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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6053/law-enforcement-socialism/

Law-Enforcement Socialism

December 22, 2006 by

Every year, more prisons are built, more money is funneled to police departments, more criminal law is written and yet domestic crime remains a major problem. Explanations abound as to why this is. There fundamental explanation makes logic out of the entire mess but is almost never voiced: Socialism. Law enforcement agencies, courts, prisons, legislative bodies — all of the key institutions that are supposed to produce justice are owned and maintained by the state. FULL ARTICLE

{ 102 comments }

Kevin B. December 27, 2006 at 6:40 pm

“I propose another economic experiment. Post a sign, “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK,” at every freeway entrance and pull the state patrols out. See how well anarchy solves the traffic problem.”

Are you referring to public freeways? That isn’t anarchy, bud.

Speaking of freeways, having lived in southern California, I have many times longed for private freeways.

I ask my relatives who live here, “Couldn’t you build a grimy, pot-holed, bumper-to-bumper road yourself?” Imagine a talented entrepreneur on the job!

Once the State is out of the way, it is easy to see how private freeways could flourish. I’m not sure how streets could be taken care of, so I wouldn’t make my millions there. Has anyone seen a good article on privatization of city streets?

Kevin B. December 27, 2006 at 7:24 pm

Individuals are the system. It is pointless to argue that government is broken and anarchy would fix it.

The government (or the system) is broken because most people are broken. Anarchy, or anarcho-capitalism, would be a great system – something to shoot for. But anarchy requires that most people respect each other’s rights. In reality they don’t. Ask yourself how many people believe it is ok to steal, cheat, kill, etc. under certain circumstances. I’d say the majority.

I’m not saying we need government because people are this way. We HAVE government because people are this way. Government is a symptom, not a band-aid. It is the hand motivated by the moral deficiency of numerous individuals.

Don’t bother asking whether anarchy would work, because it doesn’t matter. What matters is when will most people respect each other enough to achieve anarchy.

When it comes to others’ rights, all they see are shades of grey.

averros December 27, 2006 at 8:14 pm

Kevin B. –

But anarchy requires that most people respect each other’s rights.

Any system requires most people to respect each other’s rights, as understood under that system. Without that respect any society disintegrates into a chaos of barbarism and tribal warfare.

The Western-style democracy, for example, is totally impossible with a population of thieves or a culture elevating clan loyalties above the common law. Neither it is possible in a culture having little respect of the individual rights (the democracies without respect to individual rights tend to spectacularly disintegrate – taking millions of lives with them, as the 20th century amply demonstrated).

We HAVE government because people are this way.

We have government because people have that irrational belief in the Government Almighty. The beliefs can change, though. They can change really fast, if the recent history is any guide – as any eyewitness to the collapse of the Soviet state can testify.

It is pointless to argue that government is broken and anarchy would fix it.

It is not pointless to tell people that their beliefs are wrong. Some of them will listen and understand the truth. They will tell it to more people. Eventually enough people will hear.

Sam December 27, 2006 at 8:16 pm

How exactly are the 40,000 deaths on the roads the Government’s problem? Was it because the Government forced people out of their quaint, slow horses & buggies and forced them into fast, dangerous cars? How is it Government’s fault some people speed, drive under the influence of drugs/alcohol, drive whilst fatigued, fail to slow down in adverse weather conditions, run red lights, etc. What would private enterprises do differently to minimize the road toll?

Kevin B. December 27, 2006 at 9:11 pm

averros,

It isn’t just that people believe they need government. Many people WANT government. They want someone to coerce you into being the good person they think you should be and they want you to pay for it. Tell them it is stealing and they won’t agree, or they’ll say it’s ok in this circumstance.

“The beliefs can change, though.”

Good luck changing a nation of thieves into a nation of respect. Count me in.

“It is not pointless to tell people that their beliefs are wrong.”

How do you tell a thief that stealing is wrong?

I am not saying anarchy is impossible, nor am I saying that government is necessary. I am saying that the people don’t want the system you advocate because they want to have control over others.

“Any system requires most people to respect each other’s rights”

I meant that anarchism would require more respect than presently shown.

I don’t believe we have the State because society is ignorant of the alternatives. I say we have the State because society is corrupt.

So how do you convince a thief that he should stop stealing?

Peter December 28, 2006 at 1:27 am

How do you tell a thief that stealing is wrong?

If you meet a thief, try saying “stealing is wrong”. Most likely response will be “I know”.

Mark Brabson December 28, 2006 at 1:31 am

Kevin B.

I find that staring down the business end of a .357 will convince most thiefs of the error of their ways.

John Coleman December 28, 2006 at 5:28 pm

RogerM: The London experiment wasn’t quite as you described it. Heroin is an approved opioid in the U.K, as it is in several other countries in the world. What you may be referring to is a provision that was passed allowing heroin to be prescribed to addicts for treatment of their addiction. Several clinics, as I recall, were opened in Liverpool and perhaps London for this purpose. The results were mixed. Yes, there were fewer infections from dirty needles and contaminated fillers one finds in the street form of the drug. But, the addictions actually worsened because of a universal phenomenon known as tolerance that one who takes opioids cannot avoid because of the pharmacology of the drug. I am not certain but I believe these heroin maintenance programs are pretty much on the outs nowadays. I’ve heard they are still in existence in Germany and perhaps Holland. The nexus between drug use and crime is sometimes overplayed. No doubt there were some drops in certain types of crimes but this is a small benefit for something that degrades the funtion of government. It’s hard to see how life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness is in synch with providing deadly dope. I think, for what it’s worth, Mises was troubled by what he saw in his day in terms of the drug problem. Of course it doesn’t comport with some of his theoretical positions but then, what was it that Emerson said about a foolish consistency? My guess is that Mises was pretty much like the rest of us and had his good and bad days. Happy New Year!

Tom Fiedler January 1, 2007 at 1:24 pm

How did the text of Gregory Anthony’s “Law-Enforcement Socialism” generate so many references to “anarchy”? Is this some application of hyperbole attributed to Mr. Anthony’s desire for privatization of many aspects of the criminal justice system? One of the Biblically justified roles of government is to establish, maintain and enforce a just standard of weights and measurements. (Leviticus 19:36, Ezekiel 45:10}

Without an arbiter of just weight and measure in the value of money we suffer an anarchy that secures neither private ownership nor private enterprise. Such anarchy we suffer with a private central bank like the Federal Reserve. For the Fed does not establish a constant value for its unit of currency (the Federal Reserve Dollar). Consequently there can be no constant value for the goods and services for which we exchange that currency. To make the situation worse, the Fed permits no audit of its assets, no oversight of its practice nor accountibility for its policies.

Scripture reveals that we all need the Lord’s Government. Scripture also reveals that we are all (believers and infidels alike) in rebellion against His Government. Since the Lord Elohim Immanuel is infinite love and infinite wisdom He is the only one qualified to govern justly. But He gives us free will to govern ourselves, with or without His Guidance.

From all our feeble efforts to “…form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,…” we fall woefully short compare to what He would have us enjoy under His rule. Of all the tyrannies to be avoided, anarchy (which is to submit to the tyranny of one’s self) is the most pernicious. For in anarchy we abuse both ourselves and our neighbor through unmitigated ignorance if not outright malice.

Björn Lundahl January 3, 2007 at 1:43 am

As Rothbard stated: “For the support rests in the willingness of the majority (not, to repeat, of every individual) to go along with the system: to pay the taxes, to go without much complaint to fight the State’s wars, to obey the State’s rules and decrees. This support need not be active enthusiasm to be effective; it can just as well be passive resignation.”

Well, this support rest, of course and “happily”, on ignorance. That is why we had, for example, the great depression. Most people did not, really want it, but they probably did support those destructive policies that caused the depression.

One other “great thing” is that the mafia and its supporters know that they are criminals the state and its supporters does not. We have an extremely awkward situation here.

As Rothbard also have stated: “For if the bulk of the public were really convinced of the illegitimacy of the State, if it were convinced that the State is nothing more nor less than a bandit gang writ large, then the State would soon collapse to take on no more status or breadth of existence than another Mafia gang. Hence the necessity of the State’s employment of ideologists; and hence the necessity of the State’s age-old alliance with the Court Intellectuals who weave the apologia for State rule.”

Alternative and in other words, Lysander Spooner:

“The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a “protector,” and that he takes men’s money against their will, merely to enable him to “protect” those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful “sovereign,” on account of the “protection” he affords you. He does not keep “protecting” you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villainies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.”

http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/twentytwo.asp#_ftnref6

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Posted by Björn Lundahl at December 30, 2006 3:19

Björn Lundahl January 3, 2007 at 1:52 am

Mark Humphrey “I don’t want to precipitate trench warfare with devoted Rothbardians, but I strongly suspect that Rothbard owed his insight about “life as the standard of moral value” to Ayn Rand. I can’t prove this, of course. Sadly, in “The Ethics of Liberty”, (published in the early Eighties) Rothbard chose to, in a sense, blacklist Rand by claiming that NO ONE, other than himself, in the libertarian movement was working to develope a system of rationally defensible ethics. (Maybe Rothbard meant “at the moment I am writing this statement”.)”

Björn That life is an axiomatic value and functions “as the standard of moral value” in an ethical system, Rothbard could, alternatively for example, have gotten this insight from Mises himself through analyzing his statement in his book, “Human Action”, page 11:

“We may say that action is the manifestation of a man’s will.”

http://mises.org/humanaction/chap1sec1.asp

I am not saying that Rothbard did get his insight from Mises; I am only saying that it was possible. Surely, many other possibilities exist which we do not know anything about.

Mark Humphrey “It has been awhile since I’ve read Hoppe, and Rothbard; but I suspect Hoppe’s reasoning goes: either we all own ourselves, or everyone owns everyone else. Since the first proposition is clearly more defensible than the latter absurd proposition, one can affirm self ownership as valid. But if this is the argument, it fails. For that argument assumes that which it sets out to prove, namely that an ethical concept, “ownership”, exists. But on this basis, ownership remains unproven, so that one could just as well assert: “no one owns anything, and anything goes.””

Björn Self-ownership is a natural fact, since a man in his very nature controls his own mind and body (natural disposition), that is, he is a natural self-owner of his own will and person (having a free will) and if this was not true, neither could he effectively control any property and, therefore, not own it. In other words; “nothing could control and own something”.

Naturally, praxeology the science of human action, by itself logically confirms the natural fact of self-ownership, since praxeology is based upon “the acting man consciously intending to improve his own satisfaction” and I quote from answers.com:

“From praxeology Mises derived the idea that every conscious action is intended to improve a person’s satisfaction. He was careful to stress that praxeology is not concerned with the individual’s definition of end satisfaction, just the way he sought that satisfaction. The way in which a person will increase his satisfaction is by removing a source of dissatisfaction. As the future is uncertain so every action is speculative.

An acting man is defined as one capable of logical thought — to be otherwise would be to make one a mere creature who simply reacts to stimuli by instinct. Similarly an acting man must have a source of dissatisfaction which he believes capable of removing, otherwise he cannot act.
Another conclusion that Mises reached was that decisions are made on an ordinal basis. That is, it is impossible to carry out more than one action at once, the conscious mind being only capable of one decision at a time — even if those decisions can be made in rapid order. Thus man will act to remove the most pressing source of dissatisfaction first and then move to the next most pressing source of dissatisfaction.

As a person satisfies his first most important goal and after that his second most important goal then his second most important goal is always less important than his first most important goal. Thus, for every further goal reached, his satisfaction, or utility, is lessened from the preceding goal. This is the rule of diminishing marginal utility.

In human society many actions will be trading activities where one person regards a possession of another person as more desirable than one of his own possessions, and the other person has a similar higher regard for his colleague’s possession than he does for his own. This subject of praxeology is known as catallactics, and is the more commonly accepted realm of economics.”

http://www.answers.com/Praxeology?gwp=11&ver=2.0.1.458&method=3

Further:

The Ethics of Liberty, page 45:

Footnote:

“[1]Professor George Mavrodes, of the department of philosophy of the University of Michigan, objects that there is another logical alternative: namely, “that no one owns anybody, either himself or anyone else, nor any share of anybody.” However, since ownership signifies range of control, this would mean that no one would be able to do anything, and the human race would quickly vanish.”

http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/eight.asp

Or in my own words from the essay “Normative principles”:

“Why must anybody own anything?

In accordance with our objective test to find out if something is a condition for something else, we grasp a state of things where the following principle is none existent anywhere and at all:

“Everybody owns themselves and their Justly owned property rights”.

Nobody would be able to do anything, since nobody has the right to control anything. Not even themselves (see below about property rights in your own person).

This question is not only a contradiction it is also silly. You ask a question which means that you control yourselves (natural disposition), that is owning yourself (see below the excellent writing of Hans-Hermann Hoppe). The other contradiction is that if nobody would own anything, nobody would be able to hinder anyone to own anything either since they would otherwise have an invalid control (having the disposition to) of everyone else, that is having an invalid ownership to everybody else (see below about valid property rights in your own person).

Ownership itself is, therefore, an objective condition for the preservation of human life.”

http://normativeprinciples.blogspot.com/2006/12/normative-principles-pure-free-market_10.html

An Animated Introduction to the Philosophy of Liberty:

http://www.isil.org/resources/introduction.html

The animation in full-sized window:

http://www.isil.org/resources/introduction.swf

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Sam January 3, 2007 at 4:33 am

I watched that link you gave, Björn Lundahl, and I’d say the key word about the whole thing is ‘philosophy’. It is good to impore people to stop aggressing and respect everyone’s right to life and private property but I fail to see how anyone (unfortunately) could call rights ‘natural’.

I’m sure 6 million Jews found out how ‘natural’ that the right to life was when Nazis decided otherwise. Slavery, on the other hand, has been an acceptable practice for aeons. Indeed people in ancient times seemed to live by the Golden Rule: ‘we have no problems being slave owners because if we become enslaved we won’t complain’. And, of course, the right to property was easily annulled for the natives of North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, etc.

Björn Lundahl January 3, 2007 at 6:43 am

Self-ownership is a natural right since “self-ownership is a natural fact, since a man in his very nature controls his own mind and body (natural disposition), that is, he is a natural self-owner of his own will and person (having a free will) and if this was not true, neither could he effectively control any property and, therefore, not own it. In other words; “nothing could control and own something”.”

Right to property is also a natural right since it preserves life and self-ownership.

If people respect those natural rights are entirely a different thing and have nothing to do with it.

All ethical rules and principles such as Christian, utilitarian, democratical etc need respect and support to be powerful.

The debate is not, in this case, about that. Please, do not get confused. The debate is instead about which rules are good and just and which rules are bad and unjust.

It is the same with economics. We do not say that Austrian Economics is wrong because the Nazis or the communist in former Soviet Union did not support it.

If all people were physically forced by nature to follow a libertarian ethic or to support Austrian Economics, we would not need to have a debate at all. Such a debate would, also, be entirely pointless.

The essence is, instead, the logical validity.

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Sam January 3, 2007 at 9:53 am

What on earth are you talking about Björn Lundahl? A person may have the potential to grow up and become strong and own property, but how it is natural? If you’re born to slave parents into a slave-owning society where would these rights come from?

Interesting is the way different cultures have different ethical standards. What may seem natural to some cultures would be repulsive and forbidden in others. Example such as slavery, human sacrifice, animal sacrifice, cannibalism, widow-burning, polygyny all spring to mind.

Björn Lundahl January 3, 2007 at 12:20 pm

Sam

As Rothbard wrote in his book The Ethics of Liberty:

“IF, THEN, THE NATURAL law is discovered by reason from “the basic inclinations of human nature . . . absolute, immutable, and of universal validity for all times and places,” it follows that the natural law provides an objective set of ethical norms by which to gauge human actions at any time or place.”

http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/three.asp

The meaning of this is that those norms are objective, true, good and just, independently of any culture, time or place.

As I have said; if people respect those norms are entirely a different thing.

When the opportunity exists they can revolt against the exploiters.

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Björn Lundahl January 3, 2007 at 1:06 pm

From the book Human Action, by Ludwig von Mises:

“Within the frame of social cooperation there can emerge between members of society feelings of sympathy and friendship and a sense of belonging together. These feelings are the source of man’s most delightful and most sublime experiences. They are the most precious adornment of life; they lift the animal species man to the heights of a really human existence. However, they are not, as some have asserted, the agents that have brought about social relationships. They are fruits of social cooperation, they thrive only within its frame; they did not precede the establishment of social relations and are not the seed from which they spring.

The fundamental facts that brought about cooperation, society, and civilization and transformed the animal man into a human being are the facts that work performed under the division of labor is more productive than isolated work and that man’s reason is capable of recognizing this truth. But for these facts men would have forever remained deadly foes of one another, irreconcilable rivals in their endeavors to secure a portion of the scarce supply of means of sustenance provided by nature. Each man would have been forced to view all other men as his enemies; his craving for the satisfaction of his own appetites would have brought him into an implacable conflict with all his neighbors. No sympathy could possibly develop under such a state of affairs.”

http://mises.org/humanaction/chap8sec1.asp#p143

“Man cannot have both the advantages derived from peaceful cooperation under the principle of the division of labor within society and the license of embarking upon conduct that is bound to disintegrate society. He must choose between the observance of certain rules that make life within society possible and the poverty and insecurity of the “dangerous life” in a state of perpetual warfare among independent individuals. This is no less rigid a law determining the outcome of all human action than are the laws of physics.”

http://mises.org/humanaction/chap15sec6.asp#p280

From the book Ethics of Liberty, by Murray Rothbard:

“For the assertion of human rights is not properly a simple emotive one; individuals possess rights not because we “feel” that they should, but because of a rational inquiry into the nature of man and the universe. In short, man has rights because they are natural rights. They are grounded in the nature of man: the individual man’s capacity for conscious choice, the necessity for him to use his mind and energy to adopt goals and values, to find out about the world, to pursue his ends in order to survive and prosper, his capacity and need to communicate and interact with other human beings and to participate in the division of labor. In short, man is a rational and social animal. No other animals or beings possess this ability to reason, to make conscious choices, to transform their environment in order to prosper, or to collaborate consciously in society and the division of labor.

Thus, while natural rights, as we have been emphasizing, are absolute, there is one sense in which they are relative: they are relative to the species man. A rights-ethic for mankind is precisely that: for all men, regardless of race, creed, color or sex, but for the species man alone”

http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/twentyone.asp

The Ethics of Liberty:

Hesselberg continues:

“But a social order is not possible unless man is able to conceive what it is, and what its advantages are, and also conceive those norms of conduct which are necessary to its establishment and preservation, namely, respect for another’s person and for his rightful possessions, which is the substance of justice. . . . But justice is the product of reason, not the passions. And justice is the necessary support of the social order; and the social order is necessary to man’s well-being and happiness. If this is so, the norms of justice must control and regulate the passions, and not vice versa.”

http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/two.asp

All organizations have a “code of conduct”. Even the mafia has it. It is the very foundation on which they last. It is an illusion to believe that this is not so.

In a society there must, also, be a “code of conduct” i.e. a legal code. A society cannot function without those norms. As Mises, Rothbard and Hesselberg have pointed out, without a society we lose, so the great question is not if we should have a lawless society as it cannot exist and is an illusion, but rather something else which we, therefore, cannot avoid to answer; which legal norms or principles are Just and true?

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Björn Lundahl January 3, 2007 at 1:33 pm

The human mind, independently of any culture, is based on the same logic.

Quotes about logic from the book “Human Action”, by Ludwig von Mises:

“Thinking and acting are the specific human features of man. They are peculiar to all human beings. They are, beyond membership in the zoological species homo sapiens, the characteristic mark of man as man. It is not the scope of praxeology to investigate the relation of thinking and acting. For praxeology it is enough to establish the fact that there is only one logic that is intelligible to the human mind, and that there is only one mode of action which is human and comprehensible to the human mind. Whether there are or can be somewhere other beings–superhuman or subhuman–who think and act in a different way, is beyond the reach of the human mind. We must restrict our endeavors to the study of human action.

This human action which is inextricably linked with human thought is conditioned by logical necessity. It is impossible for the human mind to conceive logical relations at variance with the logical structure of our mind. It is impossible for the human mind to conceive a mode of action whose categories would differ from the categories which determine our own actions.

There are for man only two principles available for a mental grasp of reality, namely, those of teleology and causality. What cannot be brought under either of these categories is absolutely hidden to the human mind. An event not open to an interpretation by one of these two principles is for man inconceivable and mysterious. Change can be conceived as the outcome either of the operation of mechanistic causality or of purposeful behavior; for the human mind there is no third way available [9]. It is true, as has already been mentioned, that teleology can be viewed as a variety of causality. But the establishment of this fact does not annul the essential differences between the two categories.”

http://mises.org/humanaction/chap1sec6.asp

“But the problem of the a priori is of a different character. It does not deal with the problem of how consciousness and reason have emerged. It refers to the essential and necessary character of the logical structure of the human mind.
The fundamental logical relations are not subject to proof or disproof. Every attempt to prove them must presuppose their validity. It is impossible to explain them to a being who would not possess them on his own account. Efforts to define them according to the rules of definition must fail. They are primary propositions antecedent to any nominal or real definition. They are ultimate unanalyzable categories. The human mind is utterly incapable of imagining logical categories at variance with them. No matter how they may appear to superhuman beings, they are for man inescapable and absolutely necessary. They are the indispensable prerequisite of perception, apperception, and experience.”

“Everybody in his daily behavior again and again bears witness to the immutability and universality of the categories of thought and action. He who addresses fellow men, who wants to inform and convince them, who asks questions and answers other people’s questions, can proceed in this way only because he can appeal to something common to all men–namely, the logical structure of human reason. The idea that A could at the same time be non-A or that to prefer A to B could at the same time be to prefer B to A is simply inconceivable and absurd to a human mind. We are not in the position to comprehend any kind of prelogical or metalogical thinking. We cannot think of a world without causality and teleogy.”

“It is a general fallacy to believe that the writings of Lucien Levy-Bruhl give support to the doctrine that the logical structure of mind of primitive man was and is categorially different from that of civilized man. On the contrary, what Levy-Bruhl, on the basis of a careful scrutiny of the entire ethnological material available, reports about the mental functions of primitive man proves clearly that the fundamental logical relations and the categories of thought and action play in the intellectual activities of savages the same role they play in our own life. The content of primitive man’s thoughts differs from the content of our thoughts, but the formal and logical structure is common to both.”

http://mises.org/humanaction/chap2sec2.asp#p33

“We may refer to what has been said in the preceding chapters about the fundamental issues of the logical structure of mind and the categorial principles of thought and action. Some additional observations will suffice to give the finishing stroke to racial polylogism and to any other brand of polylogism. The categories of human thought and action are neither arbitrary products of the human mind nor conventions. They are not outside of the universe and of the course of cosmic events. They are biological facts and have a definite function in life and reality. They are instruments in man’s struggle for existence and in his endeavors to adjust himself as much as possible to the real state of the universe and to remove uneasiness as much as it is in his power to do so. They are [p. 86] therefore appropriate to the structure of the external world and reflect properties of the world and of reality. They work, and are in this sense true and valid.It is consequently incorrect to assert that aprioristic insight and pure reasoning do not convey any information about reality and the structure of the universe. The fundamental logical relations and the categories of thought and action are the ultimate source of all human knowledge. They are adequate to the structure of reality, they reveal this structure to the human mind and, in this sense, they are for man basic ontological facts.[14] We do not know what a superhuman intellect may think and comprehend. For man every cognition is conditioned by the logical structure of his mind and implied in this structure. It is precisely the satisfactory results of the empirical sciences and their practical application that evidence this truth. Within the orbit in which human action is able to attain ends aimed at there is no room left for agnosticism.

If there had been races which had developed a different logical structure of the mind, they would have failed in the use of reason as an aid in the struggle for existence. The only means for survival that could have protected them against extermination would have been their instinctive reactions. Natural selection would have eliminated those specimens of such races that tried to employ reasoning for the direction of their behavior. Those individuals alone would have survived that relied upon instincts only. This means that only those would have had a chance to survive that did not rise above the mental level of animals.

The scholars of the West have amassed an enormous amount of material concerning the high civilizations of China and India and the primitive civilizations of the Asiatic, American, Australian, and African aborigines. It is safe to say that all that is worth knowing about the ideas of these races is known. But never has any supporter of polylogism tried to use these data for a description of the allegedly different logic of these peoples and civilizations.”

http://mises.org/humanaction/chap3sec4.asp#p86

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Björn Lundahl January 3, 2007 at 4:00 pm

From Answers.com:

polylogism

“Polylogism is a fallacy often associated with social philosophy according to which persons of different races, social classes or time periods use different kinds of logic. Marxism, Nazism, and some other political and social philosophies allegedly make this mistake. For example, Marxists have contrasted “proletarian logic” with “bourgeois logic”, and Nazis have contrasted “Aryan logic” with “Jewish logic”, etc.

Since any two of these “logics” can conflict they can not be part of the same logical system. However, since people holding these various “logics” live in the same reality all of these “logics” must be compatible with this reality and therefore with each other. Since these “logics” would then have to be compatible with each other but also possibly incompatible they would self-contradictory, and thus could not be considered valid. By contrast the fallacy of polylogism considers them to be equally valid.”

http://www.answers.com/topic/polylogism?method=26&initiator=answertip:more

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Sam January 3, 2007 at 7:23 pm

I still don’t get it. Plenty of animals both predators and prey assemble in co-operative groups such herds, flocks, prides, families(?), etc. Still animal groups, on the other hand, do fight other groups over food or each other for females and the such like. It’s nice to say if we all co-operate and be nice we’d all be much better off, but humanity’s capacity to assemble into groups that can co-operative but also nbe aggressively compete seems far more natural and historically accurate.

Sam January 3, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Hey Björn Lundahl here’s a link for you:

http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-rights.htm

I like to give me a constructive response to that type of arguments. ;)

Björn Lundahl January 4, 2007 at 2:29 am

Sam

I do not think that the link you gave me is a constructive response at all. All those “arguments” against natural rights I have already considered. Those “arguments” do not logically prove anything.

The main point is, as I have said, not if people respect those rights but if they are logically true and valid.

If people fights or not, are therefore in this case, of no interest, what are of interest are rights discovered and derived from “the basic inclinations of human nature . . . absolute, immutable, and of universal validity for all times and places”. That is why they are called natural rights as they are derived from the basic inclinations of human nature or alternatively the rights are derived from our basic biological way of functioning.

As Rothbard put it, The Ethics of Liberty:

“In fact, the legal principles of any society can be established in three alternate ways: (a) by following the traditional custom of the tribe or community; (b) by obeying the arbitrary, ad hoc will of those who rule the State apparatus; or (c) by the use of man’s reason in discovering the natural law—in short, by slavish conformity to custom, by arbitrary whim, or by use of man’s reason. These are essentially the only possible ways for establishing positive law.”

http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/three.asp

It is still possible to arrive at an objective ethics without the use of the words “natural rights”, if that would make you happier. Hans-Hermann Hoppe has logically proved those rights without using those words*.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe “ON THE ULTIMATE JUSTIFICATION OF THE ETHICS OF PRIVATE PROPERTY”:

http://www.hanshoppe.com/publications/econ-ethics-10.pdf

As I have also already said : “without a society we lose, so the great question is not if we should have a lawless society as it cannot exist and is an illusion, but rather something else which we, therefore, cannot avoid to answer; which legal norms or principles are Just and true?”

But even if we “wanted” to be illusive and would want to argue for a “lawless society”, we would still need objective logical valid arguments for its justification. Otherwise our “arguments” would only be subjective and therefore they would also be wrong and unjust.

• I would still believe, though, that human nature is recognized implicitly in Hoppe´s justification.

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Peter January 4, 2007 at 5:21 am

Sam: it abuses the term “rights” to mean something declared legal by the state – e.g., it says “There is a huge difference between what a right actually IS and what it OUGHT to be. For instance, we know that white Americans once had the “right” to own slaves, even though they morally shouldn’t have.“. Well, that’s not what we mean by “rights”; note: nobody ever had the right to own slaves.

Nor are rights self-evident. People have been arguing over the definition of rights since the days of the Greeks philosophers, with no end of the debate in sight.

Slightly different definition of “self-evident”, as well, I suppose. Rights are self-evident in much the same way mathematical proofs are self-evident: anyone who understands what they’re doing and applies the logic correctly will reach the same conclusions, but, e.g., understanding a mathematical proof requires some background in mathematics; it’s not necessarily “obvious” before you understand it.

For example, Aristotle believed that humans fell into a natural hierarchy, and those at the bottom could never hope to climb higher due to their lack of talents. This was the logical justification for slavery

Do I need to point out that Aristotle’s belief is not logic, by any stretch of the imagination?

In ancient times, rights were extremely limited privileges that kings handed down to their subjects, just enough to keep them in line and functioning. In modern times they are social agreements among voters, defended by police and military forces.

So…what gives the kings, voters, police and military forces the right to do that? Is this a “might makes right” argument, or it skipping over the question altogether and hoping the reader won’t notice?

Our right to unlimited procreation increasingly runs counter to our right to life and reasonable happiness. When changing survival conditions bring rights into conflict, one of them will have to be repealed — inevitably.

Read that again, and see if you understand what it’s really saying. This is truly scary stuff!

Society actually designs rights and laws to prevent humans from following their pathological and sadistic natures.

What is this “society”? (If it was humans, it obviously couldn’t do what the writer claims, so the natural interpretation is that it’s not humans…then what is it?)

Sam January 4, 2007 at 6:35 am

Well Peter and Björn what makes a right a Right just because you want it to be so? What then of ‘animal rights’, ‘plant rights’, ‘land rights’ (as per claimed by pre-existing natives of the New World), ‘traditional hunting rights’ (as per before), etc. You know, the left-wing pinko claims to rights that would make Conservatives and Libertarians start reaching for their guns?

Björn Lundahl January 4, 2007 at 6:54 am

If we were going to discover objective ethical norms with the use of reason, it would be a quite funny thing if we started to analyze the basic inclinations of the nature of ants, grasshoppers, plants, giraffes, elephants etc. As this would not be a successful inquiry, the nature of man must at least be implicitly assumed to exist and, therefore, to be studied in such an examination.

Ethical norms are also, only, related to the species man. The proof of this is that “if man did not exist nor would any ethical norms and rights persist”.

In other words, ethical norms and rights by themselves, reveals the existence of a nature of man.

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Sam January 4, 2007 at 8:41 am

S’pose there is a nomadic tribe that travels the land far and wide. S’pose a person fences off a large section of land builds a house and starts farming. Then if the tribe complains about the loss of a large section of their nomadic pathway (for a lack of a better term) would the correct response that the farmer has the natural right of property ownership? That the tribe, on the other hand, have no claim to ownership because of their lack of fences, property deeds and non-sendentary lifestyle? Or even that the farmer is living a ‘natural existence’ and the tribe was living an ‘unnatural existence’? Or the tribe had too much land and should let others live on it too? Would you be offended if you had a large backyard yet came home from work one day and find a family had fenced some of your backyard off, built a small shack and started a veggie garden?

Peter January 4, 2007 at 8:54 am

If the nomads have been regularly traipsing over that land before, they have presumptively established an easement allowing them to continue to do so, absent any agreement with the farmer.

Sam January 4, 2007 at 9:06 am

What I was trying to say before is that societies generally wouldn’t recognise a nomadic tribe’s claim to any land because you don’t own land just by walking through every once and a while. People would more likely see a farmer having land rights due to the occupancy and work of a patch of land. But, of course, why would one type of existence be more ‘natural’ than the other? In the previous scenario nomads and farmers would see each other’s way of living as unnatural.

billwald January 4, 2007 at 12:45 pm

The new nomads live in fancy motor homes. They have problems establishing a legal residence for purposes of voting and getting a driver’s license. Many join a camping club (forget the name) in Texas to get a legal residence. The club greatly outnumbers the town which is resented when it comes to local elections.

Björn Lundahl January 4, 2007 at 12:47 pm

Peter

You are probably right here. In a libertarian society the court of law would decide if it would be any dispute between the participants.

Whatever “natural existence” would mean it has nothing to do with it. What “societies generally recognizes” have nothing to do with it either.

In Rothbard’s own words:

“Ignoring the imperious demands of an arbitrary status quo, let us hammer out—hackneyed cliché though it may be—a natural-law and natural-rights standard to which the wise and honest may repair. Specifically, let us seek to establish the political philosophy of liberty and of the proper sphere of law, property rights, and the State.”

http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/five.asp

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

RogerM January 4, 2007 at 4:10 pm

Douglass North, et al, has a good paper on the rise of the state that’s relevant to this discussion. You can find the link at http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2007/01/juntas_vs_open.html

Björn Lundahl January 4, 2007 at 6:02 pm

The principle of utilitarianism is destructive.

Utilitarianism means that all action should be directed toward achieving the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Intellectually the principle lets the door stand wide open for the use of physical violence and theft against people which happens to belong to the lesser number. If we grasp a state of things where the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people exists in using physical violence and theft everywhere and in all human situations and places (i.e. in the classroom, shop, street, airport, forest etc) against all those people that happened to belong to the lesser numbers, the human race would quickly perish.

As we have seen, the principle of utilitarianism if followed by all groups of people in all places would lead to human destruction and this, therefore, proves that the principle is destructive. Any crime could be done in the name of utilitarianism such as murder, theft, rape, slavery etc. The lesser number of people would always be at the mercy of the greatest number.

Private groups of people in society are therefore, naturally, not allowed to commit crimes in the name of utilitarianism.

The state has a “legal right” to commit crimes and the state nearly, always does it in the name of utilitarianism.

In the name of utilitarianism Hitler could have justified all the murdering of the Jews that he made. He probably, also, thought that he by doing those crimes achieved the greatest happiness for the greatest number of Germans.

Let us not forget:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-309490343652240839&q=hitler+jews

Or, alternatively, as Rothbard wrote in his book For a New Liberty:

“Let us consider a stark example: Suppose a society which fervently considers all redheads to be agents of the Devil and therefore to be executed whenever found. Let us further assume that only a small number of redheads exist in any generation-so few as to be statistically insignificant. The utilitarian-libertarian might well reason: “While the murder of isolated redheads is deplorable, the executions are small in number; the vast majority of the public, as non-redheads, achieves enormous psychic satisfaction from the public execution of redheads. The social cost is negligible, the social, psychic benefit to the rest of society is great; therefore, it is right and proper for society to execute the redheads.” The natural-rights libertarian, overwhelmingly concerned as he is for the justice of the act, will react in horror and staunchly and unequivocally oppose the executions as totally unjustified murder and aggression upon nonaggressive persons. The consequence of stopping the murders—depriving the bulk of society of great psychic pleasure—would not influence such a libertarian, the “absolutist” libertarian, in the slightest. Dedicated to justice and to logical consistency, the natural-rights libertarian cheerfully admits to being “doctrinaire,” to being, in short, an unabashed follower of his own doctrines.”

http://mises.org/rothbard/newliberty2.asp

If anything should die, it is the principle of utilitarianism.

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Sam January 4, 2007 at 7:58 pm

Ha ha, it was nice to you (Björn Lundahl) and Peter to get offended at the link I gave you two. Yous got offended cause yous didn’t want to hear the obvious: ‘rights’ are arbitrary whims of a particular society.

The quest you seem to have, Björn Lundahl, sounds like the one of the Holy Grail. Because you presume ‘natural rights’ exist you’d keep searching for them and never find them. Never mind to the outside observer that would say if you haven’t found something by now then it probably doesn’t exist.

‘Rights’ are simply privileges bestowed by Society on everyone in the society to act in a way that benefits everyone in that society. Coincidentally the rights you happen to cite are ones that one would expect to find in a Libertarian Constitution. Whereas in a patriarchal society womens’ rights would be non-existent and yet that society would perceive that as natural. Maybe rights seems ‘natural’ because a lot of rights are shared between non-related societies.

averros January 4, 2007 at 8:29 pm

Sam –

> Rights’ are simply privileges bestowed by Society

You’re making a logical mistake of attributing to the Society (which is merely a class of people) the features it does not have – such as a singular will and ability to act.

The Society (being a class, not an individual) cannot bestow anything on anyone. It is an abstraction, a non-entity. Individual people may have beliefs about justness or unjustness about other people’s actions – and that is it.

Thus, your entire argument depends on the logical fallacy of confusing class with entity (or, which is the same in this case, antropomorphising the abstraction) – and, threrefore, your argument is completely invalid.

(BTW, the system of the “natural” rights does exist – there’s a proof by existence, found in Rothbard’s books. The fact that people mostly deny it does not change the fact of its existence – no more than majority opinon regarding flatness of the Earth had any bearing on correctness of heliocentric theory).

Peter January 4, 2007 at 9:22 pm

Ha ha, it was nice to you (Björn Lundahl) and Peter to get offended at the link I gave you two. Yous got offended cause yous didn’t want to hear the obvious: ‘rights’ are arbitrary whims of a particular society.

I’m not offended (except in the sense that claiming to answer a question without actually providing an answer offends me). Don’t you see that what you’re saying simply makes no sense? To say that “‘Rights’ are simply privileges bestowed by Society on everyone in the society to act in a way that benefits everyone in that society” is either avoiding the question (“society” cannot be the source of rights, since “society” is just people who, you’re saying, have rights only by virtue of society – i.e., society can grant rights because society already has rights…so where do they come from? That’s the question you’re supposed to be addressing!), or supporting a “might makes right” ethic (in which case why talk about “rights” at all? And why bother about “benefiting society” when you start from a position that can be shown to be antithetical to society?)

Björn Lundahl January 4, 2007 at 10:56 pm

averros

“The fact that people mostly deny it does not change the fact of its existence – no more than majority opinon regarding flatness of the Earth had any bearing on correctness of heliocentric theory).”

Very true and well said. That is the point!

Björn Lundahl

Sam January 4, 2007 at 11:01 pm

Because Peter I can’t claim to have a magical right against being robbed whilst walking down a street. I can have personal power to defend myself against a would-be robber. I can also be part of a society that (through a law and constitution) they’d try to catch and punish the robber, thereby creating another (well, hopefully) deterrent factor. But I don’t see what my ‘right’ to not be robbed would otherwise mean other than positive thinking.

Likewise if I was a slave in a slave-owning society in a world of slave-owning societies, my claim that no-one has the right to own slaves would be laughed down.

P.S. I used the term ‘society’ rather than ‘State’ if that helps.

Björn Lundahl January 4, 2007 at 11:02 pm

Peter

“society can grant rights because society already has rights…so where do they come from? That’s the question you’re supposed to be addressing!”

A good comment too! Constructive!

Björn Lundahl

Björn Lundahl January 4, 2007 at 11:14 pm

Sam

Don’t be silly, how it would be possible that I could be “offended” by your supposed arguments, I cannot imagine. You are just ignorant. Your questions reveal that all the time. You are missing the points!

The link you have posted will only lead to a man’s opinion not worth more than a parrot’s blathering.

There are a lot of people in history that were against the concept of a natural law. It is nothing new. Arguments against it, are not either new. It is silly to believe that we are not aware of this. Mises himself, for your knowledge, was also against the idea of a natural law.

Human Action:

“But the teachings of utilitarian philosophy and classical economics have nothing at all to do with the doctrine of natural right. With them the only point that matters is social utility. They recommend popular government, private property, tolerance, and freedom not because they are natural and just, but because they are beneficial.”

“Bentham, the radical, shouted: “Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense.””

“In rejecting the illusory notions of natural law and human equality modern biology only repeated what the utilitarian champions of liberalism and democracy long before had taught in a much more persuasive way. It is obvious that no biological doctrine can ever invalidate what utilitarian philosophy says about the social utility of democratic government, private property, freedom, and equality under the law.”

http://mises.org/humanaction/chap8sec8.asp#p175

Mises statements do not logically, though, prove anything. As I have shown above, utilitarianism is instead a logical fallacy.

What is relatively new is Rothbard’s book The Ethics of Liberty:

http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/ethics.asp

And Hoppe´s proof of an objective ethics:

http://www.hanshoppe.com/publications/econ-ethics-10.pdf

It is the logical arguments in those writings that are convincing.

I do believe that you cannot see the difference between a logical proof and a subjective opinion.

Naturally, Mises and people in the past did not know anything about this material that Rothbard and Hoppe (when he wrote Human Action) have produced.

I think that it would be better if you studied this material before criticizing and you will find all the answers that you cannot find through the link that you have posted. Ignorance does not convince anyone.

The Austrian Economics Newsletter

Austrians and the Private-Property Society

An Interview with Hans-Hermann Hoppe

AEN: In applying this a priori approach to ethics, were you attempting to supplant natural rights.

HOPPE: No, not at all. I was attempting to make the first two chapters of Rothbard’s Ethics of Liberty stronger than they were*. That in turn would provide more weight to everything that followed. I had some dissatisfaction with rigor with which the initial ethical assumptions of libertarian political theory had been arrived at. Intuitively, they seemed plausible. But I could see that a slightly different approach might be stronger. Murray never considered my revisions to be a threat. His only concern was: does this ultimately make the case? Ultimately, he agreed that it did.

*Now I know Hoppe’s motive, before I guessed it. He has confirmed my speculation. Hoppe is really something!

http://mises.org/journals/aen/aen198.asp

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Björn Lundahl January 4, 2007 at 11:42 pm

Normative principles

A pure free market is based upon the axiomatic principle “that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else”.
This is the very principle which the courts and the legal system should follow.

How do we know that this principle is an axiomatic principle?

I quote from the book “For a New Liberty”, written by Murray Rothbard, page 45:

“THE CENTRAL THRUST of libertarian thought, then, is to oppose any and all aggression against the property rights of individuals in their own persons and in the material objects they have voluntarily acquired. While individual and gangs of criminals are of course opposed, there is nothing unique here to the libertarian creed, since almost all persons and schools of thought oppose the exercise of random violence against persons and property”.

http://mises.org/rothbard/newliberty3.asp

So, generally, all persons and schools of thought oppose the exercise of random violence against persons and property.

Above statement is an answer why the principle is an axiomatic one. But this is not the only reason. There are rational ones as well.

Life as a value is an axiomatic value that no one in a debate logically can deny as this value is the very condition for the debate and the participators existence.

I quote from the book “The Ethics of Liberty”, written by Murray Rothbard, page 29:

“It may well be asked why life should be an objective ultimate value, why man should opt for life (in duration and quality). In reply; we may note that a proposition rises to the status of an axiom when he who denies it may be shown to be using it in the very course of the supposed refutation. Now, any person participating in any sort of discussion, including one on values, is, by virtue of so participating, alive and affirming life. For if he were really opposed to life, he would have no business in such a discussion, indeed he would have no business continuing to be alive. Hence, the supposed opponent of life is really affirming it in the very process of his discussion, and hence the preservation and furtherance of one’s life takes on the stature of an incontestable axiom”.

http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/six.asp

This is also confirmed with Ludwig von Mises statement in his book, “Human Action”, page 11:

“We may say that action is the manifestation of a man’s will.”

http://mises.org/humanaction/chap1sec1.asp

Which principles are an objective condition for preserving the human race and human life?

To objective examine if something is a condition for something else, we have to mentally grasp a state of things, where the supposed condition doesn’t exist anywhere and at all.

For example, if we suppose that the existence of oxygen is a condition for the preservation of the human race, we grasp a state of things, where oxygen doesn’t exist anywhere on earth. If we would let some oxygen exist somewhere on earth, then we couldn’t make a valid conclusion. We wouldn’t know if oxygen were a condition for preserving human life. To make a valid conclusion we have to grasp where oxygen doesn’t exist anywhere and at all. Under this condition we can, naturally, conclude that no human life would exist. We can, because of this reason conclude that oxygen is a condition for the preservation of the human race. We can also conclude that when we objectively examined as we just did, if oxygen was a condition for preserving human life, we would be bound to take under consideration the whole reality and not only some parts of it. We wouldn’t let oxygen exist somewhere on earth, because if we had done so, we wouldn’t have grasped the effects, under consideration, to the whole situation (the whole reality), and our conclusion would therefore have been invalid.

We can only make one choice, either we take under consideration some parts of reality or we take under consideration the whole reality. Reason and logic tell us that if we take under consideration the whole reality, this will reflect the truth, because we can’t consider anything more absolute and perfect. This procedure is an axiomatic procedure.

Is “the principle of physical violence” a condition for the preservation of the human race?

To examine this principle under consideration of what has already been said about the procedure of finding out conditions, we have to grasp a state of things where the principle of none physical violence doesn’t exist anywhere and at all. If we let some people live by the principle of none violence, a procedure which we have just discarded, then we wouldn’t make a valid conclusion. Logically we are bound to let all people live by the principle of physical violence. Because of this fact the human race and life would immediately exterminate.

We can therefore conclude “that the principle of physical violence” is a condition for the preservation of human extermination and that “the principle of none physical violence” is the condition for human preservation.

We can also conclude, that human life wouldn’t exist, if the principle of “not to have the right to use threat of physical violence” didn’t exist.

If we grasp a state of things where this principle doesn’t exist, anywhere and at all, everyone would be threatening everyone else. Nobody would be able to live and fulfil their needs and dreams. Action to preserve ones life would be an impossible mission.

Not anybody would dare to act because if this anybody did, someone would always be threatening this anybody. A perfect static situation would occur and the human race would immediately exterminate.

Our conclusion will therefore be that “the principle of threat of physical violence” is a condition for the human extermination, and “the principle of none threat of physical violence”, is a condition for the preservation of human life.

As life is an axiomatic value which we want to preserve, it is also logically true that we axiomatically want to preserve the principle which is a condition for life, namely “the principle of none physical violence (including not to have the right to use threat of physical violence)”.

Let us now examine if “the right to steal” is a condition of the preservation of human life.

If we want to define what objective theft is, we will have to define property rights, based on an axiomatic Justice.

If we consider what has already been said in this document, we can also understand that an axiomatic Justice is those principles which are a condition for the preservation of the human race. Unjust are those principles which are a condition for the preservation of the human extermination.

Just property rights are, therefore, those property rights which are conditions for the preservation human life. Unjust are those property rights which are conditions for the preservation of human extermination.

In order to survive, man cannot live alone in an environment which is free from physical violence. To survive and prosper man has to use his reason and energy to transform nature into useful things. Man lives and prospers because he is a creative animal.

We can therefore conclude that creation in itself is a condition for the preservation of the human race.

We can therefore conclude that Just property rights are those rights which preserve man’s creative efforts.

In order to define these property rights we will have to grasp a state of things when man, for the first time, enters this world of ours. This because we want to define original property rights based on Justice. In order to define property rights based on Justice, we don’t want either to be deluded by existing potential unjust property rights. Only, in a state of things where no man, yet, has owned anything, we don’t take the risk of being deluded.

When the first man, for example, broke a branch and made himself a bow, the title of property of this creation was also his. Why does the title of the property (the bow) belong to this man? Because man is a purposeful agent and if man doesn’t own his original creation and the results of his actions, he won’t act.

Let us examine if the last statement is objective and true.

We examine and grasp a state of things, in accordance with the mentioned procedure to examine objectively if something is a condition for something else, through not letting the examined principle be existent anywhere at all.

We grasp a state of things where the following principle is none existent anywhere at all: “the originators right to the objects which he through action, has created”. Everyone would be stealing anyone’s creation and the human race would immediately exterminate.

This proves that man is a purposeful agent and when his motivation exterminates, he stops acting at once.

This is also the objective reason why theft is a condition for the preservation of human extermination, and that the principle of none theft, the originators creation in accordance with the above reasoning, is the condition for the preservation of human life.

Let us now define Justly owned property rights to land.

Man doesn’t create land but he acts and creates on, in and out of land.

Also here we examine a state of things when man for the first time, enters this world. When, then, the first man enters the untouched land, and creates by action on or in or out of land, then this part of the land which he has now touched, belongs to him. Why the first man? If the first man doesn’t have the property right to this part of the land, nor does individual number two, three, four, five etc have the right to the land, and while they are waiting for the last man who hasn’t yet entered this world, man will quickly perish.

If we grasp a state of things, where the following principle is none existent anywhere and at all (this objective test is, of course, in line with our reasoning about such a procedure for finding out a condition for something else):

“When someone creates by action on or out of land, then this part which he has now touched belongs to him”.

This would mean that everyone would be stealing anyone’s Justly owned land, that is as soon as someone starts creating by action on or in or out of land, someone else would have the right to the land in question and the human race would immediately exterminate.

We can conclude that the condition for the extermination of the human race is to preserve the principle “the right to steal the land which the first man has touched and created on or in or out”. Our conclusion will also therefore only be that the condition for the preservation of the human race is that no man ever should have such a right.

Why must anybody own anything?

In accordance with our objective test to find out if something is a condition for something else, we grasp a state of things where the following principle is none existent anywhere and at all:

“Everybody owns themselves and their Justly owned property rights”.

Nobody would be able to do anything, since nobody has the right to control anything. Not even themselves (see below about property rights in your own person).

This question is not only a contradiction it is also silly. You ask a question which means that you control yourselves (natural disposition), that is owning yourself (see below the excellent writing of Hans-Hermann Hoppe). The other contradiction is that if nobody would own anything, nobody would be able to hinder anyone to own anything either since they would otherwise have an invalid control (having the disposition to) of everyone else, that is having an invalid ownership to everybody else (see below about valid property rights in your own person).

Ownership itself is, therefore, an objective condition for the preservation of human life.

Now, then, we haven’t ended our definition of Justly owned property rights until we have analyzed the right to make contracts. We will have to examine the right to make contracts, because, sooner or later the owners of Justly owned property will trade with each other. Sooner or later disputes will occur among the trading partners and then, we will have to know, the rights the trading partners have to the property and which the dispute among them is all about.

Some economist argues that the Justification for the right to make contracts is that the right promotes economic prosperity.

It is true that most of us want economic prosperity, but this is not an axiomatic Justification for the right o make contracts. “Economic prosperity” is not an axiomatic value. As we want to be objective, this argument is not good enough.

Some individuals argue that trading partners have an “agreement” and this is the reason why contracts should be legally binding. Why should such an agreement be legally binding if one of the partners wants to change his mind? Why shouldn’t we respect such a change of man’s will? Why should an earlier manifestation of a man’s will be considered proper and Just and a later manifestation of a changed will be regarded as improper and unjust? Where is the objective Justification? Where is the logical point of view? To argue that the trading partners “knew what they got into and that is why “agreements” should be legally binding”, is, of course, nonsense. It only proves that agreements are artificial constructions which haven’t anything to do with axiomatic principles founded in the nature of things.

The Justification for binding contracts is not that they are “agreements or for that reason are contracts”, but for the reason that we can derive, because of them, Justly owned property titles. “The right to make contracts” is not a right in itself which can objectively be defended as such, but is an expression which symbolizes the interpretations to derive Justly owned property rights and if theft has been done or not.
This is the title transfer theory of contracts, see also Murray Rothbard´s excellent book “The Ethics of Liberty”, chapter 19:
http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/nineteen.asp

On what base can this interpretation be related to contracts and Justly owned property titles? This we can conclude because of the reason that contracts only confirm exchange of original Just titles to property (in accordance with above definitions of original Just titles to property), that is the transferring of Just property titles between the trading partners.

The reason that a property title will be transferred from one person to another is that the original property owner has renounced his Justly owned property title to be transferred to another person, and we can only, because of this, make the interpretation that the property title has been transferred. In other words, it is the renunciation of the Justly owned property title in itself, which is the very cause to the ending of the original property owner’s title to the property and the transferring of the title to the new owner, which the original property owner has renounced his property title to.

Logic and reason tells us what has been renounced and transferred, in fact, also is renounced and transferred. For what has been done cannot be undone.

Logically a man cannot renounce his right to self-ownership, since a man in his very nature controls his own mind and body (natural disposition), that is, he is a natural self-owner of his own will and person (having a free will) and he will still be so even if he has “tried” o renounce his natural self-ownership to another person. He cannot renounce something which is a biological and physical fact of his very own life and which will never, as long as he lives, leave him.

In other words, we cannot interpret with the help of reason that the supposed slave’s natural self-ownership has been transferred to another person which the supposed slave has tried to renounce his self-ownership to.

We can therefore conclude that this fact of natural self-ownership, always, logically, neutralizes every attempt to renounce it.

Another logical confirmation of this fact is that when we in this document concluded that none physical violence and none theft preserves human life, we wouldn’t make such a conclusion if we didn’t control our minds and bodies. We wouldn’t be able to make such a conclusion, since we wouldn’t control ourselves and either would life exist, in a state of things, when everyone had the legal right to fully use his self-ownership, that is, in other words, in a state of things where physical violence and theft is none existent at all.

In regard to what has now been said we can conclude that it is objectively true that every man is a Just property owner in his own right. Because of this, slave contracts should not be legally binding, as their existence is only a” legalization” of physical violence. If we would neglect this fact, we would violate the principle of self-ownership and be using physical violence and also, because of this, violating the condition for the preservation of human life.

It is true that the possibility to make contracts and to trade is the very foundation for specialization and spurs creative processes which accounts for a very large part of man’s creative efforts. To “legally” hinder the enforcement of contracts and therefore also trade, would not only mean extreme poverty, but also death to most individuals on earth.

The enforcement of contracts, in accordance with our definition, we can conclude, is the condition for preserving these creative processes among individuals. Other definitions of contracts, which are only some sorts of agreements, (really, only different grades of slave contracts) should not, as have been pointed out, be legally binding. These illegitimate contracts include only those destructive seeds that violates the condition for the preservation of the human race, namely the “principle of none physical violence and none theft”, and because of this fact alone, they don’t include those productive processes which account for a very large part of man’s creative efforts.

We have now ended our definition of Justly owned property rights.

We have established that human life is preserved by the condition “that no man shall have the right to use physical violence and theft”.

Our conclusion will therefore be that the principle “that no man shall have the right to use physical violence and theft” is synonymous with our definition “that no man shall have the right to violate the rightful ownership in person and property”.

We can establish that the absolute and perfect condition for the human extermination is the none existence of the principle “that no man shall have the right to violate the rightful ownership in person and property”, and we can also conclude that the absolute and perfect condition to preserve the human race is the none existence of any violations.

Isolated violations of the principle are therefore absolutely perfect, destructive actions which undermine the condition and the preservation of the human race, since the very existence of these destructive actions deviate from the absolutely perfect condition for the preservation of the human race.

As life is an axiomatic value which we want to preserve, it is also logically true that we axiomatically want to preserve the principle which is a condition for life, namely “that no man shall have the right to use physical violence and theft” or in other words,” that no man shall have the right to violate the rightful ownership in person and property”.

Alternatively, an axiomatic end (human life) is preserved by an axiomatic mean (“that no man shall have the right to use physical violence and theft”).

If we take under consideration what has been concluded in this document, we can also conclude that another meaning of the principle of none violations, is that the principle also brings an absolutely perfect opportunity for the survival of human life. This means that the principle brings a totally perfect opportunity for the survival of all human beings.

As it is true that the principle is a totally perfect condition and a totally perfect preservation of human life, it also logically follows that the principle brings a totally perfect opportunity for the survival of all human beings.

This can also be proved by the fact that everyone’s violation of the principle (total physical violence and theft) brings an absolutely perfect impossibility for the survival of any human beings.

In the “philosophical debate” Liberty, as all values, is seen as a subjective value. This opinion may seem as a confirmation of the reality. There are vast political values. Liberty seems to be only one of these subjective values. But it is a superficial believes.

The reason for this is that we have established that everyone’s violation of the principle brings an absolutely perfect impossibility for the survival of any human beings. This means that we all would be, by objective means coerced to die that is objectively coerced to not “value and wanting to preserve our own lives”.

Isolated violations of the principle are totally destructive because they totally undermine by objective coercion our possibilities and opportunities to “value and wanting to preserve our own lives”.

Ethical conclusions in this document, I believe, are in agreement with some ethical conclusions that the giant Hans-Hermann Hoppe has done.
Please read some of his excellent writing from the book “The Ethics and Economics of Private Property”:

http://mises.org/etexts/hoppe5.pdf

And to:

http://www.hanshoppe.com/publications/econ-ethics-10.pdf

Principles derived from the ethics concluded in this document, are exposed in the masterpiece that I have already mentioned and that is “The Ethics of Liberty” written by Murray Rothbard, please read his book:

http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/ethics.asp

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Björn Lundahl January 5, 2007 at 2:05 am

Ethical norms, religious believes, political philosophies etc, regardless if they are true or not, needs the support of an amount of people in society that is great enough to be powerful.

Libertarianism needs too the support of an amount of people in society that is great enough to be powerful.

The difference is not that.

The difference is that Libertarianism is based on ultimate principles of justice and economics.

Not because of the reason that I have said so, but of the reason that Libertarian ethics and economics (Austrian economics) are based on logically true valid principles.

Or as Hans-Hermann Hoppe puts it in his book “The Economics and Ethics of Private Property”, page 234 and 235:

“In the present situation of a world-wide crisis of governmental legitimacy, of the collapse of East Bloc Socialism and enduring stagnation of the Western Welfare States, the chance for Austrian rationalism to fill the philosophical vacuum that has appeared with the retreat of positivism and to become the paradigm of the future is as good or better than ever. Now as before it requires moral courage as much as intellectual integrity to propound the Austrian social theory – the opposing statist battalions still represent a formidable majority and are in control of a far larger share of resources. Yet with the total breakdown of socialism and the concept of social ownership staring everyone in the face, the antithetical Austrian theory of private property, free markets and laissez faire cannot but gain attractiveness and win support. Austrians have reason to believe, then, that the time has come when they may succeed in bringing about a fundamental change in public opinion, by reclaiming ethics and economics from the hands of the positivists and the engineering powerful and restoring public recognition of private property rights and free markets based on such rights as ultimate, absolute principles of ethics and economics”.

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Sam January 5, 2007 at 7:23 am

Are you a religious envangelist in your spare time Björn Lundahl? Sheesh what a long-winded entry that last one was . . .

All I can surmise it if society is going to be wonderfully better off if we were all Libertarians then (in Libertopia) why not inspect children from birth to detect signs of either aggression (future warmongers and criminals) or dependency (future dole bludgers, Socialist and all-round slackers) and snuff their bad genes ASAP? Problem solved.

David White January 5, 2007 at 8:05 am

Muddleheadedness, cynicism, obstructionism, inanity, and defeatism. Such is your ongoing “contribution” to this site, Sam, and as it’s clear that you have no constructive alternative to libertarianism, one cannot but wonder what motivates you beyond finding something for your otherwise idle mind to do.

But thanks for continually reminding us that there’s no substitute for critical thinking.

Sam January 5, 2007 at 8:33 am

OMG!! You mind-reader you, D. White! :O

At least please try to enlighten a retard in a few lines of simple small words what a sensible thinking position is?

David White January 5, 2007 at 10:33 am

I didn’t say you’re a retard, Sam, I just said that unless you are willing and able to engage in critical thinking, you really don’t have anything constructive to offer, here or elsewhere.

And since critical thinking begins with questioning your assumptions, you need to step back and, in this case, ask yourself what your assumptions are about concepts like good, evil, human nature, liberty, property, society, the state, money, etc, as they are the foundation upon which the Austrian School of Economics is built. And insofar as your assumptions about such things are un- or ill-defined (i.e., muddleheaded), it behooves you to define them so that you can examine them — i.e., think critically about them — vis-a-vis the world as it presents itself and others who do the same. In this way, instead of potshots about snuffing children’s bad genes, you can level your intellectual firearms at a legitimate target and pull the trigger in a constructive manner.

Granted, this high standard is rarely met even here, but such is the nature of the Austrian School and of libertarianism (not to be confused with the politics of the Libertarian Party) that both can be examined quite literally on principle, such that if one doesn’t agree with this or that one and/or the conclusion(s) drawn from it, we can at least understand why, with the possibility of being persuaded accordingly.

That, to me, is the “sensible thinking position.”

Scott D January 5, 2007 at 10:39 am

Bjorn is one of the most consistently helpful, polite, and knowledgeable posters here, and I carry a great deal of respect for him. Your comments are way out of line. If you feel the need to resort to personal attacks, I think you need to rethink the strength of your own arguments.

I’d like to think that you are really trying to figure these things out and promote discussion, but you’re quickly heading towards simply being ignored as a troll.

billwald January 5, 2007 at 11:20 am

Cities were invented while people were still 90% agricultural workers for the purpose of separating the civilized people from the savage people. The farms were platted within running distance of city walls and the farmers slept inside the city walls.

By the end Prohibition the savages had control of the large cities but only exercised their life style in specific areas of the cities that were avoidable by most of the civilized people. This raised the cost of city life but not the death rate of people who avoided the downtown areas at night and stayed out of bars and taverns.

The Big War created the Great American Dream of a house in the country and a job in the city. The Eisenhower Highway System made the dream a reality.

The Civil Rights Act of ’64 destroyed the public school systems in most large cities. The rich people put their children into private schools and the middle class escaped to the suburbs.

In this century the cities are unfit for people with children. The poor people, the retired people, and the single people are moving into/staying in the cities and the shrinking middle class owns the suburbs. The joke is that for the school age population, the cities are safer than the suburbs.

Björn Lundahl January 6, 2007 at 5:21 am

David White & Scott D

Thank you very much!

Björn Lundahl

Björn Lundahl January 6, 2007 at 5:48 am

“All human beings act by virtue of their existence and their nature as human beings. We could not conceive of human beings who do not act purposefully, who have no ends in view that they desire and attempt to attain. Things that did not act, that did not behave purposefully, would no longer be classified as human.”

Murray Rothbard, “Fundamentals of human action” (praxeology)

An axiomatic Justice

In the political debate all political parties proposes some different ends (values or goals).

These ends or, alternatively, values are subjective such as “building more motorways”, “women’s liberation”, “social equality”, “social security”, “prosperity”, “making America great again”, “combating inflation”, “joining the EU” etc.

To accomplish those goals there are also debates on how to accomplish those goals (debates about the means). The means are almost always subjective i.e. the ends can be accomplished in different ways.

To accomplish an axiomatic Justice I have chosen, in my essay “Normative principles”, life as a value as an end by itself.

I have also shown that this end “life as a value” or alternatively, human life, is preserved objectively by the mean “that no man shall have the right to use physical violence and theft”.

As this objective mean preserves an axiomatic value and as this mean is derived from an axiomatic value, the whole system is an axiomatic system.

The final result is: “an axiomatic end (human life) is preserved by an axiomatic mean”.

As we cannot, logically, deny life, as long as we chose living, we cannot either, logically deny its axiomatic condition i.e. its axiomatic mean.

Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden

Björn Lundahl March 15, 2007 at 2:55 pm

I will post this again since I do believe that my comment regarding none existence of any property rights is here presented more clearly and logically than in my above post.

Life and self-ownership

Mark Humphrey “I don’t want to precipitate trench warfare with devoted Rothbardians, but I strongly suspect that Rothbard owed his insight about “life as the standard of moral value” to Ayn Rand. I can’t prove this, of course. Sadly, in “The Ethics of Liberty”, (published in the early Eighties) Rothbard chose to, in a sense, blacklist Rand by claiming that NO ONE, other than himself, in the libertarian movement was working to develope a system of rationally defensible ethics. (Maybe Rothbard meant “at the moment I am writing this statement”.)”

Björn That life is an axiomatic value and functions “as the standard of moral value” in an ethical system, Rothbard could, alternatively for example, have gotten this insight from Mises himself through analyzing his statement in his book, “Human Action”, page 11:

“We may say that action is the manifestation of a man’s will.”

http://mises.org/humanaction/chap1sec1.asp
I am not saying that Rothbard did get his insight from Mises; I am only saying that it was possible. Surely, many other possibilities exist which we do not know anything about.

Mark Humphrey “It has been awhile since I’ve read Hoppe, and Rothbard; but I suspect Hoppe’s reasoning goes: either we all own ourselves, or everyone owns everyone else. Since the first proposition is clearly more defensible than the latter absurd proposition, one can affirm self ownership as valid. But if this is the argument, it fails. For that argument assumes that which it sets out to prove, namely that an ethical concept, “ownership”, exists. But on this basis, ownership remains unproven, so that one could just as well assert: “no one owns anything, and anything goes.””

Björn Self-ownership is a natural fact, since a man in his very nature controls his own mind and body (natural disposition), that is, he is a natural self-owner of his own will and person (having a free will) and if this was not true, neither could he effectively control any property and, therefore, not own it. In other words; “nothing could control and own something”.

Naturally, praxeology the science of human action, by itself logically confirms the natural fact of self-ownership, since praxeology is based upon “the acting man consciously intending to improve his own satisfaction” and I quote from answers.com:

“From praxeology Mises derived the idea that every conscious action is intended to improve a person’s satisfaction. He was careful to stress that praxeology is not concerned with the individual’s definition of end satisfaction, just the way he sought that satisfaction. The way in which a person will increase his satisfaction is by removing a source of dissatisfaction. As the future is uncertain so every action is speculative.

An acting man is defined as one capable of logical thought — to be otherwise would be to make one a mere creature who simply reacts to stimuli by instinct. Similarly an acting man must have a source of dissatisfaction which he believes capable of removing, otherwise he cannot act.
Another conclusion that Mises reached was that decisions are made on an ordinal basis. That is, it is impossible to carry out more than one action at once, the conscious mind being only capable of one decision at a time — even if those decisions can be made in rapid order. Thus man will act to remove the most pressing source of dissatisfaction first and then move to the next most pressing source of dissatisfaction.

As a person satisfies his first most important goal and after that his second most important goal then his second most important goal is always less important than his first most important goal. Thus, for every further goal reached, his satisfaction, or utility, is lessened from the preceding goal. This is the rule of diminishing marginal utility.

In human society many actions will be trading activities where one person regards a possession of another person as more desirable than one of his own possessions, and the other person has a similar higher regard for his colleague’s possession than he does for his own. This subject of praxeology is known as catallactics, and is the more commonly accepted realm of economics.”

http://www.answers.com/Praxeology?gwp=11&ver=2.0.1.458&method=3

Further:

The Ethics of Liberty, page 45:

Footnote:

“[1]Professor George Mavrodes, of the department of philosophy of the University of Michigan, objects that there is another logical alternative: namely, “that no one owns anybody, either himself or anyone else, nor any share of anybody.” However, since ownership signifies range of control, this would mean that no one would be able to do anything, and the human race would quickly vanish.”

http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/eight.asp

Or in my own words:

Why must anybody own anything?

In accordance with our objective test to find out if something is a condition for something else, we grasp a state of things where the following principle is none existent anywhere and at all:

“The existence of property rights”:

In a world without any property rights nobody would be able to do anything, since nobody has the right to control anything. Not even themselves (see below about property rights in your own person).

This question is not only a contradiction it is also silly. You ask a question which means that you control yourselves (natural disposition), that is owning yourself (see below the excellent writing of Hans-Hermann Hoppe). The other contradiction is that if nobody would own anything, nobody would be able to hinder anyone to own anything either since they would otherwise have an invalid control (having the disposition to) of everyone else, that is having an invalid ownership to everybody else (see below about valid property rights in your own person).

Ownership itself is, therefore, an objective condition for the preservation of human life.

Please read some of Hans-Hermann Hoppe´s excellent writing from the book “The Ethics and Economics of Private Property”:

http://mises.org/etexts/hoppe5.pdf

And to:

ON THE ULTIMATE JUSTIFICATION OF THE ETHICS OF PRIVATE PROPERTY:

http://www.hanshoppe.com/publications/econ-ethics-10.pdf

Björn Lundahl

Kiwi Polemicist September 21, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Click here for an amusing example of the service level that people receive from socialised law enforcement:
http://kiwipolemicist.wordpress.com/2008/09/22/new-zealand-police-cant-even-catch-rogue-cyclists/

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