The Ethics of Liberty, by Murray N Rothbard. Adnotated. Part I (Natural Law and Reason)

Saturday, 29 July, Year 9 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Apparently there does not exist a plain text version of the titular item. A very hearty fuck you and may your children die of anal splitting is thereby proffered towards the "New York University Press", and any and all currently or historically involved with that obscene piece of shit.

Further fuck yous are similarily bestowed upon a so called "Center for Libertarian Studies" and a "Ludwig von Mises Institute", as well as the deplorable shitheads in any manner involved with them, for their diligent efforts all these years towards thanking the public for its generous donations while doing absolutely nothing useful. Shame on them.

An unwelcome "introduction" by some fellow named Hans-Herman Hoppe has also been removed. To be perfectly clear as to this Hoppe fellow's situation : an Introduction to a work may only and exclusively be penned by a well established authority in a field, to frame, introduce and recommend the work of a newcomer. It is the old world equivalent of a Lordship endorsement. Some random schmuck, born twenty years after the author whom he purports to preface does not, nor can ever find himself in this position. Instead, the position of Hoppe here, like of any and all other prostitutes in the lengthy history of that trade, is of the insurance salesman trying to speak at a funeral in order to perhaps convert some of the attention into selling some policies.i

To distinguish between the author's original notes and my own, these latter kind are painted blue.

The original biography has been maintained, however the original index has been ablated. There is scarce need of this obsolete device in a world which actually has (more or less) functional computers. Speaking of which : should you wish to refer to a specific portion of text, simply select it and copy the resulting url ; should you wish to refer to a specific footnote, copy the url from its textual indice.

1. Natural Law and Reason Among intellectuals who consider themselves "scientific,"ii the phrase "the nature of man" is apt to have the effect of a red flag on a bull. "Man has no nature!" is the modern rallying cry; and typical of the sentiment of political philosophers today was the assertion of a distinguished political theorist some years ago before a meeting of the American Political Science Association that "man’s nature" is a purely theological concept that must be dismissed from any scientific discussion.iii

In the controversy over man’s nature, and over the broader and more controversial concept of "natural law," both sides have repeatedly proclaimed that natural law and theology are inextricably intertwined. As a result, many champions of natural law, in scientific or philosophic circles, have gravely weakened their case by implying that rational, philosophical methods alone cannot establish such lawiv : that theological faith is necessary to maintain the concept. On the other hand, the opponents of natural law have gleefully agreed; since faith in the supernatural is deemed necessary to belief in natural law, the latter concept must be tossed out of scientific, secular discourse, and be consigned to the arcane sphere of the divine studies. In consequence, the idea of a natural law founded on reason and rational inquiry has been virtually lost.v The believervi in a rationally established natural law must, then, face the hostility of both camps: the one group sensing in this position an antagonism toward religion; and the other group suspecting that God and mysticism are being slipped in by the back door. To the first group, it must be said that they are reflecting an extreme Augustinian position which held that faith rather than reason was the only legitimate tool for investigating man’s nature and man‘s proper ends. In short, in this fideist tradition, theology had completely displaced philosophy.vii The Thornist tradition, on the contrary, was precisely the opposite: vindicating the independence of philosophy from theology, and proclaiming the ability of man’s reason to understand and arrive at the laws, physical and ethical, of the natural order. If belief in a systematic order of natural laws open to discovery by man’s reason is per se anti -- religious, then anti-religious also were St. Thomas and the later Scholastics, as well as the devout Protestant jurist Hugo Grotius. The statement that there is an order of natural law, in short, leaves open the problem of whether or not God has created that order,- and the assertion of the viability of man's reason to discover the natural order leaves open the question of whether or not that reason was given to man by God. The assertion of an order of natural laws discoverable by reason is, by itself, neitherviii pro- nor anti-religious.ix

Because this position is startling to most people today, let us investigate this Thomistic position a little further. The statement of absolute independence of natural law from the question of the existence of God was implicit rather than flatly asserted in St. Thomas himself; but like so many implications of Thomism, it was brought forth by Suarez and the other brilliant Spanish Scholastics of the late sixteenth century. The Jesuit Suarez pointed out that many Scholastics had taken the position that the natural law of ethics, the law of what is good and bad for man, does not depend upon God's will. Indeed, some of the Scholastics had gone so far as to say that: even though God did not exist, or did not make use of His reason, or did not judge rightly of things, if there is in man such a dictate of right reason to guide him, it would have had the same naturex of law as it now has.xi

Or, as a modern Thomist philosopher declares:

If the word "natural" means anything at all, it refers to the nature of a man, and when used with "law," "natural" must refer to an ordering that is manifested in the inclinations of a man’s nature and to nothing else.xii Hence, taken in itself, there is nothing religious or theological in the "Natural Law" of Aquinas!xiii

Dutch Protestant jurist Hugo Grotius declared, in his De litre Belli ac Pacts (1625):

What we have been saying would have a degree of validity even if we should concede that which cannot be conceded without the utmost wickedness, that there is no God.

And again:

Measureless as is the power of God, nevertheless it can be said that there are certain things over which that power does not extend. . . . Just as even God cannot cause that two times two should not make fourxiv, so He cannot cause that which is intrinsically evil be not evil.xv

D’Entreves concludes that:

[Grotius’s] definition of natural law has nothing revolutionary. When he maintains that natural law is that body of rules which Man is able to discover by the use of his reason, he does nothing but restate the Scholastic notion of a rational foundation of ethics. Indeed, his aim is rather to restore that notion which had been shaken by the extreme Augustinianism of certain Protestant currents of thought. When he declares that these rules are valid in themselves, independently of the fact that God willed them, he repeats an assertion which had already been made by some of the schoolmen.xvi

Grotius's aim, d’Entréves adds, "was to construct a system of laws which would carry conviction in an age in which theological controversy was gradually losing the power to do so." Grotius and his juristic successors -- Pufendorf, Burlamaqui, and Vattel -- proceeded to elaborate this independent body of natural laws in a purely secular context, in accordance with their own particular interests, which were not, in contrast to the Schoolmen, primarily theological.xvii Indeed, even the eighteenth-century rationalists, in many ways dedicated enemies of the Scholastics, were profoundly influenced in their very rationalism by the Scholastic tradition.xviii

Thus, let there be no mistake: in the Thomistic tradition, natural law is ethical as well as physical law; and the instrument by which man apprehends such law is his reason -- not faith, or intuition, or grace, revelation, or anything else.xix In the contemporary atmosphere of sharp dichotomy between natural law and reasonxx -- and especially amid the irrationalist sentiments of "conservative" thought -- this cannot be underscored too often. Hence, St. Thomas Aquinas, in the words of the eminent historian of philosophy Father Copleston, "emphasized the place and function of reason in moral conduct. He [Aquinas] shared with Aristotle the view that it is the possession of reason which distinguished man from the animals" and which "enables him to act deliberately in view of the consciously apprehended end and raises him above the levelxxi of purely instinctive behavior. "xxii Aquinas, then, realized that men always act purposively, but also went beyond this to argue that ends can also be apprehended by reason as either objectively good or bad for man.xxiii For Aquinas, then, in the words of Copleston, "there is therefore room for the concept of ‘right reason,’ reason directing man’s acts to the attainment of the objective good for man.“ Moral conduct is therefore conduct in accord with right reason: "If it is said that moral conduct is rational conduct, what is meant is that it is conduct in accordance with right reason, reason apprehending the objective good for man and dictating the means to its attainment.xxiv

In natural-law philosophy, then, reason is not bound, as it is in modem post-Humean philosophy, to be a mere slave to the passions, confined to cranking out the discovery of the means to arbitrarily chosen ends. For the ends themselves are selected by the use of reason; and "right reason" dictates to man his proper ends as well as the means for their attainment. For the Thomist or natural-law theorist, the general law of morality for man is a special case of the system of natural law governing all entities of the world, each with its own nature and its own ends. "For him the moral law . . . is a special case of the general principles that all finite things move toward their ends by the development of their potentialities."xxv And here we come to a vital difference between inanimate or even non-human living creatures, and man himself; for the former are compelled to proceed in accordance with the ends dictated by their natures, whereas man, "the rational animal," possesses reason to discover such ends and the free will to choose.xxvi

Which doctrine, natural law or those of its critics, is to be considered truly rational was answered incisively by the late Leo Strauss, in the course of a penetrating critique of the value-relativism in political theory of Professor Arnold Brecht. For, in contrast to natural law,

positivistic social science . . . is characterized by the abandon- ment of reason or the flight from reason. . . . According to the positivistic interpretation of relativism which prevails in present-day social science . . . reason can tell us which means are conducive to which ends; it cannot tell us which attainable ends are to be preferred to other attainable ends. Reason cannot tell us that we ought to choose attainable ends; if someone 'loves him who desires the impossible,’ reason may tell him that he acts irrationally, but it cannot tell him that he ought to act rationally, or that acting irrationally is acting badly or basely. If rational conduct consists in choosing the right means for the right end, relativism teaches in effect that rational conduct is impossible.xxvii

Finally, the unique place of reason in natural-law philosophy has been affirmed by the modern Thomistic philosopher, the late Father John Toohey. Toohey defined sound philosophy as follows: "Philosophy, in the sense in which the word is used when scholasticism is contrasted with other philosophies, is an attempt on the part of man's unaided reason to give a fundamental explanation of the nature of things".xxviii

  1. This problem is well documented. Consider Satira I, by Mihai Eminescu (published Feb 1st, 1881) :

    Fericească-l scriitorii, toată lumea recunoască-l...
    Ce-o să aibă din acestea pentru el, bătrânul dascăl?
    Nemurire, se va zice. Este drept că viața-ntreagă,
    Ca și iedera de-un arbor, de-o idee i se leagă.
    "De-oi muri - își zice-n sine - al meu nume o să-l poarte
    Secolii din gură-n gură și l-or duce mai departe,
    De a pururi, pretutindeni, în ungherul unor crieri
    Și-or găsi, cu al meu nume, adăpost a mele scrieri!"
    O, sărmane! ții tu minte câte-n lume-ai auzit,
    Ce-ți trecu pe dinainte, câte singur ai vorbit?
    Prea puțin. De ici, de colo de imagine-o fășie,
    Vre o umbră de gândire, ori un petec de hârtie;
    Și când propria ta viață singur n-o știi pe de rost,
    O să-și bată alții capul s-o pătrunză cum a fost?
    Poate vreun pedant cu ochii cei verzui, peste un veac,
    Pintre tomuri brăcuite așezat și el, un brac,
    Aticismul limbii tale o să-l pună la cântari,
    Colbul ridicat din carte-ți l-o sufla din ochelari
    Și te-o strânge-n două șiruri, așezându-te la coadă,
    În vro notă prizărită sub o pagină neroadă.

    Poți zidi o lume-ntreagă, poți s-o sfarămi... orice-ai spune,
    Peste toate o lopată de țărână se depune.
    Mâna care-au dorit sceptrul universului și gânduri
    Ce-au cuprins tot universul încap bine-n patru scânduri...
    Or să vie pe-a ta urmă în convoi de-nmormântare,
    Splendid ca o ironie cu priviri nepăsătoare...
    Iar deasupra tuturora va vorbi vrun mititel,
    Nu slăvindu-te pe tine... lustruindu-se pe el
    Sub a numelui tău umbră. Iată tot ce te așteaptă.
    Ba să vezi... posteritatea este încă și mai dreaptă.
    Neputând să te ajungă, crezi c-or vrea să te admire?
    Ei vor aplauda desigur biografia subțire
    Care s-o-ncerca s-arate că n-ai fost vreun lucru mare,
    C-ai fost om cum sunt și dânșii... Măgulit e fiecare
    Că n-ai fost mai mult ca dânsul. Și prostatecele nări
    Și le umflă orișicine în savante adunări
    Când de tine se vorbește. S-a-nțeles de mai nainte
    C-o ironică grimasă să te laude-n cuvinte.
    Astfel încăput pe mâna a oricărui, te va drege,
    Rele-or zice că sunt toate câte nu vor înțelege...
    Dar afară de acestea, vor căta vieții tale
    Să-i găsească pete multe, răutăți și mici scandale -
    Astea toate te apropie de dânșii... Nu lumina
    Ce în lume-ai revărsat-o, ci păcatele și vina,
    Oboseala, slăbiciunea, toate relele ce sunt
    Într-un mod fatal legate de o mână de pământ;
    Toate micile mizerii unui suflet chinuit
    Mult mai mult îi vor atrage decât tot ce ai gândit.

    There's no decent English version (I'm not particularly fond of C. M. Popescu's version, for instance), so let's try de novo :

    Should the writers praise him and the whole world recognize him, what'll that do for he, the ancient teacher ?

    Immortality, you'd say. It is true his whole life clings, like vines on a tree, on one idea. "Will I die", he says withinself, "My name will be carried by centuries from mouth to mouth, taken further and forever, everywhere. In the corners of some minds I will be given quarter along my writings!"

    Oh, ye poor soul! Do you yourself recall what in the world you've heard, what passed before your eyes, what all words you uttered ? Too little. From here, from there, a thin strip of visual image, a thin shadow of a thought, or perhaps a patch of paper. When you your own life yourself could not half recite, will then others bother theirs to penetrate it in undamaged detail ? Maybe some pedant with those greenish eyes of theirs, in a century or two, seated atop piled maculature as himself's a worthless scrap. Your language's atticism will be thereby weighed, and after blowing away the dust your book placed on his glasses will contrive a you within two lines at the end, part of some sickly note on some dumbass page.

    Should you build a whole world, should you tear down another's... whatever you say, over the lot of it a shovelful of soil goes. The hand raised for the world's orb entire, and thoughts that ran laps around it, all together fit well within four planks. But they'll follow in your wake, and they'll have a funeral so splendid as only irony with careless gaze can ever be, while above the lot of them something smallish will speak -- not for your laurels' glory, but for his own bootshine, under their shadow.

    That's it, and that's all, but mind you -- posterity is even fairer. Unable to approach you, why imagine they'll wish to admire you ? They will of course applaud the thin biography, dedicated to finding some manner or another to show you weren't something remarkable, but instead man just like them. Everyone's very flattered you weren't more than him, and their asinine nostrils will flare in savant gatherings whenever you by name are mentioned. They've all pre-agreed on how exactly to laud you, and which exact words to use while stretching their ugly faces by precisely prescribed "ironic" grimacing. So at the mercy of all comers, they'll fix you good, and for the service also opine whether your bits are bad should they not understand them, or rather good should familiarity and convention reflect their ugly mugs thereby.

    Fun, huh.

    Fuck Hoppe ; and I don't give the first flying fuck what "positions" he has on anything. []

  2. See, of course, the Most Holy Pantsuited Church of "just the facts".

    The subjects are neither intellectual nor have anything to do with any kind of science or art. They're simply the faithful congregation / zealots of a novel cult (that yet shuns its proper name). The Church of Baa, if you will. []

  3. The political theorist was the late Hannah Arendt. For a typical criticism of natural law by a legal Positivist, see Hans Kelsen, General Theory of Law and State (New York: Russell and Russell, 1961), pp. 8ft. []
  4. This is an important matter. There are currently, to the best of my knowledge, two different schools of thought worth the mention on the subject :

    1. mircea_popescu: the fundamental problem here is that there's no way to reason in the manner you expect to reason. IF anything about the wot process is opposable to anyone involved ; then the wot process becomes by that measure less useful. no change whatsoever appears in the swamp it's made to confront.
    2. asciilifeform: back to the tools: the 'sword that fights by itself' is a ~mythological~ item. it dun exist. tool gotta be wielded. so to picture 'tools of tmsr' in the hands of maggots, presupposes defeat.

    Whether these are in fact distinct, or merely proceeding from different perspectives towards the same exact position is not entirely clear yet. In any case it is obvious they are proceeding from different perspectives : the first is a legalistic "I shall pass no law abridging my power to pass laws" top-down view on complex systems ; the latter is a technological "you shall have no unbound recursion in confined spaces" descriptive approach to atomic parts.

    It is perhaps the case that they both reduce to "you will have no unbound recursion in finite systems", but the general principle -- that there's no way to reason one's way into action (with its direct view to the ought/is disjunction), that there shall be no justification for the Lordship lists nor is there any need for such justification to exist (with its direct link to the Aristotelian prime mover) etcetera -- have in any case been long applied and recognized if not specifically named throughout the history of the Republic.

    This given, Rothbard's proposition (to institute might through wisdom alone) is generally derrided as nonsense in the forum.

  5. And yet, Black's Law Dictionary defines the natural law in a purely rationalistic and non-theological manner:

    Jus Naturale, the natural law, or law of nature: law, or legal principles, supposed to be discoverable by the light of nature or abstract reasoning, or to be taught by nature to all nations and men alike, or law supposed to govern men and peoples in a state of nature, i.e.. in advance of organized governments or enacted laws (3rd ed., p. 1044).

    Professor Patterson, in Jurisprudence: Men and Ideas of the Law (Brooklyn: Foundation Press, l953), p. 333, defines the natural law cogently and concisely as:

    Principles of human conduct that are discoverable by “reason" from the basic inclinations of human nature, and that are absolute, immutable and of universal validity for all times and places. This is the basic conception of scholastic natural law . . . and most natural law philosophers.


  6. Leaving aside the miserable quality of the definitions Rothbard proposes (and especially of the second blathering bit of nonsense which he shockingly calls "cogent"), there is no belief involved in the Republic's dominion. One needn't believe there exists such a thing as TMSR to live as a humble subject of it ; nor does he need to "know", in whichever way knowledge might work or be defined for the cattle in question. A lamb ribrack is bought and sold for a little Bitcoin dust irrespective what the lamb rack knows ; and it will be cooked irrespective of what it thinks. The process through which it is cooked, and the currency for which it is traded aren't proper parts of the merchandise itself.

    The proponent of TMSR is simply an examiner and nothing more. Conceiving beyond the conceivable that somehow, somewhere, a lamb rack magically responded cogently to someone mentioning La Serenissima to it, admitting that the item had a WoT identity, and ran a Bitcoin node and everything else, then thereby that rack of ribs would be as much a person as you or I, and able to speak in the forum, and to make law through the usual process, and direct commerce and so forth. However, should the chunk of lamb meat simply sit and ooze, as chunks of lamb meat have sat and oozed since the beginning of lamb-time, it will not thereby have confronted anyone with any kind of hostility. It failed its examination, no more. Perhaps it will be examined again more before being set to the fire and eaten. Perhaps not. In any case -- all he without a key can say is "baa". []

  7. Supporters of theological ethics nowadays typically strongly oppose the concept of natural law. See the discussion of casuistry by the neoorthodox Protestant theologian Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics 3, 4 (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1951), pp. 76. []
  8. This stance amusingly mirrors the traditional befuddlement in the republican forum whenever the "is this a cult" question crops up. []
  9. For a discussion of the role of reason in the philosophy of Aquinas, see Etienne Gilson, The Christian Philosophy of St. Thorium Aquinas (New York: Random House, 1956). An important analysis of Thomistic natural law theory is Germain Grisez, "The first Principle of Practical Reason," in Anthony Kenny, ed, Aquinas: A Collection of Critical Essays (New York: Anchor Books, 1969), pp. 340 -- 82. For a history of medieval natural law, see Odon Lottin, Psychologie et morale aux xiie at xiii: siécles, 6 vols. (Louvain, 1942-1960). []
  10. And also that the Baron's castle is the most magnificent of castles, and his lady the best of all possible Baronesses, as Voltaire well points out. []
  11. From Franciscus Suarez, De Legibus ac Dec Legislature (1619), lib. II, Cap. vi. Suarez also noted that many Scholastics “seem therefore logically to admit that natural law does not proceed from God as a lawgiver, for it is not dependent on God’s will." Quoted in A. P. d‘Entreves, Natural law (London: Hutchinson University Library, 1951), p. 71. []
  12. This is rank nonsense, not only theoretically obvious but meanwhile verified in practice : the pantsuit experiments have managed to create cattle-man, the man whose base nature constitutes the entirety of his nature.

    Moral can only mean and does only mean the inclination of the best of men, and nothing else. Man is not uniform ; and men are not equal ; and the lower portions do not matter. []

  13. Thomas E. Davitt, 55., "St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law," in Arthur L. Harding, ed., Origins of the Natural Law Tradition (Dallas, Tex; Southern Methodist University Press, 1954), p. 39. Also see Brendan F. Brown, ed., The Natural law Reader (New York: Oceana Pubs, 1960). PP. 1014. []
  14. This is, of course, rank nonsense, but then again categorical nonthought is the principal mode of the herd. []
  15. Quoted in d’Entréves, Natural law, pp. 52-56. See also Otto Gierke, Natural Law and the Theory of Society, 1500 to 1800 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1957), pp. 98 -- 99. []
  16. D’Entréves, Natural Law, pp.51-52. Also see A H Chroust, "Hugo Grotius and the Scholastic Natural Law Tradition," The New Scholasticism (1943), and Frederick C. Copleston, S.J., A History of Philosophy (Westminster, Md.: Newman Press, 1959), 2, pp. 330f. On the neglected influence of the Spanish Scholastic Suarez on modern philosophers, see Jose Ferrater Mora, "Suarez and Modern Philosophy," journal of the History of Ideas (October 1953): 528 -- 47. []
  17. See Gierke, Natural Law and the Theory of Society, p. 289. Also see Herbert Spencer, An Autobiography (New York: D. Appleton, 1904), vol. 1, p. 415. []
  18. Thus, see Carl L. Becker, The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers (New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 195?}, p. 8. []
  19. The late realist philosopher John Wild, in his important article, "Natural Law and Modern Ethical Theory," Ethics (October 1952), states:

    Realistic [natural law] ethics is now often dismissed as theological and authoritarian in character. But this is a misunderstanding. Its ablest representatives, from Plato and Aristotle to Grotius, have defended it on the basis of empirical evidence alone without any appeal to supernatural authority (p. 2, and pp. 1-13).

    Also see the denial of the existence of such a thing as "Christian philosophy" any more than "Christian hats and shoes" by the Catholic social philosopher Orestes Brownson. Thomas T. McAvoy, C.S.C., "Orestes A. Brownson and Archbishop John Hughes in 1860," Review of Politics (January 1962): 29. []

  20. A faux dichotomy muchly reminiscent of the "technical person" contemporaneous nonsense. []
  21. The notion that there's "levels", and they're sortable, and then that "instinctive behaviour" comes on a lower rung than "reason" is such a layered cake of idiocy we have to delve in awful agony.

    First of all : "instinctual" here means absolutely nothing ; and not through a failure of the users to properly define their terms, but through the users' unredeemable imbecility. They wish to speak of a thing that can't exist, and only for as long as it stays that way. Were "instinctual" properly defined, whichever way it were defined, their interest in using it to "express" "themselves" would immediately vanish, and they'd come up with some other label to supposedly denote the "content" they "mean", contentless as it finds itself.

    Instinctual could mean what it'd properly mean in biology -- that is to say nerve impulses in the effector pathways which close in the spine or stem rather than neocortex. This definition, proper as it may be, would not satisfy the blatherer who evidently isn't aiming to discuss the arthrokinetic reflex.

    Instinctual could also mean a sort of "hardware", which is to say all biological processes that -- unknown -- support human life, such as the absorption of Potassium ions back into cell membranes to maintain innervation capacity. This definition, meaningful and deductively elegant as it may find itself, evidently covers none of the space the blatherer wishes to cover, he's not interested in diuresis.

    Instinctual could also mean all the high level cognitive processing which proceeds without specific attention load -- such as the formation of images on the basis of light reaching retinas, and such as the queasy feeling one gets when he discovers the people he set sail with were dumber in the light of sea than they appeared on the shore. This then will include dreams, and will include all the processing my brain does while it sleeps, such as indeed producing perfectly rational, well formed solutions to entirely formalized problems. It is, this instinctual, absolutely in no way different from thought, being the same process occurring in the same pots and pans exactly.

    So no, there are no levels, not in this sense. All behaviour, be it outwardly perceived as thought (ie, unperceived) or action (ie, perceived) nevertheless contains instinctual portions that are undifferentiable from it. Yes, I am aware that the average retard has a lot of trouble organising his own head, and silencing the various voices of stupidity always available in all complex systems. This doesn't thereby mean that when he managed to ever so briefly silence them he engaged in "thought" whereas when he didn't manage he was "acting instinctually". Yet this is precisely what those "people themselves" wish to mean : that when their car was driven by themselves on the road and safely arrived at the destination, the car something something rationally ; whereas when they did their make-up in the rearview mirror and texted some friends just a little and as a result they drove the car right over the concrete divider and into the river, the car something something instinctual. Same car, same driver, same road, but not the same effect and therefore, they'd have you know, not the same substance. "The devil made me do it", translated for the novel cult as "instinctual", because nothing is nearer and dearer to the idiot's heart than a reserved imaginary ability to disavow any portions of himself at will.

    And this readily explains whence the hallucinated ordering inexistent items : since they in the first place aim to distinguish "instinctual" from "rational" on the basis of ex-post-facto "did food drop in mouth ? good! or did spike go up asshole ? bad!", it then obviously follows that not only is the set (instinctual, rational) sortable, but it is to be sorted as rational > instinctual. Herp. []

  22. Frederick C. Copleston, 5.1., Aquinas (London: Penguin Books, 1955), p. 204. []
  23. Meanwhile ends can never be apprehended by reason. Review causes and purposes, and the abundant discussion in the forum on the topic. []
  24. Ibid., pp. 204-05. []
  25. Ibid., p. 212. []
  26. Thus Copleston:

    Inamimate bodies act in certain ways precisely because they are what they are, and they cannot act otherwise; they cannot perform actions which are contrary to their nature. And animals are governed by instinct. In line, all creatures below man participate unconsciously in the eternal law, which is reflected in their natural tendencies, and they do not possess the freedom which is required in order to be able to act in a manner incompatible with this law. it is therefore essential that he [man] should know the eternal law in so far as it contents himself. Yet, how can he know it? He cannot read, as it were, the mind of God . . . [but] he can discern the fundamental tendencies and needs of his nature, and by reflecting on them he can come to a knowledge of the natural moral law. . . .Every man possesses . . . the light of reason whereby he can reflect. . . and promulgate to himself the natural law, which is the totality of the universal precepts or dictates of right reason concerning the good which is to be pursued and the evil which is to be shunned (Ibid., pp. 213 -- 14).

    ~ * ~

    He nursing the laughable notion that man "is unlike things because man has choice" can only be advised to read and re-read The practical costs of hallucinated freedom until he comprehends it.

    In point of fact choice is entirely a subjective impression, of no further substance and entirely without any basis in reality. It is borne of the same mechanisms that produce anger or fear, and has approximately the same function : to assuage the psychological mechanisms of the chooser, to provide imagined counters to their workings, and ultimately to insulate him from the impedance mismatch between a soft round blob that needs to move heat from a hot to a cold source at all times and an environment with jagged corners which does not.

    The impression, entirely genuine and wholeheartedly believed, of the short fat woman that "there's more to love than looks", the entirely natural sentiment of the impotent despising the priapic for their supposed "lack of culture", the conviction that "inexperience is purity", very cheaply had by she who's not put any time or any effort into becoming even a half-passible fucktoy, these all and the whole lot of psychogenic nonsense besides are exactly the same thing as "choice" : something for the inadequate to tell themselves, cheap bits recommended for their very cheapnes to those who couldn't afford better goods anyway.

    It is universally, in all times, in all places, within all cultures the one true sign of maturity, to shed the stick horse of "choices" in favour of action and thought.

  27. Leo Strauss, "Relativism," in H. Schoeck and J.W. Wiggins, eds., Relativism and the Study of Man (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand, 1961), pp. 144-45. For a devastating critique of an attempt by a relativistic political scientist to present a "value-free" case for freedom and the self-development of the person, see Walter Berns, "The Behavioral Sciences and the Study of Political Things: The Case of Christian Bay’s "The Structure of Freedom," American Political Science Review (September 1961): 550 -- 59. []
  28. Toohey adds that "scholastic philosophy is the philosophy which teaches the certitude of human knowledge acquired by means of sense experience, testimony, reflection, and reasoning." John I. Toohey, 5.1., Notes on Epistemology (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University, 1952), pp. 111-12. []
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6 Responses

  1. Hans Herman Hoppe, as it happens, is totally for the idea of the Sovereign and Most Serene Republic, and its absolute right to control its property and money, run and organize its own systems of justice and whatever else it does:

    He advocates for it logically and without resorting to ambiguity, fallacies or sleights of hand. The Serene Republic is "Hoppian", to its core.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Sunday, 30 July 2017

    If this were true, he'd have a WoT id.

  3. Yah, even Hoppe leaves a lot to be desired, as I had the vitriolic pleasure of finding out.

    Really, TMSR is about as "Hoppian" as it is democratic.

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