What is presupposed by argument

I take what I am saying (as best as I can) from Hans Herman Hoppe’s The Economics and Ethics of Private Property. The ethical point he wishes to make is that private property is presupposed by argumentation. Otherwise said, argument presupposes the private property ethic, and without it, argumentation is done.

That two are arguing presupposes the illegitimacy of aggression. No argument can take place in which the threat of violence overhangs. The purpose of argument is to arrive at the truth, and this cannot be accomplished by coercion. It must be achieved by he who grasps the truth freely.

By entering argument, about anything, presupposes private property rights, first to body, but also to other material goods. One cannot enter into argument with he who threatens life or survival. This destroys the possibility of argumentation.

What is powerful about the point is how intuitive it is, and yet how it shows the illegitimacy of much that we live with. Imagine arguing with he who has the right at any moment to kill or take by force that which supports life. You can’t. I can’t. You would have to set aside the very value of life, and you cannot do this as you argue. To argue, to act, to move forward at all is to presuppose the value of life. You cannot both take it up and set it down. I cannot.

Thus the circus of democracy and its political clowns. Men, and now women, who assert the right to coercion as long as they have the support of those who want the coercion. Then the pretense to open debate, dialogue, discourse, argument. How silly. It is tantamount to setting a stage and inviting the condemned to death to come in and argue about the legitimacy of the rules by which he is condemned. To argue against the rules will do no good. The rulers will not permit that. To agree with the rules will at least open the possibility of allegiance leading to leniency. But it essentially affirms the condemnation. It is a farce.

If you or I want real argument find the non-aggression principle operative. I find that principle operative between myself and a friend. My best friend I live with. Day in and day out we come to agreement on how to run our lives, who to associate with, what to do with our resources (feelings, time, attention, energy, money, shelter. No one rules.

Marriage, at its best, is an anarcho-capitalist institution (at least as it is instantiated here. The association is voluntary. Argument is possible. This means that the truth is possible. That the truth is possible makes progress possible. How I wish the state would take note of marriage. How I wish it would relinquish its monopoly on aggression and go in for persuasion in its effort to gain allegiance.

But for today, we can acknowledge the way in which argument presupposes property rights which presupposes the principle of non-aggression.

Published by Purilib

Anonymously interested in grasping the good life.

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