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Rights Shmights

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hashem Posted: Thu, Jun 21 2012 11:18 PM

There are no rights, there are no morals. There are just norms. There is no justifying any action, and no justifying retaliation against the acts of others. We're just brains which feed emotions. How? By forming pattern recognition algorythms based on input, to output cost:benefit calculations which drive our actions. Who's to say an individual's cost:benefit calculation is wrong for that individual?

So I was thinking, a properly free society will seem more like an animal kingdom—no rules—which is what we have always had anyways. You do or don't do various things given the context and based on your individual cost:benefit calculations. Tendency toward liberty is automatic because the human brain prefers happy emotions and the objective fact is that liberty is an economic imperative for the happiness of the most amount of people.

Despite all of the "evil" in history, humanity has progressed and continues to progress, as evidenced by technology. People can get away with various schemes to improve their quality of living at the expense of others, but only because limits on technology have limited our capacity to share cost:benefit calculations efficiently and effectively.

Economics is therefore the ultimate science. All information has its place, but given an effective technological condition and a widespread understanding of economics, people will simply not tolerate value-destroying behavior—and this won't require agencies (which in my understanding are just the currently popular method of planning a State in advance of the fall of the current manifestation of Statism). Thus, automatic liberty is achieved.

Your thoughts?

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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gotlucky replied on Fri, Jun 22 2012 12:07 AM

There are no rights, there are no morals. There are just norms. There is no justifying any action, and no justifying retaliation against the acts of others. We're just brains which feed emotions. How? By forming pattern recognition algorythms based on input, to output cost:benefit calculations which drive our actions. Who's to say an individual's cost:benefit calculation is wrong for that individual?

Well I'm with you in that there are no objective things as rights or objective morals.  It doesn't prevent them from existing in our minds, they just do not objectively exist.

So I was thinking, a properly free society will seem more like an animal kingdom—no rules—which is what we have always had anyways. You do or don't do various things given the context and based on your individual cost:benefit calculations. Tendency toward liberty is automatic because the human brain prefers happy emotions and the objective fact is that liberty is an economic imperative for the happiness of the most amount of people.

Well, this I disagree with, and I find it interesting that you say this considering you mentioned norms in the previous paragraph.  Norms are rules.  The rest of what you said seems awkwardly worded, but it seems correct.

Despite all of the "evil" in history, humanity has progressed and continues to progress, as evidenced by technology. People can get away with various schemes to improve their quality of living at the expense of others, but only because limits on technology have limited our capacity to share cost:benefit calculations efficiently and effectively.

I'm not entirely sure I understand what you are saying.  It sounds like you are saying, "If only technology were better, then people would not be able to live at the expense of others."  I assume you mean that living at the expense of others means aggressing against them, but perhaps not.  Regardless, even if that is not what you mean, I don't think what you said is correct.  Technologies are tools.  Nothing more, nothing less.  There will always be people who aggress against others, no matter how much technology improves.

Economics is therefore the ultimate science. All information has its place, but given an effective technological condition and a widespread understanding of economics, people will simply not tolerate value-destroying behavior—and this won't require agencies (which in my understanding are just the currently popular method of planning a State in advance of the fall of the current manifestation of Statism). Thus, automatic liberty is achieved.

Even if everyone understood economics perfectly, this would still not mean that people will not tolerate value-destroying behavior.  People are weird like that.  Criminals and whatnot.  And people who just have different values.

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hashem replied on Fri, Jun 22 2012 12:58 AM

Well rules exist like the State exists—in our minds. There isn't actually anything preventing us from breaking the rules or forcing us to follow them. The consequences exist, however, in the same way norms exist—in physical reality. Besides, many people who break the rules turn out to acquire the most liberty and suffer the least rule-breaking-penalties. Rules (basically government laws, and religious laws/rules currently) seem to exist for the purpose of causing norms which limit competition for power. To me this sheds new light on the phrase "rules are made to be broken".

Me: "Despite all the so called evil in history humanity has progressed and continues to progress, as evidenced by technology."
You: "Technologies are tools."
I'm agreeing with you here. Humans tend to make happiness easier to achieve, and we do this through technology. Despite the fact that in reality the evil team overwhelmingly wins, technology has progressed, which to me signifies that humanity has progressed. Since we aren't technologically advanced enough, there is a "loophole in the system" where people can achieve happiness easier at the expense of others who make less informed cost:benefit calculations. But as technology advances, the "hive mind" as it were will be able to make more properly informed decisions more efficiently. To me the obvious result is more widespread liberty and less centralized parasites.

Even if everyone understood economics perfectly, this would still not mean that people will not tolerate value-destroying behavior.
Perhaps, but if everyone understood economics much better generally in a future where communication exists in forms we can only dream about now, then people will make more informed cost:benefit calculations that are much more in line with those of everyone else.

Basically I think the concept of rights is a scam, and that humanity tends to move towards a hive mind. Technology originated to make a few people happier, and continues to connect more and more people. We prefer happiness naturally, so I guess what I'm ultimately saying is that we will naturally tend toward a happiness-oriented hive mind without the need for promoting concepts like "rights" and "evil". Currently, people call this condition "liberty" and seek to promote it, but in my view we are always in a state of liberty and are just fooled by the propaganda that rules exist. Especially, I don't like the concept of defense agencies and contract laws, which I think are tools of very intelligent people now for establishing future Statism under the banner of "liberty". Liberty is when everyone is allowed to do what they want, which is the natural and historic and present state of affairs. If you want to kill a kid, well that is very unlikely in the future I'm envisioning, but then you will suffer the consequences whatever they are without the need for contracts and courts—just like animals. Maybe I'm saying that we will tend toward a non-value-destroying hive mind, like animals already enjoy, but that humans require technology to get there, which may explain our natural tendency to create technology to make happiness easier.

I hope that made sense.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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Wheylous replied on Fri, Jun 22 2012 1:08 AM

Well rules exist like the State exists—in our minds. There isn't actually anything preventing us from breaking the rules or forcing us to follow them

This single realization turned me from minarchy to AnCap. Why should the state have some magic powers to make everything work?

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Rules (basically government laws, and religious laws/rules currently) seem to exist for the purpose of causing norms which limit competition for power.

Liberty is when everyone is allowed to do what they want, which is the natural and historic and present state of affairs.

If you are "allowed" to do something, that means the some person or group is giving you permission.  The fact that there are currently rules and laws (as you said in the first quote) completely disproves the second quote. 

 

they said we would have an unfair fun advantage

"enough about human rights. what about whale rights?" -moondog
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Clayton replied on Fri, Jun 22 2012 4:19 PM

There are no rights, there are no morals. There are just norms.

Both norms and morals are normative, so you're drawing a distinction without a difference.

 

So I was thinking, a properly free society will seem more like an animal kingdom—no rules

So you are positing that human brains - which are vastly more complex than any other animal brain - ought to result in human behavior that is more like that of lower animals??

—which is what we have always had anyways.

Yes, people are always flinging shit at each other and engaging in group cannibalism.

You do or don't do various things given the context and based on your individual cost:benefit calculations. Tendency toward liberty is automatic because the human brain prefers happy emotions and the objective fact is that liberty is an economic imperative for the happiness of the most amount of people.

I think that's very a Candide-esque view. I think that, in the very long run, yes, something like liberty is inevitable. However, I think that all the preconditions for greater liberty sooner already exist within human nature - we have a frontal cortex that enables us to engage in complex reasoning and we have socio-cultural structures such as law that permit us to engage in complex, coordinated decision-making that would not otherwise be possible between independent organisms.

Despite all of the "evil" in history, humanity has progressed and continues to progress, as evidenced by technology. People can get away with various schemes to improve their quality of living at the expense of others, but only because limits on technology have limited our capacity to share cost:benefit calculations efficiently and effectively.

 

Again, this is a very trite assessment. It may be true that, in 100 generations from now, human beings will be free in ways that we can't even dream of. However, if the preconditions for improved freedom exist now, then it seems to me we should be looking at how to shift the balance in the social structure towards greater liberty and away from tyranny.

Economics is therefore the ultimate science.

It is a sub-heading of the ultimate science, the science of ataraxia (satisfaction) or, as Mises called it, human action.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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gotlucky replied on Sat, Jun 23 2012 11:09 PM

hashem:

Well rules exist like the State exists—in our minds. There isn't actually anything preventing us from breaking the rules or forcing us to follow them. The consequences exist, however, in the same way norms exist—in physical reality. Besides, many people who break the rules turn out to acquire the most liberty and suffer the least rule-breaking-penalties. Rules (basically government laws, and religious laws/rules currently) seem to exist for the purpose of causing norms which limit competition for power. To me this sheds new light on the phrase "rules are made to be broken".

Well, it sounds like you are defining "liberty" as "power".  The typical definitions of liberty and power are pretty much opposites.  Liberty is the state of being free from controls, and power is the ability to control.

Anyway, my opinion is that we should let norms and laws be created out of spontaneous order as opposed to centralized control.  Otherwise, it's just a case of someone in a position of power telling other people what they he thinks they ought to do.

hashem:

Me: "Despite all the so called evil in history humanity has progressed and continues to progress, as evidenced by technology."

You: "Technologies are tools."
I'm agreeing with you here. Humans tend to make happiness easier to achieve, and we do this through technology. Despite the fact that in reality the evil team overwhelmingly wins, technology has progressed, which to me signifies that humanity has progressed. Since we aren't technologically advanced enough, there is a "loophole in the system" where people can achieve happiness easier at the expense of others who make less informed cost:benefit calculations. But as technology advances, the "hive mind" as it were will be able to make more properly informed decisions more efficiently. To me the obvious result is more widespread liberty and less centralized parasites.

I have no idea what you mean by the "hive mind".

hashem:

Basically I think the concept of rights is a scam, and that humanity tends to move towards a hive mind. Technology originated to make a few people happier, and continues to connect more and more people. We prefer happiness naturally, so I guess what I'm ultimately saying is that we will naturally tend toward a happiness-oriented hive mind without the need for promoting concepts like "rights" and "evil". Currently, people call this condition "liberty" and seek to promote it, but in my view we are always in a state of liberty and are just fooled by the propaganda that rules exist. Especially, I don't like the concept of defense agencies and contract laws, which I think are tools of very intelligent people now for establishing future Statism under the banner of "liberty". Liberty is when everyone is allowed to do what they want, which is the natural and historic and present state of affairs. If you want to kill a kid, well that is very unlikely in the future I'm envisioning, but then you will suffer the consequences whatever they are without the need for contracts and courts—just like animals. Maybe I'm saying that we will tend toward a non-value-destroying hive mind, like animals already enjoy, but that humans require technology to get there, which may explain our natural tendency to create technology to make happiness easier.

Well, first things first.  Rights are one of two things.  There are "legal rights" and "just rights".  Legal rights are the rights that people have in terms of the law.  For example, you have a legal right to own a gun, except for when the state says you can't or under what conditions you may own one.  The state has a legal right to tax you.

Just rights are the rights that you think people ought to have.  Libertarians believe that the state does not have a just right to tax you.  And libertarians think that you have a just right to own a gun, and that no one may infringe upon that right.

Typically, libertarians want legal rights and their conception of just rights to line up.  So, I don't see how any of this is a scam.

Regarding killing kids, this is not a consistent view of liberty.  If you kill the kid unjustly, then you have infringed upon his liberty, and you have exercised power over him.  Sure, you might be able to say that you have liberty too, but you are not in a society of liberty for all.

This is where the viewpoint of estoppel comes in.  I don't know if you have read this paper by Kinsella, but it is great and I highly recommend it.  The idea is that if one initiates violence, then he cannot claim that his victim should not use equal reciprocal violence against him, as he has demonstrated that he is not against violence.  Maybe there is a better way to sum it up, but I suggest reading the paper, as it is really well written.

Anyway, regarding the hive mind, it looks like you really mean an actual hive mind, and I have no idea why you think this is inevitable, nevermind even being possible.  But then you say that animals already enjoy a hive mind experience, and there are very few animals that are even part of a hive.  So, I guess I'll just wait for you to explain what you mean by it.

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hashem replied on Sun, Jun 24 2012 3:17 AM

EDIT: Don't be scared, this seeming wall of text is actually 3 separate responses to 3 different people.

To be sure I'm having trouble articulating my thoughts, although I understand it well enough in my head. I'm not really in a position to write a 30 page essay, or to expect you to read that much. So bare with me, it's a complicated and non-mainstream view I've arrived at and it may not be polished yet. Basically, I'm challenging the pillars of libertarianism, just like I challenge all statist tenets. That's what I do, my brain runs in overdrive and I challenge everything constantly looking for flaws to improve.

@mikachusetts, Rules aren't physical chains, so they aren't used to control your actions. Rather, they're propagated to convince you to control your own actions. Religion is an obvious example of this, but rules in society are subject to the same criticism. Just like the State is a fiction, so are rules. People want you to think you should follow them, but those people can't themselves overcome the fact/value dichotomy to say you should or shouldn't act in accordance with your personal cost:benefit calculation.

@Clayton,
you're drawing a distinction without a difference.
And yet the distinction exists, as the words are not synonymous. Either way my point was in rest of the paragraph immediately following. I was pointing out that regardless of what people have been trained to believe about rules and norms and rights, nobody can really justify action, because of the fact/value dichotomy. Instead, we simply act, based on cost:benefit calculations. Telling someone their cost:benefit calculation was wrong and that they should disregard their brain and act in accordance with rules is just propaganda to make people control themselves.

So you are positing that human brains—which are vastly more complex than any other animal brain—ought to result in human behavior that is more like that of lower animals??
Well, animals don't create insitutions with monopolys on aggressive and systematic violence and complex systems of slavery against their own brethren and try to justify such instituions in disregard of the fact/value dichotomy, so that's a step in the right direction. If you missed my point, pardon my failure to articulate well enough. By "more like an animal kingdom—no rules—which is what we have always had anyways", I didn't mean we should abandon the intelligence which distinguishes us from lower species. Rather, like you can't threaten an animal with propaganda about rules and morals, we should be intelligent enough to acknowledge that we don't need propaganda about concepts like rules and morals and rights. Just like chatel slaves would train their offspring to hate liberty, propagate ideas about the legitimacy of rules/rights/morals not because we need to be, but because it increases our chances of surviving in the environment at this phase in history run top down by aggression and violence. And don't underestimate the importance from the masters perspective of having us believe propaganda, since it makes it easier for masters when we control ourselves.

I think that, in the very long run, yes, something like liberty is inevitable.
I agree with you. I think it will happen in the long run because although we are capable of complete liberty istantaneously in theory, the reality of human progression is that Statism is a step along the way. Does that mean statism is wrong? No, but people will try very hard to convince you it is. Needless to say, the State has a supreme vested interest in convincing you that evil is wrong—that is how they limit competition, and the mainstream throughout history has caught on very well and begun propagating ideas about how evil is wrong.

it seems to me we should be looking at how to shift the balance in the social structure towards greater liberty and away from tyranny.
Maybe we should. But the present reality about domination of humans by others due to lack of technology is, as a matter of fact, a phase in the natural progression of humanity. It's not going to go away easy, which to me signifies it isn't meant to go away easy. A rephrasing: the pattern of such violence in history and its persistence to this day should tell us something about the facts of human progression.

@gotlucky,
Well, it sounds like you are defining "liberty" as "power".
Someone told me this before, perhaps it was you. I don't think I'm defining liberty as power, but I agree with Rothbard that power is a prerequisite to functional liberty. Having the liberty to walk while the power to do so is held from you is no liberty at all. I was noticing how interesting it is that the people who enjoy the most liberty in history are the people who exercise the most power—coincidentally, as part of the story of humanity, this means exercising power over other humans. Obviously a void will be filled, whether it should is another story. If powerful "evil" people don't exercise power over other humans, then some others will simply fill the void. I am not saying this should be the case, or that it will always necessarily be the case. But it certainly is a consistent pattern in the history of humanity.

I have no idea what you mean by the "hive mind".
Bare with me as I figure out how to explain it. I'm sure some geniuses have already done so but I'm not aware of their material. It has to do with macro economics, or the meta economy, for lack of proper words. Another word for it is collective consciousness, which is what things like the internet and social networks and cell phones facilitate. I use it to describe when people tend more and more to make decisions that are influenced by the more informed opinions of those around them, which is a necessary result as information technologies progress. I think Timothy Leary is famous for having ideas about his own hive mind theories, and Philip Dick talks about human conformity and something to do with "swarm of bees", which is sort of how I picture things. If I'm right and rules are propaganda to limit competition for power (power doesn't necessarily require evil like you may think I'm suggesting, although I AM suggesting that it does at this phase in the progression of humanity), then eventually we can picture human liberty as analogous to a swarm of bees or a school of fish. Not dominating each other but acting in sync, not because of threats of rules, but because of a hive mind.

Regarding Kinsella's estoppel, I've watched most of the videos with him on youtube, and listened to his audiobooks so I have an informed idea of what it is, but I'm not sure how it's relevant to what I'm interested in (not saying it isn't).

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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Hashem:
Rules aren't physical chains, so they aren't used to control your actions. Rather, they're propagated to convince you to control your own actions. Religion is an obvious example of this, but rules in society are subject to the same criticism. Just like the State is a fiction, so are rules. People want you to think you should follow them, but those people can't themselves overcome the fact/value dichotomy to say you should or shouldn't act in accordance with your personal cost:benefit calculation.

No one claims that rules somehow physically bind you to an action.  If this were the case, there would be no such thing as breaking a rule.  Anyway, if you think rules don't exist, how do you play a game?  Can the game of chess exist if the rules of chess don't exist?

The point I was trying to show in the previous post, is that talking about liberty as "being allowed" to do whatever you want suggests permission, which necessitates rules.  

"Liberty is when everyone is allowed to do what they want..."

If instead you mean, something like "able to do what they want," then there is no way that this is the natural state of affairs, ever has been or ever will be.  I want to levitate, yet I am not able.

You aren't going to get anywhere with this train of thought.

they said we would have an unfair fun advantage

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hashem replied on Sun, Jun 24 2012 1:59 PM

I think you're misunderstanding me, which was fine at the start but I feel I've explained it sufficiently to where the mistake isn't my failure to articulate but your failure to think outside your own box. No problem, I'll try to explain it within your perspective.

Yes, everyone is capable of doing whatever they want, assuming they have the power to do so. To put your levitation example into context with my view that rules—like the state—don't exist, but rather they are propaganda to limit competition for power, let us assume humans have the power to levitate. Suppose, then, levitating opens up vast opportunities (i.e. now you can see far), so therefore politicians have outlawed levitation. Over the centuries, politicians have made excuses for why it's just and good for them and their henchmen to be allowed to levitate, but there are severe penalties for citizens who levitate. Suppose, also, that the only way to rise to the level of a politician was through levitating "behind closed doors" as it were. Thus the citizens, as a fundamental psychological coping mechanism, and as a plain necessity for survival, invent ex post facto rationalizations about how levitating is "evil" unless you are in a position of political authority. This idea, that slaves make excuses about why they shouldn't strive for freedom, and begin to propagate ideas to their offspring about why to never strive for freedom, was prevalent during the colonial era, and Peter Schiff interviewed 2 different black guests who acknowledged how the self-perpetuated propaganda is still affecting the offspring of those slaves and communities which they influenced. Combine that with the fact that humans need to invent myths in order to cope with harsh reality, and you have the explanation for why people believe it is wrong or evil to do various things which are, in plain fact, just actions. Acknowledge also that those in positions of power have a deepseated, highly vested interest in propagating the idea that various actions should never be performed, and you have my view of the entire puzzle. Thus, presently, people think it's wrong to act in ways that people who enjoy the most liberty take for granted.

Well, levitating isn't actually evil, that is just the propaganda to limit competition for power, rationalized as a psychological coping mechanism and as a survival tool. And nothing prevents the humans in this scenario from levitating. Rather, they spread fear about the rules (rules which don't exist physically except for in the minds of people), which causes them to control themselves, saving politicians from having to make actual chains. Since levitating is in this scenario entirely possible or at least concievable, the brain is able to make cost:benefit calculations about when to levitate. Given the fact/value dichotomy, there is no saying that someone should or shouldn't levitate, or that levitating is good or evil. Rather, it is just something people can do, despite the fact they may think they can't or shouldn't. And if their cost:benefit calculations lead them to levitate, who is to say that was the wrong action? And who is anyone to think they have a right of retaliation? They may have their own cost:benefit calculation which leads them to retaliate, but the concept of the right to retaliate is just a propaganda coping mechanism.

Thus animals don't create courts and stuff because they just do what they do. If someone invades their stuff, they retaliate, and life goes on and the species advances, but they don't make excuses for it one way or the other. If one animal goes rogue and attacks his peers, nobody tries to say he was wrong or evil, they just take action and life goes on.

Exchange "levitate" with any action, and the logic should hold.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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