Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market

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He tops it off with a series of thought-provoking questions that deal with the core lessons of each chapter. Murphy spent more than a year writing and editing this guide. As you will see, he is an excellent teacher and he set out to do this in a way that appeals to students of all ages. One of the goals of the Mises Institute has long been to make this book accessible to everyone, particularly people who are studying economics, and especially those who are interested in Austrian economics.

This powerful guide makes the text open up as never before. It is ideal for classroom use, and also for private study. Professor Murphy is an extraordinary talent with a great gift for helping students understand economics. Now he can be your teacher too. Written by Jimmy Morrison. Yet every property owner may also at any time unilaterally discontinue any such cooperation with others or change his respective affiliations. Hence, in order to satisfy the demand for protection and security among private property owners, it is permissible and possible that there will be specialized or agencies providing protection, insurance, and arbitration services for a fee to voluntarily buying or not buying clients.

In distinct contrast, a territorial monopoly of protection and jurisdiction—a state—from the outset on an impermissible act of expropriation, and it provides the monopolist and his agents with a license to from discontinuing his cooperation with his supposed protector, and that no one except the monopolist may exercise ultimate jurisdiction over his own property.

Consequently, the price of justice and protection will continually rise and the quality of justice and protection will continually fall. A tax-funded protection agency is a contradiction in terms—an invasive protector—and will, if permitted, lead to increasingly more taxes and ever less protection. Likewise, the existence of a judicial monopoly will lead to a steady deterioration of justice.

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For if no one can appeal for justice except to the state and its courts and judges, justice will be constantly perverted in favor of the state until the idea of immutable laws of human conduct ultimately disappears and is replaced with the idea of law as positive state-made legislation. Similarly, once an agency possesses any judiciary monopoly, it will naturally tend to employ this privileged position for the further expansion of its range of jurisdiction.

Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market, Scholar's Edition

Constitutions, after all, are state-constitutions, and whatever limitations they may contain—what is or is not constitutional—is determined by state courts and judges. Hence, there is no other possible way of limiting state power except by eliminating the state altogether and, in accordance with justice and economics, establishing a free market in protection and security services.

Power and Market (Chapter 2: Fundamentals of Intervention) by Murray N. Rothbard

However, his anarchistic conclusions were not sufficient to explain the neglect of The Ethics of Liberty by academia. Not only had he come to unorthodox conclusions, worse, he had reached them by pre-modern intellectual means. Instead of suggesting, hypothesizing, pondering, or puzzling, Rothbard had offered axiomatic arguments and proofs. In the age of democratic egalitarianism and ethical relativism, this constituted the ultimate academic sin: intellectual absolutism, extremism, and intolerance. Yet, while Rawls was a socialist, Nozick was a libertarian.

In fact, Nozick was heavily influenced by Rothbard. The answer is method and style. Rothbard was above all a systematic thinker. He set out from the most elementary human situation and problem—Crusoe-ethics—and then proceeded painstakingly, justifying and proving each step and argument along the way to increasingly more complex and complicated situations and problems. Moreover, his prose was characterized by unrivaled clarity. In distinct contrast, Nozick was a modern unsystematic, associationist, or even impressionistic thinker, and his prose was difficult and unclear.

Nozick was explicit about his own method. His writing, he stated, was. One view about how to write a philosophy book holds that an author should think through all of the details of the view he presents, and its problems, polishing and refining his view to present to the world a finished, complete, and elegant whole. This is not my view. At any rate, I believe that there also is a place and a function in our ongoing intellectual life for a less complete work, containing unfinished presentations, conjectures, open questions and problems, leads, side connections, as well as a main line of argument.

There is room for words on subjects other than last words. Methodologically then, Nozick and Rothbard were poles apart. The excitement caused by Anarchy, State, and Utopia was of a very different kind. At the same time, few if any readers of book likely will have felt the urge to read it straight through.

Instead, reading Nozick was characteristically done unsystematically and intermittently, in bits and pieces. The excitement stirred by Nozick was intense, short, and fleeting; and the success of Anarchy, State, and Utopia was due to the fact that at all times, and especially under democratic conditions, there are far more high time-preference intellectuals—intellectual thrill seekers—than patient and disciplined thinkers.

They were meant to be nothing more than fascinating, entertaining, or suggestive intellectual play. As such, libertarianism posed no threat to the predominantly social-democratic intellectual class. He did not insist that his libertarian conclusions were correct and, for instance, socialist conclusions were false and accordingly demand their instant practical implementation that is, the immediate abolition of the democratic welfare state, including all of public tax-funded education and research.

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  • Rather, libertarianism was, and claimed to be, no more than just an interesting thought. He did not mean to do any real harm to the ideas of his socialist opponents. He only wanted to throw an interesting idea into the democratic open-ended intellectual debate, while everything real, tangible, and physical could remain unchanged and everyone could go on with his life and thoughts as before. This confirmed that he took his non-committal method seriously, for why indeed, should anyone reply to his critics, if he were not committed to the correctness of his own views in the first place?

    Moreover, in his subsequent book, Philosophical Explanations , Nozick removed all remaining doubts as to his supposed non-extremist tolerance. He went further than merely restating his commitment to the methodological non-committal:.

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    It will not do to argue you into the conclusion, even in order to reduce the total amount of presentation of argument. Nor may I hint that I possess the knockdown argument yet will not present it. Further, in a truly startling twist, Nozick went on to say that the use of knockdown arguments even constituted coercion and was hence morally offensive:. The terminology of philosophical art is coercive: arguments are powerful and best when they are knockdown, arguments force you to a conclusion, if you believe the premises you have to or must believe the conclusion, some arguments do not carry much punch, and so forth.

    A philosophical argument is an attempt to get someone to believe something, whether he wants to believe it or not. A successful philosophical argument, a strong argument, forces someone to a belief. Why are philosophers intent on forcing others to believe things? Is that a nice way to behave toward someone? I think we cannot improve people that way. Philosophical argument, trying to get someone to believe something whether he wants to believe it or not, is not, I have held, a nice way to behave toward someone; also, it does not fit the original motivation for studying or entering philosophy.

    That motivation is puzzlement, curiosity, a desire to understand, not a desire to produce uniformity of belief. Most people do not want to become thought-police.

    Man, Economy and State

    Also it changes how one proceeds philosophically; at the macro-level. How could one not be nice to someone as nice as Nozick? It is no wonder that the anti-libertarian intellectual establishment took kindly to a libertarianism as gentle and kind as his, and elevated Nozick to the rank of the premier philosopher of libertarianism. He demanded and presented proofs and exact and complete answers rather then tentative explanations, open questions. Because man cannot not act as long as he is alive, and he must use scarce means to do so, he must also permanently choose between right and wrong conduct.

    The fundamental question of ethics—what am I here and now rightfully allowed to do and what not—is thus the most permanent, important, and pressing intellectual concern confronting man. Whenever and wherever one acts, an actor must be able to determine and distinguish unambiguously and instantly right from wrong.

    Man cannot temporarily suspend acting; hence, tentative conjectures and open questions simply are not up to the task of a human ethic. As already noted, Rothbard shared this view concerning the nature of ethics with the entire tradition of rationalist philosophy. His had been the dominant view of Christian rationalism and of the Enlightenment. Nor did Rothbard claim infallibility regarding his ethics.

    In accordance with the tradition of rationalist philosophy he merely insisted that axiomatic-deductive arguments can be attacked, and possibly refuted, exclusively by other of the same logical status just as one would insist, without thereby claiming infallibility for logicians and mathematicians, that logical or mathematical proofs can be attacked only by other logical or mathematical arguments. In the age of democratic socialism, however, such old-fashioned claims—certainly if made in conjunction with ethics and especially if this ethic turned out to be a libertarian one—were generally rejected and dismissed out of hand by academia.

    Unlike the modern Nozick, Rothbard was convinced that he had proved libertarianism—private-property anarchism—to be morally justified and correct, and that all statists and socialists were plain wrong. Accordingly he advocated immediate and ongoing action. The libertarian must be possessed of a passion for justice, an emotion derived from and channeled by his rational insight into what natural justice requires. Justice, not the weak reed of mere utility, must be the motivating force if liberty is to be attained;. To the tax-subsidized intellectual class and especially the academic establishment, Rothbard could not but appear to be an extremist, best to be ignored and excluded from mainstream academic discourse.

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    Rothbard became the creator of modern American libertarianism, the radical offspring of classical liberalism, which, in the course of some three decades, has grown from a handful of proponents into a genuine political and intellectual movement. Even if increasingly marginalized, significant remnants of the original American tradition of radical libertarianism still existed among the educated public. In fact, the American Revolution had been largely inspired by libertarian, radical Lockean ideas.

    And the Declaration of Independence , and in particular its author Thomas Jefferson, reflected and expressed the same rationalist spirit of the Enlightenment and the even older natural-law tradition that also characterized Rothbard and his political philosophy:. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

    That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience has shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Rothbard, apart from his theoretical work as an economist and a political philosopher, was also an eminent historian. In his four-volume history of colonial America, Conceived in Liberty , [24] he gives a detailed narrative account of the predominance of libertarian thought in early America, and in many essays on critical episodes in U.

    To be sure, the original radical-libertarian impetus, which had led to the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence , had subsequently suffered one setback after another: with the victory of the Federalists over the anti-Federalists and the transition from the original Confederacy to the Union, with the de facto abolition of the Union constitution by Abraham Lincoln in the course and as the result of the destruction of the secessionist Southern Confederacy, with the onset of Progressivism, with Franklin D.

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    Even if again and again defeated, however, the tradition of radical individualist libertarianism could not be eradicated from the American public consciousness. Not surprisingly, even then the general reaction was cool. To be sure, there were also a fair and steadily growing number of highly respectful and appreciative academic treatments of political philosophy, [25] and around The Journal of Libertarian Studies , an interdisciplinary scholarly review Rothbard had founded in and for which he had served until his death as editor, he had assembled a formidable number of disciples.