Friday, June 15, 2018

Heresy


No, this isn’t your standard, run-of-the-mill heresy.  And unlike my normal practice, regarding this heresy and this theology I will allow comments and dialogue.


What follows is a comment on some of the arguments on intellectual property and blackmail presented respectively by N. Stephan Kinsella and Walter Block….

I understand fairly well the arguments of Kinsella and Block on these topics, but this is in any case secondary to FVD’s purpose:

After all, etching in the fine points of libertarian jurisprudence on blackmail or intellectual property is hardly a pressing need.

So why is FVD writing this paper and why am I writing about what FVD is writing about?

Rather, I believe my disagreement on those small matters critically involves the very basis on which Block and Kinsella chose to erect their legal arguments. I am referring to their use of the so-called Rothbardian non-aggression rule as the foundation or axiom for libertarian jurisprudence.

Heresy.  Hilaire Belloc defines heresy as follows:

Heresy is the dislocation of some complete and self-supporting scheme by the introduction of a novel denial of some essential part therein.

The question we will explore: which party is doing “the dislocation of some complete and self-supporting scheme by the introduction of a novel denial of some essential part therein”?

You can surmise from the following the view of FVD on this question:

The purpose of my comments is to explain why I think that this axiom is inadequate from a libertarian point of view…. I shall endeavour to show briefly where the so-called non-aggression axiom fits in a libertarian philosophy of law.

FVD describes many of the same struggles I have with considering the most restrictive definition of the non-aggression principle (and you will forgive my shortcut): it considers only life and property; contracts are valid only when they involve title transfer; physical property is the only type of property; relationships are defined only via what is explicitly considered in a contract.

I will let FVD explain it:

I shall argue that, if pressed to their logical conclusion, [Kinsella’s arguments against the legitimacy of trademark protection] would make the very idea of a contractual order and therefore of a free market incoherent.

It is my contention that [Block’s arguments concerning libel and labour contracts] lead to results that are incompatible with the requirements of freedom and justice that define the libertarian perspective on human relations…. It seems to legitimize only a world in which every possible contingency must be covered by an explicit contractual stipulation. 

The whole of FVD’s argument can be summarized as follows:

My differences with Kinsella and Block stem from the fact that it does not follow from those theses that defensive use of force is justified or lawful only in response to aggressive violent invasions of persons or property.


FVD is suggesting that the heresy – if freedom and justice are the objectives of libertarian law – is committed by those – paraphrasing Belloc – who have developed a novel denial of some essential part of an otherwise complete and self-supporting scheme:

It does not follow that only aggression against another person or his property is unlawful.

Everything in my gut has struggled with this issue from the beginning of my journey in this blog. 

There may be unlawful acts that are not invasions of a person’s physical domain, yet justify the defensive use of force to prevent, stop, or exact compensation for such acts.

In other words, FVD offers that there is – there must be – more to libertarian law than considerations of violations against person and physical property…if one’s objective is freedom and justice.

There is no inconsistency in the belief that force may be used lawfully in defence against unlawful acts that are not physical invasions of person or property.

I am reminded of Hoppe’s statement: 

A conflict is only possible if goods are scarce.  …property ownership means the exclusive control of a particular person over specific physical objects and spaces.

This has never sat well in my gut either.  Of course, we are familiar with the libertarian debates over certain forms of intellectual property, trademarks, etc.  These are neither scarce goods nor physical objects.  Yet we see daily that conflicts arise over such as these (and we must recognize that conflicts would arise over such as these even without government laws).

And this is what FVD will examine as it relates to Kinsella’s argument regarding trademark; this can be summarized here using an analogy of a signature (the connection to a trademark should be easily understood, I think):

Is there a fundamental objection to regarding a trademark as similar to a person’s signature, his personal mark for purposes of trade and other forms of communication? I cannot see one. Even if there was a fundamental difference, it would still be the case that a person that forges another’s signature – using his own ink, pen and paper – is not by that act alone invading  another’s  rights.  Nonetheless, his forgery should become legally relevant as soon as he starts using it to misrepresent himself to the world as the person whose signature he has learned to forge. However, under the Kinsella Code, we should say that F (the forger) does not invade any right held by O (the person that F pretends to be).

Your forging of my signature does not deprive me of my signature.  I am still free to sign my name as many times as I want.  One can, I assume, see the chaos that would then ensue, and in this chaos see the deprivation of freedom and justice.

FVD offers a further example – banknotes.  You are not deprived of your banknotes if someone counterfeits more notes.  So much for any concern about fractional-reserve banking.

Anyone can print the label of a well-known, highly reputable quality control lab and then pass off his work as that of the lab.  What happens to the reputation and therefore the future of the lab – built after years or decades of hard work?  We might glibly (and technically accurately) say that one doesn’t own his reputation…but think about what that means in a world where freedom and trade can only flourish or even exist in a world of high trust.

Speaking of reputation, FVD moves on to Block’s view on libel – basically that libel is not against libertarian law:

While it is true that one cannot own one’s reputation (that is, other people’s opinions about oneself), it is also true that one can sell one’s reputation. It happens all the time when businesses are taken over, in advertising campaigns, or when the retiring author of a comic strip sells the right to the continued use of his name to his successor. How can one sell what one does not own?

A curious question, it seems.

Let me briefly discuss another of Block’s cases. “Should it be legal,” Block asks, “to fire an employee who refuses to sleep with the boss?” His answer is an uncompromising yes.  “It is always legitimate to  fire  an  employee  for  any  reason  at  all,  at  any  time,  assuming  that there is no long-run contract in force precluding this option.”

FVD suggests:

In no world, whether libertarian or not, do labour contracts (or any other contracts) exist in a vacuum…. Most contracts, indeed, are very simple agreements made by people who do not bother to insert clauses for every possible contingency that might arise.

Anyone who has had to negotiate a contract understands this.  In a given environment, would it be expected that the employee would demand a clause in her contract that stated clearly that she would not have to sleep with the boss.  (Yes, I know, here is that pesky culture and tradition thing.)  As FVD suggests, even the most complex contracts are built on inherent assumptions – sometime verbally spoken, often not.

Conclusion

FVD summarizes:

As I see it, the trouble with Kinsella’s and Block’s libertarian legal theory has its immediate roots in the elevation of the non-aggression rule to the status of the one and only axiom of legality.

I know, I know, to consider anything more than life and physical property muddies the waters.  Well, guess what?  Life is muddy; conflict arises for more than issues regarding life and physical property.

A libertarian legal theory must be founded on a sound philosophy of law if it is to have any chance of holding its ground in serious intellectual debate. Block and Kinsella do not provide such a philosophy.

Natural law is, of course, the place to start.

In this paper, FVD summarizes his analysis of the meaning of natural law.  Waiting its turn in my stack is another paper of his that more deeply examines his view on this topic.  So this will come another day.

Epilogue

Stephan Kinsella replied to FVD’s piece, Reply to Van Dunn: Non-Aggression and Title Transfer.  It can be summarized as follows:

In my view, Van Dun cannot really agree with the non-aggression principle, if he is going to adhere to his “broader” view of unlawfulness.

But it seems to me that FVD is not disagreeing with the NAP; he is merely stating that it is not functional as the entirety of libertarian law.  It raises the issue: FVD is suggesting physical force to stop a non-physical aggression (like punching a man for insulting my wife!!!).

But put yourself in a human body, not utopian body: how do you envision your freedom is enhanced if everyone is free to libel you, if you cannot trust in some manner the representations of a manufacturer, if you neglected to include a clause in the homeowners’ association agreement that said sex orgies on the front lawn are not allowed?  How do you envision that such activities will reduce chaos and not invite it?

Kinsella continues with details regarding his view of trademark – obviously contrary to that posed by FVD.  In the real world, populated by real humans, Kinsella’s view will not reduce conflict and enhance liberty; it will do just the opposite. 

All of his legal theorizing will not change this.

80 comments:

  1. Can't we make these same arguments (how do you envision your freedom is enhanced if everyone is free to libel you, if you cannot trust in some manner the representations of a manufacturer, if you neglected to include a clause in the homeowners’ association agreement that said sex orgies on the front lawn are not allowed) about normal libertarian ideas? how do you envision your freedom is enhanced if you have no right to food, shelter, a girlfriend, etc. How will it reduce conflict when people are starving? I think we have to be very careful about not seeing "freedom" as the end goal of libertarianism. Libertarianism is about property rights.

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    1. During the Middle Ages, the noble and the serf gave an oath regarding obligations each had toward the other.

      Yes, we can make some of these same arguments; perhaps we might consider the implications of this if we desire to move toward liberty. I am not suggesting to bastardize libertarian law; I am suggesting that a certain cultural soil might be necessary if we want to move toward liberty.

      "Libertarianism is about property rights."

      Then why do people get so upset if I suggest that something more than the NAP is necessary if we want to move toward liberty?

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    2. I for one don't get upset when people say the NAP is not sufficient, i just find those people also try to get away with violating the NAP too (e.g. punching a man for insulting my wife!!!)

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  2. Bionic the great Roger McBride, the Libertarian presidential candidate of 1976, summarized libertarianism as the idea that no one should impose on anyone else either by force or by FRAUD. You have badly misunderstood libertarianism to suggest that it somehow sanctions fraud.

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    1. Victor, I would appreciate it if you can point to what I have written that suggests libertarianism sanctions fraud. I would like to understand the your concern.

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  3. Excellent post, I look forward to seeing comments on it.

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  4. "FVD offers a further example – banknotes. You are not deprived of your banknotes if someone counterfeits more notes. So much for any concern about fractional-reserve banking."

    This is only tangentially related to the post, but the quoted statement got me thinking. I know there have been debates about fractional reserve banking in the libertarian world, typically based around questions of contract. But this made me think about inflation of the money supply in general, which as far as I know, most libertarians seem to be against, myself included.

    I've never thought through it and I'm now realizing that my disagreement with inflation is based upon the destruction of value of the money. "They" print more, whether that's the gov't or banks, and the value of mine and everyone else's drops. But doesn't that kind of run up against the subjective theory of value and the idea that you only own your physical property a different not it's value? Am I overlooking a different libertarian argument against inflation?

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    1. Banknotes are receipts for the scarce resource of gold. Counterfeit banknotes represent a fraudulent claim to such scarce resources. Fraud constitutes aggression albeit by way of finesse rather than force. But it is aggression nevertheless. And it is on this point Bionic where I believe you have misunderstood libertarainism.

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    2. This is one of my arguments regarding FRB. Inflate all they want - it doesn't change the number of currency units I have in my wallet or in my account.

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    3. FRB does imply that multiple individuals own the same money in reserve at the bank simultaneously. If this is consensual though, then the money functions more like an investment, and I have no beef with it.

      I would just use a different money provider.

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    4. Victor, I don't think you meant to reply here, but I will run with it. This isn't the place to get into a discussion about FRB and fraud – I have written too much about this and now do my best to stay away from the topic, given how screwed up the dialogue is. In any case, you have taken a side issue and ignored the larger dialogue.

      Let's stick to the subject: what you are complaining about regarding FRB is precisely what Kinsella defends (as I understand it) regarding trademark.

      Counterfeiter A counterfeits the trademark label of manufacturer B (using A’s own paper and ink and not depriving the manufacturer of its own paper and ink), and then sell’s the products of A as if these are the legitimate products of B. I say A is committing fraud (I am open to a different word, but you are the one who introduced this term into the discussion), and B has a claim against A.

      But Kinsella doesn’t see it this way. From Kinsella’s point of view (as I understand it), manufacturer B has no claim against counterfeiter A; only the customer of counterfeiter A has a claim.

      Counterfeiter A counterfeits the banknotes of bank B (using A’s own paper and ink, and not depriving the bank of its own paper and ink), and then circulates the banknotes of A as if these are the legitimate banknotes of B. I say A is committing fraud (I am open to a different word, but you are the one who introduced this term into the discussion), and B has a claim against A.

      But Kinsella doesn’t see it this way – if we are to be consistent, from Kinsella’s point of view (as I understand it) banker B has no claim against counterfeiter A; only the customer of counterfeiter A has a claim.

      Who is the libertarian theorist confused about fraud? Are you sure it is me? Do you think Kinsella’s theory of liability in trademark will sway even one honest manufacturer on earth? Let’s cheat the honest ones and defend the dishonest ones?

      I can see people rushing by the millions toward such a libertarian utopia – NOT.

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    5. First, I don't believe fractional reserve banking has any bearing on the discussion. All fractional reserve banking means is that a bank must keep some fraction of its depositors funds in reserve to the cover the contingency of loans going bad. If the fractional reserve ratio is 10%, then for every hundreds dollars the bank has ‘on the street’, lent out to borrowers to buy houses lets say, then they must keep ten dollars in currency in the vault. Keep in mind that if a loan goes bad even then the bank can recover its funds by foreclosing and selling the house.

      Second, bank notes are contracts - trust instruments to be precise - conferring rights to depositors and obligations to banks. When you voluntarily exchange a banknote for a beer, technically you are
      assigning your beneficial interest in a trust to another person aka the bartender. To fabricate a banknote is really to fabricate a contract, to falsely claim that the beneficial interest in a trust was previously assigned to you when in fact it was not.

      Now when Kinsella talks about counterfeiting it is with respect to tangible goods, not contracts. In fact in interviews he takes great pains to point out the difference between the two. Take the tangible good of the counterfeit handbag. Kinsellas point is that when consumers find a thousand dollar designer handbag being sold on the street for forty dollars they know full well it is counterfeit.
      The counterfeit bag is a copy of the real bag. Its sale does not deprive the designer of its property.

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    6. "Second, bank notes are contracts..."

      Yes, they are contracts, but not in the way you wish.

      Victor, have you ever read the contract? It seems not, else you wouldn't carry on with this view.

      "First, I don't believe fractional reserve banking has any bearing on the discussion."

      Then why are you discussing it?

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  5. How about this? The NAP is sacrosanct as far as it goes but it is not the whole of libertarian law. People need to stop treating the NAP as if that's all there is. You may be able to extrapolate quite a bit from it but, past a certain point, "there be dragons".

    I appreciate the viewpoint on intellectual property - that's something that I've never fully come to grips with. Of course, no solution is evident in the point - we are still left with only questions such as how do you enforce such laws without violating the NAP yourself?

    Of course, I view your blog as a great place to hammer out such things. Thanks for providing a good forum for libertarian thought. I appreciate the opportunity to add my 2¢ when time allows.

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    1. Maybe this:
      NAP is the foundation and bulwark. It's principles are always the go-to first challenge regarding lawfulness. If the issue in question (whether arbitration or adjudication) is on the grey edges of NAP, then Good Law and Custom come into play, and the matter settled.
      But here's the rub: If these 'soft' grey area cases are used as stare decisis (The policy of courts to abide by or adhere to principles established by decisions in earlier cases), then case after stare decisis case will progressively push lawful boundaries far beyond anything resembling NAP.
      This is exactly what we have in so-called 'common law' countries today. More and more stringing out of legal logic based on stare decisis until we end up with fiat currency being legal, executive orders being legal, Bill of Rights being shredded, and so on.
      So, gotta have some mechanism that always defaults to NAP as first challenge, regardless of previous legal decisions. If NAP can solve the problem, it is always applied first and case closed. Grey area precedents are not allowed as basis for stare decisis.

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    2. Woody,

      I see the Nap and property rights as the whole of "libertarian" law but not the whole of morality, customs and the rules of people interacting with one another. This is determined by voluntary agreement with others in a community or in a private law society or even by the voluntary actions or restraints of individuals. This allows people to congregate with others of their same belief systems on a voluntary basis.

      Other communities may have the NAP as their basis but entirely different standards of tolerance and punishment. The NAP can fit all people but customs and morality can differ, while still respecting " the concept of non aggression in the traditional sense of a physically invasive,non-defensive use of force (violence) against another person or his property."

      To attempt to expand the NAP to fit a particular custom, religion or moral standard, is to weaken it, imo.

      Tahn

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    3. Hi Tahn,

      This is a really interesting perspective that you offer:

      "To attempt to expand the NAP to fit a particular custom, religion or moral standard, is to weaken it, imo."

      To weaken it, or to test this theoretical axiom in real life? It's just a principle (not a dogma, right?) derived from actual practise, historically a very particular one. In that sense, the NAP itself is a particular axiom. Nothing wrong with that.

      Your claim that the NAP can/should fit all people sounds full of good intentions and idealism, but the proof of this theoretical pudding..

      Only a cursory look at Sharia Law - just some particular body of legal tradition incommensurable with the NAP - will suffice one to suspect some fundamental problems here. The NAP in the abstract might fit all people, but I'm pretty sure that for any application on a global scale someday, a lot of expanding/shrinking/fitting/refitting will be in order.

      Back to your quote which, however consistent it may be with your cross-cultural NAP universalism, has it exactly backwards.

      It is not a question of "expanding" the NAP to fit.. but rather this: the non-aggression axiom was derived from a wider body of Natural Law which belonged to a very particular culture with a particular religion, located in a particular region of the European continent characterized by radical decentralization and fragmentation. If the theoretical NAP is to have any ecological validity in the future, it will be easiest to spot in the civilizational environment from where it was extracted by libertarian theoreticians.

      So in short: no need to "expand" anything about the NAP - since it is what it is - and certainly not to fit a particular religion e.g. (let's be specific here) Christianity, since it was Christian culture and its body of Natural Law that originated the actual NAP in a lived Natural Order among Germanic peoples. To study that order within that culture does nothing to "expand the NAP" (or shrink it for that matter). What it does is putting the non-aggression axiom in its proper place as part of the Natural Moral Order, which might provide the foundation for something resembling a libertarian society someday.

      For sure, "NAP the World!" sounds great and would make it a better place in theory. Would be even greater to see some real world application. So as a start, it might be a good idea to first gain a better understanding of the NAP in its natural habitat. Could be handy for realistic extrapolations later on and attempts to fit this principle to serve non-Western cultures.

      -Sag.

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    4. Sag, I would highlight and then applaud virtually every one of your statements, but this would seem a waste of everyone's time. So instead, I will just say...well said.

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    5. Sag

      "…the non-aggression axiom was derived from a wider body of Natural Law which belonged to a very particular culture with a particular religion, located in a particular region of the European continent characterized by radical decentralization and fragmentation."

      I explored once the Japanese medieval tradition, to see if something approaching the characteristics of medieval Europe could be found. On the surface, the two have much in common. Yet, there was nothing in Japan that one might describe as being the roots on the NAP or natural law. Guess what was missing? (I know that you know).

      http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2018/02/medieval-japan.html

      From the post:

      “There is no sense of the worth of the individual, no sense of decentralized law – just decentralized power (toward the latter part of the period in question). There is no concept of natural law, of man made in God’s image, of oath, of law following the oldest custom and tradition, of religion as a check on political power.”

      We are often chastised: “The NAP is for everyone; it can apply in any culture.” It is a sentiment for the naïve, for the utopians. Naive utopians are useful tools for the not-so-naïve power hungry.

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    6. Sag

      Rather than reference French, Latin , hyperbole or pejoratives, let us stick to the title Rothbard used which is a "Principle". "A principle is a concept or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation ."

      I personally also accept the NAP as an axiom as in "a statement that is taken to be true, to serve as a premise or starting point for further reasoning and arguments." You could also call it my "belief', as in I believe that the NAP is a continuation of a long line of "moral" guidelines given to mankind over the centuries for his benefit. "Given" either by a superior being or by enlightenment, take your pick.

      All of these words and others you referenced, could be used to continue a long discussion about definitions but the point I wish to make is this. I "believe" the NAP is the basic building block to allow humans "freedom". I am looking for that base in which to build a better world for ALL mankind and I believe I have found it in the NAP.

      For those who do not share that "belief", I understand. For those that believe that something "more" needs to be added, I can see that point, although those with a moral understanding of respect and empathy towards their fellow man, could make the NAP work on a stand alone basis. Fitting the NAP to specific cultures, without changing the base principle, might require further elaboration but if this is done voluntarily, through contract or private legal systems and without the overlord of a state, I have no problem with such addendum's, as long as the basic principle is followed, as in "No initiation of force" and respect of property in all its forms

      Concerning your statement that the NAP originated and was designed by or for a "Christian" culture, since both Mises and Rothbard had Jewish parents, I question the validity of your statement but will leave such a discussion to those more learned than I and in essence, I don't really give a whit about such matters, as I believe the NAP can stand as THE baseline Principle for all cultures, worldwide. As I said above, to attempt to limit its application to some specific culture, demeans it.

      As to its application to "Sharia" law, the western world has its own version of Sharia rules, such as Sunday blue laws, the war on some drugs and other forms of tyranny imposed through "mala prohibita" rules of domination. All such domineering controls of our bodies (our basic property) should be thrown out, whether Muslim, American or Christian. I certainly concur with you that a " lot of expanding/shrinking/fitting/refitting will be in order." World wide Sag, through all cultures.

      To quote a later post of yours "Humans capable of living together in peace when earthly authority and law are subordinate to a more fundamental moral code." That's it Sag and my more fundamental moral code is the NAP.

      Tahn

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    7. Bionic,

      A short point please.

      Your reference to nose punching left out on whose property the event occurred, which I think is relevant. If it occurred in the home of the "offended", he merely demands the vulgar one (epithet thrower) leave and if he does not, THEN you punch him or worse. If it occurs in the home of the vulgar one, the offended abruptly withdraws. If it occurs in a "public" or neutral space, I would hope the community has some guidelines for that, such as dueling, etc. . Irrespective, I for one do not believe in answering verbal abuse with force. Its that "sticks and stones" thing along with a belief in the Non Aggression Principle.

      Tahn

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    8. “For those that believe that something "more" needs to be added, I can see that point, although those with a moral understanding of respect and empathy towards their fellow man, could make the NAP work on a stand alone basis.”

      Tahn, look…either something needs to be added or nothing needs to be added. You say nothing needs to be added while at the same time adding something – in the same sentence, for goodness sake. Really…YUK.

      “…since both Mises and Rothbard had Jewish parents…”

      This isn’t so complicated. They were raised in a cultural tradition of the West – they didn’t live in hermetically sealed bubbles. It even gets less complicated: Muslim Arabs, Japanese, etc., who move to western countries are also able to integrate into this tradition – as long as such migration happens gradually and naturally, the numbers are not overwhelming to the existing population, and they assimilate.

      As to the punch in the nose, by now people here either get my point or don’t. I may use the example again, but I am not in the mood to explore it further.

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    9. Oh hi Tahn,

      You say:

      "Rather than reference French, Latin , hyperbole or pejoratives, let us stick to the title Rothbard used which is a "Principle" [..]

      Well pardon my French (wasn't aware that I used, let alone referenced it, so apologies for that. Won't happen again).

      As to Rothbard and principle, okay.. fair enough. Here's Murray for ya:

      From: For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto (1973)

      "The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. This may be called the nonaggression axiom."

      Oops.. Rothbard didn't stick to principle..

      Now I could retort with a "rather than.." of my own, but I'd be happy if you just familiarize yourself a bit more with the man's work.

      -Sag.

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    10. Bionic,

      I do not believe that people voluntarily agreeing to further rules of conduct, third party arbitrators or private legal societies, show a dichotomy in my opinion of the completeness of the NAP nor indicates any weakness of the principle itself.

      Quite the opposite, it shows the strength of the NAP as it allows such voluntary cooperation and compatibility of neighbors and community or else allows people the freedom to have others voluntarily accept such responsibilities on their behalf.

      Tahn

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    11. Tahn, either the NAP works on a standalone basis (as you write) or you have to add people with "a moral understanding of respect and empathy" to it to make it work on a stand alone basis (as you write).

      I quit.

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    12. Sag, I received the files. I will read these, likely write something. Thank you.

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    13. Hi Sag,

      My apology for the "French" reference. I had thought you used a word of French origin but can find no reference of it now. I certainly did not mean as in a curse word. Sorry.

      Your reference to Rothbards use of the NAP as an axiom and your pun was quite humorous and enjoyable. Of course, I feel that he then held it in higher regard as a truth than just as a principle, if indeed, I understand the difference. I thank you for that.

      Regardless, I "believe" it to be a universal axiom but I'm sure, we can all agree to disagree about that.

      Thank you for the discourse Sag. I appreciate your perspective and Bionics tolerance of minority and unformed opinions and thoughts.

      Tahn

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    14. BM (reply to June 16, 2018 at 8:28 AM)

      We are often chastised: “The NAP is for everyone; it can apply in any culture.”

      Yes, which is precisely the yet-to-be-tested claim that shocked me into responding. So thank you @Tahn for sticking to your guns, so to speak. This is what can make a genuine dispute so engaging and worth while.

      Two things come together here. When I proposed to Mike the other day that the invention of the NAP itself could be thought of as "a symptom," (of Western cultural decay) I didn't realize a possible connection to the Tahn statements. But when I think of it in the context of the NAP's wished for universal application, the proposition makes perfect sense. The NAP, viewed as abstracted from a specific culture which is considered to be no longer in existence, actually invites this kind of decontextualized idealism.
      The non-aggression axiom is indeed divorced from (its original) culture, so therefore the formula NAP + any culture is only logical. NAP-as-culture (meaning as integral part of a wider Natural Moral Order informing the whole of society and not only the contractual sphere) is quite another beast.

      There's another aspect involved that I have been wanting to mention for some time, but consistently forgot, which is what you hint at when you say:

      "..useful tools for the not-so-naïve power hungry

      This is what I scribbled down for a follow-up:

      To make this universal NAP really fit all peoples, none excluded, some (global?) authority would have to enforce it in cultures not conducive or even inimical to it. OTOH, one could of course change the NAP a bit - or a lot - to "reach out and touch" a particular culture, but that's a big no-no because such would lessen the NAP's universality, if I interpret the global claim correctly.

      The "fit all"-view of a pristine NAP untainted by culture i.m.o. implies a Procrustean altering/dissolution of non-compliant cultures worldwide. This theoretical non-aggression principle with global aspirations would rapidly devolve into an aggression reality. Which approaches today's rollout of the globalist AP of mixing/erasing national cultures and traditions. One logical precondition for the fit-all NAP would be the homogenized global order that is currently under construction.

      In sum: One can of course separate such a basic principle like the NAP from culture, but only on paper. It was extracted FROM A culture. One can not sort of attach it to just any culture as in NAP + different customs, religion, moral codes etc. Actual live and kicking NAP with any street cred has to have "immanence" in all of these departments.

      -Sag.

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    15. Re: NAP + Culture

      What about NAP + Culture + Genes ?

      Can it be possible that NAP is only possible in some cultures which in itself is only possible with some people that posses a certain gene(s)?

      Not saying this is so, just asking a question. To the best of my knowledge no connection between genes and culture have been made. Though it also seems obvious to me that there is a connection there. However questioning that there may be a connection between genes and NAP is something else entirely.

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    16. Bionic, I had a short power outage during my attempt to post my last response to Sag. If it duplicated or is in the wrong response line, please excuse me and feel free to adjust accordingly.

      Thank you again for your tolerance,
      Tahn

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    17. Tahn's reply can be found below at:

      AnonymousJune 17, 2018 at 9:41 AM

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    18. Sag

      An open borders libertarian with whom I wasted far too much time debating (given that he was unable to address any points that I raised) believes in the following matrix:

      1) Libertarianism applies to all
      2) There should be a one-world, minarchist world government.
      3) Borders should be open - transited freely.

      Now, the number of oxymorons and the amount of cognitive dissonance and the total ignorance of human nature that is to be found in this paradigm could fill an encyclopedia. I need not touch on any of these, as I am sure you see it.

      Delete
    19. Sag those three stipulations were more or less the case with the Roman Empire. The Roman strategy was to Romanize everyone they could bring into the empire. With everyone using a common language under standardized rules for trade everyone could prosper far more. National borders were eliminated. The apostle Paul traveled all over the place in a way which was previously impossible - to great effect I think we can say. Borders only make sense LOCALLY, at the neighborhood level where people prefer living day to day with their own kind. Such was the case in the ancient city of Rome - which had its Spanish Quarter, Jewish Quarter, and so on.

      Delete
    20. BM,

      Sounds like some "Libertarian" World Order alright. I can already imagine a fourth addition to this globalist matrix:

      4) the LWO government will issue a one-world digital currency, called NAPcoin.

      ;)
      -Sag.

      Delete
    21. Victor, Saint Paul was a Roman citizen which gave him a lit of rights unavailable to non-citizens. But, generally, travel across borders back in those days was a lot easier than today.

      Delete
    22. Wow, seems NAPcoin already got its logo..

      Delete
    23. Bionic,

      You said above "I quit" about attempting to understand my position on the N.A.P. and I totally understand that, so you are most certainly under no obligation to even read this but I believe I can better communicate my thoughts about the NAP being both sufficient and needing something.

      It is totally sufficient in terms of an axiom for living peacefully on the planet. imo.

      What it is "lacking" and needs for fulfillment is "Humanity". imo.

      Humanity in terms of its morality, culture and its other aspects, which can "fill out" some details of exactly how the NAP will fit with their own communities with their particular mores and cultural strengths (or weaknesses).

      Culture and morality fill the gaps. They will vary and some will prove more acceptable than others. Some cultures, may be better than others in nurturing and promoting freedom. This is what allows the NAP to comfort and protect such a varied and defuse assemblage into its protective fold, as long as property rights and the Non Aggression Principle are sacrosanct.

      What is "lacking" in the axiom, is the touch and breath of mankind.

      Tahn

      Delete
  6. "But it seems to me that FVD is not disagreeing with the NAP; he is merely stating that it is not functional as the entirety of libertarian law."

    That's really it, plain and simple.

    This general direction - NAP embedded in libertarian law - to me seems very worthwhile to explore. This is not necessarily about freedom in a direct sense, but primarily the Natural Moral Order and how to understand it, which is about more than the NAP, and possibly resulting in more freedom in real life. Happened before, as we know from the historical excursions here at BM's.

    With a nod to @Mike I'd say that this is one direction to choose when exploring the "then what..?" after saying that the "NAP isn't enough.." and I think it could prove to be fruitful.

    Not to say that the other (perhaps even "opposite") direction, i.e. the propertarian probe won't deliver, though I'm sceptically curious.

    I am reminded of Rothbard simply presupposing Natural Moral Law when he wrote about the non-agression principle in his "Ethics". Perhaps it's time to work out this wider context and put the NAP back in its Natural (pun intended) surroundings?

    -Sag.

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    Replies
    1. Sag,

      "I am reminded of Rothbard simply presupposing Natural Moral Law"

      He actually did justify it on the grounds that any ethic supposed must be life affirming, that anything other than a natural law is arbitrary, that a natural law must be universal, and the only universal system that is life affirming is libertarianism. Or something like that.

      Admittedly (even to Rothbard), Hoppe's justification is much better:

      Self ownership is presupposed in the act of argumentation, argumentation is the only way to put forward a norm as being true, therefore any norm claimed to be true must not contradict self ownership.

      Delete
    2. So actually.. you agree with what I said here? Yes, Rothbard's view is precisely that the NAP is part of/extracted from Natural Moral Law, the entire body of which he's not gonna discuss in his "Ethics". He explicitly says that he presupposes it, takes it as a given.

      Delete
  7. "There is no inconsistency in the belief that force may be used lawfully in defense against unlawful acts that are not physical invasions of person or property."

    Certainly seems inconsistency, but even if we accept that it isn't, it is certainly the advocacy of disproportionate punishment: physical punishment for nonphysical crime. We may as well, on principle, endorse shooting a kid for stealing an apple.

    "You are not deprived of your banknotes if someone counterfeits more notes."

    No but the counterfeiter of the banknotes has committed fraud against those who received the fraudulent notes. This is a violation of the NAP and is thus actionable by force, just not by the valid producer of the notes. Since it is in the interests of the producer not to have his notes counterfeited, but he himself has no legal claim, he may help organize a class action lawsuit with all those who've received the counterfeit notes to promote their legal claims.

    "Nonetheless, his forgery should become legally relevant as soon as he starts using it to misrepresent himself to the world as the person whose signature he has learned to forge. However, under the Kinsella Code, we should say that F (the forger) does not invade any right held by O (the person that F pretends to be)."

    The forger does commit a violation against O if he uses the signature to obtain the property of O. He also violates the rights of others, by way of fraud, if he uses the signature as a means of enhancing the reputability of his product in exchanges. If F does neither of these, what does O care about whether F has learned his signature?

    "Life is muddy; conflict arises for more than issues regarding life and physical property."

    These are all still conflicts, ultimately, over scarce resources: how the intangibles can help us acquire the tangibles. And Hoppe did not say there'd be no more conflicts if we adopted the libertarian norms, he said if everyone followed the rules, there'd be no more conflict. We'll never get to a society where everyone follows the rules, so there'll always be plenty of mud in the water. Admittedly this is where culture is needed to fill in the gaps of contracts, to know what the assumed terms of exchange in the absence of contracts are, but it doesn't follow from this that we need to endorse legalized aggression.

    "A libertarian legal theory must be founded on a sound philosophy of law if it is to have any chance of holding its ground in serious intellectual debate."

    Sounds awfully pretentious. See Kinsella's summary response below:

    "Van Dun, though, says that the category of unlawful conduct is broader than aggression. This means that conduct other than aggression may be —nay, should be—outlawed. Which means that violence should be wielded against people who have not engaged in aggression… However, since it is not in response to aggression, this is initiated force. For this reason, I fail to see how one can admit that aggression should be unlawful, but maintain that things other than aggression are also unlawful. If aggression is unlawful, then nothing else can be, because outlawing non-aggression is itself aggression."

    How is this not an inconsistency on Van Dun's part?

    "In the real world, populated by real humans, Kinsella’s view will not reduce conflict and enhance liberty; it will do just the opposite. "

    I suppose only time will tell. I'm not optimistic FVD's notion of natural law is any less chaos promoting, especially considering he advocates disproportionate punishment and violation of the NAP, but I look forward to your treatment of his take on it.

    I would caution any libertarian from attempting to dispute the NAP. If we are not criticizing the state on the grounds of its necessary use of aggression, on what grounds are we disputing its validity? Its utility? Do we believe that we can 'do aggression' better?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ATL

      “I would caution any libertarian from attempting to dispute the NAP.”

      I may or may not come back to your other points, but I have to tell you that lines like this just stop me in my tracks. The NAP was not sent down from God to Moses; anything resembling a coherent libertarian theory is not more than a few decades old – we know almost nothing about nothing when it comes to this theory and its application in moving toward a more libertarian society.

      But, gee, let’s not question anything about it; let’s not poke at its weaknesses to see if we can figure out how to strengthen the theory. It was fully formed at birth, the result of Immaculate Conception – get with the program, BM. It’s settled science, after all.

      Our enemies work to dispute it every day and most of our responses sound stupid – because many of them are stupid – including some of what is touched on in this post.

      But those of us who value the theory should not challenge it to improve it.

      Man, this kind of stuff really frustrates me. I would use a swear word, but then Sag would call me a hypocrite.

      Delete
    2. Same quote, I'm afraid:

      "I would caution any libertarian from attempting to dispute the NAP."

      Nothing in human affairs is ever beyond dispute, me thinks, except perhaps for dogma in the eyes of those wishing to proclaim it. Hope this is not indicative of a shift from NAP to NAD, and I don't want to read too much into this. All I can say is that I'm glad with the cautious attempts here at BM's, and I really like dispute (a bit too much for my own good sometimes, but hey.. I'm Dutch ;)

      -Sag.

      Delete
    3. "No but the counterfeiter of the banknotes has committed fraud against those who received the fraudulent notes. This is a violation of the NAP"

      Technically speaking, "fraud" is not a universally accepted NAP violation...see the below link for further explanation:

      https://www.libertarianism.org/blog/six-reasons-libertarians-should-reject-non-aggression-principle

      BM is right, we need to consider these weakness(and the article points out several) and the appropriate responses. There is a reason that "hardcore"(NAP focused) libertarians are referred to as "autistic" by those that are concerned with it's practical application. (see a libertarian justifying the shooting of a child over the theft of an apple)

      In fact, in a way, the libertarian that made this "argument" pointed out to many the NAP's need for cultural arbitration by his insistence of it's "correct" application, in clear violation of the reality in our culture that says otherwise.

      "Proportionality" is a cultural component, not an objective component of the NAP.

      Delete
    4. Sag/BM,

      "Nothing in human affairs is ever beyond dispute"

      I didn't say libertarians couldn't or wouldn't question the NAP; I said I would caution against it. Is that so triggering? I simply think it does more harm than good for us libertarians, the extreme minority who even know it exists, to try and find ways the NAP must be superseded. I don't see lauding examples of those, like FVD, where they've tried (inconsistently) to divorce the NAP from its rightful place as the standard of justice as strengthening it.

      After all, how was the culture of the West overcome and supplanted by the ideas of Gramsci, socialism, materialism, and libertine degeneracy? By constant critique backed by utilitarian property rights superseding justice. As Richard Weaver explained in his book of the same name, ideas have consequences, and so do our critiques.

      The NAP is about as unassailable an idea as you can get (you demonstrate it in the attempt to refute it), and yet so many who call themselves libertarians (like Matt Zwolinski) or who profess to care about liberty (like the propertarians), are rejecting it. FVD saying he accepts the NAP and then saying non-aggressive actions should be punished with force is a complete contradiction. I like FVD, but in this he is just objectively wrong by way of the 2000+ year old law of non-contradiction. Is that not old and good law? Either he accepts the validity of the NAP or he doesn't. He can't have it both ways.

      Delete
    5. I'm not arguing with anybody here about the importance of culture or even the singular and specific importance of Western Christian culture, but I have not heard any good arguments for utilizing aggression as a means of shepherding culture. It’s a bad idea that will have unintended consequences.

      I've demonstrated why the NAP does not authorize disproportionate punishment. I've demonstrated how the husband may handle an insult against his wife in accord with NAP. I've demonstrated why the ownership of value defended by violence is opposed to the idea of private property liberty. In doing so, I've invented nothing, nor have I deviated from the NAP. These are all arguments that have been around since at the very least the late 80s.

      I've conceded that extra legal actions may be required to save the social order against aggressive and ambitious individuals and even provided you with a historical example from Medieval Iceland. I've conceded the ownership of cultural or intangible property with the caveat that, in order for justice to be proportionate, its defense must be social rather than political. I’ve given ground, but not on the NAP. I’m not saying the NAP is God, but I am saying it is the pinnacle of Western conceptions of justice.

      “There is a reason that "hardcore"(NAP focused) libertarians are referred to as "autistic" by those that are concerned with it's practical application. “

      Are you suggesting a libertarian is autistic unless they endorse violating the NAP? I’ve never disputed the importance of culture, and yet I’ve also never endorsed violating the NAP. Does this make me autistic? Does inconsistency cure one of his autism? If so, I’d rather be retarded. I’d certainly rather be retarded than accept Matt Zwolinski’s shabby attempt at a refution of the NAP.

      Delete
    6. ATL

      “I simply think it does more harm than good for us libertarians…to try and find ways the NAP must be superseded.”

      I can attest to the reality that libertarians who take the NAP to its logical conclusions without consideration of human reality have done more harm to libertarianism than anything I have done. I will not name names, as I consider some among this group as friends (either real or virtual)…and, outside of the comments section at this blog, I also am trying my best to stop getting into debates with libertarians (which is why I quit naming names quite some time ago). I am trying my best to stick to: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

      “After all, how was the culture of the West overcome and supplanted by the ideas of Gramsci, socialism, materialism, and libertine degeneracy?”

      After perhaps one thousand years (more or less, and depending on the region) of the most libertarian law known to man, I am not ready to call the culture of the West a failure. I would like to learn and explore what made it “work” and what brought on the failure, and share this at this blog.

      “The NAP is about as unassailable an idea as you can get…”

      In theory, maybe. But what good is an idea if it cannot be put into practice? How do we know how unassailable as idea is unless it has had a chance to be assailed?

      Now, of course it is possible that one day we see a libertarian society. But it seems to me that we have already seen a 1000 year period of something coming pretty close to libertarian law in the West. Not pure NAP (albeit much closer than anything we have seen since the late eighteenth century). But maybe pure NAP is not workable in practice?

      So, 1000 years of an idea in practice seems more unassailable to me than an unassailable theory with no evidence of its practicality.

      “I've conceded that extra legal actions may be required to save the social order against aggressive and ambitious individuals…”

      I am not sure I can find where you have conceded this, although I am sure that you have. If I understand your meaning, what are we arguing about? Please explain. What do you mean by extra legal?

      I will ask you basically the same question that I asked Liberty Mike. Your daughter is rudely insulted at her tenth anniversary high school reunion; she is accused of sleeping with half the high school football team. Your son-in-law punches the cad in the nose.

      Do you advocate throwing your son-in-law in jail? The decision is yours, as you are the most consistent libertarian in the community. People trust your honesty and integrity.

      If you conclude that he must go to jail, how will you explain this to your daughter?

      Delete
    7. ATL: what if the issuers of honest notes can no longer find buyers because of the lack of trust in the validity of the notes in circulation?

      Delete
    8. "...have done more harm to libertarianism than anything I have done."

      I can't disagree with you here. Block has made it his career to be provocative, and I kind of think he 'nerds out' pushing social conventions to their legal extremes in accord with the NAP, even though he himself professes to be conservative. I would say that despite these forays into the 'undefendable,' he has still contributed in a positive way toward a future of liberty, and I'm very glad he's on our side. I cannot defend, nor would I want to, others out there who seem to think the NAP authorizes shooting children if they trespass or other such atrocities.

      I actually think you are one of the main contributors towards this future of liberty at the moment, because of your work towards reconnecting the ideas of liberty with their medieval cultural roots. I think marrying abstract libertarianism with its proper cultural home is one of the most important tasks in front of us. I don't see anybody doing a better job than you.

      I'm all for decentralization and the resultant impure liberties that follow from it, but I'm not ready to stop pointing toward the end goal of the libertarian stateless society bound by the NAP. That's the ideal, and I'm not convinced it's so impractical. The difference between theft and gift, rape and sex, battery and sport, abduction and vacation is consent. This to me is an underlying recognition, even in our current legal order, of the NAP.

      Again, I think the compromise between our positions, if there really is much of a difference, is the private law society which adopts positive laws individually agreed upon which authorize force to preserve the cultural integrity of the group. I'm not convinced it's a great idea, but if it's consensual, I have no legal dispute with it.

      "If I understand your meaning, what are we arguing about? Please explain. What do you mean by extra legal?"

      Our difference of opinion here, as far as I can tell, is that we both agree with instances of aggression that occur 'off the books' (extra legal) where authorities and the community pardon the offender because they recognize the value of his action despite the law (such as my example of the Icelandic middle ages), but I don't agree with laws condoning these kinds of actions (unless they are permitted by unanimous agreement within a private law society). I think it's important that when someone commits aggression, for whatever reason, they need to feel the danger of and be willing to pay the consequences for their actions.

      "Do you advocate throwing your son-in-law in jail?"

      I think it should be clear that I would not. My opinion would be biased in favor of protecting my family against the provocateur. This would be my public message to disregard my judgement in this particular case because of its clear bias. In private I would counsel my son in law that he should not have hit him, but rather challenged him to a fair fight. That would have been the more honorable and legal thing to do.

      Of course, in my libertarian community, a punch in the nose would not mean jail time, since that would be disproportionate, it would simply mean a fine to pay any hospital bills and other damages. I would gladly pay these bills and damages to exonerate my son in law for standing up for my daughter.

      I also think I would have punched the cad before my son in law got the chance, effectively homesteading the burden of answering to the law.

      Delete
    9. @ BM

      "I also am trying my best to stop getting into debates with libertarians (which is why I quit naming names quite some time ago). I am trying my best to stick to: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all."

      This is an excellent policy and one I've been trying to engage in myself.

      "“I've conceded that extra legal actions may be required to save the social order against aggressive and ambitious individuals…”

      I am not sure I can find where you have conceded this, although I am sure that you have. If I understand your meaning, what are we arguing about? "

      I agree with your statement 100%. If he feels that way, I'm not sure what we're arguing about or if there is an argument.

      @ ATL

      "Are you suggesting a libertarian is autistic unless they endorse violating the NAP?"

      No, I'm not sure how you thought that may be the case.

      "I have not heard any good arguments for utilizing aggression as a means of shepherding culture. It’s a bad idea that will have unintended consequences."

      It may have unintended consequences, but the question is on the balance of scales if under a proper cultural soil does it represent the best outcome?

      If, for example we take the notion of free speech to it's natural conclusion and say that allowing a young man to call your daughter a whore at her graduation or your wife a slut(especially when neither are true) is acceptable and that a "punch in the nose" response from the brother or husband/father is not and requires a "libertarian" punishment/restitution, I'm going to suggest that you won't have a civil society in the long run.

      You owe BM, really everyone here discussion it, an answer on this challenge to better clarify your viewpoint. (but to me it does seem clarified based on your quote I noted)

      "I've demonstrated why the NAP does not authorize disproportionate punishment. "

      What you haven't demonstrated, is how "disproportionate" punishment is determined. I put for the argument that it's a cultural component, not an objective component of the NAP, and you haven't responded to that claim...(thereby demonstrating one the NAP's short comings IMO)






      Delete
    10. ATL, first thank you for the kind words regarding my work.

      "...but I don't agree with laws condoning these kinds of actions..."

      Neither do I, and I see the ramifications as you do. The "community" (via its accepted traditions) will figure out the consequences, if any.

      Certainly if the husband had to pay the medical bills of the cad, this could be reasonable - and still the punch was effective at maintaining boundaries toward a community of healthy respect.

      Delete
    11. Jaime,

      "what if the issuers of honest notes can no longer find buyers because of the lack of trust in the validity of the notes in circulation?"

      I've explained elsewhere how a currency producer may gather together those who've obtained fraudulent notes in order to help them file a class action law suit of fraud against a known counterfeiter. The producer has the incentive, as you've indicated, to make sure this is not happening to any large degree, therefore they will be on the lookout for counterfeiters (or will pay an appropriately skilled agency to do the same). They also have the incentive to make it difficult to counterfeit their product.

      If they've sat back and done nothing while their currency depreciated into dust... Well that's their own fault.

      Delete
    12. Sag (I think)

      "What you haven't demonstrated, is how "disproportionate" punishment is determined. I put for the argument that it's a cultural component, not an objective component of the NAP"

      I don't disagree with you about the cultural necessity of defining aggression, proportionality, and the boundaries of property for that matter. I just think somethings are pretty obviously (dare I say objectively?) disproportionate, like shooting a kid for minor theft. No doubt a common culture (at least to some degree) is required to turn the wooden doll of the NAP into a real boy!

      "I have not heard any good arguments for utilizing aggression..." - Me

      Above I should have said "legalized aggression." I do think there is a place for extra legal aggression that can be forgiven or nullified by the community. Whether or not this aggression was 'valuable' is to be determined on a case by case basis with the presumption of it not being valuable.

      "I'm going to suggest that you won't have a civil society in the long run."

      I think a good punch in the face teaches a fairly effective lesson regardless of whether the 'punchee' gets a little money for it. Besides, I've indicated that a gun fight to the death over an insult is in accord with the NAP, so long as it is consensual. What more do you want?

      "You owe BM, really everyone here discussion it..."

      I agree, and I gladly did.

      Delete
    13. Hi ATL,

      "Sag (I think)"

      Wish it were, but nope.. wasn't me.

      -Sag.

      Delete
    14. ATL
      I read what you wrote.
      I am talking about the honest financial institution provably losing business or going out of business because of the fraud.

      Delete
  8. Nice post BM. I am a bit surprised by the discussion though. After reading I thought that this was rather self evident. Yes, sometimes I can be quite naive...

    Actually things are even worse than the banknotes example. I recently came across an example where cultural habits are monetized by an external party, destroying the culture in the process. At no point is there any violence, and the victims don't even see themselves as victims but go happily along, destroying their own culture.

    The example was a new shop in town. Suppose you have a original pristine town with mom-and-pop shops all over and local sourced products. The town is self sustaining and can be a happy place to live.

    Now move in another shop, that does not source locally and who's owners do not live in the town. The new shop does not take part in the local life, and can thus undercut the mom-and-pop shops.

    The new shop in fact monetizes the existing culture in the town and breaks it down in the process.

    Never ever was the NAP violated, but the towns become ghost towns, rotting shells that are in a permanent state of slow collapse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. rien,

      Walter Block once labelled libertarianism as the one true faith.

      Delete
    2. Yes.

      On loan from propertarianism: the problem is not aggression, the problem is free riders.

      Delete
    3. Rien-

      Regarding your hypothetical new shop, who is responsible for the town's cultural decline?

      Liberty Mike

      Delete
    4. One issue troubling me in this discussion is the notion that because the NAP does not address every single non-aggressive conduct and provide redress for commission of such non-aggressive conduct, we must accept being characterized as autistic because we do not share the view that because there are those who will be offended by certain conduct that does not involve the initiation of force.

      It would appear as if some of the discussion is being driven by some who cogitate that snowflakery and hurt feelings are legitimate injury for which a society which values the NAP must recognize coercive solutions.

      I am somewhat non-plussed by the failure of anybody to address the question of whether the sanctioning of coercive punishments for the perpetration of non-coercive behavior will spawn of society of snowflakes.

      One place to look for an answer to the question is the academy. What have we observed about the culture as it relates to free and unfettered speech? Robust debate? The ability to call a spade a spade? The ability to express facts which are uncomfortable?

      Speech is being chilled upon the basis that it may offend; robust debate is being forbidden because it may lead to violence. Facts are being prohibited from being promulgated because they may hurt the feelings of ancestral, ethnic, gender, or religious groups.

      The Antifas, the BLMs, and the progressives have already effectively made inroads upon our culture by weaponizing the proposition that force should be employed to stop and prohibit non-coercive conduct, such as speech, upon the basis that the non-coercive conduct harms them.

      Thus, if A insults B's wife by calling her a tramp, why do we want to indulge the husband's hurt feelings by sanctioning his assault of B? A culture which encourages A to punch B's nose is a culture that neither values honor nor liberty. It only encourages the childish, the jejune, the puerile, the adolescent, the jungle hearted, the Trump (if he is able), to do violence without fear of being held to account.


      Liberty Mike






      Delete
    5. Mike

      “…we must accept being characterized as autistic…”

      I hope, but I might be wrong, that I have used this word only in relation to those who seem to believe that the answer to every question is to chant “NAP, NAP, NAP.” In other words, the NAP can define itself and defend itself. For this charge, I am guilty.

      “I am somewhat non-plussed by the failure of anybody to address the question of whether the sanctioning of coercive punishments for the perpetration of non-coercive behavior will spawn of society of snowflakes.”

      What do you mean by “punishment”? Do you mean throwing the obnoxious, wife-insulting cad in jail? Because when I think of the word “punishment,” I think of an official act – a consequence of a legal violation, if you will.

      When I write of the husband punching the rude man in the nose, the word “punishment” does not come to mind. Sure, we might think the husband as being more mature, calm, etc., if he just offers a quick-witted retort and then escorts his wife to his Lamborghini. But – and I ask you this directly, Liberty Mike: would you consider the husband worthy of being thrown in prison – after all, per the NAP, he has committed aggression – for defending his wife’s honor in such a manor.

      I am not asking if you think he could have handled it a different way. I am asking if you would throw him in prison. Because if not, then we need not continue on this topic of the behavior of the husband. But if you do advocate throwing him in prison…and please, don’t equate this to the snowflakes who want to be labeled with 73 different gender identifications, because that would severely change my view of you…then consider the society in which your daughters will marry, and, as if that isn't bad enough, what hope for freedom that such a society might hold.

      I will ask you directly. Your daughter is insulted at a party, say something along the lines of being called a slut who slept around with the entire high school football team. You know it isn’t true. Your son-in-law knows it isn’t true. But this former high school quarterback, who ended up sacking groceries and the local Tom Thumb, wants to find some way to become the BMOC again – he figures, by talking big, he can get to the top of the mountain, if only in front of his equally obnoxious loser football friends.

      Your son-in-law decks the guy. Would you throw your son-in-law in prison?

      I am not kidding about this. I am tired of libertarians not dealing with the cultural values of the society that they believe one day – just by thinking “happy thoughts” – will become and remain libertarian.

      Answer the question.

      Delete
    6. Damn son, you used the word 'jejune' - which to be honest seems to have lain dormant since the reign of William Buckley on 'Firing Line'. Great job. I too have persistently called out the nonsense of nose punching vis a vis the affronted husband - which is of course entirely a myth. It is invariably husbands who denounce their wives - and men of honor who come to their defense. Glad to see someone on here who finally gets it. Hope to see something of you on here in the future :)

      Delete
    7. >Thus, if A insults B's wife by calling her a tramp, why do we want to indulge the husband's hurt feelings by sanctioning his assault of B? A culture which encourages A to punch B's nose is a culture that neither values honor nor liberty.

      The most culture most preoccupied with liberty (Anglo-Saxon culture) was the culture that did exactly this.

      Delete
    8. Mike, "who is responsible"

      The current mechanism for assigning blame would place it with the town management that allowed the shop in. And subsequently with the voters.

      Morally though I think the shop owners shoulder a large part of the blame. As in many transactions the seller has the most information, just keeping mum about that is imo a kind of fraud. Even when it does not violate the NAP.

      We can extend the example to include the onset of the current "trade wars". The real commercial war has been going on ever since the US trade deficit came into existence. The US has been a loser since day 1, a trade war to get the deficit back to zero will be a great benefit to the US economy and culture. And who is responsible for that?

      Delete
    9. "But – and I ask you this directly, Liberty Mike: would you consider the husband worthy of being thrown in prison – after all, per the NAP, he has committed aggression – for defending his wife’s honor [by punching the man who insulted her in the nose?]"

      This is an excellent question, Bionic, and it ties in directly with your blog's culture-and-borders themes. As Westerners living in their increasingly Islamicized societies have come to learn, Mohammedans don't take insults to their faith with the equanimity of insulted Christians.

      Now I was raised not to insult anybody's religion. But I was also raised not to deck anybody who insults mine.

      Mohammedans--not all, certainly, but more than a few--don't see things that way. They take any criticism of their faith, no matter how measured, as an insult. And they don't limit themselves to apologetics and angry emails in response.

      I can sympathize with a Mohammedan who punches a Prophet-flouting atheist in the nose. No, that doesn't mean he has a "right" to punch the atheist in the nose, but neither does it mean I want to see him imprisoned for violating the NAP. What it does mean is that I don't want him living on my side the fence.

      Freedom has civilizational foundations. There's a reason the West is best.

      "All religions are equally bad," the loud-mouthed open-borders enthusiasts assure us, "but Christianity is more equally bad than the rest." Sadly, by the time they learn otherwise, I'm afraid it will be too late.

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    10. BM -

      1. Chanting NAP, NAP, NAP is not my answer to every question posed by conduct which may be deemed offensive by some but does not constitute a technical violation of the NAP.

      I do not think that you are ascribing that view to me, but I want to reiterate that I do not contend that the NAP is the answer to every problem in life.

      2. Punishment. You asked me what I meant by punishment. I was referring to the physical violence meted out by A who was offended by the non-coercive conduct of B. I was manifestly not referring to state action taken against A.

      I note that you did not address this aspect of my post. Thus, if A, who is black, takes offense to B's assertion that "you niggers just can't maintain intact families and you uncivilized brown skinned brutes continue to commit inter-racial crimes of violence many times higher than whites," by punching him in the nose and then kicking him in the head with an MMA move and thereby concussing B.

      Are we to jettison the NAP upon the basis that B is not racially sensitive? Or is not woke? Or is speaking about the collective, although in truth?

      There, how should the sensitive negro react? What type of culture would tolerate, much less encourage, A, the negro, punching B in the nose, kicking him with an MMA move, and concussing him?

      Would you, BM, support A's incarceration for assaulting and battering B?

      3. Son-in-law. You asked would I support my son-in-law's incarceration for punching the nose of the former high school quarterback, now a loser, who falsely asserts that my daughter was a tramp who slept with most of the high school football team.

      No, I would not. Not on those facts. If he limited his physicality to one punch, no.

      Let us amend the facts. Say it is your son-in-law who throws the punch and the quarterback, in self-defense, fights back and puts your son-in-law in the hospital, with his bare hands, without any MMA moves or otherwise foul play. Its just that the loser quarterback, although in much poorer shape than your son-in-law, and outsized by your son-in-law, is tougher and a better fighter. As your son-in-law is going down, the loser quarterback screams, "how dare you attack me over words, you uncivilized brute?"

      Would you tell the cops that your son-in-law initiated the violence? Would you tell the cops that the loser quarterback acted in self-defense and did not fight dirty?

      Would you want the loser quarterback to be incarcerated?

      Liberty Mike

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    11. "Would you, BM, support A's incarceration for assaulting and battering B?"

      Yes.

      "No, I would not. Not on those facts. If he limited his physicality to one punch, no."

      So...you have jettisoned the NAP. Given that this was my set of facts all along, why did you take such offense?

      "Would you tell the cops that your son-in-law initiated the violence?"

      Not voluntarily, as I would not want to get cross-wise with my daughter. But if I was asked directly, I would describe what I saw.

      "Would you want the loser quarterback to be incarcerated?"

      No, not if he was just fighting back - as you suggest. I would tell my son-in-law that he probably shouldn't throw a punch unless he knew he could back it up if necessary.

      It seems that we both agree that "the set of facts" alters our view of the proper application of the NAP - even though, technically, both "A" and the son-in-law violated the NAP.

      So, something other than - and greater than - the NAP is in play.

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    12. Government is always in violation of the NAP - so in the NAP society no government / political control would exist. People would hire security companies directly to safeguard their rights. If someone persists in making rude remarks for which people report him to their private security service, his own security service premiums will continue to be raised. Or he starts to get fined. Or his reputation is degraded impacting his ability to get hired. The point is the NAP society of theory necessarily becomes the free market society in practice. The history of the free market has been to replace the brutishness of political control with the finesse of incentivized self control. The extraordinary difference is illustrated in the fact that people feel much safer in the completely private shopping malls of say Detroit, St Louis, or Baltimore, safeguarded as they are by private security than they do in the downtown districts of these cities which are under the control of a a ruling political class and where there is only unionized monopoly government security.

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    13. Tony writes
      >I can sympathize with a Mohammedan who punches a Prophet-flouting atheist in the nose. No, that doesn't mean he has a "right" to punch the atheist in the nose, but neither does it mean I want to see him imprisoned for violating the NAP. What it does mean is that I don't want him living on my side the fence.

      Would you agree the Mohammedan has a "right" to live in his own civilization where those that insult the prophet are punished with violence? In order for this civilization to remain separate you will need more than a fence.

      The implicit assumption of those who reject BMs assertion that common culture is needed as the background to any system of law if you are going to have order/justice/peace (BM if I am twisting your position here tommy own ends plz correct me) is that multiculturalism can work just fine under the NAP. The historical reality of multiculturalism is that it can only function under empire. A system contingent upon voluntary agreement to abide by certain rules *PRESUPPOSES A COMMON CULTURE* a common culture of, at the very minimum, valuing liberty, property rights, tolerance, and common education in these values and the rules of the community.

      In other words it's not just that the NAP is not enough for a stable order, it's that something like the NAP wouldn't even function under multiculturalism.

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    14. UC

      NAP is merely to theory what the free market is to practice. A great example is maritime trade. Such trade is completely outside the law, tradition, culture, or religion of any one country. Those engaged in maritime trade come from all the different cultures, ethnicities, and religions. It is in fact a perfect storm of multiculturalism. Yet all abide by their pledge to have disputes settled through the maritime court, a private enterprise justice production service. When disputes arise they are settled quickly to the satisfaction of all without resort to force. This is the great wonder of free market society. It achieves in practice exactly what the NAP theoreticians show in their 'thought experiments'. Maritime trade is a testament to the graceful power by which the free market brings about peace and civility even among the most diverse multicultural players imaginable. No 'common culture' is necessary to it.

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    15. Victor, your comment is perfect testament to utopians who unfortunately believe that human beings (and human interaction) are (is) the same things as private goods and trade in same.

      Thank you for saying it so succinctly. I couldn't have said it better myself.

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    16. Victor,

      Maritime law is an example of how different civilizations/cultures interact with each other without war. I never suggested that wasn't possible. Why should people of a common root model their life on rules of conduct used by total strangers?

      Delete
    17. Victor,
      I should add that maritime law presupposes that ppl aren't isolated individuals but part of a greater Nation/State that would have a problem if they went missing on the high seas. It's an extension of diplomacy between states where peace is kept because the possibility of war exists. If there was no entity capable of waging war that cared if it's people went missing then there would be no reason not to just plunder them and throw their bodies in the ocean.

      Plz don't give me the whole "but they would have a private insurance company to represent them" routine. That's just libertarian code for a State when they are met with a problem that can only be resolved by a State. If an insurance company can wage war against a foreign power it's a state. If it can't it's useless as a poltical actor.

      Maritime law is not example of how the world would work when you magically removed states. It's an example of how states can coexist without war. No states= no maritime law.

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    18. Sorry for the triple post BM but it occured to me I wasn't clear enough in my above comment where I quoted Tony. Let me clarify.

      If the NAP (or something similar and preferably less legalistic and dogmatic) isn't the outgrowth of a common culture then it can only be imposed through VIOLENCE. This I believe is the essential point missed in these discussions. If you have a group of ppl in your midst that do not believe a certain action is agression but it meets the Blockean definition of agression then you will have to kill them, and you will have to continue killing them until they either accept your view of what is aggression or you exterminate them.

      So if you have a bunch of Muhammedans who will attack ppl who besmirch Allah and his prophet but the NAP says you are right to shoot them when they attack you then you have an irreconcilable cultural issue NOT SOLVED BY THE NAP.

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    19. UC, I believe I have touched on this point of violence required to achieve the universalist vision, but never in a focused, systematic post.

      Not everyone of the 7.5 billion people on earth view the NAP as the ultimate good for political organization, no matter how much missionary outreach is done by the utopians.

      What libertarians view as "freedom" looks like hell on earth to many.

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    20. UC you are on very uncomfortable terms with the history of the state. The state was created by the emerging European monarchies late in the medieval era for the express purpose of bureaucratizing the production of war the better to plunder competing states, not at all for the sake of any abstract notion of 'problem resolution'. To the contrary the state ceaselessly incites problems as a strategy to control populations. Take the US production of war in the middle east. The US has been bombing Iraq for 30 years. It has destroyed SEVEN middle east countries since the 21st century alone. It has destroyed once stable middle east societies and families by the millions loosing a horde of feral young men on Europe. It is that 30 year reign of ceaseless destruction that has made it possible to say 'look you see - multiculturalism doesn't work.' By contrast, absent the state, in the case of maritime trade individuals from the teeming multiplicities of cultures interact peacefully, civilly, productively, prosperously PRECISELY BECAUSE THEY ARE FREE FROM AND ABLE TO ACT OUTSIDE STATE CONTROL.

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  9. Well today sure is a good day for the ChesterBelloc!

    Starting here with a reference to Belloc's Heresy and now for the Chesterton part on Lew Rockwell an article about the Father Brown series. Would have been great if it had mentioned GKC's "Orthodoxy" to complement BM's article, but I can already see that omission remedied by BM himself in another instalment. Can't wait to read BM's Orthodoxy ;)

    Article:
    Father Brown and the “Religion” of Libertarianism by Bretigne Shaffer

    Didn't expect this article about the Father Brown BBC TV-series to have anything to do with today's topic.. until I read the following:

    "It’s not exactly a libertarian theme. And yet watching it, I feel a kinship. For me, no matter how great the writing, there is something fundamental missing in most mainstream entertainment. It’s hard to point to exactly what it is: “Morality” isn’t quite right. Neither is “spirituality” [..] I think it’s something about holding a view of humans as being capable of acting from something other than their basest instincts, of being capable of living together in peace, and about earthly authority and law being subordinate to a more fundamental moral code."

    How about that kinship?!!

    Humans capable of living together in peace when earthly authority and law are subordinate to a more fundamental moral code..

    The Convivial Order, it's in the air..

    -Sag.

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  10. Sag,

    I had not meant to reenter this discussion but your reference to my desire for the NAP to extend to all of humanity in your June 17, 1:02 AM post, will I hope, allow me to share this one thought.

    In a previous thread of Bionics, I expressed how I conceive of the concept of "righteous law" as the difference between "mala in se" (evil that all recognize) and "mala prohibita" (evils that are called evil by a state or governing body). I had previously, in this thread, expressed my perspective that "Sharia Law", whether Islamic or Western,, contained very similar elements of "mala prohibita" rules of conduct.

    I "believe" that all people of the world, recognize that crimes of aggression against people, such as murder, rape robbery, arson and such ("mala in se") are wrong. I "believe" that all people of the world, wish to be secure in their homes and enjoy the fruits of their property. I "believe" that all people of the world, feel they have a right to protect themselves against such crimes. Yes, there will be some minority, for various reasons, who feel they have a right, even a duty, to control others but if all people are allowed the right of self defense, these psychopaths will diminish.

    What is "The Non Aggression Principle" except a very brief axiom, stating this very same right to be free of such aggressive evils but extending it to include everyone, without exception, even the state or a religion?

    In essence, I believe the desire for such an axiom, already exists in the hearts of mankind. Our only task is to spread the axiom and to show that it will give all of mankind, the freedom they desire for themselves and their loved ones. Showing others that having control over their own bodies, homes and properties, will allow them to live peacefully and to keep whatever faith and customs they desire AS LONG AS, they do not violate the basic principle of the NAP, should be the goal of every libertarian and peace loving person, imo.

    I most certainly do not believe that a world wide authority is needed to achieve such a "dream", as you called it. In fact, such an authority would be a violation of the basic axiom of the NAP.

    The spirit of the NAP already exists in the heart of mankind.

    Tahn

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  11. Terrific Tahn, magnificent ! Hear Hear !

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  12. The only good Communist is a dead Communist. Period.
    I think Patton said that and if he didn't he would have.

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