Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Philosophy of Liberty

In an interesting turn of events I've found myself rejoined with an old friend. Apart from the usual hoopla of discussing my own beliefs of liberty, the only one might I add, with my usual group of the New Mexico State chapter of Young Americans for Liberty who are fellow libertarians I dwindled into a group of young philosophizers. It's interesting because with my typical group of Constitutional Libertarians I have quite the task at hand already denouncing the State in general. With the new group of students who study ethics, morality, and logic I've encountered a whole new obstacle in not only believing my own beliefs but being able to give a coherent and logical defense of the beliefs, something I strive to do and something I hope is the reason you read my posts.

Being an engineering student I don't have the ability to take formal classes in philosophy like I'd like to, so discussing at lengths the beliefs of liberty with these people have opened my eyes to new ideas. Something I'm more then joyful to receive as I love nothing more than to learn.

As most of you, which also includes me, have probably done is flow down from listening to Ron Paul, learning about what he talks about, start dwelling into Austrian Economics, and finally Anarcho-Capitalism. For me the next step has been trying to define the ethics involved for showing liberty to be the right path. Then after this is defining from the nitty gritty of philosophy, the logical arguments for that ethic.

For many of you reading the idea of Self-Ownership, the axiom of which our philosophy is based off, is obvious. Even many of the scrutinizing philosophers have no problem admitting Self-Ownership is probably true. But Self-Ownership DOESN'T tell us WHY murder, theft, and general aggression is wrong. It can only say it is wrong because if you use force on another person you've impeded on their right to Self-Ownership, which begs the question. When we discuss murder and theft it is usually obvious to everyone that it is wrong, but there is no defense to why it is wrong. Just because Self-Ownership is it doesn't follow that because of that we ought to not murder and steal.

So does this incompatibility necessarily dictate that we are wrong? Does Self-ownership then not give us a way to show how we should interact with other?

To me the answer is no, for if I claimed it did I probably wouldn't be writing this.

Then how can we use the axiom of Self-Ownership to bring about the ideas of our philosophy?

Now I am no philosophizer by any means, and I'm not trying to be, but Self-Ownership still holds. For you to even deny the existence of Self-Ownership you must control your body to make that claim.1 Although I still don't believe it holds why things should be, it gives us a rational starting point to how we should act.

This is why Self-Ownership is an axiom, it is the starting point that cannot be taken as false because your act of attempting to negate it implies Self-Ownership. Since it is true we can then deduce from it our philosophy of liberty. We say this should be the way we live because if not then as Murray Rothbard puts it, "the human race will cease to exist", and no such discourse could continue to occur. It is enough, at least for me, to say that since if we don't act in accordance to the principles of liberty bad things ensue for everyone regardless of why man should follow such principles.

So when we try to explain why to non-libertarians that liberty is the right choice or to non-anarchist libertarians why the State is wrong it's not because we can't explain the validity of our claims to be morally true or false, but that if we don't accept the path of liberty and the removal of the State we will all be worse off.

To continue my journey into the philosophy of liberty my next book is going to be a book by the formidable logician Gerard Casey, Libertarian Anarchy. Here is the review from the Mises Academy by David Gordon. I urge you to start reading these types of books not only to further understand the principles but to be able to argue for them effectively.

1Argumentation Ethics- Hans-Hermann Hoppe

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