Property, Praxeology And Violence


[U]nfortunately, while humans demonstrate a preference for the consumption that is made possible by the combination of private property, the division of knowledge and labor, and the experimental innovation the market drives us to, humans also demonstrate an equal preference for violence, theft, fraud, omission, interference, free riding, privatization of the commons, socialization of losses, rent seeking, corruption, organizing for the purposes of extortion, and organizing for plunder and conquest via war.

All of these forms of theft from the most direct to the most subtle, in the absence of the threat of violence, are easier means of competition than is the risky and personal act of speculative production we must engage in, if we choose to compete in the market for goods and services.

Only a minority of us demonstrate a preference for the market, and by consequence, demonstrate a preference for private property: which is to eschew, at high cost to ourselves, the tempting portfolio of thefts – and instead work to consume exclusively via voluntary, informed, exchange that is the product of guesswork, planning, foresight and risk.

For these reasons – these praxeologically obvious reasons – any portfolio of property rights, from the most collective, to the most individual, to the most totalitarian, and within that portfolio, the scope property ranging from simple personal possessions to complex anonymous contractual commitments; has been and must be imposed on a body of people by the threat of violence.

[T]he concept and practice of liberty was created by egalitarian aristocrats who granted property rights to those who equally respected property rights of their peers, and who fought to preserve them at great personal cost.

Moral arguments as to the utility of private property are specious. They are an attempt to obtain the right of private property at a discount – despite the fact that the majority do not favor those rights for either themselves or others.

That the enlightenment’s emergent middle class philosophers tried to justify taking power from the aristocracy by fabricating moral and utilitarian arguments was a necessary political ruse at the time. But we if we desire to preserve our vestiges of freedom we should not confuse that ruse with the factual reality that all systems of property rights are imposed by the threat of violence.

It is praxeologically illogical to suggest that those who would compete better in the absence of private property, should suffer lower state in order to yield to the desires of those others who may be more successful under private property. This makes no sense.

As such, the only defense is the offensive application of organized violence for the purpose of implementing one system of property rights and obligations over another.

[A]ristocracy is a functional synonym for private property – and private property a right gained in exchange for reciprocity both in the respect of private property and the obligation to use one’s wealth of violence to ensure the perpetuation of the portfolio of property rights that we call ‘private property’ at the expense and exclusion of all other possible portfolios of property rights.

Leave a Reply