Wednesday, February 25, 2009

red books from red beards on red men

Murray Rothbard (whose last name means "red beard") wrote about the role of the court intellectual ('red' or 'raed' is Old English for wise counsel).

"The ruling class — be it warlords, nobles, bureaucrats, feudal landlords, monopoly merchants, or a coalition of several of these groups — must employ intellectuals to convince the majority of the public that its rule is beneficent, inevitable, necessary, and even divine. The leading role of the intellectual throughout history is that of the court intellectual who, in return for a share of, a junior partnership in, the power and pelf offered by the rest of the ruling class, spins the apologias for state rule with which to convince a misguided public." --Conceived in Liberty, Vol. III, p.352

R' Samson Raphael Hirsch wrote about the people who played the role in ancient Egypt-

"In Tanach [the bible] we find, everywhere, Machshefim [illusionists/magicians] in the service of the rulers of old, just as today we find scientists in the service of the state. If today's scientists were to attempt to solve problems such as how one can indulge in every excess and debauchery without having to fear consequences detrimental to one's health - that would be attempting a misuse of man's mastery of nature, and would be in line with the basic outlook of Kishuf. [magic]" --Commentary to the book of Exodus, Chapter 7, Verse 11

This is how you can explain Keynesians who magically believe that you can consume your seed cord into prosperity or otherwise turn stones into bread! Pharoah's scientists had nothing on these goys!

the plague of [boiling] frogs

R' Samson Raphael Hirsch's commentary to Exodus, Chapter 2, Verse 23--
As long as the initiators of an oppressive state project of such vast proportions as the enslavement of an entire free race are still alive, there is hope for an awakening of conscience and for the abolishment of the injustice. But once an institution - no matter how glaring the injustice that gave rise to it - has passed, along with the power of the state, into the hands of new authorities who are not aware of its origins and who accept it as traditional, legitimate prerogative of the state, the new governent will not consider itself authorized to tamper with time honored tradition. It will presume that all the institutions of the former regime have been sanctioned by the law of the land. The free people who have been enslaved by a Machiavellian tyrant will then be doomed to remain pariahs forever.

This is the curse of obsolescence inherent in time-honored state institutions. The past cultivated a field with blood and tears, and the present harvests - with a clean conscience - the fruit of the fait accompli, without considering that a curse hangs over every ear of corn that is brought home with joy.

The same applies to the New Deal, National Recovery Act, WWII and other shovel-ready infrastructure projects which 'brought us out of the last depresssion'.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


"The degree of justice in a country is measured not by the rights accorded to the native-born, the rich, and the well-connected (whose connections stand by them and represent them in their time of need), but by the justice meted out to the unprotected stranger. Complete equality of the native-born and the stranger is a basic characteristic of Jewish law. In Jewish law, the homeland does not grant human rights; rather, human rights grant the homeland! Jewish law does not distinguish between human rights and citizen's rights. Whoever accepted upon himself the moral laws of humanity- the seven Noahide laws- could claim the right of domicile in Judea."

-- Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, commentary to the book of Exodus, Chapter 1, Verse 14 [Amazon link]

I'd love to try and squeeze his statement about morality granting property rights into an argumentation ethics framework to defend not the illegitimate, incoherent concept of "homeland", but rather one of property rights. It's clear that the good rabbi didn't hold that the land of Israel is the birthright, or that it belongs in come collective manner to the tribe of Israel, but to the contrary- it's a land that is open for acquisition to potentially anyone so long that they behave toward others in a moral fashion.

According to some libertarians, the concept of property is derived via argumentation ethics [link]. Roughly speaking, a presupposition to the concept of an argument requires individuals to recognize the property rights of others to their own bodies and the use and/or possession of scarce goods, or what is then called property.