Friday, September 9, 2016

Moral Discovery

H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr. notes in his book The Foundations of Bioethics(2nd Ed.) that "a canonical, content-full secular morality cannot be discovered".  This means a secular, universal moral code is not to be found.  This is difficult for many to accept.  If true and it is then mankind must undergo a qualitative change in order to avoid extinction.

While it is true that certain first principles key to maximizing peace and prosperity in society have been discovered and applied across civilizations and historical time frames; I think these first principles are not human universals. First principles are not found in abundance but merely occasionally "(re)discovered" in various cultures throughout time.

There is no universal moral code that can be applied across all mankind.  You can use force, that is aggression, to enforce a moral code from one group to another but this has long term problems.  The only long term choice is property. The hope for peace and prosperity lies in property.

If you cannot defend it, it does not belong to you. If you cannot exclude from it, it does not belong to you. If you cannot acquire it, modify it, transact using it, or transmit it, it does not belong to you. If it does not belong to you then it belongs to someone else. If you (aggressively) take a thing from someone else they will hate you. They will manipulate against you, they will seek to turn the power that you used to steal from them to their own use. They will use it against you. The more frequently  this behavior occurs the greater increase in violence.  A technologically advanced people cannot afford to underpin a culture using philosophy of violence.

A forced secular moral code in a technologically advanced civilization will have disastrous results. We are beginning to see the early effects.

Monday, September 28, 2015

How Ignorance of Language Corrupts Understanding

  Language is important.  It is the means by which we transmit our ideas to others.  The improper or imprecise use of language while engaging outgroups will lead to bad results, this is especially true if those in communication hold positions of influence within their respective ingroups.  In many instances of history, physical conflicts were precipitated by miscommunication--by faulty language skills.

  Brian Patrick Mitchell's post on Christian Anarchists falls into the category of the above description.  I think he simply does not thoroughly understanding the language of his study.  Mitchell's work has previously been favorably received by both Justin Raimondo and Tom Woods even if Woods voiced some reservation of his book.

  Mitchell spends a great deal of his article detailing the history of two root words: arche and kratos.  I have no issue with his treatment of these roots and his discussion of them is easily followed( credit to him )and easy to understand.  In the following section, Mitchell develops some theological views of the relationship between the Father and the Son--again he does a nice job of writing clearly so as to make his point easy to understand.  I am not entirely convinced by his theological argument but at the same time I do not find it offensive.  I am not here going to discuss this part of the article as I find it rather a personal take and not what is at issue for me.

Here I turn to his treatment of anarchist.  He refers to an anarchist as:

  "is a rebel who respects no one as his head and looks to no one as his guide. He believes himself a free spirit, unbeholden to any originating archē and therefore unbound by any governing person, principle, tradition, or order—free to define for himself the nature of reality, choosing his own name, his own rules, even his own gender."

  Anarchists certainly can be the above but more importantly the above quote strikes me as a good description of a citizen of any modern Western democracy-not anarchists.  An anarchist will, more chances than not, hold himself up as a member of a community, responsible to his neighbors, his kinsman, his family.  An anarchist is simply opposed to the initiation of force and institutions that maintain monopolies on the initiation of force.  Modern democracy, the most recent incarnation of the state, is the destroyer of hierarchy, of order, of peaceful/voluntary interaction, and of the transmission of traditional social and cultural values.

  Anarchy embraces individuality, as does Orthodoxy, and it wholly rejects egalitarianism--radically.

    "Both insist on the self as the point of origin and reference for all definitions of goodness, truth, and justice, in effect replacing the First Person of the Holy Trinity with the selfish first person—the singular “I” in the case of individualism, the plural “we” in the case of egalitarianism."

  I think Mitchell may misunderstand that an anarchist can voluntarily decide to submit to the rule and authority of God and his Church the same way a statist would.  I am unclear how he cannot see this. The only way is by completely misunderstanding the language of his topic--anarchist.  As an anarchist( actually I am a Christian first ), I voluntarily accept the authority of God.  There is no contradiction here. I am opposed to the initiation of force---be it by one person or by a group of persons. Simply because a large number of persons tell me to surrender my property does not change the moral calculus of the theft.  If anything I have a difficult but not impossible time seeing Mitchell the statist as a Christian.

    "  Anarchism is thus the exact opposite of the Christian way of relating. It is not actually a way of relating but a way of not relating. Its response to all others is rebellion or abandonment, attack or escape. Its model is Lucifer, the Arch Anarchist. Christians who take his name, identifying themselves as “anarchists,” do so thoughtlessly and irresponsibly, and they should stop."

  Anarchism and Christianity are not in opposition but, if anything, the Non-Aggression Principle and the Golden Rule are in agreement.  Contrary to Mitchell's assertion that anarchism is Lucifer's model, states will ultimately always pervert the law against those it exercises power over--all the while reassuring its citizens that it has their best interests at heart.  This is the evil.  I identify myself as an Orthodox Christian always.....an anarchist always.  I would suggest to Mr Mitchell the following for reference:

  The Foundations of Bioethics by H. Tristram Engelhardt

  A Realistic Libertarianism by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

  On Democracy, De-Civilization, and the Quest for a New Counterculture by Hans-Hermann Hoppe





 


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Beyond Known Steps

Well, I told myself I wasn't going to write a response to David Grant's Analyzing Ancapistan at Social Matter because I wanted to move into a different direction.  But, here I am.  Why?  Partly because I believe Mr. Grant when he says he is genuinely interested in "a beautiful dialogue" and, most importantly from all else, I know once social and culture structures are identified and explored--once these are added to the anarchocapitalist framework-- then the flesh is on the bone and I have something quite different.

I wish to very briefly discuss some points of disagreement in Mr. Grant's article--brief because I've seen most of these before and because I wish to move to more fruitful material.

Problems-

Abolish the state, then......, Profit ( profit, profit ).  It's easy to see that Mr. Grant's stay as an anarchocapitalist was brief...either by chronos or kairos.  Almost all new or shallow-tested anrchocapitalist tend to concentrate on profit. This is expected, this is the beginning...not the end. They tend to conflate profit with value. This almost always leads to trouble.  Remember all value is subjective.  Mr. Grant confuses the order a bit--for anarchocapitalists it is: ......, abolish the state or rather self-death of the state ( implosion ), value ( which includes profit ).  Deeply grounded Rothbardians understand that profit comes last, that profit is the least of all. Capitalism is about social cooperation, not greed.  Mr. Grant wishes to simplify the difficulty of removing the state but you cannot do this.  No serious anarchocapitalist would theorize the abolition of the state as a time-short easy task.  To simplify this step, even for the sake of conversation, is to give birth to superficiality and the genesis of unwise results.  Arriving at the abolition of the state involves traveling across vast distances in the human mind not merely enduring the passage of time. So the "......" is the most difficult, the most unknowable.  The application of Mises' praxeology and Hayek's Theory of Spontaneous Order leads anarchocapitalist to the ultimate conclusion: that the getting from here to the there part ( "...." ) is the single most difficult step.  So it is ridiculous to say that by magically removing the state so many of the remaining non-state institutions remain--this is exactly the point. In the absence of the state, no institution has a monopoly on aggressive action.

Mr. Grant then turns to the issue of human interaction by contract and convention, both within the community and outside the community. He uses the term "tacit consent" to indicate that somehow in private law covenant communities there will be individuals that remain in the community without explicit contract.  This is so wrong it's almost humorous,  "Tacit Consent" is simply the social contract theory renamed, Mr. Grant should read up on this as libertarians have long dealt this a death blow.  To the contrary, entering into and remaining within a covenant community would require agreement with a detailed and rigorously defined contract ( with exit clauses ) most probably published publicly for all to verify.  As for conflict between communities over scarce goods, there will always be a tendency to resolve the conflict peacefully for two reasons.  It is almost universally less resource-depleting to resolve conflicts peacefully than to use violence and surrounding, neighboring, and bordering communities will likely be highly vested to mediate the conflict in order to avoid wasting resources and disrupting peaceful commerce.  An added consideration--if two communities are in conflict over a scarce good it is highly probably that all bordering communities have mutual defense and resolution compacts with these communities and will pressure both to resolve the conflict peacefully.  I think Mr. Grant attempts in several places to push forward the notion that in an anarchocapitalistic world there will remain conflict and this somehow weakens our case. Nonsense! Human nature is imperfect so there will always be conflict, it is not the task of anarchocapitalism to remove the original stain from mankind.  Anarchocapitalism need only demonstrate that it can provide better answers in general. As a political and legal theory, I think it does.

Let's turn to Mr. Grant's thesis:
  "My argument, put simply, is that anarcho-capitalists should become neoreactionaries."

Well, using his own standards he fails this entirely. Throughout the article he demonstrates to anarchocapitalists that he has misunderstood and distorted anarchocapitalism and most importantly he uses his resources to critique our position and not persuade us with the benefits of his position.  Both are required and he failed at both.  In order to earnestly persuade your point to another person, in this case I should become a neoreactionary, it is necessary to demonstrate not simply the deficiency of my position but also the benefit of your position.  I have no doubt, from prior conversation, that Mr. Grant is well intended in his effort but good intentions are not enough.  Without a proper understand of the subject matter, good intentions are often destructive.  Mr. Grant seems to be saying throughout simply this: that his understanding of non-state institutions ( cathedral ) is more dangerous to the community than the state.  Yet, he does not offer any compelling reason, based on neoreactionary thought or any other for that matter, for an anarchocapitalist to "become" a neoreactionary--he only offers a distorted, poorly understood, and extremely shallow critique of anarchocapitalism.  This is not enough.

A study of natural law leads us to understand that the state accumulates ever increasing power--this distorts private exchange and also, because of human nature, attracts those who wish to use it for their own purposes. These two things cannot be undone by re-engineering the social structure found within the nation-state model. Human nature ( action ) will always prevail.

It is my suggestion that neoreactionaries who wish to engage anarchocapitalists for whatever purposes do so, but having a clear understanding of anarchocapitalism is essential for a beneficial dialogue.  I think there is hay to be made with some neoreactionaries on matters of social/cultural structure and economics ( while the sun shines ) but it is foolish and unproductive to do this in the dark of night.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fairytale Ideals of Libertarianism

Of late, I have decided to turtle out of my beloved self imposed exile of Rothbardian style anarchocapitalism and see (really read) the world.  Oh my, there are a lot of folks that have not a clue about libertarianism.  For now, as is my usual practice, I use the term libertarianism to refer to the Misean/Rothbardian school of anarchocapitalism encapsulated and blossomed by the likes of Lew Rockwell, Hans H Hoppe, Stephan Kinsella, David Gordon, Tom Woods, and Robert P Murphy. I have read through and studied other schools of libertarian thought, and while I have picked up some views here and there, I have mainly returned to the Rothbardian approach.  Well, the use of purely Rothbardian may be somewhat nostalgic for me since I have such great admiration for Rothbard--I have of recent years taken on a more Hoppean approach.  Mind you this is still firmly Rothbardian, as Hoppe was Rothbard's pupil and Rothbard himself saw Hoppe as his successor, and I do consider Hoppe the perfect extension of Rothbardian thought.

I recently was reading a wonderful site, Social Matter, and came across this article: State-Society. Now, granted almost all people outside of libertarianism get at least some part of libertarian theory wrong, heck even some libertarians get some things wrong.  However, rarely does an author stumble over so much so deeply all the while claiming some key knowledge on the topic of criticism.

Right out of the gate the author, David Grant, stumbles and stumbles badly. 

  "Libertarians lay claim to being morally superior to, well, everyone else on account of their refusal to legislate morality. "

Let us be clear, it is not likely for a libertarian to claim for himself a position of moral superiority based upon what someone else may or may not do.  A libertarian is strictly and solely concerned with the proper use of aggression within the frameworks of property rights.  This is it.  The author is mistaken in claiming that a libertarian would base his moral view of anyone else founded upon the tenets of libertarianism.  He may lay claim to moral superiority but this would not come from libertarian tenets but from his own moral framework.  The two, morality and libertarianism, are unrelated categories.
Additional the author goes on to state:

  "Libertarians want everyone to be just like them, allowing differences of opinion and behavior only in areas that don’t matter."

No, no they don't...and most libertarians I know would not care what or who you are as long as you do not violate the non aggression principle .  Now it is true, I think libertarians in a libertarian world would self segregate into communities that would most closely approximate themselves.  It does not follow that libertarians holding vastly different social and cultural values would initiate aggression against each other or desire that others be like themselves.

  " There is a body of law—let’s call it the Constitution—that embodies libertarianism..." 

Once again, libertarianism is a political and legal philosophy that is concerned only with the proper use of aggression and property rights.  It merely defines the framework to be filled, it does not embody it.

Let's briefly touch upon the libertarian understanding of the state, government, and "society" .
The state is most assuredly not "us".  That is to say it exists as a self-perpetuating, self-interested engine separate and apart from the individuals it exercises power over.  Government, theoretically, could take on a non coercive form and thus qualify as libertarian but truly this never happens in our presently structured world. When libertarians refer in a positive sense to government they usually mean governance.  Many libertarians shun the term society and I think this is because of the preference to view issues in terms of the individual (which may or may not be a good). I think this is splitting hairs--I typically use society and community interchangeable--much to the dislike of some. 

The author then tries to combine what he calls "leftist notion that I'll call state-society" and libertarianism.  Thereafter he spends the body of the article drawing out how strange and unnecessary this "state-society" would be.  I entirely reject this; libertarians categorically reject the state in all its forms and may wholly embrace whatever society or community they voluntarily join.  The end--but no.

Libertarianism does not speak to how a community or society may be structured.  This is forbidden. Libertarians, being grounded in sound economic thought, approach the structuring and organization of society praxeologically.  That is to say human action dictates in a spontaneously ordering way how each community would self organize.  This spontaneous ordering, of course, would be based upon fundamental founding principles of the community as well as other factors.

Lastly, I will address a theme of criticism I find commonly used by many who do not understand libertarianism in its finality, that is to say when it is taken to its logical end.  This is the allegation of utopia.

  "Unfortunately, there is no good rhetorical counter to dreams of state-society. Deconstructing it and showing it to be utopian is a good plan, but even then many will support it. Utopianism, effectively expressed, will always triumph over pragmatism in the realm of words. Fortunately, speeches and majority decisions don’t actually decide things in the long run. For that you need iron and blood."

Libertarianism at its most pragmatic level understands forcing another human into conforming or performing action will ultimately result in abject failure and dystopia.  Statism necessarily ensures the ever increasing conflict among individuals over scare goods.  It is truly utopic to advance a social system based upon coercion when all empirical evidence throughout history reveals statism and coercion bring about the very opposite.  Libertarians understand the structural leviathan of statism throughout history and reject it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Building Beyond Frameworks

After fifteen years of learning libertarian and Austrian economic material, I have happily arrived at the beginning of learning. I have arrived just as the flower blooms, with foundations in the Golden Rule and the non-aggression principle it is now time to explore beyond the frameworks.

Upon starting this blog, my intent was to write copiously about this, that, and the other libertarian theory and idea. No such thing, at least for now.  Simultaneously I began reading alternative right and Neoreactionary( aka Dark Enlightment) material.  While much of the material identified as Neoreactionary is not noteworthy there does exist a significant amount of material that addresses needed unasked questions, discovers insightful connections so I'm absorbing a large amount of this material. As I have previously blogged, I have always been a traditionalist, embraced technological innovation, a capitalist, an Austrian in economics. Now I intend to go much beyond the frameworks of ancapism.

As a mere libertarian( a thinist by a thickists definition )I enjoy a certain freedom in thin libertarianism. I think libertarianism does not itself compel me to embrace a certain world outlook. Libertarianism provides a framework for building a society or more properly a community. If I can see the frameworks much as the external walls, roof, and foundation of a house then I can view
culture as the internals of that house. Truly, the internals make it a home.

Frameworks are done, lets fill the house and make it a home.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Lifeboats And Thriving On the Outside.

Sitting under the shaded porch of relative safety, I spy a great and terrible darkness covering what was once my childhood places of joy. But, isn't this the very thought of each aging generation as it watches the creep of wrinkles cross the hand and head? Suppose for a moment that you think of it as this---all generations weep for the brightness and clarity of the past and loath the advent of what is to come.
This, and nothing else, is the great deception put on by the greatest of the deceivers. That all is not lost, the past holds you back, change is the future of things to come, change is always beneficial. This is the deception--that you do not need lifeboats, no safe haven, no safe harbor.
The lifeboat is the family--those bound to you by given blood and by the mixture of blood. Nothing else is family. You may speak of tribe, of community, of clan--you may and these are important for imparting culture and civilization but the lifeboat is the essence, the bedrock of culture. The family is the means that builds culture from one generation to the next. The family is found across all civilizations and times and where the family is weakened or cast aside that civilization soon dies.
Build a lifeboat and thrive while those on the inside culture wither and die.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Life and Discipline

I came across an interesting post by Dr Gary North in which he covers the development of task discipline beginning at a young age. Every parent should read this and every young person should have this or some similar system of task discipline in place by age twelve. Task disciplines are tools for achieving a goal, not ends of themselves. Don't get tripped up by this.

My favorites and some of which I already have a variation of:
  Adopt this as your criterion for decision-making: "Something is better than nothing."
  Adopt its corollary: "You can't beat something with nothing."
  Adopt its other corollary: "There is no such thing as a free lunch."
  When you receive a gift, say "thanks." It cost the gift-giver something.
  Do not use debt to buy anything that depreciates. 


A few of my own:

  Never marry your second choice; you are better off single if you cannot marry your first choice.  A second
  choice spouse will set you back twenty-five years and break your spirit.    

What is spoken inside the home always remains in the home....no exceptions.

Always be truthful, if at times you cannot be honest then be silent.

If someone sets a trap for you then be still until they snare themselves.

Respect and trust are difficult to earn and once lost never fully regained.

Never speak to your spouse when touching will better communicate your intent.