Boettke on Hayek and the reconstruction of the liberal project

Moving on to Chapter 10 in Boettke on Hayek. After the war Hayek convened a meeting with a group that became the Mont Pelerin Society. The aim was to keep the ideas and institutions of democratic capitalism of alive and also renewed and refreshed to cope with emerging challenges.

Boettke sees a need for this process to continue because we face a thinking problem more than a marketing problem. Surely we need to lift our game in both of those departments. A longstanding complaint is that had core libertarians (eg Randoids) might be prepared to put their bodies on the line for Liberty but they are not prepared to explain their ideas in language that resonates with the punters.

Boettke sees “serious problems from ideas emerging from a new generation of socialists on the left and from conservative movements on the right.” [258] Immediately we have a marketing problem. In Hayek’s essay on why he was not a particular type of conservative he described the triangle of forces with the left at one corner, the “conservatives” at another and the classical liberals at the third. The point is to get away from linear thinking about a left to right spectrum of positions that places us on the “right”. This is one of the most powerful rhetorical devices that the left can deploy and we set ourselves up to fail if we buy into it.

The ideas of the “non-left” include zero-state anarchism, libertarianism, classical liberalism, cultural conservatism, statism, the wrong kind of nationalism, religious fundamentalim, “rightwing populism” and incidentally fascism and racism. The term “right” in common use implicitly aggregates these ideas to the disadvantage of the mix of classical liberalism and cultural (and environmental) conservatism that can deliver peace, freedom and prosperity.

So I consider that using the label “right” for ourselves is practically is a free kick to the left every time and it is no help at all to try to rank different positions on the right along a spectrum in an attempt to distance ourselves from the “far right” or “lunatic right”. We are the lunatic right as far as the left are concerned.

Liberalism Is Liberal

Under this heading Boettke engages with the often-articulated views of left intellectuals, that for us “Compassion, justice, civic responsibility, honesty, decency, humility, respect, and even survival of the poor, weak and vulnerable – are all to take a back seat.” [263] This perception is so widespread among what used to be called the “educated public” that a combined thinking and marketing effort is required to correct it.

Something like “a robust moral framework” has to be included among the pillars of classical liberalism, alongside the rule of law, the full range of freedoms, non-discriminatory laws, justice and limited government. Step forward Deirdre McCloskey and Michael Novak (ok he is dead but you know what I mean). The framework would include honesty, self-reliance, community service, charity, prudence, civility and tolerance. It used to be promoted from every pulpit in the western world.

The emotional appeal of the left is based on ideas that were appropriate from Christianity and classical liberalism while the actual existing institutions of Christianity and classical liberalism are excoriated and subjected to relentless attack.

The idea of the welfare state gained traction because neither the 19th century conservatives or the workers understood how laissez faire capitalism was advancing the welfare of the able bodied poor and generating the wealth that could be channelled through private and charitable efforts to deliver all the necessary health, education and welfare services that socialists desire.

There is more in the chapter about populism that needs to be considered in another post. Now it is time to check what Wind & Other are doing and have breakfast.

Wind & Other are delivering 7.2% of demand.

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55 Responses to Boettke on Hayek and the reconstruction of the liberal project

  1. Tim Neilson

    A longstanding complaint is that had core libertarians (eg Randoids) might be prepared to put their bodies on the line for Liberty but they are not prepared to explain their ideas in language that resonates with the punters.

    That’s because if they do they reveal themselves to be wacko psycho intergalactic macro-fruitloop dingalings.

    E.g. they have to either:
    (a) say that governments have no right (or duty) to forbid entry to someone carrying a highly contagious incurable fatal disease; or
    (b) pretend that governments’ right (or duty) to forbid entry to such people doesn’t blow their open borders absolutism totally out of the water, by establishing that governments can and should control borders for the benefit of existing inhabitants.

  2. Iampeter

    A longstanding complaint is that had core libertarians (eg Randoids) might be prepared to put their bodies on the line for Liberty but they are not prepared to explain their ideas in language that resonates with the punters.

    I’m really glad you wrote this Rafe, because it gets to the very root of the problem, only the problem is the exact other way around.
    It is the “Randoids” that are saying you need to stop throwing your “bodies on the line” and learn the basics first and communicate them in a “language that resonates with the punters”.
    Stop talking economics. Stop talking politics. Learn to think first.
    People like Hayek stubbornly refused to hear this message and instead kept trying to argue economic facts which doesn’t help because people who don’t know how to think won’t know what to do with them.
    Today’s libertarians can barely even make economic arguments, so they are even worse.
    This awful book by Boettke is a perfect example of today’s disintegrated thinking. It’s a complete mess. Kinda funny anyone reading this could think Randoids are the ones who have a “language that resonates” problem.

    In other words, capitalism isn’t losing because the facts aren’t on its side, or because its advocates aren’t fighting hard enough on the line or something. Capitalism is losing because its advocates do not have a grasp of the fundamentals on which it rests and end up contradicting themselves all over the place and then finally start sounding just like socialists as it all breaks down.

  3. Iampeter

    The point is to get away from linear thinking about a left to right spectrum of positions that places us on the “right”. This is one of the most powerful rhetorical devices that the left can deploy and we set ourselves up to fail if we buy into it.

    This is another really good point that gets it completely backwards.
    Politics is about people dealing with each other, which at its most fundamental alternatives is either freedom or force. Individualism or collectivism. This is what the right wing (individualism) and left wing (collectivism) political spectrum is all about. The political spectrum is and always will be a linear left to right spectrum. There is no triangle. No third option.

    All collectivists are on the left wing side of the political spectrum.
    This includes socialists (economic collectivists), conservatives (religious/traditionalist collectivists) and those who reject even the concept of rights like libertarian anarchists.

    This is the real reason that he wants to move away from a left to right spectrum, as it will allow him and the many other confused leftists that make up the conservative and libertarian movements, to pretend they are not on the same side as socialists. Sorry, but they are. They are the worst kind of leftist and are largely responsible for socialism still being a thing.

  4. .

    Today’s libertarians can barely even make economic arguments, so they are even worse.

    Really peter? Where did you get your degree from?

    You don’t know what you’re talking about so you don’t belong here.

  5. Iampeter

    I’m generalizing, dot.
    I’m not personally attacking anyone.

  6. Note how the Socialist state is being pushed anew by the Left and written as if it was a nirvanna:

    “There was something we had which I can only describe as solidarity,” says Christian Wolter, a carpenter who grew up in East Berlin.

    For Christian, the most egregious is that East Germans desperately wanted a capitalist system.

    In the lead-up to the wall falling, there were increasing numbers of peaceful protests in East Germany — but they weren’t about switching to a free market.

    While there was dissatisfaction with the accountability of their socialist government, most East German citizens were in favour of fixing the existing system, and making it better.

    To them, East Germany’s society had been kinder and friendlier, and it made much more sense to them than the capitalist society that they were suddenly part of.

    I’m waiting to here similar stories from Venezuela.

  7. In Hayek’s essay on why he was not a particular type of conservative he described the triangle of forces with the left at one corner, the “conservatives” at another and the classical liberals at the third.

    The problem for classical liberals is that there is very little difference between them and leftists at the level of metaphysics, and because of this, we are seeing with every passing day how little the differences are between leftists and liberals on issues that only a generation ago separated them as these premises work themselves through to their conclusion. The same of course is true with modern conservatives outside of the natural law tradition.

  8. .

    The problem for classical liberals is that there is very little difference between them and leftists at the level of metaphysics

    No, stop trolling.

  9. Iampeter

    I’m waiting to here similar stories from Venezuela.

    Yea I was thinking of Venezuela as I was reading your post. Everyone there is a socialist. They are too far gone to be saved and nothing but naked starvation awaits them now.
    I think Venezuela is a glimpse into the future for the rest of Western Civilization if we don’t urgently start putting forward coherent alternatives to the left. That will require a different approach on every level of philosophy not just technical economic arguments. Hayek certainly couldn’t do it.

    The problem for classical liberals is that there is very little difference between them and leftists at the level of metaphysics, and because of this, we are seeing with every passing day how little the differences are between leftists and liberals on issues that only a generation ago

    How is there little difference in their metaphyisics?
    How did you make the leap from metaphysics straight to politics?

  10. No, stop trolling.

    No, it is true. Classical liberals would have thought SSM literally absurd two generations earlier leave alone the those of over a century ago but now most classical liberals think it is common sense. The only reason this is the case are the shared premises between leftists and liberals.

  11. How is there little difference in their metaphyisics?
    How did you make the leap from metaphysics straight to politics?

    Leftists and liberals are mainly nominalists in metaphysics. Read Richard Weaver to learn how this moves from metaphysics into politics.

  12. .

    Yeah…and the founders had slaves. That doesn’t mean white constitutionalists are racists.

  13. I’m not making that argument, dot. Try harder.

  14. Iampeter

    Leftists and liberals are mainly nominalists in metaphysics. Read Richard Weaver to learn how this moves from metaphysics into politics.

    So are conservatives but you didn’t include them in the mix?
    Richard Weaver is a religious/traditionalist collectivist and therefore a leftist, so I don’t think reading him is going to help answer anything for you.
    I think you think that politics is about religion/tradition vs atheism or something, but those are not essential distinctions in left vs right. It is about collectivism vs individualism and someone who wants regulate marriage is just as left wing as someone who wants to regulate any other type of private enterprise.

    Those who are right wing only want the government to protect rights.

    This is as alien a concept to many classic liberals, libertarians and progressives as it is their religious counterparts in the conservative movement. None of you are right wing on even a theoretical level today.

    I think classic liberals are the least bad though, but they aren’t a mainstream movement.

  15. So are conservatives but you didn’t include them in the mix?

    Yes, I did, in the comment before.

    Richard Weaver is a religious/traditionalist collectivist and therefore a leftist, so I don’t think reading him is going to help answer anything for you.

    You’re really no different from Leftists/ liberals. You use labels to avoid the ordeal of thinking. You just pigeonhole someone without ever bothering to read them for yourself.

    I think you think that politics is about religion/tradition vs atheism or something, but those are not essential distinctions in left vs right. It is about collectivism vs individualism and someone who wants regulate marriage is just as left wing as someone who wants to regulate any other type of private enterprise.

    See, you are doing it again. I don’t anywhere say or intimate that politics is about “religion/tradition vs atheism or something”, neither does Weaver but you would have to read him to recognize that. Setting that aside, the idea that politics is about individualism vs collectivism is daft and historically short-sighted. It simply exaggerates a concern within contemporary politics with politics per se. Also, your use of ‘collectivist’ shreds it of any meaning. BTW, when did the word ‘define’ begin to mean ‘regulate’?

    Those who are right wing only want the government to protect rights.

    This is as alien a concept to many classic liberals, libertarians and progressives as it is their religious counterparts in the conservative movement. None of you are right wing on even a theoretical level today.

    Why then do you deny the right of free people to establish policy in their territory, such as allowing or denying entry to its territory?

  16. .

    No, it is not clear to me at all what your point is dover beach.

    I could point out how many Catholics believe in liberation theology, but that would be trolling.

  17. Iampeter

    You’re really no different from Leftists/ liberals.

    Well no, I’m an individualist. As you know I support individual rights, rights protecting government and capitalism. That’s what the right wing position is.

    You use labels to avoid the ordeal of thinking. You just pigeonhole someone without ever bothering to read them for yourself.

    I use words and labels exactly as they are meant to be used in order to provide clarity precisely because I’ve done the thinking. I don’t throw random words and concepts and name-drop all over the place to pretend I know what I’m talking about. Like Boettke, for example.

    See, you are doing it again. I don’t anywhere say or intimate that politics is about “religion/tradition vs atheism or something”

    Then what do you think its about?

    Setting that aside, the idea that politics is about individualism vs collectivism is daft

    It’s literally what politics is about, as I’ve explained in post#2835073 of this thread.

    BTW, when did the word ‘define’ begin to mean ‘regulate’?

    When its backed by government force and no rights have been violated.

    Why then do you deny the right of free people to establish policy in their territory, such as allowing or denying entry to its territory?

    Free people are those that live with a rights protecting government and such government doesn’t regulate immigration.
    Or put another way, if you want to regulate who gets to live where, then you’re not on the side of “free people” anyway.

  18. Well no, I’m an individualist. As you know I support individual rights, rights protecting government and capitalism. That’s what the right wing position is.

    So do Weaver and I but the devil is in the detail.

    I use words and labels exactly as they are meant to be used in order to provide clarity precisely because I’ve done the thinking. I don’t throw random words and concepts and name-drop all over the place to pretend I know what I’m talking about. Like Boettke, for example.

    If that were true you wouldn’t be calling Weaver a leftist.

    It’s literally what politics is about, as I’ve explained in post#2835073 of this thread.

    No, again, you’re confusing the concerns of the last few centuries with politics generally.

    When its backed by government force and no rights have been violated.

    That makes no sense.

    Free people are those that live with a rights protecting government and such government doesn’t regulate immigration.

    Why not? There is no obvious principle that obliges a rights protecting government to allow entry to people that are not its citizens for any purpose.

  19. No, it is not clear to me at all what your point is dover beach.

    The point is that not having a different metaphysic means that liberalism will find it very hard to resist a leftist slide.

  20. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    It has all become a terminological quagmire in which notions of individual freedoms within an agreed rule of law emerge as the key defining issues.

    Nation states have largely replaced tribal allegiances but these are cross-cut by supra-national religious affiliations as well as other ideological ones which intersect with bounded territorial freedoms. As the primary instrument of agreed law, the secular nation state is probably indispensible to maintaing freedoms. I can’t see any way around that, and that means borders, by necessity.

  21. .

    The point is that not having a different metaphysic means that liberalism will find it very hard to resist a leftist slide.

    Not at all.

  22. Iampeter

    So do Weaver and I but the devil is in the detail.

    OK why do you think you and Weaver are not leftists? What devil is in what details?
    You keep asserting things but you’re not explaining why you think so.

    If that were true you wouldn’t be calling Weaver a leftist.

    I explained why I think he is a leftist and defined what leftist means.

    No, again, you’re confusing the concerns of the last few centuries with politics generally.

    OK if you don’t think politics is about people dealing with each other and therefore individualism vs collectivism, then what DO you think it’s about?
    I get you disagree with me but you don’t seem to have any alternative ideas on any particular point.

    The point is that not having a different metaphysic means that liberalism will find it very hard to resist a leftist slide.

    Why? How do you think metaphysics is connected to politics?

  23. OK why do you think you and Weaver are not leftists?

    For any number of reasons, for instance, we do not oppose the rule of law as leftists do. We believe there are principled limits to the scope of government action. That the business of government involves a narrow scope, limited to maintaining public order and preserving the historic community it governs. And so on.

    What devil is in what details?

    The devil in the detail being how Weaver and I and others may flesh out ‘individual rights’ in a different manner to you in this or that instance. For instance, I don’t see why ‘right of free movement’ must involve a right of entry into all political polities in the world but not a right of entry to another’s private property. Nor, for instance, do I accept that the right to refuse entry to private property by the owner is absolute. Speaking for myself, I think there are limited instances where trespass can be justified but accept that where it occurs the person accused of trespass does need to show cause.

    I explained why I think he is a leftist and defined what leftist means.

    You haven’t even read Weaver so you’re unable to make such a claim even using your peculiar definition.

    OK if you don’t think politics is about people dealing with each other and therefore individualism vs collectivism, then what DO you think it’s about?

    I don’t disagree that politics is about ‘people dealing with each other’, but I don’t think that every encounter between people is necessarily political, nor that the narrower encounter between people is made more intelligible by the distinction ‘individualism v collectivism’, although I agree that modern politics is certainly illuminated by this distinction. Politics, as intimated above, is about maintaining the public order and preserving the continuity of a historic community.

  24. Not at all.

    The evidence before our eyes suggests otherwise.

  25. Iampeter

    For any number of reasons

    Reasons like “preserving the historic community” which would require a government of such “narrow scope” as to resemble Saudi Arabia, North Korea or the Third Reich.

    The devil in the detail being how Weaver and I and others may flesh out ‘individual rights’ in a different manner to you in this or that instance.

    Which means you don’t really understand what “individual rights” are. They are a freedom to think and act in a social context and those of us who are right wing want a government that protects these rights and nothing else. There’s nothing to “flesh out”. You need to learn the ABC’s of politics and then either join the right wing by embracing rights or realizing you are a far left totalitarian. THEN we can actually begin to talk politics.

    I don’t disagree that politics is about ‘people dealing with each other’, but I don’t think that every encounter between people is necessarily political

    Then what is it? Politics is ONLY about people dealing with each other. If you’re just marooned alone on a little desert island there’s not going to be any issue of politics.

    So in summary, I had you pegged pretty correctly. You are a far-left authoritarian that wants every aspect of peoples lives regulated, but think this is a “narrow scope” of government because of not having thought through any of the basics like what “rights” are and what “government” even is and what the consequences of your policies would be in the absence of having thought this out.

    It’s not just you though, as this is a problem for most conservatives today.

  26. Reasons like “preserving the historic community” which would require a government of such “narrow scope” as to resemble Saudi Arabia, North Korea or the Third Reich.

    Really? What an absurd characterization, and that is leaving aside the simple fact that NK and the Third Reich radically transformed their existing states. They did not preserve local laws, customs and traditions. The same is probably true of Suadi Arabia but I know too little about it before its consolidation.

    Which means you don’t really understand what “individual rights” are. They are a freedom to think and act in a social context and those of us who are right wing want a government that protects these rights and nothing else. There’s nothing to “flesh out”.

    There is always something to ‘flesh out’. That is why we have courts of law because there are always circumstances where a law requires clarification. To not understand this is breathtaking.

    Then what is it?

    It followed in the next sentence you excised from above, dumb dumb.

    So in summary, I had you pegged pretty correctly. You are a far-left authoritarian that wants every aspect of peoples lives regulated, but think this is a “narrow scope” of government because of not having thought through any of the basics like what “rights” are and what “government” even is and what the consequences of your policies would be in the absence of having thought this out.

    You really aren’t interested in a discussion. Like most autodidacts in their 20s, you prefer flattering yourself and pretending that no one, beyond those you cribbed from, understands whatever is under discussion. I’ve nowhere said I want every aspect of people’s lives regulated. How you could draw that inference from what I’ve said is the focus of politics is baffling to everybody who is not a buffoon.

  27. .

    The evidence before our eyes suggests otherwise.

    You’re not normally glib but I can’t really take this one from you right now.

    I’m still waiting for Peter to explain to me how altruism is always immoral and it always leads to government coercion.

    I cannot think of a situation arising out of private activity with no government compulsion per se that would result in immorality or compulsion, even if we agree that there is such a thing as benevolence which is different to and commonly confused with altruism.

  28. You’re not normally glib but I can’t really take this one from you right now.

    Given your response of ‘Not at all’ that is rich. But here is some evidence overnight that has come in, Andrew Bolt.

  29. From SMH article linked to above:

    Monash University associate professor of law Luke Beck said the law could allow employees to refuse to serve gay couples at wedding ceremonies on the basis of their religious objection.

    “You would have individual employees running around as laws unto themselves,” he said.

    What a stupid example, does he really think this is about simply serving ‘gays’ or is the clumsy expression above meant to indicate the groom and groom at a gay ‘wedding’?

  30. Iampeter

    What an absurd characterization, and that is leaving aside the simple fact that NK and the Third Reich radically transformed their existing states. They did not preserve local laws, customs and traditions.

    My point is that a government that would be able to preserve “customs and traditions” would necessarily be an authoritarian one. How else are you going to do it?
    Your response also seems like you would have no issue with the Third Reich as long as they were doing the above.
    In other words you aren’t against authoritarians, you’re just against them using state power to not do what you think it should do. You’re still on the side of the far-left authoritarians though.

    There is always something to ‘flesh out’. That is why we have courts of law because there are always circumstances where a law requires clarification. To not understand this is breathtaking.

    Do you think one and one equals two, or do you think that needs to be fleshed out some more?
    This is the arithmetic-equivalent level of politics that we are discussing. We are not debating the technicalities of any policies, I’m trying to lock you down on any of the basics. For example, what is politics? What does a government do and why? What are rights? Etc.
    These are the basics with black and white answers and once you understand them, then you will see why you’re positions are that of a far-left authoritarian.

  31. My point is that a government that would be able to preserve “customs and traditions” would necessarily be an authoritarian one. How else are you going to do it?

    No, no, you misunderstand. Governments have to deal with historic communities with already existing customs, laws, and traditions. It’s not the business of the government to preserve them in spite of the community but only to the extent of preserving the community of people living in its jurisdiction. Of course, this does not in any way mean that the government need resist their repeal or amendment or even the fall into desuetude so long as order is preserved and communal life can continue for the benefit of all concerned.

    Your response also seems like you would have no issue with the Third Reich as long as they were doing the above.
    In other words you aren’t against authoritarians, you’re just against them using state power to not do what you think it should do. You’re still on the side of the far-left authoritarians though.

    Stop being a dickhead, it’s tiresome.

    Do you think one and one equals two, or do you think that needs to be fleshed out some more?
    This is the arithmetic-equivalent level of politics that we are discussing. We are not debating the technicalities of any policies, I’m trying to lock you down on any of the basics. For example, what is politics? What does a government do and why? What are rights? Etc.
    These are the basics with black and white answers and once you understand them, then you will see why you’re positions are that of a far-left authoritarian.

    Not at all. You are being deceitful. I said:

    The devil in the detail being how Weaver and I and others may flesh out ‘individual rights’ in a different manner to you in this or that instance. For instance, I don’t see why ‘right of free movement’ must involve a right of entry into all political polities in the world but not a right of entry to another’s private property. Nor, for instance, do I accept that the right to refuse entry to private property by the owner is absolute. Speaking for myself, I think there are limited instances where trespass can be justified but accept that where it occurs the person accused of trespass does need to show cause.

    See, I was talking about a particular right needing to be fleshed out, whereas your response,

    Which means you don’t really understand what “individual rights” are. They are a freedom to think and act in a social context and those of us who are right wing want a government that protects these rights and nothing else. There’s nothing to “flesh out”.

    was a non sequitur.

  32. Iampeter

    No, no, you misunderstand…

    This paragraph is just words conveying no information. What do you mean by “preserving communal life”? How will a government do this? Why will a government do this? You’ve not said anything.
    Here is an example of how to state the basic political concepts:
    What? A government is force and its purpose is to protect individual rights.
    How? It does this by maintaining the courts, police and armed forces.
    Why? Because the freedom to exercise individual rights is the most basic, political requirement, for human life and prosperity, when living among other humans.

    See, I was talking about a particular right needing to be fleshed out,

    Which is not something you would say if you understand what rights are. Rights are the freedom to think and act in a social context. That’s it. There’s nothing to flesh out. What you want, is a government to engage in rights violating policies, like regulating marriage, but pretend that’s not a rights-violating and leftist position.
    Sorry, it can’t be done.

  33. This paragraph is just words conveying no information. What do you mean by “preserving communal life”? How will a government do this? Why will a government do this? You’ve not said anything.
    Here is an example of how to state the basic political concepts:
    What? A government is force and its purpose is to protect individual rights.
    How? It does this by maintaining the courts, police and armed forces.
    Why? Because the freedom to exercise individual rights is the most basic, political requirement, for human life and prosperity, when living among other humans.

    You really haven’t the slightest idea, do you? Have you ever traveled? You’ll notice differences in respect of custom, law, and tradition if you did. Governments preserve communal life, negatively, by not revolutionizing local custom, law, and tradition, and positively, by ‘attending to the arrangements’. It does this so as to maintain order and allow the people that reside therein to go about their business in relative peace and safety.

    Which is not something you would say if you understand what rights are. Rights are the freedom to think and act in a social context. That’s it. There’s nothing to flesh out. What you want, is a government to engage in rights violating policies, like regulating marriage, but pretend that’s not a rights-violating and leftist position.
    Sorry, it can’t be done.

    You just repeated the non sequitur you made above rather than engage my particular example. Further, you continue to ignore the fact that if rights never needed to be fleshed out there would be no disputes that needed to be settled in courts of law. Frankly, given what you’ve said, the legislative and judicial branches seem to serve no obvious purpose in the Objectivist schema. All you seem to require is an executive and an apparatus of power (police and armed forces).

  34. .

    Given your response of ‘Not at all’ that is rich.

    Not at all.

  35. Iampeter

    You really haven’t the slightest idea, do you? Have you ever traveled?

    Yes there are all different cultures and peoples, so what?
    People are all still the same and have the same requirements if they’re going to live together irrespective of their cultural differences.
    As such, cultures succeed to the extent that they emulate the Western ideal of rights protecting government (e.g. South Korea) and they fail to the extent they have a rights violating government (e.g. North Korea).
    The essential of politics is rights and the governments relationship to them, nothing else.

    You just repeated the non sequitur you made above rather than engage my particular example.

    That’s because it’s not a non-sequitur and your example isn’t about rights. I’m trying to get you to understand what rights are, nothing about how courts handle technical questions of policy.
    In short, courts and laws are one of the ways a government can protect rights. That’s their legitimate purpose. But the concept of rights is what it is and doesn’t require fleshing out. It just requires you to understand what it actually is.
    You’re skipping ahead by making it about courts and laws and disputes, etc.

  36. That’s because it’s not a non-sequitur and your example isn’t about rights. I’m trying to get you to understand what rights are, nothing about how courts handle technical questions of policy.

    No, no, you said that rights don’t need to be ‘fleshed out’ and my example demonstrates that they do.

    In short, courts and laws are one of the ways a government can protect rights. That’s their legitimate purpose.

    Sure, they do this by fleshing out whether this or that right has been infringed in this or that instance.

    But the concept of rights is what it is and doesn’t require fleshing out. It just requires you to understand what it actually is.
    You’re skipping ahead by making it about courts and laws and disputes, etc.

    I’m not skipping ahead at all. But if you want to dispute what a right is, I’m quite happy to, because your definition,

    Rights are the freedom to think and act in a social context. That’s it.

    is woefully inadequate. That, as it stands, would include a purported right to punch another in the face.

  37. Not at all.

    Here is another piece of evidence, dot, the Libertarian Party of the USA.

  38. Iampeter

    No, no, you said that rights don’t need to be ‘fleshed out’ and my example demonstrates that they do.

    I’m giving you the definition of what rights are and this definition does not require any further fleshing out.
    You’re example is not about rights, but about the technical function of courts which is not to flesh out the definition of rights which needs to be sorted BEFORE you have courts.

    I’m not skipping ahead at all. But if you want to dispute what a right is, I’m quite happy to, because your definition,

    I’m not disputing what “a right” is, I’m giving you the definition of what “rights” are.

    is woefully inadequate. That, as it stands, would include a purported right to punch another in the face.

    Well, that’s the objective definition of rights as based on the observable facts of reality. It obviously doesn’t include the right to punch anyone or violate anyone’s rights in any other manner, since if you have the right to violate someone’s rights, you defeat the purpose of having rights. Obviously.

    You seem to think politics is about what you think individuals should be allowed to do based on your personal, subjective beliefs and you argue about this against other leftist, totalitarians who have their own subjective beliefs at odds with yours.

    What those of us who are right wing are saying is a completely different approach.
    We have an objective definition of rights.
    Which allows us to have an objective definition of the purpose of government.
    This in turn allows us to support capitalism without contradicting ourselves and THIS (bringing it back to the original theme of this thread) is the level of integration that Hayek et al, sadly did not have.

  39. .

    dover_beach
    #2837187, posted on October 12, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Not at all.

    Here is another piece of evidence, dot, the Libertarian Party of the USA.

    The FSP and AU LDP are very good.

  40. I’m giving you the definition of what rights are and this definition does not require any further fleshing out.

    No, the definition, “Rights are the freedom to think and act in a social context”, certainly does need to be fleshed out. It is hopelessly underdefined as it stands.

    You’re example is not about rights, but about the technical function of courts which is not to flesh out the definition of rights which needs to be sorted BEFORE you have courts.

    My example is indeed about rights, and how they are fleshed out in this or that circumstance.

    I’m not disputing what “a right” is, I’m giving you the definition of what “rights” are.

    The two are not mutually exclusive.

    Well, that’s the objective definition of rights as based on the observable facts of reality. It obviously doesn’t include the right to punch anyone or violate anyone’s rights in any other manner, since if you have the right to violate someone’s rights, you defeat the purpose of having rights. Obviously.

    None of this is obvious given your definition which simply stipulates a freedom to think or act in social situations, which on its face, doesn’t exclude punching someone in the face or the victim doing so in kind. I think you are going to need to add more to this definition to arrive at the conclusion you did above. BTW, your definition doesn’t even describe what amounts to a ‘rights-violation’.

  41. Iampeter

    We arrive at the definition of rights by these steps:
    1. Recognizing the fact that humans are a living organism.
    2. Recognizing that we live by thinking and acting.
    3. Recognizing that the only thing that can prevent us from thinking and acting is another human using force.
    4. Therefore concluding that if humans are going to live among each other, their rights to think and act, while living among each other, must be protected.

    That’s how we arrive at the concept of “rights” as being our freedom to think and act in a social context.

    Once you get the above, then you logically support a rights protecting government (courts, police and armed forces and nothing else) and logically support capitalism, which is the economic system that arises when rights are protected.

    This is what it means to be “right wing”. Not what your position is on one or two random issues or saying the word “culture” when talking about politics, or reading random and terrible books about Hayek.

    Like I said at the beginning, this stuff is completely incomprehensible to most conservatives, libertarians and others who claim to be an alternative to the left but don’t know what they’re saying.

  42. We arrive at the definition of rights by these steps:
    1. Recognizing the fact that humans are a living organism.
    2. Recognizing that we live by thinking and acting.
    3. Recognizing that the only thing that can prevent us from thinking and acting is another human using force.
    4. Therefore concluding that if humans are going to live among each other, their rights to think and act, while living among each other, must be protected.

    That’s how we arrive at the concept of “rights” as being our freedom to think and act in a social context.

    This is certainly better but we still need each of these points fleshed out. What is the significance of point 1? If it’s that as living organisms, human beings require certain goods to flourish (food, shelter, knowledge, and the like), then this is certainly an important means of expanding the meaning of ‘freedom to act and think in a social context’. But point 2 needs some explaining. We don’t merely ‘think and act’ without purpose, we think and act towards certain ends, whether they be in pursuit of those goods we require as rational creatures. But point 3 is simply wrong, any number of things can prevent us from thinking and acting, an accident, being poor-educated, the environment, and so on. That isn’t a problem, however, as we can get to the conclusion (point 4) without point 3.

    So rights are clearly a freedom to think and act in the pursuit of these goods that are proper to us as rational creatures. That last bit is what you are missing and no amount of whining about conservatives is going to resolve its absence from your understanding.

  43. Iampeter

    So rights are clearly a freedom to think and act in the pursuit of these goods that are proper to us as rational creatures. That last bit is what you are missing and no amount of whining about conservatives is going to resolve its absence from your understanding.

    That’s just saying what I’ve been saying repeatedly but with different words. There’s nothing missing in my understanding about what I’m teaching you about. Anyway, you’ve run out of room to evade now and if you still don’t understand what rights are after this post, I’m going to assume you’re just being dishonest and not humor you anymore.

    Now that we’ve cleared the concept of rights up, my overall point is that an understanding of rights is what’s missing from Hayek and his contemporaries. It also seems to be missing from this Boettke guys horrible book and its totally missing from modern political discourse.

    Without rights, opposition to the left isn’t possible. So all you’re left with is talking about “culture”, or random positions on random issues with nothing tying anything together. This book about Hayek is a good example. This isn’t politics. It’s not going to do anything to save us from the left.

  44. That’s just saying what I’ve been saying repeatedly but with different words. There’s nothing missing in my understanding about what I’m teaching you about. Anyway, you’ve run out of room to evade now and if you still don’t understand what rights are after this post, I’m going to assume you’re just being dishonest and not humor you anymore.

    Not at all. That last phrase, in the pursuit of those goods that are proper to us as rational creatures, that nowhere appears in your understanding of rights is very important. It means that rights are ordered to the pursuit of those goods proper to us as rational creatures. So you cannot enjoy a right to act or think in a manner that is contrary to these goods. I’m sure you are going to suggest otherwise; that is, that we do have a right even to act or think in a manner that is contrary the achievement of any or all of these goods. It’s because of the omission of this phrase/ qualification that you could hold such a position. It also makes the force of your conclusion, point 4, merely hypothetical, as opposed to, categorical.

    This omission is fatal to Objectivism.

  45. Iampeter

    Rights include all actions a person can take with the exception of violating another persons rights. That’s the point of rights. It’s all or nothing.

    Rights are not what YOU think individual people should be ALLOWED to do, rational or otherwise.
    Basically, neither you nor the state gets to determine what rights anyone gets to enjoy.

    There’s no omission here, you’re just trying to twist the fundamentals of liberty to support your authoritarian position and still claim that you’re on the side of liberty.

    This is why conservatives are so much worse than progressives.

  46. Rights include all actions a person can take with the exception of violating another persons rights. That’s the point of rights. It’s all or nothing.

    It’s obviously not ‘all or nothing’ because you just said that it is limited by an exception.

    Rights are not what YOU think individual people should be ALLOWED to do, rational or otherwise.

    If people have a right to act irrationally, then you are saying they have a right to infringe the rights of others. If they can choose to act in a manner that is contrary to their own good, why should they give any rational consideration to the good of their neighbor or respect their rights?

    There’s no omission here, you’re just trying to twist the fundamentals of liberty to support your authoritarian position and still claim that you’re on the side of liberty.

    Not at all. I am over the target. I have diagnosed the fatal omission to Objectivism.

  47. Iampeter

    It’s obviously not ‘all or nothing’ because you just said that it is limited by an exception.

    It is all or nothing and the “all” doesn’t include rights violations because violating rights is not a right.

    If people have a right to act irrationally, then you are saying they have a right to infringe the rights of others.

    Rights include ALL actions, irrational or otherwise, that don’t violate rights.

    Not at all. I am over the target. I have diagnosed the fatal omission to Objectivism.

    You don’t even understand what “rights” are. You are not diagnosing anything.
    You are playing games of evasion or are very, very stupid.
    Either way, I’m not bothering anymore.

  48. It is all or nothing and the “all” doesn’t include rights violations because violating rights is not a right.

    No, no, you are begging the question. We cannot know what a rights-violation consists in until we know were our freedom to think and act in a social contexts ends and we can only know this by reference to the ends this freedom is ordered.

    Rights include ALL actions, irrational or otherwise, that don’t violate rights.

    No, if I can act irrationally you can provide me with no rational grounds to avoid violating another’s rights. What part of this don’t you understand? You can’t appeal to reason because you are asserting that people have a right to act irrationally.

    Can you appreciate the pickle you and other Objectivists have made for yourselves?

  49. .

    No pickle if Objectivism embraces utilitarianism. It infers that private property rights will constrain behaviours.

    …and no, they’re not mutually exclusive, just because utilitarianism has been abused.

    Ultimately the aim of all discourse on economics and politics is a utilitarian goal.

  50. Tel

    Dot, utilitarianism either requires perfect agreement amongst all individuals over valuation questions, or else it requires a small number of individuals to impose their beliefs on the remainder (for their own good, of course).

    As a consequence, any genuinely individualistic philosophy must be very careful about utilitarianism. If you are willing to see democracy as a reasonable approximation to utilitarianism then at least you keep some people happy that way… but some people inevitably will disagree.

  51. .

    Nonsense.

    You are talking about “utilitarianism” as it has been abused by progressive intellectuals which is complete and utter nonsense.

    If you are willing to see democracy

    I don’t. We ought to have a mixed government (classical republic) with democratic checks and balances.

  52. Tel

    The Dot, in the situation where there is disagreement over something (let’s pick gay marriage for example), who gets to decide the “utility” of the outcome? If you ask one side they claim it has high utility, ask the other it has negative utility.

    Attempting to make utility maximizing decisions is meaningless until you can measure utility. It’s no different to claiming one side is “good” and the other side “evil” unless you can measure those things in a concrete manner. Working with things you cannot measure is opinion and nothing more. Not that there’s anything wrong with having opinions, but there’s nothing universal about it.

  53. .

    I don’t need to accept objective economic valuation to say that utilitarianism can guide someone out of the problem DB poses.

  54. No pickle if Objectivism embraces utilitarianism. It infers that private property rights will constrain behaviours.

    This can’t do it either. And we all now what Bentham said about rights. Moreover, your own actions are never constraind by utilitarian considerations, dot. You are not right now thinking ‘what can I be doing right now in order to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number?’ Same is true of all utilitarians.

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