Sepero1
Dilorenzo, James Town, and Peculiarities

Being in libertaran circles, I’ve heard of the Thomas Dilorenzo rendition of James Town a time or two. It basically goes:
socialism=starvation and individualism=prosperity

Out of curiosity, I was interested in possibly confirming (confirmation bias?) about James Town with what is listed on wikipedia. Interestingly, there is not a single mention of the property methods that were employed during this time period.

According to Dilorenzo-
“There, in the Virginia Tidewater region, they found incredibly fertile soil and a cornucopia of seafood, wild game, and fruits of all kind.”

Really? It sounds like they just stepped into the Garden of Eden.

According to Wikipedia-
“[They] chose the location because it was favorable for defensive purposes, but it offered poor hunting prospects and a shortage of drinking water.” “Hunting on the island was very poor, and they quickly exhausted the supply of small game.”

What? But Dilorenzo just told me that food was in abundance. Are you sure we are talking about the same place?

Wikipedia also says-
“…the [native american confederacy] Powhatan placed the colony completely under siege and attempted to end the English settlement through starvation”

Wow, the local tribes meant to intentionally starve the colony? Dilorenzo never mentioned that. Let’s have a look at what else Dilorenzo doesn’t mention.

Dilorenzo never mentions:
*How the colonists were poor farmers, and did not come prepared to do farming.
*Lack of drinking water was compounded by a drought.
*Powhatan’s prevented colonists from making trade which stopped access to gaining water and other needed resources.
*There was an accidental fire that “leveled all of the colony’s living quarters”.
*Attempts to have supply ships delivered from Europe failed repeatedly for different reasons.


If all of this wasn’t bad enough, the Powhatan’s killed and kidnapped many colonists, especially those who attempted to farm, or forage for food, or establish trade with outside tribes.


Unlike Dilorenzo’s version of the story, it sounds like a huge mess of problems to me. Not just simply:
socialism=starvation


The heart of Dilorenzo’s libertarian version of the story largely appears to rest on 2 quotes:
“As soon as the settlers were thrown upon their own resources, and each freeman had acquired the right of owning property, the colonists quickly developed what became the distinguishing characteristic of Americans — an aptitude for all kinds of craftsmanship coupled with an innate genius for experimentation and invention.”
“A second and more significant step toward private property came in 1618 with the establishment of the headright system.”


So I decided to do a little digging on these quotes. Unfortunately, the first quote is in a book that I do not have access to, so I was unable to verify it or it’s context.

Concerning the second quote, I personally discredit it mildly because it comes from a libertarian author. Though, there is an included letter from Governor Bradford which speaks of making all property private property. This would be good news for Dilorenzo’s story, if it weren’t for the fact that the letter was written 1623, more than 10 years after the “starving time” was subdued.


Does any of this mean that Dilorenzo is lying or fully incorrect about events? I don’t necessarily think so, and wikipedia could very well have some things inaccurate too. I am largely pro-freemarkets and would probably agree with Dilorenzo on most things politically. On this James Town story though, I personally trust wikipedia as a more unbiased source of information than Dilorenzo.

In my opinion here, I think that Dilorenzo has shown himself to be a heavily biased writer of historic events, and discredits himself in writing this way. I would not trust what he says at face value without fact checking it for myself.


Sources
http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo86.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starving_Time_%28Jamestown%29

Response to a problematic “Rejection of determinism”

Response to a problematic “Rejection of determinism”.
The video being responded to can be seen here:

Preface.
While the video may use some seemlingly convoluted terminology, all terminology has a meaning which can be broken down and commonly understood (unless the terminology is specifically meaningless). When a person realizes this, they can often avoid speaking in such terminology and retain meaning. This is how I will be communicating here.

1.
To start, I agree that Causality is not mind independent. (continued in point #3). This video is more of a rejection of Causality, the root of Determinism, rather than a rejection of Determinism itself.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality
2.
Regarding his problem with Causality being “necessary”, it’s interesting that he isn’t able to think in terms of the higher concept. The higher concept being- causality is recognized akin to a physical of law of nature, rather than a societal law of man.

So in that effect, “necessary” would be represented as something- unavoidable or logically inevitable, and not the mystical strawman definition/explanation that he gives around 1:10.
3.
I agree with him that Causality relies on an accurate interpretation of reality based on sensory perception, and our ability to perceive reality is imperfect. We are experiencing events. If spawk remembers well, I have had a strong skepticism of Causality long before he ever questioned it.

Skepticism is where I draw the line though, because being skeptical of causality, and rejecting causality are 2 totally different things. The only way I can see anyone rejecting Causality is on the basis of “There might be something in addition or contradictory to Causality, and even though I have no logical evidence of it, I believe it anyway”.
(You know what else? There might be little green men on mars.)Much of the video is spent on attacking poor justifications of Causality, which is perfectly fine, and I can agree with these criticisms. The reason is because there is no strong justification of Causality. It’s just that simple.

We have a very weak justification of Causality based on perception. Unfortunately, we have No good justification for any alternative to Causality.
4.
Lastly, because of our limited perception- Even if Causality is false, I don’t believe it could ever be proven. The reason is simple. There is no perceptual difference to us between these two things:
An effect that occured without any cause
An effect that occured because of a cause we were unaware of

Think about it.Sep
On Morality and Propositions

In my previous blog I wrote about how I had reconsidered moral noncognitivism.

Since that post, I have looked further into what it means for a sentence to be a Proposition (a statement), and I would say that today I am mostly Back to believing in moral non-cognitivism. I will explain why.

As I understand it, even the following simple expression is not a complete proposition.
x = 2

And it has much less complexity than any moral sentence. The problem is that it lacks information. Specifically, information that would allow us to determine if it is true or false.

Moral sentences generally lack the information necessary for another person to determine if they are true or false. While I believe most moral sentences are non-cognitive, I wouldn’t say that all are, nor do they necessarily have to be.


The issue regarding this is really one of language, rather than morality. Dictionaries are not used to define words, but rather to help discover their definition. When it comes to language, humans are the ones that define words. We create words, and words do not have unchanging meanings and some words even have multiple meanings. It is the meaning of words which allows us to understand whether a sentence is a proposition or not.

When someone says “X is bad”, the word “bad” may mean “whatever I dislike”, or it may mean more. If “I do not like X” is what a person means by the statement, and we are made aware of what they mean, then that is infact a cognitive proposition. It can be true that, at this moment, the person does not like X.

When someone says to you, “X is bad”, what I believe they are often implying is: that they dislike “X”, AND you should also dislike “X”. By implying that you -should- dislike “X”, they have not put magic or a voodoo curse on you. What they have done is put an obligation on you. This obligation is an unwritten social contract that says “I would prefer that you also dislike X, and if you don’t also dislike X, then this may negatively affect the relationship between us in the future”.

So let us break this into more concise parts.
“I dislike X”
“I want you to dislike X”
“If you don’t dislike, it may affect our relationship negatively”


In addition to these, the sentence “X is bad” could also mean:
“I believe X will prevent you and/or me from achieving something you and/or I value”
“Ignorant people pursue X, so if you pursue it then you are ignorant”

Often in today’s common English you will hear the word “stupid” used with synonymous meaning as “bad”.
example “Christianity is stupid” or “Democracy is stupid”

Ah, but in addition to all of this, potentially such a sentence could mean even more…

Someone may say, “Stealing is Bad”, and actually mean, “Stealing results in an overall reduction of wealth in society and I dislike that”. Two propositions:
The first proposition being “The result of stealing is the reduced overall wealth of society”.
The second proposition being “I do not like what I currently believe is the result of stealing”.

Both of these are complete propositions capable of being true or false.

Does this cover everything? I doubt it. I’m nearly certain that to some people the word “bad” means several other things of which I am not even aware. I haven’t even touched on some other very common words used in morality.


In conclusion, often when trying to reach something cognitive from a moral sentence, we generally end up with something that does not appear to be a moral sentence at all.

As long as there is missing information necessary to evaluate a moral sentence to true or false, then such sentence is not a proposition, and is therefore non-cognitive.

Reference:
http://sepero1.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/recognizing-ethicalmoral-propaganda/


Words:
ethics philosophy meta-ethics Friedrich Nietzsche

Noncognitivism About Face

In an interesting turn of events, I no longer fully regard moral noncognitivism to be true. While in Singapore one night a couple weeks ago, I was simply resting in bed questioning my view of noncognitivism. And I assure you, that of all people, I surely did not think that I would come to odds with it… I now believe that a statement such as “extraterrestrials are bad” can express a complete proposition, and can be objectively True or False. Though, this new view is mostly an issue regarding definition. In reference to moral nihilism, moral nihilists believe that there is nothing “inherently” good/bad/right/wrong in the universe, and I still agree with this, but I do not currently find Any subcategory of moral nihilsm to be true. Anyway, just food for thought. More on this later.

Language Nazi’s and Oughts

So you’re a moral nihilist. Congratulations, you recognize that morals, when disassociated from a subject, are unfalsifiable.

Ding dong the witch is dead! Yay! Here’s a cookie.

Now you think we can disregard all oughts… for they are now all rendered non-cognitive and irrelevant?

NIGGA PLEASE! You’re just showing your ignorance of what “ought” means in common language.


In common language, it acknowledges the most preferable course of action toward achieving a desired outcome.

If I wish to take the quickest route to ABC Liquors, and the quickest route is going north, then I ought to go north. The action of going north will best fulfil my desired outcome, which makes it a properly used “ought” in common language.

Though, if I wish to stop being an alcoholic, I ought to stop making such frequent trips to ABC Liquors.


Anyway, the point is, words serve to convey meaning, and some words have multiple meanings. Oughts in much of common language are not referring to good and evil, but rather individual desired outcomes. Understanding others is about understanding what people mean when they speak. When people use certain words, we need to understand what they mean when they use those words, and not just discard specific words for the sake of one meaning that they may have.

Unsustainable Anarchism Outline

The is a followup to my blog post:
http://abyssalstorm.ning.com/profiles/blogs/debunking-anarchy-from-the

First, although I still believe everything in the original post is valid, I regret coming off a bit arrogant in the title and possibly some of the text. I should have known better than that, considering my audience, though what is done is done, let us move on. :)

Second, as some people know, I was working on rewriting the whole Paper, because there was confusion about a few things, including issues over me using the term PDA. And I did not establish why some plot of anarchist territory can easily become a state, while the reverse is not true (state to anarchism).

Considering that I am no longer an anarchist, the rewrite ended up taking much more time than I had intended to spend on this subject. While elaborating on the rewrite, the Paper diverged into two larger concepts.

At this time I do not have intentions of elaborating on each point as I did in the original. So this is possibly all there will be, enjoy…


DEFINITIONS:

"Property"
To simplify this Paper I will be referring to Property and Possession as just “Property”. The simple difference between Property and Possession is what individuals consider legitimate or acceptable ownership. Different individuals may say that ownership is acceptable through: purchase, or labor, or active use. In any case, I will simply be referring to all of these as Property.

"model of Property"
Any set of rules by which Property or Possession ownership is enforced. This set of rules may or may not be codified into law. As long as individuals engage in trade, there exists some model of Property.

"VBD"
Acronym for Violent Body of Defence. There are three attributes to a VBD.
A) the Purpose of a VBD is to enforce a model of Property (protect Property/Possessions from theft or harm) over a given territory. Without a VBD, no model of Property could be upheld, because there would be nothing to stop widespread thievery.
B) a VBD can be a organization of any variety: business, union of individuals, or simply a single individual.
C) It is Not mandatory for a VBD to use violence in all matters of defence, but they must be capable of using violence as a last resort.
The following could be considered example VBD’s: the police, the military, the mafia, a private militia, a private defence agency, a night watchman, a shop owner with one fist.
(VBD has been used to replace PDA in this rewrite of the original Paper because of preconceived notions of what a PDA represents.)

First Concept, Business Market Forces:

1. Businesses are anti direct competition.

2. While some models of Property may be more preferable than others, there is no objectively correct or perfect utopia model of Property.

3. Because of theft, vandalism, etc., property of value inherently requires a VBD.

4. VBD’s enforce a model of Property over a given territory.

5. The ability to secede land is simply another model of Property.

6. Secession will inevitably create new VBD’s.

7. If a VBD enforces a model of Property which allows individuals to secede land, then that will incur greater competition.

8. Business VBD’s will take all steps possible to eliminate their competition (VBD unions or otherwise).

9. If the VBD is a business, then convincing its customers to adopt a model of Property which is incrementally less easy to secede from will gain that VBD a competitive advantage, resulting in keeping customers longer and increased revenues.

10. A State is a VBD which has convinced it’s initial customers to adopt a fully nonsecessionist model of Property.

11. Once a fully nonsecession model of Property is adopted, it cannot be reversed except through abandonment or violent over throw.

Second Concept, Consumer Market Forces:

1. There will inevitably be three types of individuals in any society: Pro-secession, Anti-secession, and Neutral/Apathetic.

2. Secession is not the only factor when choosing a model of Property from a VBD. Neutral/Apathetic individuals will be enticed into less secessionist models of Property in exchange for other benefits.

3. When an Anti-secession or Apathetic customer chooses a fully nonsecession model of Property, that VBD has secured a territory (and pretty much customer) for the life of the VBD.

4. As time goes on, all land will at some point come under the ownership of individuals who are Anti-secession or Apathetic. These plots of land will gradually be consumed by a nonsecession VBD’s.


Here I have outlined one of the reasons why I believe Anarchism has always been sustainable for much shorter durations than most states that have ever been. Assuming all other factors being equal, the average secessionist VBD is unable to compete, in comparison to the average nonsecessionist VBD (state).

Tags: anarchism, anarchy, antistatism, anti-statism, case, minimal, philosophy, state, sustainability

Elaborating The Path from Anarchy to Reason - an Outline

Reformation In Process-


1. Ethical Nihilism - Recognizing that morals are just an extension of individual values.

2. Those with (real and illusory) Power make the rules. Generally, I view this as the majority of the population.

3. The study of how laws (or rules) affect societies is economics. Economics provide for measurable knowledge on creating the greatest wealth within a society.

4. Creating the greatest amount of wealth within a society is the only measurable means we currently have for providing decreased mortality rate and an increased standard of living for the greatest number of individuals.

5. If an individual wishes to be rational concerning economics and law, anything with unmeasurable consequences for society, such as morals, should be abandoned.

6. I assume that most individuals value: their life, an increased standard of living, and having the same for others in their society.

7. From my previous assumption, it is within the rational self interest of the greatest number of individuals to enforce a system of economics toward achieving their values for society.

8. The most valuable society to individuals is the one that is able to uphold a system of law which provides the greatest value over time.


Example:
Compare two societies:
One lasts 1 unit of time, and produces 10 units of value per unit of time.
One lasts 10 units of time, and produces 10 units of value per unit of time.

The second society provided 10 times the value of the first.

From my knowledge, the first society is representative of the average anarchist society, while the second is representative of the average minimal state. I do not claim these numbers are so cut and dry, just that on average, minimal states survive a much much longer time than anarchist societies.

There is no evidence I have viewed from pre-existing anarchist societies, that shows they ever generated greater economic value per unit of time when compared with minimal states. Personally, in the absence of limited liability investment, I would say that less value is generated.


Additionally, anarchists cannot economically explain why anarchism continually fails where states have survived. The common response is a typical knee jerk reaction with such anarchist apologetics as, “Well, the states just don’t want them to exist. So they force their will over them.”. Any society, whether state or not, must be able to withstand outside pressures.


It might be said that, “Well, it can work if we just do it differently than before” (often heard from communists as well). This is an unverifiable belief, which can neither be proven true or false without trial. However, since we do not know whether anarchism would work if we did it “differently”, I have attempted to briefly explain one reason why I believe, even if a “different” society of anarchism were achieved, it would still be unsustainable.
http://abyssalstorm.ning.com/profiles/blogs/unsustainable-anarchism


As a personal tangent, I would rather not risk the life of myself and those I care about for such a venture, especially when moving to an economically sound minimal state is a comparatively minimal cost. Moving to a minimal state has immediate direct benefits, rather than the unknown results of anarchism, which may or may not ever materialize.

Recognizing Ethical/Moral Propaganda

It seems I’ve brought an onslaught of hate upon myself with a video I released recently (not completely unexpected). From a moral nihilist perspective, it appears to me that many people have difficulty recognizing when another person is making arguments from morality.

Arguments from morality are most often an attempt to influence people based on inconsequential values that the moralist holds. Arguments from morality are at their base, essentially just appeals to emotion.

Because of this, I’ve decided to write up a list of words that generally are not used, unless someone is making arguments from morality. (Many of these same words may also be used to propagandise for Communism.)

Words:

evil, aggression, corruption, coercive, rulers, hierarchy, rights, justice, theft, greedy, violent, force, exploitation, slave, wage slavery, enslavement, freedom, oppressed (or oppression), fair (or fairness), authoritarian, legitimate ownership, voluntary, monopoly (sometimes)

Dospook

New word required to describe individuals I debate with occasionally.


dospook (das-pook)

v. dospooked, dospooking, dospooks

1. Using language in a seemingly understandable and/or highly intellectual way, but because of ambiguity or uncommon mixing of words, statements are unable to be understood.
2. Structuring sentences in such a way that are logically inconsistent, but not obviously so.
3. To phrase a statement in layers of metaphors/analogies in such a way that clear meaning is impossible to discern; possibly even for the dospooker.


example:
“When she said that all of existence was nothing, I knew that she was dospooking me.”


n. dospooker

1. A person who dospooks or is dospooking; usually unintentionally.


example:
“That guy has no idea how much of a dospooker he is.”

Moral Nihilism Simplified

My interpretation:

1. I accept that moral statements/beliefs do objectively exist.

2. Moral statements are based on subjective valuation, similar to “vanilla ice cream is good”.

3. A subject (person) is required for a subjective valuation to be a valid true or false proposition. (ex. “Vanilla ice cream is good to Sepero”)

4. Any subjective valuation that is disassociated from the subject, like “vanilla ice cream is good” by itself, does not express a complete proposition.

5. Statements that do not express a complete proposition are unfalsifiable, and therefore can neither be true or false.

6. Since moral statements, like “helping your neighbour is good”, are based on subjective valuation- moral statements are neither true or false by themselves.


This post isn’t meant to specifically disprove any Moral or Ethical position, but rather to help clarify the Moral Nihilist position.


Tags: Friedrich, Nietzsche, easy, error, ethics, logically, made, non-cognitivism, noncognitivism, philosophy