”

    I know what the implications are. I just reject them as being unsound.

    You have not shown how the implications of the marginal revolution are “unsound.” So if you reject them as unsound, maybe you can share just one example.

    ”It's not just the LTV. It's your disdain for division of labor, it's your disdain for capitalists, it's your disdain for profit making, it's your disdain for capitalism, it's your advocacy of materialism, it's your rejection of free markets, it's your belief that workers are inherently exploited by capitalists, etc, etc, etc.”

    1) I haven't explicitly complained about the division of labor; specialization has proven useful.

    The fact that you had to say “explicitly” is all the proof I need.

    2) Lots of non-Marxists object to capitalism.

    But you’re not one of them.

    3) I don't disdain the creation of surplus when it is not expropriated.

    Tautology. Your understanding of surplus value and exploitation are synonymous.

    4) My preference for a physicalist monism was established quite externally (and indeed, prior) to any of my more recent studies into economics.

    That’s probably what attracted you to Marxism.

    5) I don't reject markets as such; just certain permutations thereof.

    There is only one market. The market process is unique. Anything else is not the market, but is something else. In your case, it's a hampered market, a mixed market, a market that calls for some violence, but not total violence, but not total peace either.

    6) Well, this conclusion flows quite naturally from the LTV, which is another reason why some object to it on ideological grounds.

    It’s the other way around. You object to profit earning, so you adhere to the Marxian LTV on ideological grounds and you object to economic refutations of it on ideological grounds.

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  175. A:

    ”I am very sensitive to all this because I myself used to believe in it. I read all the books and chanted all the slogans, just like you.”

    Well, as I've previously indicated, I haven't read all the books. I'm only a year or so into my research. Also, I've never been fond of chanting, at social events or otherwise.

    Well, it’s good that you are saying you will read other books besides those on Marxism. It will do you a world of good.

    ”You're very greedy. It's almost as if you want to sit back like a evil capitalist and just live off of others, in this case people's minds, who are expected to carry your weight.”

    Don't be obtuse, I've been investing time and effort into this just like you. That's why I find it worth coming back to. Despite the frictions, I would wager that what we are having here is actually a pretty "good" exchange.

    My only relief is knowing that you are going to read Capitalism by Reisman.

    ”If you want a reading list, here is a good one:”

    Aw, man. You are trying to tie me down for decades, over here. If I keep moving the Summa down my list, I swear I'll never get to it...

    Summa? Good lord, maybe if you’re in prison. Summa is gigantic.

    ”Capitalism: A Treatise On Economics (This is, IMO, the greatest economics treatise ever written).”

    Incidentally, this is the one I said I had started reading.

    Make sure that you check out the reading list at the back of that book too.

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  176. Heretic:

    "Each individual can do whatever he/she wants with their property, provided that they do not infringe on the individual property rights of others. That means that people have to refrain from the "anything goes" attitude that you seem to believe "full" individual ownership entails."

    Actually, that's not what I meant. I gave an example (back-scratching vs. back-cutting in front of your child) to illustrate my point.

    Your point on back scratching versus back cutting requires justification on why it is immoral to cut your own back.

    Remember, morality to me is not just what happens to be emotionally or psychologically repulsive. It's behavior that justifies physical force against the person.

    If a person cuts their back in front of their child, then WHY would it be justified to use force against them, and given this, what are the logical implications? Does it mean that we can start using violence against people who do other SIMILAR things to their own bodies in front of children?

    But before we can even do that, what is the difference between a back scratch and a back cut? Is it when there is blood? At what scale? Scratching one's back can produce very small quantities of blood. At what point exactly does a scratch turn into a cut, and who among the rest of the population is justified in using violence against this person, and what is the justification for them being the party to do it, but not someone else? Why?

    There are so many unanswered questions in your example that you really didn't answer the question at all.

    Remember, we are still talking in light of Hoppe's argumentation ethic. In my opinion, Hoppe succeeded insofar as he proved that you have to exercise exclusive control of your body in order to act - and that it must be morally permissible (if it isn't, than the human race can't act and dies).

    However, the matter I constantly bring up is the DEGREE of control. My point is that just because SOME things you do with your body are morally permissible does not mean that EVERYTHING NON-VIOLENT is morally permissible.

    But Hoppe argument isn't just that some things are morally permissible to do your own body. His argument is already at the "everything is morally permissible" level.

    Why are you trying to split up a singular concept?

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  177. Heretic:

    To give another example: if I say that it is immoral for anyone to talk, I clearly contradict myself, and the norm I propose is clearly invalid.

    But if I say: "it is immoral for anyone to curse", then I am in no performative contradiction, since I am not cursing while stating my proposition.

    Define "curse" via argumentation. Gotcha.

    Why am I bringing this up? Because according to the anarcho-capitalist ethic, cursing is non-violent (when I curse I do not invade anyone else's property) and therefore should be permitted. But it appears that Hoppe's argumentation ethic doesn't show it.

    You still haven't defined "cursing."

    Talk to me like I'm an alien who just stepped foot on Earth. Suppose the planet I am on abides by the private property ethic as framed by Hoppe.

    Suppose in our language, "FUCK YOU" is a friendly greeting.

    Now suppose that you tell me that on Earth, "cursing is not allowed."

    I ask "what is cursing"?

    Then you say "saying fuck you is cursing."

    Then I say, OK, your argument is this:

    "Saying fuck you is not allowed."

    Do you see how it works now?

    I suggest that you read Van Dun's essay on Hoppe's argumentation ethics. Shouldn't be too hard to find using Google. In there, he says that what you are saying, your criticism, is founded upon an a failure to separate dialectic contradictions from merely factual or verbal contradictions.

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  178. Heretic:

    1/3

    Also - since I brought this up earlier and I think you didn't answer - how does Hoppe's argument deal against a moral nihilist? For a nihilist, moral/immoral do not exist - a nihilist will simply say that it is neither moral nor immoral that you exclusively control your body.

    His actions would contradict his thesis that it is neither moral nor immoral, and hence not moral, that one exclusively controls their body.

    "Btw, I have read all your other posts, and I appreciate them, but out of lack of time I will point just to certain things:"

    Fair enough. I appreciate your appreciation.

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  179. Heretic:

    2/3

    "Suppose then that humans did ought to abstain from killing or torturing animals. OK, how will that work? We couldn't step outside ever, because we will step on and kill tiny bugs. We could not build any houses, because that will kill worms. We could not even go to the doctor when we get sick, because that would result in killing bacteria and viruses. Think about how absurd this gets."

    True. Also, I doubt if the human race could make it to this point without eating meat.
    But here you are justifying the lack of rights for animals on the grounds of the necessity of survival for the human race. But clearly the torture of animals - for instance - is not necessary for human survival, so why not grant animals some rights?


    Actually, if you noticed, not everything in the list above was above mere human survival. There is also human well-being beyond mere survival, for example, building homes.

    I am not actually *justifying* my view that animals don't have human rights on the basis of human surivival arguments. I was just introducing these arguments for you as a first step in realizing human nature. I could go on and on with more, but I have learned that too much too soon and people get lost. So yes, the first step is human biological survival. The next step is the step that is the most difficult for most people to take, which is realizing and understanding the requirements of our reason, and what that means for our justified actions vis a vis animals.

    Once you realize that humanity's needs extend beyond barest biological survival, which I can show next, then you will come one step closer to my actual justification for why it is not immoral to torture one's animals (as disgusting and psychologically repulsive as it may be to you and I), which is that humans have reason.

    Let me give you the next set of examples. Suppose that you have chronic back pain. Suppose that I were to solve your problem by putting you into an involuntary coma until you biologically die. I won't kill you, I'll keep you biologically alive. Suppose you resisted my attempt and told me that you would prefer to stay awake. OK, says I in return, I understand that you want to stay awake, but biologically speaking, you will be alive. I am not going to kill you. As such, since all you need to remain alive is a feeding tube, I will ensure that one is connected to you.

    Will you be satisfied with this? If you say no, you won't be satisfied, then I will say, WOAH WOAH! Why aren't you satisfied? You're remaining biologically alive, and not only that, but you will not be stepping on any bugs, nor will you be killing any worms, nor will you be driving over any raccoons! All I am doing is putting your animal rights into effect. I am depriving you of everything you want save that which you need to stay biologically alive, and this is the thanks I get? Why are you so hesitant to accept the coma? Why do you prefer to run free in the grassy fields being a genocidal maniac to the poor ants, even though you just told me that humans must not do anything harmful to animals beyond what humans need to stay biologically alive?

    Here I am offering you precisely that which you are calling for, namely, no killing or harming of animals beyond that which is needed to keep you biologically alive, and here you are complaining about putting that morality into effect, and telling me that you want out of it!

    Do you see where I am going with this now?

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  180. Heretic:

    3/3

    The human mind is such that we need more than just to stay biologically alive. We need to be mentally stimulated through exploration, and interacting with the world at much higher levels than animals who just live and die biologically. Humans have reason, and because we can contemplate the whole Earth and the stars, it would be a travesty and it would be against our nature, if all we did from birth to death was live in a coma, just remaining biologically alive, and nothing more. It would be all the more tragic if the very animals we saved in the course of our putting ourselves in comas, started to eat us because there's nobody to stop them.

    There's more to this story, but this is enough to get you thinking to the next level.

    As an aside, do you really think that lion or tigers in the wild care that you saved them from death by, say, not building a city over where they used to live? Fuck the lions and tigers. They'd tear a human limb from limb without feeling any remorse if they had the chance. Now, again, this latest comment about lions and tigers is not a justification either for why I do not consider it immoral to torture one's animals. It's not like I'm saying "they'd do it to us, so let's "sink to their level" and do it to them". What I am saying is that it is weird to place our values below that of animals, when they do not even have the capacity to understand our values, let alone practise our values themselves.

    It would be like sacrificing humans to trees by using human bodies as their fertilizer.

    By putting human values as the top values, one safeguards the happiness than humans derive in owning animals as pets and eating animals as food. If you own a pet or a farm, my worldview will protect you from all aggressors, including the very people who want to kill you because they believe you're harming the animals you own as pets just by virtue of you owning them instead of them roaming the wild all free, that is until they get eaten by lions and tigers.

    Another equally valid approach is to just consider what if we had a law that said no torturing of one's animals (I learned a while ago that we do have such a law by the way, amazingly). OK, what constitutes torture exactly? Obviously the pet cannot communicate to us when roughhousing goes from OK to not OK. Humans can communicate this, which is why Hoppe's argumentation ethic is so powerful and all encompassing.

    A law that says no animal torture would require a group of people to determine on the animal's behalf when they are getting tortured and when they are not, and in so doing, judge for themselves when they have a right to throw the human owner into a cage (thus introducing a new form of animal torture, this time HUMAN torture), and when to say it's OK.

    So what constitutes animal torture? At what point does tugging on a dog's leash go from "discipline, so it's OK", to "torture, so it's not OK"?

    Yanking once real hard? Yanking two times real hard? Yanking 10 times? 10 times is too many? OK, how about 9? Still too many? OK, how about..and so on.

    Whatever is chosen, will be purely and utterly arbitrary, because it would be like a computer trying to understand what a rock thinks. It's impossible. Whatever the law says, it will be subjective, and it will put animal values over and above human values, which is impossible to argue rationally, and morally reprehensible to enforce physically.

    Hoppe's argumentation ethics extends way beyond what most people can understand, even Hoppe's interpretors, possibly even Hoppe himself. The argumentation ethic seems superficial and shallow, but like the seemingly superficial and shallow E=mc^2, it is nevertheless very profound.

    I mean, the whole modern Austrian School is built on a single axiom of human action.

    In many areas of study, sometimes the most simple of concepts contains the most complexity and scope.

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  181. Heretic:

    "You're probably not even considering cockroaches or ants or flies or other nasty animals that you have no problems with smashing to little bits, and enjoying it too."

    Yes, but there's a reason for this: they are "nasty" as you have stated.

    Nasty according to what standard? PS I know the answer to this question, I'm just trying to get you to see where this all leads.

    I have no remorse when I smash a mosquito or a spider, because these animals are a threat to me - and evolution causes humans to feel no remorse for killing things that threaten them. A mosquito, for instance, invades my body and gives me unpleasant itches; it also prevents me from sleeping by buzzing. Likewise, a spider is a threat to me due to its poison, its bite, and its spiderwebs - walking into those gives me the creeps.

    So the standard for determining whether you are justified in destroying or reducing animal life is...

    Still, just because I kill these animals doesn't mean I think torturing them is moral. Torture is one step too far.

    But sometimes your swatting only maims them and doesn't succeed in killing them. Sometimes you swat, but partially miss, and they wiggle around. Is that not torture?

    After you mull on that, ask yourself if you're saying that killing is morally right, but torture is morally wrong. Does that make any sense? Why is killing moral, but torture is not? I'll tell you. It's because you are imagining yourself having to choose between torture or death, and you'd choose death.

    So what you would choose for yourself is the standard for whether it is moral or immoral to torture animals. Well, that's what I'm doing, only I'm using that standard in a more upfront way. I am saying that what I would choose BY my own self, is the standard for judging whether it is moral to torture an animal. Do you see?

    You used your own value for yourself as the standard on what you consider to be moral and immoral behavior vis a vis animals. So did I. My standard is my own self as well. My values are that torturing animals is not immoral.

    So I will ask again. What justification is there for any human to use violence against another human for what they did to an animal? Saying "it's immoral" begs the question. WHY is it immoral? Try to be precise.

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  182. Heretic:

    "If you think this is "cruel", then I will ask you which is more "cruel": A starving person dying because you didn't let him eat a puppy that would have saved his life, or letting the starving person eat the puppy, and watching him eat the puppy alive."

    But this is a lifeboat scenario.

    Indeed it is. Which is more cruel in your mind? One of them has to be more cruel than the other, for they are different scenarios.

    Before you decide, ask yourself what "cruel" even means, and who or what it applies to. If I smash a rock against a wall, am I being "cruel" to the wall? What if it's a plant? Can we be "cruel" to plants? What about bacteria? What about algae? What about dustmites? Can humans be "cruel" to dustmites? What does the thing have to be, what does it have to have as attributes, before it is "cruel" to physically destroy it?

    I'll give you a hint: You will necessarily choose human-like attributes. Consciousness, think, feel pain, etc.

    Or, this is a scenario where one has to choose between two evils. Just because I might consider the survival of the starving man more important doesn't mean that eating puppies is morally right - it just means that it is morally permissible in THIS situation.

    Don't worry, I won't think badly of you if you choose the survival of the starving man.

    But you are still using a universal moral standard when you make that choice. Your universal standard is, "in all situations everywhere that someone finds themselves faced with choosing either eating a puppy and staying alive, or not eat the puppy and starving to death, it is moral to choose eating the puppy."

    OK, fine, but then we're back to where we were at the start. Remaining biologically alive is a minimum to you. Let's expand it once more.

    Suppose that you had this choice:

    Either not torturing, killing or eating the puppy and putting yourself into a coma instead via feeding tube and remain biologically alive; or remaining conscious and torturing, killing, and eating the puppy and remaining biologically alive.

    Now, before you choose, please note that yes, it's possible to not torture the puppy and instead just shoot it in the head to instantly kill it, but I'm asking these questions in this particular way to see what you value more versus what you value less. There is a method to this madness, so I hope you will have an open mind here. Don't worry, it's not like anyone knows who you are, so you can say anything you want. I'd rather you not avoid the question by saying "this is not a necessary choice I would have to make." Just try to answer it as given.

    Which would you choose?

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  183. Pete:

    "If a person cuts their back in front of their child, then WHY would it be justified to use force against them, and given this, what are the logical implications? Does it mean that we can start using violence against people who do other SIMILAR things to their own bodies in front of children?"

    The reason - at least for me - is that such a parent brings a completely unnecessary traumatic experience upon the child. This horrible experience may have a life-lasting impact, and not a good one.

    In other words, the justification for violence is the NEEDLESS suffering of another human, especially a very fragile human.

    "But before we can even do that, what is the difference between a back scratch and a back cut?"

    The difference is intention. In the case of back-scratching, it is to relieve oneself of a certain unpleasantness. In case of back-cutting, it is to harm or kill oneself. Intentions matter.
    Also, I mentioned the presence of the child in order to show that the circumstances also matter.

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  184. Pete:

    I will certainly read Van Dun's essay, when I find the time for a deeper analysis - so far I have rushed through it.

    But back to the cursing example:

    "Talk to me like I'm an alien who just stepped foot on Earth. Suppose the planet I am on abides by the private property ethic as framed by Hoppe.

    (...)

    Do you see how it works now?"

    Come on. This is a trick - a clever one, to be sure, but still a trick.
    There's a colossal difference between demonstrating something (and thus performing that thing in order to show it) and doing something NOT for the purpose of demonstration. Once again, intentions matter.

    Besides, there are ways to avoid this - I can simply write the forbidden curse word on a piece of paper and show it to the alien.

    Also, I can escape this trick by making the following statement: "It is immoral to curse UNLESS the cursing is for the purpose of demonstration".

    Btw, I have no problem with cursing (although too much of it is pathethic and vulgar), and anyone who proposes using violence against people who curse is IMO a moron. I'm merely using this example to test Hoppe's argumentation ethics.

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  185. Pete:

    "His actions would contradict his thesis that it is neither moral nor immoral, and hence not moral, that one exclusively controls their body."

    How so?

    If someone is a nihilist, then that person doesn't consider anything to be moral or immoral. He or she doesn't subscribe to any ethic.

    Hoppe's argumentation ethic - if proven true - merely shows that the libertarian ethic is the only one which can pass a certain test of rationality. (I believe Molyneux made a similar attempt with UPB)

    But the nihilist may simply reply: why should I follow ANY ethic? Because all other ethics are self-refuting? That won't do.

    Consider the following statement: "it is neither morally right or wrong that I exercise exclusive control over my body". Hoppe can't say that this person is in a contradiction, because there simply is no contradiction in this case.

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  186. Pete:

    "Here I am offering you precisely that which you are calling for, namely, no killing or harming of animals beyond that which is needed to keep you biologically alive, and here you are complaining about putting that morality into effect, and telling me that you want out of it!

    Do you see where I am going with this now?"

    I get your point. Of course, humans have greater needs than just merely to survive.

    The question is: are all human needs - and the fulfillment of them - ethical?

    For example (and this is sadly a VERY real life example) there are many people who enjoy watching animals fight with each other - insects, reptiles etc., but more importantly dogs. The internet is full of this crap, just go to Google or Youtube.

    Now - it is clear that such dog-fights and other disgusting spectacles do fulfill a need for some humans - otherwise, they simply would not take place. In other words, they are a source of pleasure and joy for these humans (or "humans") and are meaningful in their (crappy) life.

    But should such desires be allowed to be fullfilled? Isn't it better to draw a line somewhere?

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  187. Pete:

    "So what constitutes animal torture? At what point does tugging on a dog's leash go from "discipline, so it's OK", to "torture, so it's not OK"?

    (...)

    Whatever is chosen, will be purely and utterly arbitrary"

    Fair point.
    But this brings us back to the problem - either there is a objective morality or there isn't one.
    You say that - even though it disgusts you, and glad to know it - that torturing animals isn't immoral. But someone else - in this case let it be me - says no and proposes an arbitrary standard. You point out that it is arbitrary, but I can point out that your standard is arbitrary as well.

    Consider this sentence: "nobody can torture animals to the extent of X". I don't see how this fails to go past Hoppe's argumentation ethic.

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  188. Pete:

    "After you mull on that, ask yourself if you're saying that killing is morally right, but torture is morally wrong. Does that make any sense? Why is killing moral, but torture is not?"

    Intentionality, once again, is the difference.

    When I kill a spider, a fly or a mosquito, the killing isn't an end in itself - rather the killing serves the purpose of avoiding an unpleasantness (a spider-bite, a mosquito-sting etc.).

    In the case of torture, it is an end to itself, it is the very act that brings emotional fulfillment.

    "So I will ask again. What justification is there for any human to use violence against another human for what they did to an animal? Saying "it's immoral" begs the question. WHY is it immoral? Try to be precise."

    Because the animal will experience physical suffering. And that is something that I can relate to - I don't want it for myself and thus I feel empathy towards those humans/animals who experience it themselves, unless they deserve it (I have no moral problem with beating a child molestor).

    Btw, I believe this argument is often brought up by the New Atheists, who want to establish a secular ethic.

    Here's an example:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCC3zGYKYPM

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