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1 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Stephan Kinsella Libertarian PapersLibertarian Papers, C4SIF.org, Mises.orgC4SIF.orgMises.org.

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Presentation on theme: "1 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Stephan Kinsella Libertarian PapersLibertarian Papers, C4SIF.org, Mises.orgC4SIF.orgMises.org."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Stephan Kinsella Libertarian PapersLibertarian Papers, C4SIF.org, Mises.orgC4SIF.orgMises.org Property and Freedom Society 2011 Annual Meeting May 27-29, 2011 Correcting Some Common Libertarian Misconceptions

2 2 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Coercion, Force Coercion is not unlibertarian Aggression coercion Force not unlibertarian Kinsella, The Problem with CoercionThe Problem with Coercion False idea that PDA can assert jurisdiction only over someone who has agreed to it Committing aggression is consenting to the victims jurisdiction Two ways force against another is justified Consent (permission, invitation), e.g. a kiss Committing aggression A type of consent to retaliation since no one committing aggression can object to retaliation

3 3 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Restitution and Punishment Restitution vs. retribution (punishment) General concept: responsive force Force in response to aggression Defense, restitution, incapacitation, deterrence, rehabilitation Depends on motive or purpose of the victim Restitution can still be the dominant mode of justice Costs of punishment: Possibility of error Standard of proof higher (beyond reasonable doubt vs. preponderance) Restitution may have lower cost, better results But the standard of restitution is based on the more fundamental right to punish Kinsella, Punishment and Proportionality: The Estoppel Approach; Fraud, Restitution, and Retaliation: The Libertarian Approach; The Libertarian Approach to Negligence, Tort, and Strict Liability: Wergeld and Partial WergeldPunishment and Proportionality: The Estoppel ApproachFraud, Restitution, and Retaliation: The Libertarian ApproachThe Libertarian Approach to Negligence, Tort, and Strict Liability: Wergeld and Partial Wergeld

4 4 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Positive obligations Libertarianism: negative duty to avoid aggression Trespass Invasion Border crossing Unconsented to use

5 5 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Positive obligations Positive obligations can exist If voluntarily incurred By crime (owe restitution) By tort (pushing in a lake duty to rescue) By action (having a child parental obligations) Kinsella, How We Come To Own OurselvesHow We Come To Own Ourselves By word? Problems with standard theory of contract Binding promise versus title transfers (Rothbard and Evers) Inalienability (more on this later) Plus, speech can be the means of aggression (Ready, Aim, Fire!; or Drop the bomb on Hiroshima or Lynch him!) or can be tantamount to an invitation to be punched (fighting words – your momma is ugly) See Kinsella, Causation and AggressionCausation and Aggression

6 6 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Contracts; Fraud Contracts are not binding promises; they are exchanges (or unilateral transfers) of title to owned resources. Rothbard and Evers Implications for alienability and body – external object distinction Kinsella, A Libertarian Theory of Contract: Title Transfer, Binding Promises, and InalienabilityA Libertarian Theory of Contract: Title Transfer, Binding Promises, and Inalienability Fraud is not merely dishonesty Has to be rooted in property rights and title-transfer theory of contract Danger of equivocation Fraud is essentially theft-by-trick Theft of owned goods Danger of equivocation if fraud used to mean merely dishonesty Kinsella, The Problem with Fraud: Fraud, Threat, and Contract Breach as Types of Aggression; Fraud, Restitution, and Retaliation: The Libertarian Approach; The Limits of Armchair Theorizing: The case of Threats.The Problem with FraudFraud, Restitution, and Retaliation: The Libertarian ApproachThe Limits of Armchair Theorizing: The case of Threats

7 7 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Contracts; Inalienability Two related fallacies: If you can sell it, you own it. E.g. a sale of labor or service implies you own it Sloppy equivocation Really one-way contracts, not title exchanges If you own it, you can sell it. Ownership is right to control; does not automatically imply a right to get rid of the right to control Applies in the case of acquired goods (external objects), by un-acquiring them (abandonment) Does not apply to ones body; one is a homesteader; one does not homestead himself (in the same way that we homestead objects)

8 8 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Contracts; Inalienability Inalienability is not about impossibility of the will. Prisoners are slaves Defensive force is justified even though criminal has free will and objects or fights back Only aggression alienates the right to object to force Kinsella, A Libertarian Theory of Contract: Title Transfer, Binding Promises, and Inalienability; Inalienability and Punishment: A Reply to George SmithA Libertarian Theory of Contract: Title Transfer, Binding Promises, and InalienabilityInalienability and Punishment: A Reply to George Smith

9 9 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Self-ownership Self-ownership is neither incoherent nor mystical In fact it is THE libertarian view Just means body-ownership Hoppe, State or Private-Law Society (Every person is the private (exclusive) owner of his own physical body)State or Private-Law Society Kinsella, What Libertarianism Is (each person is prima facie the owner of his own body)What Libertarianism Is Prima facie because it can be alienated or forfeited by committing aggression Versus slavery, murder, aggression, rape Richard Overton, An arrow against all Tyrants, (1646) : "To every individuals in nature, is given an individual property by nature, not to be invaded or usurped by any ; for every one as he is himself, so he hath a selfe propriety, else he not be himselfe". John Locke, Second Treatise of government (1690) : (chap V, 27) : Though the Earth, and all inferior Creatures be common to all Men, yet every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself

10 10 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Creation and the Source of Rights It is often maintained that there are three means of creating and coming to own goods: original appropriation (homesteading), contractual exchange, and production. But production is a source of wealth only Hoppe: One can acquire and increase wealth either through homesteading, production and contractual exchange, or by expropriating and exploiting homesteaders, producers, or contractual exchangers. There are no other ways. Banking, Nation States, and International Politics: A Sociological Reconstruction of the Present Economic Order (1990), p. 60 Banking, Nation States, and International Politics: A Sociological Reconstruction of the Present Economic Order New property rights do not arise from production of wealth Homesteading creates new property titles; contract transfers existing property titles; production transforms already-owned goods Kinsella, Against Intellectual Property; Locke on IP; Mises, Rothbard, and Rand on Creation, Production, and RearrangingAgainst Intellectual PropertyLocke on IP; Mises, Rothbard, and Rand on Creation, Production, and Rearranging

11 11 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Creation and the Source of Rights Rand: The power to rearrange the combinations of natural elements is the only creative power man possesses. It is an enormous and glorious power–and it is the only meaning of the concept creative. Creation does not (and metaphysically cannot) mean the power to bring something into existence out of nothing. Creation means the power to bring into existence an arrangement (or combination or integration) of natural elements that had not existed before. Rothbard: Men find themselves in a certain environment, or situation. It is this situation that the individual decides to change in some way in order to achieve his ends. But man can work only with the numerous elements that he finds in his environment, by rearranging them in order to bring about the satisfaction of his ends.

12 12 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Creation and the Source of Rights To ward off claims Rothbard was plagiarizing Rand: Mises:[speaking of] the widespread misconception of the nature of production. There is a naive view of production that regards it as the bringing into being of matter that did not previously exist, as creation in the true sense of the word. From this it is easy to derive a contrast between the creative work of production and the mere transportation of goods. This way of regarding the matter is entirely inadequate. In fact, the role played by man in production always consists solely in combining his personal forces with the forces of Nature in such a way that the cooperation leads to some particular desired arrangement of material. No human act of production amounts to more than altering the position of things in space and leaving the rest to Nature.

13 13 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Creation and the Source of Rights Related confusions: Labor is not owned (neither are actions) Redundant with body and property ownership; a consequence of it No property rights in value of property but only in physical integrity Gives rise to idea of reputation rights Rose garden example Competition example Objectivist Law Prof Mossoff on Copyright; or, the Misuse of Labor, Value, and Creation Metaphors; Comment to Patents and Utilitarian Thinking; Rand on IP, Owning Values, and Rearrangement Rights Objectivist Law Prof Mossoff on Copyright; or, the Misuse of Labor, Value, and Creation MetaphorsCommentPatents and Utilitarian ThinkingRand on IP, Owning Values, and Rearrangement Rights Misplaced emphases on harm and imposing costs Patrick Burke, J.C. Lester Equivocation: we oppose aggression, which is harm; so we have to oppose other types of harm that are not aggression (reputation rights) Kinsella, "Aggression" versus "Harm" in Libertarianism"Aggression" versus "Harm" in Libertarianism

14 14 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Individual Rights and Property Rights Mistake: forgetting that all rights are property rights; otherrights (free speech etc.) are just consequences of basic property rights in our bodies and homesteaded scarce resources not independent rights the concept of rights only makes sense as property rights. For not only are there no human rights which are not also property rights, but the former rights lose their absoluteness and clarity and become fuzzy and vulnerable when property rights are not used as the standard. -- Rothbard, "'Human Rights' As Property Rights'Human Rights' As Property Rights

15 15 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Individual Rights and Property Rights there are no human rights that are separable from property rights. The human right of free speech is simply the property right to hire an assembly hall from the owners, or to own one oneself; the human right of a free press is the property right to buy materials and then print leaflets or books and to sell them to those who are willing to buy. There is no extra "right of free speech" or free press beyond the property rights we can enumerate in any given case. –Rothbard, For A New Liberty: The Libertarian ManifestoFor A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto Danger: leads to rights inflation, human rights, rights that invade other rights gun rights on employer property free speech rights in private malls IP Creationism Plus, as noted earlier, speech can be the means of aggression (Ready, Aim, Fire!; or Drop the bomb on Hiroshima or Lynch him!)

16 16 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Property Rights, Means, and Action The prohibition on aggression does not mean property rights arelimited. Socialist/statist: whats the big deal if IP stops you from using your property as you see fit? All property rights are limited, after all; you cant use your gun to shoot someone. Confusion: Aggression involves the use of scarce (causally efficacious) means to invade borders of/use others property without consent Aggression is impermissible regardless of the means employed, whether owned, unowned, borrowed, or stolen, or using your bare hands It is actions that are limited, not property rights

17 17 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Property Rights, Means, and Action Instead of saying "There are things you may not do with your property, we should instead say Some actions are impermissible." What actions? Those that (causally, with means) invade the borders of others' property. Limitations on action are a result of property rights. To twist this into an argument that property rights are limited is perverse. Kinsella, IP and Aggression as Limits on Property Rights: How They Differ; The Non-Aggression Principle as a Limit on Action, Not on Property Rights.IP and Aggression as Limits on Property Rights: How They DifferThe Non-Aggression Principle as a Limit on Action, Not on Property Rights Parallel to Holmes fire in a crowded theater mal-meme Rothbards answer: rights to free speech are not independent Just consequences of property rights Discussed before

18 18 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Extra/Other material follows//

19 19 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Legal and Logical Positivism Identifying positive law does not mean condoning it. pointing out that the income tax is legal does not mean favoring it Kinsella, Logical and Legal Positivism;Logical and Legal Positivism Income tax protestors: SHOW ME THE LAW! Law is not whats in the law books; its the rules the state enforces Holmess Bad Man Theory of law/ legal realism Natural Law, Positive Law, Tax Evasion, Rituals and Incantations The state is not out for justice; cannot assume you can find the right arguments and win Its criminal Doherty's It's So Simple, It's Ridiculous and Five Reasons You Don't Owe Income Tax, Dammit!It's So Simple, It's RidiculousFive Reasons You Don't Owe Income Tax, Dammit! See also Huebert's commentsHuebertcomments

20 20 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Common Libertarian Misconceptions & Mistakes Limited Government is a Pipedream. And, closely allied with this proposition: The move to democracy was not progress (and Hans-Hermann Hoppe is not a monarchist)

21 21 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Common Libertarian Misconceptions & Mistakes The positivism of asking for the source of rights Even God The hypocrisy of demanding your argumentative partner prove why you have rights If you dont respect his rights, he should regard you as an animal, outlaw, criminal If you do respect his rights, why does he have to prove to you why you do? Affirmative action is not unlibertarian Do campaign finance regulations violate free speech rights? Can be seen as just another eligibility requirement for holding office? --Kinsella, What's Wrong with Campaign Finance Regulations?What's Wrong with Campaign Finance Regulations?

22 22 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Common Libertarian Misconceptions & Mistakes Scarcity does not mean non-abundant Rivalrous; conflictable good ideas are pretty scarce! Liability of the boss does not absolve the underling, and vice- versa No fixed pie of liability But-for causation is neither necessary nor sufficient for liability Not necessary: two guys lighting fires or firing bullets Regarded as joint even if not Not sufficient: Hitlers mom is not guilty

23 23 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Common Libertarian Misconceptions & Mistakes A constitutional right often means greater state power It doesnt matter whether the 2 nd Amendment protects a personal right to bear arms. 9 th says you cannot take the lack of enumeration of a right to be construed against that right 10 th says Congress has no power to regulate guns unless its enumerated

24 24 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Common Libertarian Misconceptions & Mistakes Advocates of states rights do not believe states have rights. Critics of Lincoln and the Civil War are not neo-Confederates Anarchists need not prove anarchy can work. Anarchists believe (a) aggression is unjust and wrong, and (b) the state necessarily commits aggression by its nature; so that (c) the state is necessarily unjust and criminal. It is not unrealistic or naïve to be a libertarian or anarchist. Is it unrealistic to oppose murder even though it will happen? The states existence proves anarchy is feasible Cuzan: there is no over-state to force state actors to abide by internal state rules and hierarchy Do We Ever Really Get Out of Anarchy?

25 25 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Common Libertarian Misconceptions & Mistakes Loser pays is not libertarian. If Sally sues Harry for battery and loses, and there is a loser-pays rule: this is also unjust since injury is being added to injury. In a state-run system, neither loser-pays, nor winner-pays, nor each-side- pays-his-own-fees, is just. The only just system is a voluntary, private justice system where customers of competing justice agencies agree voluntarily ahead of time to some rule–in this case, any of the fee-payment schemes is libertarian since it is agreed to by all sides. Kinsella, Is Loser Pays Libertarian?Is Loser Pays Libertarian? Educational vouchers are not libertarian. Expands state welfare and propaganda, entrenches government education, threatens independence of private schools Would you push the button hypos usually meaningless Not well specified Are rights a subset of morals?

26 26 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Common Libertarian Misconceptions & Mistakes Should government be more efficient? Aggressors are not innocent until proven guilty. Aggressors do not have a right to due process or deserve a fair trial Prophylactic rule needed to limit the state and for epistemic reasons (fallibility) Contracts do not have to be written Just evidence of agreement The Constitution is not libertarian nor was early America

27 27 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Common Libertarian Misconceptions & Mistakes Spam and hacking can be forms of aggression Use of others property without consent Kinsella, Why Spam is TrespassWhy Spam is Trespass

28 28 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Common Libertarian Misconceptions & Mistakes The dangers of metaphors in scientific discourse (and imprecise language, and equivocation) See my Appendix: On the dangers of metaphors in scientific discourse to my post Objectivist Law Prof Mossoff on Copyright; or, the Misuse of Labor, Value, and Creation Metaphors, also http://blog.mises.org/13064/lock- smith-marx-and-the-labor-theory-of-value/ and Peter Surda: http://blog.mises.org/15188/undermining-the-mises-institute/#comment- 750410Objectivist Law Prof Mossoff on Copyright; or, the Misuse of Labor, Value, and Creation Metaphorshttp://blog.mises.org/13064/lock- smith-marx-and-the-labor-theory-of-value/ http://blog.mises.org/15188/undermining-the-mises-institute/#comment- 750410

29 29 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Misconceptions: Metaphors For it would be an absurd undertaking to banish from the language of economic theory every manner of speaking that is not literally correct; it would be sheer pedantry to proscribe every figure of speech, particularly since we could not say the hundredth part of what we have to say, if we refused ever to take recourse to a metaphor. One requirement is essential, that economic theory avoid the error of confusing a practical habit, indulged in for the sake of expediency, with scientific truth. –Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, (1881), Whether legal rights and relationships are economic goods. In H. Sennholz (Ed.), Shorter classics of Böhm-Bawerk, Volume I. Spring Mills, PA: Libertarian Press, 1962, p. 135

30 30 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Misconceptions: Metaphors: Examples Ownership of labor Paterson or Lanes use of energy circuits …. very scientistic. Similar to the way people talk about the momentum of a football game or the energy of a crowd or a crystal Economy is overheated

31 31 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Misconceptions: Metaphors: Examples Prices convey knowledge Only in a metaphorical sense could one say that prices reflect or contain information on present conditions. … It is asserted that prices communicate abridged relevant information. This, however, is only a metaphorical expression. It is not prices that coordinate the actions of sellers and buyers of tin; prices are the outcome of (coordinated) action, not its coordinators. It is property, rather than knowledge, that coordinates the separate actions of different people. The terms coordination and communication rather obfuscate than adequately express this fact. This is another example of the dangers linked to the use of metaphors in scientific discourse. Guido Hülsmann, Knowledge, Judgment, and the Use of Property, p. 29Knowledge, Judgment, and the Use of Property

32 32 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Misconceptions: Metaphors: Examples The term consumers sovereignty is a typical example of the abuse, in economics, of a term... appropriate only to the political realm and is thus an illustration of the dangers of the application of metaphors taken from other disciplines.Sovereignty is the quality of ultimate political power; it is the power resting on the use of violence. In a purely free society, each individual is sovereign over his own person and property, and it is therefore this self-sovereignty which obtains on the free market. No one is sovereign over anyone elses actions or exchanges. Since the consumers do not have the power to coerce producers into various occupations and work, the former are not sovereign over the latter. –Rothbard, MES, ch.10.1.AMES, ch.10.1.A

33 33 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Misconceptions: Metaphors: Examples Mises rightly criticised treating imaginary things (collectives, analogies, metaphors, etc.) as real and warns us to be very cautious when using fictitious auxiliary constructs to explain things Benjamin Marks, Synthetic Apriori Truths and Mind Structure: A Nominalist PerspectiveSynthetic Apriori Truths and Mind Structure: A Nominalist Perspective in his memoirs Mises accuses Bohm-Bawerk (in their dispute over Cantillon effects) of being led astray by the idea offriction and other metaphors from the physical sciences. -- Roderick Long See Kinsella, Objectivist Law Prof Mossoff on Copyright; or, the Misuse of Labor, Value, and Creation MetaphorsObjectivist Law Prof Mossoff on Copyright; or, the Misuse of Labor, Value, and Creation Metaphors

34 34 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Misconceptions: Metaphors: Examples Tom DiLorenzo (email): A fun paper … would be to ridicule the metaphors in macroeconomics with all the talk of injections,Leakages, shocks, etc. I would start by comparing it all to the movie Young Frankenstein, where they tried to shock the monster to life, just as infusions of money or tax dollars supposedly shock the economy out of a recession. Then when shock therapy didnt work, Gene Wilder pulled out a giant needle and injected the monster, just as money is supposedly injected into the economy by the Fed. The possibilities are endless. Copying is theft

35 35 | Correcting Some Common Libertarian MisconceptionsStephan Kinsella | PFS 2011 Misconceptions: Equivocation Left-libertarian fallacy: we oppose the states authority or authoritarianism; so we libertarians have to oppose even non- aggressive types of authority and hierarchy (employer- employee, corporation, family, church, natural elites) The thickism fetish: confuses some reasons for, or ideas related to, libertarianism, with libertarianism itself Results-oriented versus means or process oriented


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