For Luke Williams, here’s a complimentary grenade to lob into your Non-Agression Principle debate.

“Just remember this: If the rationale is almost impossible to read, it can’t be a cargo cult!”



Photo by: bark

The Non-Agression Principle (NAP) is merely a sentiment, much alike to the Golden Rule. But it is (putatively) socially-restrictive, where “do-unto-others” is reflexively unilateral. NAP is an attempt to induce by magic yet another Social Contract – asserted unilaterally by you yet somehow binding on me and everyone else. I dealt with all that a long time ago in Meet the Third Thing.

But: There is an underlying ontological reality to NAP: The mutually-assured destruction (MAD) that adult men communicate to each other by means of the nod of acknowledgement.

If you imagine two strangers meeting in isolation, the thing that engenders and sustains the peace between them, and which makes overtures toward mutually-beneficial cooperation possible in due course, is the conviction on the part of each of them that they are evenly matched – approximately equal in ferocity, martial prowess and weaponry. By means of a glance followed by a quick nod, each of them communicates these ideas:

• I see you.

• You see me.

• I have values I will die to defend.

• I am prepared in body, mind and emotional commitment to kill you, if necessary, even if I die in the process.

• Ergo, we should be friends, or at least non-combatants, instead.

(This is a very Driven mothertongue expression, incidentally, a contingent affectionate display: “I will do my best to love you if you do your best to love me back.”)

When the parties are unequally matched – as with a bully encountering an untouchable or thugs plucking a ripe teenage girl – crime ensues, NAP be damned. What makes peace (and the concomitant plenty) possible is not NAP but MAD.

So when Rand says, “The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships” – she is talking out her ass. It is the mutual and simultaneous pre-emptive assertion of the threat of violence that creates the peace necessary to negotiate any further fruits of that peace. To the extent that it relies on either Rand or Rothbard’s cribbing of Rand, all of libertarianism-writ-large is a cargo cult, a pantomime of philosophy raging on in spite of uncontroverted ontological fact.

We take our virtually-uninterrupted placidity for granted because we grew up in it – in an incredibly peaceful, plentiful golden age – but the behavior and attitudes resulting from the shared commitment to MAD are never absent from our social encounters. Almost all of us exercise nearly-perfect self-restraint nearly all the time, all while the most bookish among us insist this is caused by magical incantations like NAP.

In fact, the sole cause of peace is the MAD we learned from our fathers (and their frail substitutes), the thoroughly-confident masculine frame that says, silently and non-confrontationally, thousands upon thousands of times over the years, “Play with fire, thumb-sucker, and you’ll get burned.” Without that there is no peace, as you can discover in any day’s news reports.

Everything that falls out from this mutually-assured destruction is in its turn directly related to the job of being a man, a husband and a father: Men who know each other know they are mutually ‘Golden-Rulishly’ bound not to despoil each other, not to compete for each other’s wives and not to exploit each other’s children. All of this is at risk where that mutual commitment to MAD is absent – or where power is asymmetrical.

That’s the actual ontology behind NAP, to the extent there is anything at all, besides hand-waving, behind either Rand, Rothbard or Nozick – or the aggressively-unreadable Doolittle.

(And this is why Marx (and Rand and Molyneux) have to destroy fatherhood – because only thoroughgoing fatherhood can resist physical or emotional tyranny.)

The actual purpose of NAP is to rationalize precisely the kind of crimes it purports to prevent: Pre-emptive agression brought against people who, at that moment at least, present no peril to the on-going peace. That is, NAP exists to “license” coercive post hoc “retaliatory” “justice” – even though the proponents of NAP know this cannot be justified under any conception of either equal rights or voluntaryism.

People who live in fear cannot conceive of any means of resolving disputes except force, so they will contort their minds in whatever bizarre shapes they think necessary to avoid admitting that they are the bad guys.

And to that kind of “thinking,” as always: Sic semper tyrannosauris. Thus always to dinosaurs.

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  • —“or the aggressively-unreadable Doolittle.”—-

    You know, I want to say ‘ouch’ but, I have to just own it. lol.
    On the other hand have you read Hegel? Wittgenstein? Heidegger?

    Philosophy is a technical specialty like any niche technical discipline. The difference is that we are often trying to reorder existing human conceptual categories, properties, and relations. Rewiring the mind so to speak.

    I am far better than I was even four years ago. And I will get better still. But in the end, a philosopher writes for experts, experts write for the heavily interested, and the heavily interested write for the popular, and the popular simplify for the simple. This is how innovation in thought is distributed.

    I am not the first person to say that our job is to bring people up to the new level of comprehension not dumb it down for the existing level where its lacking. Else darwin would have vanished by now. Even still – most people still think evolution has a direction. 🙂

    I am doing something very special. And very important. And I know that doing it in public is a risk. But it turns out lots of people like to see the product being made so to speak, and it also turns out that it helps me a great deal to get their comment and criticism.

    I want to make it impossible for politicians and public intellectuals to lie without repercussion. To do that I have to show how to tell the truth. From there how to put the technique for truth telling into law, and a constitution. If we make it just as difficult to deceive, lie cheat, free ride and privatize as we have made it difficult to steal physical property, then liberty will result from it. Because all those things that prohibit liberty are matters of theft of one kind or another. So instead of advocating liberty as a way of producing liberty, I’m trying to outlaw everything else so that only liberty remains.

    It is this inversion of the philosophy of liberty that takes a while to get your head around. Just as incremental suppression of parasitism by the constant evolution of the common law leaves only the market available for survival, I want to make the incremental suppression of parasitism in the public discourse and law leaving only truth candidates that survive. If we succeed at this goal, and if we convert from monopoly rule democracy to a market for the production of commons between the classes, then we will have constructed a condition of liberty – and a condition of liberty that persists.

    Anyway. I really do apologize that my work is indigestible. It really does take a pretty sophisticated individual to grok it. But they do. And we move onward. Slowly.

    Affections

    Curt Doolittle
    The Propertarian Institute
    Kiev, Ukraine

    • I can’t imagine how much more you’ll have to say when you’ve read another five words.

      Meanwhile: tl;dr stopped here:

      > Philosophy is a technical specialty like any niche technical discipline.

      False. Philosophy is a critical survival tool for every human being that has been temporarily and catastrophically hijacked by post-literate Cautious personalities. I have read almost none of you, because you writing is so obtuse, but what I’ve seen seems to be the needless remastication of obvious error. I agree that this is what technical ‘philosophers’ do.

      When you’ve read more than five words of me, you’ll have more interesting things to say. My apologies if this seems aggressive. It’s plausible to me you can learn, but this outsized display argues against it.

      And just like that: Ci, like so many libertarians. Prove me wrong.

      • –another five words–

        Although I read the entire post, it is not necessary to to respond to the criticism made in only five words. So your statement is illogical. Correct?

        —” Philosophy is a critical survival tool for every human being that has been temporarily and catastrophically hijacked by post-literate Cautious personalities.’—-

        This cannot be true – correct?

        Reason is indeed a critical survival tool only because we evolved the utility of and consequent dependence upon reason.

        Wisdom is extremely useful. One must have a set of prejudices (rules) to reason deeply (we call this philosophizing by analogy). But it is merely reasoning.

        But however you define ‘philosophy’ it cannot have been critical for survival, tool, since we did not evolve with it. And we can approximately date its invention.

        As far as I know there are three existing categories of thought that we commonly label ‘philosophy’.

        1 – Accumulated historical wisdom organized into frameworks. (mythology, religion, history) Without demand for internal consistency or external correspondence, mere utility.

        2 – Hypothesis and justification – by myth, analogy, and example – of theories of personal action within a political context.
        (continental philosophy, confucian philosophy.) without demand for external correspondence but with demand for internal consistency.

        3 – The discipline in which we search for truth propositions, or conversely, the discipline in which we seek to eliminate error from our propositions. This is under the assumption that truth is the most useful and most correspondent framework of determining actions.
        (science, analytic philosophy) demand for internal consistency and external correspondence.

        Note the clarity of this argumentative structure. This is why it is wordy, because analytic philosophy requires testable statements, and science requires existential and therefore operational language – all of which requires precision because precision is necessary for testability.

        So you may criticize my wordiness, but this is how professionals in the discipline of philosophy conduct their craft. Not as merely ‘meaningful’, not as merely ‘useful’, but to provide some assurance that said statements are in fact ‘truthful’ by the standards of scientific investigation, even if by natural human frailty they may may not be ultimately true.

        SO MY ACCUSATION: You are philosophizing by analogy, using colloquial language, to justify your priors. You are not searching for truth whether your priors stand criticism or not.

        —I have read almost none of you, because you writing is so obtuse, —

        I write as professional philosophers write, which is far closer to software programming than to literature. And my writing requires a great deal of prior scientific knowledge, and even more knowledge of economics and law.

        So again, technical disciplines with great deal of precision

        I am very conscious of this fact, and I am very conscious that I am also the most innovative and possibly one of the most important philosophers working today. Not because I am impressed with myself, but because as you say, the field of philosophy was much distracted in the 20th century. But if you knew my work you would understand with painful clarity why it was.

        But just as it is somewhat difficult to explain why non-euclidian geometry demonstrates the fallacy of apriorism, and just as general relativity demonstrates the fallacy of human common sense, much of what I write requires equally deep knowledge of the subject matter to comprehend it.

        A fact that I am open about and often apologize for.

        —-aggressive—

        I don’t take it as aggressive. I take it as defensive. You do not grasp what I do, you have no idea if you should make the investment in the rather extensive work necessary to grasp it. And from what you can gather it would falsify some of what you believe.

        Now, I actually agree with you on much of what I can quickly find on your site, but that is because I can translate your amateurism into professional language and therefore test it for truthfulness or not.

        But you lack the ability to do the same to my work. Nothing more complicated is occurring here.

        It is perfectly fine if some of us are vastly more sophisticated at philosophizing, and vastly more technical at philosophizing – whether colloquial, informed, professional, or talented. Every 15 points of IQ (one standard deviation) humans need increasingly simplified frameworks with greater analogy to intuitionistic experience. Therefore you have an audience and I have one. The world needs this, since we humans are so vastly unequal in knowledge and ability.

        I can read Heidegger, and a realize he is attempting to lie, using the same technique that religious leaders are constructed lies. Both of them for the same purpose – to attempt to do by lie that they did posses, that which they could not achieve by truth they did not yet possess.

        FWIW: I do not say your work is false. I say only that your criticism of mine is made in ignorance, rather than in honesty: Because the only honest answer you can render is “I don’t understand.”

        So it’s not that you’re wrong, it’s that you’re dishonest in your criticism, you practice wishful thinking, practice wishful thinking out of arrogance in the face of demonstrated and admitted ignorance, commit rudimentary logical errors in your reasoning, and rely on common inarticulate language by analogy in order to justify your priors, under the pretense that your abilities, judgement and knowledge are better than they demonstrably and admittedly are.

        I own being difficult to comprehend. As do most technical specialists. You might make the same honest admission about your abilities.

        Curt Doolittle
        The Propertarian Institute
        Kiev, Ukraine.

        • tl; dr

          If you can’t write it on the back of a business card, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          As before: Ci.

          Inlookers: How to tell the difference: An Ic would not feel the burning need to punish me so comprehensively with his neediness.

          • I have no idea why you are engaging in psychologizing. I merely do my job which is to find a solution to the problem of post democratic politics and I defend my arguments everywhere and anywhere.

            • I’m not ‘psychologizing.’ I’m playing you like a Stratocaster with almost no effort. How am I doing it?

              Why did I characterize your unreadability as being aggressive?

              Same answer to both questions, and I’ve already fed it to you twice.

              I know why you behave this way. Stop posturing and start reading and your whole world will change.

            • Empty words.
              Make an argument.

              I am quite certain that I am far better read.
              And quite certain you are a bottom feeder.

              Which is why you rely on empty words, empty threats, the absence of argument.

              A Chump for chumps.

              😉

            • Ci.

          • Look how desperate you are to preserve self image.
            🙂

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  • hagbard23

    I mostly use you for my own entertainment, Greg, and I realize you’ve come to a conclusion about Dr. Doolittle here from a different direction, but FYI (from his FB page):

    “Again. Westerners solved the problem of the underclasses through hard work. And the jews do the opposite: they surrender the commons in order to profit from the underclasses at the expense of the civilization. This is what they have done to every host culture. It is their evolutionary strategy.”