Danny Frederick criticizes Hoppe’s recognition argument in the second section of his paper “Hoppe’s Derivation of Self-Ownership from Argumentation: Analysis and Critique” (Reason Papers Vol. 35, no. 1). This blog entry will raise questions about that critique. Frederick’s presentation of Hoppe’s ideas provides an unusually clear discussion. Even when I disagree, he helps me to understand. I agree that Hoppe’s explanation makes it hard for the reader to understand the flow of Hoppe’s argument, in the sense that I can read all of Hoppe’s words and not know how Hoppe intends his argument to hold together. But I think Frederick has misinterpreted Hoppe. I present two alternative interpretations of Hoppe’s recognition argument. I also make some other quibbles. In a later blog entry I hope to raise similar critical questions about Frederick’s analysis of Hoppe’s pragmatic contradiction. Hoppe’s recognition argument is intended to support his idea that argumentation presupposes self-ownership. Frederick reconstructs Hoppe’s recognition argument like so: (i)  Arguing is both cognitive and practical; (ii)  one who argues makes use of his own body; (iii) argumentation is conflict-free in the sense that the participants cooperate in arguing. (iv) When people are engaged in argumentation, each ipso facto recognizes that each has the moral right to exclusive control over his own body. The only problem I have is with the word “recognizes,” but it is a big problem. Hoppe does use that term, but I am not sure that Hoppe means what Frederick thinks he means. Here is the original: Hence, one would have to conclude that the norm implied in argumentation is that everybody has the right of exclusive control over his own body as his instrument of action and cognition. Only if there is at least an implicit recognition of each individual’s property right in his own body can argumentation take place. Only as long as this right is recognized is it possible for someone to agree to what has been said in an argument and hence can what has been said be validated, or is it possible to say “no” and to agree only on the fact that there is disagreement. Excerpt From: Hans-Hermann Hoppe. “The Theory of Socialism and Capitalism.” Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2011. iBooks.   3 possible interpretations of Hoppe: 1) Conscious recognition: This is Frederick’s interpretation. Recognition is conscious, and the right of self control is about purpose, activity, not bodily control but obedience. Arguers recognize each others’s rights consciously and explicitly, to the extent that they do. 2) Unconscious recognition is by action, unconscious. Hoppe uses the phrase “implicit recognition.” This could easily mean that arguers act as if they all have rights to property in their own bodies. If arguers stop acting as if the other participants have such rights, the argument ends. But they may not consciously admit this, and even may deny with words the meaning of their actions. 3) Literal control, arguers consciously recognize that my mind and brain make my hands move and make words come out of my mouth, and other peoples’ minds and brains do the same for their respective bodies. They also recognize that we have the right for our brains to control our bodies, that principles of justice must defer to physical and biological facts.  Hoppe’s whole thing is the contradiction between thought and action, so I liked interpretation 2. The fact that Frederick ignored the word “implicit” makes me curious. His presentation is otherwise fairly clear and painstakingly careful. Yet there is another problem. Frederick constructs 3 thought experiments that illustrate exceptions to interpretation 1. His counter-examples use self-ownership in a different way than Hoppe does.  First, imagine a society in which there is a noble and serfs. Each person in this society believes that the noble has the right to exclusive control over his own body; that no serf has the right to exclusive control over his own body; and that the noble has, and exercises, extensive rights to control the use of the bodies of the serfs. The sort of right to exclusive control the noble may have over the bodies of the serfs is indirect, while the serfs have direct control. The serfs control themselves by thinking, the noble may control them by issuing commands. For them to participate in debate, they must control their bodies, whether or not the noble commands them one way or the other, or mentally denies their right, or physically violates their rights if they seek to defend them. Frederick and Hoppe are not discussing the same thing. So his supposed counter-examples strike the wrong target. I also disagree with Frederick about liberties versus rights. Here he summarizes Hoppe’s point: [W]here people engage in an activity voluntarily, either by themselves or with others, they thereby behave as if all of the acknowledged participants in the activity have the liberty to engage in that activity, at least for as long as the activity lasts. Here Frederick is distinguishing between rights, that entail duties on others not to interfere, and liberties, that carry no such duties. An example of a liberty is the ability of a library patron to borrow a particular book; we may borrow a specific book, so long as someone else has not beaten us to it. The library has no obligation to make a specific book available to us at a specific time. If Frederick and I arranged a debate based on the assumption that those who argue are at liberty to do so but do not have a right to do so, I could hit him with a stick every time he tried to speak. He would have no cause to complain, as his liberty to speak puts no obligation on me to respect his bodily integrity. Yet, would this be a debate? Would anyone call our activity argumentation? Or would the whole thing come to an end the first time I gave him a serious whack? Even if he decided to tolerate my abuse, would he be able to argue? Argumentation presupposes that we treat each other in a certain way. Maybe the rights we afford each other are not exactly those Hoppe argues for, but there’s something going on there, and it is a right, not a liberty. I can’t resist tossing in one more quibble from Frederick’s section 2. He uses the example of a kidnap victim, who may choose to cooperate with her captors, as an example where engaging in an activity does not imply endorsement of the activity. It is true that in both the case of a statist denigrating rights and a captive cooperating with a kidnapper, thoughts and deeds are in conflict. But if we think of them as arguments, which is fallacious? A kidnap victim can and probably will condemn kidnapping once the ordeal ends. Will the statist condemn argumentation? In Frederick’s defense, Hoppe does not make his case clear. I’ve made numerous errors trying to figure out how Hoppe thinks his argument works, and in spite of many hours of study and many blog posts, I may still not understand correctly. I am not yet ready to write “Argumentation Ethics for Dummies.” But someone needs to do it. In a future blog post I hope to raise similar critical questions about Frederick’s analysis of Hoppe’s pragmatic contradiction.

I sat down with Martin Davidson of Coin Station at the grand opening of the Melbourne Australia Bitcoin Technology Center, MBTC for short! Martin fills us in on his path into Bitcoin and how a Coin Station Vending Machine will help individuals use Bitcoin easily! He has such great enthusiasm, though that doesn’t surprise me! Australia is a hot bed of crypto activity! For more info on Martin Davidson http://www.coinstation.com.au/ Special thanks to our hosts at the Melbourne Bitcoin Technology Center http://coworking.biz/  

There have been major stories regarding cannabis over the last 15 months. On August 29, 2013, the Department of Justice announced, “Based on assurances that those states [that have legalized cannabis] will impose an appropriately strict regulatory system, the Department has informed the governors of both states that it is deferring its right to challenge their legalization laws at this time.” Further, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole sent a memo to all United States Attorneys explaining the DOJ’s stance. In January of this year, people in Colorado were allowed to legally purchase recreational cannabis for the first time in nearly a century. And earlier this month the Washington Post reported, the Justice Department said “it will no longer prosecute federal laws regulating the growing or selling of marijuana on reservations, even when state law bans the drug.” Some tribal governments asked the Department of Justice if it would back tribal pot bans in states where recreational use is legal — currently Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska, which prompted the policy announcement. Just a few days after the announcement that the feds were, ever so slightly, further rolling back the war on cannabis, the Attorneys General of Oklahoma and Nebraska asked the US Supreme Court to strike down Colorado’s legalization of cannabis. The lawsuit alleges, “Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining Plaintiff States’ own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems.” Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said in a statement that he will defend the state’s legalization of cannabis, saying that the lawsuit is, “without merit.” Adding, “Because neighboring states have expressed concern about Colorado-grown marijuana coming into their states, we are not entirely surprised by this action. However, it appears the plaintiffs’ primary grievance stems from non-enforcement of federal laws regarding marijuana, as opposed to choices made by the voters of Colorado.” It seems that the lawsuit by Oklahoma and Nebraska should instead be against the federal government, not Colorado. It is also interesting that no state has ever sued another state or foreign government because illegal substances crossed a border. Further, what is actually draining the treasuries, and placing stress on the criminal justice systems of Oklahoma and Nebraska are the laws that have criminalized the manufacture, sale, use and possession of a plant. Maybe the legislators of Oklahoma and Nebraska, as well as the other 44 states that have prohibitions on cannabis will take a cue from Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska and move to reduce the drug war that is so stressful and costly.

When nothing is clear If the proponents of this new political force cannot explain their problem with the system and their goals in plain English, or cannot translate it into language devoid of emotional baggage, it is automatically suspicious. Real revolutions have nothing to gain from obscuring their point by unclear rhetoric and fancy idioms. If the ideas are strong, they should be able to withstand rational scrutiny. Be wary of any movement that consistently uses catchphrases and sophistry. When the revolutionaries expect to profit directly from the changes at the expense of others Most ‘revolutions’ merely consist of a bunch of people demanding stuff. When all the extraneous wording is picked out, we can basically conclude that the protestors want something, and believe the state should give it to them. Student protestors want their tuition debt forgiven, so therefore ‘student debt should be forgiven’. Female workers want their reproductive needs paid for, therefore ‘contraception should be free’. Very rarely are these pronouncements considered requiring of proof. And how exactly are these things to be paid for? If not done voluntarily funds must be extracted by force from working people. Do they, in turn, have the right to demand that the students pay for their healthcare costs and the female workers pay for their gas bills? It’s doubtful anybody would consider that a legitimate or relevant revolution. When there is no plan If there is no clean plan of action you can be sure that the revolution exists to benefit some special interest. It’s difficult to see how occupying Wall Street could in any way compel bankers to behave more responsibly, nor storming RBS and being generally rude to the staff. When the ideas are old hat It is a great disappointment to find out about a potentially exciting new revolution only to find that it’s eventually advocating boring old socialism. After 200 years of socialism in the public consciousness, and after a thousand socialistic revolutions and protests worldwide, it’s improbable that Russell Brand, the TV personality, has the final answer that will finally bring as a new age of social justice. What can Brand offer to us that we cannot already find in the speeches of Tony Benn? It’s not as if he’s resurrecting a forgotten truth in a dystopian, balls-to-the-wall, capitalist world. Many if not most of the politicians he’s addressing were of are socialists or something close. The staunchest pro-EU MEPs are quite openly Marxist. So David Cameron isn’t as big a of a lefty as you’d like – so what? Do you have anything new to say? In the end, the Brand revolution doesn’t advocate anything that deviates too strongly from Labour Party talking points. It’s laughable that we’re expected to be impressed by a call for cuts to bankers bonuses in a political landscape that considers minutiae like that a public outrage. The Brand revolution is populist leftist drivel in yet another pretty package. When you’re a statist Anything that doesn’t address the elephant in the room that is the state cannot be considered revolutionary. The state has been the one constant in he diverging governmental systems throughout history. Revolutions have changed the way we are ruled but never questioned the notion that we must be ruled in the first place. There is little more a statist philosophy can offer – we have seen its capacity for destruction in every possible form, so let’s try something new. Liberty: a real option It is clear The state creates destruction and makes us poorer. It is an institution of aggression and therefore incompatible with a peaceful society respectful of person and property. Libertarians want the state out of people’s lives, period. Libertarians may not immediately benefit from changes Libertarianism is an egalitarian philosophy in that it demands every individual be given the same rights as everyone else and nothing more. The state can grant privileges to some, but only at the expense of others. So, a libertarian will forgo the immediate benefits of statism that come along like the welfare state and protection of competition by working immigrants through border controls, in favour of a more just society. Although most libertarians accept that the whole of society will stand to benefit from the state’s death, this benefit is deferred. There is a plan Although no libertarian goes about the process in the same way, they all strive for reducing the state’s impact in our lives. This can come in the form of political action, that seeks to elect politicians to repeal laws; agorism, that seeks to do business in the black and grey markets, completely bypassing the state and thereby cutting off its revenue stream; entrepreneurism, that competes with state services with better, more efficient and more just businesses, and many others. Libertarians are the least likely political force to march around ‘demanding justice’ because they understand better than most that justice will not arrive on command – it has to be peacefully taken. The state cannot be expected to starve itself. The ideas are new Although libertarianism has its roots in the classical liberal tradition, there have never been as many people taking the ideas of personal liberty to their radical, but logical, consequences. Modern libertarianism is more and more shifting perspective from the essentially benign view of the state, until it gets ‘too big’, to a more radical anarchist view. Nobody in ‘the system’ can even imagine a stateless, capitalist society, whereas everybody knows all about socialism. Libertarianism is a truly revolutionary force because we can’t truly predict what will happen when it is implemented. It is brave new ground. Libertarians aren’t statists ‘Nuff said.

There’s a college bubble afoot. Undergraduate education looks like a worse and worse investment every day even now, but could it be even worse than it looks? Prof. Stephen Miller of Western Carolina University believes there’s another factor at play: “ability bias.” How much of the “benefits” of education come from the fact that those who go to college would be more likely to succeed anyway? Join Miller to find out Monday, December 22nd at 9pm EST!

I was in the kitchen getting coffee the other day when my wife of many years came in waving a magazine around. “Look at this”, she said, “I don’t care if you’re gay”. “Actually”, I said, “I’m pretty sure you’d be upset if I was gay”. She barked out a laugh, swatted me with the magazine, and said “That’s not what I mean goofy, look at this”. The magazine she showed me was a woman’s fashion magazine. She spent years working in the woman’s clothing business and has a degree having to do with textiles. Such publications are common in our house. She showed me a picture of two guys that was part of an advertisement for London Fog brand rain-wear. The two guys were well dressed and well groomed, and once she pointed it out I could see they were wearing matching wedding rings. “I have lots of friends that are gay”, she said, “but don’t you think this is over the top?”. Now some observations from the prospective of a straight guy. I don’t, as a rule, look at woman’s fashion magazines. If I do it is for the same reason I might look at a Victoria’s Secret catalog, pictures of pretty girls not wearing very much. If I think about it, which I don’t often do, I would guess that nearly all male models are gay. Isn’t there a union rule or something? If I had been looking at the magazine my wife showed me, I would not have noticed this ad. In fact I did not notice the wedding rings until she pointed it out. If a straight guy is in the market for rain gear and is persuaded by advertising to buy one brand over another he is likely looking at a Cabella’s ad  showing a guy in waterproof camo winching a dead moose out of a bogg somewhere in the Yukon Territory. It turns out that London Fog doesn’t even offer any of the popular camo patterns in their product line. This ad was not some government sponsored PSA. The London Fog people paid money to run this ad, presumably in the hope that they would thereby sell more product than otherwise. I would guess the target market for this ad is gay men and perhaps straight women who wish their men were not the complete slobs that they actually are. The ad may well be popular with it’s target demographic, but of course  advertising doesn’t have to touch on subjects like gay marriage to be obnoxious. If lots of straight women think the ad is creepy and/or lots of gay men think it’s patronizing, such ads will soon disappear. If they like it enough to buy more product, more such ads will be placed. There is nothing like the profit motive to make speech appropriate. This post originally appeared at warmke.com

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  • David Montgomery posted an update 19 minutes ago

    @mariannecopenhaver I’ve never been into tattoos, but for that special breed of dipshit pet owner who thinks inflicting pain on pets is a grand idea, this gal better run…

  • Andrew Willingham posted an update 34 minutes ago

    I’m making a presentation about Sigmund Freud. I know its kind of random, but if anyone could link me to some good sources I’d appreciate it a lot! Thank you :)

    • Can’t provide you with any good sources. Just want to say good luck with your presentation!

  • Sebastian Phoenix just joined Liberty.me 34 minutes ago

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  • Sarah Meyer posted an update 1 hour, 38 minutes ago

    OH MY GOSH!! Yes, that’s all caps, because I’m so super excited!! I got my daughter a business kit from a company called Fashion Angels – their Girl Entrepreneur line. She got the “It’s My Biz Ultimate Business Guide” and we are LOVING IT! Check out this fabulous company, and their products, as they are working to inspire young ladies to start…[Read more]

  • Dave Burns published a new article, Frederick versus Hoppe, on the site Liberty Roadmap 1 hour, 39 minutes ago

    Danny Frederick criticizes Hoppe’s recognition argument in the second section of his paper “Hoppe’s Derivation of Self-Ownership from Argumentation: Analysis and Critique” (Reason Papers Vol. 35, no. 1). This blog [Read more]

  • Marianne Copenhaver posted an update 1 hour, 46 minutes ago

    NYC bans tattoos on animals. Who the hell tattoos their animals?!


  • Tatiana Moroz published a new article, An Interview with Martin from CoinStation in Melbourne Australia!, on the site Skyline Pigeon 2 hours, 14 minutes ago

    I sat down with Martin Davidson of Coin Station at the grand opening of the Melbourne Australia Bitcoin Technology Center, MBTC for short! Martin fills us in on his path into Bitcoin and how a Coin Station Vending [Read more]

  • Mike Reid posted an update 2 hours, 18 minutes ago

    Having a Kindle means I can read a book one handed (and out loud) while holding one of my children in the other. It used to be just impossible to read any thick book (Lord of the Rings) one-handed. Now, size does not matter.

  • Meg Gilliland posted an update 2 hours, 20 minutes ago

  • Devon Inman posted an update 2 hours, 27 minutes ago

    First ever batch of peanut brittle made, wife and my combined art hung in the new apartment…on to baking pecan chocolate chip cookies, while downing some SoCoSq (that’s Southern Comfort liquor and Southern Comfort Eggnog, for those keeping score at home).

  • Frank Marcopolos posted an update 3 hours, 11 minutes ago

    The Battered Bastards of Baseball. #highlyrecommend Not JUST about baseball, it’s a heart-warming tale of how a minor league ball club stood up to a MONOPOLY and WON! (Kind of.)

  • Grant Brown posted an update 3 hours, 21 minutes ago


  • Richard Masta posted an update 3 hours, 45 minutes ago

    My neighbor left me a tin of sugary gluten-filled goodies in my doorway, uh-oh…

  • Jonathan Gillispie @starwarsfan107 posted an update 3 hours, 59 minutes ago

    I maybe in a sub-minority here on this site, but I don’t agree with Obama lifting the embargo on Cuba (I should say rather not how he’s doing it). I completely agree that the embargo hasn’t done a thing in removing the Castro regime from power which is why I think a refreshed approach is welcome. But Obama didn’t demand really anything from Cuba.…[Read more]

    • Well, Obama could have demanded this or that. But the freer flow of goods, people, and information will likely have a long-run positive effect for people in both societies anyway.
      I say, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

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