just as there are different kinds of government, there are different kinds of anarchy. And just as it would be wrong to evaluate democratic government by looking at the history of communist dictatorships, it would be wrong to evaluate anarcho-capitalism by looking at primitive Indian tribes. To evaluate anarcho-capitalism empirically, one would need to examine an actual society with the sort of institutions that anarcho-capitalists advocate (e.g., a system of competing arbitration companies and competing protection agencies). Unfortunately, there are no such societies.
I am trying to take Learn Liberty in a very different direction.
What do you think Learn Liberty could do to be more effective?
"The philosopher Robert Nozick once claimed that the most basic question of Political Philosophy is “Why not Anarchy?” Political philosophers pose this question often with the intent of demonstrating that there is indeed a good philosophical reason why governments should exist. Indeed, we often simply take for granted that the state and its vast coercive apparatus is morally justified. Similarly, we tend to think that anarchy is both a practically untenable and morally undesirable mode of social association. But governments claim not only power but authority over their citizens. And a few moments of reflection on the idea of authority suffices to see how curious an idea it is. To have authority is to have a right to create moral obligations in others simply by issuing commands, and a corresponding right to coerce compliance when others fail to obey one’s commands. It seems a puzzling phenomenon: The government claim to be able to make it the case that you’re morally required to do something simply in virtue of the fact that it has told you to do it. And they claim the moral right to imprison you for failing to do what they say.
In The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey (Palgrave Macmillan 2013), Michael Huemer explores this puzzling phenomenon, and defends the conclusion that in fact there is no such thing as political authority.”
This is an interview by two philosophers (one from Vanderbilt, the other from the University of Iowa) with Michael Huemer (professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado Boulder) regarding his newest book The Problem of Political Authority.
After the enormous amount of response that I got from mentioning about me teaching you about ethical theories (1 to be exact), here it is. It’s pretty poor quality, but yolo (how is that for an ethical theory?).
A few things to note:
For the philosophy people reading this, I didn’t really get into treating people as ends, although I should have. I think, however, that I got the point across that actions are judged, not consequences in regards to deontology.
I also mistakenly called Kant’s work From The Supposed Right to Lie from Altruistic Measures, but measures is supposed to be Motives. So it would be, From The Supposed Right to Lie from Altruistic Motives.
From my personal tumblr. It doesn’t exactly relate to libertarianism, but many libertarians know about deontology and utilitarianism so…
until I can make the videos I want to make, this has to suffice.
I am thinking about doing a vlog aimed towards philosophy, econ, etc. which obviously will contain a lot of libertarian things. I am thinking about showing some arguments that are not popular (even if libertarians think they may be valid arguments), showing arguments that are convincing, and a lot more. It sounds like I am going to be pretty critical of libertarians, which I am (how else do we better ourselves?), but I want to really try to have people understand libertarianism better (even if they don’t agree). What are some really good topics that you think I should cover?
This is titled: Questions About Law Enforcement in a Free Society and Huemer has to respond to some really tough questions. He premises all the questions with his belief that there would not be any criminal law in an anarcho-capitalist region, only civil law. There are some tough questions in here regarding to how there is would be a tendency for warring defense agencies, but the two in particular that are the most difficult are:
1. What if a rich person could afford to kill someone?
2. What if somebody cannot afford to pay another person back if they committed a violent crime?
Those two in particular are questions that I’ve had myself. It’s a pretty good discussion and well worth a listen. As I’ve said before, Professor Huemer is by far the best libertarian philosopher, and absolutely one of the best libertarian thinkers of all time. It is good to see him getting more recognition.
I devised a fairly easy thought experiment to show that most people really don’t care about income inequality as much as they care about the welfare of the individual (maybe in economic terms it may be best to think of it as gini coefficient vs income mobility). It’s not an argument, and it’s not meant to refute the idea that income inequality is inherently moral, but rather to show that the person you are talking to is probably more concerned with the welfare of the individual to income inequality:
Imagine an island with 999 people. There are 3 kinds of people: the workers, the bosses, and the endless amount of wealth people (you can tell your liberal friends that it’s the Koch brothers). Altogether there are 333 groups of 3 people. These groups all produce different things. The workers are the least well off, the bosses make two times as the workers, and the guys with money are the best off. Imagine now that the people who are the most well off tell the bosses that they will DOUBLE whatever raise they give to their worker. About half the bosses decide to do it, while the other decides they won’t.
What happens is there is one group of workers that have an exponentially large increase in wealth. They are now about to buy a newer car, a new home, start a family, eat out more, etc. now that they are more wealthy. The other group of workers remain to make the same amount of money, and so do the bosses.
Which is preferable? The answer is most likely going to be the first group. The group where the workers are making much more than before, and the bosses are making double what the workers are making. The paradox for the liberal is that this group has an incredibly large income gap from the highest class, higher class, and the low class. The income inequality gap is unbelievably higher compared to group 2 which has the same income inequality as before, which is much, much smaller.
This is an awesome, but a bit brief, lecture on the best way to approach, and defend libertarianism.
Huemer is most certainly my favorite libertarian philosopher. He understands the alternatives, and easily explains why the utilitarian and deontological approaches are not the best way to go.
Furthermore, the common sense approach to libertarianism is by far the best because it searches for very basic common moral intuitions that we have (yes, the non aggression principle is one with caveats), and then uses them to show why libertarianism is the best system (and anarchism is the better of the alternative between minarchism).
I will be posting his bit on the psychology of authority, which is probably the most interesting part of his book The Problem of Political Authority which is what these lectures are based on. I highly, highly recommend watching this lecture whether you are a libertarian or not because either way, it will get you thinking.
A lot of people criticize the Austrians for not being more mathematical and being unscientific.
That’s not completely true.
First, the foundation of Austrian economics is a priori. This just means that knowledge is not gained through empiricism and the scientific method. If you doubt that a priori knowledge exists, and that only empirical knowledge is true, then you have a lot of explaining to do since empiricism can’t confirm itself to be true by its own standards (can the scientific method be proven using the scientific method?) and you have a lot of explaining to do to 71% of philosophers (in philosophy this branch is known as the theory of knowledge, or just epistemology).
Secondly, Austrians do believe that things can be found to be true through the use of empirical evidence. The difference between the Austrians and the modern economic schools is my next point.
Thirdly, Austrians don’t reject the use of models or statistics, or even deny that knowledge can be gained from them, but what they DO deny is that these models are useful to the extent that modern economists take them now. They assume away many of the problems that F.A. Hayek, in particular, pointed out about knowledge problems, they reject the entrepreneurial discovery process that Israel Kirzner pointed out, etc.
The main point of this post is that Austrians don’t deny that knowledge can be gained from empirical evidence or mathematical truths. They do not deny that models are useful when looking at the economy. That they DO deny is the EXTENT of knowledge you can gain from the empirical evidence that modern economists take it. They DO deny that the models presented are AS useful as modern economists take them to be.
In general, what is your opinion of positive rights? Do they exist? If they do, does they always trump negative rights? Does it absolutely follow they trump negative rights?