Q&A: Answers from Ask Curt Anything (Reasonable) Day

FROM: Andy Curzon

OK here is a seasonable (old legal word for reasonable) question, what is the current shell structure to the ‘Propertarianism and Formal Institutions’ tome (my tentative title) as it sits in your mind today?

This should be a five minute one.

Also, in response to ‘finish molyneux post’ what is your Molyneux post? I am really not sure what to make of everything surrounding him, my view seems to vacillate. You said to me about two years ago he ‘was one of the children’, does this still hold and within what ambit?

Two easy one for you. smile emoticon

[T]he Skeleton
(a) The outline is up on the site.
Menu->Propertarianism->Previous Draft
(b) The posts by chapter are here:
Menu->Propertarianism->Posts by Chapter
(c) Introductions
a short course in propertarian morality
a short course in testimonial truth
missing: a short course in property en toto.
missing: a short course in strict construction
missing: a short course on propertarian institutions

Molyneux did a pretty good job of answering Jon Stewart’s supposedly tough questions for libertarians.
But I thought I would do a better job of answering those questions – and do so more aggressively.

FROM: Shaun Moss
Why isn’t Clausewitz’s On War in the Propertarian Military Canon?

[B]ecause as (a) Keegan and (b) van Creveld have pretty clearly shown, Clausewitz was wrong. So that’s why I recommend Keegan (history of warfare) and van Creveld (culture of war) instead.

FROM Kirill Alferov
When we are thinking about the world, we can and should take into account not only our own experience, but also experiences of other people (to which we do not have direct access, of course).

I continuously find that people, especially in political philosophy, love to frame everything in their personal experience and their own perspective, without doing more objective investigation.

And I am asking whether you find this a problem. This was prompted by your earlier post about Ukraine finally making you disillusioned in the ideas of anarchy.


1) absolutely! It’s a problem we all deal with constantly, which is why I try to reduce everything to objective differences: trust, truth, economic velocity, prosperity, competitive capacity, informational content,… The problem is FINDING those objective criteria, and then observing each culture to determine how they compare, and what substitutes they use, or what blocks them from higher prosperity. Not that prosperity alone is an objective good, but prosperity gives us choices to pursue whatever goods we choose. (The italian vs german argument for example, wherein Italians favor private investments vs germans commons investments and the consequences of them. Sure germany is wealthier, but is that level of commons production really ‘better’? It’s hard to say since we know that people don’t get much happier after a certain point in wealth and that if they are wealthier they tend to use that wealth to isolate themselves and become less happy because of it.

The most interesting change in my thinking has been the understanding that Britain was a germanic country prior to 1800, and separated from german civilization at that point due to their world trade and laissez faire, where germany remained martial, territorial and national – and better educated. So I have come to understand that the germans were correct, that my people (who I was very proud of) were not, and that anglo liberalism has been a catastrophe, even if it relied upon common law and empiricism. Meanwhile the germans relied upon restating Christianity as duty and piety and chose napoleonic law. This means that territorial incentives can survive independent of institutional choices.

I can’t really remember all the major shifts in my thinking. I know that I would love to live in south america, africa and china for a year each so that I could learn to describe their models through empathy rather than just the evidence and deducing their incentives from that evidence.

2) personal experience and anecdote are different things. All knowledge is gained by personal experience. I was, like most americans, relatively ignorant about this part of the world, and once I understood that anarchism was an appeal to recreate eastern european relations between managers and serfs, I had an existential model to compare anarchism against. I mean, the central value of private property is in creating commons through the increase in production achieved under the voluntary organization of production (capitalism). Wealth is still the product of a commons: rights. So any philosophy that suggests otherwise is merely an attempt to create tyranny by requiring others to pay for the commons (property rights) but failing to produce commons in exchange for their payments. So I see anarchism as an attempt to construct organized theft: a mafia strategy.

3) So in the end, when I think about the world I try to guess how groups organize to acquire, what they acquire, and why they acquire it. These organizations (governments, laws, and norms and myths) can be deconstructed into sets of incentives. And I try do that. Its like saying that I understand china’s fear of NOT controling the south china sea as rational. But that said, I do not thing expansion of chinese culture and philoopy is objectiely good for anyone. In fact, I am not sure that expansion of any existing culture is a very good idea. I am sure only that expansion of trust, prsoperty, and competitive advantage serve the intersts of a populace. And that my people OUr people, have been competitively succesful despite our poverty and small numbers, by truth, trust, and commons.

—“In your view, is our current social condition primarily attributable to biologic/genetic factors (e.g., nurturing, feminine dysgenic and parasitic impulses) or is bad philosophy primarily to blame (failure of rationalism, introduction of post-modernism, etc.,)…It’s most likely a combination of the two, but how much weight would you place on each factor?”—Emil Suric

[I] think it is the result of the ambitions of the enlightenment thinkers to motivate the populace under the myth of equality to seize power from the landed church, the landed aristocracy, and the monarchies.

I can’t view our biological factors as a problem, they are merely properties. I view our condition as the result of replacing faith in a divine entity with an equal faith in the potential of every man. (a substitution effect really)

I see a specialization of this ‘faith’ starting with Paine, and then the French revolution, then under the industrial revolution, with the cosmopolitans. This fallacy was not present in german thought.

I see the postmoderns and the progressives as having master this deception.

But if you want to state what made this POSSIBLE by political means, it was the enfranchisement of women ,and the various sacrifices of penalties that we had to accept in order to enfranchise them.

We would not have this problem otherwise.

Which is quite contrary to my expectations.

Emil Suric —Excellent. That really cleared a lot up. Thanks—


Q: —“When/why did you see your work as a total break with Rothbard’s?”—

[I] read Popper -> Hayek -> Hoppe -> Mises -> Rothbard, I understood Hayek and Popper because of my work in computer science: that the model for the social sciences was, like physics, “information”. What I found in Hoppe was strict construction and amoral argument by reduction to property insured as property rights under common law.

I was stunned the first time I heard Hoppe speak, and I understood immediately that he was making at least one significant error of switching between necessity and preference. And I understood his mistaken or perhaps confused positioning of popper as a positivist. And by this point I understood that apriorism was a justification. I just ignored all of his justifications because of the explanatory power of amoral argument reduced to property.

I remember flying while reading Rothbard’s For a New Liberty and (a) realizing that he had pretty much hijacked both the term libertarian and his argument structure from someone else. And (b) then I was angered if not nauseated by the suicidal immorality of his ethics.

And I understood immediately what he had done: apply the ethics of pastoralists and the bazaar to the ethics of land holders – and the absurdity of it. Including the absurdity of the Crusoe’s island analogy, where the sea functions the walls of the medieval ghetto, and where the problem of cooperation evolved instead, in the vast plain evenly distributed with people.

I don’t remember when it became obvious to me that rothbard argued as a cosmopolitan (his group evolutionary strategy and argumentative tradition) and Hoppe as a german (his group evolutionary strategy and argumentative tradition), and that I was arguing as an anglo empiricist (with my group’s evolutionary strategy and argumentative tradition.)

Q: —“Do you think that position is contradictory based the credence you still place on Hoppe?”—

[W]ell, I don’t know what you mean by credence. I admire him for his work using the knowledge of his era. I admire him for his transformation of rothbardian cosmopolitanism in to hanseatic german. And I thank him for being the person who showed me the methodology – even if he wouldn’t personally give me the time of day.

I would really appreciate it if I could work with him while he still has faculties to show that he, rothbard and I have explained the same principle using different argumentative methods to express different group evolutionary strategies, and that the fact that we can do so is a great test of the veracity of the ideas. I think that would turn our conflict in to consequence. And it would unite the libertarian and alt right quite nicely.

So I appreciate hoppe as my teacher. Others have suggested he has done nothing original. I can’t prove that. I can’t find what he’s done anywhere else. his strict construction might by justificationary and apriorisitc. It might then be a legal rather than truthful argument. But I repaired that. And I don’t think I would have without listening to how he did it.

So that is what I take from him. And I think that’s his real contribution.

Q: —“Why do you place Rothbard as a member of the culture of critique when he presented libertarianism as part of the common law tradition, at least near the end of his career?”—

[H]e doesn’t. He presents libertarianism as cosmopolitan law of the ghetto, using the terminology of the common law of martial peoples. What you see in Marx’s last year, what you see in mises last years, and what you see in rothbard’s last years, is that they realize that they have failed – they failed because in their early careers they relied on introspection. And like any good convert from judaism to aristotelianism, over time, you begin to understand. I think this is why most contributions of jews come from the first generation that converts to christianity/aristotelianism.

As for why do I place rothbard as a member of CofC. I don’t really. Or at least, I don’t emphasize him as a member of the frankfurt school. I present him as a cosmopolitan in the tradition of Marx, Freud, Cantor, and Mises: inventors of pseudosciences sufficiently complex and compose of half truths open to introspective substitution. Positioned as a criticism of extant society.

It took me longer (and I’m not sure I am finished) to understand how the cosmopolitans used deception, than it did for me to complete my study of truth and restate performative truth + critical rationalism + operational existentialism + voluntary exchange + division of perception as Testimonialism.

We are extremely vulnerable because of our high trust high altruism to this means of suggestion. It is not persuasion, it is suggestion. And it’s brilliant. It evolved over centuries from the first great lies (religion) to the dual ethics of the laws, to the pseudoscience of the cosmopolitans, to the outright lying of the progressives.

It’s gossip. It’s not reason. It just looks like it. smile emoticon

thanks for smart questions

—Q:”do you think the Republic of Venice had a decent political system by propertarian standards?”—Siri Khalsa

[W]ell I would say that by propertarian ethics, no.

Outliers make bad general rules. But that said:
– They did not have any sense of the rule of law by our standards. They neither granted equal legal protections to their subjects, nor safeguarded their property, nor insulated them from aristocratic predation. In fact, they were parasitic as hell.
– They did not seek free trade but contractual privileges in exchange for naval and military support.
– Favors were bought and sold, privileges bought and sold, offices bought and sold.
– Rotation was not meritocratic – but still seemed to function – because of Hoppeian incentives, and a professional bureaucracy of the truly talented people in the region. But the upper classes were fixed.
– The fixed upper classes were exhausted and venice failed to transform from city state into empire. So Venice fell.
– I could give a longer analysis: that the great families eventually reach maximum rents on their holdings and then cannibalized the potential of the state.
– My position is that venice failed to evolve into an empire that protected Europe, protected citizens, and expanded domestic trade, and to restore the mediterranean, or hold back the ottomans or napoleon because of systemic corruption and rent seeking.
– Venice is an interesting example of the need to continue with the lifecycle of a civilization, which if interrupted at key points in its evolution will fail.

So I guess, that isn’t very complimentary analysis.

—-Q:”What do you think about Hitler’s economic policies? We only hear about the war, not the economy.”—-Nic Da Silva

[I]t is hard to talk about hitler’s economic policies because he wasn’t really intent on producing an economy as we mean today, as much as borrowing by every means possible for the process of reconstruction.

For his goals, Autarky was a rational solution, and he nearly eradicated unemployment by enforcing it. He was a defender of private property in so far as it did not interfere with his goals – in other words, he meant for ordinary people. His version of socialism was that he wanted to put food on everyone’s table, a roof over their heads, and beer in their bellies not abandon private property. Otherwise it’s hard to say he had an economic policy – it’s not clear he had an interest in economics whatsoever. He ran the country like a great estate. And he wanted to continue german expansion of that estate into the soviet union. Which would have been good for the world I think.

And if he hadn’t used camps and ovens, and western Europe hadn’t declared war against him for invading Poland, I am pretty sure he would have gone down in history as a hero and savior of europe.

Hence why I take the position (like spengler and yockey) that both WW1 and WW2 were ‘my people’s fault. And that Germany was right in both the first and second world wars.

The anglos destroyed europe. Not germany.

—“Do you think that Trump is the hero we need? I know a lot of people on the alt-right, mostly ex-libertarians who still cling to that freedom trap are against his wanted revival of tariffs and trade protectionism. I think they might be necessary as a temporary measure to force some balance into our globalist market.”—-Lanselot Tartaros

[S]orry I missed this.

I think Trump has changed the public discourse and exposed the republican party as nigh on traitorous. He has also demonstrated the value of wealth rather than being bought by special interests.

I don’t share fear of tariffs and protections if they are a competitive strategy rather than a means of seeking rents against the public. The same way I don’t share fear of very limited patents (grants of premium) when they are not rents, but off book private investments in goods for the commons.

Personally I love that a man who speaks reasonably bluntly and arguably truthfully is in the debate.

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