Why Are Libertarians Less Sensitive To The Transaction Costs Of Immoral And Unethical Actions?

(the most important bit of philosophy that you will read today)

[A]s intelligence increases morality increases, and concern about morality decreases. The reasons are still being debated, but the general theory is that (a) smarter people can identify dishonesty more easily, and (b) smarter people can rely upon wit and cunning as a competitive advantage so that they have less trouble competing honestly. To which I would like to add (c) that the higher you are in the food chain the more abstract property you are dealing with and therefore the harder it is to steal it.

Libertarians tend to be very bright. But libertarians also test as abnormally insensitive to moral questions. The connection between the two facts is pretty obvious. We libertarians are less concerned with immorality because it’s easy for us to defend against. I don’t take the position that we’re less moral. Only that immorality is less of a challenge for us SO WE DISCOUNT THE TRANSACTION COSTS of immoral activity, whereas everyone else does NOT discount those transaction costs.

This explains why libertarians are more easily fooled by Rothbardian ethics than conservatives (aristocratic egalitarians) and progressives (socialists). The moral economy is less valuable to us than to conservatives and progressives. We discount the cost of immoral and unethical behavior.

But if we want to build a polity – the fact is: we’re wrong. Those transaction costs increase as intelligence and general knowledge decrease. And so it’s just not rational for a body of people to adopt Rothbardian ethics. They aren’t moral ENOUGH for suppression of immoral and unethical behavior, and the high transaction costs imposed upon people who must deal with pervasive immoral and unethical behavior.

[P]rivate property is what remains when a polity suppresses all free riding: violence, theft, fraud, cheating, externalizing, privatizing, conspiracy, corruption and extortion. And people will not grant one another private property rights and reduce demand for the state unless suppression of free riding (immoral and unethical behavior) is present FIRST.

Curt Doolittle

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