peripheral comments

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The HumanNatarchy* Manifesto

Peace

1) All Life Forms seek Freedom of self-expression.

2) It is Human Nature to provide for one's Self, Family, and Groups in peaceful association.

3) Criminals and Belligerent Aliens disrupt other people's peaceful lives.

4) Criminals and Belligerent Aliens deal in Lies, Theft, Injury, Enslavement, and Murder.

5) When Criminals gain the Power of one's Groups they can be as destructive to one's Self, Family and Groups as Belligerent Aliens.

6) Survival in the face of potential criminal or alien attack is crucial.

7) The neolithic invention of the Social Contract provided the necessary Top-Down Power Structure – Government – for protection    via the projection of Force against Criminals and Belligerent Aliens.

Realpolitik**

8) Power dominates in the form of Projected Force.

9) In Society, Money acts as distilled Power.

10) Bankers are Money experts and therefore well suited to acquire Power.

11) International Bankers are best suited to acquire and manage Money, and thereby project Force, on a global scale – the obvious winners of the Social Contract Game.

12) The New World Order/One World Government is the obvious final Power/Force-Oriented Structure of the Social Contract.

13) As a generality only Criminals and agents of Governments depend on Force against others to reach their ends in Society.

14) For the happiness of Man, a combination of International Bankers and Criminals, or just criminal International Bankers controlling a One World Government is the worst possible climax scenario of the Social-Contract ordered Society.

The Future

15) There are no more Belligerent Aliens of great multitude, therefore the Social Contract is no longer a relevant solution to any real problem – and the pernicious consequences to Society of Governments' Top-Down power projected upon its own Citizens threatens the happiness of Man.

16) But the true Power of any Society always springs from the individual People themselves.

17) Modern communications technologies allow individuals to protect themselves through peaceful association.

18) MultiLevel Governance** offers real-time Bottom-Up democratic associating via computers, the Internet, and cellphones.          

19) Power and Projected Force will no longer be the defining elements of Society.                                                                                       

20) Sustainable World Peace and Individual Liberty are possible now.

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* HumanNatarchy = Human Nature + -archy (Rule or Governance), meaning rule, or governance by Human Nature.                            

** Realpolitik = A system of politics or principles based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations.                           

*** See: www.MLGov.org and www.GoIDCSA.com.


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A Response to dr. hoppe

The following article was originally intended to be posted on The Daily Bell website, in response to an interview of Dr. Hoppe by Anthony Wile of The Daily Bell, Sunday, March 27, 2011. It never made it. You can find the original interview here.

A Response to Dr. Hoppe

While it is true that I greatly appreciate The Daily Bell as a forum for such discussions, and am in awe of Dr. Hoppe’s accomplishments over the years – fighting for rationality in the Marketplace – I am here emphasizing my disagreements with some of the conclusions of this great man.  I am convinced that anyone who is thick skinned enough to stand up to being accused of being German, can take my outrageous slings and arrows in the spirit with which they were launched.

 

1) DEMOCRACY

Dr. Hoppe says that Democracy was billed as the individual’s “way out” from the pre-modern Absolute Monarchies, and that it failed to live up to its billing: “In opening participation and entry into state-government to everyone on equal terms, so the advocates of democracy claimed, equality before the law would become reality and true freedom would reign. But this is all a big error.”

No – it is not all a big error.  Dr. Hoppe is commenting here on only how Representative Democracy has evolved.   Direct Democracy is a way out.  It would attain the greatest amount of Freedom for the individuals participating in whatever Group they chose to associate themselves.  The fact that Representative Democracy falls short of this goal, and creates the resultant un-owned Governmental apparatus used for exploitation by the current Caretakers, is not the fault of Democracy per se. 

Hogs at the public trough – over the long haul the exploitation by the Representatives may prove more destructive to the wellbeing of the People than would a King’s exploitation, because at least as owner of the whole operation, a King has greater interest in maintaining the integrity of the trough for his sons and grandsons.  Representatives may just get what they can while in power, and leave the trough itself a mess when they leave.

Here Dr. Hoppe makes the same point, “The caretaker does not own the country, but as long as he is in office he is permitted to use it to his and his protégés' advantage. He owns its current use – usufruct – but not its capital stock. This does not eliminate exploitation. To the contrary, it makes exploitation less calculating and carried out with little or no regard to the capital stock. Exploitation becomes shortsighted and capital consumption will be systematically promoted.”

But in the following quote, Dr. Hoppe again reaches an incorrect conclusion by wrongly equating the failings of Representative Democracy with the more organic Direct Democracy: “Thus, privilege and legal discrimination – and the distinction between rulers and subjects – will not disappear under democracy.”

 

2) CONTRACTSDr. Hoppe’s Private-Law Society versus the Statist system of Public Law

The Daily Bell asked, “How would law and order be provided in this society? How would your ideal justice system work?”

Dr. Hoppe extols a Private-Law Society, which sounds like home sweet home to me.  But he makes an unfortunate error when he says, “If one wanted to summarize in one word the decisive difference – and advantage – of a competitive security industry as compared to the current statist practice, it would be: contract.”  He then incorrectly states, “The state operates in a legal vacuum. There exists no contract between the state and its citizens.”

This is not true.  Every State is bound by The Social Contract to provide Security for its People.  The People pledge their obedience in Exchange for that Security. 

Just as there is no written constitution in Great Briton, there is no written Social Contract – but it is understood to be the underpinnings of any State/Citizens relationship.  Great Briton has been muddling along for quite a while without a written constitution, and every Society which has reached the level of Credit Cards and Cellphones has done so under an implicit Social Contract. 

Dr. Hoppe explains how disputes are settled in a Private Law Society: “And in this regard only one mutually agreeable solution exists: in these cases the conflicting parties contractually agree to arbitration by a mutually trusted but independent third party.”

I will take the time to disagree here, not because it is a critical point, but just because it is a recurring error in his discussion. 

War and its attendant collateral damage is not quite yet outmoded for resolving disputes.  Arbitration may certainly be more Politically Correct than a punch in the nose – but just try explaining that to your neighborhood Warlord or Super Power.  Typically Revolution has been the only recourse left to a People when the State defaults on their side of the Social Contract.  (This is in no way to be interpreted to mean that I favor War over Arbitration.)

The Daily Bell then asks, “Are you denying, then, that we need the state to defend us?”  To which Dr. Hoppe gave the simple response, “Indeed.”  He then gives a thorough explanation on how the State not only does not defend its people, but aggresses against them through its self-interested control of Taxation and Justice.

But this is too much of a black and white statement.  Dr. Hoppe says that indeed, we do not need States to defend us – but then he goes on to deny that the State ever defends its People.  While I agree that we no longer need a State structure for Security, I disagree with any implication that States have never defended their Peoples, providing that Security.  The fact is that throughout history, States have defended their People.  Right now the US is defending its People from the consequences of profligate living. 

In this next quote from this same interview, Dr. Hoppe contradicts himself, and agrees with me that the State (in this case the US) does at times defend its people: “The dominant Empire typically provides the leading international reserve currency, first Britain with the pound sterling and then the US with the dollar. With the dollar used as reserve currency by foreign central banks, the US can run a permanent ‘deficit without tears.’ That is, the US must not pay for its steady excesses of imports over exports, as it is normal between ‘equal’ partners, in having to ship increasingly more exports abroad (exports paying for imports). Rather: Instead of using their export earnings to buy American goods for domestic consumption, foreign governments and their central banks, as a sign of their vassal status vis-à-vis a dominant US, use their paper dollar reserves to buy up US government bonds to help Americans to continue consuming beyond their means.”

Throughout history there have been a wide range of qualities of States.  During the heydays of both the British and the American Empires, it was great to be English or American.  Roman history is replete with references to how great it was to be from Rome.  Just take a look at any of the writings from any empire during its flowering – the People of the winning State were greatly benefited and happy to be so.  

But can States be slightly repressive to their own?  Just ask the odd survivor of Pol Pot’s escapades.  I think that percentage-wise he wins the trophy for massacring one’s own People.

 Do we need the State to defend us?  No!  So, basically I agree with Dr. Hoppe here.  And I agree with Dr. Hoppe’s discussion of how the innate structures of States, when misused, can lead to all the listed failings.  But then I disagree – in that it doesn’t mean that historically the State has not had utility in that regard.  I just do not think he fully answered the question, nor gave States their due – for the few times they may have gotten it right.

 

3) SCARCITY AND CONFLICTS

Dr. Hoppe says, “Conflicts are possible only if and insofar as goods are scarce.  People clash, because they want to use one and the same good in different, incompatible ways.”

Here again Dr. Hoppe ignores one of the most predominant features of Mankind’s nature in general – and the nature of Males in particular.  Guys love a good fight!  If it isn’t expressed as War, it can be seen in teenagers fighting as a hormonally induced sport.  Let’s hear it for testosterone! 

But absent some folks just spoiling for a good fight, yes – most conflicts can be seen as competition for the same thing – i.e. Scarce Goods.

Dr. Hoppe says that, “All conflict concerning scarce goods, then, can be avoided if only every good is privately owned, i.e., exclusively controlled by one specified individual(s) rather than another, and it is always clear which thing is owned, and by whom, and which is not.”

No – as above.  There are those who walk among us who are peace-challenged as a matter of course. 

In his exposition of this subject, he gives us 3 excellent Rules to minimize disputes and subsequent conflict: “a) he who first appropriates something previously un-owned is its exclusive owner (as the first appropriator he cannot have come into conflict with anyone else as everyone else appeared on the scene only later);

  1. b) he who produces something with his body and homesteaded goods is owner of his product, provided he does not thereby damage the physical integrity of others' property; and
  2. c) he who acquires something from a previous or earlier owner by means of voluntary exchange, i.e., an exchange that is deemed mutually beneficial, is its owner.”

Most Societies recognize these rules, and while there will still be Conflict – sometimes just for Conflict’s sake – by applying these 3 Rules, calmer heads can determine who should get the last cupcake.

 

4) INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND ITS ATTENDANT RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP

Daily Bell: “Where do you stand on copyright? Do you believe that intellectual property doesn't exist as Kinsella has proposed?”

Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe: “I agree with my friend Kinsella, that the idea of intellectual property rights is not just wrong and confused but dangerous. And I have already touched upon why this is so. Ideas – recipes, formulas, statements, arguments, algorithms, theorems, melodies, patterns, rhythms, images, etc. – are certainly goods (insofar as they are good, not bad, recipes, etc.), but they are not scarce goods.  …the entire world can copy me and yet nothing is taken from me.”

First, in regards to “nothing is taken from me,” if there were some kind of contractual agreement stating that if I disclose my Intellectual Property to you, you promise to pay me whenever you use it – and then you used it without paying me, that would constitute a Theft.  Using the Intellectual Property without delivering the contractual Exchange, is analogous to sneaking into a theater and enjoying the entertainment for free.  I doubt that Dr. Hoppe would argue that since there were empty seats in the theater, and the entertainment was going to be performed anyway, that there is no Theft involved.

And if he is correct in saying that “recipes, formulas, statements, arguments, algorithms, theorems, melodies, patterns, rhythms, images, etc. – are certainly goods,” then it is absurd to say that they can not be scarce.  Before the Author, Song Writer, Painter, etc. created them, not only were they scarce – they were beyond scarce – they were non-existent!  The fact of their easy duplication once created, does not change the fact of their being scarce.  And while today’s technological magic has de facto rewritten copyright expectations, the ease of duplication does not abrogate the fact of Creative Ownership. 

Yes, modern Technology has exacerbated the problems in how to secure for the owner of these non-material Goods his or her just rewards in the Marketplace – but just the fact of there being a greater problem does not deny a solution. 

There is now a simple tool which can open most of the locks on people’s front doors: the Bump Key.  Does the easy and cheap use of a Bump Key render breaking and entering no longer a crime?  I think not. 

Of there being a problem there is no doubt – but to just suggest that Intellectual Goods cannot be owned, or that policing infractions of that ownership might be difficult, does nothing towards arriving at an equitable solution for all concerned.  The American Founders and writers of the Constitution for the newly united States, recognized correctly that to not secure for the creative sector of Society a reward for their genius, was to deny the broad population the benefits of that genius. 

Dr. Hoppe next gives us an example showing how ridiculous the concept of Intellectual Rights is.  I will leave it to you to decide what is ridiculous. 

Dr. Hoppe: “Now imagine I had been granted a property right in my melody or poem such that I could prohibit you from copying it or demanding a royalty from you if you do. First: Doesn't that imply, absurdly, that I, in turn, must pay royalties to the person (or his heirs) who invented whistling and writing, and further on to those, who invented sound-making and language, and so on?”

No, not unless Sound-Making was invented within the last 20 years or so (and this quibble is about Patent Protection, not Copyrights).  Beyond a specified Time Limit there is no longer any implied Property there.  Dr. Hoppe, in his discussion, unnecessarily obfuscates the issue of Ownership by suggesting that there can be no Limited Time associated with any protected Intellectual Property.  Limited Time is an essential factor in the balance between reward for creative genius, and the free utility of innovation within Society as a whole.

He goes on, “Second: In preventing you from or making you pay for whistling my melody or reciting my poem, I am actually made a (partial) owner of you: of your physical body, your vocal chords, your paper, your pencil, etc. because you did not use anything but your own property when you copied me.“

That’s like excusing a burglar caught red-handed, half way out the window with a bag of loot – because all the burglary tools that he used were his own.

And more, “If you can no longer copy me, then, this means that I, the intellectual property owner, have expropriated you and your ‘real’ property. Which shows: intellectual property rights and real property rights are incompatible, and the promotion of intellectual property must be seen as a most dangerous attack on the idea of ‘real’ property (in scarce goods).”

There is a bit of hysteria in the last statement.  Let us assume that these unnatural Intellectual Property Rights still exist.  (That should be easy – since they do.)  Let us further assume that I have just copyrighted this critique of Dr. Hoppe’s interview.  That should also be easy – here I go: “I hereby reserve all Copyrights to this string of words!”  Have I by the fact of that Copyright expropriated anything from you?  What was it, and at what point did you notice it went missing?  And by this logic have I just stolen “real” property from everyone in every country that abides by copyright laws? 

In trying to figure out how Dr. Hoppe’s position might be true, I am now convinced that this topic can be seen as confused.  While my contrary opinion is not all that confusing to me, I must assume – given someone of Dr. Hoppe’s obvious intellect holding these views – that were I given his fuller discussion of Intellectual Property, I might come to understand how one person having ownership of his intellectual creativity can be seen to take something from someone else.  But it would seem to me that the simpler view is to see that Society as a whole has in one way or another acknowledged that creativity is a good thing and should be rewarded.  And that with that acknowledgement have come legalistic methods to secure that perceived Good for Society.

Let us back off from this confusion for a moment, and dissect a standard Exchange of Real Property in the Marketplace.  Perhaps by starting from two willing traders reaching a quickly completed contract, we can move forward to the more esoteric concept of exchanging Real Property for Intellectual Property.  In our example, Bob has a few gallons of milk, and Sam has a few dozen eggs.  Each wants what the other has; they reach an agreement of how much milk for how many eggs; they make the Exchange and happily go on their ways – each the richer for the Exchange.

Now comes Louis, the Poet.  In traditional fashion, Louis is the starving Poet.  Since his teen years his poems have been widely recognized as inspirational – the strong weep, and the weak are left brave – all for hearing his words.  Understandably he is a celebrity in the town, but because Madison Avenue has not yet been invented, he is destitute.  As he enters the Marketplace, the townspeople gather around him – all are hoping to hear his next interpretation of the Music of the Spheres.  “Hi everybody,” he says.  “Sorry, but I haven’t had the time or energy to write any more poems.  As you know we have the new baby, so I’ve had to take a job shoveling manure for Farmer Brown to make ends meet.  Maybe next lifetime….”

Well, as you might expect, the townspeople are beside themselves with vexation!  None of them individually is rich enough to act as a Patron, and each of them is the poorer for not having Louis able to be a full-time Poet.  What can they do?  They need to do something that will allow such as Louis to make a living while enriching their Society with his poetry; they need to install some form of rules so that Louis’ poems are as abundant in the Marketplace as are Bob’s milk, and Sam’s eggs.

 

Let’s fast forward to around 1789… “THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

PREAMBLE

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

ARTICLE I - The Legislative Branch

SECTION 8 - Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power… To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

Now I may be prejudiced, but I think that this was some inspired thinking by those fellows who were charged with establishing rules for the marketplace in their new nation.  And it worked like gangbusters for quite a while.  The concept was, and is pure – only the implementing of it has gone awry.

Dr. Hoppe thinks that undoing all Copyright Laws would be a good thing.  He comments on some 3rd World countries just ignoring infringement cases, “…more and more courts in more and more countries, especially countries outside the orbit of the US dominated Western government cartel, would make it clear that they don't hear cases of copyright and patent violations any longer and regard such complaints as a ruse of big Western government-connected firms, such as pharmaceutical companies, for instance, to enrich themselves at the expense of other people.”

This is a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  The baby here is a rational set of rules that promotes the maximum wealth of society in Culture and Innovation, by promoting and safeguarding artistic and mechanical invention.  The bathwater is the perversion-for-profit of the recognition that there is value in artistic and mechanical invention.  That perversion has been foisted on Society to a large extent through extended periods of protection, and also by the treating of Corporations in the Marketplace as if they were humans. 

I have more thoughts on this subject, but for now suffice it to say, “Yes Virginia, there are Intellectual Property Rights!”

 

5) FRACTIONAL RESERVE BANKING

Dr. Hoppe constructs the Hard Money folks’ favorite Straw Man… and then he knocks him flat! 

Dr. Hoppe: “Let's say A deposits 10 ounces of gold with a bank and receives a note (a money substitute) redeemable at par on demand. Based on A's deposit, then, the bank makes a loan to C of 9 ounces of gold and issues a note to this effect, again redeemable at par on demand.

“Should this be permitted? I don't think so. For there are now two people, A and C, who are the exclusive owner of one and the same quantity of money. A logical impossibility. Or put differently, there are only 10 ounces of gold, but A is given title to 10 ounces and C holds title to 9 ounces. That is, there are more property titles than there is property. Obviously this constitutes fraud….”

This would seem to be a rather pedantic argument with just a touch of hysteria: “There shall be no creating Money out of nothing!!!  It can’t be done!  It must not be done!”  Just because there has been so much abuse by Governments in the implementation of Fractional Reserve Banking, Dr. Hoppe wants to outlaw anybody else giving it a try.  The reasoning is very similar to that leading to Helmet Laws for motorcyclists: “Lots of riders are too reckless and don’t take common-sense precautions, therefore we will make it a Law that you must be safe!”

I don’t know why Dr. Hoppe thinks the Marketplace can’t handle such as Oliver’s Fractional Reserve Savings and Loans.  As long as Oliver is upfront with his customers, there is no Fraud.  And Oliver may be as astute a Banker as Evel Knievel was skilled as a motorcycle jumper.  These might not be everybody’s choice of investment or sport, but that’s not to say the practices should be outlawed.


6) CYBER-GUTENBERG

The Daily Bell asked, “It has been our contention that just as the Gutenberg press blew up existing social structures in its day, so the Internet is doing that today. We believe the Internet may be ushering in a new Renaissance after the Dark Age of the 20th century. Agree? Disagree?”

Dr. Hoppe is neutral in this regard, “I am more inclined to think that technology and technological advances are ‘neutral’ in this regard. The Internet can be used to unearth and spread the truth as much as to spread lies and confusion.”  And he makes a curious reference to Morality, “I am skeptical, however, if technological revolutions in and of themselves also bring about moral progress and an advance toward greater freedom.”

But the fact is (as The Daily Bell has so frequently, eloquently, and convincingly pointed out) that the Printing Press did upset the status quo in favor of Individual Freedoms.  And the Internet is a fearsome engine for Freedom – why else would so many overtly suppressive Governments keep trying to corral it? 

Dr. Hoppe mentions Morality.  I don’t think a change in Morality is necessarily important in assessing the role of the Printing Press, the Internet, or any innovation, towards Freedom.  It is like discounting the importance of an intended mugging victim’s sudden ability to go invisible – discounted just because he has not simultaneously become more holy.  No one’s Morality has changed, but the intended victim walks calmly on, leaving the mugger slightly confused.  What is important regarding the Printing Press and the Internet is the measurable disruption or destabilization of the Powers That Shouldn’t Be caused by these past and present innovations.  In many instances the Powers That Shouldn’t Be find that nobody is paying attention to them any more because of the Internet.  (But, as I have just said, I need not continue to flog that dead horse on this forum.)

I’ll end on a personal note – regarding how the Internet can be a focused agent for a Better World Order, I have an as yet unpublished (and therefore totally scarce) methodology worked out whereby Governments can be sidestepped completely through judicious use of today’s information technologies.  There is a book in the wings just waiting for the best way to deliver it to a deserving world.  Paradoxically, I am hobbled by my religious belief in the righteousness of receiving Real Property for my Intellectual Property – slowing my disclosure on how to save the world – while at the same time I am spurred on, both by a need to stop shoveling manure for a living, and by a selfless desire to actually help out. 

 

I am like Louis the starving poet; I am John the Just, your starving Philosopher King – “Will rule for food!  No reasonable offers refused.”


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* The MLGov.org website was not up at that time.