On Property and Propertarianism

Hurlock recently posted on Property. I have made a few comments concerning Propertarianism on this blog, but it needs much more study, particularly in Neoreactionary circles. To put it simply, if you are talking about Property but are not versed in Propertarianism, then you are missing the latest and greatest in the theory of Property.

Let me give you an example from Hurlock’s post (emphasis mine):

It is important to realize that all property is private. That is, a specific unit of a good, or more generally a single specific object can only be de facto owned or controlled by a single person. For example, you can’t actually have two agents owning the same orange as a whole singular object together. The two agents might own different parts of the object but they can’t both have sovereign control over the same singular unit simultaneously. Obviously a conflict would arise. And in the end only one of them would end up a de factoowner of the singular object. Sovereignty is conserved.

 Now, look at the Propertarian glossary, and go to ‘Property’, here is a subsection:

    Types of property based upon observations of what people actually consider to be their property:

      Personal property: “Things an individual has a Monopoly Of Control over the use of.”
      a) Physical Body
      b) Actions and Time
      c) Memories, Concepts and Identities: tools that enable us to plan and act. In the consumer economy this includes brands.
      d) Several Property: Those things external to our bodies that we claim a monopoly of control over.
      Cooperative Property: “relationships with others and tools of relationships upon which we reciprocally depend.”
      a) Mates (access to sex/reproduction)
      b) Children (genetics)
      c) Familial Relations (security)
      d) Non-Familial Relations (utility)
      e) Consanguineous property (tribal and family ties)
      g) Racial property (racial ties)
      g) Organizational ties (work)
      h) Knowledge ties (skills, crafts)
      i) Status and Class (reputation)
      a) Recorded And Quantified Shareholder Property (physical shares in a tradable asset)
      b) ARTIFICIAL PROPERTY: (property created by fiat agreement) Intellectual Property.
      c) FORMAL INSTITUTIONAL PROPERTY : Formal (Procedural) Institutions: Our institutions: Religion (including the secular religion), Government, Laws.
      d) INFORMAL INSTITUTIONAL PROPERTY: Informal (Normative) Institutions: Our norms: manners, ethics, morals, myths, and rituals that consist of our social portfolio and which make our social order possible.
      “Those properties in which we have invested our forgone opportunities, our efforts, or our material assets, in order to aggregate capital from multiple individuals for mutual gain.”

From this small section, we see that ‘Personal Property’ is only one-third of the types of property defined, with the other two being property that is not private. Contrary to the opening assertion, all property is not private. In fact, much property is interpersonal or shared, and it is the shared property that is the most difficult to manage under our current pseudoscientific definitions of and ideas around property. It is immediately obvious that ‘children’ are ‘objects’ which are in fact owned by two people, the mother and the father. Thinking of singular ownership only allows us to simplify how we consider property – it lets us off the hook with regard to the really tough problems. This is why Libertarians come to the wrong conclusions about so many things which reactionaries intuit correctly. What Reactionaries need is a scientific, economic language that we can use to express ownership of property such as consanguineous property, racial property, status and class, among others.

Let’s look at a normative commons as an example, which in Propertarian thought is defined as ‘informal institutional property’. Currently, there is a normative commons which is maligned through the pejorative ‘White privilege’.  Critics claim that this privilege is unearned, and thus is unfair. It is not unfair and it is not unearned because ‘White privilege’ is simply the recognition that Whites have created a normative commons, this commons is a shared property, and it is bought and paid for by bearing opportunity costs. To clarify: every time White privilege is extended to me, I have the opportunity to abuse it. Every time I go into a store, and the store owner allows me the privilege of walking about the store to peruse the wares without an armed guard following me, I then have the opportunity to steal. I could quietly sneak something into my pocket and exit without paying. When I do not steal, I have in effect paid something, because I am bearing an opportunity cost and forgoing the ‘free’ item. Why do I pay this cost? Because it creates a normative commons of trust, by not stealing I am maintaining that commons for myself and others like me to enjoy.

On the other hand, if you and those like you (your co-ethnics) take the White privilege that is extended to you and abuse it, then you destroy the commons. For example, if you live in a ‘diverse’ big city then you are familiar with convenience stores with bullet-proof teller windows where no-one is allowed to enter. The common area, the shopping area, has been physically expunged from the store. If you live in a White-topia such as rural New Hampshire, then you are familiar with homey little stores where you can walk in and peruse freely and engage in some pleasant conversation with a perfectly agreeable White person.

For one group of ethnics to demand ‘White privilege’ and then be unwilling to bear the opportunity costs necessary to create that normative commons, is for that group to demand something that is unearned. That group has demonstrated unwillingness to pay for their privileges. They demand that others take a risk for their benefit, a risk which has been shown to not be worth the cost of taking.

White privilege is a normative commons that has been payed for by paying opportunity cost. It is ‘owned’ by the group of people who pay for it. It is ‘informal institutional property’.

Property is a slippery and essential thing for us to understand, because it is not merely ‘private property’. The Libertarian views of property tend to reduce and simplify it and are unable to grasp it in its full complexity and therefore produce logical, rational, economic arguments for intangible property such as normative commons.

I hope that this one small example on the topic of ‘informal institutional property’ will encourage more Neoreactionaries to study the work that Curt Doolittle is doing over at Propertarianism.com. You will find it instructive. At least I certainly have, otherwise I never would be able to articulate ‘White privilege’ in economic terms.


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