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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6485/private-defense-is-no-laughing-matter/

Private Defense Is No Laughing Matter

April 9, 2007 by

According to conventional wisdom, writes Robert Murphy, even though capitalism is better than socialism when it comes to varied products such as hot dogs, blue jeans, and laptops, nonetheless we need government central planners to provide us with military defense. In fact, this is so “obvious” to most people that the opposite view — namely, that a free market in defense would work just fine — is cause for ridicule. So let us rethink fundamentals. FULL ARTICLE

{ 79 comments }

V Harris April 16, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Scott, point well taken. So let me restate my thesis. To retain control, those who govern maintain the proper mix of power over, and consent from, the governed. It matters not whether that consent is informed.

As long as the proper mix of power and consent is maintained, the state can retain sufficient power to force compulsory payment for its monopolistic territorial ‘defense.’ If the state loses control, private property owners do not become free of such governance — but rather fall victim to the next powerful despot to also seek rents.

An anarchistic society cannot withstand assault from the force-initiating, empire-building autocrat — who’s power and ‘consent’ derives largely from a spoils system fueled by ill-gotten gain. This is so even when, through elections every few years, we replace one autocrat with another — that is, give our consent.

Björn Lundahl April 16, 2007 at 1:07 pm

V Harris

“‘Consent of the governed’ is a romantic notion to which some US founding fathers aspired — nothing more. The reality is that those with sufficient power govern, whether with popular support or not.”

I am not talking about “a romantic superficial noting.” What I am talking about is reality and the power of ideas in a much deeper sense.

The power of ideas.

” . . . the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas. Not, indeed, immediately, but after a certain interval; for in the field of economic and political philosophy there are not many who are influenced by new theories after they are twenty-five or thirty years of age, so that the ideas which civil servants and politicians and even agitators apply to current events are not likely to be the newest. But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.”

The last half of the last paragraph in John Maynard Keynes’s book General Theory of Employment Interest and Money.

That ideas rules the world is one of the very few correct ideas that John Maynard Keynes probably ever had.

Human Action:

“The nineteenth-century success of free trade ideas was effected by the theories of classical economics. The prestige of these ideas was so great that those whose selfish class interests they hurt could not hinder their endorsements by public opinion and their realization by legislative measures. It is ideas that make history, and not history that makes ideas.”

Ludwig von Mises

http://mises.org/humanaction/chap3sec3.asp#p84

Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

“States, as powerful and invincible as they might seem, ultimately owe their existence to ideas and, since ideas can in principle change instantaneously, states can be brought down and crumble practically overnight.”

http://www.freelythinking.com/quotes.htm

From the book “The Ethics of Liberty”, by Murray Rothbard:

“Ideology has always been vital to the continued existence of the State, as attested by the systematic use of ideology since the ancient Oriental empires. The specific content of the ideology has, of course, changed over time, in accordance with changing conditions and cultures. In the Oriental despotisms, the Emperor was often held by the Church to be himself divine; in our more secular age, the argument runs more to “the public good” and the “general welfare.”But the purpose is always the same: to convince the public that what the State does is not, as one might think, crime on a gigantic scale, but something necessary and vital that must be supported and obeyed. The reason that ideology is so vital to the State is that it always rests, in essence, on the support of the majority of the public. This support obtains whether the State is a “democracy,” a dictatorship, or an absolute monarchy. 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. But support there must be. 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”.

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

“Human history is in essence a history of ideas.” (H.G. Wells)

“In every great time there is some one idea at work which is more powerful than any other, and which shapes the events of the time and determines their ultimate issues.” – Francis Bacon

Because of the power of ideas, the following can be concluded:

If an amount of people that supports the state is great enough, the state will be powerful.

If an amount of people that supports the democratic principle is great enough, the democratic principle will be powerful.

If an amount of people that supports communism is great enough, communism will be powerful.

If an amount of people that supports religion is great enough, religion will be powerful.

If an amount of people that supports libertarian ethics is great enough, libertarian ethics will be powerful.

Björn Lundahl

Jesse April 16, 2007 at 1:16 pm

V Harris: “To retain control, those who govern maintain the proper mix of power over, and consent from, the governed. It matters not whether that consent is informed.

“As long as the proper mix of power and consent is maintained, the state can retain sufficient power to force compulsory payment for its monopolistic territorial ‘defense.’”

A reasonable description of the mechanics of the State. I doubt any proper anarchist would disagree, except to note that consent must, by definition, be both voluntary and informed; what you are referring to here is the absence of organized opposition, which is hardly the same as active consent.

V Harris: “If the state loses control, private property owners do not become free of such governance — but rather fall victim to the next powerful despot to also seek rents.”

Agreed if the loss of control is due to conquer by another State, but not if the State is demolished from the inside. As long as the State exists it exposes a single point of attack — conquer the State and you command its existing apparatus of coercion and control. Demolish the State and that apparatus no longer exists.

V Harris “An anarchistic society cannot withstand assault from the force-initiating, empire-building autocrat — who’s power and ‘consent’ derives largely from a spoils system fueled by ill-gotten gain.”

Pure conjecture.

V Harris: “This is so even when, through elections every few years, we replace one autocrat with another — that is, give our consent.”

I don’t know about you, but I have never given my “consent”. No government actor can claim to be acting as my agent, performing atrocities in my name.

Björn Lundahl April 16, 2007 at 1:26 pm

Here is another example of the power of ideas, ideas that dominated and ruled the Japanese political spectrum until the end of Second World War.

When I watched this film which the following link will lead to, I must say that I am proud to be a libertarian. Japan was before the end of the Second World War, ruled by a fascist ideology, government and emperor, an ideology which still has its influence in Japan and also here in the western world.

Collectivism, fascism and socialism are connected to each other. The individual has no value and no rights. The “common goal” is the important one. For what purpose no one knows. Reason has nothing to do with it.

The emperor Hirohito should have been punished. The USA might have promised Japan not to prosecute Hirohito if Japan would capitulate but such a promise should not have been, when Japan was later occupied, respected.

Warning: There is a lot of cruelty in this film!

Video “The Rape of Nanking”:
http://video.Google.com/videoplay?docid=4920138942953644691

Björn Lundahl

RogerM April 16, 2007 at 1:38 pm

“This support need not be active enthusiasm to be effective; it can just as well be passive resignation.”

I like this quote from Rothbard, provided by Bjorn. The majority of Americans, including the anarcho’s posting on this site, support the state through their passive resignation. Anarchists do nothing more than write angry posts on anarchist friendly web sites. Why don’t you guys blow something up, like the anarchists of the early 1900′s? Why don’t you quit paying all taxes and go to jail so someone will notice? You don’t, I would guess, because your life is very comfortable as it is.

Mark Brabson April 16, 2007 at 1:39 pm

Well, we just got another good demonstration of the worth of “government” defense at Virginia Tech. Thirty two dead and twenty eight injured. Already have learned that the police response to the situation was totally f***ed up.

If just a handful of these students had been armed, this situation would likely have ended with far few casualties. Oh well, people want to be good little unarmed sheep.

RogerM April 16, 2007 at 1:48 pm

Bjorn:”The emperor Hirohito should have been punished. The USA might have promised Japan not to prosecute Hirohito if Japan would capitulate but such a promise should not have been, when Japan was later occupied, respected.”

You’re right. For some reason, Japanese fascism has gotten a pass from American media who prefer to focus on German fascism. But Japanese fascism was every bit as murderous. Also, I think an element of racism exists in the media’s willing ignorance of Japan’s murders because Japan’s victims weren’t white people.

Nevertheless, the decision to not prosecute the Emperor was strictly pragmatic. Dropping two atomic bombs on Japan had no effect on Japanese generals. We later learned that they assumed we had just two or three such bombs and they could endure the deaths better than surrender. US intelligence estimated that up to one million US troops would die in an invasion of Japan. Based on the US kill ratio, that would mean about 20 million dead Japanese. The US transferred 500,000 troops from Germany to take part in the invasion of Japan, but officers were fairly certain that those soldiers would mutiny rather than be slaughtered, so they doubted an invastion was even possible.

Mark Brabson April 16, 2007 at 1:57 pm

While not as well known, there were a number of war crimes trials held in Japan and Prime Minister Tojo and others were hanged and many others were imprisoned for war crimes.

The Emperor was really irrelevant, even then. The Japanese Army had seized de facto control of the country and the Emperor was little more than a symbol. The 1946 Japanese Constitution, imposed by the U.S., simply enshrined the Emperor as a powerless symbol.

Allen Weingarten April 16, 2007 at 3:29 pm

I fully agree with the centrality of ideas. However, this does not refute the ‘Consent of the governed’. Unless the populace accepts ideas, they are stillborn. One may inquire as to why ideas are accepted or rejected, and perhaps come up with an analogy as to why products in the marketplace sell or not. Here, just as von Mises claims that the public is the final governor of the market, the public is also the final governor of which ideas predominate, and consequently, which people who advocate and apply them become the leaders.

Note that it is not explanatory to confine the selection of leaders to those who employ harsh and deceitful methods, since many different leaders and groups do so.

Paul Edwards April 16, 2007 at 3:50 pm

Roger,

“…. The majority of Americans, including the anarcho’s posting on this site, support the state through their passive resignation. Anarchists do nothing more than write angry posts on anarchist friendly web sites. Why don’t you guys blow something up, like the anarchists of the early 1900′s? Why don’t you quit paying all taxes and go to jail so someone will notice? You don’t, I would guess, because your life is very comfortable as it is.”

Roger, I take it you have yet to become a martyr yourself for any great cause. Shall I presume this is because all is entirely right in the world in your estimation? And if you ever did see a serious problem in the world, would you risk financial ruin and your life to make it right? Or would you reason this way: “I will not risk my life over this thing which is wrong, so therefore it must be right after all, or in any case, not so bad as it at first seemed.” I am interested to know. Perhaps it will explain how you come to love the state so dearly.

RogerM April 16, 2007 at 4:00 pm

Paul: “I take it you have yet to become a martyr yourself for any great cause.”

Who’s asking you to be a martyr? I just asked you to do something, anything. As for me, I like things pretty much as they are. I’m tinkering around the edges trying to make marginal improvements. Anarchos, on the other hand, see the state, particularly the US gov, as the greatest evil mankind has ever faced or will ever face, responsible for murdering millions and stealing trillions. If I thought something was that evil, I might just become a martyr. At least Al Qaeda people are doing something about what they perceive as evil.

Paul Edwards April 16, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Roger,

“Who’s asking you to be a martyr?”

Let me review the invitation: “Why don’t you guys blow something up [maybe the police will throw you in jail, fine you, or better yet shoot and kill you], like the anarchists of the early 1900′s? Why don’t you quit paying all taxes and go to jail [better yet, in addition, resist arrest and get shot to death: that should really make the headlines]…” I don’t know, that sounds like martyrdom to me.

“I just asked you to do something, anything.”

Well, something is making praxeological arguments to people who seem to care about such things as truth, as to why the monopolistic state is not only a poor choice for defense, but in fact is an unjustifiable choice, and also a very dangerous and foolish choice. That’s something i think. In fact i think it is something very important.

“As for me, I like things pretty much as they are.”

Then you don’t get out much. But i am happy for you in a certain sense.

“I’m tinkering around the edges trying to make marginal improvements.”

What more can one hope to do but make marginal improvements when the problems themselves are only marginal?

“Anarchos, on the other hand, see the state, particularly the US gov, as the greatest evil mankind has ever faced or will ever face, responsible for murdering millions and stealing trillions.”

We only see it this way because that’s the way it is. You know, it’s not like i set out to come to these conclusions. It’s just clear now that it is the case.

“If I thought something was that evil, I might just become a martyr.”

I am glad for you then that you don’t see anything as that evil. Sincerely.

“At least Al Qaeda people are doing something about what they perceive as evil.”

I am not convinced they are fighting for the ideal of liberty though. But if they are and yet consider it valid to kill innocent bystanders in their quest for liberty, they suffer the same delusions as our own local statists do. And they mock their cause, as our own do as well.

Björn Lundahl April 16, 2007 at 5:06 pm

RogerM

Why not throw a few bricks at fractional reserve banks in the U.S. when you pass by? You consider them to be fraudulent, don’t you? Fraud is quite evil, isn’t it?

Björn

Björn Lundahl April 16, 2007 at 5:19 pm

Mark Brabson

“While not as well known, there were a number of war crimes trials held in Japan and Prime Minister Tojo and others were hanged and many others were imprisoned for war crimes.”

Thanks for the information.

Björn

RogerM April 16, 2007 at 7:12 pm

Bjorn: “Why not throw a few bricks at fractional reserve banks in the U.S. when you pass by? You consider them to be fraudulent, don’t you? Fraud is quite evil, isn’t it?”

I do in the appropriate place. Besides, that much is understood on this web site. No one here defends it. I attack the Fed on web sites that try to defend it. This site has great economics, which is the reason I visit, but the anarcho nonsense just gets to me sometimes.

RogerM April 16, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Paul: “…that sounds like martyrdom to me.”

Martydom requires your death. I didn’t ask for that, just that your actions match the evil you clame to be fighting. According to anarchos, Rome is burning. But all you guys do is talk about it. You won’t even join the rest of us doing just a little good.

Björn Lundahl April 17, 2007 at 6:24 am

RogerM

”but the anarcho nonsense just gets to me sometimes”

What you “feel” about anarchos might be important for you, but probably not that important for others to know about. So what?

I wouldn’t think of telling what I “feel” personally about statist ideas like yours. Who wants to know? What is the point?

I have a lot of “feelings” about many economic theories and ideologues but I wouldn’t post it here, especially not as I know that some people might not share them.

It is a little naive

Björn

RogerM April 17, 2007 at 9:26 am

Bjorn: “I have a lot of “feelings” about many economic theories and ideologues but I wouldn’t post it here, especially not as I know that some people might not share them. It is a little naive.”

I didn’t mention anything about my feelings and my feelings don’t have anything to do with what I post. I try to ignore anarcho articles as much as possible, but sometimes the distortion of the truth is just too much for me to endure in silence. And I’m not trying to change the minds of any committed anarchists. I worry that impressionable minds might stumble onto this site and get sucked into anarcho nonsense.

Are you arguing that you don’t like people who disagree with anarchism to post here? If so, that’s dangerous. People who can’t tolerate criticism end up in extremism and error.

Allen Weingarten April 17, 2007 at 9:39 am

Paul Edwards addresses RogerM’s statement “Anarchos..see the state, particularly the US gov, as the greatest evil mankind has ever faced…” He responds “We only see it this way because that’s the way it is. You know, it’s not like i set out to come to these conclusions. It’s just clear now that it is the case.”

First, it would be helpful if he clarified what makes America more evil than Iran & North Korea, and previously Germany & the USSR, each of which embodied greater state power.

Second, if the state is the essence of evil, what is Paul’s definition of ‘evil’ and why did it originate with the state?

V Harris April 17, 2007 at 11:19 am

Björn, libertarianism is unique among the institutions you list in that it is, in effect, leaderless. Without a center, I’d posit that the implementation of much of libertarian thought is not practicable in human society — particularly regarding the private defense of property rights. Unless you can cite specific, long-term examples its workability, the notion of private defense (as opposed to socialized defense) remains a hypothetical ‘idea’ only — on par with others romantic notions such as the utopian commune.

Jesse, mostly agreed. Since consent was the term that popped up that is how I’ve framed the argument. I too have never consented to be governed but am nonetheless. Perhaps acquiesced is a better term. At any rate, my point remains that those who govern are able to do so because they maintain the proper mix of power and (consent, acquiescence, resignation, or other term you believe most appropriate) and are able to extract rents from those they ‘govern’ until replaced by another.

While on the topic of consent, the most plausible solution I’ve read to the problem of governance without consent is from Randy Barnett in his book, Restoring the Lost Constitution; The Presumption of Liberty. He argues that since we can’t genuinely give consent to be governed, we should instead all have the ‘presumption of liberty.’ That is, we are presumed by the state to have all negative rights — which rights can only be interfered with if the state can prove that such interference with our liberty is both necessary and proper (he goes to great lengths to define necessary and proper). I suspect that Barnett’s position is the best we can ever hope for — being governed by a state that recognizes and respects our negative rights and interferes with them only when able to prove the necessity and propriety in doing so.

For the reasons I’ve previously stated, it seems private defense is unworkable. Hence socialized defense (as in the USA) would be a proper function for the state, therefore necessitating that the state expropriate funds collectively from those who it alleges benefit from the ‘defense’ it provides, regardless of how ineffectual such defense is.

Björn Lundahl April 17, 2007 at 2:05 pm

The Austrian Economics Newsletter

Austrians and the Private-Property Society

An Interview with Hans-Hermann Hoppe

AEN: Yet Mises attacks anarchism in no uncertain terms.

HOPPE: His targets here are left-utopians. He attacks their theory that man is good enough not to need an organized defense against the enemies of civilization. But this is not what the private-property anarchist believes. Of course, murderers and thieves exist. There needs to be an institution that keeps these people at bay. Mises calls this institution government, while people who want no state at all point out that all essential defensive services can be better performed by firms in the market. We can call these firms government if we want to.

AEN: What do you say to the critique that the private-property society as you describe it appears quite authoritarian?

HOPPE: This is a left-egalitarian critique. They claim that authority should play no role in social life and that there should be no rank or position. But of course, there can be no society without structures of authority. In the family, there is always a hierarchy. In communities, there are always leaders. In firms, there are always managers.

But in a market, none of these authorities have taxing power. Their rule depends entirely on voluntary consent and contact. But the state attempts to break down these competitive centers of authorities and establish a single authority overriding all others. If you don’t comply, the state cracks down.

It is a ridiculous idea that we need the state to tell social authorities that they need to adhere to a uniform set of rules and obey a single master. Society does not need uniform modes of association. Market exchange makes social harmony possible even within the framework of radical diversity.

Today’s so-called multiculturalists don’t see that there is a difference between having a globe with many different cultures and imposing that diversity on each point on the globe. It is a difference between a regime of private property and a statist regime where the rest of us merely obey. Ultimately, those are the only two systems from which we have to choose.

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

The Private Production of Defence, Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

http://mises.org/journals/scholar/Hoppe.pdf

Björn Lundahl

Paul Edwards April 17, 2007 at 3:41 pm

I meant it in the option two sense:

mar·tyr

1. One who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce religious principles.

2. One who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle.

Björn Lundahl April 17, 2007 at 4:13 pm

If something “just gets to me,” isn’t that an expression of a person’s feelings about this something?

Björn

Paul Edwards April 17, 2007 at 4:21 pm

Allen,

A note on terminology and phraseology. Roger was using slightly inflammatory language in order to make a point. Rather than dispute the details of his characterization, I decided to just address the thrust of his point, which is that anarchists hold that the state, in any form cannot be justified, and that furthermore, much in the way of mass murdering has been done by a number of states in the past and present, but particularly by this especially powerful state – Washington – over the last 100 years in the name of democracy, liberty, justice, safety, world peace, self determination, and the American way, I suppose. But on to the specific points:

“First, it would be helpful if he clarified what makes America more evil than Iran & North Korea, and previously Germany & the USSR, each of which embodied greater state power.”

Well, not that I think it is that important to rate them; they all have their better points and worse, but to cut to the chase, Washington has been by far the most efficient at militarily based mass murders on foreign soil in the last 100 years and has been by far the most aggressive abroad militarily compared to any other state during that time. It is certainly arguable that its relatively liberal domestic policies give it a bit of a pass and that we could claim Soviet Russia, Communist China, Nazi Germany, and other extremely brutal and totalitarian socialist regimes have been as deadly to their own citizens as Washington has been to its non-citizens. But militarily, no regime holds a candle to Washington for total aggression abroad and number of foreign civilian lives snuffed out. I’m open to correction though.

“Second, if the state is the essence of evil, what is Paul’s definition of ‘evil’ and why did it originate with the state”

This is actually Roger’s rhetorical and stylish manner of putting it. The way I would put it is this: the state is the essence of aggression. Worse, it is the essence of legitimized and institutionalized aggression. It claims the right to threaten to initiate violence against non aggressors who live within the geographical region in which they claim a monopolistic jurisdiction over. The state neither homesteaded this region themselves, nor did it acquire title to it contractually from other homesteaders. It masks its aggression under the pretext of the utter contradiction of serving justice and protecting property, while its very existence is a violation of both. So, in addition to being aggressive, and unjust, it is also steeped in the art of deception and indoctrination of its duped and credulous subjects. In short the state is the absence of libertarian ethics, of natural law, of order and of reason. It is the antithesis of justice.

Is that evil? Now that I think of it, yes it is.

Björn Lundahl April 21, 2007 at 2:48 am

Some critical replies regarding Hans-Hermann Hoppe´s ethical proof.

The Economics and Ethics of Private Property, By Hans-Hermann Hoppe, page 240 and 241:

“Amazingly, Friedman, Yeager, Steel, Walters, Virkkala and Jones believe I must have overlooked the fact that all existing societies are less than fully libertarian (that slavery, the gulag, or that husbands own wifes, etc), and that this somehow invalidates my argument. Yet obviously, I would hardly have written this article if it had been my opinion that libertarianism were already prevalent. Thus, it should have been clear that it was precisely this non-libertarian character of reality which motivated me to show something quite different: why such a state of affairs cannot be justified. Citing facts like slavery as counter-example is roughly on par with refuting the proof that 1+1=2 by pointing out that someone has just come up with 3 as an answer – and about as ridiculous.”

Page 243 and 244:

“Rasmussen is different. He has fewer difficulties recognizing the nature of my argument, but then asks me in turn “So what?” Why should an a priori proof of the libertarian property theory make any difference? Why not engage in aggression anyway? Why indeed?! But then, why should the proof that 1+1=2 make any difference? One certainly can still act on the belief that it was 1+1=3. The obvious answer is “because a propositional justification exists for doing one thing, but not for doing another.” But why should we be reasonable, is the next come-back. Again the answer is obvious: For one thing, because it would be impossible to argue against it; and further, because the proponent raising this question would already affirm the use of reason in his act of questioning it. This still might not suffice and everyone knows that it does not: for even if the libertarian ethic and argumentative reasoning must be regarded as ultimately justified, this still does not preclude that people will act on the basis of unjustified beliefs either because they don’t know, they don’t care, or they prefer not to know. I fail to see why this should be surprising or make the proof somehow defective. More than this cannot be done by propositional argument.

Rasmussen seems to think that if I could get an “ought” derived from somewhere (something that Yeager claims I am trying to do, though I explicitly denied this), then things would be improved. But this is simply an illusory hope. For even if Rasmussen had proven the proposition that one “ought” to be reasonable and “ought” to act according to the libertarian property ethic this would be just another propositional argument. It could no more assure that people will do what they ought to do than my proof can guarantee that they will do what is justified. So where is the difference; and what is all the fuss about? There is and remains a difference between establishing a truth claim and installing a desire to act upon the truth – with “ought” or without it. It is great, for sure, if a proof can install this desire. But even if it does not, this can hardly be held against it. And it also does not subtract anything from its merit if in some or even many cases a few raw utilitarian assertions prove more successful in persuading of libertarianism than it can do. A proof is still a proof: and socio-psychology remains socio-psychology.”

“Amazingly, Friedman, Yeager, Steel, Walters, Virkkala and Jones believe I must have overlooked the fact that all existing societies are less than fully libertarian (that slavery, the gulag, or that husbands own wifes, etc), and that this somehow invalidates my argument.”

Björn: I wonder if Friedman also did overlook the fact that at least during the 60s, central bankers around the world did not either believe in monetarism and if this very part of reality by itself invalidated a case for monetarism? Or, for example, if Karl Marx too missed the fact that the world was not a communist or socialistic one when he wrote Das Kapital or did he hope that his “proofs” could change the world? Alternatively, Ludwig von Mises might have, when he wrote his masterpiece Human Action, missed the sad fact that Austrian Economics did not prevail and that he should, therefore, have considered not writing it? This reply by Friedman, Yeager, Steel, Walters, Virkkala and Jones was surprisingly silly.

Rasmussen. “But why should we be reasonable, is the next come-back.”

Björn: This “question” could also serve as an “answer” to any argument for anything and why should we not be reasonable?

“Rasmussen seems to think that if I could get an “ought” derived from somewhere.”

Björn: If everyone or at least if most people believed that the proof is a valid proof, it would be almost impossible for governments to act against it and ignore it or should they “argue” “we know that our activity is criminal but we believe it is good for society anyway. We are criminals but so what?”

In other words, in practise an “is” can, in such a case, therefore be derived to also be an “ought.”

Björn Lundahl

Björn Lundahl May 8, 2007 at 6:01 am

The murderer is sentenced guilty before the nature of life.

You enter the kingdom of life and believe that you stand above its rules and its very foundation. What right gives you the right to abandon my rules? If you do not like this dimension you can pass away from it any time you want. No one is forcing you to stay.

With the help of reason, consciousness and intelligence, you can observe that your fellow men strive to sustain their lives. They do what their nature calls them to do, namely to live. You are a threat against that! You are a threat against this dimension! This dimension would not exist if it couldn’t cope with what is threatening it. You wouldn’t have lived if murdering has been allowed, and despite of this fact, you place yourself above the very cause of your own life. How can you place yourself above the very cause of your existence!?

No organism or life can exist if it is not accommodated to what life demands, and that is partly to eliminate the very things that can cause that life ceases. It is the self-preservation that is the very cause for me to throw out the murderer from my kingdom. You never learn! You are parasites of life! You are saying that you did not choose life because you didn’t create yourself, but no one has, for all men are participants of an eternal process and this fact does not declare your irresponsibility.

The process in nature that created me, demands that I follow its rules or else the process would never had created me and would never had risen, for it would be doomed to die from the very beginning. It is created in such a way that it avoids death, which is the reason for me having self-preservation, for death I else would not have avoided. My nature is thus such that the murderer’s actions shall be rejected and punished until such destructive threats ceases to exist.

My lawbook is the existence’s law, life’s law, our kingdom’s law, this dimension’s law or my nature’s law, because I am the nature, a part of cosmos and I must play by its rules for nothing else exists for me.

With a good conscience I will now consider if you also shall be thrown out from my dimension and return to the unconsciousness. If I judge to not throw you out, I will do it with a bad conscience since I have the insight about this dimension’s utmost playing rules which I then will have denied.

Björn Lundahl

Björn Lundahl May 8, 2007 at 6:03 am

The thief is sentenced guilty before the nature of life.

Men visit my kingdom for a time and then later leave it. I observe this species that with its reason, consciousness and intelligence protects her values and purposes. They cultivates harvest where the wind blow the very least, they build greenhouses to protect the harvest against frigidity; they spray the harvest to protect it from insects. With their reason, consciousness and intelligence some men observe that the harvest can be stolen and out of this reason men defends their harvest with the might of weaponry, for the self-preservation and man’s purposes are then protected.

You can steal due to the fact that man to some extent succeeded to keep down the theft and you can live because man has to some extent succeeded to suppress the theft. Human beings became human beings the day they started to create and you belong to this species. You enter the kingdom of life and believe that you stand above its rules and its very foundation. What right gives you the right to ignore my rules? Since childhood you have learnt that theft is wrong and despite of this, you steal. You are a parasite of life, motives and objectives because theft is a parasite of life, motives and objectives! The day man no longer succeeds in her effort to suppress theft, that day motives, objectives and life ceases to exist.

The process in nature that created me, demands that I follow its rules or else the process would never had created me and would never had risen, for it would be doomed to die from the very beginning. It is created in such a way that it avoids death, which is the reason for me having self-preservation, for death I else would not have avoided. My nature is thus such that the thief’s actions must be stopped and punished until they cease to exist.

My lawbook is the existence’s law, life’s law, our kingdom’s law, this dimension’s law or my nature’s law, because I am the nature, a part of cosmos and I must play by its rules for nothing else exists for me.

In the name of true Justice, as it is built upon the insight about this dimension’s utmost playing rules, you will now be sentenced for the crime you have done and for the compensation to the victim and this to its fullest extent.

Björn Lundahl

RogerM May 8, 2007 at 9:54 am

Paul: “But militarily, no regime holds a candle to Washington for total aggression abroad and number of foreign civilian lives snuffed out.”

Are you kidding me? Do you know nothing about WWII? Or the cold war, in which the Soviets started hundreds of civil wars around the globe to promote Marxism? Anarchist’s deliberate ignorance of history would be funny if not so dangerous.

Paul: “Is that evil? Now that I think of it, yes it is.”

You didn’t answer Allen’s question: “Second, if the state is the essence of evil, what is Paul’s definition of ‘evil’ and why did it originate with the state?” You danced around a lot, only to conclude what I had stated before, that anarchists consider the state to be the greatest evil facing mankind. If I may suggest an answer to Allen, I think anarchists are more like socialists than anyone in that they believe people are born pure and innocent; people turn evil because of oppression by capitalists, for socialism, or by the state, for anarchists. Real Austrians, like Mises and Hayek, allow for a mixture of good and evil in all people that can’t be explained by a particular structure to society. Human nature is a given, good and bad, and must be accepted and dealt with. Mises and Hayek believed society should be structured to minimize the evil in man’s nature while promoting the good. Here’s Mises’s analysis of anarchism from a recent article:

Mises (from The Fallacy of Collectivism) “The anarchists overlook the undeniable fact that some people are either too narrow-minded or too weak to adjust themselves spontaneously to the conditions of social life. Even if we admit that every sane adult is endowed with the faculty of realizing the good of social cooperation and of acting accordingly, there still remains the problem of the infants, the aged, and the insane. We may agree that he who acts antisocially should be considered mentally sick and in need of care. But as long as not all are cured, and as long as there are infants and the senile, some provision must be taken lest they jeopardize society. An anarchistic society would be exposed to the mercy of every individual. Society cannot exist if the majority is not ready to hinder, by the application or threat of violent action, minorities from destroying the social order. This power is vested in the state or government.”

Björn Lundahl May 8, 2007 at 12:23 pm

The Austrian Economics Newsletter

Austrians and the Private-Property Society
An Interview with Hans-Hermann Hoppe

AEN: Yet Mises attacks anarchism in no uncertain terms.

HOPPE: His targets here are left-utopians. He attacks their theory that man is good enough not to need an organized defense against the enemies of civilization. But this is not what the private-property anarchist believes. Of course, murderers and thieves exist. There needs to be an institution that keeps these people at bay. Mises calls this institution government, while people who want no state at all point out that all essential defensive services can be better performed by firms in the market. We can call these firms government if we want to.

AEN: What do you say to the critique that the private-property society as you describe it appears quite authoritarian?

HOPPE: This is a left-egalitarian critique. They claim that authority should play no role in social life and that there should be no rank or position. But of course, there can be no society without structures of authority. In the family, there is always a hierarchy. In communities, there are always leaders. In firms, there are always managers.

But in a market, none of these authorities have taxing power. Their rule depends entirely on voluntary consent and contact. But the state attempts to break down these competitive centers of authorities and establish a single authority overriding all others. If you don’t comply, the state cracks down.

It is a ridiculous idea that we need the state to tell social authorities that they need to adhere to a uniform set of rules and obey a single master. Society does not need uniform modes of association. Market exchange makes social harmony possible even within the framework of radical diversity.

Today’s so-called multiculturalists don’t see that there is a difference between having a globe with many different cultures and imposing that diversity on each point on the globe. It is a difference between a regime of private property and a statist regime where the rest of us merely obey. Ultimately, those are the only two systems from which we have to choose.

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

The Private Production of Defence, Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

http://mises.org/journals/scholar/Hoppe.pdf

Björn Lundahl

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