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.

Hong Kong has too many poor people to allow direct elections

From Quartz: Hong Kong has too many poor people to allow direct elections, leader says.


You have to go pretty far from America to get some straight talk on democracy. Here’s what CY Leung, Hong Kong’s top city official, had to say about it:

“If it’s entirely a numbers game—numeric representation—then obviously you’d be talking to half the people in Hong Kong [that] earn less than US$1,800 a month. You would end up with that kind of politics and policies.”

Ya think? So let me get this straight: if a country lets a bunch of poor people vote, then that country will inevitably get a bunch of wealth-destroying, wealth-transfer policies?

Well, I’ll be darned. Whodathunkit? It’s not like that is perfectly obvious. Or is it?

Let me rephrase: Democracy is retarded.

As an aside, Curt Doolittle wrote in Neo-Reaction in a Nutshell: We Are Ruled By A Theocracy – An Evil One:

The central problem of any post-hunter-gatherer society, engaged in production, is to ensure that the fecundity of the unproductive does not eradicate the increases in productivity of the creative – but that those increases are accumulated as a competitive advantage against the fecundity of not only our own relations, but of those who would replace us. Otherwise all innovation is translated into population expansion rather than advancement. Northern European civilization succeeded faster than all others, in no small part because it concentrated reproduction in its upper classes, not in expanding the burden of its lower classes.

It seems that Hong Kong is wrestling with that problem as we speak, Curt.

Obscurant Libertarianism and Group Ethics

I agree with Curt Doolittle that libertarianism is obscurant and dishonest. From the start libertarianism as a project intended to create a form of capitalism that was as liberal as possible. This project required the libertarians to rewrite history from the perspective of the individual, hiding group roles and responsibilities; thus the obscurant and dishonest nature of libertarianism.

Liberalism is individualism. Who has Liberty? Why, the individual, of course. There is no such thing as ‘group liberty’. If anything, membership in a group comes with concomitant obligations to that group, which would not mean ‘liberty’. Each individual has been liberated from the group. The individual is the primary unit, and all theories are built upon that solitary unit. I express this as ‘1’. Then I can express egalitarianism as ‘1=1’, and universalism as ‘1=1=1=1…’. Liberalism is individualism and it is the fundamental building block of leftist thought. Some say that egalitarianism is leftism, and individualism is liberalism. Either way, egalitarianism flows from liberalism. The idea of Liberty and the individual are inseparable. In liberalism, the individual is greater than the group.

This is the fundamental lie of the left: the concept that the individual is greater than the group. On its face it is absurd. What individual can live without the group? Almost zero domesticated humans in America would last any time at all if everyone else in the world disappeared. We owe our lives to group cooperation. Can a mother just drop a baby in the forest and expect it to live? This is where Rothbardian libertarianism breaks down. From Ethics of Liberty, ch. 14:

There remains, however, the difficult case of children. The right of self-ownership by each man has been established for adults, for natural self-owners who must use their minds to select and pursue their ends. On the other hand, it is clear that a newborn babe is in no natural sense an existing self-owner, but rather a potential self-owner.[1] But this poses a difficult problem: for when, or in what way, does a growing child acquire his natural right to liberty and self-ownership? Gradually, or all at once? At what age? And what criteria do we set forth for this shift or transition?

Clearly, a child is a member of a group. He is not a ‘self-owner’, he lives only through the host group. Rothbard does backflips in this section of the book to maintain the absurd notion of a self-owning individual, rather than a member of a group. All of his arguments revolve around self-ownership. For Rothbard, abortion is sanctioned ‘because a mother’s will is inalienable, and she cannot legitimately be enslaved into carrying and having a baby against her will.‘ But if the mother is actually not simply an individual, if she is also a member of a group, then wouldn’t the rights of the group come into play? If that group is a family, then wouldn’t the father have rights and claims on the baby as well? Isn’t every member of a group, in some way ‘enslaved‘ to that group, if he wishes to maintain membership, especially when exclusion from the group means certain death in a barbarous world? Avoiding Rothbard’s obscurant negativism and rephrasing positively: isn’t every member of the group positively obligated to act responsibly to the other members of the host group? Wouldn’t the wishes of a father in a family have a significant impact on a mother’s choice to abort her baby? Not in Rothbard’s individualistic world, the low-trust world we now seem to inhabit. Rothbard’s ethics allow individuals to soak up all the benefits that come with being allowed membership in a host group, while shirking all responsibility to that host group. Rothbardian ethics are therefore parasitic.

When I look at the Dark Enlightenment I see individualism replaced with the ‘groupism‘ or group ethics, or at least group-centered thought. Tribes and thedes are groups. HBD deals with the genetics at a population level, drawing inferences to individual behavior based on relationships to groups. Ethno-Nationalists are occupied with the survival of the ethny – the genetically related group. Traditionalists and Patriarchs study the ‘liberation’ of females from group ethics and responsibilities to the group. PUA’s descend on these ‘liberated’ females like jackals, enjoying the decline of high-trust group ethics and the necessary libertinism that follows.

It appears to me that just as libertarians re-conceptualized economics and capitalism through the lens of the individual, it should be a project of the DE to re-conceptualize them through the lens of the group and group ethics. I believe that this is what Curt Doolittle is doing with his Propertarianism. I think he is working to correct the libertarian head-fake of the individual as the primary economic actor, rebuilding economic theory with the previously hidden responsibility to the group. I believe that it is the goal of libertarianism to obscure group ethics, groupism, and to replace it with a parasitic/individualistic/liberal system of ethics. No man is an island. The individual exists only through cooperation with the group, the individual therefore owes the group something: to repay the social capital that is extended by that group.

This is not to say that individuals do not exist and that granting individuals a certain amount of ‘liberty’ is non-optimal. It appears that in the West we tend to be liberal and to grant autonomy and that this has been successful at times. There are benefits to this approach. However, there must be a balance. Certainly, group ethics should not be obscured by or subordinated to individual ethics. That is insanity. That is libertarianism.

Religion, tradition, patriarchy, and ethno-nationalism are all concerned with group-ethics, and an understanding that the liberty/rights/autonomy of any individual within a group comes with responsibilities to that host group, and that it is the survival and flourishing of the host group that is paramount.

I am not a philosopher, nor am I as erudite as many in the DE: I would be grateful for any insights as to how classical philosophers viewed group ethics and their relationship to individual ethics.