Causes of the War Between the States

Jeeze!! How is that organized violence gets a pass as "property rights"?
A similar narrative would be protecting the dietary preferences of cannibalism.
This looks like malice, through the eyes of those who would be eaten or captured. There is no level of ordinary ignorance to explain it.
John F. Bechtol 707-623-6005

Clearly that's not what Mitch actually believes, John. He's trying to use reductio ad absurdum or something like it to attack the libertarian conception of property rights.

  But it's an argument that cuts both ways, as he himself makes clear by implicitly comparing ordinary employment among the poor ("selling one's life in increments" by working for someone else) to plantation slavery!

  You don't really believe that either, do you Mitch? How would a moral economy function in your view, and how would you get from here to there?

Love & Liberty,
                                 ((( starchild )))

It was, of course, a reductio ad absurdum - intended to pillory the libertarian PRIMACY of property rights, the notion that Ownership is the sine qua non of human existence, the fulcrum of the Self (the notion that "I am, first and foremost, that which Owns").

One isn't free because one "owns" one's body, oneself, or one's life. A human being is free because life is, a priori, beyond the purview of ownership -- one's "own" ownership, or anyone else's. A life is, by nature, inalienable from itself. Ownership is secondary to that: a Buddhist might even say it's illusory, a function of maya.

In that context, I was also using that reductio ad absurdum (and the Confederacy's defense of slavery as a matter of "property rights") to ridicule the propertarian obsession with taxes as a form of "slavery" (as if one's ownership of money confers an inalienable right analogous to life itself).

Finally, yes, I was ridiculing the usual libertarian defense of wage-slavery: the notion that when one has nothing else to sell, one can ("voluntarily") sell one's freedom... or one's time -- whereby a supposedly anti-authoritarian ideology comes to support what's arguably (in whatever increments) the world's most common authoritarian relationship: subservience to a boss. So yes, I believe what that implies.

How, then, would a moral economy function, and how might we (assuming there is a "we") get from here to there?

I might be tempted here to start talking about everyone's right to sufficient resources for survival or subsistence, given deployment of the requisite technology and trust -- that true "economic freedom" is (shared?) freedom from economic need (though, beyond that, opportunities for further acquisition should remain open to those who wish to play that game).

I won't go for the bait, however. We're not there yet, so there's no sense in idle speculation -- and even on a speculative plane, how can we presume to define "need"? Indeed, we're talking about moral principle and its application in real life. For that, I turn to -- not to Marx or Ayn Rand -- but to Hillel:

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I?... That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole of the Law; the rest is commentary. Go forth and learn."

Mitch, it sounds like your basis for an ideal economic system is the Golden Rule ("That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole of the Law; the rest is commentary." )

  From where I sit, that doesn't sound too far off, but I think the Non-Aggression Principle is an improvement on the Golden Rule, because it recognizes diversity – that what's hateful to one person might be pleasing to another, or vice-versa – and therefore asks us not to infringe on others' freedom to peacefully choose for themselves, but rather let each person decide for themselves what it is that they need (or want), rather than trying to define their needs for them.

  But how does Hillel's injunction square with your desire to limit the concept of ownership? If, for example, you (a generic "you") feel you have a right to the money you've honestly and consensually earned, and find it hateful to be taxed because you see the money as "yours", would it not follow per Hillel that you should not attempt to take money from others which they similarly and with equal justice view as theirs by denying their ownership of it, because that would be doing to them what is hateful to you?

Love & Liberty,
                               ((( starchild )))

P.S. – "A life is, by nature, inalienable from itself" – Hmm. In what sense is it inalienable from itself? Is this axiom gainsayed by split personality disorder? What things are alienable from themselves?

P.P.S. – I think subservience to a government is more common than subservience to a boss. Compare the small number of stateless individuals to the vast numbers of retired, self-employed, etc.

How does Hillel's injunction square with my desire to limit the concept of ownership? It would be hateful for me to take the shirt off one's back, but no individual "needs to own" (in that same sense) a shirt factory. (As I've already indicated, I'm perfectly okay with leaving capitalists an arena to play their games -- as long as no one's survival is contingent on the outcome.)

Each of us exercises that kind of judgment every day, ad lib -- in my case, also implementing the rest of Hillel's injunction: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?"

Of course, I'm arguing here with someone who refuses to recognize the difference between love and prostitution -- and who, when challenged, thinks the answer involves quibbling over the fine print.

The problem, however, isn't about the particulars, but a discrepancy over how we recognize value and approach communication (and perhaps life) -- over what each of us means (respectively) when we say "myself." I'm done quibbling over the details, and will no longer go for the bait. It would be futile to try to use ego to overcome or transcend ego -- or to demonstrate the possibility of doing so. I prefer to end the discussion right there.

If you wish to discuss this any further, please produce ownership documents allowing you to use language. I say that, not with hate in my heart, but in good faith -- with irony (or another reductio ad absurdum), of course. :wink: