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Synchronicity: How Progressives, Conservatives, and Libertarians Get Along

PREFACE

This is a brutal, long, and difficult post, but in its full capacity, its purpose is to help anyone understand why they prefer to love their fellow humans than hate them. Everyone does both, of course, but even at our most hateful, we generally want to love more than hate. Simple sparks of humanity—even from perfect strangers—can touch off smiles, pats on the back, and well wishes—demonstrating a genetic compatibility and commonness we have no means of fully explaining. As rational animals, we aren’t indifferent about much of anything. We care about everything and it’s our highest virtue. To care.

We’re lovers, haters, fighters, and killers. But unless we had preferred love above the others in most times and circumstances, we wouldn’t even exist.

We’re going to present the case in scientific detail as to why we somehow manage to love one-another more than we indulge our other options, and, how we can do better at it by understanding how we cooperate by specializing in “moral timeframes” towards voluntary exchanges that produce society and common good in spite of our conflicts. This isn’t an easy walk through the park but I hope you’ll give it a hearty attempt.

INTRODUCTION

In this post I’ll be “unpacking” a novel idea that I recently gleaned from Curt Doolittle in a video interview. Its title: Propertarianism – Moral Specialization in the Reproductive Division of Labor, summarized as, “Moral Specialization in the Inter-temporal Reproductive Division of Labor, and Voluntary Exchange as our information system.” Accordingly, contrasting my title above, you perhaps see what I mean by “unpacking.” Far from being in any way condescending or a dig on the readers’ smarts, it’s just my job and primary responsibility in this project to use my 25 years of experience arguing political and moral philosophy from a libertarian perspective in order to make the more necessarily formal academic approach Curt communicates, into something more accessible by smart folks who nonetheless don’t have the requisite background.

I’ve embed the 24-minute video interview with Eli Harman at the end of this post.

First let’s get on the same page about what Division of Labor is.

The division of labour is the separation of tasks in any system so that participants may specialize. Individuals, organisations, and nations are endowed with or acquire specialized capabilities and either form combinations or trade to take advantage of the capabilities of others in addition to their own. Specialized capabilities may include equipment or natural resources in addition to skills and training and complex combinations of such assets are often important, as when multiple items of specialized equipment and skilled operators are used to produce a single product. The division of labour is the motive for trade and the source of economic interdependence.

It has existed in primitive form all the way back to hominid. Indeed, male and female is a natural division-of-labor in itself—and note that we refer to the act of child birth as “going into labor,” but, working men were commonly known as laborers, and we even have labor unions.

Increased specialization gives rise to new markets where a medium of exchange—money—can be used. For example, you don’t have to figure out how many of your chicken eggs it takes to get your tire changed. You price your chicken eggs in dollars, the repairman does likewise, and trade is facilitated exponentially across billions of goods and services.

But there is also a a Division of Labor for ideas, ideologies, even religious faith. In America, we have founding documents put together by a collection of various specialists that underlie the vast and quick progress made as America took on the Industrial Revolution (part technical advancement, part specialization) full force. Once sufficient personal and common wealth had been achieved, people were willing to ease up. That’s not altogether a bad idea—there was leisure time for the average family for the first time in modern history where they’re struggling through the paradigm shift of industrialization—so long as the Division of Labor in ideas, values, and morality across scales, scopes, and time preferences is checked, balanced, negotiated, and voluntarily traded or exchanged between the divisions of labor in play.

Now I’ll get into the content of the video. What follows, largely, is from the video transcript—but edited by me extensively. That is, these are mostly Curt’s words with my [sometimes heavy] editing, but he’s the impetus for all of them and I’m clarifying speech into essay, trying not to make any implicit or explicit misrepresentations. Also, thanks to Ms. Megan Kusui, who spent many hours proofreading the final draft, providing a number of valuable suggestions resulting in critical improvements, made the post title way better, and even contributed a take on Curt’s work in her own words.

MORAL SPECIALIZATIONS

CURT (edited): Progressives and Libertarians have moral specializations while Conservatives do not. Libertarians have slightly narrow moral specializations and Progressives have very narrow moral specializations. As such, Conservatives can understand Libertarians. Libertarians can mostly understand Conservatives, and Conservatives kinda understand Progressives, as strange as that may sound.

Libertarians mostly get conservatives. They’re a little silly and believe they know it all—often by divine inspiration—but Progressives are importantly crazy. They’re really out there.

Progressives are almost exclusively concerned with harm-care and what their version of liberty is, in social liberty. In other words, the unconstrained vision. A Libertarian view is economic liberty, which is the the use of liberty toward the uses of resources. Conservatives don’t see what the Libertarians see; we just simply place a higher value on economic liberty. Then, both Progressives and Conservatives are trying to preserve their respective tribes, which is why they have a sort of affinity, like one religious sect can have some affinity for another. So you see that Conservatives are very concerned about disgust, right? What’s disgusting, what’s polluting family and community values; what’s a sacred thing, things that would violate not only the body, the body politic, and the mind politic. What we get is that we tend to think that these are learned behaviors and someone is the corrupting influence; but that’s because what’s happened is over a very long period we’ve created these mythologies to justify majority rule democracy.

RICHARD: To further unpack it a bit, I’ve created a Venn Diagram to illustrate the Division of Moral Labor towards creating a society based on ideas and moral signaling.

So, I guess you could say that we have a Yin, Yang, and Zian that makes up the commons, that PROPERTY we all benefit from and in various strategic and signaling ways, contribute to—but also in some measure, parasitize as well. Even in that, there is a Division of Labor balance of power to check the parasitism of any one ideological group. At least we hope.

Perhaps the most curious thing about it is the affinities shared by Conservatives and Progressives. But it’s easy to understand when you understand that Progressives are conservative too, just rather opposite from Conservatives. Think of it like this. Conservatives are substantially traditional religious values folk, which can range from conservative Catholics to Fundamentalist, “Born Again” Baptists. So, to the Progressive, one who does not espouse, or degrades, their values is Hitler. To the Conservative, one who is eroding their values is Satan.

Strange bedfellows, but bedfellows on levels nonetheless.

REPRODUCTIVE / SURVIVAL STRATEGY

An overview of strategies, male and female. A world of meaning in a quick study (image via Curt Doolittle).

CURT (edited): We have moral specializations by reproductive strategies and the Progressives tend to reflect the female reproductive strategy, which is to have as many offspring as possible by common folk, but to then put the burden of raising those offspring on one’s tribe, one’s village…It Takes a Village. You also have the typical sort of male provider-protector reproductive strategy…and you have the producer reproductive strategy—which is guys like us who are Libertarians.

But we can’t all understand each other to some degree…nurse aunts, warrior ants, and farmer ants. So we specialize. It’s what Division of Labor is for. We can work in compatible ways. We’re similar enough to be compatible, but we’re different enough to be able to specialize. The problem with majority rule is that it’s really good for selecting priorities amongst people with similar interests and similar abilities, which is what we have when we have a family. And we have a whole lot of families.

For example, you have shareholders in a corporation with similar interests. You have a family of sorts as a bunch of shareholders in “the family.” In that corporate family you’re trying to produce profits—perhaps even some intergenerational transfer of genes and equity. You’re trying to reproduce. We don’t like to compare this because somehow business should be different from the sacredness of the family. But it’s still just an organization trying to produce a common good. It’s just like male and female reproductive strategies are compatible, but they aren’t near anywhere near identical. When you try to explain that to two different parts of the moral spectrum, it’s strange and alien. A Conservative will say, ‘well, of course;‘ a progressive will say ‘that’s not true.‘ It’s because of moral blindness. We all need to believe these things in order to do them. So we do.

So one way this plays out is Conservatives tend to see certain threats like moral peril, erosion of traditional values, etc., that Progressives just don’t see; or, they don’t see it now, to which the Conservative response is ‘well, okay, but it could be in the future.’ So we have moral specializations.

The problem with democracy stems from when we were families and we had one family, one vote. You were voting on behalf of the family and all that conflict that happens—i.e., the fact that we’re compatible but not identical—is happening down inside the families, not on the general polity. You’re just bringing that consolidated, familial vote up to the political arena and by consequence are working on The Commons under far less conflict, where common interests hold sway more so than do individual or democratic differences.

When women began to vote, their own reproductive strategy was—individually, democratically—let loose on the polity at large and on the storehouse of wealth that is The Commons. And, of course, this broke up the family because no longer was the female’s reproductive strategy contained within a family with one consolidated vote, it became a matter of public interest where The Commons took the place of the familial common. Let’s say the motivation became OPC: Other People’s Commons.

So both reproductive strategies or interests are let loose in public political conflict. Rather than the prevailing or dominant male strategy of producer, provider, protector—tempered at home by the female interests of harm-care, security, etc., consolidated in one family one vote—you now have both strategies and interests competing in the polity, thereby ushering in the disastrous results of political and bureaucratic parasitism, depletion, and looting of The Commons in the name of so-called progressive interests often focussed around Balkanized group identity.

We have no way of coming to a resolution because there’s no one way under democracy or any majority rule to conduct a compromise. It’s just whoever wins. There’s no compromise involved at all.

RICHARD: I’ll add that the perpetually poor, the less intelligent (under 100-110 IQ), and undereducated—those with no standing as net contributors to The Commons…but who nonetheless demand a disproportionate stake—also adopt the Progressive, female strategy of laying all their desires, life’s challenges, and life’s troubles at the public trough.

The problem here is multi-faceted, from unemployment-creating minimum wage laws, “child” labor laws that stifle and delay development…creating boredom and juvenile delinquency and in many cases, lives of chronic crime, and a poor primary and secondary education system that focuses on lots of nonsense beyond the “three Rs” instead of teaching tech and job skills. And then, they’re encouraged to waste four to ten years in an Institution of Higher Indoctrination—turning out parasitic people in increasing numbers who create no competitive net values for others and society (the commons).

MEGAN KUSUI (editor): Let’s say a group of long-standing fraternity brothers whose wives are all mutual friends decide to go on a weekend getaway together. Decisions have to be made. Instead of everyone, one vote, these decisions should be divided by markets. The families decide location (one family one vote), and then markets emerge: the men choose some key activities, the women decide on accommodations, the kids decide what’s for dessert, what brand of popcorn, and which movies to watch or games to play. The problem with government is that we dump all of these decisions into equal baskets and everyone gets to vote on everything. Then, you get mob rule.

Curt is fond of saying “don’t let children run around with scissors,” which is essentially what you do when you allow low IQ individuals to participate in one-person-one-vote democracy. Give them something relatively meaningless but important to them to do, given their time horizon.

PUBLIC EXCHANGES

CURT (edited): The solution to this democratic-polity conflict is to create exchanges between people with similar interests in government the same way we create exchanges in the market and doing those contractually. Government doesn’t currently work that way. But in terms of practical, operational solutions, we could have different groups of people that have different strategies and different priorities and if they have to make exchanges rather than trying to rule through majority, then we can cooperate through trade without having to agree. I hope to elucidate on that quite a bit more in the future.

We can get a nash equilibrium, which is that we all get the best that’s possible while still making each other happy.

In game theory, the Nash equilibrium, named after American mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., is a solution concept of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only their own strategy. If each player has chosen a strategy and no player can benefit by changing strategies while the other players keep theirs unchanged, then the current set of strategy choices and the corresponding payoffs constitutes a Nash equilibrium. The Nash equilibrium is one of the foundational concepts in game theory. The reality of the Nash equilibrium of a game can be tested using experimental economics methods.

So just like in the market, we don’t get the optimum. We get the best we can get while making each other happy. Just like in marriage, in monogamy, nobody get’s the optimum. They get the best they can get. That’s what a Nash equilibrium allows you to have; everybody gets the best they can do by pairing off with a peer—at about their status. In the market, what we do is have people with completely different economic interests and strategies but these strategies are completely invisible to us because we’re just communicating via prices—which are both signal and language—and voluntary exchanges.

The problem is that the market is not capable of producing all goods and services. Libertarians would like this to be true, but it’s not because in the market when you and I compete and you get the deal, I still lose. That provides me with incentives to act faster.

Another problem with Libertarianism is if people are trying to produce The Commons the same way, no one will volunteer for The Commons. You have to make it impossible to cheat and steal. You have to suppress it almost entirely before anybody puts the first nickel in. That’s why we need government; it’s to say, ‘well, this is a Commons and nobody can monopolize or privatize it.’ That’s why we have it—it’s raison d’etre. So we have to create a contract with one another, but the problem we have is that we can’t create a contract with one another because there is no means of obtaining an exchange in government.

Cunning public-choice nonsensicals will try to come in and argue this, but the answer is there’s no way to construct an exchange—because of majority rule and winner take all—so everyone is trying to figure out what’s the optum, i.e., what’s the most efficient means by reason and empiricism instead of more pragmatically taking advantage of all the information that exists in all those people in their time and trade preferences—the exact same way we do in the market via the signal and language of price.

We’ve constructed a government that manufacturers ignorance for its own sake. It causes conflict. We did exactly the wrong thing. Instead of learning and teaching how we resolve conflict in the market, we destroy one family one vote and preclude market information entering into the construction of norms, rules, and law.

We actually did the opposite, the terrible thing. Everybody’s got an equal vote even though they have unequal interests and unequal abilities, so there’s no way to make use of the knowledge they have except by majority rule. Thereby, we’ve destroyed the information via the signal and language of price.

How do we construct in government a voluntary exchange system for the production of society and The Commons that we’ve constructed in the market using price signal and language? How do we do the same thing in the government that we so wonderfully do in the market, such that we can actually take advantage of Progressive,  Libertarian, and Conservative values via their respective price signals and language?

It would be better to constructing exchanges. Because what government ends up being via majority rule is death by majority rule.

RICHARD: You don’t care what the owner of the local convenience store believes, or whether you agree with his morals when you regularly exchange and trade to mutual benefit. With these sorts of exchanges Curt proposes, you both benefit; whereas, government is geared towards majority rule and winner take all. It’s the equivalent of going into the convenience store, flipping a coin, and either you get the goods for no money, or he gets your money without giving you the goods. But it’s even worse with government. It’s not a 50/50 coin toss, but loaded dice.

So, we exchange all the time on many levels, even in families and love relationships—it doesn’t always have to involve money as a medium of exchange. We know how to do it because we do it all the time, it’s built into us. Give & take, trade-off, negotiate, bargain, agreement, contract, warrantee. Yet, we’re not conditioned to think of the production and organization of society and the commons as being a cooperative win-win endeavor where moral specializations create divisions of time, scope, and scale through voluntary exchanges. So, we have a long way to go, but it begins with understanding.

DIVISION OF LABOR

CURT (edited): One of the things about the market is it’s not good at long term. Compounding that reality on human scales is that our reproduction cycle is decades long. In the ancient Roman view of things, it’s as long as the person who experienced something, here, still lives. So it’s roughly a hundred years. Correspondingly, the cognitive cycle in government is roughly a hundred years as well. But it’s just a hundred year curve and it’s moving forward…a forever moving target.

There’s two ways this plays out this and it’s rather esoteric at first glance but critically important. The intertemporal means to you, from here to here…rather than intratemporal, which is nearby here, but across long periods of time. Progressives are trying to get sure things (-ra-) in short timescales (-er-). It’s classic cake and eat it too.

Progressives want to make sure that all the children are fed, that they’ll be taken care of, that they’re happy. Then you have the Libertarian: I’m glad he’s happy. But, we have a production cycle. It takes time and the outcome is uncertain. It’s hard to produce this stuff so children can be fed, cared for, and happy because it all relies upon exchanges and the voluntary organization of production.

Libertarians organize capital, laws, rules, and contracts in a way that encourages everyone to do stuff voluntarily—because then they can organize all of the production themselves. It actually works, which is the secret. And Conservatives are resistant to the long term because they can’t predict whether it’s going to enhance or diminish their sacred values, which is a priori conservatism. ‘If we let this happen, then long-term the whole thing is going to fall apart.’ So you have these micro divisions of labor, just like we have division of labor in the market.

We have the same thing happening in the intergenerational production of human beings. Our society is a production unit. We produced society just like we produced pins, automobiles, and skyscrapers through division of labor. Some of us worry about little stuff, some worry about the upbringing of children, some worry about production, and some of us worry that the whole thing is just going to fall apart.

There are three means of persuasion in the short term, medium term, and long term.

  1. Progressive means: Gossip, alienation, rallying, shaming (a short-term female reproduction / survival strategy). The females get all agitated, create a storm of outrage, and their selected males go take care of the problem for them, even if it means killing.
  2. Libertarian means: Exchange / trade, production cycle (and reproduction), incentives (medium term persuasion).
  3. Conservative means: Limits and force (long term persuasion, force if necessary, to keep the wall from ever being breached)

We’re all pretty good at coercing each other over our timeframes. We tend to get thinking about this in the political context of of majority rule instead of a division of labor intertemporal (getting from here to there in the time required) production cycle of society amongst human beings.

So Conservatives think in the long-term progression cycles of society, Libertarians work on the medium term production of goods and services, and Progressives work on short term—the production of comfort, happiness, and well-being as our little human beings are growing.

Conservatives save—they think about saving progress—whereas, Libertarians think about investing and producing for sustainable consumption, and Progressives think about consumption in the here and now in order to pay for votes and other political victories in an increasingly dysgenic society of majority rule. The conglomerate of Progressive ideas is to force us into unbridled consumption. Burn the whole civilization down in order to consume.

I’m breaking it down into the production cycle. We actually need these moral perspectives in our division of labor, but we can’t let any of them go to their extremes. We can’t let Conservatives go to their extreme or we’d get a form of Islam. We can’t let Libertarians to go to their extreme or we’d get libertinism (a form of hedonism). We can’t let Progressives go to their extreme or we’d get socialism and if we get socialism we’ll get increasingly dysgenic and we fall apart and consume everything in sight and there’s nothing left.

When we get overly conservative we get stagnation. If we get overly libertarian, we’ll get moral relativism. If we get overly progressive, we’ll get parasitism.

RICHARD: The big takeaway here is the introduction of moral value signaling due time scales in the division of labor. I’m talking about Curt’s use of intertemporal and intratemporal. It’s a very important construct so it ought not be glossed over due to unfamiliarity by those making a serious study of this new and revolutionary—indeed unifying—work.

Let’s consider the -er- by means of a term everyone is familiar with: interstate highway. Everyone has driven on one. You can drive from San Francisco to New York and time is not a big factor. Whether it takes you three days or five, the overriding concern is that you got yourself from one place to another in about the time it takes you. Now the -ra- in the same context. Intrastate roads and highways are thoroughfares close by you, but your perspective changes. While their purpose is still to facilitate you getting yourself from one place to another, the bigger factor is that you can count on them on a quotidian basis. They’re always there for you, as far as you can see out into the future and this allows you to factor their utility into your future plans.

Let’s illustrate further by eliminating time scales so we can see how conflict in terms of moral signaling fades away and persuasion is uncalled for. Suppose you’re having a weekend get together amongst close friends and family. You have a dinner party Saturday evening and after dinner—adults and children all fed to everyone’s satisfaction—the Conservatives jump up and start packing away all the leftovers for Sunday. The Libertarians jump up and start doing the dishes while planning for breakfast, lunch, and dinner tomorrow. The Progressives ask “what’s for dessert? Then, playing their role: “Kids…come get ice cream and cake!” No need for any conflict or persuasion there. Everyone wants leftovers, everyone wants breakfast, lunch, and dinner tomorrow, and everyone wants dessert and coffee.

Now let’s take the same scenario, only we’re in the prescient Zombie Apocalypse and all the close friends and family have made it to your place. At dinner, the Conservatives admonish everyone to ration, catalogue what’s available, and dutifully eat only what’s absolutely necessary to retain vitality for the long haul. The Libertarians note that there’s a few months of good weather until winter sets in, so we need to get a garden planted and break out the fishing gear and guns to add meat and fish to the stockpile. The Progressives note that the kids are all downstairs in the entertainment room and need reassurances that the adults are seeing to every contingency, so moms make up some Orville Redenbacher, bring it down, and decide on which movie to watch or game to play. Now you will introduce some level of conflict, virtue signaling, moral preferences due to the added variable of time, and so persuasion comes into play, in spite of everyone acting on their values and signaling their own roles in this division of labor. If the relations remain healthy, it will be because of negotiation and voluntary exchange.

NOBODY IS A SPECIAL OR UNIQUE SNOWFLAKE

https://youtu.be/EP5aqAC8PPY

CURT (edited): It’s hard to train people to behave in a certain way. We’re super predators. Conservatives have an extreme view, that progress in itself ushers in an accumulation of negative behaviors, just as a Libertarian  would be troubled by the accumulation of rust on the machinery of production. The Conservative just always wants to to make sure the machine keeps working long-term but the Libertarian has a more nuanced sense of trade offs toward higher production in the nearer term.

Nobody can truly explain why they feel what they do. People can’t explain their moral intuitions. They’ll go out and justify them all day long. But the truth is the words we use when we talk to each other is just negotiating with other people on behalf of our genes and social conditioning. That’s all we’re doing. Our genes are telling us that we know. We can tell you your genetic strategy from your moral values.

It’s mostly negotiate. It’s a division of labor where we’ve got this language thing, and we justify our values and moral approach to them. We try to position all this stuff so that we can keep this organism working just the way ants send signals to each other.

…And so we spend all this time trying to coerce each other. But we’re never going to convince anybody to do anything. We can’t, because it’s actually not in our genetic interest to do that. The only thing we can do is create institutions that allow us to take advantage of our division of labor specializations. Some people create really bad institutions and some create really good institutions. Westerners have established some pretty good institutions. The fact that the West used heroism, truth telling, the jury system, and The Commons—and the fact that it adapts faster—was pretty smart for a poor small minority that had to use very specialized fighting tactics to keep much wealthier people closer to the center of the Bronze Age at bay. And we did a great job of it. Go ask the Turks, when they came up against us. We’re really, really good at it.

We have to understand what our strategy is. It isn’t like this accidental thing that we developed this great purposeful plan. We evolved it by trial and error over time and it turns out to have been a very, very good one. And the only way to measure that is empirically—not by reason, not by experience alone. You know it because we can measure it empirically. This kind of civilization evolved faster. Operationally, we can explain why it evolved faster.

It’s possible for us to recalculate and adapt faster than other civilizations are able to recalculate and adapt. As Hayek said, “You Americans, if you don’t like something, you’ll just change the whole place in six months.”

It’s evolution. That’s our thing.

LIBERTARIANISM VS. LIBERTINISM

CURT (edited): I worked really hard to distinguish between libertarianism—which is aristocratic liberty—and libertinism, which is Rothbardianism.

When I say Libertinism, what I mean is that we can create wealth independent of the consequences to norms. I’m trying to make the point that the purpose of our existence is the reproductive cycle and to not just to fall into the progressive era imperative of consumption and production. I’d create companies all day long and generate new ones if I could. With enough money and enough time, I’d just keep doing it for the sheer joy of doing it.

I’d like to just experience more of life and try more things. We’re very experimental people. We feel this way for a reason. It’s our function in society to worry about this stuff because, in part, a Conservative’s concern is that the guys in the tribe next door are going to come kill us. Whereas, us Libertarians are actually going to go over there and start talking to them; ask, “what can I give you?” Or, “how can I help you?”

We have to do our job as Libertarians. But our job is not an end in itself. The end in itself—of liberty—is to persist the group—to ensure its persistence. Whatever group is better at producing liberty can produce a wealthier group of smaller numbers than  can be produced by a poorer group of larger numbers.

The Libertarians are important because we’re the people that are dragging humanity kicking and screaming out of constancy—because that’s what they all desire as fundamentally status quo lazies.

The Progressive’s desire is to reproduce as many offspring as possible and consume everything possible, whereas the Conservative wants to make everything stable so they can protect it from all disruption. Libertarians are always trying to create disruption. But, disruption has a logical end.

That logical end, in Western civilization, is the normative. That is, it’s the reproductive cycle that suits the normative commons for people who are wealthy and breed in small numbers.

RICHARD (summary and conclusion): “…the reproductive cycle that suits the normative commons for people who are wealthy and breed in small numbers.” That’s the Holy Grail and it should be. Power, prosperity, romantic love, leisure, and continuous self-education for those who have sought and made the proper exchanges in life.

I think everyone understands that as two primary genders, we all come from different genes, geography, geopolitics, social conditioning, cultures, and beliefs. And, we think what we think, there’s no convincing us otherwise, and we’re bound to project our norms upon others via various forms of value and moral signals accounting for time preference.

How do we produce a society from those elements that’s cooperative, voluntary, reciprocal, and warrantied against our individual and group errors?

…This post took far longer than I expected because I detected the unifying element that makes it all fit together, as though you’re in the home stretch of a jigsaw: it’s the temporal element…time and everyone’s estimation of its import upon their values and morals.

We love what we’ve produced over time, that thing we call society. It’s a love & hate relationship, to be sure, but I think we mostly love each other a little bit more than we hate each other. To our credit, we yearn to love others far more than we emotionally desire to hate or kill them. It’s baked into humanity. It’s a good thing, or we wouldn’t exist at all.

Everyone and their values are necessary on various levels of importance to our survival, advancement, and prosperity. We need differing values and virtue signals motivated by time preferences and imperatives, such that we’re always in voluntary exchange and negotiation to resolve any conflict, rather than in violence and domination in order to move towards an embrace of any one extreme.

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Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

15 Comments

  1. Megan on May 3, 2018 at 12:56

    Future King Al says, “Hunter gatherer culture had considerably more leisure time than modern man, as did early agricultural and medieval agricultural culture. The statement that “the average family had leisure time for the first time in history”, is patently false.

    The industrial revolution ushered in with it the greatest reduction in family leisure time seen in recorded history, a sad state which continues to this day.”

    • Richard Nikoley on May 3, 2018 at 13:08

      Meh, quality of leisure time counts too.

      I edited the post to:

      “as America took on the Industrial Revolution (part technical advancement, part specialization) full force. Once sufficient personal and common wealth had been achieved, people were willing to ease up. That’s not altogether a bad idea—there was leisure time for the average family for the first time in modern history where they’re struggling through the paradigm shift of industrialization—”

      I do get what he’s saying and am very well aware of the lounging in the forrest or arid climes HGs got to do (former specialty as a Paleo blogger and also interests in human evolution, migration, and geopolitics). But it’s not exactly a trip to Disneyland, a drive across the country with the kids, or a cruise. This is my point.



    • Richard Nikoley on May 3, 2018 at 14:26

      And by the way, Megan, thanks for the serious help in getting this post ready for publication. Almost all of your input was spot on and it’s why it’s very essential for males and females to collaborate on these sorts of things. I literally could not see some of the issues until you told me.



    • Curt Doolittle on May 3, 2018 at 16:07

      Correct. I’m sorry, I meant money to spend on leisure activities (consumption of novel stimuli). In other words, there is a difference between leisure in poverty and leisure in prosperity. I’m channeling “the theory of the leisure class” and assuming the audience understands the context. (An unconscious assumption I obviously shouldn’t make).
      -Curt



    • Richard Nikoley on May 3, 2018 at 16:44

      No worries Curt and I was unaware that was you quibbling.

      We agree and the text section needed a bit more distinction and qualification anyway, so net positive all the way around.

      Evolution can happen on short time scales too. 🙂



  2. Curt Doolittle on May 3, 2018 at 14:56

    THOUGHTS
    I’d like to congratulate Richard for his rare and ready grasp of my use of Time – and that I have constructed propertarianism from our use of cooperation to defeat time; his grasp that propertarianism provides the unifying synthesis (or what I call explanatory power); and mostly for his ability to communicate these ideas in a method that is more accessible. In fact, while reading through the article (I actually had my laptop read it to me so that I could take notes), I wished he quoted me less and translated it himself even more, because he’s so good at it. (I am very aware that I create long detailed chains of argument and that it’s often very hard to follow). If anything in the article is not sufficiently comprehensible watch the video (context helps) and otherwise any blame for lack of clarity is mine, not Richards. So first and foremost I’d like to thank Richard for his work, his voice, his ‘accessibility’, and compliment him for his insights.

    Richard does an exceptional job of weaving the ideas together over a long post (long chains of reasoning being somewhat challenging). I only noticed one idea I felt was missing – implied maybe but not stated – which is that it’s not that we just value different reproductive and therefore temporal utilities differently, but that we PERCEIVE, AND SEARCH FOR information, opportunity, acquisitions, and cooperations within that time frame. So we are not even aware that other frameworks exist. A minor observation which comes up a few times is that in the context of speaking to libertarians I’ll reflect their biases, but the same would be true for conservatives and liberals. So in that sense, conservatives are trying to accumulate and store capital (as established males and familial females) to use in defense of the family, pack, clan, tribe, and nation; libertarians are trying to create capital in hopes of becoming established males (ascendent males); and progressives, children, and the underclasses are trying to increase consumption of capital in order to transform it into numbers(female reproductive strategy). And as such while conservatives understand everyone they reject moral specialization, libertarians understand mostly, but reject hierarchy limiting their opportunity, and progressives reject constraints on consumption, and simply intuit libertarians and conservatives in particular as evil. So, as you’ll find Haidt saying “conservatives understand liberals, but liberals can’t even begin to imagine understanding conservatives.

    It’s very uncommon to produce works of extraordinary scope and very few thinkers have tried. My work is perhaps naively large in scope covering not only the aristotelian categories but law and the full set of sciences as well. And while I largely finished my investigations a year ago this coming june, my work is largely spread out over the period 2009-2018, and very hard to put your arms around.

    For more on the subjects Richard has covered above, see:

    THE INTERTEMPORAL DIVISION OF PERCEPTION > COGNITION > LABOR AND > ADVOCACY
    https://propertarianism.com/2016/06/19/the-intertemporal-division-of-moral-perception/
    https://propertarianism.com/2014/09/28/moral-foundations-as-property-rights/
    https://propertarianism.com/2015/08/25/haidts-relevance-to-politics-and-law/

    THE DIVISION OF COERCION
    https://propertarianism.com/2015/11/08/the-intertemporal-division-of-coercive-specialization/

    SOCIOLOGY (COOPERATION)
    https://propertarianism.com/2017/03/30/a-short-course-in-sociology-group-cooperation/

    BASIC CONCEPTS: WHAT IS PROPERTARIANISM? (CONTEXT)
    https://propertarianism.com/basic-concepts/

    Again, thank you Richard for such an excellent exposition.
    Affections as always.
    -Curt

  3. Sharon on May 3, 2018 at 16:33

    The into was so misleading, there’s nothing about love for humanity in this post or so it appears… tl;dr. Go back to the good stuff, Richard. My brain hurts at the end of the day and this doesn’t pair well with a glass of chard.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 3, 2018 at 16:46

      Well Sharon, perhaps you should just get drunk then.

      It may help. Temporarily. Did you get that? TEMPORAL-arily.



    • Richard Nikoley on May 3, 2018 at 17:04

      Sharon:

      In what way does “or so it seems…tl;dr” not mean that you didn’t actually read the post so as to determine the mechanics or operations or markets or exchanges or voluntary trade offs people make because not only do they prefer to love instead of hate, fight, and kill, but because on practical levels, it’s not only far less costly but ultimately, the principal means to prosperity, happiness, and many levels of romantic love?



  4. Carol Lynn Chevrier on May 4, 2018 at 08:21

    Thank you for this. Because of the language issue, I have to read things in English two three times, before a clear picture forms. So this is very helpful in gaining some understanding of Doolittle’s work.

    If you were a musician, Richard, it would be accurate to say that you were blessed with both the gift AND the talent. I see the talent part as the work required to push the gift out into the world. You’re a great Sideman-always on time and all about respecting and showcasing the music and playing the kinds of chords that will things up. It’s very rare.

    The enormous writings of RN are a testament to all the hats you are able to wear as a word generator: science writer, polemicist, provocateur, hilarious\poignant chronicler of quotidian life etc, etc, etc…

    Si jamais un jour, tout cela devient un roman, je serai l’une des premières à le lire, ça, c’est ben certain…

  5. Bret on May 5, 2018 at 08:09

    Reading this and Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules is recreating my appreciation for the necessity of the state [not in its current form of course] that I had previously balled up and thrown into the incinerator.

    I like this perspective very much. It integrates diverse perspectives and embraces the Yin and Yang so undeniably elemental to all earthly occurrences. Peterson labels that duality order and chaos. Private Joker wearing a peace symbol in Full Metal Jacket.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think that perspective is highly underrepresented in America. As the post says/implies, nearly all politically active people appear grossly preoccupied with proving that they are 100% right and others are 100% wrong. Appreciation for different, opposing, counterregulatory forces (insulin and glucagon, anyone? fats and carbs?) and the integration thereof seem virtually nowhere to be found in any popular media.

    Yes please.

  6. Bret on May 5, 2018 at 08:56

    Some follow-up thoughts, which I’m sure are amateur or cliché.

    The widespread appreciation for markets will be vastly multiplied when people have more of their own property. Once they have their own money to protect and make decisions with, people will adopt the behaviors required to do so. Certainly we will not reach that state from some commie collectivist initiative of top-down redistribution. I believe the Bitcoin revolution will play such a key role here, in toppling the monopoly on finance currently owned by the elite, both left and right alike. It might take two generations, but that will provide the catalyst for currently ignorant, poor people to give up their white knuckled grip on their government benefits. Probably no better current example of this than the black community after 50 years of the Great Society, as those YouTube videos of Candace Owens and Larry Elder aptly illustrate.

    Essentially what I am saying is that the giant bubble of leftism we’re currently in needs to be pricked. I want to believe it’s pricking now with the election of Trump following 8 years of Obama and watching Hillary stumble out in disgrace. But I’m guarding my optimism, because people surely thought the same thing back in the 80s, in the age of Reagan, and we still spent and legislated and regulated our way into the present state of affairs.

    Maybe the cycle will always continue, and disappointment will inevitably follow any occasion of hope or enthusiasm. But I have faith that things will keep getting better over time, as technological innovations disrupt the status quo and make things cheaper and more productive. Once the world population is able to understand and differentiate their millions-of-years-old instinctive inclinations towards authority (whether exerting or exerted upon) and the biologically unprecedented scale of nationwide government, along with an accurate comprehension of markets (not a propaganda-based categorical revulsion thereto), society will hum along much smoother. Hopefully.

    • Dan on May 5, 2018 at 15:53

      “The widespread appreciation for markets will be vastly multiplied when people have more of their own property.”
      I have had a half dozen or so business partners and the same again in shareholders on various things, the funniest was when I partnered with a lefty on a food startup and to see the cogs turning on just how much he wanted to keep his share holding to the detriment of the business, was eye opening for sure. Boy did he learn a few things about property and “rights” in this modern arena.



  7. Gaby A on May 6, 2018 at 15:43

    I’m curious… You alluded to the consequences of a winner-take-all voting situation in relation to the Nash Equilibrium. Does that argument change materially when proportional representation comes into play instead?

    • Dougal on September 9, 2018 at 02:15

      Indeed, in New Zealand where I’m from we usually have governments made up of multiple parties that have to negotiate over policy. That seem prefferable to a 2 party left vs right system like the U.S.



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