1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14366/if-we-quit-voting/

If We Quit Voting

October 26, 2010 by

Abstinence would be tantamount to this notice to politicians: since we as individuals have decided to look after our affairs, your services are no longer needed. Having assumed social power we must, as individuals, assume social responsibility — provided, of course, the politicians accept their discharge. FULL ARTICLE by Frank Chodorov

{ 212 comments }

Allen Weingarten October 26, 2010 at 8:46 am

Most people oughtn’t vote, and wouldn’t do so if government were geared to protecting our rights, rather than bestowing benefits. However, when the message of non-voting reaches those who wish to curtail government depredations, the advantage is given to the statists. For example, the next election would aid the Democrats, rather than their opponents. I recognize that some anarchists will respond that there is no difference since all government is terrible. Here I counter that we can only make incremental change for better or worse.

Jordan Viray October 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm

No, I agree with you. We have an initiative here in Washington State to introduce a state income tax and I will certainly voting no. While all government is coercion and monopolistic, some forms are better than others and sometimes the political process itself is marginally superior to other forms of action in limiting the growth of the State.

Allen Weingarten October 27, 2010 at 8:09 am

Jordan, I appreciate your reliance of the realities of existence, noting that some forms of government are better than others. This is a ‘falsifiable’ approach, rather than one that is impervious to empirical evidence.

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Note that a falsifiable approach is okay for those who don’t have a solid praxeological one. However, praxeology is absolutely superior to any view requiring empirical evidence and it’s from that perspective that I can even promote anarchy.

Those who rely on empirical evidence would have thought Hayek a crank in the 60s and 70s. Indeed he was discredited during the Post WWII period as governments and economies adopted centralized planning with apparent success for many years. Those who understood praxeology knew better.

Wildberry October 27, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Jordan,

With all due respect, you throw the concept of “praxeological” around in ways in which I just don’t get.
I realize you don’t respect my opinions much, but my reading of Mises doesn’t support your usage.

My understanding is that certain analytical endeavors, such as sociology and necessarily economics, do not lend themselves to a purely empirical analysis, i.e math, statistics and pure logic. This is because such fields as sociology are composed from individual human action, and such action is teleological. There is a subjective purpose which motivates all human action, and as such also requires a subjective method of analysis. However, subjective does not mean arbitrary. Certain postulations may be constructed, upon which a theory is built, and the resulting conclusions are measured against objective observation in the real world, and are judged as valid or not to the degree that results predicted by the theory align with objective observations. Obviously empirical data may be needed for this stage, but empirical data alone is not sufficient to explain human action based on subjective values. This is praxeology.

As I have said to you before, it appears difficult to the point of impossible to employ praxeology to study anarchism, since this second step, as I’ve described it, is not possible since there are no existing examples of anarchism except perhaps Somalia and Medieval Iceland, as you have argued elsewhere.

So when you make the statement “praxeology is absolutely superior to any view requiring empirical evidence and it’s from that perspective that I can even promote anarchy.” , I feel confused. I know you believe my willful ignorance is the problem, but maybe just this once you could instruct me as to where you think I am going wrong.

In my view, you are attempting to construct a theory of sociology from whole cloth, simply by reasoning your way from postulation to logical conclusion. There is no “reality check” in your process.

In humble appreciation.

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 7:29 pm

“My understanding is that certain analytical endeavors, such as sociology and necessarily economics, do not lend themselves to a purely empirical analysis, i.e math, statistics and pure logic.”

Your understanding is incorrect. In fact, that you believe math and pure logic do lend themselves to purely empirical analysis shows just how bad your understanding is.

“There is a subjective purpose which motivates all human action, and as such also requires a subjective method of analysis.”

True.

“However, subjective does not mean arbitrary.”

True.

“Certain postulations may be constructed, upon which a theory is built, and the resulting conclusions are measured against objective observation in the real world, and are judged as valid or not to the degree that results predicted by the theory align with objective observations … This is praxeology.”

False. Testing conclusions is absolutely not part of praxeology.

“but maybe just this once you could instruct me as to where you think I am going wrong.”

If you start from an axiom which is absolutely true (i.e. human action), you can proceed unerringly to certain conclusions if your logic is valid. It is similar to a mathematical proof. You don’t need to measure anything to prove the Law of Sines or Law of Cosines works for example.

Allen Weingarten October 27, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Jordan, you appear to be saying that since you provided an approach that was falsifiable, you don’t have a sound praxeological one.

Again, if you had a perfect theory as to how a rock falls, you might apply it to what appears to be a solid rock, but surprise, it could have helium inside, or a metal that was thrown off its course by magnetism. The theory is true, but whether or not it fully corresponds to what it is applied to, can only be ascertained by what is falsifiable.

A sound praxeological theory is applied to what it appears to cover, yet the empirical embodiment need not be completely in line with it, as when the theory of monopolies is applied to what may or may not be its complete embodiment.

Note that you have concluded that because ‘man acts’ you can reason with me, whereas I am actually an android, controlled by an algorithm that contains no human intention.

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 7:36 pm

“Jordan, you appear to be saying that since you provided an approach that was falsifiable, you don’t have a sound praxeological one.”

Nope.

“Note that you have concluded that because ‘man acts’ you can reason with me, whereas I am actually an android, controlled by an algorithm that contains no human intention.”

That’s true. If you are indeed non-human, praxeology does not apply to you. It does, however, apply to humans. So if you wish to claim you are not human, then I will no longer object to what you say along praxeological lines. So, are you human?

Kavius October 26, 2010 at 10:21 am

I agree with Chodrov, and came to the identical conclusions on my own. The core for me is Chodrov’s statment that if we must select the lesser of two evils, I choose None of the Above (I’m from Canada, multiple parties).

The only difference I have is to actually go and vote… for nobody. I cast a blank ballot. I want to demonstrate that it is not a case of laziness, I am willing to go to the polls, I just won’t vote for any of the individuals who are running for the position. This has the possibility of communicating to Politicians that there are votes to be had, among a group of people who are disatisfied with the individuals running. If someone won with 10% of the vote, but 60% of those votes were blank, there are votes to be had for the right candidate.

I think this is a middle ground between Chodrov, and Allen’s comment above (I think, I’m not sure).

Wildberry October 26, 2010 at 10:49 am

This is a position of abandonment. Whereas you certainly have the right not to participate in any form of government, to the extent that you can, unless the onslaught of the state is confronted, it will continue to make your position of “none of the above” less feasible.

For example, your “drop out” position assumes that the exercise of your voting rights is limited to a choice between two distasteful alternatives. However, if you want to improve the quality of our choices, what other rights might you exercise, for example, the right to run for office yourself? And if you choose that course of action, would you be advising people to stay home from the polls?

Or, let’s assume that an Austrian economics messiah showed up out of thin air. Would you then want to find that you have been deprived of your right to vote her into office?

It is an immature, child’s game to pretend that if you just don’t play the game, you will be unaffected by the winners and losers.

Of course the alternatives are much less simple and actually require that you take some personal responsibility for the ways things are now, and the failure of things to change in ways that you would support. That is the responsibility of citizenship.
As consumers are sovereign in economic matters, voters are sovereign in political matters. You imagine you are “sending a message” by not voting. This is correct. You are communicating this: “Take what you will. I will remain silent.”

In what form of social organization, do you imagine, would such a position be tenable?

Fallon October 26, 2010 at 11:09 am

It is the vote that indicates the presence of a particular kind of monster state. Why do you argue that majoritarianism’s results can be overcome by…. majoritarianism? You have heard of the aphorism ‘Democracy is a wolf, a coyote and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner’?

Russ the Apostate October 26, 2010 at 12:51 pm

“You have heard of the aphorism ‘Democracy is a wolf, a coyote and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner’?”

My question is, why do you blame the sheep for taking part in the only form of self-defense currently available to him. I don’t see how sheep taking part in a form of self-defense can be taken as condoning the actions of the wolves. That seems like blaming the victim to me.

Matthew Swaringen October 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I know some people here may be blaming others but the original article didn’t have that tone. It is more a matter of saying why not to vote than telling others that they shouldn’t try.

Russ the Apostate October 26, 2010 at 3:07 pm

“It is more a matter of saying why not to vote than telling others that they shouldn’t try.”

Since I don’t see the US moving away from a democratic form of government any time soon, I don’t see a distinction.

Richie October 26, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Voting is a form of self-defense? How? Both Republicans and Democrats are wolves.

Russ the Apostate October 26, 2010 at 3:05 pm

The Republicans may be wolves, but they seem a little less hungry than the Democrats. So I don’t see what’s wrong in voting Republican to defend myself against even worse behavior by the Democrats. Your attitude is what’s wrong with most libertarians, as well as a lot of social conservatives, IMO. You see the world in black and white, and you’d rather let black win than vote for a shade of grey.

Richie October 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Thank you for your response. Have a great day.

Fallon October 26, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Republicans seem a bit less hungry because the out party must sell itself as an alternative- but more like in the Spinal Tap way: “Different, but the same”.
Human wolves, elected werewolves, that come to prey on the innocent 33% less still ought to get a silver bullet to the head. Voting under statism is theft at the ballot box if anything. Besides, if you would read Spooner instead of listening to Palin speeches you might at least recognize the full problematics of voting. Try to refute Spooner if you dare.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Spooner is no better than you wankers here, so why should I read him? And I don’t listen to Palin speeches. I actually wish Palin would go away, as she hurts the chances of more intelligent small-government-minded people to win elections.

Fallon October 27, 2010 at 5:22 pm

“small-government-minded people”
Why the redundancy? small minded or government minded mean the same thing.

Martin OB October 26, 2010 at 11:23 am

I think you are right, Wildberry. Blank voting is a respectable position, but there’s no chance on Earth it will bring the desired results. So, the plan is that nearly everyone casts a blank vote (ha!) and then the politic establishment (including the police and the army) accepts this means they should all go home (ha,ha!), and then we all live in peace and no criminal band takes the chance to become the new government, right?

Wildberry October 26, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Or, the “politic establishment” presumes that they have the consent of the people, since those they govern could have exercised their right to object, but didn’t, and therefore tacitly cosent.

Which of the two scenarios seems more probable to you?

Russ the Apostate October 26, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Bingo. Silence is consent. If you don’t like either of the main candidates, and can’t bear to hold your nose and vote for the lesser evil, vote for a third party candidate. Vote for a write-in. Hell, vote in the primaries, and maybe the Republican party would field less RINO candidates and more small-government people?

Matthew Swaringen October 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I don’t think consent matters that much to them. If they have a small fraction that votes for 3rd party candidates they are just going to see them the same as non-voters.

Fallon October 26, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Silence is not consent. What you assert has been a common totalitarian presumption.
“She didn’t file charges so I guess it wasn’t rape.”
Gee, I do not even think you guys try to defend minarchy. Rather you seem to be majoritarians and neoconservatives.

Richie October 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm

They are pissed because we don’t play the State’s game.

Russ the Apostate October 26, 2010 at 6:14 pm

“Rather you seem to be majoritarians and neoconservatives.”

I acknowledge that we live in a democratic republic here in the US. I don’t necessarily like it, because I tend to be rather sceptical of the intelligence of the average person. But I accept reality, and try to work from there.

“They are pissed because we don’t play the State’s game.”

Nah, I am pissed off because you are playing into the State’s game. Neither party fears libertarians of the Rothbardian variety (if you are even on their radar at all) or the LP variety or takes them into consideration at all, because they are so fractious, disorganized, and frankly, politically incompetent. They fear the Tea Party much more than they fear libertarians, because Tea Partiers vote, and will probably get more involved in primary elections as well. That’s what I want; I want the same-old-same-old politicians to fear liberty-minded citizens, so that they will give us some of what we want rather than be run out of office. They won’t fear people who don’t vote (at least, not until they start shooting, which I hope doesn’t have to happen).

Fallon October 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm

That must be it. But only the Shadow knows.

Gil October 26, 2010 at 7:42 pm

You are probably right Fallon – a rapist would most likely think just that. A similar analogy is the thief who prefers to return to houses where the owners roll over and play dead versus other home owners who shoot at them.

mpolzkill October 26, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Russ the Torture Advocate has explained it all. Now don’t you feel bad, you 50,000 or so American “Rothbardians”? You were unwittingly playing the State’s game all along by not somehow scaring D.C. and have thus helped bring on both the massive welfare state and permanent warfare sta….oh wait, this guy votes for the party that promotes permanent warfare. Maybe it’s the 60 million or so like him who have more to do with the great success of that half of the scam.

kyoki October 26, 2010 at 10:44 pm

if they saw them as non-voters i think it’d be a mistake. I would argue its worth voting the ‘perfect’ (libertarian)candidate in detriment to the ‘good’(republican) candidate as even though it may appear as a detriment this cycle, the perfect getting an increase from 12-15% this time round will make it far more likely to get to 20% next time around and so on.
The key is in the early stage as its more difficult to go from 15-25 then it would be to go from 33% to 50+ the next year because as peoples belief in the candidate succeeding would be exponential.

There’s a huge portion of the population i believe could easily be sold to vote with a libertarian party if it ever got as high as 30% in an election but there’s not many easily convinced to do so when its <15.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Matthew Polzkill the Squeamish Pussy just doesn’t get it. It’s not the numbers of the Rothbardians that is important. It’s that any good they do on the educational front is by accident, as they insist on pushing dreams like ancap and making themselves look like fringe-dwelling nutburgers, instead of selling the classical liberalism that Mises actually believed in, and which might make a difference.

mpolzkill October 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Since you know better, start your own site, and stick Mises’ name on it, silly person.

But really, please don’t; it *is* wonderful to see how shrill and pathetic you are becoming as your endless dingbat campaign to influence this institution gets precisely nowhere.

“Squeamish” Get it? See, his enemies must be tortured, and all (that is all we non-Muslims also born here in God’s country) who disagree are “squeamish”. So thoroughly dishonest he probably never knows any longer when he’s lying.

“Pussy” That word makes the truly squeamish Obama fall in line, but it doesn’t work on everyone there, degenerate.

Gil October 26, 2010 at 7:33 pm

“It is an immature, child’s game to pretend that if you just don’t play the game, you will be unaffected by the winners and losers.”

Well put, Wildberry. Doing nothing is worse than voting. Passivity is probably the worst action of all. Why did Frank Chodorov refuse to advocate forceful change? Afraid to disappear into some faraway interrogation facility? America became independent due to the force of arms not passive wishful thinking. He should have had the balls to say that yes, grabs your gun and start shooting politicians before they become way too entrenched and powerful.

Vanmind November 1, 2010 at 1:51 am

You should read “Seeing” by Jose Saramago (but try to read “Blindness” first). It’s about that very thing, a fictional society where people en masse start casting blank ballots at the polls.

Harry Schell October 26, 2010 at 10:40 am

Too many shed their blood so I could vote. Even if my candidate loses, a pebble has been cast into the pond, that someone disagrees with the majority/plurality. Where the little ripples of that splash come to shore is unknown, but better that than silence.

Beefcake the Mighty October 26, 2010 at 10:45 am

How inspiring.

Wildberry October 26, 2010 at 10:54 am

Beefcake,
OK, it’s a bit corny, but seems heartfelt, unlike your simple sarcasm.
So, inspire us. I could use a lift.

Beefcake the Mighty October 26, 2010 at 11:15 am

I think voting is a waste of time and actually counter-productive, but if someone wants to do it, no big deal. However, misty-eyed and weak-minded glorifications of it deserved to be mocked, much more than I did here in fact. I hope to inspire with my sarcasm.

And just so you know, my sarcasm always comes from the heart.

Russ the Apostate October 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm

So the reason you don’t vote is that if things actually changed, you wouldn’t have anything left to be sarcastic about? How inspiring.

Matthew Swaringen October 26, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I didn’t read that in his statement, perhaps you took it by implication?

Beefcake the Mighty October 26, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Russ, I don’t vote for several reasons. One, I am unconvinced that elections in the US are as clean as the media would like us to believe, they can be just as dirty as any banana republic. Two, my vote has not even the slightest impact on any election. Three, there is little practical difference between the candidates being offered up for “choice.” And four, I subscribe to the “don’t vote, it only encourages them” school of thought.

I would love things to change, truly. As long as you’re around, I’ll never run out of things to be sarcastic about.

Wildberry October 26, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Beefcake, Good to know. Responding to your post above:

One, why would you form an opinion based on the media?

Two, that is like saying a single purchase has absolutely no effect in the market.

Three, well, until you personally take part, our choices will continue to be between bad and worse. Thanks for your help.

Four, encourages who? I hate to tell you, you are them.

Sarcasm is a lower form of persuasion. Doesn’t take much to keep it going; “Same to you but more of it!”

See?

Beefcake the Mighty October 26, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Wildberry,

1. I was just trying to point out that elections in the US aren’t as clean as many would like to think.

2. True, but I don’t buy things with any intent of affecting aggregates such as the price level (and by the way, every purchase renders the price different from what it otherwise would be), I buy to satisfy some need. Voting serves no need of mine.

3 & 4. Any candidate who would be permitted even a small part in the current electoral process would have to already have accepted far too many liberal premises (as would his followers) to be anything but counterproductive at best. Ron Paul is a good example of this.

Bottom line: the whole system and its electoral charade are rotten to the core. I pass, thank you very much.

kyoki October 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Honest question.
What are some of the liberal premises Ron Paul & his followers would have to already have accepted?

Beefcake the Mighty October 27, 2010 at 8:15 am

Well, in fairness I was thinking more of the Tea Partiers than the Paulists (and I sympathize greatly with Ron Paul, BTW), but they accept the primary liberal premise than any social institution must benefit non-whites in some way, otherwise it is suspect. So for example witness the mewling of TPers when interrogated over why there are so few minorities in their movement. The proper answer being, “who cares?” but instead we get stumbling assurances of “color-blindness” etc. In so doing they fail to note that color-blindess is precisely *not* what the system is based on, hence these supposedly conservative/libertarians movements are doomed to failure from the outset.

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm

“witness the mewling of TPers when interrogated over why there are so few minorities in their movement. The proper answer being, “who cares?” but instead we get stumbling assurances of “color-blindness” etc. ”

Seriously? It’s a legitimate question to ask why minorities appear to be underrepresented in the Tea Party. The proper answer is that minorities tend to vote Democrat for various reasons. But whenever people comment on the lack of minorities in the Tea Party (inasmuch as it is a party), the implication is that there is some kind of institutional racism. If someone wants to clarify that the Tea Party (or their conception of it) is not, in essence, a racist party then that would be an appropriate answer.

Beefcake the Mighty October 27, 2010 at 5:16 pm

“Seriously?”

Case in point.

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 7:46 pm

““Seriously?”
Case in point.”

Perhaps you misunderstood. Your own idea that a Tea Party member assuring an interviewer of their color-blindedness somehow necessarily means they’ve accepted a liberal premise is ridiculous.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Beefcake the Mighty:
“Well, in fairness I was thinking more of the Tea Partiers than the Paulists (and I sympathize greatly with Ron Paul, BTW), but they accept the primary liberal premise than any social institution must benefit non-whites in some way, otherwise it is suspect.”

I don’t think the Tea Party assumes that “than any social institution must benefit non-whites in some way, otherwise it is suspect”. I think they believe that the Tea Party is not about race, and they don’t believe the government should be about race, either. Heck, “color-blindness” nowadays is code for “opposed to affirmative action”, since we’re not allowed to talk about that nowadays.

Granted, I think a better answer to why there are so few non-white Tea Party members would be “Because they haven’t chosen to join yet.”

Beefcake the Mighty October 27, 2010 at 8:59 pm

News flash for you Russ: the Tea Party’s opponents *do* think government should be about race, therefore from their perspective the TPers *are* racist. The charge is a political weapon which should be addressed on similar terms, not whiny me-too protests of liberalism (like you see from too many libertarians).

I’d say you’re fighting yesterday’s wars, except it’s pretty clear whose wars you are fighting.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Beefcake the Mighty wrote:
“News flash for you Russ: the Tea Party’s opponents *do* think government should be about race, therefore from their perspective the TPers *are* racist.”

OK. So???

“The charge is a political weapon which should be addressed on similar terms, not whiny me-too protests of liberalism (like you see from too many libertarians).”

Sure the charge of racism is a political weapon. And so the Tea Party should say “Who cares?” when asked why there are so few non-white members? Yeah, that’s the ticket. Even though the means of putting the question to the Tea Partiers about racism was kind of insidious because it is implied instead of outright asked, it’s still a valid question to ask “What is the Tea Party’s views on race? Does the Tea Party believe in equal rights under the law for all people, regardless of race? Is the Tea Party racist? Is that why there are so few blacks in the Tea Party?”

And why is the espousal of true classical liberal values (“the content of a man’s character, not the color of his skin”) the same as “whiny me-too protests”?

“I’d say you’re fighting yesterday’s wars, except it’s pretty clear whose wars you are fighting.”

Who might that be, in your opinion???

Freedom Fighter October 26, 2010 at 11:08 am

I have an even better idea, let’s quit having kids, let’s quit mating, let’s quit breeding, let’s quit marrying, let’s quit dating.

Who’s going to run the show now. Sex drive is coercive and tyrannical. If a libertarian truly wants to fight tyranny, he will first fight against sex drive.

Enjoy Every Sandwich October 26, 2010 at 11:17 am

I tried the “incremental improvement” game for over 20 years. I made absolutely NO progress. In fact things got worse.

“Step right up, friend, for another game of 3-card monte! Your luck is about to change, I can feel it! You’ll surely win THIS TIME!”

Wildberry October 26, 2010 at 4:43 pm

My favoriate definition of idocy, which I’m sure you’ve heard, is ” doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.”

Another one I like is, “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

Ok, what next? Isn’t that a good question?

Enjoy Every Sandwich October 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Yes, but I am not the one who needs to answer it.

Look, this is simple: they’ve lost my trust. How did this happen? Was it because I read Rothbard or Rockwell? No. It was the politicians themselves who taught me that they aren’t to be trusted. Now all they have to do is earn my trust back.

Normal people earn my trust all the time. It isn’t hard.

Eric October 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I don’t vote for politicians. I broke down and wrote in ron paul 2 years ago in CA. But I do sometimes vote for propositions.

I voted this time to legalize pot in CA since it would be a lot of fun to see the battle with the feds this would cause. Talk about some REAL nullification.

But I didn’t vote for any republicrats and simply left those votes blank.

Wildberry October 26, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Eric,

OK, showing up in the voting booth and marking some of the items is a good start. Anything else?

Where’s that entrepreneurial spirit?

Matthew Swaringen October 26, 2010 at 1:32 pm

If I think Ron Paul has a real chance in 2012 then I might vote at that time. But I’m very doubtful about that at this point.

Russ the Apostate October 26, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Paul has no more of a chance than Palin does. Probably less.

Matthew Swaringen October 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I don’t think Paul has good chances either. Palin is not going to bring anything good, and Romney and the more typical Republicans are definitely no good.

Given this who is the “lesser of 2 evils” right now? If I take people by their record and not their rhetoric I don’t think there’s any mostly positive candidates except Paul.

This is not exactly a good score for voting.

Russ the Apostate October 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I sympathize, I really do. I voted McCain/Palin last time, but I sure as hell wasn’t thrilled about it. Actually, I voted against Obama rather than for McCain (just like a lot of people voted against four more years of Bush rather than for Obama). But Paul is just plain not electable as President. Lesser of the two evils is a crappy choice, granted, but if the other choice is greater of the two evils, well, gee, I guess I have to go for the lesser. It’s kinda like the old joke; I’d rather have mongo than death by mongo.

kyoki October 26, 2010 at 11:01 pm

I would argue its worth voting the ‘perfect’ (libertarian)candidate in detriment to the ‘good’(republican) candidate as even though it may appear as a detriment this cycle, the perfect getting an increase from 12-15% this time round will make it far more likely to get to 20% next time around and so on.
The key is in the early stage as its more difficult to go from 15-25 then it would be to go from 33% to 50+ the next year because as peoples belief in the candidate succeeding would be exponential.

There’s a huge portion of the population i believe could easily be sold to vote with a libertarian party if it ever got as high as 30% in an election but there’s not many easily convinced to do so when its <15.

Also i'm more & more inclined to believe that the whole Palin/McCain vs Obama/Biden type show they put on every 4 years really is a facade. That the winner has already been decided by other groups pulling the strings & that if its not its set-up that we get the same just a different name or even possibly we get the opposite but a sum-total of equal oppression (eg bush's attack on privacy vs obamas attack on the 2nd amend.)
Either way if you vote republican or democrat you're only a sucker. Whereas if you don't you're only a victim……

Reminds me of my older bro " Okay i'll give it back if you guess which hand i'm holding it in? …wrong!"

why not say "no. i know i probably won't get it back so stop mocking me" and just try you're best like i always did. One day i was big enough lol

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 2:53 pm

“…the perfect getting an increase from 12-15% this time round will make it far more likely to get to 20% next time around and so on.”

The problem is, I don’t see libertarians even making it close to 12-15%. A web site I just found says that the closest the LP has come to winning the Presidency was 1.1% of the popular vote in 1980 with Ed Clark. There’s just not enough of a critical mass there.

“Also i’m more & more inclined to believe that the whole Palin/McCain vs Obama/Biden type show they put on every 4 years really is a facade.”

So you think the primaries are completely staged?! I can’t buy into that; it seems a bit too conspiratorial.

kyoki October 27, 2010 at 10:03 pm

no not completely staged. and no im not there yet. But both major parties & all the presidents(just about) in the last century are big government & anti-individual-liberty. This country is neither as a whole. This couldn’t happen without secret agreements to do illegal things.

Something having a conspiratorial element to it puts you off? So much in politics is done in a non-public manner and is illegal in many ways (unconstitutional acts, bribery, etc). I think conspiracy has become a dirty word just to put people off calling out the crooks.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 10:30 pm

kyoki wrote:
“But both major parties & all the presidents(just about) in the last century are big government & anti-individual-liberty.”

I think that’s an exaggeration. I think that most politicians just think that big government is not antithetical to individual liberty. I think they’re wrong, of course, but… I think it’s more of a culture of elitism that most of our politicians have had that is the problem, where the ruling class “knows” what is best for us, not so much a conspiracy per se.

“Something having a conspiratorial element to it puts you off?”

Yes and no; conspiracy theories (plural, lower-case ‘c’) don’t put me off so much, but a big Conspiracy Theory (singular, upper-case ‘C’) does.

Daniel October 26, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Ron Paul is a “greater of two evils”?

And some do believe it is more effective to vote for the greater of two evils

Matthew Swaringen October 27, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Daniel, I happen to be one of those people in this McCain instance and with Romney as well. We should all know that both McCain and Romney were looking to create similar health care policies to Obama, but would the Republicans in media have been as outspoken and driving people with some pseudo-libertarian talking points had they been doing this? Absolutely not.

What we gain from the Republicans losing is right wing media actually using libertarian talking points. The counter to this I suppose is that we lose much of the good anti-war dialog we may be getting from the Left during Republican administrations, however I’d argue this is less the case.

This may not work for everyone but I can only say that the current cycle has worked for me. I was certainly “fed up” with the Republicans after Bush to some extent, but my own tipping point was Obama. Up until about March of this year I had never heard of Hayek or Mises, etc.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm

“Ron Paul is a “greater of two evils”?”

No, but he is not electable. In other words, he is not capable of winning a general election for the Presidency, IMO. By “lesser of two evils”, I meant McCain vs. Obama.

“And some do believe it is more effective to vote for the greater of two evils.”

Yeah, and I suppose some people also believe that burning down one’s house, with oneself in it, is a good way of saving on heating costs.

Robert Nathan October 26, 2010 at 4:33 pm

This is quite a compelling notion. It would serve as a great check on government that drifts toward oligarchy (like ours). Perhaps an Amendment to the constitution would be appropriate, stating, in effect, that if voting turnout falls below a certain level, that we hit the reset button and start over from scratch.

Wildberry October 26, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Robert,
Why not? That’s the first positive suggestion I’ve heard so far.

No congressman can be elected with less than 75% of the registered voting public!

How about we just let our state legislators do it? Thay would really cut down on the size of all those pesky ballots. (Sorry Beefcake, you seem to be contageous)

Martin OB October 27, 2010 at 12:06 pm

But what do you mean by “start over from scratch”? Go back to England?

Robert Nathan October 28, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Maybe go back to our natural state, that is, without government.

Martin OB October 29, 2010 at 6:56 am

I would say having a government is more natural, since nearly all tribes have a chief. If you just remove the current government, the “scratch” you go back to is typically civil war. You can’t have a libertarian society without libertarian individuals.

Robert Nathan October 29, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Sure, something would evolve to replace government; after dissolution, society would likely create a new government. My point is that from time to time there needs to be a rebirth, a Renaissance. As in the business cycle, the things that don’t work get shed off during the downturn. We need a mechanism for doing this with government that has gone bad.

The problem with government during the normal course of things is that new government gets added and existing institutions get strengthened. I’ve never seen or heard of government going through a phase of entropy. The only natural metaphor that I can think of for this phenomenon is a cancer, which eventually kills off its host.

Voting doesn’t seem to be a good method for regulating these cancerous tendencies in the short term. The long term solution, death of the host, seems to be the only option that is left to us in the current scheme of things. With the impending demise of the middle class, maybe that is exactly what is upon us.

Ned Netterville October 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm

The State is evil, because it initiates force and violence against peaceful, innocent people, if for no other reason than to collect the taxes upon which it is utterly dependent. And because this evil, violent means of ensuring its existence generally succeeds in the vital task of obtaining it revenues, violence is inevitably brought to bear by the State for many other purposes.

Voting is immoral, for it puts the voter’s imprimatur on the evil State. It makes the voter complicit in the crimes of the State. The theory of American government is that sovereign authority resides in the people, who are the principals. The politicians, bureaucrats, military personnel, IRS revenue officers, prison guards, etc., who commit the crimes, are merely agents. By law common sense, principals are responsible for any wrong-doing their agents commit in the course the agents” duties. Don’t worry; be happy. Don’t vote; be honorable.

Matthew Swaringen October 26, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I think your viewpoint here is a bit too absolutist for my taste. Taken to this degree I honestly think you could say driving on a road is immoral because it was paid for via taxation. Just as there is a difference between driving and advocacy there is a difference between voting and advocacy.

Wildberry October 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Ned,
I wouldn’t want to leave you out.

“The State is evil” blah, blah, blah. Heard that a thousand times now. Your ancestors voted for taxes. You can vote them down. I’ll join you in that.

“Voting is immoral”, ok now that’s a new one. So, what is your nationality again? I mean if we were invaded by some major force for retribution of all the “evils of the State” conducted on these righteously indignant warriors come to exact revenge and to set the State straight, you would be spared because….?

The rest is just impossible to follow. You obviously know nothing about agency law, so your analogy is a little…(c’mon Beefcake, help me out here…) misguided?

Since voting is immoral, not voting is honorable. Well, at least that gives me a glimpse into the person I’m dealing with here. I can hear it now….”NO!! Don’t kill me! I didn’t vote!”

Sorry, not very persuasive, but novel, I admit.

Russ the Apostate October 26, 2010 at 5:08 pm

“I can hear it now….”NO!! Don’t kill me! I didn’t vote!””

Maybe Ned thinks that if you keep yourself pure and say your prayers at night, then when the government comes for you and kills you, you get 72 anarchist virgins in heaven?

Wildberry October 26, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Hilarious!

But I can hear the 72 Anvirgs saying, “Hey! What did I do to deserve this???”

newson October 26, 2010 at 9:02 pm

how come islam is the only one of the three monotheistic religions which is allowed to be lampooned on this site with impunity?

mpolzkill October 26, 2010 at 9:12 pm

This “72 virgins” thing is maybe the very dumbest thing these frightened apes spew.

Martin OB October 27, 2010 at 4:13 am

You mean impunity as in not being beheaded for blasphemy?

newson October 29, 2010 at 8:46 pm

to mpolzkill:
vive la différence! i think even science now backs up gut-feel on the male-female divide, and the material differences in brain architecture. clichés are only funny if they are at least partly true, and of course there are some men who can listen and some women who can read maps.

on the more contentious issue, i’d like to believe, as you seem to, that race is an imaginary construct, but a little voice says: why does one group virtually own tay-sachs disease, why does another excel in long-distance marathons, another suffer disproportionately high incidence of diabetes and renal failure, why does another group have a larger incidence of myopia? i trust asking these questions doesn’t suggest one has to have a comic-book world view of peoples.

Wildberry October 27, 2010 at 11:00 am

Newson,

I didn’t notice that. In my case, it’s not true. I recently think I compared Ancaps to fundamentalist Christians who can’t have a conversation on any subjec without quoting a verse from scripture. I was thinking of the born-again, evangelical types. Know what I mean? Religious fanaticism comes in all flavors.

Russ made a good joke. Now you have to admit, that funny right there!

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 11:08 am

A Catholic priest and rabbi are walking out of a bar and see a 12 year old boy. The priest whispers to the rabbi, “Let’s screw that boy.” The rabbi replies, “Out of what?”

*rimshot*

newson October 29, 2010 at 12:23 am

touché!

Beefcake the Mighty October 29, 2010 at 7:02 am
mpolzkill October 29, 2010 at 8:18 am

And here, anonymous Constitutionalist, another fine representative of a tiny subset: Cro-Magnon libertarians, I suppose. How many there? 15,000?

Hey Newson, check this out too, from 1783:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/40000-pounds-of-slave-have-been-lost-at-sea,2541/

Man, times change, don’t they?

newson October 29, 2010 at 9:56 am

to beefcake the mighty:
it’s a shame someone like james j. martin is politely ignored. a dogged pursuit of the truth is not likely to go unpunished.

newson October 29, 2010 at 10:05 am

to mpolzkill:
i’m not dogmatic on the race thing, but i do like to at least hear views that don’t sit well with the prevailing fashion. besides, heart and mind don’t always have to go in the same direction.

mpolzkill October 29, 2010 at 10:29 am

I’m not dogmatic on it either, morons and lunatics (“race” is literally skin deep, there’s nothing else to it but in the minds of the ignorant) have every right to speak, we have every right to laugh or be sick. I like to hear what racialists and troglodytes have to say too. I want to hear all of Beefcake/Byzantine?/Bringer’s ideas on these subjects, and in great detail. What *exactly* in his view is to be done about the mud races and the uppity inferior sex? And just why or how *did* God or evolution make them all inferior? Ever so curious on that, can’t seem to get an answer.

Really though, I want him to have his own little free and independent white community with the kind of women who might go for him and his fellow knuckle-draggers. They will be allowed to leave if they think better of it though, right, B/B/B? That’s another thing for you, anonymous Constitutionalist, regarding all your talk about what Mises thought. He thought that every social unit down to the size of a small village has the right to secede at any time and for any reason. Do you agree with him?

Beefcake the Mighty October 29, 2010 at 1:52 pm

newson, agreed on Martin. Here’s another site worth checking out (although there seems to be little recent activity):

http://www.toqonline.com/

BTW I’m sure you caught this little gem over at TLD:

“More conservatives are rushing to criticize NPR for firing Juan Williams than ever criticized National Review for firing Joe Sobran. “

Beefcake the Mighty October 29, 2010 at 8:08 pm
newson October 29, 2010 at 8:15 pm

to beefcake:
yep, noted the juan williams thing. the horror, the horror!
thanks for the link. race is a subject on which i like to hear disparate views.

Beefcake the Mighty October 29, 2010 at 8:49 pm

newson, OT, but did you see this commentary:

http://www.coordinationproblem.org/2010/10/the-brilliance-and-limits-of-hayek.html#comments

Pete seems reluctant to clarify how “libertarian critics” of Hayek (by which he obviously mean various Rothbardians) are critiquing “personalities” rather than ideas.

newson October 29, 2010 at 8:59 pm

to mpolzkill:
i replied in the wrong section. scroll up to martin ob if you’re so inclined.

newson October 29, 2010 at 9:10 pm

to beefcake:
thanks for the fish-cake link, i’ll have a look. as regards hayek, i’ve only read the counter-revolution of science and the road to serfdom. i’ve read plenty of the misesian critiques by hoppe, hülsmann, herbener, salerno etc. on the socialist calculation debate, and i can’t say i’m really that motivated to read any more hayek.

newson October 29, 2010 at 9:19 pm

beefcake, have you ever come across anything rothbard ever committed to paper on what he apparently considered one of the great hoaxes of the twentieth century?

Beefcake the Mighty October 29, 2010 at 9:20 pm

newson, I agree, I’m unable to comment on Pete (really Steve’s) program of crafting a program of Hayekian anarcho-capitalism. Maybe it’s possible, I don’t know, I don’t really care either as I’m quite happy with the Rothbardian brand. I just found this to be another example of the GMU crowd manufacturing spurious reasons for dismissing Rothbardian critiques (which we’ve already seen them do in abundance on monetary and banking issues).

Beefcake the Mighty October 29, 2010 at 9:24 pm

newson, re. the Rothbard question, I know of nothing in writing. But I can share a story offline; if you’re able, email me at

beefcake_the_mighty@yahoo.com

Sione October 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I saw a sign which said, “Don’t vote for politicians, it only encourages them.” Had to laugh at that one. Later on this sign came up as the subject of a chat show. One of the commentators summed up his position by saying that if you believe you can control governments by making a fraction of a mark on a piece of paper each year, then he had a bridge to sell you in London, and, it would seem, a tower in Paris as well.

Don’t think I’ll be buying any time soon.

Sione

Wildberry October 26, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Sione,

If life were only so simple that a scratch on a piece of paper is all we needed to do to be happy, independent and free… Wouldn’t life be grand?

Yea, I’m not buying it either. If acting with an absurd expectation is absurd, not acting that way is not acting wtih absurd expectations is not absurd. Yes…..? Surely there must be more to your theory!

(Beefcake, close this out for me, will you?)

Beefcake the Mighty October 27, 2010 at 10:10 am

Well, I think there is a sense in which voting helps to confer legitimacy on the State, and that’s one of the reasons I don’t participate. This viewpoint can be overstated, sure, but I think it has validity.

Sione October 27, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Beefcake

There is a bumper-sticker that reads, “If you voted, you can’t complain. So STFU and don’t.” Apart from the obvious shock this generates with the acolytes of “representative” democracy, it sums up the argument rather.

Cheers

Sione

Anthony October 27, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Of course people also say “if you didn’t vote you can’t complain”, so there is not much help in that direction either.

Sione October 28, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Anthony

The argument goes along these lines. If you partake in voting you are supporting the game of “representative” democracy. Whether the criter you vote for wins or not, you supported the existant political structure and the successful candidate is indeed your “representative” (in reality he is your supervisor). You have given sanction to the successful candidate to exercise force over you and, most importantly, to the system to do the same (always remember 100% of the votes cast do that).

Should your duely elected “representative” partake in actions which are detrimental to your interests you have no right of supervision. You can’t “instruct” the winning candidate or stop him from hurting you, as he is not your agent. You can’t undo what he has done. You can’t even dismiss him. He remains in place until the next popularity contest where he will either be returned or substituted by another critter of the same species with exactly the same power over you. The elected candidate remains a free agent and your political superior. After all, the majority has spoken and you accepted the rules when you partook in the game by voting. In this context, you can’t complain. You have already accepted the consequences. To complain would be inconsistent and hypocritical.

Not voting is different. It is oppositional. The game is not accepted and no sanction is awarded. This is a repudiation of the game. “I oppose and I complain because of it.” Hence, to complain in these circumstances is consistent.

And that is the argument summed up. I hope this is helpful clarifying matters.

Sione

Beefcake the Mighty October 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I agree with Sione for the most part. Not voting is a way of withdrawing support from the state (and if we’re talking about the American state here we’re talking about a thoroughly corrupt and oppressive state), which draws a large amount of its (false) sense of legitimacy from the fact that its representatives are freely chosen. We can argue about how effective not voting is as a means of resisting this state, but non-voting is still one of the few safe recourses to civil disobedience available.

Wildberry October 28, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Sione,

“…the game of “representative” democracy. ”

How do you know who wins in this game?

“Not voting is different. It is oppositional. The game is not accepted and no sanction is awarded.”

No offense, but have you ever taken a simple civics class, or put more directly, do you know anything at all about what you’re talking about? “Oppositional” to what? Not doing anything in opposition to an expected outcome is not opposition. Voting, as many have explained here, is about the minimum expression of citizenship. Running for an office, any office, is quite a bit more in terms of opposition. Sitting on your butt is not opposition. It is consent.

If you and 1,000,000 of your closest friends got together just enough to vote against any incumbent currently sitting in public office, that would be opposition to the State, and the State would fear you, and you would have power, and with this power you would……what?

See, it gets a little harder after that. That is the difference between taking personal responsibility and leadership, and being a passive co-conspirator and then complaining about it later. Even passive-aggression is still passive.

Like I said, no offense, but this reminds me that someone said that God has a way of balancing things out, or maybe that was a Kurt Vonnegut novel, I can’t remember. If you are really, really smart in one area, then you have to be really, really dumb in another. That was one explanation offered for why math geniuses are so often nerdy; to balance things out. I mean how unfair would it be if someone were both really smart and really cool? That’s scary. So I must presume you have other talents. I mean that in a good way.

Sione October 29, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Wildberry

Offense taken. Keep a civil tongue in your head and learn to comprehend what you are reading before vomiting up imbecilities.

You write, “Not doing anything in opposition to an expected outcome is not opposition.”

So you consider it support then? A grant of sanction derived from non-participation? That’s an example of Newspeak illogic.

Previous comment to you restated:
“Life requires far more than a fraction of a scratching on a voting paper per year. To consider that such is the sum total of the effort required (or the sum total that should be required) for good living is lunacy.”

Consider that this is a major point here. Many people express surprise and dismay about the nature of the political system and remain disappointed by the candidates they vote for. Yet they vote each time and continue to express surprise and dismay that nothing fundamantally alters. Had you properly considered the comment quoted above you’d soon realise the implication is that failing to grant a support by refusing to participate is but one action an individual may take in dealing with that which he or she opposes. It is not a necessary end in itself. Obviously there are other actions that can be and are undertaken. You might care to do a little reading of history (some good material right here, within this website) to discover what some of these actions might happen to be and what people have done in the past. Actions may be as mild as a civil expression of opinion, opting out (emmigration even) and range through to civil disobedience, nullification, cecession, revolt etc.

Holding responsibility and control over your life (including your morality, politics and action) does not begin and end with making marks upon voting paper. Don’t be elevating such a thing to a significance it does not possess.

Think about it.

This time, really think about it.

Recapping, refusing to grant sanction by not voting is but one expression of opposition. Opposition it remains nevertheless.
-

You write, “If you and 1,000,000 of your closest friends got together just enough to vote against any incumbent currently sitting in public office, that would be opposition to the State, and the State would fear you, and you would have power, and with this power you would……what?”

I don’t even know 1,000,000 people and I doubt you do either. As for 1,000,000 closest friends. Yeah. Right.

Your notion is an expression of base silliness and reveals the extent that wild fantasy has distorted your intellect. Your assumptions and premise are completely erroneous. They doom your line of enquiry immediately, right from the get-go.

Had you considered that what you are proposing is exactly the “no-change” compliance option which is the stock-standard conventional line? Besides which, why would the State fear you, one peon of a million, doing exactly that which is expected of you by the State? Hardly an expression of power!

Consider. Whose election is it? Does it belong to you? Do you set the rules and print the ballot and count the results? Is it you who sets and controls the process? Do you control the State? Answer these honestly and you’ll discover the evidence shows that you are not expressing power over the State at all.

Wildberry, when you vote in a consist of 1,000,000 people against an incumbent you do exactly what you do now- support the system and grant it sanction. People have been doing that for a long time now and nothing much changes. The status of the elected candidates remains non-”representational” in that they are not your agent and remain out of your control. I note that you remain silent regarding the nature and actions of a candidate that ascends to office and how he or she would partake in continuing to apply force upon you and other individuals. Again, it is not you who is expressing power in this situation. You are expressing an obedience and granting a sanction.

“See, it gets a little harder after that.”

Yes, it certainly does. It gets very hard to consider your notions as rational let alone reasoned. Your whole scenario relies upon the “if” of fantasy, which is no surprise really, for fantasy is what it is. Time to face reality. And I mean that in a good way- obviously.

Sione

Joe October 27, 2010 at 10:35 pm

@Beefcake, You are absolutely correct. It does confer legitimacy on the State. The State is us. We are the Authority. It is our responsibility whether we have liberty or freedom or slavery. We are not all going to Jonestown and drink the koolaid. We are not socialists and want someone take care of us. You do understand and that is what is frustrating. You can’t just give up and drink the koolaid. We were born for better things to come.

Sione October 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Wildberry

Indeed. If only…..

But life isn’t a myth. It’s about reality. No hiding from that in the end.

In New Zealand the people get elections once every three years and the Aussies get to vote for government four yearly. So, I guess that means each Kiwi makes 1/3 of a mark on a piece of paer each year while his Okker counter-part only gets doled out 1/4 of a mark each year. What do you get?

Sione

Wildberry October 27, 2010 at 6:14 pm

I wish I could follow you here, but I can’t.

Sione October 28, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Wildberry

Life requires far more than a fraction of a scratching on a voting paper per year. To consider that such is the sum total of the effort required (or the sum total that should be required) for good living is lunacy. The myths of “representative” democracy are completely invalidated by reality. In the end reality is what matters. It can’t be evaded indefinately or in the long run (as, for example, Keynes was well aware).

So. What fraction of a vote do you receive from your political masters each year?

Sione

Taylor October 26, 2010 at 5:18 pm

One simple test of one’s libertarian ethic might be to see how one responds to another individual and their decision to not vote, which is luckily still a voluntary decision for that individual to make.

The consistent libertarian, whatever his own thought on the matter, will simply allow this other individual their choice and not spend a lot of time being puzzled or feeling threatened about it.

The latent authoritarian, however, will become first privately and then publicly upset, confused and disheartened by this person and their choice, casting aspersions and ridicule on their refusal to serve their fellow man in common defense of liberty at the polls. Nevermind that in doing so, they have imposed upon this individual in their own mind a mandatory obligation to defend everyone’s freedom besides just that individual’s own.

That is to say, they have made the implicit, if weakly-worded, declaration that there exists some positive right to being defended from tyranny by casting votes, whatever and whomever they are casted for, and that in this matter the non-voter has failed in his duty to others.

If this test is valid (and let it be a further off-topic debate to decide if it is so), many a participant here in this comment thread have failed the test, miserably.

And either way, it seems a bit funny for people to insinuate that the non-voter shares a responsibility for violating individual liberty anywhere close to approaching the magnitude of that of actual politicians, bureaucrats and other central-planner task masters!

Hahaha, carry on you silly people, and don’t forget to keep reading your liberty literature– apparently the many lessons have yet to be fully absorbed.

Russ the Apostate October 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm

“That is to say, they have made the implicit, if weakly-worded, declaration that there exists some positive right to being defended from tyranny by casting votes, whatever and whomever they are casted for, and that in this matter the non-voter has failed in his duty to others.”

You’re completely missing the point. I don’t see anybody here saying that voting should be mandatory; do you? People are simply saying that, if libertarians want their societies to be more free, then their voting (or non-voting) is self-defeating. There is nothing unlibertarian about trying to convince others to freely do something you would like. Libertarianism does not equal not giving a shit about what anybody else does. It is about putting limits on what people can do to each other, either by themselves or through government representatives.

Adam Berkowicz October 26, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Russ:

The irony in what you’re saying is that we should use the State to help unravel the State. It cannot happen. The vast majority of people that run office do so for reasons other an altruism.

Voting or non voting will not change the national dialogue in this country. Libertarianism, as a principle, contradicts these notions, as libertarianism is, for better or worse, an intellectual position. You either follow the logical implications of the libertarian position to their logical conclusions or you attempt to justify statism for some other purpose. Either way, the only way libertarian ideas can succeed anywhere is through conversation, not through a ballot box.

Russ the Apostate October 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm

“The irony in what you’re saying is that we should use the State to help unravel the State.”

No, I am not saying that. The reason I call myself Russ The Apostate here on this forum is because I have left the One True Religion; I am no longer an anarchist. I don’t want the State to unravel; I just want it to become smaller and more libertarian.

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 12:06 am

If there is a One True Religion here on Mises, it is a belief in free-markets. But I guess it’s cool to style yourself an Apostate (even though a real apostate here would be an Austrian who became Socialist). But no, keep sticking it to the ancaps because we’re the real threat.

Get over yourself.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 11:57 am

1) The One True Religion that I am referring to is anarcho-capitalism. Most people here are ancaps (even though Mises himself wasn’t).

2) I used to consider myself an anarcho-capitalist, although more of the David Friedman variety; I consider myself more of a rule utilitarian than a natural rights libertarian. Now I am a minarchist. That’s why I consider myself an “apostate”.

3) I’ve never considered myself an pure Austrian, although I have sympathy for the school, so I couldn’t be an apostate from Austrianism.

4) In its current state, I don’t think the Lew Rockwell sect of libertarianism is much of a threat to much of anything. If anything, I would like to see them become more pragmatic, so that they become more of a threat. I would love to see this site spur a revival of classical liberalism through Mises’ writings, but as long as people here waste their time pushing ancap, that’s not going to happen.

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 2:54 pm

“The One True Religion that I am referring to is anarcho-capitalism. Most people here are ancaps (even though Mises himself wasn’t).”

I know that’s what you are referring to but the reality is that anarchocapitalism is not “the One True Religion” here.

“That’s why I consider myself an “apostate””

Then you don’t understand what an apostate is. In fact, the stylization “apostate” is given and only really makes sense when it is given by your opponents. To have the stylization “the Apostate” suggests that your abandonment of anarchocapitalist ideas was somehow important to anarchocapitalists.

It isn’t as much as you’d like us to believe this so.

“I’ve never considered myself an pure Austrian, although I have sympathy for the school, so I couldn’t be an apostate from Austrianism.”

Of course but this is Mises.org which advances the scholarship of liberty in the Austrian School. So if you really wanted to style yourself an apostate on Mises.org, “an apostate from Austrianism” would be the only way to do it. Of course there is no rule here against silly affectations but if you are going to pretend it is anything but silly, you should expect someone to call you out.

Wildberry October 28, 2010 at 11:26 am

a*pos*ta*sy

Abandonment of one’s beliefs, as in a religion or a cause.

a*pos*tate

One who practices apostasy. From the Greek apostates, to revolt.

-American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition.

Jordan Viray October 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm

“From the Greek apostates, to revolt.”

And that’s the connotation it carries with it today. But you and RTA carry on your merry little “revolution” against anarchocapitalism. Good luck with that, especially since you have no critical scholarship to speak of.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 5:20 pm

“In fact, the stylization “apostate” is given and only really makes sense when it is given by your opponents.”

Nah, an apostate is just a person who disavows a religion that he once believed in.

“It isn’t as much as you’d like us to believe this so.”

I don’t flatter myself I am that important to the lives of anybody here.

“Of course but this is Mises.org which advances the scholarship of liberty in the Austrian School.”

Yes, it is Mises.org, not Rothbard.org, and if it were true to that name, it would take everything that argues for ancap off the server and move it to Rothbard.org, where it belongs.

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 9:07 pm

“Nah, an apostate is just a person who disavows a religion that he once believed in.”

Nope. Such a stylization is given by opponents, not by the person who left. Try again.

“I don’t flatter myself I am that important to the lives of anybody here.”

And yet you’ve trotted out that story of how why you are “Russ the Apostate” from your “apostasy” from the “One True Religion” (something you made up) at least twice now.

“Yes, it is Mises.org, not Rothbard.org, and if it were true to that name, it would take everything that argues for ancap off the server and move it to Rothbard.org, where it belongs.”

Austrian school. That means Menger, Schumpeter, Mises, Hayek, Rothbard and others in that school which decidedly does not include you.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Jordan Viray wrote:
““I don’t flatter myself I am that important to the lives of anybody here.”

And yet you’ve trotted out that story of how why you are “Russ the Apostate” from your “apostasy” from the “One True Religion” (something you made up) at least twice now.”

And you keep trying to debunk my “apostasy” (God, grow a sense of humor), so I must be more important to your life than I thought. Gee, Jordan, I didn’t know you cared!

*tears of joy*

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 11:39 pm

“And you keep trying to debunk my “apostasy” (God, grow a sense of humor), so I must be more important to your life than I thought. Gee, Jordan, I didn’t know you cared!”

It is a public forum. Showing your logical fallacies and superficial knowledge is important for those who might have otherwise bought into your thinking.

DaveNat October 27, 2010 at 9:57 am

Russ,
I like your statement. Personally I admit to being a definite convert to libertarianism in general, very much in favor of completely free markets, and only now first confronting some of the anarchist tenets of Rothbard, Spooner and others. I am both intrigued and unsure at this point (I have lots more to read and learn), but I must admit that one major barrier I have to accepting it (some form of anarchism) as my personal political philosophy is the practical suggestions and statements of many of those who espouse anarchy in forums such as this one. I just don’t understand what real-world path they see connecting their actions with their desired future society. I admit that I have lots more to learn on this; but I have too much experience in the world to believe for a second that incremental change is impossible, counterproductive, or effectively restrained by conspiracy.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 11:45 am

DaveNat wrote:
“I just don’t understand what real-world path they see connecting their actions with their desired future society.”

Who says there is such a path, even in the minds of anarcho-capitalists? One of the regular contributors here, Stephan Kinsella, even wrote an article with the title “The Irrelevance of the Impossibility of Anarchocapitalism” (or something like that). Quite a few of the anarcho-capitalists here don’t believe that ancap is possible, and yet they still look their noses down at people like me. Mainly, I think it’s a pose; it allows people to cop a “holier-than-thou” attitude towards everyone else, and it also allows a contest to see who is the purest anarchist. A lot of these people would be the kind of person that throws rocks at Starbucks windows and makes statements that Obama is a sell-out (not Left-wing enough), but they have decided that that “market” is saturated, and so have decided to strike a different, even more contrarian, pose.

In Doherty’s “Radicals For Capitalism”, he spells out that there are, broadly speaking, two different kinds of libertarians; 1) the pragmatist, and 2) the idealist. The pragmatist cares about real world results, and is willing to use the political system, if he thinks that might help. The idealist is more concerned with principles or rules, such as the Non-Aggression Principle, than with outcomes, and so will not stoop to such dirty methods as voting. Most of the idealist type are attracted to anarcho-libertarianism, because it is more philosophically pure. The pragmatic type is not so concerned with purity, and usually believes that reality and human nature are too messy to fit with such a “pure” philosophical system, anyway.

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 2:58 pm

“Who says there is such a path, even in the minds of anarcho-capitalists? One of the regular contributors here, Stephan Kinsella, even wrote an article with the title “The Irrelevance of the Impossibility of Anarchocapitalism””

Again, I’m going to have to call you out like I did on the Immigration article.

How you use SKs article to support your argument puts your reading comprehension into suspicion. Kinsella demolishes your premise that ancap society is impossible but you still somehow believe it supports your case; probably because you only read the title which is seems to be the extent of your familiarity with the other ancap authors you allegedly are familiar with.

mpolzkill October 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm

He’s got plenty of comprehension skills, he’s a liar, from the Goebbels school. He’s been doing it here for years now.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm

And Polzkill has been honing his Alinsky skills (…personalize, polarize…) for years. See how he tars me with the same brush as Goebbels? So I must be the moral equivalent of Goebbels, or heck, even Hitler, even though I’m a minarchist. Neat how that works, huh?

mpolzkill October 27, 2010 at 5:38 pm

That is a reference to the “big lie” technique. Sheesh, what a drama queen.

Personalize, polarize?

“Spooner is no better than you wankers here”?

Mmm hmm. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a clear delineation between Republicans and the civilized. Thanks for always helping with that, anonymous Zionist.

DaveNat October 27, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Thank you for the comments. I certainly believe that any worldview, belief system, or even school of thought needs to be actually workable and functional; as opposed to just sounding good. I was pretty drawn to socialist views when I was much younger, but looking at the practical ends of socialism and communism in practice I eventually was able to see how all the sense it seemed to make in theory fell flat again and again in practice. Aside from trying to make my way through (valuable) works of theory, I’m also trying to take a clearer look at history to see the consequences ideas put into practice. I know that not every idea and system has been tried in history, but quite a range of them have in one way or another.

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 9:13 pm

“I certainly believe that any worldview, belief system, or even school of thought needs to be actually workable and functional; as opposed to just sounding good.”

That’s a good starting point but eventually you will want to figure out why some systems must work and why some must fail. Socialism was bound to fail according to various arguments from the Austrian school. Now there was a time when socialism appeared workable and functional and that the practice verified the theory.

That time has passed when Socialists could point to historical example as proof – but back then, those who relied solely on apparent success would have laughed off the free-market as utopian and a failure. Thanks to people like Hayek, we realized that it was the socialists who were wrong on principle.

Wildberry October 28, 2010 at 9:17 am

DaveNat,

Be careful not to believe the propaganda.

Socialism was argued to be unworkable because of lack of economic calculation.

The existence of economic calculation in human economic action has been evident throughout history. Mises, for example, wasn’t just arguing from a purely theoretical point of view. He has given many, many historical examples of how economic calculation has always been a requirement for economic activity. Without it, it becomes arbitrary, i.e. political.

He predicted the failure of socialism in Europe long before it actually failed. That was the power of his analysis. He did not sit in a room somewhere and devise a grand theory in the vacuum of his mind.

I stress the word vacuum.

Jordan Viray October 28, 2010 at 5:54 pm

DaveNat,

“Socialism was argued to be unworkable because of lack of economic calculation.”

This argument came from … the Austrian school. It’s best you ignore those who can’t even be bothered understanding the basic tenets of that school.

Wildberry October 28, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Jordan,

You are an endless source of entertainment.

“This argument came from … the Austrian school. It’s best you ignore those who can’t even be bothered understanding the basic tenets of that school.”

If it comes form the Austrian school, and you subscribe to the Austrian school, why would you advise someone to ingnore it?

I guess I knew enough to pull it out of the air (not what I was thinking) at the appropriate moment.

You don’t have a corner or knowledge or wisdom.
I think it was you who said to someone recently, “get over yourself”. Sounds right.

Fallon October 29, 2010 at 12:24 am

Wildberry,

Concerning the economic calculation problem, Mises was absolutely arguing from a theoretical point of view and what he said would stand even without empirical observation. What you might say is that Mises gathered the work of the neo-classicals and, organized it holistically and in this- along aprioristic terms, something that was already implied in part by the various directions in knowledge. Mises corrected and expanded the concept of economic calculation as well.

Go ahead and argue against praxeology, but please don’t commit the egregious error of attributing to Mises the very methodological fallacies he dedicated his life to eradicating.

Jordan Viray October 29, 2010 at 2:23 am

“If it comes form the Austrian school, and you subscribe to the Austrian school, why would you advise someone to ingnore [sic] it?”

I recommended he ignore people who don’t understand the school. Hint: You.

“You don’t have a corner or knowledge or wisdom.”

Sure, but I know enough to call you out on your lack of both.

“I think it was you who said to someone recently, “get over yourself”. Sounds right.”

Yup and it applies to his obsequious follower as well. Hint: You

Wildberry October 27, 2010 at 1:01 pm

DaveNat,
The greatest contribution here is Austrian economics. From a thorough understanding of that, you can make up your own mind about almost everything else, as Mises tells us.

The obvious Rothbardian bias here is particularly evident at the moment given the constant beating of the drum for Ancap by some of the most prominent spokespersons here, Kinsilla, Murphy, Rockwell, etc.

It is really a distraction, in my view. Every discussion always rushes to a defense of Ancap as the ultimate and only logical conclusion to the Austrian economic theories in action. Hooey. If you look at the scholarship of the likes of Mises and Hayek compared to Ancap scholarship, I think you can see what I mean. But I’ve heard bloggers here just dismiss Mises’s acceptance of self-government, and his praise for American democracy over the alternatives of his time as just “misguided”, or “if he lived long enough, we would have become an anarchist”. Wow, now that’s arrogant.
Follow your common sense. In the end, that’s about all we have to discover the truth. To use a phrase from another post, that’s how we “know what we know”.
Good luck!

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm

“The obvious Rothbardian bias here is particularly evident at the moment given the constant beating of the drum for Ancap by some of the most prominent spokespersons here, Kinsilla, Murphy, Rockwell, etc.”

Yes, that prominent spokesperson Lew Rockwell happens to be the founder of Mises.org. Oh but these people are obviously biased unlike you who constantly promotes your minarchist beliefs without having done the homework of familiarizing yourself with basic ancap literature.

“It is really a distraction, in my view. Every discussion always rushes to a defense of Ancap as the ultimate and only logical conclusion to the Austrian economic theories in action. Hooey.”

Your view might count if you actually read and understood ancap scholarship.

“If you look at the scholarship of the likes of Mises and Hayek compared to Ancap scholarship, I think you can see what I mean.”

And you are implying Rothbard’s scholarship is somehow deficient? Hardly. But you wouldn’t know because you, for some reason, prefer to criticize the scholarship of those you have not even read. And you have the temerity to call us arrogant. Ha.

Wildberry October 27, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Jordan,
Touchy, touchy!

On the point of to what extent the reduction of the State should go, there is a difference of opinion between the named scholars, as there is among the posters on this site. On the other hand, there are ample areas of agreement and mutual support. Like everything I have been saying here, things are not black or white. Like everything you have been saying here, they are.

It comes down to individual common sense. Common sense implies a certain confirmation of one’s beliefs about the way things “are” with observable, common experience. One observation is that if you put 100 people in a room and ask them to define God, you are going to get 100 answers. If you adjust the ambient temperature in that room to -60F, and ask them to define “cold”, you’ll quickly get consensus. If you take 100 people to Hawaii form diverse points on the planet and ask them to define “cold”, you are going to get quite a diversity of answers. That is, the subjective perceptions by humans are not always black or white. In fact, most things are grey.

To acknowledge that is an expression of humility. To deny that is an expression of arrogance.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 5:32 pm

“But you wouldn’t know because you, for some reason, prefer to criticize the scholarship of those you have not even read.”

How do you what people have and haven’t read? Because if we had read the Holy Texts, we would be ancaps?

Wildberry October 27, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Jordan,

At the moment I am just observing that you, as a person who insists your point of view would be an obvious conclusion for anyone who is well read, especially if they read the books on your own personal library card, appears arrogant to me. There is not a good deal of humility in your approach to discourse.

A quote from Mark Twain comes to mind, “When I left home at twenty, my parents were the most ignorant people I knew. When I returned at thirty, I was amazed at what they had learned while I was gone.”

Something like that. I think he is talking about the arrogance of youth. Most parents know about this.
If you haven’t been a parent, you may not know what I’m talking about. Oh, reading a book is not the same as living. Just like talking about baseball is not the same as playing baseball.

Go Giants!

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm

“It comes down to individual common sense. ”

Nope. Common sense is no guarantor of truth.

“That is, the subjective perceptions by humans are not always black or white. In fact, most things are grey.
To acknowledge that is an expression of humility. To deny that is an expression of arrogance.”

You are confusing subjectivity with relativism. To acknowledge what you are asserting is to give credence to your imperfect and haphazard use of reason.

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 7:53 pm

“How do you [sic] what people have and haven’t read?”

I don’t. But it’s clear when someone hasn’t done the homework.

“Because if we had read the Holy Texts, we would be ancaps?”

No, because if you had read the basic scholarship (no one calls them Holy Texts), you would be able oppose anarchocapitalism by laying out specific problems with the argumentation in that scholarship.

Bluster is no substitute for scholarly critique.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 8:23 pm

“because if you had read the basic scholarship [...], you would be able oppose anarchocapitalism by laying out specific problems with the argumentation in that scholarship.”

The problem, Jordan, is that you insist that we take a rationalist political philosophy and critique it rationalistically. In other words, you insist that we frame the debate according to your rationalistic terms. If I were to do as you say I should, I would effectively be handing you the argument, and I’m not going to do that. The very objections of people like me and Wildberry (I think) have to do with our extreme skepticism towards the very idea that one can rationally derive the proper form of government from scratch, using only reason, and skepticism towards the idea that it is then wise to tear down core existing social structures and rebuild them from scratch based on that rationalistic theory. The argument against this is basically a skeptical conservative one, ala Hayek, against the whole Rothbardian/Randian/etc. rationalistic endeavor. Our argument is that our social structure has maybe evolved the way it has for reasons, even if in our limited understanding we don’t understand exactly what those reasons might be, and to tear down a core structure of that social structure and start over from scratch because you think you are smarter than thousands of years of social evolution is “the fatal conceit”.

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 9:21 pm

“The problem, Jordan, is that you insist that we take a rationalist political philosophy and critique it rationalistically. In other words, you insist that we frame the debate according to your rationalistic terms.”

The problem is your unwillingness to proceed rationally.

“If I were to do as you say I should, I would effectively be handing you the argument, and I’m not going to do that.”

Of course you won’t hand me the argument; you’ve rejected rational argumentation.

“The very objections of people like me and Wildberry (I think) have to do with our extreme skepticism towards the very idea that one can rationally derive the proper form of government from scratch, using only reason,”

Yup, it’s called praxeology. Learn it.

“and skepticism towards the idea that it is then wise to tear down core existing social structures and rebuild them from scratch based on that rationalistic theory.”

No, I would not rebuild government once it has been torn down.

“The argument against this is basically a skeptical conservative one, ala Hayek, against the whole Rothbardian/Randian/etc. rationalistic endeavor. Our argument is that our social structure has maybe evolved the way it has for reasons, even if in our limited understanding we don’t understand exactly what those reasons might be, and to tear down a core structure of that social structure and start over from scratch because you think you are smarter than thousands of years of social evolution is “the fatal conceit”.”"

Sure, and a thousand years ago you could make the same argument that slavery should exist. Bad argument then, bad argument now.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Jordan Viray wrote:
“The problem is your unwillingness to proceed rationally.”

The problem is that you are unwilling to acknowledge that rationality might have limitations.

“No, I would not rebuild government once it has been torn down.”

But you would build “government-substitutes”; PDAs.

“Sure, and a thousand years ago you could make the same argument that slavery should exist.”

Two thousand or so years ago, Aristotle, arguably the inventor of logic, argued that slavery not only should exist, but was natural instead of a matter of social convention. So even one of the greatest thinkers we’ve ever had could not use reason to disprove slavery. But eventually our society evolved away from slavery. Do you really believe that slavery is wrong because you are so much more profound a thinker than Aristotle, and have derived this conclusion from first principles? Or is it because we as a society have learned, over the thousands of years of painful evolution since Aristotle, that we are all better off without it, and you are simply regurgitating what that evolution has since made clear?

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 11:50 pm

“The problem is that you are unwilling to acknowledge that rationality might have limitations.”

Nope. As I said, the problem is your unwillingness to proceed rationally which really is the best way to go about argumentation. Appeals to empiricism, which is the perennial fallacy of Statists, fail.

“But you would build “government-substitutes”; PDAs.”

Sort of. PDAs are not governments but they are a substitute for the monopoly on force governments claim.

“Two thousand or so years ago, Aristotle, arguably the inventor of logic, argued that slavery not only should exist, but was natural instead of a matter of social convention. So even one of the greatest thinkers we’ve ever had could not use reason to disprove slavery.”

Yes, he was undoubtedly one of the greatest thinkers in history. But his advocacy of slavery (along with the “just price”) did not proceed axiomatically.

“Do you really believe that slavery is wrong because you are so much more profound a thinker than Aristotle, and have derived this conclusion from first principles?”

Nope.

“Or is it because we as a society have learned, over the thousands of years of painful evolution since Aristotle, that we are all better off without it, and you are simply regurgitating what that evolution has since made clear?”

Nope. But keep trying to deflect the fact your argument that

even if in our limited understanding we don’t understand exactly what those reasons might be, and to tear down a core structure of that social structure and start over from scratch because you think you are smarter than thousands of years of social evolution is “the fatal conceit”

is completely fallacious as I’d already shown. Were your argument true, one could still validly promote slavery. Considering that is absurd, so too is your argument.

Russ the Apostate October 28, 2010 at 12:23 am

Jordan Viray wrote:
“As I said, the problem is your unwillingness to proceed rationally which really is the best way to go about argumentation.”

Well, certainly, proceeding “rationally” is the only way to proceed when arguing against those who are impervious to either evidence or experience. But I’m still not sold on the idea that being impervious to either evidence or experience is all that “rational”.

“Yes, he was undoubtedly one of the greatest thinkers in history. But his advocacy of slavery (along with the “just price”) did not proceed axiomatically.”

Exactly! And if one of the greatest thinkers in history failed to come up with an axiomatic argument against something that we consider fairly obviously mistaken (and even argued for its necessity), then that just goes to show you the limitations of the process of purely axiomatic thinking. Even if it can alway come up with the right answers in theory, if it is so difficult for even a genius to come up with the right answers in practice, then maybe something more (evidence? experience?) is needed to augment it.

“Were your argument true, one could still validly promote slavery.”

One could still promote slavery today, perhaps, were it not for the 2000 years of experience that we since the time of Aristotle. But we do have that experience.

“Considering that is absurd, so too is your argument.”

But why is it that we consider the idea that slavery is good so obviously absurd? I don’t think it’s because of axiomatic reasoning, else a genius like Aristotle would have come to the same conclusion. Ideas that we think are obvious often aren’t. They are something that we have learned from experience, inherited, and then take for granted and rationalize.

Jesse Forgione October 28, 2010 at 10:27 am

Russ,

There is no such thing as “evidence and experience” that contradict reason. All empirical data is necessarily interpreted according to some theory. When someone claims to be going on “evidence and experience,” it only means they want you to take their implicit theory for granted, and exempt it from critical examination.

Even if you disagree with that, exactly what evidence has there ever been that suggested the state was anything other that a violent criminal gang destroying the natural order of society? Your position is not skeptical or conservative, it’s downright insane.

And do you really want to argue that society “evolves” independent of the rational development of ideas? That can’t be what you mean, so please explain.

“…As those upholding such doctrines see it, man is an animal that has the instinct to produce poems, cathedrals, and airplanes.” –Mises

Russ the Apostate October 28, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Jesse Forgione wrote:
“There is no such thing as “evidence and experience” that contradict reason.”

I never said there was. All I am saying is that sometimes it takes evidence and experience to figure out what the correct reasoning is. Until then, it’s just a matter of people arguing “Does so! Does not!” like children (or people on Internet forums *grin*).

“…exactly what evidence has there ever been that suggested the state was anything other that a violent criminal gang destroying the natural order of society?”

The pertinent question is “Exactly what evidence has there ever been that suggests that the ‘natural order of society’ does not involve government?” After all, I’ve never seen this “natural” state. Can you show it to me? If it’s so “natural”, why has nobody ever seen it?

“Your position is not skeptical or conservative, it’s downright insane.”

You’re the fringe-dweller, not me.

“And do you really want to argue that society “evolves” independent of the rational development of ideas? That can’t be what you mean, so please explain.”

No, of course, the rational process is part of our evolution. All I’m saying is that the rational process isn’t perfect; we make mistakes. That being the case, a little caution is in order before we take theories produced by the rational process and set them up as the blueprint for a brave new world. This has happened already, with socialism.

Wildberry October 28, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Jordan my good man,

“Nope. Common sense is no guarantor of truth.”

There is no guarantor of the truth. That’s what makes life interesting.

“You are confusing subjectivity with relativism. To acknowledge what you are asserting is to give credence to your imperfect and haphazard use of reason.”

Consider it an opinion. Opinions matter. They aren’t everything, of course, they are just opinions. But they are not nothing, either. Some seem better than others.

For example:
“You are arrogant” v. “You are confusing subjectivity with relativism”.

You may be your own judge, subject to peer review.

It is imaginable that we could arrive at these opinions by reasoning from the initial premise, “Humans act”. However the “truth” of either is an open issue. The truth lies in that grey zone I have been mentioning; not so bright as to wash out everything else, and not so black that nothing is distinguishable, that is to say, neither black nor white.

Jesse Forgione October 28, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Russ,

I’m pretty sure we both understand how voluntary exchanges create natural order. And what do you mean by “no one’s ever seen it”?

To the extent that society exists, there is natural order, and it exists despite the interposition of violence by all sorts of criminal types, including the ones who call themselves “government.”

When it comes to most industries, I think we would agree as to what the outcome would be if one firm held exclusive license to provide a given service, and took payment by force whether anyone chose to hire them or not. Just to be clear, my guess is that the cost would continue to rise, while the quality of service would continue to fall… but just postulating here. ;-)

When I say your position is insane, it’s because you don’t just argue that “states” (read: thieves and killers) are inevitable (which would be a more supportable position, though I would still argue in the negative), but also that they are a necessary, integral and even beneficial[!] part of society.

The way I interpret the “evidence and experience” is that history is a graveyard of societies consumed and destroyed by states. States thrive on superstition and propaganda. They grow because they convince their victims that they are necessary, or at least inevitable. What destroys them are better ideas.

And I may be further out on the fringe, but I’ve got news for you, my friend, you’re right behind me. Want to get rid of the department of education? How about the FDA? or the Fed? or drug laws? Most people would think all of that is pretty… fringey.

So it’s a good thing for both of us that appeals to majority count for exactly doodley-squat when it comes to the value of an idea. (Actually, I just assumed you agreed with those things, so maybe you’re nowhere near the fringe.)

I understand what you mean about people who sit in ivory towers thinking up plans for a “brave new world.” Believe me, that image gives me the same nausea it gives you.

But the analogy with socialism is flawed when you apply it to anarcho-capitalism, specifically because it’s the one political philosophy that rejects coercive “planners” managing our lives.

Fallon October 29, 2010 at 12:57 am

It is a mistake to think that anarcho-capitalism would be a complete departure from the way humans have always acted. Rather, it would be building on the essential discoveries of the past that are at work today. Mises states in Liberalism, pg 63:

“The foundation of any and every civilization, including our own, is private ownership of the means of production. Whoever wishes to criticize modern civilization, therefore, begins with private property.”

DaveNat October 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Thank you, Wildberry.

Jordan,

If one does wish to become grounded in the basic AC literature that you mention, where’s a good place to start? I have been recommended Rothbard’s “Man, Economy & State”, Rockwell’s “The Left, Right, and the State,” What would you suggest?

Also, I was thinking of Hutt’s “Politically Impossible?” as an point of view on the practicality/idealism issue.

Wildberry October 27, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Your welcome.

I know you didn’t ask me, but let me offer this. Choose diversity of views. Don’t limit yourself to a single ideologue’s point of view. Learn the basics of the business cycle theory and how banking works, and read history. Breadth over narrow depth. Keep you feet on the ground.

Don’t go sailing off into the ozone where only the purist can breath. Come at it from a completely different perspective. If it’s true, it should all hang together in the realm of common sense.

That’s my 2 cents.

Warmest regards,

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 6:06 pm

I think you’re confusing Austrian theory with ancap theory. Not surprising, but they’re not the same thing. You can be Austrian without being ancap (Mises was). And Rothbard’s and the Tannehill’s approaches to ancap are more philosophical and moral than economic/utilitarian, to be honest, while Friedman is not an Austrian, so you don’t need Austrian theory to understand the ideas behind ancap.

Callahan’s “Economics For Real People” is good as a precursor to “Man, Economy and State”, if you should find it too much on the first go-round. But these are more Austrian theory than purely ancap.

David Friedman’s “Machinery of Freedom” is a non-Austrian approach to ancap; it’s sort of like Rothbard’s “For A New Liberty”, but from a neo-classical economic / utilitarian as opposed to a natural rights point of view. A more Randian approach is the Tannehill’s “Market For Liberty”. And Rothbard also has “The Ethics of Liberty”, which is sort of philosophical background for “For A New Liberty”.

Those are some of the basics of ancap, so you won’t be asking questions like “But who would build the roads?”

Jordan Viray October 27, 2010 at 8:36 pm

DaveNat,

Yes, Rothbard’s “Man, Economy & State” and “For a New Liberty” are must reads.

Recommended:
“The Economics and Ethics of Private Property” and “Democracy: The God That Failed” by Hoppe

But some of the most important insights also come from general free-market literature. In particular, free-market thinking concerning monopolies will provide valuable insight into why all monopolies, including the State monopoly (although all true monopolies can exist only with active State participation) of force and law – are inefficient.

“The Myth of National Defense: Essays on the Theory and History of Security Production” by the LvMI and “Privatization of Roads & Highways” by Walter Block address certain specific concerns.

For a nice overview of modern economic grappling with socialism and free-market ideas, “Commanding Heights” is worth the read/watch. It lays out the case in historical terms as to why State-run enterprises are on the losing side of history.

“Human Action” is important if you want to understand praxeology although Rothbard also covers the topic. But if you aren’t familiar with strictly logical (as opposed to logical in the common meaning of “sounds reasonable”) methods then I’d get familiar with logic (although I can’t really recommend modern symbolic logic as opposed to classical logic since the latter tends to be more easily applied) or geometry. It wasn’t for nothing that Plato had a sign above his philosophical school that read “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter”

Once you’ve got praxeology, logic, and history understood, you can slice through the poorly thought out arguments of Statist opponents with ease. While there are lots of ancaps on Mises.org, I’m partial to Stefan Karlsson and Per Bylund’s blogs as well as David Gordon’s analyses. Gordon is a philosopher and tends to value logical consistency a great deal which I think is important.

Wildberry October 28, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Jordan,
“Nope. Common sense is no guarantor of truth”

There is no guarantor of truth. That’s what makes life intersting.

“You are confusing subjectivity with relativism. To acknowledge what you are asserting is to give credence to your imperfect and haphazard use of reason.”

Consider it an opinion. Opinions matter. Of course they are not everything, they are just opinions. But they are not nothing either. Some seem better than others.

For example, “You are arrogant.” v. “You are confusing subjectivity with realativism”.

Both are opinions. You be the judge.

Of couse we can not settle this just between ourselves, because both opinions exist in that grey zone I’ve been mentioning. Not so bright as to wash everything else out, and not so black that nothing can be distinguished, i.e. not black or white.

Jordan Viray October 28, 2010 at 5:15 pm

@Russ the Discredited

Well, certainly, proceeding “rationally” is the only way to proceed when arguing against those who are impervious to either evidence or experience. But I’m still not sold on the idea that being impervious to either evidence or experience is all that “rational”.

Axiomatic reasoning done from true axioms and proceeding logically is necessarily true and therefore impervious to evidence and experience. Evidence and experience might lead you to question that reasoning for which a proper objection is to point out how an axiom fails or how the logic was flawed.

And if one of the greatest thinkers in history failed to come up with an axiomatic argument against something that we consider fairly obviously mistaken (and even argued for its necessity), then that just goes to show you the limitations of the process of purely axiomatic thinking.

Sure, purely axiomatic thinking has its limitations. But on the matter that it does pronounce, it supersedes your god of falsifiability and empirical evidence.

Even if it can alway come up with the right answers in theory, if it is so difficult for even a genius to come up with the right answers in practice, then maybe something more (evidence? experience?) is needed to augment it.

Like I said, evidence and experience have their uses. But neither is needed as you say for praxeology.

One could still promote slavery today, perhaps, were it not for the 2000 years of experience that we since the time of Aristotle. But we do have that experience.

Better yet to avoid thousands of years of slavery and get it right the first time. But I can’t begrudge The Philosopher that. No need to use “experience” when we have a better system.

But why is it that we consider the idea that slavery is good so obviously absurd? I don’t think it’s because of axiomatic reasoning, else a genius like Aristotle would have come to the same conclusion.

Considering Aristotle did *not* proceed axiomatically in his social and economic thinking, your argument fails.

Ideas that we think are obvious often aren’t. They are something that we have learned from experience, inherited, and then take for granted and rationalize.

And sometimes ideas are necessary results of certain axioms and not taken for granted and rationalized. Like anarchy.

@”Wildberry”

There is no guarantor of the truth. That’s what makes life interesting.

Wrong. Logic guarantees the truth of a validly constructed conclusion if the premises are true. If you are a human and you consider the proposition “humans act” then certain things follow necessarily.

It is imaginable that we could arrive at these opinions by reasoning from the initial premise, “Humans act”. However the “truth” of either is an open issue. The truth lies in that grey zone I have been mentioning; not so bright as to wash out everything else, and not so black that nothing is distinguishable, that is to say, neither black nor white.

If you arrive at those “opinions” praxeologically and your logic stands up, then it is true. Of course you cannot do that so don’t bother. There may be a grey zone but not in areas covered by praxeology.

@JesseRight on.

RWW October 26, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Voting isn’t worth the time it takes to do it. And talking about voting is even more worthless. So I’ll leave it at that and be gone.

Al Sledge October 26, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Between stuffing the (electronic) ballot boxes and the cemetary vote, you or I can’t change the course of the nation, nor even control the dog catcher “race”. The Big Lie is that “We are the government”. The second largest lie is that “soldiers died so we can vote”, but I was a soldier 40 years ago and never met a troop who shared that idea of killing so Americans could vote. I did what I was ordered to do as I did not want to go to jail for refusing an order that would in turn embarrass my family. Instead the family ended up with two drunk and doper sons. My younger brother died at age 55 likely a result of Agent Orange, while I was diagnosed with terminal cancer 9 years ago. Some heros, eh? At least I got off the booze and dope some 30 years ago but live in pain every day.

Lie number 3 is “every vote counts”. I voted for Ron Paul as did not of my kids and many co-workers. Checking the results here in Florida I find “we only publish the votes of qualified candidates”. Our vote did NOT count!

If I were to waste my time voting this time, I would vote for the socialism of the democrats. Both partys will cause the eventual destruction of the nation so we may as well do it in the most expedient way possible to get it over quickly, not prolong the pain, and just possibly do it right the next time with the Constitution strengthened. People need to get over their flag waving delusions and see how the world really works.

newson October 27, 2010 at 4:26 am

great post.

Walt D. October 27, 2010 at 11:11 pm

I live in California and the bus is headed downhill off the cliff. The Driver has his their foot to the floor. Someone else if prepared to back off the throttle, but nobody is going to slam on the brakes – the bus is going off the cliff regardless.
California is going tits up as soon as bailouts from Washington stop, which they will happen as soon as Republicans takeover the House, and are in the position to block funding. So I hope that Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer get re-elected. Then they can take the blame for the bankruptcy of California that they started, and go down with the sinking ship. There will be a lot of whining about having to cut funding for education. But lets face it, California is close to the bottom when it comes SAT scores and dropouts, and close to the top in terms of dollars spent per student.

Zorg October 27, 2010 at 2:52 am

The politicians all make speeches
While the newsmen all take notes
And they exaggerate the issues
As they shove it down our throats

Is it really up to them
Whether this country sinks or floats
Well I wonder who would lead us
If none of us would vote

~Larry Norman, The Great American Novel

Wildberry October 27, 2010 at 11:51 am

Zorg,

Don’t know this Larry Norman guy, but since you do, is he arguing for or against? Seems one could take it either way.

If you think he is advocating not voting, then how does he answer his own question?

The road to serfdom leads to totalitarianism. If I understand the situation, serfs don’t vote either.

Sounds to me like drop-outs are volunteering to put their heads in the noose. Exercising the right to vote is just one, very small exercise of one’s refusal to do so. It is not the entire responsibility that comes with citizenship.

Zorg October 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm

“Don’t know this Larry Norman guy, but since you do, is he arguing for or against? Seems one could take it either way.”

Larry Norman (RIP) was a great radical Christian musician who wrote
a lot of great songs, some of which contained biting social commentary
of the anti-establishment variety. You can look up the song lyrics and
interpret them how you want. It’s a song, not a treatise.

“serfs don’t vote either.”

I suppose the best way to keep a man a serf is to let him vote
because then he’ll think he’s free. : )

“Sounds to me like drop-outs are volunteering to put their heads in the noose. Exercising the right to vote is just one, very small exercise of one’s refusal to do so”

Voting is not a right.

Wildberry October 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm

“Voting is not a right”

Have you been in jail, Zorg?

Zorg October 28, 2010 at 8:09 pm

I don’t know what your question about jail means.

Voting is not a right. You have a right to your life, your liberty, your
property, etc. You do not have a right to surreptitiously appoint
someone to be your representative in depriving other people of
their right to life, liberty, property.

Since it can be easily demonstrated that whoever you have voted for in
the past has enabled the violation of human rights in numerous ways, it
is insane to believe that these people are “fighting for liberty” or that
you are serving that cause by empowering them to violate people’s rights
through voting.

Clear?

mpolzkill October 28, 2010 at 8:32 pm

“I don’t know what your question about jail means.”

Most people’s conception of rights: privileges handed out by strongmen.

They learned in public school. Pity them.

Wildberry October 29, 2010 at 12:19 am

Zorg,

If you are a convicted felon, then voting is not a right any longer.

My rights to life, liberty and certain property rights are considered unalienable under Constutitional law, which, as a citizen of the US, I have a right to assert and defend in a court of law.
If you read the constitution (try it, it’s not long) you will find that the procedure for voting members of Congress and the President are provided for.

“You do not have a right to surreptitiously appoint
someone to be your representative in depriving other people of
their right to life, liberty, property.”

Who said I did? And certainly not surreptitiously, anyway!

“Since it can be easily demonstrated that whoever you have voted for in
the past has enabled the violation of human rights in numerous ways, it
is insane to believe that these people are “fighting for liberty” or that
you are serving that cause by empowering them to violate people’s rights
through voting.”

OK, somewhere in here is an argument. Let’s see… Since people were voted into office, and those people supported slavery, and slavery is bad, then voting is bad because it empowers them to violate people’s rights by instituting slavery. Conclusion: don’t vote, it causes slavery.
I vote. I cause slavery. And that’s why I personally owe restitution to those who are descended from slavery.

Now if I would have only started that whole chain of logic with “humans act”, I could have made Jordan’s argument for him, too.

This is really getting out there.

No, not too clear at all.

boniek October 27, 2010 at 4:21 am

If nobody were to vote they would make it compulsory.

Niko October 27, 2010 at 5:02 am

There is a similar discussion on slashdot. Best replay so far:“…Except for the fact you don’t seem to understand what political analysts look at when they look at election reports. If in a given election year there are 40 people who voted democrat, 50 people who voted republican 7 people who voted libertarian and 3 people who voted for the green party, the republicans are going to try to win that 7% of libertarians to vote for their candidate next year by passing more libertarian-style laws or running a more libertarian-leaning candidate. Now, while this might not amount to much change and many times the changes are purely superficial, that vote for the third party made a difference.

But really, saying that you didn’t vote then complaining is just as silly as saying you are hungry but you didn’t even make an effort to find food.”Personally I don’t find voting useful. It is a sham to give validity to rulers. But it was an interesting point of view.

Wildberry October 27, 2010 at 11:42 am

“It is a sham to give validity to rulers.”

You talk like you are living under Stalin.

I thought you ware making some good minimalist arguments for at least one value in voting, no matter if your candidate gets elected.

But failure to vote is a minimalist response in itself to a system of representative government. I don’t have his book with me, so I cant’ quote directly (maybe someone here can?) but I just fininshed Mises’s Bureauacracy, and his closing line is something like, “Representative government is not something you can simply argue about, it requires daily and constant vigilance to renew and keep vital.” Something like that.

This is Ludwig von Mises speaking, you know the guy this joint is named for. His view on this subject is at least worth considering. Being a non-native American, as seems to often be the case, he had an appreciation for the unique opportunities in America compared to other countries, including his own native land, during a time when the whol world seemed to be heading towards socialism and totalitarianism. Neither Russia nor Germany have yet been able to match what we are starting out with.

To me, that’s something worth respecting. It gives me pause to think about the possibilities.

Either way, simply voting (or not voting) is not much of an effort in relation to a notion of “daily and constant vigilance”. It is the very, very minimal. Some here can’t even bother to do that much.

Sad, very sad.

Charles October 27, 2010 at 2:24 pm

That’s part of the problem — voting is so easy. It doesn’t require vigilance, or intelligence. People who pay nothing in taxes and are subsidized by the government can go on voting themselves other people’s money.

I don’t know if you people ever go outside, or spend any time among the masses. If you did, you’d quickly realize that democracy is a terrible idea. There are millions of people in this country who are lazy, envious, ignorant, stupid and of low morals. These people conflate voting with some great accomplishment, and are very proud of themselves for voting, in much the same way a child is proud of himself for pinching a loaf in the toilet bowl.

Against such a force, you are hopeless.

Russ the Apostate October 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I’m not opposed to a law that restricts voting to net tax producers, rather than net tax comsumers. Or maybe if a person has been on welfare in the past X years, he can’t vote? Or maybe we should bring back a property requirement. I would actually like a literacy test, but that would be politically impossible, as it would be considered racist. (I would also like an economic literacy test, in order to qualify to run for office, but that’s just another pipe dream.)

Anyway, I agree that democracy is not anywhere close to perfect. But it’s what we’ve got, and it’s not going away any time soon. We can either try to use the system against itself, or we can do nothing except bitch and moan on Internet forums.

Zorg October 28, 2010 at 4:34 pm

“This is Ludwig von Mises speaking, you know the guy this joint is named for. His view on this subject is at least worth considering”

Mises acknowledged the full right of secession. Google “Was Mises an
Anarchist?” by Stephan Kinsella.

Since secession is the essence of anarchy (just ask Abraham Lincoln),
where does that leave Mises? Probably right where most people are
who delve into the question, i.e., that the principle of self-determination
should be pushed as far as it will go…and then a little more…and then
a little more.

Mises apparently would have stopped at the smallest units
of the body politic for practical reasons, but he also said that,
“If it were in any way possible to grant this right of self-determination to
every individual person, it would have to be done.”

I think the only real difference is that a self-described anarchist holds always
to the principle and doesn’t acknowledge that any “practical considerations” are
ever actually a valid objection to liberty. There is nothing in principle which
would not allow secession down to the level of the individual. Those who fall
short of this seem to appeal to political necessity, which to me sounds just like
every other acceptance of political compromise. IOW, there’s no argument there,
it’s just the tendency to compromise with opposing forces for the sake of
what is perceived to be stability (which Chodorov references in the article).

So you make a pact with criminals that they shouldn’t rob you quite so much, and
when they do rob you they should be nice about it, or else you’ll get really
mad and vote for the other gang’s representative. : )

But to me, nothing could be more stable than a fully free society. It’s just that
people are trained to be constantly afraid of phantoms, and so they are easy
prey for demagogues who offer to “protect” them from unknown dangers through
this deceptive and unworkable grant of “power.” This fear-based psychological subservience has to be broken. It really is a case of people not being free in their minds
and therefore not free in the larger society they create.

I think an anarchist sees clearly that there are only people in the world, and
that these people form institutions. They don’t mythologize people and groups, and
so they don’t see why any rational person should ever have to compromise their
rights vis-a-vis other rational people. So they encourage people to be rational
and not violent. They see the state for what it is, an institution which rests upon
the initiation of violence, and say there is no reason whatsoever to accept it. It’s
just wrong.

Joe October 27, 2010 at 10:56 pm

@Niko,
You are the Authority. We give the rulers power and we take it away. You want to be viable and responsible? Get a grip and find out who has the power in this country.

A Public Servant's Blackberry October 27, 2010 at 5:15 am

If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.

Emma Goldman

Wildberry October 27, 2010 at 11:19 am

Who and how?

Just a small point.

Joe October 27, 2010 at 11:19 pm

@A Public Servant’s Blackberry, When something is staring you in the face either you can believe it or ignore it. When Barack Obama was elected and now is in his 2nd year, do you think things have changed in this country? What type of facts do you need to see. Do you think that the national debt has increased substantially under Obama? Do you think that Obamacare is real? Do you think that your freedoms are not being taken away? Do you think when FDR started Social Security that it was a minor change? Do you think the Federal Reserve was a minor change? Do you think taxing income was a minor change? I don’t know how old you are but there has been change. The change is a lost of your liberty. So while people die for liberty you give us a little quote from some communist. The socialists know what happens when they give up their Authority. Stalin had a lot of fun in eliminating millions. Some people take this subject matter seriously. Some would like to sit in the back and make snide remarks and remain safe. Be like Wildberry and come out of the shadows and let us know what you really think.

Jesse Forgione October 28, 2010 at 10:58 am

Joe,

All of those examples fall into one of two categories. Either they were enforced by government against popular opinion, or they were supported by the public, which makes the case against democracy in general.

The state won’t make “voting” illegal, since it’s a key part of their propaganda, but the sentiment is certainly accurate. They have people vote to create the illusion that we bear responsibility for the actions of the criminal state, but only because our performing the spectacle of voting gives them more power, not less.

Joe October 28, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Jesse,
We are not a democracy. If we were than you would have a point. We are a constitutional republic. We put limits on government. We don’t have strict majority rule. We do need to have a Supreme Court that throws out unconstitutional law. People are human and we make mistakes. There is no such thing as a perfect society or government.
It is easy to keep on referring to the state like it is some separate entity. You, we are the state. You have a very low opinion of humans. Are we all a bunch of sheep that listen to the state? Can we make change in our lives that better reflect our values?
Based on what you say there is no future. We all should just drink the koolaid.

Jesse Forgione October 28, 2010 at 2:21 pm

There’s no worse mistake than thinking that “we are the state.” In absolutely no sense is the state “us.” The state is that gang of thugs that exists by stealing from the rest of society and maintaining a monopoly on the use of force.

I happen to think mankind is the greatest thing ever to have existed, and I’m pretty optimistic about the future. Good ideas will be the death of the state eventually, and since information moves faster than ever, probably sooner than they expect.

It’s only a question of how long it takes to get people to stop “drinking the kool-aid,” stop being “a bunch of sheep that listen to the state,” and stop participating in their own subjugation by going through the mindless ritual of voting.

Joe October 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm

@Jesse,
You know Jesse I hope what you say comes true but I have serious doubts. I think you and I have a different definition of “the state.” Here is my description. The state is made up of humans that have been elected to office by other humans. These voters have representatives that are supposed to represent their values. Of course it is not always the case. Then we vote for different representatives. The state changes based on the individual. As you can see how the Obama administration created change. Of course I don’t agree with that change so hopefully enough individuals will let Obama know how they feel on November 2. The point being is that individuals determine the makeup of the government. If good ideas are shared and information is now accessed quicker than we will evolve to a better society.
I hope the good ideas have a capacity to change human nature so we can get rid of the government. Until that time I’m going to use my Authority as best as I can to try and make the state as small as I can and let people live their lives.

Mit October 28, 2010 at 5:48 pm

To All Patriots and Constitutionalists: Some Critical Considerations on the United States Constitution

http://freeofstate.org/new/?p=6136

Joe, Wildberry, et al, you are arguing with anarchists. Your points have no relevance to them. Throwing the constitution at them only makes them grin a little.

Jesse Forgione October 28, 2010 at 6:19 pm

That’s true, we do grin, but not nearly so wide as the grins of the politicians and gangsters you expect that parchment to control.

Joe October 28, 2010 at 10:23 pm

@Mit,
We understand that they grin a little but that is a ego problem. They should thank their lucky stars that they live in a country where a constitution and a republican government has allowed them to think that Ancap can work in the world. If they were like Ayn Rand and others who escaped Russia they might have a different spin.

Wildberry October 29, 2010 at 2:07 am

Mit,
Thanks for the heads up. I was thinking I was making some headway, but I am beginning to understand what you mean when you say:
“… you are arguing with anarchists. Your points have no relevance to them.”

I admit I am dismayed by the general lack of appreciation for any view not strictly expressed in the words and holdings of their favorite mentors. But we all have our own mentors. There can be little richness in discourse if we bring only thoughts from the approved reading list to the campfire.

One would think that the writing of von Mises himself, spoken through one of his most important works, Human Action, would gain more than a simple, all knowing grin and disparaging dismissal.

Here is something he said on page 149 of that book:

“Anarchism believes that education could make all people comprehend what their own interests require them to do; rightly instructed they would of their own accord always comply with the rules of conduct indispensable for the preservation of society. The anarchists contend that a social order in which nobody enjoys privileges at the expense of his fellow-citizens could exist without any compulsion and coercion for the prevention of action detrimental to society. Such an ideal society could do without state and government; i.e., without a police force, the social apparatus of coercion and compulsion.”
“An anarchistic society would be exposed to the mercy of every individual. Society cannot exist if the majority is not ready to hinder, by the application or threat of violent action, minorities from destroying the social order. This power is vested in the state or government.”
“Liberalism realizes that the rulers, who are always a minority, cannot lastingly remain in office if not supported by the consent of the majority of those ruled. Whatever the system of government may be, the foundation upon which it is built and rests is always the opinion of those ruled that to obey and to be loyal to this government better serves their own interests than insurrection and the establishment of another regime. The majority has the power to do away with an unpopular government and uses this power whenever it becomes convinced that its own welfare requires it.”

One would think, given that this is the Ludwig von Mises Institute, that such expressions from such a man would be granted more that a dismissive grin.

Read the above, and then look back over this posting, and tell me who should be grinning.
For despite the convictions of those Mises is describing here, they remain an insignificant minority. In fact, as many have pointed out here, in the history of humanity, they have always remained so. I have no objection to this endeavor, if this is what they want to be and remain. Live and let live.
What I do mind, however, is that fact that such fanaticism kills further discourse concerning any views that exist beyond that tight sphere of belief that they call “anarchist scholarship”. In the context of human scholarship, its place is and likely always will be insignificant.

However, the study of economics, sociology, and government, has occupied the energies of history’s greatest minds, and few have remained advocates of anarchism for long.
One might take a measure of humility from that fact. But humility and anarchism appear incompatible.

Fallon October 29, 2010 at 2:37 am

Wildberry,

Your disparagements tend to outweigh whatever quality there might be in your arguments. At any rate, what if Mises read Ricardo and other greats as if they were perfect? Mises would have accepted the labor theory of value.

Do you think Human Action is a perfect book and the final say on all economic knowledge? Please, at least give an example where you think Mises might have been wrong so at least I know you have abilities beyond maximizing word count…

mpolzkill October 29, 2010 at 6:07 am

“I am dismayed by the general lack of appreciation for any view not strictly expressed in the words and holdings of their favorite mentors….[why don't you more strictly follow the words of one of your favorite mentors]”

Delirious.

Look, anonymous Constitutionalist, we have fundamental differences of opinion. We probably won’t be voting for your candidates so why don’t you just forget about it? Hey, the title of an article on LRC today written especially for you:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig10/sale5.1.1.html

I pulled the 50,000 Rothbardians number out of thin air, here’s another one: 200,000 Constitutionalists? Good luck to you, too. That anonymous “apostate” all over this page? 60,000,000 Muslim hating, lefty hating, comfort loving, morally flexible Americans? He looks down on those who won’t hold their noses and join Murder Inc. (GOP)? What a joke. An antidote for him and his crap on Antiwar today:

http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2010/10/27/the-tea-party-disconnect/

Jesse Forgione October 29, 2010 at 10:50 am

What was the point of posting that passage from Human Action? Was there anyone here who was confused about the fact that Mises wasn’t an anarchist?

You might as well disprove Relativity by trotting out Newton.

No matter how long it takes people to realize, and even if they never do, the truth will still be the truth. The “state” is nothing but a gang of criminals that grows more powerful until it destroys the host society.

That fact will always be an elephant in the room, and everyone who can see what the state is will be trying to get rid of it.

Charles October 27, 2010 at 11:19 am

The state holds elections because it knows that elections work to the benefit of the state. If elections didn’t serve the interests of the bloodthirsty, rapacious and unscrupulous ruling class, they would be replaced with something else. You are not allowed to vote for an end to legalized plunder and exploitation, because those are the reasons why the state exists. If you really think your rulers are benevolently granting you the means to end their privilege, you are a moron and deserve what is coming to you.

Here’s a reality check, regarding the significance of the upcoming contest between the tweedle-dees and tweedle-dums.

All the killing being done by the U.S. government, of men, women and children in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, kept out of the sight and out of the minds of the voting masses, is of far greater consequence than another ridiculous election, which is nothing but a pageant for the legitimization of state crimes.

It is all this bloodshed that is sowing the seeds of another “incident” in the United States. This government is a totalitarian police state waiting for an excuse. Psychologically and logistically, the groundwork has been laid. When it happens, even clueless voting drones might notice they are as free, and as safe, as pigs in a slaughterhouse. And it won’t matter which cretins are in office.

Joe October 27, 2010 at 11:09 pm

@Charles,
So they got to you. The State has you convinced that there is nothing that can be done. You are ready to lay down and die? You don’t think voters have power. If we don’t have the Authority than who has the Authority? It is easy to give up. It’s time to fight. Educate your friends to fight the current government monster. You think you can give up your responsibility, but you can’t. What happens in this country is partly yours and mind and every other individuals. There are people that want you to revert back to the ancient times when people thought there was an Authority beyond themselves. For six thousand years people thought they could give up their Authority. It didn’t work. James Madison knew it didn’t work. He and a few great men drew up a government that we couldn’t keep because we gave up. There have been to many good men and women who have died to give up the fight. The young people know something is wrong and they need to choose the right course. Read history and see what the right course should be. If you do anything read “The Discovery of Freedom” by Rose Wilder Lane. If this book doesn’t inspire you and inform you than nothing will.
It is great to sit on this site and be very intellectual and speak of Ancap and how pure it is, blah, blah, blah. It’s time to get into the trenches and fight for what is right. Fight for Liberty. Madison tried to give it to us but we neglected our Authority. Let’s get it back and show Benjamin Franklin that we can keep this Constitution Republic.

Charles October 28, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I didn’t say nothing can be done. I only said that voting won’t do it. Participating in the system is working against your own beliefs, if you believe in peace and liberty.

Wildberry October 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Charles,
Not to get galactic or anything, but I just can’t see how you are not part of the System.

You are alive, so you are part of the “ecology of the Planet” sytem. You are a human, so you are part of the “human system”. You live in America (I am presuming) so you are part of the “American system”.

Every act or omission to act is taken within the context of “the system”, and therefore interacts with it. So an omission to vote is an action you are taking within the Amerian political system.

Assuming that your acts have some rational basis based on your preferences, just state what they are. To continue to insist that you are not part of the system seems inaccurate, like it or not.

Zorg October 28, 2010 at 7:56 pm

“It is great to sit on this site and be very intellectual and speak of Ancap and how pure it is, blah, blah, blah. It’s time to get into the trenches and fight for what is right. Fight for Liberty.”

Well, without the correct “blah, blah, blah,” you really don’t know what it
means to “fight for what is right,” and therefore you won’t be able to
“Fight for Liberty” effectively.

People have been voting for hundreds of years, and what we have is exactly
what voting produces. People vote benefits for themselves. Those with money
and power see that they can buy votes with promises, and so they follow
that incentive. It’s economics, right?

The mistake is to somehow think that the system is “not working.” It’s working
the way it’s supposed to work. It’s just a bad system. So if you want something
that works to protect rights, you’ll have to first reject the idea of an
institution based on the initiation of force which is the very opposite of a
rights-protecting institution.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Now tell two friends.

Joe October 28, 2010 at 10:33 pm

@Zorg,
Yes the system does work. You want to change it to your values you can. Educate enough individuals to see the world as you see it and you can have the system work for you. This constitution is a limit on government. That limit has been expanding because people who don’t think like you changed the system. It is not really that hard to understand. Unless you can come up with some other reasonable and rational way to change peoples minds and their human nature than I think you will have a problem with your idea of a future. While your trying to work outside the system the socialists and people voting for benefits for themselves will continue to do so. So what is the next best thing? Let us all know. Give us a plan other than condemning a system that can work for you.

Wildberry October 27, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Does anyone know the number of Rothbardian Americans living today? Somone said there are 50,000.

I’ve never seen that particular demographic. Is it in the new Census count?

ABR October 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm

If Joe Blow ran for office, claiming he wants to abolish public education, social security, … (fill in the blanks), and you believed him, would those who typically don’t vote, change their minds?

Mit October 28, 2010 at 5:56 pm

No. It simply legitimizes the usurpers of liberty. Just walk away.

Gil November 1, 2010 at 3:00 am

Legitimises what? If indeed a party could be elected that would disband most of the government departments then why not vote for them? How ironic would be if such a party did exist but couldn’t get the required votes because of all the non-voters?

Zorg October 28, 2010 at 7:13 pm

“If Joe Blow ran for office, claiming he wants to abolish public education, social security, … (fill in the blanks), and you believed him, would those who typically don’t vote, change their minds?”

Would Joe Blow sign a contract to that effect and put up his house, his car,
and his bank account as a bond against his failure to perform?

Allen Weingarten October 27, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Jordan, you write “If you are indeed non-human, praxeology does not apply to you. It does, however, apply to humans. So if you wish to claim you are not human, then I will no longer object to what you say along praxeological lines. So, are you human?”

I am struck that you are so tied to falsifiability. Earlier you erred by speaking about the reality of the political process, as if reality mattered. Next, your inerrant praxeology that “men act” led you to believe that you could reason with me. Now, instead of confining yourself to your apodictic theory, you are concerned with whether or not I am human (which is a falsifiable issue of reality). Finally, you not only are concerned with reality, but are willing to take the word of an android that I am human, which isn’t even considered proof from a praxeological or empirical perspective.

It is a shame that this occurs after you proved to me that one should not have to provide empirical evidence, but need only have a theory which ipse dixit must be right. So I shall asseverate that it is necessarily true that the android Weingarten is human. Please don’t bother me with the facts.

Jordan Viray October 28, 2010 at 12:14 am

“I am struck that you are so tied to falsifiability.”

I, on the other hand, am not surprised that you’ve decided to resort to blatant misrepresentation of my position. Considering my views to the contrary are plain for all to see, you only succeed in convincing the reader of your questionable honesty.

“Earlier you erred by speaking about the reality of the political process, as if reality mattered.”

Unfortunately you continue to fail to distinguish between using the political process to fight the state and the legitimacy of the state itself. Not that any of that is a surprise.

“Next, your inerrant praxeology that “men act” led you to believe that you could reason with me. Now, instead of confining yourself to your apodictic theory, you are concerned with whether or not I am human (which is a falsifiable issue of reality).”

Nope. A discussion of praxeology is not relevant if you are an android. Hence the question which you are painfully dodging.

“Finally, you not only are concerned with reality, but are willing to take the word of an android that I am human, which isn’t even considered proof from a praxeological or empirical perspective.”

True. Praxeology concerns reality far more than empirical sciences are. But even if you merely claimed you were human while being an android in reality, that would not set you free of the requirement to act as a human and therefore submit to praxeological concerns (at least as long as you claimed to be human).

I’m sure your argument must have seemed clever at the time though.

“It is a shame that this occurs after you proved to me that one should not have to provide empirical evidence, but need only have a theory which ipse dixit must be right. So I shall asseverate that it is necessarily true that the android Weingarten is human. Please don’t bother me with the facts.”

Great. Now that you claim to be human, praxeology applies to you. Any other excuses for not doing the homework?

Russ the Apostate October 28, 2010 at 12:27 am

Jordan, methinks you have to adjust your sarcasm detector. Or maybe install a sarcasm detector?

Allen Weingarten October 28, 2010 at 7:11 am

“Now that you claim to be human, praxeology applies to you.”

Jordan, the application of praxeology cannot depend upon my claim to be human, because that relies upon falsifiability. Moreover you have proven my dishonesty, and noted that it is seen by others. Again and again, these are empirical matters, rather than reliance upon what we know from pure theory.

Why do you continue to focus upon these matters of reality when you have proven that we need only employ praxeology? Deep down you are mired in the fallacious theory of falsifiability.☺

Jordan Viray October 28, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Jordan, the application of praxeology cannot depend upon my claim to be human, because that relies upon falsifiability.

Nope. Praxeology applies to humans. Anything, human or otherwise, that wishes to discuss human action automatically must address praxeological concerns. The fact that you could be an alien rather than a human introduces no falsifiability to praxeology.

Neat attempt anyway and I’m sure it fools people who don’t think clearly.

Moreover you have proven my dishonesty, and noted that it is seen by others. Again and again, these are empirical matters, rather than reliance upon what we know from pure theory.

Wrong. Your implication that I only rely on pure theory vs. empiricist methods is false. I’ve already pointed said that empirical methods have their place; it’s just that place does not extend as far as you hoped.

Why do you continue to focus upon these matters of reality when you have proven that we need only employ praxeology? Deep down you are mired in the fallacious theory of falsifiability.

Wrong again. One must employ praxeology when dealing with human action. Any other course is disingenuous. But I can’t blame you for practicing what you know best – creating strawmen.

Walt D. October 28, 2010 at 1:16 am

From “The Merchant of Venice”
ARRAGON
He opens the silver casket
PORTIA
Too long a pause for that which you find there.
ARRAGON
What’s here? the portrait of a blinking idiot,
Presenting me a schedule! I will read it.
How much unlike art thou to Portia!
How much unlike my hopes and my deservings!
‘Who chooseth me shall have as much as he deserves.’
Did I deserve no more than a fool’s head?
Is that my prize? are my deserts no better?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: