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/liberty/ - Liberty

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I haven't visited the board in a while, but I'm glad to be back. So, what are we all reading (or watching, or listening to) in terms of libertarian literature? Recently, I've been going through Omnipotent Government in my spare time. Seems interesting, though I've only just started. Also listening to the embedded video currently. What about you guys? Anything good?


I didn't become a libertarian so I have to read shit, sage


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We have a thread for that, but I wouldn't mind a clean one. I reviewed Omnipotent Government here: >>68284

It's a really good book, like pretty much everything Mises ever writes.

Right now, I'm reading these:

>After Virtue

No idea where this is going to go. Very complex, lots of potential, but it's one of these books where you have to wait until the end before you get to the treasure, instead of there being hundreds of gems along the way that you can pick up. But there have been some interesting parts already, like MacIntyres critique of G.E. Moore and his emotivism.

>Capitalism and Freedom

Meh. He puts a few things more eloquently than the rest, but he has nothing to say on ethics, is methodologically blind, and his monetary theory is whack. I don't think I'll read anything by the Chicago School again, although Sowell is supposed to be pretty good as a social critic, so I'll give that a try.

>Theory of Socialism and Capitalism

Very detailed and precise critique of socialism, as you'd expect from Hoppe. The man knows his epistemics and it shows. At every step, he is aware how much he is proving.


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Taking a short break from pure economics to read up on Philosophy. Individualism in particular, especially its epistemology. For now I'm taking notes on every proposition and remark I can find regarding Individualism. Might create an FAQ on it or write an essay after a proper analysis of everything I've gathered.



interesting talk, now i understand anarchomonarchism more :D


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If anyone can track down a ebook version of this, I'd be very grateful. I'm interested in the virtue ethics approach to private property but there's no way I'm paying like $40 for it.


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Couldn't find it anywhere. It's just not that popular on the internet it seems. I'd like to read it myself but the price is too much.



>pirating a book on property rights




Did Hayek even talk about the philosophy of individualism in this book? Because I could swear that he just talked about economics.

If you wanna do this on hard-mode, try to figure out what the hell the Thomists are saying on this. I'm still trying to do that. So far, it seems to me that they're leaning very close towards individualism, they just want to stress the importance of family, community and society at the same time. Which is completely possible from an individualist perspective, and only Ayn Rand made it sound otherwise.



Uhm, he does. That's how the whole thing starts off. The economics of Individualism are the second part right after that. Hayek keeps ranting on about "true Individualism" and "false" Cartesian Individualism, and how ONLY through Democracy you can have Individualism. Read it very carefully and you will find out why the knowledge approach to the calculation problem is trash and how he keeps leaving room for Totalitarianism. He really is inferior to Mises in everything he took from him attempting to improve. He does not match up to Rothbard as an apprentice.



>Uhm, he does. That's how the whole thing starts off.

I looked over it now because that got me curious, but surprisingly little felt familiar. He's right that society isn't designed by any individual or council of individuals, but then he spergs out when it comes to democracy. No idea how he got the idea that de Tocqueville was in any way a democrat, when he said this:

>In my eyes human societies, like individuals, are nothing if not by the use of liberty. I have always said that liberty is more difficult to establish and to maintain in democratic societies, like ours, than in certain aristocratic societies which have preceded us. But that this should be impossible I would never be rash enough to believe.

And this:

>Despotism . . . appears to me peculiarly to be dreaded in democratic ages. I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it.

Can't imagine it's much different with Acton, whom he also portrays as a democrat who was nevertheless smart enough to fear equality. I don't think Acton wrote a single word in support of democracy anywhere.

>Read it very carefully and you will find out why the knowledge approach to the calculation problem is trash

Kekkers to that. No idea if it made more sense in The Road to Serfdom or if I just didn't understand what exactly he meant back then. I thought at first that he was merely pointing to the problems that states generally have with reliably collecting and analyzing the information they would need to plan society, which makes sense as a critique even though it's far from conclusive. Then I realized that he meant something different, that states cannot plan the economy because they lack information that individuals have, and yes, put that way, his critique is at once shit and proves too much.

>He really is inferior to Mises in everything he took from him attempting to improve. He does not match up to Rothbard as an apprentice.

This. I think he felt way too comfortable being part of the academic circlejerk, writing treatises on theories with zero practical value but that make you feel good about your IQ of 160. I still don't know what equilibrium theory is good for, for example, but Hayek wrote a dozen pages or what on it.



"Principles are a means to prevent clashes between conflicting aims and not a set of fixed ends."

So far good. Because those are ideals.

"Our submission to general principles is necessary because we cannot be guided in our practical action by full knowledge and evaluation of all the consequences. So long as men are not omniscient, the only way in which freedom can be given to the individual is by such general rules to delimit the sphere in which the decision is his."

This one is loaded with implications due to his SocDem leaning. He can not, and never has reasoned outside that Ideology. Hayek began a Socialist, and in Mises's theory he only saw problems that needed to be addressed, not a complete refutation.

To begin with, having full knowledge of the "consequences" to every action would not in any way reduce the validity and application of principles as general truths about the world. He does not view principles as the absolute foundation of all further reasoning, like Descartes does. To Hayek they are just artificial limitations that are necessary and a lesser evil preventing an otherwise perfect world of moral and legal Utilitarian relativism.

Men being omniscient would not make them just. The Philosopher King would still be a tyrant even if he had all the wisdom of the cosmos. A world built by an omniscient God would not be Just or Unjust, but instead simply an operation taking its orchestrated course. Without choice or conflict there can be no justice. "Brave New World" is not an example of a Just society, even if Hayek's reasoning would require it to be.

Freedom is not to be "given" to the individual. Nobody can possess it. To reason as if it is something to be withheld or granted requires a benevolent master in the form of the State, who is kind enough to allow it. Freedom is not established after central planning has taken place. It is the natural state between any two individuals who are not involved in the act of coercion via conflict. Only after conflict arises can there be a reestablishment of freedom.


What is Cartesian individualism?






"The true individualism which I shall try to defend began its modern development with John Locke, and particularly with Bernard Mandeville and David Hume, and achieved full stature for the first time in the work of Josiah Tucker, Adam Ferguson, and Adam Smith and in that of their great contemporary, Edmund Burk…"

He also mentions Tocqueville and Acton. Reading Hume so far he does not seem like an Individualist at all. Adam Smith especially was not. Far from it. I would've liked it if Hayek had somehow shown us how exactly are most of them Individualists, but he doesn't even attempt to establish it.

"De Tocqueville stand in all essentials close to Adam Smith, to whom nobody will deny the title of Individualist…"

Rothbard would and did in his "An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought". Smith is not an Individualist. He's a radical egalitarian.



Here's what he has to say on it:

" This second and altogether different strand of thought, also known as individualism, is represented mainly by French and other Continental writers- a fact due, I believe, to the dominant role whih Cartesian rationalism plays in its composition. The outstanding representatives of this tradition are the Encyclopedists, Rousseau, and the physiocrats; and, for reasons we shall presently consider, this rationalistic individualism always tends to develop into the opposite of individualism, namely socialism or collectivism."

He just leaves that hanging. There's no further argumentation for anything or a link between Rationalism and Rousseau.

"The difference between this view, which accounts for most of the order which we find in human affairs as the unforeseen result of individual actions, and the view which traces all discoverable order to deliberate design is the first great contrast between the true individualism of the British thinkers of the eighteenth century and the so-called "individualism" of the Cartesian school."

He's likely referring to Descartes's attempt to prove god and intelligent design. Something that does not at all conflict with Hayek's theory of knowledge. I will admit that Hayek's description of proper Individualist methodology is not broken: "…there is no other way toward an understanding of social phenomena but through our understanding of individual actions directed toward other people and guided by their expected behavior."

He will then go on to explain that all analysis of human action is always a priori introspection of the self given the empirical facts. There can be no "class consciousness" or "social mind".



Apparently, Cartesian Rationalism leads to "exaggerated belief in the powers of individual reason and of a consequent contempt for anything which has not been consciously designed by it or is not fully intelligible to it," which is again utter crap. That's entirely his assertion. Hayek really wants to drive his concept of "spontaneous order" down which ironically, is far more Collectivist than anything. He will quote Descartes a bunch: "There is seldom so much perfection in works composed of many separate parts, upon which different hands had been employed, as in those completed by a single master."

You can interpret that however you want, especially because of the "seldom" pointing out it doesn't mean never. It is true that Society has been driven mostly by the ideas of a handful of individuals and not a consistent collective unconscious wisdom. Even the second bit about the "wise legislator" can be interpreted both ways. Do we refer to society as a whole when we look to settle disputes and develop legal theory or to specific scholars and judges? Despite what Descartes may have really wanted to imply, the consistent interpretation of Rationalism does not lead to Collectivism as Hayek wants it to.


Is there anything else worth my time besides Hoppe?



Most of the Mises Institute.



Rousseau was a textbook collectivist who believed in the validity of emotions as a source of knowledge.


Rothbard, Kuehnelt-Leddihn, de Jouvenel, de Jasay, Rummel, and some others. Hayek wrote some good stuff too.

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