For the aspiring Austro-Libertarian: What to read? #3
I thought I would recommend some of the not so well known but nevertheless mind-blowing journal articles that should be read by everyone in the movement, especially by those outside it. This is the third in a series of many.
Praxeology and Legal Analysis: Action vs. Behavior
Aggression and the Implicit Concept of Causality
Complicating the Picture: Causation, Cooperation, And Human Means
“Mere” Speech-Acts And Aggression
Cause-In-Fact, Proximate Cause, And Action
Reinach and Causation
In the context of legal analysis, one important praxeological doctrine is the distinction between action and mere behavior. The difference between action and behavior boils down to intent. Action is an individual’s intentional intervention in the physical world, via certain selected means, with the purpose of attaining a state of affairs that is preferable to the conditions that would prevail in the absence of the action. Mere behavior, by contrast, is a person’s physical movements that are not undertaken intentionally and that do not manifest any purpose, plan, or design. Mere behavior cannot be aggression; aggression must be deliberate, it must be an action.
Here Stephan Kinsella clears up and clarifies some advanced aspects of libertarianism. Some questions to investigate:
Why we should concern ourselves with A’s intent? If we objectively determine that A’s actions caused the death of B, what should it matter what A intended to do—or whether A intended to do anything at all?
Consider the following case in which an aggressor employs an innocenthuman as one of his means. A terrorist builds a letter-bomb and mails it to hisintended victim via courier. The courier has no idea that the package he isdelivering contains a lethal device. When the addressee dies in an explosionafter he opens the package, whom should we hold responsible?
What about the defense that speech cannot be aggression since it does notactually invade others’ property borders?
The same question is asked in a variety of situations: did the general kill people, using his troops as means to this end? Did the manager use his employee as a means to attain some end? Did the wife kill her husband by using her lover (or a hired hit-man) as the means to attain this goal? If some one votes in favor of socialism (or speaks out in favor of it), are they a cause of the ensuing acts of aggression by state agents?
“[S]tatistics are, in a crucial sense, critical to all interventionist and socialistic activities of government…. Statistics are the eyes and ears of the bureaucrat, the politician, the socialistic reformer. Only by statistics can they know, or at least have any idea about, what is going on in the economy…. Cut off those eyes and ears, destroy those crucial guidelines to knowledge, and the whole threat of government intervention is almost completely eliminated.”—Murray N. Rothbard, The Logic of Action Vol II, pp. 182-83.
A suggestion from Dr. Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), signer of the Declaration of Independence and pioneer psychiatrist.
Signs of War
In order more deeply to affect the minds of the citizens of the United States with the blessings of peace, by contrasting them with the evils of war, let the following inscriptions be painted upon the sign, which is placed over the door of the War Office.
An office for butchering the human species.
A widow and orphan making office.
A broken bone making office.
A wooden leg making office.
An office for creating public and private vices.
An office for creating a public debt.
An office for creating speculators, stock jobbers, and bankrupts.
An office for creating famine.
An office for creating pestilential diseases.
An office for creating poverty, and the destruction of liberty and national happiness.
In the lobby of this office let there be painted representations of all the common military instruments of death, also human skulls, broken bones, unburied and putrefying dead bodies, hospitals crowded with sick and wounded soldiers, villages on fire, mothers in besieged towns eating the flesh of their children, ships sinking in the ocean, rivers dyed with blood, and extensive plains without a tree or fence, or any other object, but the ruins of deserted farm houses.
Above this group of woeful figures, let the following words be inserted, in red characters to represent human blood: “National Glory.”
The above is excerpted from Selected Writings of Benjamin Rush, edited by Dagober D. Runes, published in 1947 by the Philosophical Library, Inc., New York, N. Y.
“While the purely free and laissez-faire society arises unselfconsciously where people are given free rein to exert their creative energies, statism has been the dominant principle throughout history. Where State despotism already exists, then liberty can only arise from a self-conscious ideological movement that wages a protracted struggle against statism, and reveals to the mass of the public the grave flaw in its acceptance of the propaganda of the ruling classes. The role of this “revolutionary” movement is to mobilize the various ranks of the oppressed masses, and to desanctify and delegitimize the rule of the State in their eyes.”—Murray N. Rothbard, Capitalism versus Statism
“How can it (i.e. the government, the state) know whether to build road A or road B, whether to invest in a road or in a school — in fact, how much to spend for all its activities? There is no rational way that it can allocate funds or even decide how much to have. When there is a shortage of teachers or schoolrooms or police or streets, the government and its supporters have only one answer: more money. Why is this answer never offered on the free market? The reason is that money must be withdrawn from some other uses in consumption or investment … and this withdrawal must be justified. This justification is provided by the test of profit and loss: the indication that the most urgent wants of the consumers are being satisfied. If an enterprise or product is earning high profits for its owners and these profits are expected to continue, more money will be forthcoming; if not, and losses are being incurred, money will flow out of the industry. The profit-and-loss-test serves as the critical guide for directing the flow of productive services. No such guide exists for the government, which has no rational way to decide how much money to spend, either in total, or in each specific line. The more money it spends, the more service it can supply — but where to stop?”—Murray N. Rothbard, Power and Market, p. 176.
This is an excerpt from Action-Based Jurisprudence: Praxeological Legal Theory in Relation to Economic Theory, Ethics, and Legal Practice by Konrad Graf, pg 44. Understanding this helps comprehend the structure of reality and its categories. Certain fields of knowledge fall within certain sectors.
Note on “objective, intersubjectively ascertainable”
The term “intersubjectively ascertainable” mentioned in Hoppe’s work and also employed by Kinsella, might appear synonymous with “objective,” with which it is often paired. However, these terms carry an important, but subtle distinction. It is helpful here to refer to Wilber’s four-quadrant model (2006, 18–26), which I will now briefly describe, relate to Misesian concepts, and apply to this distinction.
In this model, an interior–exterior axis crosses with an individual–plural axis to create four quadrants of possible perspectives. These are the interior-individual (subjective), interior-plural (cultural), exterior-individual (objective), and exterior-plural (social/natural-science/systems). Various fields of knowledge are most at home in particular quadrants, while each quadrant is associated with distinctive forms of knowledge. In this view, human beings, for example, stand as both wholes and parts (“holons”)—both individuals and components of plurals—with both exterior and interior aspects. These aspects are both discrete and inseparable—all of them must be present for us to be the kind of beings that we are.
For the aspiring Austro-Libertarian: What to read? #2
I thought I would recommend some of the not so well known but nevertheless mind-blowing journal articles that should be read by everyone in the movement, especially by those outside it. This is part two of the series.
Market anarchists are often keen to know how we might rid ourselves of the twin evils institutionalized in the state: taxation and monopoly. A possible future history for North America is suggested, focusing upon the implications of the establishment of a subscription-based patrol and restitution business sector. We favor Rothbard over Higgs regarding crises and liberty. We favor Barnett over Rothbard regarding vertical integration of security. We examine derived demand for adjudication, mediation and related goods; and we advance the thesis that private adjudication will tend to libertarianly just decisions. We show how firms will actively build civil society, strengthening and coordinating Nisbettian intermediating institutions.
The present paper explores the possible historical consequences of the successful establishment of a subscription patrol and restitution business sector. In support of the story we posit, we first address a number of topics to set the tone and clear up misconceptions about what is meant by free market provision of defense and law.
An outline follows:
Entrepreneur as Agent of Social Change
The Law Enforcement Paradigm and Vertical Integration
Search and Arrest
Does Free-Market Adjudication Provide Justice?
Development of the SPR Model—Social Strength and Derived Demand
Crisis and Liberty
In a sense, it is essentially a business plan for liberty. Normal customers (people not specifically interested in philosophy & non radicals) paying to read about voluntarism, surely not?!
Working on the vague theme of ‘love' this is probably best viewed from the page, not your dash. Describing music is generally pretty hard. However, I really enjoy sharing songs I like. * Indicates a film-clip, otherwise it’s just audio. Youtube is easier to embed than soundcloud. The below songs are a mix of different genres that even I find hard to categorize; indie-dance, chillwave, house, disco-house, luvstep and who knows what other genres get made up. I hope you enjoy.
"No stranger to sophisticated remix work, producer Monsieur Adi recently created a mashup between his rendition of Ellie Goulding’s "Guns And Horses" and Daft Punk’s "Make Love". As usual, Adi utilizes electrifying strings arrangements and couples them with the British songstress’s soothing voice and adds a little mellow electronica to the blend."
Mellow, but builds… beautiful. A song hard not to fall in love with, maybe a cosmic love then. Wonderful Florence and the Machine track that with this wonderful remix makes me want to love the whole cosmos.
In short, man’s will is here severely limited by the workings of - to use an old-fashioned but still valid term - natural law. But injustices are deeds that are inflicted by one set of men on another; they are precisely the actions of men, and, hence, they and their elimination are subject to man’s instantaneous will.
Let us take an example: England’s centuries-long occupation and brutal oppression of the Irish people. Now if, in 1900, we had looked at the state of Ireland, and we had considered the poverty of the Irish people, we would have had to say: poverty could be improved by the English getting out and removing their land monopolies, but the ultimate elimination of poverty in Ireland, under the best of conditions, would take time and be subject to the workings of economic law. But the goal of ending English oppression - that could have been done by the instantaneous action of men’s will: by the English simply deciding to pull out of the country.
The fact that of course such decisions do not take place instantaneously is not the point; the point is that the very failure is an injustice that has been decided upon and imposed by the perpetrators of injustice - in this case, the English government. In the field of justice, man’s will is all; men can move mountains, if only men so decide. A passion for instantaneous justice - in short, a radical passion - is therefore not utopian, as would be a desire for the instant elimination of poverty or the instant transformation of everyone into a concert pianist. For instant justice could be achieved if enough people so willed.
“Those who claim that taxation is, in some mystical sense, really “voluntary” should then have no qualms about getting rid of that vital feature of the law which says that failure to pay one’s taxes is criminal and subject to appropriate penalty. But does anyone seriously believe that if the payment of taxation were really made voluntary, say in the sense of contributing to the American Cancer Society, that any appreciable revenue would find itself into the coffers of government? Then why don’t we try it as an experiment for a few years, or a few decades, and find out?”—Murray N. Rothbard, Tax Day
“The more subsidized it is, the less free it is. What is known as “free education” is the least free of all, for it is a state-owned institution; it is socialized education - just like socialized medicine or the socialized post office - and cannot possibly be separated from political control.”—Frank Chodorov, “Why Free Schools Are Not Free”
"…It is true, very true, that rape is coercion, and that rape is a crime, regardless of the sexual or virtuous status of the victim, that is, whether she is a nun, a monogamous wife and mother, a swinging single, or a hooker. But the virtuo-status of the rape victim is relevant to important considerations: (1) the credibility of the victim as witness, and (2) the degree of punishment to be levied upon the criminal.
By its very nature, rape – in contrast to mugging or simple assault – almost always takes place without witnesses. If PATTY BALDWIN charges that Willie Kennedy Smith raped her, are we to believe her? Remember that criminal convictions can only take place if the charge is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and hence the credibility of the victim must be vital to reaching a verdict. Take two hypothetical cases: A: a virtuous nun or married lady charges Willie Kennedy Smith with rape; or B: a bar-hopping party girl, picked up at 3:00 A.M. agrees to go on for drinks and other frisky activities to the Kennedy compound, and then, after some cuddling, charges rape. Isn’t it reasonable to conclude that Female A’s charge is more credible than Female B’s? Especially, if I might revert to PATTY BALDWIN, when the girl seems to have made off with a valuable Kennedy urn at the same time as the supposed rape?
A separate and also relevant point occurs when the judge or jury is handing down punishment for a crime. Punishment differs in proportion to the severity of the crime, and most of us agree that someone clubbing a victim and making off with his gold watch deserves a more severe punishment than a kid stealing a grape from a fruit-store. Is it then unreasonable to assert that coercion taking place after lots of drinks, a 4:00 A.M. return for drinks and hi-jinks at the fellow’s home, and consensual cuddling is less reprehensible than attacking and raping a stranger on the street? Note that I am not saying that “leading the guy on” justifies or exculpates later coercion and rape; but it should mitigate the severity of the crime and the ensuing punishment. Which is why most people have the sound instinct that “date rape,” while reprehensible and indeed criminal, does not reach the deeply reviled status of “stranger rape.”
"…The correct and libertarian line to take on rape and Simonson would be as follows: Yes, Simonson is right that our sexually drenched atmosphere can inspire lustful impulses in males. But, part of the necessary process of growing up is learning how to curb one’s aggressive impulses, to learn self-control (to use an Old Culture word.) He who can’t or won’t practice such self-control and becomes a criminal aggressor or rapist deserves to be socked with the full majesty of the law. Simonson’s implication that women should go back to the veil and the hoopskirt in order to make life easier for young proto-rapists simply won’t wash. Why should everyone else’s life be made gray and miserable for the sake of coddling proto-rapists? Self-control is their responsibility, not that of females who should be able to dress and act as sexily as they please, without fear of aggression wreaked upon them. If we really wanted to be Old Culture, we could give our young proto-rapists the stern injunction to go and take a cold shower…"
Say you had the opportunity to pitch a liberty specific project idea to an organisation with the possibility of them providing full funding (i.e all expenses paid, travel and costs), with a guideline of 4-6 weeks travel between 1st September 2012 - 31st August 2013. The very brief framework:
Project Title: Info: Proposed Itinerary:
Max. of five countries is suggested, as is not crowding your itinerary.
What new knowledge do you hope to gain from your project?
Why do you need to travel overseas to obtain this knowledge?
How will your project benefit the community?
What would your idea be? [ethics related] What would you do? It would make sense for me to base the trip mostly in the US. Thus I am requesting some help from those with local knowledge to provide some possible events I could visit, individuals I should meet etc.
I haven’t nailed down the ‘liberty project idea’ yet, it’s early days, but I think it will be something along the lines of learning about how to build a movement (as is seen in the States), and translating the principles back to Australia. Whether the committee will go for that, we’ll have to see.
Mises University, 2013. July 22-28. (1 week) Auburn, Alabama, USA.
International Students for Liberty Conference, 2013. Feb 17-19. Washington, DC, USA. (2 days)
Austrian Scholars Conference, March 8-10, 2013. (2 days)
Mises Summer fellowships: Residency runs from late May until early August.
Porcfest. June 18-June 24. (6 days) Northamptonshire.
Ron Paul [Texas] - Washington, D.C.
Walter Block [New Orleans] - Loyola University New Orleans
Dan D’amico [New Orleans] - Loyola University New Orleans
Stephan Kinsella [Houston, Texas]
Gil Guillory [Houston, Texas]
Bob Murphy [Nashville, Tennessee]
Thomas Woods [Topeka, Kansas]
Jeff Tucker [Baltimore, Maryland] - Laissez-Faire Books
Lew Rockwell [Auburn, Alabama]
Stephan Moleyneux [Canada]
Peter Schiff [Connecticut] - Europacific Capital
Hans-Hermann Hoppe [Istanbul, Turkey]
Guido Hulsmann [Angers, France]
Ludwig von Mises Institute [Auburn, Alabama]
The Independent Institute [Oakland, California]
Campaign for Liberty [Springfield, Virgina]
Students for Liberty [Any chapter?], Washington DC. Cato.
Answer from your own perspective. I’m very open to suggestions & recommendations for anything, which will be very much appreciated. What have you got going on in your local area?
“If, then, taxation is compulsory, and is therefore indistinguishable from theft, it follows that the State, which subsists on taxation, is a vast criminal organization far more formidable and successful than any ‘private’ Mafia in history.”—Murray N. Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty, p.166.