Friday, August 21, 2015

The Dogmatic Mosquito

I have the sudden urge to try a new nom de plume.  Let’s see how it fits.

Dogma: an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc.; a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle.

So far, this new identity fits pretty well.  I will expand on the dogma that is in this mosquito:

1)      I hold to the non-aggression principle as the only proper view regarding the use of force in society; this is based on an absolute commitment to the concept of private property.
a.      The political philosophy that best fits my view is anarchy as described by Murray Rothbard and others who have further expanded on this tradition.

2)      I support fully free markets for all transactions and relationships that are not in conflict with the non-aggression principle.
a.      The economic school that most closely hews to a free market line is the Austrian School.

3)      I believe that for a society to thrive – even survive – that governance (not government as it is known today) is required.
a.      The concept of a society without hierarchy is bankrupt.

4)      I believe this governance is best provided first by family and kin, thereafter extended to church, community, social and benevolent organizations and the like.
a.      The European Middle Ages offers a reasonable example.  There are others.

5)      Voluntary governance is further extended via contract.  The right to contract on any matter is absolute, as long as the object of the contract is not in violation of the non-aggression principle.
a.      Beyond conformance to the NAP, I find it quite dangerous to draw an arbitrary line regarding valid and invalid objects of contract.

6)      Contracts can come in many forms.
a.      Where there is conflict between parties regarding the terms, written terms and/or customary practice take precedent.  Any other view offers only chaos.

When I write about any topic (other than history, which requires facts) – economics, politics, war, libertarianism, etc. – I write based on this foundation.  I have read little of any of the giants – I have come to virtually all of my views on these topics based on my firm conviction on the above items; I modify my views on these topics if I find my views to be in conflict with the above items.

Someday I might conclude that one or more of the above requires modification.  So far, none of the above items have even been at minor risk of getting modified in any meaningful way.

Dogmatic?  Guilty as charged.  However, I don’t think I will change my pen name – it has grown on me.  Just like my dogmatic beliefs.


  1. "1) I hold to the non-aggression principle as the only proper view regarding the use of force in society; this is based on an absolute commitment to the concept of private property.
    a. The political philosophy that best fits my view is anarchy as described by Murray Rothbard and others who have further expanded on this tradition."

    Does preventing immigration into a country, place, area, or jurisdiction violate the NAP?

    The reason why I ask is because left libertarians believe that it does violate the NAP if the government is doing it. If it is an NAP violation when the government does it, then why it is not an NAP violation when private communities do it? Generally we say that when an individual seizes money from a person against that person's will it is an NAP violation, and that should go for the government also. To turn it around if the government preventing immigration is an violation of the NAP then how can it not be a violation of the NAP for private individuals or covenant communities to prevent it?

    It seems to me that left libertarians are suggesting a positive right residing in the would-be immigrant to migrate anywhere he chooses.

    1. I have the right to decide who does and does not gain access to my property. I therefore can hire an agent to put this right into practice.

      The landowner from who I acquired my property has the right to set conditions regarding use. I acquire it with these conditions.

      I have written extensively on this recently.

    2. Sure, I agree. However this will lead to covenant communities that implement exclusionary covenants.

      Left libertarians believe that libertarianism will lead to all racially mixed neighborhoods where racial tensions have been eliminated through the magical power of libertarianism. Somehow racial disparities in income are going to disappear under libertarianism.

      I think that we must flush the left libertarians out by disabusing them of their utopianism. They say that black people will benefit under libertarianism. That is true... But only measured over a period of decades. Ending the welfare state, affirmative action, and consequent government jobs would result in an immediate drop in black incomes and the gutting of the black middle class.

      Under libertarianism blacks will be at the bottom of the heap. Why? Because implementing "libertarianism" does nothing to suddenly grant an individual a useful skillset desired by employers or the market.

      The libertarian movement needs more Real Talk. Let's keep it real.

    3. I have the right to decide who does and does not gain access to my property. I therefore can hire an agent to put this right into practice. But i haven't hired government and government doesn't listen to what i want.. so it's intervention is an aggression. Is an improper intervention in the middle of a free exchange between two parts, at least every time there is a man who want to came and a man who want to receive him, and government prevent it, or tax it, or regulate it. It's a limit to the freemarket that libertarians advocate (not Hoppe).

    4. "But i haven't hired government and government doesn't listen to what i want."

      Of course, we are in a political environment that doesn't allow for individual discretion in the matter; after this, we are only left with second best.

  2. As a Christian I’m surprised you haven’t included the role of the church in this society or the need to bring all governance under the Lordship of Christ. Any thoughts on where these might be included?

    Apart from that, I really like and agree with your dogma. :)

    1. Item 4.

      However, I don't over-emphasize this. And by “church” I mean to imply any (consistent with the NAP) religious affiliation.

      "...the need to bring all governance under the Lordship of Christ."

      I have two thoughts about this statement:

      First, the only way for man to effect this is via methods consistent with the NAP; it is either this or warfare. So I offer the NAP as over-arching, as I am certain Christ did not call Christians to offer salvation under the sword.

      Second, I do not want to suggest – nor do I believe – that the only relatively peaceful societies are those who follow or believe this Christian doctrine.

      The Golden Rule is accepted in many religions and philosophies. While not strictly libertarian (the Silver Rule comes closer), it is a good start.

      God will handle the rest in His time.

  3. Hi, bionic. Thanks for finally coming out as a "thick" libertarian. It's ok, don't worry, I don't think there is such a thing as a "thin" libertarian. I guess the question is, when one of your other dogmas comes in conflict with the NAP, which one will win?

    You might come back with a retort that the NAP is sacrosanct and will always trump any other dogma that you hold. And I would believe you. However, there is a problem. The NAP means different things to different people and you will tend to define it in accordance with your other dogmas. This is what makes you, and everyone else, thick.

    Let's take the standard version of the NAP:

    "No person has the right to initiate aggression against another person or their justly acquired property."

    Each of these words can be interpreted differently by different people based on their preferences. Let's take an easy one: "person." I know you are pro-life and so you will define person to include a fetus of any age. I, on the other hand, will exclude fetuses below a certain stage of development from the class of persons. To me, a zygote is not a person.

    Then there's "aggression." To me, aggression means that a tort has been committed. But reasonable people will have reasonable disagreements about which torts are valid. For example, is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress a valid libertarian tort? If you scare someone to death with a joke, have you committed aggression?

    But the real problem here is the last part: "justly acquired property." This is where the real disagreements will come about, because the phrase rests on a whole theory of property. Intellectual property is a great example here. Is it a valid form of property? All the arguments in this debate, and I have followed it in great detail, are, on both sides, circular arguments that assume the conclusion. There are many other great examples, but I don't want to make this comment excessively long.

    What I am trying to say is that everyone's interpretation of the NAP will be colored by their personal biases. How can all these differences be reconciled? Not through logical arguments, since you can't disprove someone else's different premises. There is no such thing as a correct system of natural law. In fact, such a thing seems to be against the spirit of free market competition. I think the best way to address these irreconcilable differences is through free market courts.

    1. Ed

      “I don't think there is such a thing as a "thin" libertarian.”

      I think somewhere you missed the point. Libertarianism as a political philosophy offers nothing more than the non-aggression principle built on property rights. On this, I am and hope to remain thin as thin can be.

      As life entails so much more…well, just because I am a fan of Liquid Tension Experiment doesn’t mean that I suggest it is part of libertarian theory.

      As to your other questions…application of the NAP. I have stated before that where the NAP doesn’t offer a clear cut answer, culture and practice will decide. I have further suggested that it is reasonable to assume that in a libertarian world certain communities (more precisely, the members in the community) might decide on some very discriminatory and even unlibertarian rules: no dogs allowed, for 55 and older, not baking a cake for a gay couple, remove your gun before entering the town, etc.

      I have further concluded that Hoppe is right – communities that uphold certain lifestyle cultures are more likely to maintain a libertarian order than communities that uphold other lifestyle cultures.

    2. Well, at least we can agree that Liquid Tension Experiment is awesome. I don't have a problem with anything else you said, except the last part about Hoppe being right. I think libertarian order can arise in all sorts of communities independent of the culture.

      If you like Liquid Tension Experiment, you might like this:


    3. Very good.

      Regarding "libertarian order," I used the term "maintain," you used the term "arise." The difference, at least in my thinking, is important. I think both are correct within the context of each respective statement.

    4. In terms of the physical realm, natural law makes itself evident through the scientific method. Variables can be accounted for by sensory evidence or by tools that collect non-sensory evidence like infrared light. Causation can be explained and predicted as the regular concatenation of natural phenomena.

      It is made abundantly clear to me by experience, and elucidated soundly and irrefutably by Mises, that as far as the scientific method applies to objective physical forces, it is unsuited to the study of subjective value and the ideas which compel men to act.

      Subjective value theory can not be understated in the application of libertarian political philosophy. As observers, we can only make wert frei statements about the suitability of means and ends. Humans are by definition not omnipotent and are in no way capable of knowing the ultimate end of nature; and, thus, also incapable of choosing the means by way of cultural and political philosophy of attaining the ultimate end.

      Humans have definite ideas that lead them to take definite actions that lead to definite consequences that may or may not cause that person to change their ideas and so on times 8 billion. The collective understanding of humans of similar genetic and geographical makeup are passed down as mythology, taboos and biases that constitute the collective knowledge of human action down through time. I think it is safe to say that opposing cultures will always develop and have different priorities as regards values.

      This to me is a strength not a weakness as a hedge against inherent uncertainty in the universe and black swan events. It is my understanding that as the aggregate understanding of various cultures become intermingled, humans tend towards an expectation of the benefits of freedom of association, non-aggression, division of labor and private property (among other things). 10,000 years of human history show a trend away from absolute authoritarianism towards individual freedom.

      This is how objective natural law seeps into the consciousness of subjectivity. When enough people decide that they might be better off adhering to an anarcho-capitalistic framework, the more it will become the unconscious expectation of people who otherwise have no interest in economics, nature and the symbiotic synergy of cooperation in the attainment of individual ends.

      I hate creating such a long post, but I find that clear language is necessary in making libertarian points under current presuppositions. Clarity is not always brevity.