Friday, January 19, 2018

Dilly Dilly









Today I feel like the guy who brought the king some Bud-Light, although I have the feeling that Hoppe would prefer a nice Waldhaus Schwarzwald Weisse while overlooking the Bodensee and enjoying a nice Wiener Schnitzel.  From Hans Hoppe and his essay On Getting Libertarianism Right:

Throughout the entire period, the Ludwig von Mises Institute – mises.org – and Lew Rockwell – lewrockwell.com – have stood out as bulwarks against the infiltration of libertarianism by leftist thought….More recently, outlets for explicitly and decidedly anti-leftist libertarian thought have proliferated. There is “Bionic Mosquito” with his blog – bionicmosquito.blogspot.com.

I should end this post now, as it can only go downhill from here!  Yet, against my better judgment, I move forward.  While what I have cited above is easily the most important point Hoppe makes in his essay, I will offer an examination of a few of his comments that lead to this, the most important point ever made by this student of Rothbard.

Hoppe begins with a summary of his most familiar argument regarding the respect for absolute private property rights in the strictest libertarian tradition as the only method of minimizing the possibility of conflicts between and among humans.

While the importance of this “Austro-libertarian” insight can hardly be overrated, however, it is just as important to recognize what questions this theory does not answer.

What?  The NAP is not omnipotent?  This is not a shortcoming of the theory; instead, it is a shortcoming of those who place the theory as the highest good, or those who proclaim it the one true faith.  It is a shortcoming in those who expect that this is a theory that can bring itself to fruition – a creation story equal to the one found in Genesis: creating something from nothing.

Hoppe points out that the theory does not offer an answer to how a libertarian order is to be achieved – and, once achieved, how it is to be maintained.  These are fair questions, given that the world around us is anything other than one embracing a libertarian social and political order.  Too many self-proclaimed libertarians ignore the reality of the world around them, instead naively embracing…

…the currently reigning – and only “politically correct” – view that all people and in particular all groups of people are essentially equal as regards their mental and motivational make-up…

Hoppe describes these as left-libertarians.  These left-libertarians embrace precisely the same world view as those Western elites intent on destroying what remains of our freedom:

…multi-culturalism, unrestricted “free” immigration, “non-discrimination,” “affirmative action” and “openness” to “diversity” and “alternative lifestyles.”

Hoppe asks, regarding the Western elite, “are they all secretly libertarians?”

Of course, they are not.  Which, therefore, leads to one of the only two remaining possibilities: libertarians such as these are either knowingly doing the bidding of those Western elites or they are dolts.  Regardless of which of these is true for each individual leftist, it is undeniably true that it is so-called libertarians such as these that are “acceptable” to the mainstream.

Hoppe paraphrases Rothbard when he writes:

Owing to their patently false, unrealistic assumptions concerning the nature of man, [Rothbard] had pointed out, the very means and measures advocated by left-libertarians for the attainment of libertarian ends were false as well. In fact, given the libertarian end, they were counter-productive and would lead to more rather than less conflict and infringements of private property rights.

You would think that all students who learned at Rothbard’s knee would understand and incorporate this into their thinking the way Hoppe has done; either that, or explicitly challenge Rothbard – demonstrate how destroying culture and tradition is the path toward liberty.  (Don’t hold your breath – it is an argument never coming because it is a laughable argument.)

Real libertarians – in contrast to left-libertarian fakes – must study and take account of real people and real human history in order to design a libertarian strategy of social change, and even the most cursory study in this regard – indeed, little more than common sense – yields results completely opposite from those proposed by libertarian fakes.

I tell you, I am not as blunt or harsh as Hoppe…or maybe I am worse.  I guess it depends on how you read the following: the issue isn’t one of “real libertarians.”  What is lacking is not the “libertarian”; what is lacking is the ability to think critically, to incorporate “real people and real human history” in the study of bringing theory to application.

In other words, what is lacking is thought – it is either this or “libertarians” such as these are working as agents for those bent on your destruction.


Hoppe sees that it is in the thinking of Western men where the ideas of liberty were developed and nurtured:

…i.e., men born and raised in countries of Western and Central Europe or their various overseas dependencies and settlements and intellectually and culturally united by a common lingua franca (once Latin and now English) and the trans-national Catholic Church or more lately and vaguely a common Christianity.

One need not get all antifa about this: just check the history.  In other words, if the idea of liberty is to be achieved and sustained, it will be in a society of men who embrace this western culture and tradition.

Speaking of which, I am in the middle of reading a book about medieval Japan.  From my very cursory knowledge of the history prior to opening the book, I thought it might offer some views similar to what I have found regarding the European Middle Ages.  I am about half-way through the book and, at least to this point, on any commonality with the European Middle Ages on this point of law and liberty I can say…no…not really.  But I will write on this in the coming days and weeks.

These observations alone should be sufficient to reveal any libertarian advocate of “free,” unrestricted and non-discriminatory immigration of non-Westerners into the countries of the West as a fool.

Like I said, you decide if Hoppe is more blunt and more harsh in his criticism than am I.  It may be an ad-hominem, but if it is true it is not a fallacious ad-hominem, therefore fair game.

For much or even most of the European middle-ages no State and State authority existed. All authority was social authority.

I will add: no man “made” law.  Law was based on custom and tradition; law was both old and good.  I first came across this entire topic due to a comment posted by someone when I was a member of Gary North’s community.  The comment referenced Fritz Kern and his book Kingship and Law in the Middle Ages. 

Through Kern’s book, I discovered an examination of Germanic Middle Age law; thereafter, I discovered the decentralized society that both supported and was supported by this law.  I also found that Hoppe had been here well before I ever found the space.

Returning to Hoppe:

There were hierarchies of authority: heads of family households, priests, bishops and a distant pope; patrons, lords and over-lords; and countless different and separate communities, religious, social and professional orders, assemblies, guilds, societies, associations and clubs, each with its own rules, hierarchies and rank-orders.

No authority had absolute power; no authority could unilaterally make law and enforce judgment; the serfs had better protection in property than we in the west have today; each noble had veto power over the king’s decision if it could be demonstrated that the king went against the old and good law.

What is the wanna-be totalitarian to do if one wants to become a totalitarian?

The…would-be-State promoter…must undermine, weaken and ultimately destroy all competing authorities and hierarchies of social authority.

As each of these decentralized, voluntary authorities is destroyed, guess which authority is left to provide comfort, warmth and safety to the people?  You got it. 

No one must be free to autonomously determine its own rules of admission and exclusion.

Free association and dis-association (separation) of people in physical space and free affiliation and dis-affiliation of people through shared or un-shared memberships in various organizations must go.

One by one, each of these decentralized authorities was attacked – attacked by taking away the right to discriminate, attacked by destroying the traditions that supported the authority. 

And how to achieve this? By enlisting the support of everyone resentful of not being included or promoted in some particular association or organization or for being expelled and excluded from them…. On every level of social authority, you must encourage and promote deviant behavior (behavior preventing inclusion or leading to exclusion) and then use these deviants to undermine any authority other than your own.

Those who were begging for admittance (to be identified in the beneficiaries of any one of the hundreds of made-up, legislated positive rights) found in the totalitarian state a comforting voice – “we will break down these barriers for you.”

To a right-thinking libertarian, this should read “we will destroy his property rights for you.”  To anyone who understands power, this should read “we will destroy all competing authority structures until we are the last one standing.”

And lest one believes Hoppe is afraid to spell out clearly the positions which he finds as destructive to any possibility of moving toward and sustaining liberty…

“Free” mass immigration from the non-Western world, “multiculturalism,” “affirmative action,” “non-discrimination,” the propagation of “openness” to “diversity” and “alternative life-styles,” to “feminism” and “gay- and gender-ism,” and of “anti-authoritarianism”…

Hoppe ends on a promising note:

…today, among self-described libertarians, left-libertarianism is in retreat, while the influence of realistic-right libertarianism has steadily grown.

To any sentient, thinking being, it is quite clear that left-libertarians are “left,” not libertarian.

Conclusion

Against Hoppe, the left-libertarians are left with slur, slander and fallacious ad-hominem attacks; this is because they are unable to take on the argument.

To libertarians such as these – and perhaps my most sincere wishes go to the open borders libertarians – I return to the video at the beginning of this post: please take your spiced honey-mead wine with you as you take your private tour of the pit of misery.

62 comments:

  1. “…the currently reigning – and only “politically correct” – view that all people and in particular all groups of people are essentially equal as regards their mental and motivational make-up…”

    I don’t quite understand what Hoppe is saying here. I am a Hoppe fan, so I don’t mean any disrespect, but it seems as though he is talking about some kind of inherent inferiority (genetic? racial?) among different groups. Outside of some corner-case where a group is highly isolated and has enough inbreeding to produce large and frequent inherited genetic defects, I don’t see how this could be true. Or Biblical.

    That isn’t to say that I think all cultures and traditions are of equal value. That, I believe, is pretty easily demonstrated.

    “I will add: no man “made” law. Law was based on custom and tradition; law was both old and good.”

    I think your statement here is really the crux of the matter. I don’t think it is “mental and motivational” makeup, but the cultural soil. Not just any tradition or culture, though. In my opinion it comes from a Biblically based system that respects property rights and non-aggression as in the European middle ages.

    If it was purely genetic (how I’m interpreting the “mental and motivational make-up” part), then how to explain the descent of the west? Have our genetics changed? It seems like it isn’t a “mental or motivational make-up” issue, but an issue of culture and tradition being co-opted and changed by the state.

    Dave

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    1. Dave,

      Yes he is referring to race and genetics. Hoppe has had geneticists like Richard Lynn attend his conference and includes Race/IQ material as sources in his book Democracy the God that Failed. Population groups are not equal or the same and IQ is a heritable trait. Your use of the term "biblical" suggests you may be prejudiced against certain scientific facts pertaining to race but in case you are not, I recommend reading Steve Sailer- you can find a lot of his stuff at Unz Review.

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    2. It is obvious that people are different: they have different talents and different capabilities. For example, I wouldn't expect a 400 pound person to do well in a marathon (or even finish), nor would I expect a mentally handicapped person to be able to design a bridge or a skyscraper.
      It is important that we take these differences into account when things need to be accomplished. It is also important to treat people equally kindly with patience and charity and not with condescension - that is where real equality comes in. And, individually speaking, that is the hardest equality to muster.

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    3. The fact that individuals are different is utterly devoid of controversy. What is controversial is the fact that human traits are not distributed evenly across the earth but are clustered in specific populations and transmitted through genetics. Of particular interest here are traits pertaining to the creation and maintenance of civilization such as time preference, IQ, and sociability- all of which feature heavily in Hoppes analysis as I mentioned above- which are heavily skewed towards Europeans and North Asians.

      This is "problematic" to several types of people:

      1. The enforcers of the moral prerogative of our age (racial egalitarianism) in academia and media.

      2. Hardcore "Individualists" of either the Christian or Liberal perspective (or both) who need to deny the existence of biological realities in order to preserve their worldview.

      (Note: you can be a Christian and not believe in multiracialism though some will disagree)

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    4. UC 2.0 - I'm vaguely familiar with Sailer, though certainly no expert on his wrtings or claims. Given what I am aware of, I don’t see how his views on IQ and race explain why/how the closest society to something like an NAP society arose in the Christian West. The studies he cites seem to indicate that certain Asian and Jewish groups have even higher IQs on average than that of whites. So, why wasn’t there something approaching the European middle ages in, say, Japan? There are also studies that show that the IQs of blacks and other minority gaps increase in areas of higher wealth/income. All this points to something outside of genetics, IMO. It also shows that the "science" on this certainly is open to debate. Even the concept of IQ itself isn’t exactly free of controversy.

      Dave

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    5. Woody – Of course individuals are different, I never said otherwise, and your examples are strawmen. Saying individuals are different is a necessary but insufficient condition for groups to be different. I would imagine that the abilities of individuals in each group are distributed along a bell curve, and that those individual differences are a product of a combination of environment and genetics. It stands to reason that the abilities of different groups are also distributed along a bell curve, but it seems from my admittedly limited knowledge that environmental factors have much more to do with it. An example is how higher wealth and income has been correlated with an increase in IQ among minority groups.

      “It is also important to treat people equally kindly with patience and charity and not with condescension”

      I don’t know where you stand on the ideas of libertarianism or the NAP, but what you say here strikes me as a positive obligation, one that goes beyond the NAP. While I would agree personally with your statement, it brings us full circle back to the cultural question.

      Dave

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    6. Dave

      I will say that I am confused. Are you suggesting that "all groups [however you organize "groups"] of people are essentially equal as regards their mental and motivational make-up…"?

      This seems to fly in the face of observation; I believe - but admittedly I am not well-read on the topic - it also flies in the face of science.

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    7. Bionic, I'm confused as well. I'm trying to think this through as I respond to posts which probably leads to my thoughts being disorganized and scattered.

      What I have observed during my travels outside the US does not to me indicate that the groups of non whites and non Asians I've encountered have a lower mental and motivational make up. Is their culture different, sure. Are aspects of their culture worse than ours, sure. But I find it hard to say they are somehow mentally inferior.

      As I mentioned before, it seems as though at least some of the "science" indicates that when individuals from minority groups are put into cultures of higher wealth/income,their measured IQ actually rises.

      So what I'm trying to understand is if it's really "defective" or mentally inferior individuals and groups that make the world outside the west unsuitable for liberty, or is it the culture of those groups.

      Can someone point to real science that shows that certain people groups are mentally inferior? Sailer was pointed out, but even he has cites how minorities' IQ rises based on environment. Or, you say it flies in the face of observation, can you be more specific about what observation?

      This is somewhat tangential, but one of my areas of interest is the socaal world of the ancient near east. It is interesting to note the vast cultural differences between the people that wrote the new testament and ourselves. They are much closer to the dominant culture in the middle east today. Yet their culture is what the western church was born out of. To me it seems the fact that the west exists today when it obviously didn't at some point in the past, and the fact that it is currently in decline, point to the difference between the west and the rest of the world being cultural and not necessarily mental capabilities.

      Hopefully that clarifies a bit instead of adding to the confusion.

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    8. Let’s begin with Hoppe’s precise words: “…all people and in particular all groups of people are essentially equal as regards their mental and motivational make-up…”

      I will stay out of the “IQ” thing, as Hoppe didn’t use this term. It might be implied by the term “mental,” but “mental” could also imply other things.

      What dangerous ground we tread….

      I imagine you were a teenager once – do you remember those first few years after puberty? Suffice it to say, the male “group” has a different motivational make-up on Friday night than does the female “group.” Maybe not every single male and every single female…but, as a group? Do you see this differently?

      In later years, when it comes to what the male “group” looks for in a wife, he has a different motivational make-up than what the female “group” looks for in a husband.

      James Damore wrote a paper that got him fired. In it he described differences. From Wikipedia: “…According to Damore, those differences include women generally having a stronger interest in people rather than things, that women tend to be more social, more artistic, and more prone to neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).”

      While there is some disagreement about the science behind his memo, he does have much support from scientists. Again, from Wikipedia: “Some commentators in the academic community expressed broad support, saying he had gotten the science right, such as Debra Soh, a sexual neuroscientist at York University in Toronto; Jordan Peterson, Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto; Lee Jussim, a professor of social psychology at Rutgers University; and Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychology professor at University of New Mexico. David P. Schmitt, former professor of psychology at Bradley University; said that the memo was right on average groups differences, but one cannot use it to judge individuals.”

      I find this last point important – and should be considered as applicable to my entire comment. Consider one bell curve for men and a second one for women (or any two groups you care to choose). The curves measure the attributes Damore identified as “different.” One bell curve will be centered somewhat to the left of the other – yet both overlap in the middle more than they diverge at the two extremes – one going further to the left, the other going further to the right.

      In other words, there are differences between these two groups, but…perhaps…more similarities. So while this tells us nothing of each individual, it does say something about the “group.”

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    9. Bionic, I agree with what you say, but I don't think Hoppe is comparing men and women. The context of his article session to indicate that "different groups" means different nationalities.

      The differences between men and women like you have pointed out seems to be more along the lines of general preferences of each gender, or biological differences that are somewhat value neutral. As in, men generally tend to be physically stronger and women tend to be more nurturing. Is one better? Maybe in different contexts, but both seem necessary for humanity to exist and thrive.

      What I thought Hoppe meant (and maybe UC2.0?), was that different groups had genetic differences which made one group superior than the other. I.e., one group has the mental and motivational capacity for liberty, and the other groups don't and are inferior. That is what I took issue with and was trying to understand more.

      I've read From Aristocracy to Monarchy to Democracy but have not read Democracy: the God that Failed. Maybe reading that will help me understand more.

      Dave

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    10. “…different groups had genetic differences which made one group superior than the other. I.e., one group has the mental and motivational capacity for liberty, and the other groups don't and are inferior.”

      If you want to continue this dialogue, please address the following:

      • Why does “different” infer “inferior”?
      • Who said anything about one group being “superior” to another?
      • Who said anything about the objective of “liberty” being “superior”?
      • Who said that “groups” (however you define “groups”) who hold to other objectives are “inferior”?
      • Who are you to judge what someone else or some other “group” finds as “superior”?
      • As far as I know, only you have said these things: so, why do you say such things?

      This is one of the issues I take with libertarians who believe “liberty is for all men” (and I cannot yet conclude if you are one of these): they insist that “liberty” is the objective for which all men strive or that all men find “superior.”

      It is the same reason given by the US government – “we want to bring the blessings of liberty to the world”; unsaid…“at the end of a gun.” Believe me, those poor souls were quite happy before being so “liberated.”

      There are some things certain – at least from my observation and learning: it is in western civilization that this idea of liberty sprang forth to its greatest fruition; it is the only civilization where such liberty held reasonably true for a meaningfully extended period of time; Christianity was a foundational part of this civilization; the patriarchy was another foundational part of this civilization; this civilization was made up of Europeans who happened to be white.

      Please tell me if I am wrong in this – and don’t go all antifa on me; stick to the historical facts. I will expect you to confirm if you believe I am right or wrong on this, and then explain your answer if you believe I am wrong. “I don’t know” is not a qualified answer. This conversation will not continue otherwise.

      As to why this is so, I will leave it to you or others to explain.

      That other “groups” (by race, religion, creed or whatever grouping you choose) as a “group” have different motivations is without doubt – even for groups that have been immersed in this western tradition for decades or centuries. It isn’t my place to say that their objectives are inferior – that’s their business, not mine. I don’t say anything about their IQ – but they certainly have not embraced “liberty” as superior. Maybe you can explain why this is so.

      And I also don’t exclude individuals from other groups to join a community grounded in property rights as long as they agree to live by the covenants of the community.

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    11. Different groups often carry different ideas or ideals on how to live. Whether this is a cultural thing or a genetic thing, I cannot say for sure. But I have been interested in the works of Dr. Carl Jung lately, and I believe he had something to say about this.

      I need to measure my words carefully, because I'm no expert on Jung, and I do not want to misrepresent his ideas. According to Jung, people have metaphysical organs of the psyche called archetypes. These are basically just stories or symbols held in our subconscious that affect our psychological health. They are the instincts our ancestors passed down to us through our genes. These archetypes may effect what we intuitively believe is right and wrong.

      And since they are genetically heritable, it is only a small deduction that people who have been separated genetically for hundreds or thousands of years may have different formulations of these archetypes. Jung, I believe, considered these archetypes to be somewhat universal, shared by all cultures. To a certain extent this must be true, but perhaps there are variations in our psychic genetic inheritances that explain some of the empirical differences in the behaviors between the races.

      At the end of the day, it is ideas that count, and the conscious can override the subconscious.

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    12. “If you want to continue this dialogue, please address the following:”



      OK, here goes. As I alluded to before, I’m learning as I go, so hopefully nothing I say comes off as argumentative. I’m in this to learn.

      “• Why does “different” infer “inferior”?”



      I don’t know that it does, but it seemed like Hoppe was inferring that. That’s basically what I was trying to find out in my very first comment, trying to understand Hoppe’s point. It seemed like a normal, plain English interpretation of Hoppe’s statement to infer that “different” = “inferior” in the context of the text. I could very well just be reading this wrong and can accept that.



      So, if Hoppe isn’t making a value statement but just an observation, then what is the response in the real world? Do we say that those living in less than ideal cultural soils who have different mental and motivational make-ups wouldn’t benefit from liberty and not being aggressed against? I know I have to add 1000 caveats to that statement; I don’t think that liberty should be forced on them by the US at the point of a gun, I know they possibly wouldn’t like/receive the message if they are in a culture unfriendly to private property and liberty, etc. See additional comments below to the “liberty is superior” paragraph.


      “• Who said anything about one group being “superior” to another?”



      Probably no one, this flowed from my initial reading of the Hoppe article. If I’ve read it wrong, per the above, then this goes away as well.


      “• Who said anything about the objective of “liberty” being “superior”?”



      See comments below to the “liberty is superior” paragraph below.


      “• Who said that “groups” (however you define “groups”) who hold to other objectives are “inferior”?”



      See comments below to the “liberty is superior” paragraph below.


      “• Who are you to judge what someone else or some other “group” finds as “superior”?”



      I don’t think its my place to judge, but as I say below, it is hard for me to say that some society that uses aggressive violence against those that live under it is a lost cause if it happens to be outside of the white Christian west.


      “• As far as I know, only you have said these things: so, why do you say such things?”



      As I say above, it was the way I was interpreting Hoppe’s comment.

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    13. “This is one of the issues I take with libertarians who believe “liberty is for all men” (and I cannot yet conclude if you are one of these): they insist that “liberty” is the objective for which all men strive or that all men find “superior.” “



      This is hard for me to answer, since it deals with the intersection of theory and the real-word. In a perfect, theoretical world, why wouldn’t liberty be superior given a Christian worldview and the NAP that can be derived from it? If aggressive violence is a moral evil (which I believe it is), then non-aggression (what I assume you mean by liberty) would be morally superior to aggression.



      Now, in the real world, things get muddy. I agree with you that libertarianism can only be possible in a certain cultural soil, so it is folly to go preaching NAP to those who are not primed to hear it (at it is evil to do so at the point of a gun as you bring up below). But, it is hard for me to say that some society that uses aggressive violence against those that live under it is a lost cause if it happens to be outside of the white Christian west. So, if a group does not view liberty as superior, I don’t know what the real-world answer is. Peaceful exchange of ideas? NAP “evangelism?”


      “It is the same reason given by the US government – “we want to bring the blessings of liberty to the world”; unsaid…“at the end of a gun.” Believe me, those poor souls were quite happy before being so “liberated.””



      These kinds of actions are evil and have nothing to do with true liberty. Not much else to say about that.

      “There are some things certain – at least from my observation and learning: it is in western civilization that this idea of liberty sprang forth to its greatest fruition; it is the only civilization where such liberty held reasonably true for a meaningfully extended period of time; Christianity was a foundational part of this civilization; the patriarchy was another foundational part of this civilization; this civilization was made up of Europeans who happened to be white.

      Please tell me if I am wrong in this – and don’t go all antifa on me; stick to the historical facts. I will expect you to confirm if you believe I am right or wrong on this, and then explain your answer if you believe I am wrong. “I don’t know” is not a qualified answer. This conversation will not continue otherwise.



      As to why this is so, I will leave it to you or others to explain.”



      I believe you are right on this. I know of no other historical examples outside of the west. I still want to learn more about what made the Christian west’s cultural soil the most right, though. It can’t just be Christianity, the eastern church did not develop this way. It can’t just be “white” as other groups from the caucuses did not develop this way. It seems like it has to be many things. I think one key ingredient may be the sudden political decentralization after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and large geographical area affected by it.

      “That other “groups” (by race, religion, creed or whatever grouping you choose) as a “group” have different motivations is without doubt – even for groups that have been immersed in this western tradition for decades or centuries. It isn’t my place to say that their objectives are inferior – that’s their business, not mine. I don’t say anything about their IQ – but they certainly have not embraced “liberty” as superior. Maybe you can explain why this is so.”



      I don’t know, ultimately. I think the starting point is figuring out what made the west unique. I think you’re correct that the Christian west had the right soil, but what ingredients made it right?

      “And I also don’t exclude individuals from other groups to join a community grounded in property rights as long as they agree to live by the covenants of the community.”



      The question that I think needs answered is why do people decide they want to join a community grounded in property rights?

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    14. These are incisive responses by BM. At the risk of adding nothing original:

      Hoppe is not addressing whether the differences arise from nature or nurture. Everyone is reading that into his commentary here. That is erroneous. Nature/nurture is an old and ongoing debate, and Hoppe does not claim originality there.

      He is assessing a fact observed (differences among populations). Commentary on "superiority" and "inferiority" arise only in the beholder, and say much about unconscious (and possibly erroneous) assumptions.

      I sincerely believe Hoppe assigns the same dignity of mankind to every individual. Just read his first major work! It speaks only to individual men and women. No distinctions are made in the theory based on genetic heritage.
      Stephen Kinsella has written about it.

      No, what we must account for is that due to nature, or nurture, or both, bloodlines of different groups have led to very different myths, faiths, "archetypes" (per Jung), and basically, different precepts of the good life, the 'virtuous' life, and how to live it.

      As a cultural matter, I see the Church and the faith, and the founder of that faith, as being the seminal, essential cause that gave the West life, and its European, Near-Eastern population.

      Fruit was borne from this, and their bloodlines, again through nature, nurture, or both, generated succeeding generations of individuals who were more principled, and more sociable, better time-preferenced, and showed a greater respect for people and understanding of their needs and destiny (liberty, salvation).

      It took generation after generation. It isn't crude racialism. To my religious mind, and not contradicted by science, those who followed were blessed. The blessings are ending now that the followers are falling away.

      Liberty and growth must arise in men's hearts, naturally. It must be desired and become an archetype. The first step is in the culture, and the transformation that must occur, must occur gradually.

      A mere expressed intellectual doctrine (NAP) is not enough to "get through" to a population. The Church knew this. No, it is through our deeper yearnings; through art, imagery, music, love, hero stories, and so on.

      So what is "superior". The NAP can never say. Argumentation ethics can point a light as to what is contradictory and not. So can, if you are inclined, the basic goods that all men and women are capable of recognizing in their minds.

      But human life and development are a process. One cannot jump in the middle and hit the fast forward button. Some populations are not ready or able to "solve it all" within themselves. And why do they need to?

      Perhaps we were designed to rely upon one another (division of labor?). Is it so wrong for one population to innovate these civilizational principles through humility and therefore make great leaders (and by that I mean, conscientious stewards)? And perhaps for another people to play a different role after joining the steward/leader culture, submitting to its wisdom, but still playing a role and contributing in a unique and invaluable way that brings all toa greater salvation?

      Not to get biblical, but remember what Paul wrote to the Carthaginians. He excoriated them for their growing pride, and reminded them of their humble cities, their backwards ways, and lack of any accomplishment in the world compared to others; thereby using the stick of the world to measure them, and implying that this isn't the stick to use in the first place.

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    15. Dave

      Perry has covered much of what I might say – and more; so now it is my turn to say “At the risk of adding nothing original”:

      “In a perfect, theoretical world, why wouldn’t liberty be superior given a Christian worldview and the NAP that can be derived from it? If aggressive violence is a moral evil (which I believe it is), then non-aggression (what I assume you mean by liberty) would be morally superior to aggression.”

      Maybe you and I are not addressing the exact same thing; let me try it this way: what we in the west view as liberty or freedom – both in the pure libertarian sense and in much of what the west actually demonstrates – looks like slavery and suicide to many people in this world.

      We have the liberty – both in libertarian theory and in actual practice – to have multiple sexual partners of any gender, get married and divorced countless times, poison our bodies with drugs both legal and illegal, work 90 hours a week and ignore our families, make material gain the highest – and for many, the only – ideal, etc., etc., etc.

      There are other liberties that are illegal in the west, but perfectly legal within the NAP framework; as I have referred to often, read every chapter title of Block’s Defending the Undefendable.

      People in much of the world outside of the west do not want this “liberty.” They are pleased that their government disallows such things. For them, this is liberty.

      I have suggested before and now is a good place to repeat it: what might be a libertarian society on the inside will not look libertarian to those on the outside. Perhaps these people outside of the west are fine with the liberty within their covenant community – even though these do not look libertarian from the outside.

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    16. BM and Perry, thanks, you've given me much to think on.

      BMW, thank you, those examples were helpful. I was talking about something different, but your cultural examples have helped me refocus.

      It is interesting to think about the cultural differences and what parts of liberty are culturally acceptable.

      I need to reread all these comments and digest everything a little.

      Dave.

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  2. I have GOT to read more Hoppe. I think he's on the right track.

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    1. Here's a great place to start for free.

      Pdf of "Democracy: the God that Failed"

      http://www.riosmauricio.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Hoppe_Democracy_The_God_That_Failed.pdf

      "However, even if all of this does not give much hope for the future, all is not lost. There still remain some pockets of civilization and culture.
      Not in the cities and metropolitan areas, but in the heartland (countryside). In order to preserve these, several requirements must be fulfilled:
      The state as a judicial-monopoly must be recognized as the source of decivilization: states do not create law and order, they destroy it. Families
      and households must be recognized as the source of civilization. It is essential that the heads of families and households reassert their ultimate
      authority as judge in all internal family affairs. (Households must be declared extraterritorial territory, like foreign embassies.) Voluntary
      spatial segregation, and discrimination, must be recognized as not bad but good things that facilitate peaceful cooperation between different
      ethnic and racial groups. Welfare must be recognized as a matter exclusively
      of families and voluntary charity, and state welfare as nothing but the subsidization of irresponsibility." - Hans Hoppe, Democracy, p. 185

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    2. This book of Hoppe's was an eye-opener for me...albeit, when I read it I was very early in my bionic journey. Perhaps I should read it again now, as it will likely be far more valuable.

      Delete
    3. This book is where I found out about Fritz Kern's "Kingship and Law in the Middle Ages." It's in the footnotes three times. When I discovered you were also a purveyor and admirer of Kern's book and thesis, I was immediately drawn to your views on history and the other books on the Middle Ages you've read and written on. I purchased RHC Davis' book on the period because of you, though I haven't had the time to dig into it yet.

      I am also interested (as you seem to be) in tracing the threads of thought and action through this period to find the roots of liberty and of tyranny. I'd love to read Gerard Casey's "Freedom's Progress: a History of Political Thought," but $80 is a bit steep for me right now.

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    4. I did not notice the references to Kern when I first read Hoppe's book - as mentioned, bionic was very young at the time, and with Hoppe felt so overwhelmed by the simple wisdom of his thoughts. I have subsequently found that Hoppe referenced Kern.

      As to Casey's book, I too want to read it - but am also considering the price. It would make for a great long term project for me...

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    5. BM,

      I'd be very interested in your thoughts after reading the book. I wonder if Casey will also find the (or at least some of the) roots of modern totalitarianism in the Enlightenment and the Reformation as you have.

      Kern had something to say about this too. I believe I remember him stating (though I'll have to reread) that the absolutism, supposed to have been found in the later monarchical period wasn't an outgrowth of the influence of the Catholic church or of Germanic custom, but rather it bloomed after the rediscovery of some of the ancient (pagan) Roman and Greek concepts of law and justice. Am I remembering this correctly?

      If I am, I believe his thesis builds upon your own, since the resurgence of absolutism wasn't a result of the 'oppressive' Catholic church, but rather a result of the subversion of its authority in regards to law and kingship by a tradition much older.

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    6. ATL

      "...rather it bloomed after the rediscovery of some of the ancient (pagan) Roman and Greek concepts of law and justice. Am I remembering this correctly?"

      I can't answer this with any authority.

      I have been fighting the urge to spend $80 on Casey's book. I really think I will eventually give in.

      Delete
    7. "I can't answer this with any authority."

      I'll see if I can find a direct quote and page number in the book tonight if I remember.

      Delete
    8. BM,

      Upon further review of my copy of "Kingship" I've found that I oversimplified it quite a bit. Kern traces the rise of absolutism from strands of Germanic custom, Christian doctrine, and the reintroduction of the Ancient Roman notion of popular sovereignty.

      The Romans believed that the people were sovereign, but once they vested power to the monarch, that power was inviolable and irrevocable. In Christianity he sees the doctrine of passive obedience, turned into a right of kings to unconditional obedience from their subjects. In Germanic custom I believe it was some form of pagan consecration that lent itself to absolutism, but I'm not positive on that. It may have been the Germanic custom of kin right instead.

      Within Germanic and Christian customs, however, there were the balancing forces of the rights of resistance against law breaking monarchs, whether the laws broken were old and good laws or ecclesiastical and natural laws respectively. And it wasn't until these balancing forces were abandoned, and customary law was replaced by positive law, that absolutism reigned.

      Though I wonder just how absolute Monarchies really were in the later middle ages, whether they had any power in comparison to the democratic tyrannies of Napoleon, Lenin, Hitler, and the like.

      This quote I pulled from Wikipedia is interesting though I cannot verify it.

      "Nothing so clearly indicates the limits of royal power as the fact that governments were perennially in financial trouble, unable to tap the wealth of those most able to pay, and likely to stir up a costly revolt whenever they attempted to develop an adequate income." - William Bouwsma

      The quote is referenced to the book, "Absolutism and Its Discontents: State and Society in Seventeenth Century France and England" written by Michael Kimmel. I have not read the book, but its free at google books. Might be worth a read sometime.

      https://books.google.com/books?id=yUWyyvJSTb8C&pg=PR7&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

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    9. “Though I wonder just how absolute Monarchies really were in the later middle ages, whether they had any power in comparison to the democratic tyrannies of Napoleon, Lenin, Hitler, and the like.”

      It might be worth considering the 100 Years’ War, fought by the two most centralized governments of Europe in the later Middle Ages – England and France. I have not studied it in tremendous detail, but I imagine the monarchs, respectively, had pretty strong control to wage battle for 100 years.

      Delete
  3. This is an attempt to offer an historical as opposed to ad hominem argument to Hoppe.
    Now the discourse of individual rights traces back at least as far as classical Greece. What is Oedipus if not a denunciation of the tyrants arbitrary power ? Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus, the American Revolution all sprang from rights based discourses. At the same time with the birth of the nation state, the science of statistics was born. The very term statistics derives from the word state. Statistics was merely the mathematical refinement of the analysis of inventories of resources and populations which could be turned to military use by the state. In time public education was deployed by the state as a means of conditioning the young to be obedient to the state, psychologically prept to be drafted and deployed as soldiers to carry out state aims. In turn the state public school system set about to ‘normalize’ those in its charge. A classification system was devised whereby those who could not or would not submit to the authority of the state public school system were branded deviants. Psychology emerged as a scientific discipline claiming to possess the capability of making such classifications on populations of children. This in turn, expanded into a larger medico-normalization classification system encompassing sexuality and defining a whole taxonomy of deviancy which included degeneracy, homosexuality, and the criminal in addition to the moron. It is in the latter half of the twentieth century that the original western individual rights based discourses began to collide with the distinctly socialist behavioral normalizations that began to emerge with the emergence of the nation state.
    And so while Hoppe is right to attack the state as antithetical to the private property society, it is a paradox that he takes up the cause of the state with respect to its goals of normalizations.

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    1. "...he takes up the cause of the state with respect to its goals of normalizations."

      You spent a couple hundreds words on everything other than this, then ended with this.

      How about a couple hundred words explaining this?

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    2. Left-libertarians learn that Hoppe opposes mass immigration, so they conclude he favors active state measures to curtail it. I'm not aware that he does. As far as I can tell, Hoppe opposes state measures that encourage and subsidize it, namely, war (which creates refugees), welfare (taxpayer-funded resettlement programs), "anti-discrimination" laws (forced association with alien hordes), and "public" property (tragedy of the commons). Mass immigration is very much a big government program.

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  4. Let’s take three of the sociological classifications you say Hoppe has designated inimical to liberty and progress: Alternative lifestyles, gay-ism, and anti-authoritarianism. In each case did not these arise in reaction to the normative disciplinary power the state exerted over those under its dominion, whom it did not regard as free individuals but as subjects over whom it exercised disciplinary power ? In compulsory public schools, following the Prussian model, a strict regimentation was instituted. The pupil spoke only when spoken to. Individual curiosity was suppressed. The pupil was expected to submit to the schools intellectual and disciplinary authority. Albert Einstein spoke of the oppressive drudgery of such schools and their crushing effect on his scholarly pursuits. Similarly were not Robert Peels 19th century Metropolitan police a disciplinary force deployed to control society down to an atomistic level, the level of the individual the better Bentham's Utopian panopticon could operate over the entirety of society ? Are not the origins of anti-authoritarianism to be found as reactions against these kinds of oppressive socialist institutions rather than some quixotic rebelliousness on the part of the delinquent ?
    Did not the state deploy its barely equivocal science of degeneracy and eugenics as the basis of its criminalization of gayism ? Is not the LGBGTism of today a reaction against the states normative sexual disciplinary regime deployed late in the 19th century ? If the state had not first criminalized gayism from the late 19th to the mid 20th century would there now be any countervailing LGBGTist movement today ? Had there never been the states 19th century Jim Crow regime would there be the countervailing BLM movement of today ? If the US NAFTA project had not destroyed the farming industry of the campesinos in Mexico would there be the mass immigration of Mexicans today ? Where I think Hoppe is absolutely right is in his denunciation of democracy, the state, and its interventionism. What I think he has failed to sufficiently appreciate is the degree to which the militancy of the groups he has picked out as conspiring against a free society and its progress is in fact the produced effect of prior state intervention and its prior deployment of socialist / disciplinary power.

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    1. Victor, you do an exemplary job of ignoring the arguments in the essay - either Hoppe's or mine - and instead just going off on irrelevant tangents.

      And you have ignored my earlier question, instead just moving on to this irrelevant point.

      One or two more of these and it will be the pit of misery for you.

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    2. In 1836 AW Pugin wrote an amazing book, Contrasts, calling for a return to the spiritually ennobling society of medieval catholic europe. Pugin’s drawings compare the splendor of medieval catholicism with the oppressive regimentation of 19th century Protestant society. One such sketch, Contrasted Residences for the Poor, compares the 19th century workhouse with the medieval catholic almshouse. In the first, the housing for the poor plays a decisively exclusionary role. Workhouse residences served to exclude a certain targeted sub-section of society. The penitentiary which came into being in this time as well as the insane asylum played similar roles of excluding deviants. The point I’m concerned to make is that the exclusion of certain social subgroups only comes about after the invention of the nation state and after its evolution into an institution of socialist central planning. It is not at all a feature to be found in the medieval european catholic society Hoppe is now holding up to us as the exemplary model for the ordering and organization of human society. It is commendable that Hoppe has seen the same noble social order in medieval catholic European society as Pugin saw.
      My point is simply that when Hoppe speaks of excluding certain social sub-groups he is invoking, willy nilly, the discourse of a post Catholic era, a new discourse only coming into being in a post reformation Protestant / Socialist Statist Europe. I commend Pugin’s drawings to you which make this point far better than words ever could.

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    3. Pugin’s medieval examples were from the 15th century, very late in the medieval Catholic age. I will suggest an earlier history, more representative of the entirety of the medieval Catholic age.

      During the time of medieval Catholicism, when political society was tremendously decentralized, one was expected to conform to the traditions and customs of his community – under his lord / noble. If he did not – if he decided to create some heretofore unknown or deviant “social sub-group” he might face various sanctions – some mild, but up to and including being banished from his community.

      Being banished was no small thing – in those days it could lead easily to death. So, this banished individual would travel to another community, one where he was unknown, hoping for acceptance.

      He might be welcomed – very conditionally, as borders were most certainly not “open” – or he might be sent on his way. After all, why would an individual be without “community”? There was often only one reason – he was banished from his prior community for unacceptable behavior – forming his heretofore unknown or deviant “social sub-group”!

      All-in-all, very Hoppean…and very medieval Catholic.

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    4. Victor it’s futile to give BM such history. But you are right in pointing out the link between the present and the past. I will also say, mimiking Hoppe ... were the elites of the past, that promoted the laws against those groups, secretly libertarians?

      Coherently Hoppe propose an alliance between libertarians and the alt-right, because he think that they have the right ‘social vision’, in vehemently oppose and despise the same groups that Hoppe incites to discriminate against.

      I prefer the attitude of Peterson against the altright, I see that way more coherent with classical liberalism a la Mises, and also I think that Peterson is wise in denouncing the danger of that movement, more wise than Hoppe who propose an alliance.

      https://fee.org/articles/jordan-b-peterson-is-the-furthest-thing-from-the-alt-right/

      Not that an alliance on single issues can’t be made. For example it make sense to ally with the left against war, also if the left is an enemy. That alliance is on a single issue, and it will not create a confusion between us and them. The same is for alliance with the right against positive discrimination. It can be made, remarking the difference on everything else. But that is not Hoppe proposal, he proposes a broader alliance, not one on single issues. He see libertarianism and the alt right as largely overlapping. He proposes mora a fusion than a truce for a common goal.

      So of course BM and Hoppe can’t accept the history background you give.

      Anonproof

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    5. Victor and Anonproof,

      "What I think he has failed to sufficiently appreciate is the degree to which the militancy of the groups he has picked out as conspiring against a free society and its progress is in fact the produced effect of prior state intervention and its prior deployment of socialist / disciplinary power." - Victor

      I can't speak for Hoppe, but being a Hoppean myself, I can say it is not controversial to my convictions these forms of social deviancy came largely as a reaction to social oppression from the state. Things are often ruined in the eyes of free thinkers who incorrectly identify them as inseparably part of the state and its predations on peaceful society.

      Money, religion, strong family, and capitalism are all notable qualities of good culture, which have often been tainted in the eyes of the ignorant due to the state's corruption of them. They perceive the injustices of the state, but they cannot dis-aggregate the concepts, and so they throw the 'baby out with the bath water' so to speak.

      Whether consciously or not, these counter-cultural groups, who've come to see traditional culture as oppressive, have become allies of the new and more 'enlightened' state. Whereas the old form of the totalitarian regime (Soviet or Nazi model) wished for cultural homogeneity, the new 'liberal' form (American model) sees more longevity, legitimacy and power for itself if it promotes cultural heterogeneity while still controlling and molding homogeneous thought in regards to its position of authority and importance. People are 'free' to be as culturally deviant as they like, so long as they remain pious to the state. Meanwhile their irresponsible lifestyles will be subsidized by those around them and their acceptance mandated.

      "Hoppe propose an alliance between libertarians and the alt-right" - Anonproof

      This is true, but the alt-right is not one homogeneous group. As Hoppe himself has stated, they are more defined by what they are against (cultural Marxism, political correctness, etc.) than by what they are for. Hoppe is talking about finding allies within this conservative group which have strong cultural roots and are sympathetic towards decentralization, free markets and international peace.

      He is not talking about allying with white national socialists like Richard Spencer who wish for welfare states for whites. See his video for a better understanding if you have not already.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TICdCM4j7x8

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    6. Anon at 11:14 on 1/22. Your words are simply false. Hoppe had a break with the alt-right as far back in the 90's, when you probably were scarcely aware (or totally unaware) of all these matters of culture and alliance.

      To summarize, Hoppe grew tired of their unwillingness to learn economics, and finer points of liberty. They knew only vague notions of healthy culture as against anti-social culture, but were otherwise unintellectual.

      Hoppe rejected them and rejected a full alliance.

      Educate yourself on the facts. Don't spread ignorant falsehoods.

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    7. Perry,

      Sam Francis was in no way unintellectual but you are correct the split was over economics. To that point though the economic question is always secondary to the political question. Who cares how efficient production is if you have to live in Rio?

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    8. Anonproof, let Victor speak for himself; you got Hoppe wrong, this is enough damage in one thread.

      Delete
    9. "Hoppe had a break with the alt-right as far back in the 90's".

      Nope. The alt-right didn't even exist until late into the regime of George W. Bush. Most on the alt-right were radicalized in reaction to Bush's "compassionate conservatism" and war mongering.

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    10. Matt,

      He broke with the Paleoconservatives in the 90's, after Murray Rothbard's death, due to their intransigence on economic policy (I believe), but he still has to this day much admiration and respect for Pat Buchanan, who was one of the Paleocon leaders.

      Pat could be considered Alt-Right since he is an anti-establishment Republican who disdains cultural Marxism and advocates a much more modest foreign policy (also a protectionist). What I am trying to say is that components of the Alt-Right are Paleoconservatives, and this lends credence to Perry's comment.

      The Paleocon movement arose in response to the lack of moderation in Republican foreign policy and military spending under Bush Sr. after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

      Delete
    11. The only really safe society is the society absolutely free of political control. Wherever political control is found, there is found a ceaseless struggle to gain possession of it. The existence of political power incites ceaseless conflict. One group briefly gains its control and sets about oppressing another group. The oppressed group organizes, rebels, there is a revolution. The oppressed group now having seized political power immediately sets about oppressing their past oppressors. The existence of political power incites an endless cycle of conflict. Oppressors and oppressed exchange places over and over. Yesterday's 'deviants' have for the moment seized political power. That is the meaning of the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. Hobbes actually had the whole phenomenon upside down: Absent political authority people tend to be cooperative, they readily accept 'natural law', their inventive and productive spirit manifests and it becomes possible to look back and attribute to them culture and civilization. It is under political control that life is nasty, brutish, and very often shortened. One of the most urgent libertarian goals, according to Rothbard, is to get the control of security and justice out of the hands of the political class and back under consumer control. Among the many boons this will bring is an end to the current cycles of conflict incited by political power. The return to free market free enterprise security and justice is alternatively criticized as Utopian and dystopian: Some say it could never happen. Others say free market security would soon be taken over by the rich and powerful and become just another variation on the present monopoly government security. I disagree. Most security is already private enterprise. Even though private enterprise is 2 or 3 times larger than monopoly government security, it has never challenged monopoly government security for the simple reason that its goals are completely different. Private enterprise security is concerned only to safeguard property rights and individual rights because its incentive is to make a profit and retain customers. By contrast, monopoly government security is the mechanism by which one group dominates another only incidentally acting to safeguard rights. As well it is indifferent to both profit and customer retention.

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    12. "...the society absolutely free of political control."

      I would love to find examples and then write about these. Can you offer any? I mean any that were functional and safe for some extended period of time?

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    13. ATL - Paleoconservatism is interesting, but the alt-right is not a child of the paleocons. The reason for this is that the alt-right rejects conservatism entirely (which is an attitude rather than an ideology, per Russel Kirk).

      If Patrick Buchanan was somehow alt-right he would be alt-right now, and he isn't. I suspect that Sam Francis would have become alt-right if he was still alive. Joe Sobran too.

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    14. Ed Stringham points out that most, and certainly the most effective governance, is private though largely invisible: https://www.cato-unbound.org/2015/10/05/edward-peter-stringham/how-private-governance-made-modern-world-possible

      There is the famous case of the Brehon in Ireland, a system of private justice functioning outside of political control: https://mises.org/library/private-law-emerald-isle

      Then there is the perennial favorite of libertarians, Somalia and the Xeer: https://mises.org/library/rule-law-without-state



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    15. Stringham’s piece is not on point at all; your example of Early Irish Law is worth further exploration – parts of it sounds similar to the Germanic Middle Age law (no surprise), parts different; the example of Somalia is not time-tested, although interesting.

      Delete
    16. Matt, I agree with your assessment re. Francis and Sobran. Sigh! Once NR was worth reading.

      As to the Lake is not being alt-right. Paleos are an older group and enough of us alt-right. We got tired of talking right and ruling left, and by golly, we are to take it since we had nowhere to go. That is why cuckservative was coined.
      Francis and Sobran had a fighting spirit. Hold to virtue but politics is war other means and they understood that we also hard to win.
      Yeah, many are alt-right.

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    17. As to the Paleos not being alt-right.

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    18. Medieval Iceland (10th and 11th centuries) was about as close to a voluntary decentralized law society as we've ever seen for any extended period of time. Jesse Byock is the man to consult here. I've read his book, "Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power." It is a great read and one I highly recommend for those who see the merits of medieval law and its relation to a free society.

      https://www.amazon.com/Medieval-Iceland-Society-Sagas-Power/dp/0520069544

      Byock's essay below is a much quicker way of getting acquainted with Iceland's social and political structure during this time.

      http://www.viking.ucla.edu/publications/articles/governmental_order.pdf

      Here are some interesting quotes from it:

      "The concept of goðar [chieftain] as leaders of small states reflects the outward forms of the confrontational politics practiced by chieftains. The idea, however, fails to take into account the complex relationship between the goðar and the bændr [farmer, thingman, freeman], which relied not on a territorial definition hut on negotiable bonds of obligation. A goðorð [a chieftain’s association] was not a discrete territorial unit. The chieftains lived interspersed among farmers who served as thingmen of different and sometimes rival goðar. The political map of Iceland was a complex network of criss-crossing ties with chieftains relying for support on farmers, some of whom lived at considerable distances from their goðar. " – Byock

      "Grágás, the thirteenth-century collections of Free State law, clearly define the freeman's right to choose his goði, a right characteristic of a nonterritorial concept of authority." – Byock

      “According to Grágás only hired hands and impoverished fishermen were denied the right to choose their own goði, although the extent to which a tenant farmer felt free to exercise his rights must have varied with the landlord.” - Byock

      "Once a farmer had chosen a goði he was not bound to him, hut had the right to change. By the same token, the chieftains could break off a relationship with a thingman" – Byock

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    19. "In practice, the free exercise of the right to change leaders was tempered by traditions of personal and family loyalty, as well as by practical considerations, such as proximity to a chieftain." - Byock

      "Because of the weak hold of goðar on their thingman and the competition among chieftains for the allegiance of bændr, individual chieftains were unable to impose taxes successfully on their followers." – Byock

      “Since the goðar did not have the claim to obedience, they functioned by gaining the consent, often through gifts and other forms of solicitation, of the society's politically important populace, the þingfararkaupsbændr. These 4,000 or 5,000 substantial heads of households controlled most of the island's productive land, and almost all the population, estimated at 60,000, lived on their farms. The relationship between a goði and his thingman was a personal bond, a contract for mutual support and aid between two parties which was unhampered by executive institutions.” – Byock

      “Reciprocity has operated in many early and modern societies. Its role becomes more dominant in societies that rely upon bonds of obligations rather than upon a formal arrangement of institutions. The absence of dominant leaders does not in itself mean an absence of order; rather, it suggests a lateral social control with decisions made according to community norms instead of administrative orders. In Iceland reciprocity served as the primary structuring mechanism of society.” – Byock

      So here we had chieftains providing voluntary dispute resolution services in relatively peaceful cooperation with other chieftains (there were feuds between chieftains – no system is perfect) for the landowning farmers near them. There was a central court called the Althing, where many chieftains would gather to discuss the efficacy of laws and to settle disputes as peacefully as possible between powerful groups. Not all the people were free to choose a Chieftain. Poor fishermen and hired hands on the farms pretty much were stuck with the chieftain chosen by their landlord.

      It lasted for at least 200 years, before several powerful families amassed enough power to hand Iceland over to the Norwegian Monarchy.

      See Byock's complete works here:

      http://www.viking.ucla.edu/publications/index.html

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    20. ATL, I now have two new areas to explore on this topic: yours, and what was offered by Victor above.

      Thank you.

      Delete
  5. Victor, you're conflating norms, mores, and folkways with state stricture and control. The authoritarianism Hoppe rails at arose in reaction to the normative disciplinary power exerted by the culture. Public schools have instituted regimentation parading as anti-authoritarianism aimed at the culture. Hence the celebration of gayism, alternative lifestyles, and degeneracy.

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  6. One great mind has said “I believe libertarianism in theory is decentralization in practice.” Another has shown that monarchy is a better system than “Democracy: The God that Failed”. This is backed-up by Plato’s “The Republic”.

    Both decentralization and monarchy being better systems is also demonstrated by what you’ve learned about medieval law. We see this in Liechtenstein today most fully, but Monaco with its “evil” Prince seems pretty good. The city-state of Singapore doesn’t spread its system by the barrel of a gun. HK was better when freer.

    Anyway, my town, Carmel, IN is by many measures one of the best in the country. The Mayor will never be beaten but he has to go through formalities of Republican primary every four years. Our biggest problem is that part of the success is debt-financed. Much of the success, though, is cultural.

    My question: Should we advocate monarchy at this scale, where Mayor Brainard would be mortgaging his heir’s future by building more roundabouts, concert halls, and luxury hotels?

    Is decentralization in theory city-state monarchy in practice?

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    Replies
    1. Maybe...

      I will speculate as to Hoppe's view on this question (as the focal point of "monarchy" is his): it is a far better alternative than the present, but he probably wouldn't limit to "monarchy" the only form of governance structure.

      But, it is possible, something like this will be the natural outcome.

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  7. On reading this post on Hoppe my mind went to the unification of independent regions and the hate so many have against decentralization.

    There are essays comparing Lincoln with Bismark and Cavour.

    Italy - Garibaldi, Cavour etc
    uSA - Lincoln
    Germany - Bismark


    http://www.arcaini.com/ITALY/ItalyHistory/ItalianUnification.htm
    During the 18th century, intellectual changes began to dismantle traditional values and institutions. Liberal ideas from France and Britain spread rapidly, and from 1789 the French Revolution became the genesis of "liberal Italians". A series of political and military events resulted in a unified kingdom of Italy in 1861.
    (snip)





    http://www2.needham.k12.ma.us/nhs/cur/Baker_00/2001_p2/baker_lg_bp_pd.2/bismarck.htm
    (snip)
    Bismarck's ultimate goal was to unite the German states into a strong German Empire with Prussia as its core. On September 30, 1862 Bismarck made his famous blood and iron speech, which implied that if Germany was to unify it would be with the use of military force. He hated liberalism, democracy and socialism. Following his speech, he dismissed the budget proposal and ordered the bureaucracy to collect taxes. This money would go to military use, and Bismarck would expand and strengthen the Prussian armies. These armies would than be used in three wars which Bismarck devised to unify the country.
    (snip)

    On Lincoln, read his First Inaugural speech.

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  8. A few years back the term "liberaltarian" was all the rage.
    It's fitting here: Outside a few C4SSite fringe figures most of these people are liberals who don't want to pay taxes (contra the characterisation of Libertarians as "Republicans who want to smoke pot").
    In short, they want California without the redistribution and patronage systems that stabilise places like it but with all the diversity, cheap foreign labor and social permissiveness.

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  9. I seem to remember Rothbard discussing the ways in which feudalism retarded economic progress by e.g. forbidding the sale of land out of the family. Aside from that, I think Hoppe has a challenge in convincing people like me that the period from the Middle Ages to now was one of decline and disorder rather than growth and progress. I think the thesis that the growth of centralized states was necessary in promoting commerce and dismantling old feudal strictures needs a more thorough refutation. Would you say Hoppe answers this satisfactorily in his book on democracy?

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    1. I really must go back and read his book "Democracy" again - as I have mentioned, I read it very early on in this phase of bionic's development.

      I do recall that he has suggested that we really cannot say how society and the economy might have developed had the law of the Middle Ages continued to be developed as opposed to the monopoly state laws.

      Yet, I too have struggled with the issue you raise; as I have mentioned - I really like air-conditioning. I just can't say if I could have had both air conditioning and the old and good law.... Must it be either / or?

      I will also add: the idea that the growth of commerce is a good to be placed higher than the relative political freedom of the Middle Ages is "good" also could use some further examination.

      Let's keep in mind - this growth of commerce came with the reintroduction of massive slavery by western countries (virtually eliminated during the Middle Ages) and with wars of previously unimaginable destruction between these same western nations.

      Can't say if this was a good trade.

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    2. Good point about the reintroduction of slavery (slave trade at least), to compare the new age with the Middle Ages.

      When the first slave traders came with their ships to Dutch harbors, they were hounded/hunted down the city by the outraged Dutch populace (still with a medieval mindset against slavery).

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  10. I see what you're saying. And I also remember Rothbard having good things to say about the Middle Ages, e.g. his use of medieval Ireland as an example of polycentric law in practice. David Friedman has done the same for medieval Iceland.

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  11. Also the claim about political freedom in the Middle Ages does seem outlandish to me. My impression is there was freedom for aristocrats vis-a-vis the king (absolute monarchy didn't become a thing until the early modern period), but the peasants were always quasi-slaves while the city burghers were still just a small part of the population. And I'm not sure why he praises the guilds and their protectionist policies so much when he elsewhere praises free markets.

    If he wants to argue that the growth of the state was unnecessary for the growth of trade, that's one thing, but he is saying that the medieval period was positively better than ours in significant respects. I'd be honestly prepared to state that I'd accept the oppression of a central state if it means I could enjoy the other fruits of the modern economy.

    The weakness of Hoppe's argument in that piece is that he seems to be preaching to those he's already converted. Most people are not going to nod along and say "oh yes, it was so much better back when the vast majority of people lived at subsistence level but at least powerful noblemen could defy the king from time to time".

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    1. "I'd be honestly prepared to state that I'd accept the oppression of a central state if it means I could enjoy the other fruits of the modern economy."

      Maybe it doesn't have to be either / or?

      As to the serfs, they had many freedoms unavailable to those of us in the west today.

      http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-road-from-serfdom.html

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