Sunday, December 30, 2012

Restoring the Language of Natural Liberty

If you want to destroy the surrounding reality, including moral reality, destroy the language used to describe it first. Statists have been unparalleled masters in this area - they invented a whole language designed to whitewash vices and promote faux virtues. In this language, theft becomes "taxation", fencing of stolen goods becomes "redistribution", counterfeiting becomes "liquidity provision", etc.

One method of restoring reality thus destroyed is being adamant in calling spade a spade - stating clearly that one opposes stealing from the rich, debasing the currency via institutionalized counterfeiting, etc. However, this method, though commendable, has its limitations, since one of the subtler points of the statist propaganda is to accustom the populace to thinking of such bald assertions as "too black and white", "too morally charged", and "too principled", and thus of the solutions based on them as "too impractical", "politically unfeasible", etc.

Hence, I suggest that it might be useful for libertarians to develop and adopt another, complementary strategy, one based on inventing and utilizing what, for lack of a better term, might be called the language of counter-propaganda. Thus, in certain oratorically demanding contexts, instead of saying that one opposes stealing from the rich, one could say that one supports the elimination of the income tax in order to aid the preservation of justly acquired wealth, or, instead of saying that one opposes legalized counterfeiting, one could say that one opposes central banking as counterproductive to the goal of monetary soundness, etc.

This is not to suggest that, when asked by an honest inquirer to be plain, one should refrain from calling spade a spade, but it is to suggest that statists should not remain the only ones who can use euphemistic rhetoric to their promotional advantage.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Laissez-Faire Is Institutionalized Anti-Fragility

Politics is institutionalized fragility - it rewards greed (rent-seeking, redistributive populism) and fear-mongering, thus creating a destructive positive feedback loop of prudential and moral decay (epitomized by the attitude that everyone is legally entitled to live at the expense of everyone else).

Voluntarism, and particularly laissez-faire capitalism, is institutionalized anti-fragility - it punishes those whose betrayal of temperance for greed and abandonment of courage for fear compromises their ability to satisfy effectively the needs and desires of their fellow human beings, thus creating a positive feedback loop of prudential and moral improvement (epitomized by the attitude that charity requires liberty and demands gratitude, while wealth requires sustained, other-oriented effort and deserves respect).

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Short Note on Cooperation and Competition

Contrary to popular belief, people cooperate when their goals are different and compete when they are similar. Cooperation means that, in the context of working toward the accomplishment of a single, overarching goal, division of labor ensures that everyone can find his or her unique spot. Competition, on the other hand, occurs when two or more people feel suitable to occupy the same spot, and only meritocratic rivalry can objectively decide which of them is more justified in those feelings. Thus, the respective prevalence of cooperation and competition reflects the respective degrees of uniqueness and sameness, or diversity and similarity, within a given group of individuals acting to attain a given set of goals.