Text 16 Sep 7 notes Five Ways to Advance the Cause of Liberty

"1. Entrepreneurship, which is the fullest expression of liberty, is based on shrewdness, ingenuity, and tactical perspicacity. Political power, which is the diametric opposite of liberty, is ponderous, anachronistic, and perpetually behind the curve. Hence, a great window of opportunity to prove themselves opens up for all those who possess entrepreneurial talent – especially if it is coupled with technological talent – a window of opportunity to create solutions that allow for circumventing political power’s sphere of influence, and thus for undermining the belief in its indispensability. This is precisely how Bitcoin slowly sterilizes the power of central banks, the Internet erodes political control over the flow of information and the enforceability of “intellectual property rights”, and arbitration agencies reduce the role of legislation. In addition, the emergence of such solutions offers a clear illustration of the fact that effective entrepreneurship not only does not need political protection, but actually thrives to the extent that it is free from its influence.

2. One should use every possible opportunity to promote sound economic knowledge, which describes the process whereby individuals and their voluntary associations build their well-being on the basis of free exchange of goods and services in an environment of respect for property rights, unhampered competition, and spontaneously emerging price system. In other words, there is never too much of Bastiat and Hazlitt, be it among family members, friends, or colleagues. The more widespread this knowledge gets, and the more obvious its message becomes, the greater will be the social pressure to regain ever more areas of freedom of action understood as a precondition of personal well-being.

3. It is worthwhile to use every possible opportunity to promote the feeling of self-reliance, self-governance, and entrepreneurial initiative at the most local level possible. The goal of this activity is to bring about the greatest possible fragmentation and decentralization of all kinds of political structures, which is likely to lead to much greater economic integration of the territories under their control. This is a logical conclusion stemming from the fact that the smaller a given political organism is, the less capable it is of draining the vital forces of the local economy and hampering its spontaneous development, and the less resources it can devote to that purpose. In the most optimistic case, the ultimate culmination of such a decentralization process would be the emergence of a genuinely free and genuinely global economy composed of hundreds of thousands or even millions of independent economic zones, neighborhood associations, charter cities, and other forms of contractual, propertarian arrangements integrated through free trade and the global division of labor.

4. It is worthwhile to build in our social circles the most cosmopolitan atmosphere possible, an atmosphere that underscores the moral irrelevance of all affiliations that are not the result of a voluntary choice (including, for instance, ethnic affiliations), the moral universality of the principles of peaceful human coexistence, and the economic benefits stemming from it. It is important to bear in mind that in all likelihood it is precisely the instinctive attribution of moral meaning to ethnic affiliations that is the main driving force of oppressive political entities known as nation-states, together will all the armed conflicts that take place between them. Relegating all sentiments associated with such affiliations to purely aesthetic categories would be a very significant step on the road to initiating the decentralization processes described in the previous point, together with all their positive consequences.

5. Finally, as time and opportunities permit, it is worthwhile to engage in all kinds of charitable and philanthropic activities, especially if one can make one’s efforts in this context truly effective thanks to one’s entrepreneurial talent. The existence of such enterprises is always a clear sign for the broader community that effective help for the needy has its origin not in the will of “political authorities”, but in the grassroots efforts of free individuals and their voluntary associations, whose philanthropic initiative does not die even when the bulk of their resources is confiscated by the “authorities” in question. In other words, it is a signal showing that a consistent diminution of the influence of political power not only increases the scope of freedom of action, but also the scope of the most morally beneficial, natural consequence of this freedom, which is authentic charity.”

          — Jakub Wisniewski

Quote 15 Sep 24 notes
The United States is again being subjected to that “complex of fear and vaunting” (in the brilliant phrase of Garet Garrett’s) which drove us, and the Western world, into two other disastrous wars in our century. Once again, the American public is being subjected to a nearly unanimous barrage of war propaganda and war hysteria, so that only the most searching and rational can keep their heads. Once again, we find that there has emerged upon the scene an Enemy, a Bad Guy, with the same old Bad Guy characteristics that we have heard of before; a diabolic, monolithic Enemy, which, generations ago in some “sacred texts,” decided (for reasons that remain obscure) that it was “out to conquer the world.
— Murray Rothbard

(Source: conza)

Quote 9 Sep 24 notes
If Smith and a group of his henchmen aggress against Jones and Jones and his bodyguards pursue the Smith gang to their lair, we may cheer Jones on in his endeavor; and we, and others in society interested in repelling aggression, may contribute financially or personally to Jones’s cause. But Jones has no right, any more than does Smith, to aggress against anyone else in the course of his “just war”: to steal others’ property in order to finance his pursuit, to conscript others into his posse by use of violence, or to kill others in the course of his struggle to capture the Smith forces. If Jones should do any of these things, he becomes a criminal as fully as Smith, and he too becomes subject to whatever sanctions are meted out against criminality.
— Murray N. Rothbard, War, Peace, and the State

(Source: freemarketliberal.com)

Photo 30 Aug 5 notes Mt. Glorious living up to it’s name

Mt. Glorious living up to it’s name

Text 26 Aug 7 notes Two Facts of Nature: Inequality and Variety

"Historically division of labor originates in two facts of nature: the inequality of human abilities and the variety of the external conditions of human life on the earth. These two facts are really one: the diversity of Nature, which does not repeat itself but creates the universe in infinite, inexhaustible variety….

These two conditions … are indeed such as almost to force the division of labor on mankind. Old and young, men and women cooperate by making appropriate use of their various abilities. Here also is the germ of the geographical division of labor; man goes to the hunt and woman to the spring to fetch water. Had the strength and abilities of all individuals and the external conditions of production been everywhere equal the idea of division of labor could never have arisen … No social life could have arisen among men of equal natural capacity in a world which was geographically uniform….

Once labor has been divided, the division itself exercises a differentiating influence. The fact that labor is divided makes possible further cultivation of individual talent and thus cooperation becomes more and more productive. Through cooperation men are able to achieve what would have been beyond them as individuals….

The greater productivity of work under the division of labor is a unifying influence. It leads men to regard each other as comrades in a joint struggle for welfare, rather than as competitors in a struggle for existence.”

          — Ludwig von Mises

Quote 25 Aug 154 notes
Every man must have freedom, must have the scope to form, test, and act upon his own choices, for any sort of development of his own personality to take place. He must, in short, be free in order that he may be fully human.
Quote 23 Aug 3 notes

Rothbards natural rights theory is sound, it is essentially the same in content as Hoppe’s from my perspective. Hoppe’s preface of TEOL is glowing with admiration for Rothbard. Hoppe is a disciple of Rothbard writing in the tradition.

Rothbard only fails in his defense of ‘natural rights’, not in his expositions of them, of what they entail, of how they are to be understood. He provides a tour de force in these areas.

Rothbard falls short by relying on the Aristotelian teleology, and appeal to the ‘objective’ value of ‘life’ which he said could not be contradicted. He comes close to, without reaching the Hoppean stance… From my perspective he is groping in the direction of it without seeing what it is. Naturally without it, he flails and seems weak to his critics.

Hoppe’s approach appeared novel to Rothbard, and excited him. Hoppe provides the superior defense.

— 

Nirgraham

The above is comment from a Mises Forum discussion. I would clarify that Rothbard fully accepted Hoppe’s argumentation ethics with open arms. Calling it a major breakthrough. I would also agree with him in that: 

  • "…As a natural rightser, I don’t see any real contradiction here, or why one cannot hold to both the natural-rights and the Hoppean-rights ethic at the same time. Both rights ethics, after all, are grounded, like the realist version of Kantianism, in the nature of reality. Natural law, too, provides a personal and social ethic apart from libertarianism; this is an area that Hoppe is not concerned with…"

However given the power of praxeology à la argumentation ethics I no longer bother to specifically defend natural law and natural rights expositions.

Quote 22 Aug 5 notes
These considerations are not a plea for opening America and the British Dominions to German, Italian, and Japanese immigrants. Under present conditions America and Australia would simply commit suicide by admitting Nazis, Fascists, and Japanese. They could as well directly surrender to the Führer and to the Mikado. Immigrants from the totalitarian countries are today the vanguard of their armies, a fifth column whose invasion would render all measures of defense useless. America and Australia can preserve their freedom, their civilizations, and their economic institutions only by rigidly barring access to the subjects of the dictators. But these conditions are the outcome of etatism. In the liberal past the immigrants came not as pacemakers of conquest but as loyal citizens of their new country.
— Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government, p. 114
Quote 21 Aug 21 notes
Attempts to justify on economic grounds the policy of restricting immigration are therefore doomed from the outset. There cannot be the slightest doubt that migration barriers diminish the productivity of human labor. When the trade unions of the United States or Australia hinder immigration, they are fighting not only against the interests of the workers of the rest of the countries of the world, but also against the interests of everyone else in order to secure a special privilege for themselves. For all that, it still remains quite uncertain whether the increase in the general productivity of human labor which could be brought about by the establishment of complete freedom of migration would not be so great as to compensate entirely the members of the American and Australian trade unions for the losses that they could suffer from the immigration of foreign workers.
— Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism
Video 20 Aug 22 notes

Why Deflation Isn’t Harmful — Jörg Guido Hülsmann

This is lecture 8 in a series of talks about the Introduction to Austrian Economics which was recorded September 2005, Klampenborg - Denmark. You can see the full lecture here. There is also the great and concise: “Deflation: The Biggest Myths”:

  • Myth #1: You cannot earn a living and make profits when the price level falls
  • Myth #2: While falling prices are good, lacking aggregate demand is bad
  • Myth #3: You cannot earn a living and make profits when the money supply shrinks
  • Myth #4: Deflation entails slower economic growth than inflation
  • Myth #5: Deflation is particularly burdensome for lower-income groups
  • Myth #6: Deflation destroys the credit of the state
  • Myth #7: Deflation creates unemployment
  • Myth #8: Deflation entails unequal and arbitrary burdens for the citizens
  • Myth #9: It will take decades to settle deflation-induced legal disputes
  • Myth #10: Deflation confers no positive net benefit
  • Myth #11: Letting deflation happen is “passivism”
Text 19 Aug 10 notes Mr. Libertarian

"Before closing, I want to render a sense of something that history books will not capture and future generations may not understand: namely, the profound and benevolent impact of Murray Rothbard’s charisma on young scholars. Although reprints of his work will display the stunning breadth of his scholarship, they will give no clue as to the humor that made his listeners literally laugh for hours in after-conference sessions and gatherings at his home. When people finally walked away from Murray – reluctant to leave a world in which ideas were so much fun – they scattered to libraries and typewriters to research and write up the articles he had inspired. Murray Rothbard believed that ideas mattered. He infused you with that belief. I still hear his voice – admittedly a bit squawky – insisting that a certain insight was "Key! It’s key to the issue!," and admonishing me to write it up.

Murray had a habit of sitting with his right arm draped over his head, the elbow resting about five inches above ear level. I remember walking into a room where Murray was holding court for three young men who sat attentively before him, lined up on the couch. Each one had his right arm draped over his head. Not one realized they were mimicking him. A whole generation of libertarian theorists wanted to be Murray Rothbard. We adopted his slang terms, his gestures, his eccentricities… hopefully some of his intellectual magic has rubbed off as well.”

          — Wendy McElroy

Text 18 Aug 6 notes
"To adopt an excellent strategem of Ludwig von Mises in abstracting from contemporary emotions: Let us postulate two contiguous Nation-States, "Ruritania" and "Fredonia." Let us assume that Ruritania has suddenly invaded eastern Fredonia, and claims it as its own. Must we automatically condemn Ruritania for its evil "act of aggression" against Fredonia, and send troops, either literally or metaphorically, against the brutal Ruritanians and in behalf of "brave, little" Fredonia? By no means.
For it is very possible that, say, two years ago, eastern Fredonia had been part and parcel of Ruritania, was indeed western Ruritania, and that the Rurs, ethnic and national denizens of the land, have been crying out for the past two years against Fredonian oppression. In short, in inter-national disputes in particular, in the immortal words of W. S. Gilbert:
  • Things are seldom what they seem,
    Skim milk masquerades as cream.

The Beloved international cop, whether it be Boutros Boutros-Ghali or U.S. troops or the New York Times Editorialist had best think more than twice before leaping into the fray…”

          — Murray Rothbard
Text 17 Aug 2 notes The Data of History

"The data of history are logically compatible with any of such rival interpretations, and historians, insofar as they are just historians, have no way of deciding in favor of one or the other. If one is to make a rational choice among such rival and incompatible interpretations, this is only possible if one has a theory at one’s disposal, or at least a theoretical proposition, whose validity does not depend on historical experience but can be established a priori, i.e. once and for all by means of the intellectual apprehension or comprehension of the nature of things.

In some circles this kind of theory is held in low esteem; and some philosophers, especially of the empiricist-positivist variety, have declared any such theory off-limits or even impossible. This is not a philosophical treatise devoted to a discussion of issues of epistemology and ontology. Here and in the following, I do not want to directly refute the empiricist-positivist thesis that there is no such thing as a priori theory, i.e., propositions which assert something about reality and can be validated independent of the outcome of any future experience.

It is only appropriate, however, to acknowledge from the outset that I consider this thesis—and indeed the entire empiricist-positivist research program, which can be interpreted as the result of the application of the (egalitarian) principles of democracy to the realm of knowledge and research and has therefore dominated ideologically during most of the twentieth century,—as fundamentally mistaken and thoroughly refuted.”

          — Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Intro to TEOL

Quote 16 Aug 17 notes
Albert Jay Nock was not a reformer and found offensive any society with a “monstrous itch for changing people.” He had “a great horror of every attempt to change anybody; or I should rather say, every wish to change anybody; for that is the important thing.” Whenever one “wishes to change anybody, one becomes like the socialists, vegetarians, prohibitionists; and this, as Rabelais says, ‘is a terrible thing to think upon.’” The only thing we can do to improve society, he declared, “is to present society with one improved unit.” Let each person direct his efforts at himself or herself, not others; or as Voltaire put it, “Il faut cultiver notre jardin.”
Text 15 Aug 11 notes Mises as Voluntarist

"How far would Mises push the principle of secession, of self-determination? Down to a single village, he states; but would he press beyond even that? He calls the right of self-determination not of nations, “but rather the right of self-determination of the inhabitants of every territory large enough to form an independent administrative unit.” But how about self-determination for the ultimate unit, for each individual? Allowing each individual to remain where he lives and yet secede from the State is tantamount to anarchism, and yet Mises comes very close to anarchism, blocked only by practical technical considerations:

If it were in any way possible to grant this right of self-determination to every individual person, it would have to be done. This is impracticable only because of compelling technical considerations, which make it necessary that the right of self-determination be restricted to the will of the majority of the inhabitants of areas large enough to count as territorial units in the administration of the country.

That Mises, at least in theory, believed in the right of individual secession and therefore came close to anarchism can also be seen in his description of liberalism, that “it forces no one against his will into the structure of the State.”

And Mises did believe in a vigorous right to secede, Liberalism pp. 109-10:

The right of self-determination in regard to the question of membership in a state thus means: whenever the inhabitants of a particular territory, whether it be a single village, a whole district, or a series of adjacent districts, make it known, by a freely conducted plebiscite, that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time, but wish either to form an independent state or to attach themselves to some other state, their wishes are to be respected and complied with. This is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil and international wars. … However, the right of self-determination of which we speak is not the right of self-determination of nations, but rather the right of self-determination of the inhabitants of every territory large enough to form an independent administrative unit. If it were in any way possible to grant this right of self-determination to every individual person, it would have to be done.

(Source: stephankinsella.com)


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