Argumentation ethics or communication ethics does not establish what is morally right or wrong, it only establishes what is the case. For instance, the praxeological theorem of exchange shows only what happens when two actors trade goods; it does not say this is a morally good thing (at least in an objective sense). The praxeological theorem of theft (in the economic sense, not the ethical sense) states only the conditions under which theft can take place. It does not say or prove that theft is a morally bad thing.
In Part 1 I disputed the foundation on which Hans-Hermann Hoppe builds his argument ethics. Because his argument is based on the implications of argumentation itself, his argument leaves no room for recognition of ownership by actors who do not argue with one another. In Part 2, I will review these points, but focus mainly on reconstructing Hoppe’s argument using the basic act of communication, rather than the act of argumentation itself.
Thus, let us begin.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe claims to have discovered the ultimate foundation of property rights in an argument that he calls “argumentation ethics”. (For two essays by Hoppe on this topic, see here and here.) The goal of his argument is to show what social norms must be considered valid prior to debate about any other social norms. This is an admirable undertaking, and he succeeds in showing exactly what norms all arguments necessarily presuppose. His argument captured the admiration of his mentor, Murray N. Rothbard, who called it “a dazzling breakthrough for political philosophy,” and it sparked a fiery debate since its original publication in 1988, which still continues among libertarian circles today.
Every year, the Mises Institute holds an economics seminar called Mises University. It attracts many eager students of Austrian economics from both the United States and abroad. I happily attended this year’s seminar for the second year in a row. (more…)
Directly ending the Federal Reserve System through legislation is the wrong goal, both morally and practically, for those who oppose the Fed. Rather, we should be concerned with abolishing the legal tender laws that largely force us to use Federal Reserve notes. If this is achieved, the Fed will collapse under its own weight, for the Fed note could not hope to stand up to competition with sounder currencies in the free market.
The libertarian world can be summed up, ultimately, as freedom from crime. Based on the principles of private property and non-aggression, many anarcho-capitalist writers propound and rework “ideal” visions of a “libertarian world”. Events and interactions in such a world usually include, for example, a free market healthcare system, unencumbered by the coercion of government, a free banking system which places the production of money and regulation of interest rates into a free market, varying forms of education that serve the specific demands of market participants, and so forth.