By Insula Qui
I have previously published an essay detailing a rehabilitation of the fascist natural law into a cohesive system with libertarian natural law on both my website and in “Anarcho-Monarchism”. This is important because the Lockean-libertarian form of natural law only accounts for the rational form of man. The far-right approaches the same question from the perspective of the animal form of man. Thus, we can call the libertarian version “rational law” and the far-right version “animal law”, for the sake of simplicity. Animal law cannot ever influence the legal system and rational law cannot ever influence non-violent relations. Thus, by combining both rational law and animal law, we can find faults in both systems and can immediately alleviate those flaws.
I will not recap that essay in its entirety, but the important takeaway is the two derivative conclusions from that combination. First, it’s an empty tautology to suppose that it is right to use force against those who aggress against someone first. If force is not actually used, it is irrelevant whether the use of force is justified or not. Secondly, we cannot extend the tribal nature of man to encompass modern states and we cannot suppose that the state has an inherent mandate from nature.
However, since writing that essay I have stumbled onto two other concepts that seem incredibly relevant to human life, and yet neither are universal in the same form the aforementioned concepts are. The first is the
law of God, the divine law that is not enforced by the rational legal system or the animal primal system. The law of God isn’t tribal or material. The law of God is something only found in eternity and as such, it is something that humans do not sustain by themselves. But the problem with universalizing this law is found in the behaviour of various groups. Even though each religion claims to be universally righteous, these universal claims only have testimonies from select groups of people. There is no religion that all peoples acknowledge as correct and as such we cannot apply religious law universally.
The second concept is the set of local and incidental norms all people must live under. No person has control which norms they fall under by birth into a community. But each person still has to embrace some norms and have allegiances beyond the animal and rational law. The argument that people can deny norms and God is not a particularly strong one, people can also deny the rational and animal laws, but this does not make them any more right in doing so.
Thus, we need to create a third category of law, this is the moral law. It encompasses the combination of local norms with the religion embraced by those in that same community. And the moral law is not universal, it is simply the supposition that all people need to have morals. This may not seem useful at first, but if we incorporate the moral law into a social system of analysis alongside the two other forms of law, we can create a near-perfect way to describe which behaviours have costs, without defaulting to the shaky notion of property-en-toto. (Property-en-toto is the supposition that whenever something has been defended with force, it becomes property due to that defence.)
However, we still need to address one complaint from the universalist libertarians. In “Freedom’s Progress?”, Professor Casey supposes that the first step towards human liberty was the creation of a notion that there are universal values. This is true in itself but does not tell the whole story. The moral law can never overpower the rational law, this relationship between the two laws creates liberty. As such, we need to first categorize the systems of law and their relation to one another.
Animal law is the baseline of all human existence. We have to accept that when all rationality fails, humans are animals and act like animals. We need to first use the notion of conflict, hierarchy, and group-preference before we can actually formulate complex law. Without the animal use of force and the animal urges that allow us to sustain civilization, there is nothing that can be built upon. Thus, animal law only describes what is and what has to be.
Rational law is a statement of when it is righteous to use force and how to prevent the misapplication of force. This law can never supercede the animal law, but the animal law cannot ever derive a right to engage in aggression from the rational law. This means that the rational law is perpetually threatened by the animal law while the animal law is bound to a developed society by rational law. The rational law allows us to maintain uniquely human interactions and describes how things best are and how to fix contradictions in reaching this ideal state.
Moral law forms the last bridge between rational law and animal law, it always supercedes animal law while never superceding rational law. When rational law and animal law are perpetually suppressing the urges of pure violent animalism and idealistic mechanical rationalism, moral law overcomes the animal while not infringing on the rational. This means that by using moral law, we can effectively instate the supremacy of rational law and approximate the conditions of the real world.
While animal law is the ground on which rational law is built, moral law is the foundation for that rational law. This also means that whenever moral law is in conflict with rational law, there can be no proper legal systems in a society. This is why it is impossible to forcefully try to bring liberalism or civilization to third world countries, it is impossible to build a rational law without a moral law that can sustain it. Furthermore, by using moral law, we can even more accurately categorize why it is ethically justified to not give reciprocal rights to savages. Savages are incapable of rational law due to a faulty moral law.
And since I have already described faulty moral law in my pieces on savagery, I now only have the task of describing which form of moral law can accurately bridge the gap between animal law and rational law. In effect, this establishes which social system is necessary for there to ever be libertarianism in the real world. Most libertarians already internally realize that only certain populations can be libertarian, but this will be a conclusive demonstration of why that has to be so.
The first important part of moral law is the acknowledgement of the individual and the existence of the individual. In a collectivist system, there is no such thing as rational law since law cannot be properly applied to individuals on the basis of their actions. This means that law must be applied in an irrational manner. This does not mean that the moral law has to be individualist, but concepts such as collective punishment and limited liability are ultimately incompatible with rational law.
Secondly, the moral law has to value reason over primal instinct. Because moral law elevates rational law above animal law, it can only exist in proper form with the presupposition that reason is more valuable than urges and instincts. There can be no rational law applied to groups that reject that law. Furthermore, there must be a framework of a rational language in which it is possible to express this law. Without proper linguistic capacity, it is impossible to form contracts and it is hard to determine which relationships are voluntary. By applying an insight from Curtis Yarvin and Hans-Hermann Hoppe, we can conclude that ambiguity in ownership must always create conflict.
And finally, the moral law must not be rejected in itself. Whenever animal law is rejected, we can expect a breakdown of society. This is even more apparent whenever rational law experiences a similar breakdown. Proper morality must be preferred over improper morality. There are still other necessary values for proper moral law, but these three are integral towards forming any sort of libertarian reciprocity.
By using this theoretical tool, we can answer more questions than we could before. By moving beyond the Lockean system of natural law and using concepts derived from fascist and neoreactionary thought, we are able to create a better way to observe the world. However, the method is only philosophically descriptive and not politically prescriptive as only the Lockean system can provide a functioning legal framework when it comes to the use of force. To use violence against those who reject hierarchy and moral values would be to destroy the system that can sustain hierarchy and morality in itself.
By Einzige Unbound
When I think of libertarianism, I think of it as having potential but no gumption. For those of you who don't know, Libertarianism is the notion that Liberty is a sacred principle above anything else. After learning what that means, it gets complicated due to branching off from the Right-Left Spectrum. The Libertarians that I will refer to is American, center-right, libertarians and that is where I will begin. Now, I've been friends with a few of them for a long time and I understand their concerns and fears. I cannot stand taxes and I won't make any excuses for them, same goes for the Social Contract, Democracy and the concept of Equality. The problem with Libertarians is that they are nuisance to anyone who has to listen to them talk. They shout like a Sunday School Preacher or a full blown DSA activist, but the answers they attempt to provide are null and void due to not having many solutions. Mencius Moldbug, blogger from Unqualified Reservations, has explained this phenomenon perfectly.
"On the other hand, it is hard to avoid noticing two basic facts about the universe. One is that libertarianism is an extremely obvious idea. The other is that it has never been successfully implemented. This does not prove anything. But what it suggests is that libertarianism is, as its detractors are always quick to claim, an essentially impractical ideology. I would love to live in a libertarian society. The question is: is there a path from here to there? And if we get there, will we stay there? If your answer to both questions is obviously "yes," perhaps your definition of "obvious" is not the same as mine" (1)
Such questions for a "Freer society" usually ends up with the individual just sitting and waiting for the State to get rid of itself and preach non violence through the Non Aggression Principle, , 'Natural' Property Rights and buying or selling cryptocurrency.
Let's start with Non-Aggression Principle (or NAP for short). The NAP preaches that everyone can get along as long as they don't commit acts of Aggression. What is aggression from libertarians are generally defined as "initiation" of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property". Notice the term “initiation” is within the definition, I'll explain this later.
The NAP is proposed by some as an Axiom, others consider it a rule of thumb that you should follow as much as possible. I intend to agree with the latter more than a former due to being realistic about the world we live in. Society and the State are merging together, this makes reality chaotic due to the unpredictably of people and governments to commit violence on a dime, this includes self-interest. The NAP cannot prevent violence, no matter how many times they say it can. Anything and everything can be considered an act of aggression due to the individuals need to take action in order to survive, threats of someone's life, or taking risks while knowing they exist. For example, if I had a 44 magnum with six cylinders in it and put one bullet in it. I then aimed the magnum at the person in front of me knowing that the bullet was not gonna shoot because it was in a different cylinder. I have violated the NAP on the initiation, despite the result being the person that I was aiming for still being alive. The Libertarian/Ancap might respond with a claim of "Performative Contradiction", in that I'm critiquing the NAP whilst being subconsciously committed to it. This is a false assertion, I don't want to be aggressive because of some axiom, it's because it's not in my self interest to do so. I'm fully aware of the consequences of such actions and I refuse to partake in such aggression due to making up my own mind about violence. A more thorough critique can be shown by David Friedman's Book "Machinery of Freedom" under part 4: ”For Libertarians, an expanded postscript.“(2)
This supposed axiom leads me to another one, Natural Property Rights. The claim most libertarians have with this is that property rights are the ultimate source of Freedom and that its as natural as animals tending to their ecosystem. Property Rights for libertarians arise from contractual obligations, these obligations are supposed to be the only true law which they should follow, IE an ultimate ideal that can be explained through “Logic and Reason.” This does not explain why people neglect property or why the masses riot to their hearts desire because they want the discussion on rights to be as simple as possible, like a christian justifying God’s anger as justified and not a mirror image of our own human anger. L.A Rollins, dedicated this whole breakdown on these arrangements as pure abstractions of paper with his booklet “The Myth of Natural Rights” and explains this as the bedrock of Rights, regardless if its a libertarian or a socialist proclaiming its existence as an absolute.
“In my view, natural law and natural rights are human inventions (not discoveries) intended to further the interests of the inventors. As Laurance Labadie put it, “...all theories of ‘rights’ are merely human inventions, used by one party or another in order to enhance as they think, their ability in getting along in the world.” It is misleading, therefore to contrast natural law with man-made law, for natural law is just as surely man-made as any governmental law”(3)
I could quote further but if any of these people have the stomach to read it, its available to read at your disposal, dear reader. Rights cannot deter people from committing crimes, the wall of legality needs to be enforced or otherwise its useless. This is why Might Makes Right, it is the ultimate decider on what the masses should or should not follow. Despite Liberalism decaying from within, its survived this long on the basis of controlling the individual spiritually and using force as a failsafe if the individual didn't listen to “the rule of law. ” Max Stirner points out the hypocrisy of State enforcing liberties by saying “The State’s behavior is violence, and it calls its violence “law”; that of the individual, “crime.” Crime, then [Verbrechen] — so the individual’s violence is called; and only by crime does he overcome [brechen] the State’s violence when he thinks that the State is not above him, but he is above the State.” (4).
I can't talk about Cryptocurrency so I want to end my tirade with Corporations. Depending on which Libertarian you talk to, they’ll either support corporations on the basis of free markets or they will hate it because they work with the State. I remember seeing libertarians praise Elon Musk for launching Falcon Heavy into space, while knowing Mr. Musk has obtained state government subsidies for his projects (5)(6). The problem isn't that some corporations within the market seeking dominance, the issue is the conception of corporations itself, they have turned from private beneficiaries into a public entity. They are now in the process of becoming incorporated into the US Government, which is already a corporation in of itself as Moldbug points out.
“So if the responsibility to fork over some cut of your paycheck makes you a serf (a reasonable reuse of the word, surely, for our less agricultural age), that's what Americans are - serfs. Corporate serfs, to be exact, because the US is nothing but a corporation. That is, it is a formal structure by which a group of individuals agree to act collectively to achieve some result. So what? So I'm a corporate serf. Is this so horrible? I seem to be pretty used to it. Two days out of the week I work for Lord Snooty-Snoot. Or Faceless Global Products. Or whoever. Does it matter who the check is written to? The modern distinction between "private" corporations and "governments" is actually a rather recent development. The US is certainly different from, say, Microsoft, in that the US handles its own security. On the other hand, just as Microsoft depends on the US for most of its security, the US depends on Microsoft for most of its software. It's not clear why this should make one of these corporations special, and the other not-special.”
So now, we have to deal with transitory phase of Monopoly Capitalism or State Capitalism into a “Global Village” and there's nothing any of these libertarians can do about it. Most of these people are Cretinous shills for some tribal identity, if I constructively criticize them, they see it as a personal attack and will either dismiss me as crazy or point and laugh collectively in an ironic matter. All the while they claim to be “free thinkers”, the only thing they're thinking about is when the next time bitcoin rises up, everything else is an absence of thought. Anything else is doctrines rewritten ad nauseam with little to no improvement for people to act independently. At the very least Egoism helps make you the better arbitrator on life and doesn't care if you reject them or not, Libertarianism will either attack you as evil, or “statist” if you don't say the correct words and/or use their lexicon.
To conclude, Libertarianism is dead and the people who believe it are trying to revive its decaying corpse. Either adapt in this world by dealing it with the intrinsic complications, or die as a person consuming the latest sex robots sponsored by the Tyrell Corporation.
(1) A Formalist manifesto by Mencius Moldbug. Retrieved from https://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/04/formalist-manifesto-originally-posted.html
(2) The Machinery of Freedom by David Freidman, Retrieved From http://daviddfriedman.com/The_Machinery_of_Freedom_.pdf
(3) The Myth of Natural Rights by L.A. Rollins (pg.3)
(4) The Ego and its Own by Max Stirner. Retrieved From https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/max-stirner-the-ego-and-his-own
By Insula Qui
The libertarian philosophy is a blank state, it can only provide us with a limited amount of information as libertarianism ultimately only states that force ought not to be initiated. But this does not mean that all libertarian theory needs to reiterate this basic principle. And although it is easy to draw the conclusion that non-aggression only implies individuals trading and interacting on a decentralized and voluntary basis, this is fundamentally naive. Although such a society is a desirable fantasy for those with inherently libertarian tendencies, a fantasy does not serve well to increase our reach beyond those with our tendencies.
Most people are not drawn to this sort of individualistic organization as most people want to have larger structures of governance in society. This is demonstrated by the fact that there is any opposition to libertarianism at all. However, libertarianism is not a statement against society or governance, it only concerns itself with the non-initiation of force. This means that the real form of libertarian organization lies outside what we would conventionally consider trade and voluntary interaction and rather take the shape of metastructures. These are structures that combine individual interests and that create organizations beyond what individuals themselves do.
We cannot describe the form of the metastructures but rather need to describe the way in which they could be formed. This is to say, metastructures are not a matter of what we prescribe but can only be formed organically by the interactions that create the metastructures. In other words, people will decide the way in which they organize and we have no inherent control of this organization. The most basic form of the metastructure is the autostate, but the inquiry of metastructural organization goes much further.
And we need to concede that most of libertarian societies will have these metastructures as a fundamental form of organization, it will not be as if libertarian societies only function to create higher GDP. People will strive to form organizations that go beyond the immediately economic and personal. I have previously written sufficiently about voluntary goverance so I will refrain from reiterating those points here.
The first and most immediate relation that demonstrates the necessity of these metastructures is the fraternal organization that used to provide for the healthcare of all within a society (For more information, I would suggest the brilliant book “Reactionary Liberty”.). This form of organization was destroyed by the advance of socialized medicine but still continues to serve as an example of what voluntary metastructures can achieve. Included in this is every other form of organization that serves collective goals. We have no reason to be opposed to mutual banking, guilds, or insurance companies, they are all vital metastructures within a libertarian society. And, as many libertarians have stated, insurance goes beyond the economic aspect of it as it has an inherent incentive to ensure the defence of a society to not have to pay the costs of damage.
This means that any other form of collective organization that serves individual ends is similarly vital to libertarianism and can serve as a tool in the repertoire of anyone arguing for liberty. We can use the very structures statists venerate to defend the cause of voluntary interactions. Whenever someone states that the state ought to do something, we can simply restate that someone ought to do that, but it does not necessarily need to be the state. This allows libertarians to have an inherent position of strength.
Furthermore, there is another vital metastructure that is not inherent to voluntary governance or mutual aid, this is the militia. Many have rightfully pointed out that the militia is the reason for why western civilization exists and we need to incorporate the militia into libertarianism if we are to have a libertarian theory that can produce civilization. Accepting metastructures serves as the first step to creating the theoretical formulation of the libertarian militia.
The milita is a fundamentally republican form of organization, it uses the testimony and input of every member to make decisions. Of course, this is not done democratically but through the meritocratically highly ranked members of the militia. Furthermore, the militia manages to decentralize violence insofar as that violence is used for common ends. The militia does not concern itself with particular groups, but rather provides the tools of violence to every willing man and woman.
The militia is the greatest threat to any monopolized violence and as such is the primary metastructure in defence against the potential of tyranny within a libertarian social order. The men in a militia are the last line of defence against any ill, and this includes every issue beyond simple aggressive uses of violence. Every society needs people who have the capacity for violence, we can call this collectively the citadel. This citadel must fundamentally be a public good insofar as this citadel acts in the defence of the entire society, this is not to say that public goods are a valid argument for government.
When the citadel only consists of voluntary governance and private contractors, the citadel is woefully insufficient at personal defence and can only defend the citadel. This means that the citadel can only fundamentally provide defence whenever it itself is attacked. For example, public or private militaries are not mobilized whenever a society is threatened by multiculturalism. However, the militia is mobilized whenever there are assaults against the members of that militia, and this includes the entirety of the men in society (This is not to say that there can be no women in the militia, rather, very few women have a capacity for violence on par with average man.). So if, for example, there was a large invasion of hostile demographics, the militia would be mobilized to defend against that invasion even when it does not directly challenge the voluntary government or the private defence organizations.
This means that the militia is the final barrier to any sort of social decay, the militia ensures that the use of violence towards necessary ends is undertaken even if those necessary ends are not ones that threaten other institutions. The militia concentrates the ability for men to do what needs to be done into a formal metastructure and as such ensures that what needs to be done gets done. The militia is the ultimate form of decentralized authoritarian organization and as such is the perfect manifestation of reactionary libertarianism.
Another vital metastructure for libertarians is the altar, or the spiritual basis of the social order in Heathian terminology. A lot of libertarians exhibit atheistic tendencies so this might not be obvious, however, social cohesion requires a shared religion or another spiritual goal in art and improvement. Religious conflict leads to a complete abandonment of all libertarian principles as eternal values always defeat temporary ethical concerns. This means that a society needs to share a singular metastructure of spiritual organization. Colliding transcendental values will always create war and conflict or a deterioration of society.
Theocracy is the natural state of man, the church will always be in a position of primacy over private exchanges, the militia, and voluntary governance. Furthermore, the church itself has always functioned as an agency of mutual aid and an investor in the advancement of society. The ultimate metastructure that libertarians need to embrace is the common faith of the people in society. And although religious tolerance is the first step towards a libertarian worldview, a decentralized voluntary theocracy is the ultimate form of libertarian organization.
This should not be objectionable to right-wing atheistic libertarians as they do not find the influence of the church obtrusive. But the church is necessarily involved in the lives of the people who subscribe to a faith and to that end, the church is also in a position of primacy in personal lives. And this leads us to our final conclusion and the necessary revelation we must internalize from this libertarian theory. As libertarians, we must see through contradiction and realize that the more liberty we have, the more authority follows. An advance of libertarianism will also be an advance of metastructures and the authoritarianism of those metastructures. Libertarian philosophy will inherently include authoritarianism once we have conceded that it only serves as a blank slate.
Whenever we decrease the influence of the state, we do not desire to eliminate private influence, rather, we have proper authority take the former role of the state. If the former role of the state is undertaken by private forces, they will be more capable at serving public ends, this also means that they have more justifiable authority than the government ever did. Theocracy, militias, guilds, and so forth will manifest under libertarianism and will be in complete harmony with the libertarian worldview.
By Insula Qui
For those who don't know, Front Range Voluntaryist was a print and online publication that mostly focused on variety libertarian content. Although my site recently became a year old and has thus outlived FRV, the publication still was a major inspiration for me creating the Libertarchy Blog. As the articles I submitted to FRV now only exist as steemit posts, I thought it would be a good idea to repost them. And as I only had the pleasure of submitting four, they can fit into one long blog post.
Tradition as Spontaneous Order
When we think about libertarianism it is easy to conceptualize libertarians as people who have no care for anything higher than themselves and are even individualistic to a fault. If you have talked to a sufficient amount of libertarians, chances are that you have come across someone who makes arguments that go completely against common decency.
This is one of the greatest problems in libertarianism, there is a streak of refusing to properly explain the importance of tradition when it comes to liberty. This is not to say that we need a war on drugs or that we need to stone adulterers. But rather libertarians tend to completely ignore everything related to expected social norms, even when they are not imposed violently. And it is easy to conceptualize norms as a sort of restriction upon the independent will and personal liberty of someone. But to know why libertarians are wrong on this, we need to apply methodological individualism to history.
Basic libertarian theory establishes that society is formed out of a spontaneous order. The interests of individuals form co-operative bonds which then create society as a concept. This view is useful because it helps us see society as something co-operative and personal. The problem with libertarians is when they deviate from this view. And that is often the case when we come to the subject of tradition.
We tend to ignore that tradition is similarly formed out of co-operative individual bonds. It’s never as if a king decreed that everyone ought to hold one another to certain moral standards and to shun behaviors that go against accepted morality. Obviously kings on occasion enforced the customs of the land, but the customs emerged spontaneously first. Not only is society co-operative, past societies which created tradition were similarly co-operative, this means that the view of society as a spontaneous order should also apply to inter-generational exchange and past societies.
And tradition is just inter-generational exchange, morals and standards passed down from the older generation to the younger generation. Tradition is a similarly spontaneously emerging order, it is in no way lesser than the order of our current era, it would be very unwise to assume that only the current society is correct. And because tradition embodies the inter-generational transfer of countless generations, we can even call tradition the spontaneous order of civilization. Tradition is outside the state, formed by the people and it should be one of the most libertarian things.
But even though tradition is best characterized as the spontaneous order of civilization, it’s so often rejected by libertarians as we tend to think that we know better than anyone before us could. Since we live now and not in the past, we are better at absolutely everything and have no need for tradition, but to do so would be to ignore the origins of tradition. The societies we live in were built by those people from whom the traditions that we have in our societies originate from.
The entire process of replacing the uncivilized man with something much better and something much greater is facilitated by the same people who created this tradition. Without the wisdom of the people who created tradition, we would not even have a society or a civilization. These millions of people who have lived through hardships that we can’t even imagine have come up with ways to deal with relationships, the self, purpose in life and every existential question there is.
This tradition was not born out of some baseless desire to repress people and not let them be themselves and it certainly is not something that we have grown out of. Our social progress and knowledge may be unparalleled and we may be at the farthest point in history where anyone has ever been, but this does not erase the necessity to answer fundamental existential questions. And if there is one thing that modern society has a problem with, it is those existential questions.
We may have the best medicine, we may have the best economies, we may live in times where everyone can access all information from home. But that does not make us any wiser, we can’t learn wisdom simply from thinking about it hard enough or using scientific formulas. We have disrupted the process of civilization by rejecting tradition. When we come face to face with strife and when we are challenged towards ourselves, maybe the right thing to do is look backward.
Why You Should Become a Libertarian Right Now
Would you be a libertarian if you knew how to build roads without the state? Would you be a libertarian if you only knew how to provide for the poor? Would you be a libertarian if it weren’t for one issue or another that you cannot wrap your head around? If so, you already are a libertarian in all of your principles. You already support liberty, but you just don’t know how it works. Since you support liberty you already know that people are able to figure things out.
Because people can figure things out, they can figure out roads, charity and everything else that you might not. It’s not your job to be the person who figures everything out. There are thousands of people who are better at building roads. There are millions who want to know how to provide for the poor. Among these great mass of people, there is bound to be someone who finds a solution.
But this may not be enough to become a libertarian. We could do everything that we want to do, but there are still things we don’t want others to do. Couldn’t people decide to do things that we find repugnant? This is a huge issue for many people. But it’s important to realize that whether people are sinful or problematic, that’s their own burden. You are not supposed to ensure that everyone is perfect. Free people are allowed to be wrong.
You gain absolutely nothing from trying either. You obviously should convince people who matter to be better. But this does not mean that strangers are your responsibility. This does not even come close to implying that you should use the state so the strangers can be more virtuous. Your only responsibility is you and the people close to you. You need to focus on yourself and your community.
People who are hundreds of miles away should not matter. The people who you see at the store and in your house should. This is not to say that you should be a busy-body. Rather you should care for the people who affect you. It’s much more important that your children have a safe neighborhood and a good upbringing than that some other children far away do. This may be cruel, but it’s the truth.
Instead of thinking within the statist mind frame, we should look at things in the libertarian way. We can see that individuals are responsible for their own lives. We can see that social organization is formed by individuals. The state should not take care of everything and everyone. And this is why you should too be a libertarian. Libertarianism is not being self-obsessed. Libertarianism is realizing that the things that matter to you are your responsibility.
We all have a fundamental urge to take care of others. We all have a fundamental urge to make large decisions. But we all need to realize that we need to first take care of ourselves. We can’t look at the world and think of how it could be better, we need to make ourselves better. If we make ourselves better, we can then try to make the world better. Libertarianism isn’t about higher profits, it’s about being able to personally make a difference.
You may still be teetering on the edge of libertarianism and statism. It’s hard to shake off the notion that everything is your responsibility. It’s hard to realize that letting others be is a valid solution. Because maybe you’re a Christian who is appalled at people having to bake gay wedding cakes. This started with just letting people be. Maybe you’re a progressive who is appalled at the spread of hate. This too might be the result of leaving people alone. Letting people be could cause them to not let you be.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Neither hate or forced acceptance have any power without the state. The one thing that doesn’t let you be is the state. If there were nazis with no chance of there being a nazi government, they wouldn’t be a problem. They may be nasty and evil, but they pose no threat. When gays cannot force you to bake their wedding cakes, they likewise are not a problem.
Your children will not be subject to propaganda if they’re not in government schools. You won’t be subject to violence if violence is not tolerated. You will not have to fear if there is no institutional force for you to fear. And what is to fear is the intrusion of the state and others into your life. The threat of force is the largest rational fear.
But if you want to be allowed to do your thing, you must allow others to do theirs. If you want to keep your principles, you must let everyone keep their own. If you want to raise your children so they would be good people, others must be able to raise their children in their personal way. If you want to live among people who agree with you, you need to let everyone separate. You cannot force an entire society to be on your side at all times.
It could be that you do not agree with libertarianism. It could be that you want to interfere in the lives of others. It could be that you need this validation and power. You can’t put your personal preferences aside because you prefer control. But why? What do you gain from controlling? Why do you need to force others to be more like you want them to be? Most likely you have some problems in your life. You may be depressed. You may lack meaning. But if this is the case then having control over others is no substitute for self-improvement.
It could be that there is no hole you have to fill, it could be that you just love the idea of control. If this is the case then there’s something seriously wrong with you. If the only reason why you’re not a libertarian is that you enjoy controlling the lives of others, you should never be in a position to control their lives. It’s fine if you’re not a libertarian. I still think that you should become one right now.
A Market in Governance
In a market system, you buy what you want. This means that prices are determined by the aggregate of all purchases. In a political system, the government decides what you buy and how much everyone collectively pays for that purchase. The government decides how much money will be put into its functions and what the rate of taxation will be.
This is the fundamental antagonism between the market and politics. The market is ruled entirely by the choices of the buyer; politics, to the contrary, is ruled by the choices of the government. Even if there is wise and just governance, it can never be governance in accordance to the wishes of the public as governance by nature ignores the public.
But it is theoretically possible that there is a combination of markets and governance. There could be libertarians that do not want to give up government for a private law society and non-libertarians who don’t think any non-governmental alternative is a sufficient replacement to the government. If there has to be a government, and if that government has to govern, how could it do so according to the principles of the market?
Democracy is obviously insufficient as it is both collective in the determination of producing goods and the purchase of those goods. Democracy could hypothetically be superior to autocracy or oligarchy, but it is in no way similar to the market system. When faced with this question most people will give up and concede that the two real options are laissez-faire anarchism or minarchism. The government ought to be reduced to the smallest role it can possibly play and the market system ought to do everything it can do.
But is there a possibility to somehow integrate these two systems? Is there some form of governance that can work as the market does despite there being a monopolist who controls a vast amount of services within a society.
True monopoly is the State giving a business or itself the right to exclusively control some area of business. And the State could theoretically be reduced to such an actor on the market. The State would still keep the monopoly it has, however, rather than forcing people to fund the monopoly, the State could instead offer its services on the market.
This would imply reducing the State to voluntarily offering its services, rather than compelling payment. This would also imply the end of taxation. Services could then be funded by individuals or communities purchasing them. This is without getting into the details of how communal purchases ought to work.
But since the services the State offers are still monopolistic, they can never really function according to the market and will form instead a pseudo-market. The prices will be set higher than the market would allow. And since, contrary to popular belief, costs are determined by prices, the services offered by the State will always be more inefficient as the State is able to charge higher prices. More money does not imply a better service, but rather a more bureaucratic and slower one.
But is there still a way in which the government can retain its control over the violence in society to allegedly prevent chaos, yet still function according to the market system? Can there really be some equivalent of free pricing within a government? After all, if there is need for a central agency to govern and if the market is superior to the State, it should be the highest priority to ensure that there can be a government that can function on the market.
And this is easy, the government must allow other competing governments or even non-governments. If it is true that a government is necessary, all the competition will be governmental. This is not only the indirect competition provided by mobility, but direct competition. In essence, the State must concede all it’s territory if it can no longer be the best provider of services in that territory. The State is reduced to a market entity like any other.
If the State does not claim any territory it does not follow that the State is necessarily abolished. But this model is also fully compatible with abolishing the State, that is simply removing any special privileges the State still claims. If we want to abolish the State while retaining governance, we can do that simply by leaving what used to be the State to only do that which the buyers decide. If the actions of the government are in no way privileged, it can still be a government and it can fully be on a market.
And it would still be a government, it would fulfill all the roles a government fulfills right now. It can provide defense, it can build the roads, it can regulate health and safety hazards. However, this is consensual governance, this is governance that is only funded insofar as people buy what it offers. This form of governance is truly economic governance and also fully conforms with the principles of voluntaryism.
Capitalism Works: The Roads
All people of all political denominations follow a sort of road-cult. Whenever the privatization of roads is proposed, they become shocked. Public roads have become a sort of idol for the modern man. Without public roads, there would be no civilization. Roads are the thin gray line that separates man from anarchy. Because of this, it is important to demonstrate how roads can be privatized without resulting in the collapse of civilization.
First, we need to realize that the way roads are currently run is a form of socialism: roads are publicly owned by the government. Roads are a nationalized industry. If it is true that without the state there could be no roads, it should also be true that without the state, there can only be starvation. If the roads are too complicated to be handled by private individuals, then how could anyone even dream of producing a pizza on the market?
To make a pizza one needs to cure meat, ferment milk, grind and spice tomatoes, produce a dough. All of these steps have infinite other steps. To cure meat one needs to herd livestock, which needs to be fed and maintained. Then the livestock also need to be butchered and processed, which requires the technology to butcher and process livestock. Then that technology needs metal, which must be mined. And the mining of metal needs tools in order to mine metal. Those tools need electricity to function efficiently. The complication of producing a pizza is infinite, far too complex for anyone outside the state.
Thus logically the nationalization of roads should also imply the nationalization of all pizzerias so as to prevent a tremendous scarcity of pizza. But even though the market is logically unable to produce pizza, the market can still produce bread. However, there is no alternative to roads. These complicated marvels of engineering are irreplaceable and irreplicable. There is no way a market system can ever produce something so complicated. Road must be the exclusive domain of the central planner.
And even though the central planners are brilliant, even they often fail at maintaining roads, as evidenced by the constant lack of road maintenance. If even the government can’t do anything about potholes, then it is impossible that a private individual could. If the government cannot keep and maintain roads, then how can it be expected that any company ever would. Furthermore, if roads were privatized we would all have to go through twenty toll booths to cross the street.
But we cannot concede this point. The fact that the government fails at maintaining roads does not necessarily imply that roads cannot be maintained. We have to consider the other perspective. It could be that the government simply has no incentive to maintain the roads. This crucial thin grey line is neglected by the government. The system of roads is not properly maintained and the state has abandoned the roads. If the roads are such a vital part of the economy, it could be that we need to privatize them to keep them from the abuse they receive at the hands of bureaucrats.
And it also just may well be that the argument about toll booths is disingenuous. It could be that having thousands of toll booths everywhere may result in at least a minor loss of revenue. Maybe there are better ways to charge money for the use of roads. The strategies of subscription services, digital tracking, and automatic tolls come to mind.
Furthermore, it might also be true that roads are not the most complex marvel of engineering. It could be true that people without the boundless wisdom of the central planner can actually maintain and build the roads. To build the roads one really does not need much more other than land no one else is using or land that is for sale. After the land is acquired, it is easy to build roads.
And even if roads could not be privately built (though they have been and are), it is very possible to privately maintain these roads. There is no harm in privatizing the roads that are already built in exchange for reducing taxation. When roads are held privately, they will be better maintained so as to attract more drivers and by extension more revenue.
It also might be that the central planner does not have any special wisdom. It could be that the central planner simply manages roads in an arbitrary manner. The central planner is not by necessity intelligent. To the contrary, the central planner is hired by the government bureaucracy. The government bureaucracy is not renowned for its great breadth of innovation and intellectual pursuit. It may just be that road socialism is not necessarily superior to road capitalism.
And if roads can be built privately, it should also hold that pizzas could be baked privately, maybe private people can indeed make pizzas for public consumption. If this is true, it should also be reflected in reality. And upon a thorough analysis of the ownership structure of pizzerias, we determine that indeed pizzas are baked by private entrepreneurs. It could just be that socialism is not the answer, even when it comes to roads.
By Insula Qui
The good folks who create “This Week in Reaction” over at Social Matter seem to often propose a similar critique of a libertarian form of statecraft, namely, this is the punishment of defectors. This is somewhat addressed in Part XI of the “Libertarianism and Statecraft” series, however, I thought it deserved a more complete elaboration. Another well-placed criticism of libertarianism is the problem of subversion and espionage. I have developed a framework to solve this problem, but I have simply not gotten around to writing about it. Special shout-outs here to Nick B. Steves and Jay Dyer for inspiring the creation of this article and hopefully helping to form a solution for many problems within our current view of a libertarian framework.
First, as with most things libertarian statecraft, we need to turn towards Hans Hoppe and Spencer Heath. Although I had a poorly formed notion of a libertarian governance even before becoming acquainted with the work of these two men, their thought has been instrumental in creating a more cohesive framework. Another important figure that we need to mention whenever we talk about libertarian statecraft is the great proto-anarcho-capitalist Gustave de Molinari. He proposed that all security must be created to meet the demand for security and as such a market for security and authority would create what I call a “perfect confederation”, but he refers to as a “monarchy without monopoly and a republic without communism”.
Molinari states that people accept this natural form of authority for the sake of protecting their properties and their liberties. This means that whenever the authority is of subpar character, it can always be exchanged for a better authority which offers a better protection of property and liberty. Now that we have established this, we can turn towards Spencer Heath to further advance this basic notion into a theory of libertarian statecraft.
Not only should each of these authorities function on a market to protect liberty and security, they are not the same as any other company. This citadel provides a barrier which defends the market, which ultimately facilitates the creation of all spiritual values. However, defence should never infringe on the market and the market should never infringe on spiritual values. Thus we have created a trinity of citadel, market, and altar, the citadel sustaining the market and the market sustaining the altar. Furthermore, by placing the citadel into the market we can create a self-reinforcing system of protection and growth. In libertarian terms, protection agencies facilitate the market itself while only being possible on a market system.
And here we can finally use the last step created for us by the great Hans Hoppe to state that these defence organizations can also facilitate the exclusion of those who do not follow accepted social norms. This creates a means by which we can effectively bring norms out of a socialistic lack of ownership and effectively begin to privatize them. By this, we have reconstructed a government in perfectly libertarian terms and can use this structure of government to create a proper justification for the punishment of subversives and defectors, but to do so we have to establish a mechanism from the top down.
First, it’s important to note that those who subvert spiritual values must also subvert the market order and thus must aggress against defence. And if we include the privatized norms under those spiritual values, we find ourselves with a justifiable means by which we can properly consider punishing subversives. When the subversion of a social order defeats the effective purpose of having a market, we can default to the citadel to eliminate this subversive threat. Furthermore, a brutal regime of exclusion guarantees that those who subvert norms must be doing so of their own volition, as they were let into the society under the auspice that they would behave themselves according to general norms.
Some may claim here that the should be no punishment of subversives and they should be simply ignored until they self-deport or get removed from the society for violating the covenant. Neither of these are real punishments as they don’t impose a cost for corrupting a society. This means that the subversive will get to infiltrate the society, impose costs on the people in that society, violate norms, and be only met with exclusion. This may be acceptable in an urban environment, but is not functional in a smaller community.
For example, if a smut peddler appeared in a traditionalist society or a hellfire preacher in a progressive one, they would have violated the purpose of that society and caused harm to the norms in that society. It’s irrelevant if we agree with the goals of these people, but only that they went contradictory to the expected norms of conduct in the society that they willingly entered. Of course, I would personally prefer hellfire preaching over peddling smut, but my preferences are ultimately irrelevant to every community I am not a part of.
This means that the intruder has imposed a cost on filling the needs and wants of the people in a community. This means that they have effectively damaged the state of the community, especially if they have influenced the young and impressionable. However, it would not be justifiable to impose arbitrary costs on these people as they have not consented to any such costs, for the sake of justice, it is necessary to have a coherent and public law. For example, a giant sign that states that everyone caught preaching the gospel or spreading smut will be sentenced to two weeks of forced labour. Thus, by entering the community that has universally accepted these norms, they will have to face those repercussions for violating the norms.
Furthermore, this justifies an elevated degree of punishment for crimes thought particularly egregious that the non-aggression principle cannot in itself create the punishment for. For example, pedophiles, pimps, and drug dealers could be charged for crimes which would theoretically be victimless as the society in which they live considers those to be criminal acts. This can be taken even further to do away with the idea of proportional response. A community could decide that rapists deserve the death penalty, which is not proportional in the Rothbardian ethical framework.
And the important part here is that these social norms and the character of subversives must be determined by a community. It’s only justifiable to hang spies if those spies know that they will be hung if they willingly engage in such unscrupulous activity within a community that does not accept spying. This means that the ethical justification is inherent in property rights, exclusion, privatizing norms, and pre-emptive consent. And if any libertarian would dispute this, they must also dispute the ethical legitimacy of signs that simply read “intruders will be shot” and will end up arguing against the right to self-defence altogether.
And this is why the state punishing non-aggressive people remains wrong while it is a justifiable endeavour for communities formed out of volition. Non-aggression can only serve as a guideline when it does not conflict with the ultimate right to property. After all, property rights are the fundamental basis of libertarianism and the non-aggression principle is simply derived from the rights to property. Thus, we must conclude that the punishment of subversives cannot be an objectionable practice as long as it is agreed upon by the holders of property.
But here we broach the exceptionally charged topic of defectors, we are faced with two conflicts when it comes to this issue. First, all libertarians fundamentally fight for the right to defect from the state and to not be bound by the coercive force of the state. Furthermore, no libertarian can argue against the right for even a conscripted soldier to defect from the army for the sake of his self-preservation and escape from slavery. However, each community does not want defectors as that would reduce the influence of that community and each community would be suspect of any defector from another community.
But here we need to establish that such a thing as defecting would not be necessary in a libertarian social order. First, as long as a child lives under his parents, he is bound to the rules of that property and the question of defecting from a community is not brought up. If that child refuses to participate in that community after he has already grown up, he may walk away never having agreed to that community. This erases all concerns about the potential of unjust treatment of future generations.
Second, no sane person would join with a community from which there is no exit and no sane community would allow unlimited exit for everyone if they want to leave. First, the person must compensate the community for any services he might have gotten without paying for. A person must pay the bill to his utilities, even when they are provided by a community. Secondly, that person may be charged for the use of public services combined with a pre-established cost if he left before a certain time or without a certain notice. If each person just followed the pre-established rules to a community, there would be no troubles with defecting.
And a community might require that the person sells his property, finds an agency willing to sell the property, or a buyer wanting to buy the property. The buyer would ultimately still have to follow the law set by the community and agree to the rules that the property is bound by. But at some point, the costs to leaving simply outweigh the benefits of joining a community, at which point the community would experience a decrease in those willing to join it altogether. Communities are only sustainable if people are willing to join those communities.
And if the person had not run from his obligation and had parted on mutually agreeable terms, no other community would have problems with welcoming him. This is as with leaving jobs when employees leave on mutually agreeable terms with the owner or manager, they do not damage their future prospects. However, if they cause problems before leaving, they will have to face the repercussions for doing so. This means that every bad actor who cannot be trusted in a community will not find any high-value communities that are willing to take him in. This solves all problems that could be inherent with defection and subversion by simply introducing the logical conclusion of property rights into our framework.
By Insula Qui
Although libertarians consistently oppose the government and taxation, we often fail to see how the government is involved with private businesses. Many of us may know the horrors of the military-industrial complex, the media-industrial complex, or even maybe the medical-industrial complex and the banking-industrial complex. But we are still missing a sufficient amount of radicalism in our critique of the current economy. By supporting a free market, we do not need to support corporations, furthermore, we need to accept and oppose the corruption in the business world even if the state is ultimately responsible.
Whenever a company spends money on the government, they do so to obtain a license to steal. The government only sells violence and can never be a productive agent. Corporate lobbyists are not benevolent libertarian actors as they strive to influence the state for their own profit.
This may not be by using direct subsidy and it may not involve an actual transfer of wealth to a corporation. However, at the very least the government must restrict competition by regulation and licensing or provide an exemption from liability to the business. Many libertarians are still under the illusion that whenever businesses do something, they do it for the improvement of their product and their service. However, this is only true whenever there is a completely free market economy and then only incidentally. The only reason for why corporations care about quality is that it brings profits. Whenever profits can be increased without expenses on quality, companies will prefer doing so, barring any moral issues the executive might have. And even if the executive is reluctant to use state force, they are bound by contract to exploit any available resource to increase the profits to shareholders, even if it involves government violence.
As aggression initiated by the state is not met with private defence, it is a perfectly justifiable strategy from a profit-maximizing standpoint to use government violence. But this should not be ethically acceptable to any libertarian and we should stand opposed to any use of government violence. And we should not turn a blind eye to violence if used at the behest of private businesses. But we discover a necessary truth by following this path. If violence used on behalf of businesses is ethically wrong, we must also find that corporations as such are unethical from a libertarian perspective. We cannot justify the existence of corporations and we must challenge all forms of limited liability and subsidy.
Many libertarians have made this point, but it is still a relatively obscure piece of knowledge outside libertarian groups. This leads many to insinuate that libertarianism, as a philosophy, works to aid corporations and not to directly challenge them. And many libertarians concede the theoretical necessity of corporations and make excuses for the perpetual existence of said corporations. What we need to do is conclusively establish that corporations are engaged in large-scale theft and could not exist under a libertarian social order.
The first important part of understanding the corporation is limited liability, this is the state giving a charter to a company to distinguish it from any individual involved in that company. A limited liability company is itself not responsible for the actions of any individuals involved in the company and the individuals are not responsible for the actions of the company. The corporation becomes a distinct legal entity that did not exist before and now exists only due to a charter by the state. This is inherently enough evidence that corporations could not exist in a libertarian society.
But we can still conceive of a scenario where enough people would recreate corporations on the free market. But this makes no sense, no person has a reason to willingly choose to engage in exchange that has limited liability over an exchange that has unlimited liability. Any trade done with a limited liability corporation is inherently more dangerous as no person has to take responsibility. This is similar to a foundational problem with the state being organized irrationally. It’s more beneficial to trade with businesses that have individual accountability for their actions.
Furthermore, from austrian economics, we learn that lending is fundamentally the same thing as owning a share. Simply put, both are different ways to structure contributions to businesses that will only pay off in the long term. This means that any objection on the basis of people being unable to invest in companies is faulty. And most stock owned by regular people does not come with voting rights, which would not imply any liability on the owners of the stock. However, in both scenarios, if the investment or the loan defaults, each person who invested in the company would be liable to pay the costs of the debt acquired by the company. This is not a bad thing as companies would simply be forced to not take gratuitous debt when they cannot afford to pay it off.
And this leads us to the final point, a limited liability corporation would never be lent any money on a free market to as there is no guarantee of retrieving that money during a bankruptcy. If the government is not there to ensure that the loans are paid, the company cannot guarantee that loans will be paid. And if that company already has insurance against bankruptcy, then there would be no problem with that company having unlimited liability as the debt will get paid. Corporations will never exist in a libertarian economy, which is not a bad thing.
But we still have to demonstrate that corporations are fundamentally involved in regular theft. And even if we put aside the obvious factors of government legislation and subsidy, we are confronted by the fact that corporations always abuse the legal system of the government. To put this in other terms, corporations as separate entities from any individual can easily use government courts to their own advantage. This is the reason why many are critical of libertarianism, corporations can defend themselves much more easily than individuals can challenge corporations.
However, if every lawsuit against a corporation was a lawsuit against its executive or board, it would be simpler to avoid any such issues where corporations find crime lucrative and easy. And this is what we have experienced in the statist economy, challenging corporations is hard even when they are in direct violation of property rights. And the people who successfully challenge corporations are ordered to not speak of the legal matter. (A famous example is the old woman who got scalded by McDonald's coffee and ended up disabled and disfigured.)
We, as libertarians, do not need to excuse everything that takes place in a perverted market economy. Rather, we need to focus on that which would take place if we had a truly free market. To that end, we must consistently oppose corporations. It might be true that a similar arrangement between the stockholders and a business could be negotiated in a libertarian economy, but it would not be limited liability and it could only function based on the principle of insurance.
The Austrian economist and political theorist Murray N. Rothbard praxeologically reconstructed Crusoe Island to deduce an ethical theory and case against the state. Today, we are going to analyze the Rothbardian state of nature to see if it can hold up to scrutiny and to see if this is true.
In Rothbard’s magnum opus, in part two of The Ethics of Liberty, Rothbard uses Crusoe economics and the praxeological framework to construct a theory of liberty. To summarize:
“Crusoe, then, has manifold wants which he tries to satisfy, ends that he strives to attain. Some of these ends may be attained with minimal effort on his part; if the island is so structured, he may be able to pick edible berries off nearby bushes. In such cases, his “consumption” of a good or service may be obtained quickly and almost instantaneously. But for almost all of his wants, Crusoe finds that the natural world about him does not satisfy them immediately and instantaneously; he is not, in short, in a Garden of Eden. To achieve his ends, he must, as quickly and productively as he can, take the nature-given resources and transform them into useful objects, shapes, and places most useful to him—so that he can satisfy his wants.”
In following paragraphs, Dr. Rothbard derived several axioms: self-ownership, man is innately rational, and man must transform his resources into capital for a better standard of living. Then later he will present the state as a parasitic entity. I believe Rothbard is ultimately correct that man will ultimately have transform his resources into capital but does this thought experiment is a good way to construct a theory of liberty? One fatal flaw in this thought experiment already the author already assumed that the man already has a libertarian mindset and later he added several more people to this thought experiment with a similar mindset. One crucial insight about the Hobbesian state of nature is that man is not put in a high-trust environment but face with external forces and constant threat of death. The natural tendency of man is to form a collective or group to defend themselves and when the threat of external forces is diminished then idea of individualism, liberty can emerge. To further note this is very unscientific, in Fukuyama’s The Origins of Political Order he documented that humans being are very kin based social creatures and their in-group morality is based reciprocity and altruism. This thought experiment started in the middle of the human condition; it is a half-truth. The state didn’t form to oppress the productive members of society but to protect them and rage war.
On the Labor theory of Property and the Rothbardian theory of Criminality
Dr. Rothbard is the advocate of the labor theory of property (or as Doolittle coined intersubjectively verifiable property) and constructed theory of criminality, as Rothbard defined in chapter nine:
“We also have a theory of criminality: a criminal is someone who aggresses against such property. Any criminal titles to property should be invalidated and turned over to the victim or his heirs; if no such victims can be found, and if the current possessor is not himself the criminal, then the property justly reverts to the current possessor on our basic “homesteading” principle.”
Rothbard only defined criminality as physical aggression to your acquired property which you mixed your labor in. To expand what constitutes aggression and criminality we must introduce relatively new concept, property en toto or property in total. Property in total is the acknowledgement of all kinds of property this includes; social norms, culture, and societal institutions. Under Rothbard’s theory of criminality it ignores social credit and an imposition cost. For example, the crack house usually stinks, you have drug addicts around the corner, devaluing the property value and forcing people to leave the neighborhood. This is called a negative externality. With the increase scope of aggression due to property en toto you are determined more crimes and conspiratorial behaviors that threaten to break down your social order.
Defending Hayek and the Rule of Law
In chapter twenty-eight of the Ethics of Liberty, Rothbard criticize Hayek for his definition of “coercion”, to summarize:
“Another fundamental fallacy of Hayek’s system is not only his defining coercion beyond the sphere of physical violence, but also in failing to distinguish between “aggressive” and “defensive” coercion or violence. There is all the world of distinction in kind between aggressive violence—assault or theft—against another, and the use of violence to defend oneself and one’s property against such aggression. Aggressive violence is criminal and unjust; defensive violence is perfectly just and proper; the former invades the rights of person and property; the latter defends against such invasion. Yet Hayek again fails to make this crucial qualitative distinction.”
To distinguish Hayek and Rothbard, they were operating in different epistemologies. Hayek was an operationist, British empiricist and while Rothbard was a Jewish rationalist.\ Hayek understood the necessity for the rule of law in a free society and understand that people can coerce each other in ordinary activities unfortunately Rothbard is only defining coercion as physical violence but Hayek understood that “coercion” includes fraud and deception. Hayek viewed coercion as a necessity maintaining a free society. The rule of law is very vital maintaining a free society because without the rule of the law we most likely going to see an anarcho-tyranny. We have seen societies with discretionary rule like China, Russia, and many Eastern European countries. They all failed to develop high-trust capital and the rule of law.
The Ethics Of Liberty by Murray Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe - New York University Press - 2014
The Origins Of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama - Farrar, Straus and Giroux - 2011
The Constitution Of Liberty by Friedrich Hayek - University Of Chicago Press - 1960
By Insula Qui
A few days ago I posted an article on pornography being rape, the title "Porn is Rape" was a deliberate exaggeration without nuance and can't be taken to reflect my entire stance. However, the article garnered a few interesting questions which I feel deserve quick answers.
First, the supposed notion that I made a claim that intoxicated people lose property rights, this is untrue. Alcohol and hard drugs make a person irrational enough so as to remove the ability to make conscious decisions. This does not cause a loss of property rights, which also means that any supposedly consensual activity while intoxicated can be prosecuted as it was still a violation of property rights.
Second, a repeated argument that repeated and consistent violations of property rights do not make an industry contrary to non-aggression. But this is plainly wrong. Even though there can be exceptions which are not aggressive, supporting a mostly aggressive industry is mostly unethical.
The final interesting objection is that my contract theory is wrong as fraud cannot be explained as differences in value. This is a matter of my insufficient attention to terms. I defined fraud as an inconsistency in promised and received value. However, I clarified that this cannot be due to a change in value-judgements. In essence, I posited that fraud by omission is as much fraud as overt deceit. And my example was someone selling a faulty vehicle without disclosing that the vehicle was not functional for a reason. When someone tries to pass off an inferior good as a superior one, they have used fraud, even when they do not explicitly state that the good is superior but refuse to clarify that they are selling an inferior good.
By Insula Qui
The libertarian movement is plagued by socialism, not in the economic or political realm, but solely when it comes to social relations. Libertarians refuse to apply market logic to relations that are outside the conventionally accepted sphere of buying and selling. Economic theory is useful even in areas that do not use money and are untouched by material transactions of property titles, however, this application of economic theory has been ignored completely. And this is for a good reason, an economist is not supposed to be an arbiter of social interactions, thus the task of creating an economic view of society falls upon the social thinker.
The only real way to categorize society is to look at the relations within and seek to define the precise forms and values that they take. Thus, to create a theory based on those relations we need to create a proper theory of those relations. To do so we can take inspiration from one of the useful parts of propertarianism in property-en-toto. Property-en-toto, in simpler terms, states that all things that have been socially construed as property are property since they are worth defending. This is fairly uninteresting on it’s own but leads us to a very thought-provoking conclusion.
Since humans privatize things that are immaterial as can be demonstrated by defending immaterial goods, we can adequately say that things such as social interactions and norms can also be property. However, is it also possible to demonstrate this to the same effect without relying on propertarian logic? To do this we can simply state that social interactions have inherent value and this means that social interactions are embarked upon only because they have demonstrable value to those who interact.
But this is not sufficient to demonstrate how we can make property rights apply to the social sphere. After all, property can only be applied to scarce goods. And to demonstrate that social interactions are scarce, we need to somehow demonstrate that it is possible to impose costs on social interactions and effectively do away with the left-libertarian notion that private affairs are only the matter of those involved within those affairs. For example, we can say that if social norms perpetuate a pornographic view on sexuality, all sexuality will be reduced to the pornographic as the sexual relation is defined by that social norm. This imposes a cost on all who accrue personal damage by engaging in pornographic depictions of sex, which is every individual who is not a reprobate.
And this applies to everything else, when a person is obnoxious, undesirable, subversive, maladjusted, degenerate, or any other form of nuisance, he is imposing a cost on everyone else within society. That person is using his social interactions to erase the beneficial and profitable forms of interaction. This is immaterial and thus most fundamentally materialist capitalist thinkers do not concern themselves with the particular problem. The closest we have gotten in recent history is the notion of physical removal and exclusion from the social order, this is the view advanced by Hans Hoppe.
But this is not enough, physical removal is only the first step to creating an order of privatized social interactions. It is true that, existentially, everyone who is inherently contradictory to the social order needs to be removed from that order. However, this does not mean that exclusion is sufficient in itself and that we only need to rely on trust and hope in that everyone is decent. We can apply the economic logic of material property to social property.
To prevent the imposition of costs onto material property, we create an order where the owner of material property can exclude those who damage it and require reparations for the damage caused. To ensure that material property is profitable, we create language that allows for contract and an ethic that prioritizes the contract above all. This is because contractualism can ensure the reciprocal nature of all relations within society.
But this is not completely applicable to social relations. Social relations are not individual couplings of people interacting, if that was a sufficient description of society, the solution would be to teach people proper boundaries and promote assertiveness. And although the former is a baseline for personal social relations, we must fundamentally characterize society as two different forms of interaction.
The first form of interaction is the nexus of society, the decentralized and interdependent form of interacting which connects all people to all other people. People are affected by costs imposed onto the people who they interact with and as such the social nexus necessarily socializes costs to a large degree. These are passing conditions and not fundamental to the entirety of society, but the propertyless form of society is communism. This is the same way with material goods, before there are norms to property, all costs imposed to property are socialized as people are not restricted from using the goods owned by others.
We can use worn out feminist logic to formulate a general answer to this question by simply stating that social parasitism would be prevented by an unwillingness to perform emotional labour. However, this is an insufficient answer to questions where men are involved as men generally have greatly reduced costs to emotional labour to the extent that it is not even worth considering as a generality. Rather, we need to realize that if all people stopped performing emotional labour, the entire social order would not function as all people would need to cut off all others. (An important thing to note is that this is an applicable strategy for women who can primarily only be concerned with endogenous efforts while men focus on exogenous efforts.)
This sort of atomistic individualism is not sustainable and can never produce a healthy society, rather, in order to privatize social interactions it’s important to allow those affected to demand reparation. This means that if a person causes a deterioration in the social nexus, all those who previously utilized that nexus have a legitimate claim to reparation. In other words, nuisances need to be punished within the social realm, the means by which to do so will be elaborated on later.
The other and more pertinent issue is the one of those social relations that determine the creation of civilization and the attitudes of civilization. These are the interactions that produce norms, define the form of social relations, and create the ethos of art. This is the area most vulnerable to attack as the attack will affect the entirety of the society which produces civilization. This is compounded by the creation of civilization being concentrated upon only the few who have a natural proclivity towards defining that civilization.
If we thought about this economically, it would be akin to the most vital producers of economic goods favouring socialism. Libertarians understand the innate danger thereof and aim to prevent the socialization of leading industries even though the leading capitalists may have proclivities towards such a system. We would never accept corporate socialism in economics and yet we often ignore the parallel in society where the leaders of communities and public figures aim to destroy civilizational values.
To prevent both of these occurrences, we need to formulate a theory that would allow the non-imposition of costs within society to be enforced. This is fairly easy, whenever civilization is destroyed, everyone within that civilization has a legitimate claim on the destroyer of that civilization. Furthermore, whenever society is disturbed by nuisances, those affected have a legitimate claim on that nuisance.
Enforcing these claims is harder than creating those claims, using violence against non-violent behaviour cannot be justified if we accept non-aggression. We now have to justify violent responses to non-violent behaviour whenever immaterial property is threatened. And this is fairly simple once we have accepted the principles of anarcho-monarchism, we need to create a system of voluntary governance that exercises managerial capacity over property. This means that this voluntary government can punish people as it chooses insofar as those people are willingly on the property of that government.
When people choose to enter the property of those governed while being fully aware of the status thereof, they accept that if they impose social costs, their property will be liable for resale. If they go against the social order, they preemptively agree to give up settled amounts of property even including their own lives. This can justify, for example, enstating a death penalty for rapists and pedophiles although their crimes do not inherently warrant those punishments when we look at material costs.
But property cannot be for resale to a centralized government, rather, the property must be given to those damaged. This is the basic libertarian principle of reparation which is integral to our view of persecuting crimes. It also fundamentally leaves the choice of what to do with nuisances and subversives to those people who are damaged by them. But the method by which we can properly ensure the judgement of various nuisances without having it be arbitrary still has to be defined, not taking a shower before going outside does not warrant a death penalty.
And here we can now default back to the libertarian principle of double proportional response as a general rule. It's important to note that this proportionality must be determined by those who the offence was against and not by the offender. This makes it important to have ultimate improportionality while using proportional response as a guideline. When people impose a cost, they both give up a claim on property equivalent to that cost and need to reparate the cost. When people impose costs by accident, they only need to reparate the cost they caused. By using this principle, we are able to solve all the problems of potentially arbitrary judgements.
For example, if a homosexual lived a quiet life in a conservative society, he would still impose costs insofar as he does not conform to the socially acceptable norm. This simply means that the same homosexual needs to live an otherwise virtuous life to compensate for his non-conformity to not impose more costs than he can reparate. This provides a proper right-libertarian solution to any alternative and socially threatening lifestyle. However, if that homosexual would intentionally spread propaganda to children, he would be liable for more damage as he has intentionally caused social degradation.
We can also take the example of adultery, which should be a more serious crime than homosexuality. This is not because adultery is necessarily a lesser cost (this depends on the size of a community and the attitudes of that community), but it imposes a far more concentrated cost. In effect, it is extremely hard to buy the right to be an adulterer by being virtuous as the spouse of the adulterer is affected most by the adultery. This is to an extent where even a venerable and extremely dignified person cannot pay the cost of adultery. The only way adultery is excused is if both members of the married couple find low value in that coupling. But this means that adulterers can be rightly persecuted and charged without an integral violation of libertarian attitudes insofar as this is done proportionately to the cost.
People who are undesirable and cannot pay the cost of that undesirability to those damaged must be excluded from the social order. If they cannot proportionately give back more than they take, they are parasites and must be done away with in the most fitting way after damages have been properly reparated. And if they are unable to pay reparations in the social realm, it is just to expect them to give up some part of material property through the principles of libertarian statecraft. To do otherwise would simply be a social subsidy and comparable to material subsidy.
But there is still the issue of selecting arbiters for these judgements and deciding which norms are enforceable, this is simply a matter of selecting an aristocracy of the most capable. Norms need to be privatized and the way to do so is as with any other thing that needs to be privatized. We need to have an executive in the form of a monarch or CEO and an aristocracy in the form of a nobility or a board of directors. This combination can create a capacity to ensure that all norms are respected insofar as they are vital to the society.
By Insula Qui
It might be jarring that a conservative libertarian could ever adopt a feminist talking point. But this particular issue is one where the so-called “sex-negative” feminists have something interesting to offer to our conversation on the topic of porn. Many libertarians have expressed their dislike towards the consumption of porn and the demonstrated negative effects thereof, however, the proposition that production of porn might be unethical even according to the non-aggression principle is far too radical for many. A sacred cow in our modernist worldview is the free consumption of any pornographic material imaginable. And I am not stating that I must be correct in my ethical opposition to pornography, but rather I simply seek to challenge this particular idol.
Firstly, if pornography is unethical, the solution is not universal outlawry. As a libertarian, I cannot consistently support any state censorship, no matter how abhorrent the material. But this does not mean that I must oppose this outlawry or that it must be personally disturbing. I will not argue against a ban on pornography, but a ban is not the libertarian solution. If there are victims in the industry of pornography, the institution that victimizes them cannot survive in a libertarian social order. This is because those who impose costs without properly reparating them can be sued for any damages for twice the amount of monetary cost the victim suffered.
Second, I will not be citing sources for my claims, these are all freely available online and this is a philosophical work instead of a research paper or a journalistic effort. If all sources I can contribute are simply found by a quick google search, they are fairly useless. Many feel the need to source all claims for false credibility, but I am ready and willing to admit that my knowledge of the porn industry is not in-depth. Thus, do not treat this as an expository of the porn industry, but rather only as an ethical work challenging our common assumptions.
Third, men might be exploited in pornography, but that is not my focus. Everyone needs to have priorities and the male tendency towards hypersexuality in mate choice (as there is no limitation to the number of offspring a man can sire) does not fit into the analysis I have to offer. Sexual intercourse is not as impactful for men as it is for women, partially because men are usually not the receiving party and partially because the hormonal structure of men is significantly different than that of women.
To get to the main point, we have to discuss the nature of contracts. Furthermore, to do so properly we need to establish the problem of ex-ante and ex-post values. Whenever a transaction is made, it has two values in different points of time. Before a transaction is made, the value of that transaction is only in the future. This is the anticipated ex-ante value that participants are promised. However, once that transaction has been made, we move into the realm of ex-post value when the participants deal with the transaction in hindsight. This conflict of values causes the phenomenon of buyer’s remorse and other assorted inefficiency in personal spending.
Furthermore, what we would consider fraud is when the promised ex-ante value is lower than the actual ex-post value without a change in mind by the buyer. In essence, if people are convinced to transact and do not receive the promised rewards, there has been an undue cost imposed upon them. For example, if one buys a car and finds out that the vehicle is faulty and cannot properly work, despite assurance by the seller that the car is in working condition. In this case, the buyer of the car has been frauded and deserves reparation for the fraud. And this reparation cannot simply be the imposed cost as then fraud would be a legitimate strategy with no downside. What has essentially happened is that the person who suffered fraud was stolen from, so they not only deserve their money back, but also additional reparation.
Rothbard made the case that this reparation ought to be double the stolen money. Or in the case of fraud, simply the return of the original money alongside the same amount of money on behalf of the one who made a fraudulent trade. This is because not only does the criminal violate someone’s rights, they demonstrate that they are incapable of that degree of reciprocity. It is therefore just to charge them as much as they would have stolen from someone.
It is seemingly hard to connect this notion of fraud to pornography, partially because the transaction seems to be one where people were paid for services and cannot be offered faulty goods. It seems that a woman is simply paid to perform sexual acts on camera. The transaction has been done and there can be no ex-post value that differs from the ex-ante value without a change in mind. However, what we have to consider is that doing pornography is often far more impactful than the pornographer would have let on.
If all women in pornography were made aware that they will likely suffer physical abuse, emotional trauma, and a lifetime of blackmail by their employers, there would be no fraud involved. However, most women recruited into pornography are young and impressionable, and many scenarios involve these women being driven far from their homes to do pornography in locations they have no way of getting back from. Although this may not seem like a direct violation of the non-aggression principle, it still is a violation as the parties involved were not forewarned about the consequences of their actions. Even though there may have been a signed contract, it does not rectify all actions as the woman was not aware of the consequences.
And this is the problem with a lot of libertarian contract theory, we must not see contracts as something that are inviolable because they are written. Contracts fundamentally depend on demonstrated preference and are simply a way to delegate imperative commands. By signing a contract, one promises that they will perform a certain action and the creator of that contract can be assured that the contract is fulfilled. These imperative commands can vary from renting a house to long-term employment to transferring a property title. However, both parties to the contract only sign the contract as a way to ensure that their demonstrated preference will be structurally completed.
This means that if a woman who performs porn does not have a demonstrated preference towards emotional and physical abuse, they have solid grounds on which to sue the producers of porn. And this is not even factoring in the rampant amounts of sexual abuse in the porn industry with no contract to justify that abuse. The women have a proper claim to reparation as they were violated insofar as their demonstrated preferences were different than the reality of the work.
The argument that women are paid large amounts for doing pornography is also false. The wages for pornography may seem large at first, but this is mostly only a sample of the most successful women in pornography, most women in pornography earn average salaries for a very high-stress and high-risk job. In actuality, women and men make comparable amounts and pornography is not lucrative as a career. This is partially because few people can last in pornography and are stuck doing low-paying jobs with more exploitation than high-paying ones. Furthermore, these wages are not comparable to the massive profits by the pornographers, even more so than in other industries.
Many women in pornography also resort to the use of drugs to remain relatively unaware of their condition. This indicates lasting mental damage alongside removing any actual consent. People cannot give proper consent while not in a state of mind to do so and as such they can demand reparations for what was done to them. And this is another point that the feminists have, men who have casual sex with drunk women ought to be liable whenever any woman claims that she was raped. There was no proof that she consented and as such, the man has to accept that he might be liable for rape. (This also applies if women were to take advantage of drunk men and does not apply if both parties were under a similar degree of intoxication.)
It is also well-known that sexual diseases are rampant in pornography, and it cannot be said that anyone consented to receive these diseases. Some claim that there are perpetual tests to avoid the possibility of this happening, but this is contradicted by the high infection rates in the industry. At the very least, those infected ought to be able to demand reparations from those responsible for the prevention of this, especially if they were assured that there would be no hazard to pornography.
And as a final point, a large reason for the very existence of porn is the enactment of power fantasies. No sane person can make the claim that porn is representative of human sexuality as pornographic videos are specifically made to cater to men who wish to see women being sexually dominated. Even if the scenario in the particular porn video might not explicitly be directed towards this, the majority male consumers of porn do so to see women perform sex acts they would otherwise have not seen. Furthermore, many men find women crying out in pain arousing because the pornography they consume has conditioned them to do so. Pornography being a painful ordeal to the extent that men are unable to distinguish female pain from pornography should be concrete proof that the issue is less simplistic than it seems.
This is not to say that every man who has ever watched or even paid for porn is complicit in rape. The only person who is at fault for the sexual abuse is the one who issued the imperative command to create porn. This means that the responsibility is on the directors of porn and those who hire the directors. Furthermore, if there is no institutional exploitation of men in the porn industry, a part of the blame would be on the men who do porn. (For more information on the history of pornography, I would suggest reading “Merchants of Sin” by Benjamin Garland.)
Furthermore, there are exceptions to every rule and those are not the topic of the present discussion. If women were not victimized and would thus have no one to press charges against, then that is not an issue as the solution which I advocate is simply solving the issue through private courts. However, there are also cases in which beatings could be consensual (For example, a fight between two men.), but this does not mean that we should oppose the ability for anyone who has suffered a beating to demand reparation.