Nietzschean Libertarianism: the how and why of the free market morality

 
  • Nietzschean Libertarianism: the how and why of the free market morality

    The point of my thesis has been to bring the fundamental economic and ethical principles of libertarianism together into a single document.

    Many people have walked this road before me; but I have decided to handle it differently in both style and content through the addition of Nietzschean morality and my personal interpretation of all the covered concepts.

    I have started from the very foundations of libertarian thought and then built on from there, from self-ownership through property and market mechanisms up to anarcho-capitalism. On top of this, I have tried to tackle some of the fundamental questions regarding morality in general and the ethical superiority of libertarian thought over collectivism specifically.









    The idea behind the thesis as a whole is this (excerpt from Chapter 7):

    "Libertarianism itself is not as straightforward and universal as some of its followers would like to have one believe. It has many detractors from other ideologies, and as we have seen in previous Chapters, intellectual honesty compels even its promoters - myself included - to recognize that some issues at least still remain in need of further philosophical examination and debate.

    Undoubtedly, these various issues will never be solved and agreed upon indefinitely by humanity as a whole, but I contend that this of course need not be an issue that by itself destabilizes any of the libertarian argumentation as such. It is nonetheless a straightforward fact that libertarianism (at least superficially and as it is generally presented and intended) suffers from the same disease as other moral frameworks do: an underlying claim to objective truth about good and evil; i.e. a claim to an objectively quantifiable universal morality which is supposed to trump all others universally.

    Yet, as we have discussed in previous Chapters, morality by its very nature is an inherently subjective and non-universal concept. This, to be clear, is one thing at least which I do maintain to be a "universal truth" (although in using this kind of terminology one is perhaps at the risk of being misinterpreted). Taking all of the above into account, the novelty of the approach which I opted to take as I decided upon the focal point of my thesis lies in explaining the existing principles and ideas which constitute libertarianism as it is generally understood today, but this in combination with leaving the dead-end path of vying for a coinciding objective universal morality to follow suit. Instead, moral relativity is fully recognized and its consequences taken into account.

    For this, I feel that Nietzsche offers a way out of the treacherous swamp of nihilism and opens the door for libertarianism and its anarchistic principles to come into their own."



    The structure of the actual text:

    Introduction ... 3
    "Everything which follows from this point on is based on my personal interpretation and usage of the thoughts and words of the people who I cite throughout this paper. Five of them in particular have allowed me to take that which I have from childhood on instinctively felt, and over the years helped shape it into fully conscious and above all explainable thought. This warrants them a special mention from the start. These individuals are Friedrich August von Hayek (minarchism), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (the will to power), Murray Newton Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, and, last but certainly not least, Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (libertarianism).

    I have no doubt that any one of them would severely disagree with several things discussed in this paper. But this, in fact, is exactly what this thesis is about: a differing view on the things that kept these great minds enthralled for many of their countless restless days and sleepless nights, distilled and synthesized during those of my own. I wish to be clear in recognizing that the separate components as such are neither new nor unheard of, but I do believe that there is something to be said for the peculiar relevance of their combination, however unlikely a synergy it may at first glance appear to be.

    This thesis is part of my work in promoting human liberty and dignity as I myself see it, to the best of my abilities and in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same."


    1. On Freedom ... 6
    "The content of human freedom is often experienced as a confusing and rather vague concept (Sen, 2003:7). There are several ways of defining freedom, and one needs to be very clear about the one that is being aimed for (Berlin, 1969:Ch. 3.1) as the use of the term is highly dependent on the freedom interpretation of the interpreter who wishes to apply it (Cieters, Schietse, 2009:10)."

    Both individualist as well as collectivistic ideologies claim to strive for "freedom". So what is "freedom"? (positive versus negative liberty)

    2. Self-Ownership ... 15
    "Self-ownership has been voiced by many authors, but generally its official origin is traced back to Locke's saying that every person "has a right to decide what would become of himself and what he would do, and as having a right to reap the benefits of what he did", or more concisely: "every man has a Property in his own Person" (Locke, 1690:Ch. 5).

    To many individuals this axiom may seem obvious and in need of little explanation; few would argue that their body and mind are not their own, but this in itself does not prove anything per se. Even from personal experience I know that there are in fact people who oppose the principle of self-ownership, so I believe it best to not just let ourselves be satisfied with a priori statements but instead explain the reasoning behind the concept in full.

    In this regard there are three possible conditions of ownership of the self (Rothbard, 1998:45):

    1. each person owns a part of everybody else (collectivism)
    2. some (groups of) people own (groups of) others completely
    3. each person owns himself (individualism)

    It could be argued that there is a fourth condition, in which nobody is owned by
    anybody, including themselves."


    What are the grounds for self-ownership and what is the difference with diverging interpretations (for example the collectivistic claim that everybody is part and property of the whole)?

    3. Property & Homesteading ... 19
    "Along with and resulting from self-ownership there is another central concept which lies at the core of all capitalistic ideologies. Private property in its capitalistic sense means that somebody is the owner of a certain thing. Such ownership need not - and often does not - coincide with or relate to legal ownership. [...] Having such ownership means that the owner is morally legitimized in full control of the use of his property (which includes the right to exclude others from using it)."

    Where does the concept of "property" come from, where is it based upon (homesteading) and with what kind of moral right are such claims made?

    What with claims like "property is theft" and the idea that all people have equal rights to all material things?

    After explaining property and homesteading, both concepts are further explored through the concept of intellectual property and its incompatibility with libertarian morality.

    4. On Morality ... 34
    "All different systems of morality - be they religious, economic or political (and which more often than not intermingle) - have at their core the antonymous concepts of "good" and "evil". But rarely does one seem to stop and wonder where these concepts come from: who or what decides what is good, who or what decides what is evil, and by what knowledge or what right? How does humanity establish the neutral point from which all deviation is a movement in the continuum of those two outcomes? All too often these questions are resigned to the background, but anybody wishing to explain his or her own version of a philosophical right and wrong (as compared to good and evil) needs to have the courage and integrity to not only sketch the foundation of a theory, but also the very soil these fundamentals themselves have been grounded in. [...] In thinking about morality, on its own terms - in the form of honesty - it compels us to deny morality itself as it is generally understood (Nietzsche, 1968:s404). In the absence of a deity who personally comes to make his verifiable claim, "there are no moral facts" (Nietzsche, 1888:66, emphasis added). And even if we were to say that there did appear some deity today or tomorrow: then what of it?"

    Here Nietzsche enters the picture for the first time.

    Different things are discussed. For starters, moral relativism ("the death of god") and its effect on libertarian ethics. This is followed by an explanation of passive versus active nihilism and the socialist origins of democracy and calls for "equality" out of slave morality.

    5. Death and Taxes ... 48
    "In this Chapter we will now begin to make the translation from theory into practice with the help of examples from past and present."

    5.1 Free Riding on Free Riding ... 48
    "Today it is nigh impossible to find a mainstream economics textbook that does not make the distinction between private goods on the one hand, "for which the truth of the economic superiority of capitalist production is generally admitted", and public goods "for which it is generally denied" on the other (Hoppe, 1989b:28).92 We are inclined to wonder where this distinction comes from and through which kind of process it supposedly makes market mechanisms applicable to some goods (private), and inapplicable to others (public)."

    Private versus public goods, the idea behind "free riding" and government intervention that results from it, along with the desastrous consequences.

    This is followed by libertarian value theory and an explanation and examination of the "how many men" principle.

    5.2 Shooting the Messenger ... 70
    "Of course, nobody would deny that "it is true enough [...] that a termination of the State's current practice of providing public goods would imply some change in the existing social structure and the distribution of wealth. [...] However, this fact cannot be accepted as a valid argument demonstrating the supposed failure of markets."

    An examination of some present day effects of State intervention (Zimbabwe, Venezuela, South Africa, Sweden, etc.), the effect of "minimum wages" and globalisation, a closer look at "speculators" and the price mechanism (and its disturbance by State-enforced minimum and maximum prices)

    5.3 The Broken Window ... 87
    "The absurdity of the reasoning by people who maintain the existence and consequent legitimacy State provision of public goods through expropriated funds, who applaud so-called "stimulus packages" and everything else that is to serve as a justification for the robbery of taxation by Keynesians of all ages, was explained most eloquently by Bastiat's famous Broken Window Fallacy."

    Followed the "negative railroad" and a look at how States grow like cancer as special interest legislation spirals out of control. Also an examination of anti-trust policies and a closer look at the concept of "predatory pricing" and monopolies.

    6. In Defence of Defence ... 102
    "The State is all that people of my generation know about. It seems impossible to most to imagine its absence as much as it is impossible to imagine the absence of the moon. The existence of the State has grown into an unquestioned fact of nature; democracy is the religion of the self-proclaimed free thinker and socialism the trademark of the righteous man. Discussion of such things is beyond taboo and ridiculous in itself. Or so one is led to believe. [...] "Security" is often seen as the archetypical public good.228 It is thought to be the most telling instance of the free rider problem, in which people - if they were left free from State enforcement - would supposedly be completely incapable of arranging their own defence, would refuse to pay for security and instead would rely on their neighbours to pay for defending the community; the aggregate of which would supposedly lead to no security being available to anyone at all and everybody bowing to the first malevolent person who sharpens a stick and thereby would come to dominate the world. Therefore, it is claimed, State aggression in order to provide security is supposedly justified. [...] Security is to be provided by the market, without State intervention, for the same reasons and along the same lines that butter and car repairs are. So how would private law and defence with competing producers of security work?"

    Along with a discussion of the counter-arguments by Nozick (and through the dismissal of Nozicks's minimal State the debunking of all larger forms of State as well).


    7. The Zarathustra Principle ... 128
    "Libertarianism itself is not as straightforward and universal as some of its followers would like to have one believe. It has many detractors from other ideologies, and as we have seen in previous Chapters, intellectual honesty compels even its promoters - myself included - to recognize that some issues at least still remain in need of further philosophical examination and debate. Undoubtedly, these various issues will never be solved and agreed upon indefinitely by humanity as a whole, but I contend that this of course need not be an issue that by itself destabilizes any of the libertarian argumentation as such. It is nonetheless a straightforward fact that libertarianism (at least superficially and as it is generally presented and intended) suffers from the same disease as other moral frameworks do: an underlying claim to objective truth about good and evil; i.e. a claim to an objectively quantifiable universal morality which is supposed to trump all others universally. Yet, as we have discussed in previous Chapters morality by its very nature is an inherently subjective and non-universal concept. This, to be clear, is one thing at least which I do maintain to be a "universal truth" (although in using this kind of terminology one is perhaps at the risk of being misinterpreted). Taking all of the above into account, the novelty of the approach which I opted to take as I decided upon the focal point of my thesis lies in explaining the existing principles and ideas which constitute libertarianism as it is generally understood today, but this in combination with leaving the dead-end path of vying for a coinciding objective universal morality to follow suit. Instead, moral relativity is fully recognized and its consequences taken into account. For this, I feel that Nietzsche offers a way out of the treacherous swamp of nihilism and opens the door for libertarianism and its anarchistic principles to come into their own."

    In the final chapter all the previous arguments (economic as well as ethical) are fused together through a combination of natural law and master morality, resulting in free market anarchism through economic active nihilism.


    ---------------------------------------------



    Any and all comments are welcome if anybody were to actually read any of it ;)

    Anti-Socialism
    To each his own.
    Edited by dyingdreams on 19 Jun 2010, 10:25
  • Congratulations on completing your thesis. I have read it with interest and I found that you make an interesting and well reasoned case. I am sure, though, that you won’t be at all surprised that I disagreed with a few things!

    Good luck with you struggle against the communist hordes;-)

    That's more than enough!
  • [spam]

    [spam]

    Edited by hjbardenhagen on 16 Jul 2011, 12:02
  • Joseph Schumpeter called. He wants his borrowed ideas back.

    Oh snap bitches!

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 22 Nov 2011, 19:31
    i wonder if nietzsche would've considered the kardashians ubermenschen and nikola tesla a lowly slave moralist

Anonymous users may not post messages. Please log in or create an account to post in the forums.