Rothbard then offered this ultimate proof for these rules as just rules: if a person A were not the owner of his physical body and all goods originally appropriated, produced, or voluntarily acquired by him, there would only exist two alternatives. Either another person, B, must then be regarded as the owner of A and the goods appropriated, produced, or contractually acquired by A, or both parties, A and B, must be regarded as equal co-owners of both bodies and goods.
In the first case, A would be B’s slave and subject to exploitation. B would own A and the goods originally appropriated, produced, or acquired by A, but A would not own B and the goods homesteaded, produced, or acquired by B. With this rule, two distinct classes of people would be created - exploiters (B) and exploited (A) - to whom different “law” would apply. Hence, this rule fails the “universalization test” and is from the outset disqualified as even a potential human ethic, for in order to be able to claim a rule to be a “law” (just), it is necessary that such a rule be universally - equally - valid for everyone.
In the second case of universal co-ownership, the requirement of equal rights for everyone is obviously fulfilled. Yet this alternative suffers from another fatal flaw, for each activity of a person requires the employment of scarce goods (at least his body and its standing room). Yet if all goods were the collective property of everyone, then no one, at any time and in any place, could ever do anything with anything unless he had every other co-owner’s prior permission to do what he wanted to do. And how can one give such a permission if one is not even the sole owner of one’s very own body (and vocal chords)? If one were to follow the rule of total collective ownership, mankind would die out instantly. Whatever this is, it is not a human ethic either.
Thus, one is left with the initial principles of self-ownership and first-use-first-own, i.e., original appropriation, homesteading. They pass the universalization test - they hold for everyone equally - and they can at the same time assure the survival of mankind. They and only they are therefore non-hypothetically or absolutely true ethical rules and human rights.
“To lead people, walk beside them… As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate… When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’”—Lao Tzu(600 BC-531 BC) The Ancient Chinese Libertarian Tradition, Rothbard.
“To apply the principle of the “survival of the fittest” to both the jungle and the market is to ignore the basic question: Fitness for what? The “fit” in the jungle are those most adept at the exercise of brute force. The “fit” on the market are those most adept in the service of society. The jungle is a brutish place where some seize from others and all live at the starvation level; the market is a peaceful and productive place where all serve themselves and others at the same time and live at infinitely higher levels of consumption. On the market, the charitable can provide aid, a luxury that cannot exist in the jungle.”—Murray Rothbard, Power & Market - Chapter 6
AEN: Was Mises better than the classical liberals on the question of the state? HOPPE: Mises thought it was necessary to have an institution that suppresses those people who cannot behave appropriately in society, people who are a danger because they steal and murder. He calls this…
This is a curious perspective. To be fair, I’ve never heard of Hoppe, but I recognizes Mises as either a neoliberal or a direct precursor to the same. Anyway, it’s basically the groundwork of neoliberal (read neo-classical economics + classical liberalism)… read more.
Indeed, it’s a logical perspective. An oddity to be sure! First, you appropriately acknowledge your ignorance. Great! However, Problem 1 - instead of alleviating that ignorance and informing yourself, you make the fallacious assumption that Mises was a neo-liberal. He is not, nor is he a direct pre-cursor to the “free-market” charlatans. This highlights your misunderstanding.
Neo-Liberalism treats the nation-state as a firm, the goal of which is maximising its profit. It is thus in a sense similar to mercantilism. Classical liberals have no such pretensions and see the state as pernicious.
Straight off the bat - you’ve erected a strawman. This faulty premise is what you proceed to address throughout the rest of your response; not Mises or Hoppe’s actual position. I see no need to respond further.
"My conversion to anarchism [anarcho-capitalism/voluntarism/private law society] was a simple exercise in logic. I had engaged continually in friendly arguments about laissez-faire with liberal friends from graduate school. While condemning taxation, I had still felt that taxation was required for the provision of police and judicial protection and for that only. One night two friends and I had one of our usual lengthy discussions, seemingly unprofitable; but this time when they’d left, I felt that for once something vital had actually been said. As I thought back on the discussion, I realized that my friends, as liberals, had posed the following challenge to my laissez-faire position:
They: What is the legitimate basis for your laissez-faire government, for this political entity confined solely to defending person and property?
I: Well, the people get together and decide to establish such a government.
They: But if “the people” can do that, why can’t they do exactly the same thing and get together to choose a government that will build steel plants, dams, etc.?
I realized in a flash that their logic was impeccable, that laissezfaire was logically untenable, and that either I had to become a liberal, or move onward into anarchism. I became an anarchist [anarcho-capitalist].” ~ Betrayal of the American Right, Murray N. Rothbard, p78.
AEN: Was Mises better than the classical liberals on the question of the state? HOPPE: Mises thought it was necessary to have an institution that suppresses those people who cannot behave appropriately in society, people who are a danger because they steal and murder. He calls this institution government.
But he has a unique idea of how government should work. To check its power, every group and every individual, if possible, must have the right to secede from the territory of the state. He called this the right of self determination, not of nations as the League of Nations said, but of villages, districts, and groups of any size. In Liberalism and Nation, State, and Economy, he elevates secession to a central principle of classical liberalism. If it were possible to grant this right of self-determination to every individual person, he says, it would have to be done. Thus the democratic state becomes, for Mises, a voluntary organization.
AEN: Yet you have been a strong critic of democracy. HOPPE: Yes, as that term is usually understood. But under Mises’s unique definition of democracy, the term means self rule or self government in its most literal sense. All organizations in society, including government, should be the result of voluntary interactions.
In a sense you can say that Mises was a near anarchist. If he stopped short of affirming the right of individual secession, it was only because of what he regarded as technical grounds. In modern democracy, we exalt the method of majority rule as the means of electing the rulers of a compulsory monopoly of taxation.
Mises frequently made an analogy between voting and the marketplace. But he was quite aware that voting in the marketplace means voting with your own property. The weight of your vote is in accord with your value productivity. In the political arena, you do not vote with your property; you vote concerning the property of everyone, including your own. People do not have votes according to their value productivity.
AEN: Yet Mises attacks anarchism in no uncertain terms. HOPPE: His targets here are left-utopians. He attacks their theory that man is good enough not to need an organized defense against the enemies of civilization. But this is not what the private-property anarchist believes. Of course, murderers and thieves exist. There needs to be an institution that keeps these people at bay. Mises calls this institution government, while people who want no state at all point out that all essential defensive services can be better performed by firms in the market. We can call these firms government if we want to.
Is the most consequentially neglected word in political science. Alone it establishes that tax is theft and government criminal by giving a name for something that is between consent and confrontation.
The concept of acquiescence, and even the word, is often lumped incorrectly with consent, thereby confusing submission in the face of overwhelming force with consent chosen freely. For example, if people evade tax, they face imprisonment and further extortion. So the payment of tax no more proves consent than the payment of a ransom transforms kidnapping into mere babysitting.
This is not to say that everyone who lives under government would rise up against it if they could. Rather, it is to point out that acquiescing to government is no evidence of consent. So defenders of government cannot point to widespread acquiescence as evidence of consent. They must get written, signed and witnessed contracts if they want to say they are legitimate. And such an institution, with written, signed and witnessed contracts, would resemble a free market entity, not government. - Benjamin Marks
“You do not know, and will never know, who the Remnant are, nor what they are doing or will do. Two things you do know, and no more: First, that they exist; second, that they will find you.”—Albert Jay Nock, Isiah’s Job
my knowledge on both libertarianism (or Libertarianism) and ron paul is incredibly hazy and as such, i hope you’ll forgive me if i get any of this wrong. i know nothing of his fiscal policy, but on the social end he seems very pro-“leave it to the states to determine,” with abortion and drug legalization and the like. i’m under the impression the point of libertarianism (or the Libertarian party, from what i’ve gathered) is the protection of individual liberties, and i honestly cannot see how delegating the power to impinge on liberties to the states is any better than leaving it up to the federal government. does that make sense or am i just mental?
Actually, you make a really good point because he does stress the concept of leaving many things up to the states but in some states you have leaders that far more crazier than those at the federal level. I can’t speak for Ron Paul but perhaps this is a way of slowly changing our government rather than imposing the dramatic change that a truly libertarian government would bring right off the bat.
Ron Paul is for self-government (case #1) (case #2) i.e voluntarism/private law society/natural order/anarcho-capitalism etc.
He uses the constitution as a rhetorical tool in an age of manufactured consent. In philosophy you need to ask "compared to what?" The implicit argument he is essentially making there: even on their own terms, they do not live up to the standards professed.
Ron Paul’s an abolitionist. Calling for the abolition of the IRS, CIA, FBI, Dept of Education, Dept of Homeland Security, Dept of Labor, the FED, Bring the Troops Home immediately.. in the national mainstream debates and he is considered principled because he uses the simple sound bite, “the constitution”. It is very effective.
The questions he gets come from a statist perspective, so he operates within that context when he has to. However, as he has stated a return to the US Constitution is not his end goal, it would merely be better compared to what we have now. The US Constitution allows for an increase in the size of government, compared to that of the Articles of Confederation, and so on.
Briefly on the strategy employed about transitional demands etc.:
First, under decentralization, jurisdictions must compete for residents and capital, which provides some incentive for greater degrees of freedom, if only because local despotism is neither popular nor productive. If despots insist on ruling anyway, people and capital will find a way to leave. If there is only one will and one actor, you cannot escape.
Second, localism internalizes corruption so that it can be more easily spotted and uprooted. Along the same lines, local government corruption can be rather benign by comparison; it is easier, on a middle-class budget, to pay off the zoning board than to bribe the State Department.”
"Fifth, a plurality of governmental forms—a "vertical separation of powers," to use Stephan Kinsella’s phrase prevents the central government from accumulating power. Lower governments are rightly jealous of their jurisdiction, and resist. This is to the good. In fact, the whole history of liberty is bound up with the glorious results of competing institutional structures, no one of which can be trusted with complete control."
On the point about the Libertarian Party - if you take a look at the Rothbard Caucus, you will see that Ron Paul follows the 10 points. The RP revolution & it’s success is what the LP should have been, except they sold out a long time ago.
“As for the kindergarten [level] argument, it does not follow from the fact that the state provides roads and schools that only the state can provide such goods. People have little difficulty recognising that this is a fallacy. From the fact that monkeys can ride bikes it does not follow that only monkeys can ride bikes. And second, immediately following, it must be recalled that the state is an institution that can legislate and tax; and hence, that state agents have little incentive to produce efficiently. State roads and schools will only be more costly and their quality lower. For there is always a tendency for state agents to use up as many resources as possible doing whatever they do but actually work as little as possible doing it.”—Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Reflections on the Origin and the stability of the State
“At a recent trip to our neighborhood grocery, two members of a gay-rights organization asked me if I would sign a petition on behalf of legalizing gay marriages. My response was the same as that given to everyone else who asks my position on the topic: “Why do you want to have the state certify your relationships with others? Just perform your own ceremony of marriage without getting the state’s approval.” They just stared at me.”—Butler Shaffer
Nevertheless, by coming out with a genuinely new theory (amazing in itself, considering the long history of political philosophy) Hoppe is in danger of offending all the intellectual vested interests of the libertarian camp. Utilitarians, who should be happy that value-freedom was preserved, will be appalled to find that Hoppean rights are even more absolutist and “dogmatic” than natural rights. Natural rightsers, while happy at the “dogmatism,” will be unwilling to accept an ethics not grounded in the broad nature of things.
Randians will be particularly upset because the Hoppean system is grounded (as was the Misesian) on the Satanic Immanuel Kant and his “synthetic a priori.” Randians might be mollified, however, to learn that Hoppe is influenced by a group of German Kantians (headed by mathematician Paul Lorenzen) who interpret Kant as a deeply realistic Aristotelian, in contrast to the idealist interpretation common in the United States.
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.
“As regards the utilitarian position, the proof contains its ultimate refutation. It demonstrates that simply in order to propose the utilitarian position, exclusive rights of control over one’s body and one’s homesteaded goods already must be presupposed as valid. 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.”—Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Economics and Ethics of Private Property, p354.
AE only serves as a negative critique of justifiable norms. It bounds the scope of norms that can be consistently justified without pain of contradiction.
"Here the praxeological proof of libertarianism has the advantage of offering a completely value-free justification of private property. It remains entirely in the realm of is-statements and never tries to derive an “ought” from an “is.” ~ Economics and Ethics of Private Property, p345.
"My entire argument, then, claims to be an impossibility proof. But not, as the mentioned critics seem to think, a proof that means to show the impossibility of certain empirical events, so that it could be refuted by empirical evidence [such as the existence of non-libertarian societies-RPM and GC]. Instead, it is a proof that it is impossible to justify non-libertarian property principles without falling into contradictions…empirical evidence has absolutely no bearing on it." (Hoppe 1988, p. 53)
A place holder for easy access to the sources on AE. Feel free to discuss it’s merits, while you engage in argumentation ;)