(Right-)Libertarianism, Denial and lulz

Someone recently attempted a small study to check what the top topics of the top “Libertarian”1 blogs are about and found some interesting conclusions, namely, that right-libertarians are in denial about economic externalities. This is not particularly surprising for anyone who has had the misfortune to discuss extensively with some of their more vulgar elements but it is interesting how a similar result can also be seen from a methodological research.

I like how the author has seen the general trend towards denial that one can notice in right-libertarians and consolidated it as denial against economic externalities.  That’s far more concise than my observation of their general denial against anything that might point out that capitalist free markets are not a particularly good solution. I personally find that it’s the flaw of starting from the explicit premise that the Free Markets Are Good which therefore compels one to ignore and eventually deny all evidence that might challenge this. It can easily lead to a faith-based belief that is severely unhealthy to critical thought. It’s only more ironic when one considers how proud right-libertarians are of their “Rationality”.

As one would expect the author noticed that the top subjects discussed in the top blogs are all of those one would expect from people already convinced that what’s good for business, is good for everyone. Denial of AGW (Because there’s no easy market-based solution so it’s far easier to support libertarianism when this uncomfortable harm doesn’t exist). Denial of Smoking harms (Same as before). Support for tax breaks for the rich (On the flawed assumption that either the rich invest more when they have more money or Randian-esque nonsense that the rich deserve their wealth because of their hard work.) Fortunately for the author, he didn’t get to see other crown favorites such as support for sweat-shop practices, Anti-Trade-Unionism, Pro-IP confusion, Anti-Minimum-wage, crypto-misogyny etc.I guess he can consider himself lucky.

Expectedly, the right-libertarian stormtroopers quickly descended to defend their ideology with the wrath of heavens It’s a pity the author didn’t take the time to respond to them (or was it because of his crappy commenting system?) to provide more lulz for onlookers like me.

I also found this kind of research interesting. Perhaps it’ll be worth doing the same in the Anarchosphere and see what kind of stuff we’re talking about. Of course there’s bound to be some confusion if one simply tries to look for the top 20 Anarchist blogs as they’re going to end up with some confused right-libertarians in the mix as well, skewing the result. Perhaps I’ll choose the top 20 blogs which I know are LibSoc. I’d be interesting to see what we’re talking about in general.

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  1. Well, you know, right-libertarian really, which is only close to actual liberty in la-la land []

43 thoughts on “(Right-)Libertarianism, Denial and lulz

  1. BTW, although this is slightly off-topic (but still relevant in that it's somewhat related to blog customization), is there a way to disable the snapshot previews? I find them rather annoying whenever they pop up as I move the cursor over a link, but I don't see a way to turn them off for myself.

    1. I don't think it is obviously not self-evident.

      If it was self-evident, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. In fact you'd never be having this discussion with anyone as they would have all been already convinced by the self-evidence of this claim. A self evident claim is something like "Humans Act" or "Humans can communicate information to other humans", things that to even try to counter, you have proven. Furthermore, self-evident axioms are descriptive, not prescriptive. They have no moral value, they just describe reality (but of course by themselves cannot describe anything else).

    2. And this is why I say that you're confused on what axioms are. They are not something one can decide to accept or reject, anymore than one can accept or reject the law of gravity or the fact that 1+1=2. You are confusing the concept of axioms with the concept of moral values. You are simply positing objective moral values, that is moral values that you claim always exist independently of humans and we can either accept or reject them, much like Natural Law or God's Law. This is a wholly different story with a wholly different amount of criticism.

      To call those "axioms" is again simply confusing.

  2. Typically, the Austrian response to externalities is to privatize every cubic inch of air or whatever, which I did buy into when I was in high school.

    This post reminds me of this latest nonsense (the comments are great too, order is from the last page and working upwards): http://completeliberty.ning.com/profiles/blogs/ca

    Oh BTW, this thread is awesome too: http://completeliberty.ning.com/forum/topics/why-… Some ancap quotes from that:

    "Personally, I've never seen anyone online post that trespassing justifies killing someone. Now, if you put a sign outside your property, or signs, all over the place saying that you kill anyone that trespasses and you catch someone, you ask if they read and understood the sign, if they say "yes" then yes you can kill them because they knew they were risking their lives."
    "you should recognize that a free society is not necessarily anti-authoritarian."
    "Authority per se isn't inherently opposed to human nature or prosperity, as it doesn't require violation of property rights."
    "I posit that authority is a prerequisite for order."
    "I think a system should be systematic…"

    There's far more stupidity and lulz on that thread, but most of it can't be quoted without the context. :/

  3. Anyone can find "lulz" and "stupidity" of people supporting any ideology. I'm not impressed.

    Also…

    "I personally find that it’s the flaw of starting from the explicit premise that the Free Markets Are Good which therefore compels one to ignore and eventually deny all evidence that might challenge this."

    I'm surprised that after such in depth study of right-libertarianism that you've put forth such a fantastic straw man. Right-libertarianism has a deontological justification that leads to a "free market."

    You've totally simplified what it is that right-libertarians support. Not all of us are into denialism nor do we believe in the free market merely on a matter of faith. Your criticism here is a criticism of *ANY* supporter of any ideology that denies evidence to the contrary prima facie. Not of any specific ideology (unless it's one that mandates rejection of evidence to the contrary prima facie).

    1. I'm surprised that after such in depth study of right-libertarianism that you've put forth such a fantastic straw man. Right-libertarianism has a deontological justification that leads to a "free market."

      I think you should read this now

      1. Okay.

        The ideological perspective on the other hand starts from various asserted axioms, eg “Private Property rights are an objective reality”, “The Non-Aggression principle leads to greater liberty”, “Free Markets are Pareto Efficient” etc

        Those certainly are not the axioms of deontological libertarianism. The only axioms we use are the self-ownership axiom and the homesteading axiom.

        (You might argue that the homesteading axiom might be close to "Private property rights are an objective reality," but I'm not sure what is necessarily objective about the homesteading axiom. More to the point, I am weary of any claim to an "objective reality.")

        I don't know how you stand on the self-ownership axiom, but I imagine you reject the homesteading axiom. If so, then I don't know why you (or deontological libertarians) bother debating about a system that assumes those axioms to be true. If you reject one of them, then no more debate can proceed (until we agree on a common set of axioms). It doesn't make sense.

        P.S. I'm using Google Chrome, and one of the features I love about it, is its ability to arbitrarily expand text boxes like these on web pages. For some reason I cannot do that here. (Or should I report this bug to IntenseDebate? I wasn't sure if you did the styling or not.)

        1. Those certainly are not the axioms of deontological libertarianism. The only axioms we use are the self-ownership axiom and the homesteading axiom.

          Obviously it depends on the person. There are certainly those who do use those axioms instead.

          I don't know how you stand on the self-ownership axiom, but I imagine you reject the homesteading axiom

          I reject the self-ownership axiom as internally inconsistent and I don't have a problem with the homesteading idea (it's not really an axiom) as I concentrate on the ownership system. Homesteading a possession (ie land or capital you use yourself) is just fine but homesteading more than you can use or claiming "sticky" ownership on land and capital just because you used it for a bit is something I reject.

          If so, then I don't know why you (or deontological libertarians) bother debating about a system that assumes those axioms to be true.

          I could debate about a system that assumes pigs can fly. Won't really make a difference as I'm interested in reality. Those "axioms" you speak of are simply moral values that you refuse to judge. You simply accept them but don't bother to look back on why

          1. Obviously it depends on the person. There are certainly those who do use those axioms instead.

            Sure. But then they aren't deontological libertarians–at least as it is commonly understood.

            Maybe that's a No True Scotsman fallacy. But all I'm saying is I can't answer for other people. (Admittedly, the "NAP" is sometimes called the "non-aggression axiom"–which is a description that I obviously disagree with as it is reducible. In that case, I would agree with you, because the NAP, without proper justification, I think is ambiguous.)

            I reject the self-ownership axiom as internally inconsistent

            *shrugs* All it says is that I have the right to the exclusive control of my body.

            and I don't have a problem with the homesteading idea (it's not really an axiom)

            It's axiomatic because it states how unowned things in nature become owned. There is no reason for this assertion other than it is self-evident. That's what makes it an axiom.

            That is, deontological libertarians accept the homesteading principle because it is self-evident, and like any axiom that people might commonly accept, provides utility for describing human action. (If an axiom does not provide utility, it is likely that one would reject it or not use it.) If there were any reasoning otherwise, that would imply the axiom is reducible and therefore not an axiom.

            Homesteading a possession (ie land or capital you use yourself) is just fine but homesteading more than you can use or claiming "sticky" ownership on land and capital just because you used it for a bit is something I reject.

            Hmmm, then we might have overlap. Generally, we deontological libertarians define ownership as a "right to control." If I stop using land/capital, it is possible that it could become unowned. (It might be that you think this is sufficient for it to become unowned, which is where we might differ. But again, if we don't have the self-ownership axiom held as true, then this extrapolation does not make any sense.)

            I could debate about a system that assumes pigs can fly.

            True. I admit, I was projecting my personal motivations with that statement that it's silly to argue with us (unless it's about the axioms we disagree with) *or* with us to argue with you.

            Won't really make a difference as I'm interested in reality. Those "axioms" you speak of are simply moral values that you refuse to judge. You simply accept them but don't bother to look back on why

            There is no "why" other than their utility, otherwise they wouldn't be axioms. We accept them as self-evident to the reality around us.

            We're both interested in reality but clearly have different interpretations of said reality.

            I may have been a bit strong coming on, because outside of Mathematics, people use axiom much more loosely–and in that sense, I suppose I would agree with some of your observations of ancaps in general.

            You know where I stand, but I've read some portions of your blog and I legitimately find your criticisms against ancaps to be well-founded and entertaining (in a good sense). I can appreciate the hilarity of logical errors and hypocrisy just as much as the next guy; I can only say that I try my best not to make such errors.

            (Note: I've read you comment policy and have observed your comment posting style. I've just now realized that I've multi-quoted here, and that's something undesirable. I'll try not to do this in the future… Old habits die hard.)

          2. Ok, lets break this down into conceptual chunks

            *shrugs* All it says is that I have the right to the exclusive control of my body.

            if you're talking about *rights* then you're being prescriptive. You're saying that you should be able to control your body. If you're talking about reality, then you're being descriptive. you're saying that every human controls their body. The first one makes no sense because it's not possible for you to not control your body (unless we're talking about sci-fi scenarios of human mind control). The second one makes no sense because to claim that humans control their body implies a dualism of mind and body, something which is unlikely to be provable as is required for reality descriptions.

          3. Yes I am being prescriptive.

            it's not possible for you to not control your body (unless we're talking about sci-fi scenarios of human mind control).

            I said the right to control–not actual control. For example, a master assumes the right to control a slave's person; but of course, the slave is still controlling his body in a physical sense. The right to controlling his body, however, has been taken away–as it is the master dictating the slave's actions.

            Another example, just to be clear: If A wants to have sex with B's body, whose decision is it? Who has the right to control B's body, A or B? If it is A, then A owns B's body; A has the right to control it. But if it is B who has the right to control, then B owns his own body; he is a self-owner.

            Also, I'm confused by your two statements here:

            it's not possible for you to not control your body

            to claim that humans control their body implies a dualism of mind and body, something which is unlikely to be provable as is required for reality descriptions

            Unless I'm missing something, that sounds like a contradiction. From my understanding, you say first that "you can't not control your body," but then you say, "to claim you control your body is an unverifiable claim."

          4. Your examples do not back your case up. Your example about slavery is not taking control of the slave's body away. It's taking control of the slave's life. That is, the slave still controls his own body but chooses to control it according to the wishes of another person to avoid violence done upon him. As such the control of the body never changes except than in the abstract.

            Now we can just as easily talk about the abstract where what you would call self-ownership I would call conscious act and then discuss about ethics and when you should and shouldn't follow orders from others. This would be a pretty straightforward moral talk but then we leave the realm of axioms away as we're having a normative discussion.

            The mistake you are making is in equivocating between the two concepts of "self-ownership" on a whim. You start by positing self-ownership as a descriptive axiom but from one minute to the other, you're talking about it as a right. It can't be both.

            This confusion is even more obvious in your scenario about sex. B can never cede control of his own body. He can only follow the orders that A gives him or not. There's no "right" in this. Your question then becomes "Does B have to take orders from A?" and as you can see, with a simple conceptual recalibration, the question of "ownership" does not even come into the picture. The only reason you brought it about is by confusing the descriptive with the prescriptive.

            Unless I'm missing something, that sounds like a contradiction. From my understanding, you say first that "you can't not control your body," but then you say, "to claim you control your body is an unverifiable claim."

            The confusion comes because I tried to use the words you put forth to explain the concepts. To speak of control in this issue is absurd as we do not control our body. We are our body. Therefore it is impossible for me to not control my actions while still being me. When I spoke about dualism I meant that to make the claim that "humans control their body" is to imply that "I am" is separate from my body and somehow controls it. This is unprovable scientifically and thus makes no sense to go further than "I am my body"

          5. I've responded to the last part of your comment first, because I think it helps to better paint the rest of my response.

            The confusion comes because I tried to use the words you put forth to explain the concepts. To speak of control in this issue is absurd as we do not control our body. We are our body. Therefore it is impossible for me to not control my actions while still being me. When I spoke about dualism I meant that to make the claim that "humans control their body" is to imply that "I am" is separate from my body and somehow controls it. This is unprovable scientifically and thus makes no sense to go further than "I am my body"

            I think I have it now. I think you are interpreting my usage of the word of "control" as "will." For instance, I would agree with what you say here if we replace "control" with "will": that my will is inalienable, and it cannot be taken from me.

            However, my "will" might desire to control my body to do something that is being prevented by someone else claiming ownership over my body. That is, they do in fact control me in the physical sense (put me in chains, for example), but they do not control my will. I think this is the response I've been looking for.

            Your example about slavery is not taking control of the slave's body away. It's taking control of the slave's life. That is, the slave still controls his own body but chooses to control it according to the wishes of another person to avoid violence done upon him. As such the control of the body never changes except than in the abstract.

            Correct, somewhat. But I did not say that the master is taking control of the slave's body. I'm saying that the master is taking away the right of the slave to exclusively control his body/life. That is, the slave should be able to exclusively control his body/life, but by definition of a master/slave relationship, he isn't.

            Essentially, the master's claim to ownership over the slave's body by asserting his right to control the slave removes the exclusivity of the self-ownership axiom. The slave no longer has the *exclusive* ability to control his body/life–someone else is exercising a right to control his body/life.

            The mistake you are making is in equivocating between the two concepts of "self-ownership" on a whim. You start by positing self-ownership as a descriptive axiom but from one minute to the other, you're talking about it as a right. It can't be both.

            I started with positing the self-ownership axiom as prescriptive. It entails the right of one to be the exclusive controller of his body/life. I thought I clarified this?

            I am not sure where I positied a descriptive self-ownership axiom. Although, now that I review our discussion, I found that I said this (about the two axioms): "We accept them as self-evident to the reality around us." I likely mispoke and probably meant, "We accept them as self-evident prescriptive truths to what is conceivable and rational." I apologize if this was the source of confusion, I wasn't being particularly careful.

            This confusion is even more obvious in your scenario about sex. B can never cede control of his own body. He can only follow the orders that A gives him or not. There's no "right" in this. Your question then becomes "Does B have to take orders from A?" and as you can see, with a simple conceptual recalibration, the question of "ownership" does not even come into the picture. The only reason you brought it about is by confusing the descriptive with the prescriptive.

            Whether or not my response to your critique of my slavery example is correct, I think it is also appropriate here.

            I'm not sure why it implies a confusion of the descriptive with the prescriptive. My intent with the examples was to show a difference between "right to control" and "control"–to further clarify the axiom. The examples aren't even conducive to a descriptive formulation: it suggests that B *ought* to be a self-owner. Not that B *is* a self-owner.

          6. However, my "will" might desire to control my body to do something that is being prevented by someone else claiming ownership over my body.

            Then you are practically talking about slavery and passing moral condemnation on it. If you're talking about slavery, we can talk about slavery but to call it an issue of self-ownership is simply a way to confuse and it has a very clear purpose which is to somehow tie in with homesteading and "prove" Private Property.

            Essentially, the master's claim to ownership over the slave's body by asserting his right to control the slave removes the exclusivity of the self-ownership axiom. The slave no longer has the *exclusive* ability to control his body/life–someone else is exercising a right to control his body/life.

            it has nothing to do with any of this. The master's power over a slave is something we need to morally condemn, not because it violates the the "self-ownership axiom" but simply because it is something we do not wish to see in our society. This is a basic moral value that can be easily argued for.

            In effect what you have done is taken the anti-slavery moral value and made it an "a priori" value with a confusing name. You have simply stated that you wish to build you whole ideology starting from the "thou-shalt-not-take-slaves" commandment for some reason.

            I personally understand that the whole reason why this particular moral value, along with homesteading has been chosen arbitrarily is because this whole a priori construct is nothing else but an excuse to "prove" capitalism. It's like someone was trying to figure out how to give moral grounding to capitalism and came up with this.

            At this point I cannot really ask anything more than to consider why you start from these particular "axioms" in the first place. Perhaps you can explain to me why this is then, because it certainly is not something self-evident. Perhaps you won't and you'll insist that because it's self-evident to you, it's enough.

          7. It's axiomatic because it states how unowned things in nature become owned. There is no reason for this assertion other than it is self-evident. That's what makes it an axiom.

            And that is the problem. This is not self-evident. In fact if you think about it you'll realize that there are many ways that unowned things in nature become owned. You can start by considering everything collectively owned by current and future generations. You can claim that ownership is achieved by a simply claim (i.e. no labour is required). Any of those are legitimate. There's no reason to assume that homesteading is the only one and self-evident at that.

            In fact, the different ways with which ownership might be claimed are nothing more than social constructs, used by humans to avoid conflict. As such they can be judged normatively from this perspective. As such homesteading is not an axiom anymore than the golden rule.

            That is, deontological libertarians accept the homesteading principle because it is self-evident, and like any axiom that people might commonly accept, provides utility for describing human action.

            And in fact this is a grave error. This is not how we understand reality (of which human action is a part) as it does not follow the scientific method. You're making the error of the scholastics in assuming a descriptive fact just because you think it is self-evident. As such you introduce exactly the kind of errors that we use the scientific method to avoid.

            If you want to describe human action, then you need to do it scientifically and empirically or risk inserting human errors which is only natural.

          8. And that is the problem. This is not self-evident.

            That is okay. It seems self-evident to me.

            In fact if you think about it you'll realize that there are many ways that unowned things in nature become owned. You can start by considering everything collectively owned by current and future generations.

            You could. Absolutely. I don't, though. I reject that axiom. (Namely because I do not see its utility.)

            You can claim that ownership is achieved by a simply claim (i.e. no labour is required).

            You could, but again, this axiom is one I reject because I don't see its utility.

            Any of those are legitimate. There's no reason to assume that homesteading is the only one and self-evident at that.

            They are absolutely legitimate. Like I said, one can choose axioms that they used based on whether they are self-evident and if they are useful.

            In fact, the different ways with which ownership might be claimed are nothing more than social constructs, used by humans to avoid conflict. As such they can be judged normatively from this perspective. As such homesteading is not an axiom anymore than the golden rule.

            I agree. Perhaps that is why I like it. I don't see how that doesn't make it an axiom, though. We have to start somewhere–we need an initial condition that says unowned things can become owned. That social constructs agree with the the homesteading axiom is likely not a coincidence.

            And in fact this is a grave error. This is not how we understand reality (of which human action is a part) as it does not follow the scientific method.

            That something does not follow the scientific method doesn't necessarily imply it is not part of reality.

            You're making the error of the scholastics in assuming a descriptive fact just because you think it is self-evident. As such you introduce exactly the kind of errors that we use the scientific method to avoid.

            If you want to describe human action, then you need to do it scientifically and empirically or risk inserting human errors which is only natural.

            I feel like you are promoting Positivism.

            I am using a priori reasoning here, and I am under the impression that you are making a positivist criticism of this style of reasoning. I'm not sure, hopefully you can clarify–I don't want to straw man. (I did a search on positivism here at your blog and couldn't find anything.)

          9. That is okay. It seems self-evident to me.

            That's no way to reach an understanding with other humans, especially on moral values. If it's self-evident then it should be for everyone and as easy to display as "humans act". To stubbornly insist that something is self-evident when it obviously isn't, is akin to closing your ears and going "la-la-la"

          10. You could. Absolutely. I don't, though. I reject that axiom. (Namely because I do not see its utility.)

            Axioms are not rejectable. You cannot reject A is A regardless of what you think of its utility. That's the whole point about axioms! As such I think you're irrevocably strained the concept of axioms in your head.

          11. "A is A" is a logical axiom.

            I believe we are speaking about epistemological axioms, or self-evident propositions. (Or at worst, non-logical axioms.) They can certainly be rejected.

            For instance, I might create the axiom, "Pigs can fly." I would expect you to reject it.

          12. Again, you are confused about axioms. First you posit axioms that are descriptive and axioms that are prescriptive. Then you merge them. then you give me an obviously absurd descriptive fact and call it an axiom for some reason.

            The way I understand it, you're wielding "axiom" as "whatever I say it is".

          13. I don't see how that doesn't make it an axiom, though. We have to start somewhere–we need an initial condition that says unowned things can become owned. That social constructs agree with the the homesteading axiom is likely not a coincidence.

            It's not an axiom because it's prescriptive. Axioms are not moral values. There are serious distinctions here that you seem to transcend in order to have a "moral axiom" of sorts.

            And yes, we do need to start from somewhere but this somewhere does not have to be ownership rules. In fact that's a weird position to start when one could much better start from the question of "What brings the maximum happiness for the maximum amount of people?" From there we will eventually define ownership rights. To claim that we must absolutely start from your chosen moral value, which we cannot challenge because it's self-evident (for you) is no more convincing than claiming we need to start from the 10 commandments.

          14. It's not an axiom because it's prescriptive. Axioms are not moral values. There are serious distinctions here that you seem to transcend in order to have a "moral axiom" of sorts.

            I don't understand why something cannot be an axiom because it is prescriptive.

            And yes, we do need to start from somewhere but this somewhere does not have to be ownership rules. In fact that's a weird position to start when one could much better start from the question of "What brings the maximum happiness for the maximum amount of people?" From there we will eventually define ownership rights.

            We certainly could. Although, I don't know how to quantify happiness. Nor do I know how to measure it. (Other than perhaps my own happiness, but that is at best a guess.)

            To claim that we must absolutely start from your chosen moral value, which we cannot challenge because it's self-evident (for you) is no more convincing than claiming we need to start from the 10 commandments.

            True, but I did not claim that you must ipso facto. I have merely remarked that those axioms must be accepted or rejected before continuing to discuss some of the conclusions that libertarians make (or agree to accept the axioms for sake of discussion).

            The same goes for left-libertarianism. There is a point at which you must make an assumption (or axiom) about where to start. If I reject that starting point, then the conclusions of left-libertarian must necessarily be irrelevant. For example, many (and I do mean many) criticisms lodged against left-libertarianism are wholly non-sensical because they either don't account for, or reject some of the core tenets. That is I guess what I was originally saying: why bother with long-drawn out refutations of some conclusions of left or right libertarianism, when you have already rejected the theory's core tenets? (Of course, this doesn't preclude the possibily of accepting the core tenets and showing a conclusion that contradicts them. But I so rarely see this happen correctly. On either side. It is very difficult to legitimately understand both sides of the debate, and I am included in that valuation.)

            That is, ancaps have a habit of cohesively sticking to the axioms I have put forth here, and then using those to critique left-libertarianism. That just doesn't make any logical sense. (And the same goes for the Communists critiquing ancaps.) They are guaranteed a contradiction with the conclusions that you reach because they started with different assumptions.

          15. I don't understand why something cannot be an axiom because it is prescriptive.

            Because axioms are simply logical propositions, not moral values! When they are used in describing reality, they are used only on principles which have been proven.

            if you wish to talk about objective moral values, we can talk about those instead but calling them axioms is simply confusing.

          16. We certainly could. Although, I don't know how to quantify happiness. Nor do I know how to measure it.

            This sounds like mathematical fetishism. We do not need to quantify happiness. We can simply observe (empirically) what makes humans happier and try to organize a society around ways to maximize those. For example, we know that humans who have their health are happier than those who are sick therefore it makes sense to have a society which makes it easy to remain healthy.

          17. If I reject that starting point, then the conclusions of left-libertarian must necessarily be irrelevant

            Yes, but obviously when you are trying to convince others, it sometimes make sense to empirically counter the conclusions or people to shake their belief in their axioms. Take our discussion for example. Trying to shake you out of your belief in your basic axioms is almost impossible as you accept them because they're self-evident to you only. I cannot counter that directly.

          18. That something does not follow the scientific method doesn't necessarily imply it is not part of reality.

            What it does mean that it's certainly riddled with errors as long as it presumes to describe reality.

          19. I'm pointing out that you are using a flawed way to understand reality, nothing more. If your a priories pertain to describing reality, then they are wrong.If they don't, they are useless.

          20. Unless I am misunderstanding you, I find that to be a bit overly simplistic. The "a priori or a posteriori" conflict is an old and unsettled debate. I don't think you can quell that debate in a couple of sentences.

          21. I don't see how I'm overly simplistic. If I posit any fact about reality out of the top of my head, then I will most likely be wrong (unless I was very very lucky, and even then I wouldn't know). If I say that gravity works by invisible angels pulling everything to the ground, then this is an a priori but also wrong.

            If I say something that does not describe reality, say like "if gravity didn't exist, we would never need to waste money building airplanes" then it is useless, because gravity does exist.

          22. If I stop using land/capital, it is possible that it could become unowned. (It might be that you think this is sufficient for it to become unowned, which is where we might differ. But again, if we don't have the self-ownership axiom held as true, then this extrapolation does not make any sense.)

            The problem I have is not on the time until abandonment. This is socially defined anyway. The problem I have is that under a Private property system exploitation in the form of wage-slavery and rent is possible as you can be considered to "own" something that someone else uses like a house or machinery. More about this here.

          23. There is no "why" other than their utility, otherwise they wouldn't be axioms. We accept them as self-evident to the reality around us. We're both interested in reality but clearly have different interpretations of said reality.

            There is no such thing as self-evident interpretation of reality. In order to describe reality, we need to observe, make hypothesis' and test them. In short, follow the scientific method. Those things that are self-evident, the axioms, such as the simple proposition of "Humans Act" cannot in any way help us describe reality anymore than mathematics can.

          24. There is no such thing as self-evident interpretation of reality. In order to describe reality, we need to observe, make hypothesis' and test them. In short, follow the scientific method.

            How do you deal with the problem of induction, then? Assuming that induction holds is a necessary part of the scientific method. There's no real reason to assume that induction holds, but if you do, it provides a measurable amount of utility.

            Those things that are self-evident, the axioms, such as the simple proposition of "Humans Act" cannot in any way help us describe reality anymore than mathematics can.

            I'm not purporting to describe reality. I can only interpret it.

            We need to know How humans act, and this is definitely not self-evident

            Indeed, it is not self-evident. The self-ownership and homesteading axioms help us to interpret human action. (This is the utility I was referencing.)

          25. There is no such thing as self-evident interpretation of reality. In order to describe reality, we need to observe, make hypothesis' and test them. In short, follow the scientific method.

            How do you deal with the problem of induction, then? Assuming that induction holds is a necessary part of the scientific method. There's no real reason to assume that induction holds, but if you do, it provides a measurable amount of utility.

            Those things that are self-evident, the axioms, such as the simple proposition of "Humans Act" cannot in any way help us describe reality anymore than mathematics can.

            I'm not purporting to describe reality. I can only interpret it.

            We need to know How humans act, and this is definitely not self-evident

            Indeed, it is not self-evident. The self-ownership and homesteading axioms help us to interpret human action. (This is the utility I was referencing.)

          26. There's no real reason to assume that induction holds, but if you do, it provides a measurable amount of utility.

            Induction is simple a rule of logic. Like mathematics. It can help us express reality but it does not, by itself, describe reality.

          27. There are two types of induction: one is mathematical and logical (which is actually using deductive reasoning), and inductive reasoning. That is, as the link says, what is the justification for the following: "presupposing that a sequence of events in the future will occur as it always has in the past (for example, that the laws of physics will hold as they have always been observed to hold)."

            We have to assume that inductive reasoning leads to knowledge. Otherwise, we can't use the scientific method.

          28. I'm not purporting to describe reality. I can only interpret it.

            Do you mean that you see all ownership claims as they currently stand and use the homesteading principle to explain how the current owner came into their possession? If so, then you wield homesteading indeed as an axiom and as such you make it irrelevant as a normative rule as it can now only be used to explain reality (badly I would say).

            But you don't want that. You want to use homesteading as a normative mean as well. You want to both describe reality by it but also to pass praise and condemnation to those that followed it. You are again jumping between the descriptive and the prescriptive at a whim when you shouldn't.

            If I understood you wrong, please explain what it is to "interpret reality" and how homesteading fits into it.

          29. If I understood you wrong, please explain what it is to "interpret reality" and how homesteading fits into it.

            Yes, I use the homesteading axiom as a normative mean. I reasoned to use the axiom through my interpretation of reality–that is, it has utility in helping to model human action.

          30. Any moral value has "utility in helping to model human action" the point is how to decide which ones to use.

        2. For some reason I cannot do that here. (Or should I report this bug to IntenseDebate? I wasn't sure if you did the styling or not.)

          I have no idea why you can't do it so I think Intense Debate support might be a better option

  4. The problem I have is not on the time until abandonment. This is socially defined anyway.

    Right, I agree.

    The problem I have is that under a Private property system exploitation in the form of wage-slavery and rent is possible as you can be considered to "own" something that someone else uses like a house or machinery.

    I apologize that I don't have time to read that just yet, but I accept this criticism. I disagree with your word choice, but yes, one can own something that someone else uses like a house or machinery–or land (unless you're a geolibertarian or a Georgist).

    1. Indeed. The problem as always regresses into the question of Private property VS possession. Homesteading is generally not important as it can support both.

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