5.17, On the Praxeology of Violence

Here we move toward an understanding of what the implications of violence are. The ultimate goal is to understand the systemic (an in vogue word these days) effects of government. By violence I mean to focus on initiated aggression. Initiated aggression is to be contrasted with defensive aggression. Initiated aggression, as a category, includes any association between A and B that is not the result of free choice and by which the property of A or B is put to use unfreely.

So, freely choosing to board a bus in which others may freely choose to board does not put me in unfree association with those others. But if one of those others grab any of my property, or I theirs, and put it to use regardless of their wishes, we may consider it an act of aggression. Assault, murder, slavery, theft, fraud, and taxation all count. Let us set up that whichever species of initiated aggression we examine it is A that assaults, murders, enslaves, steals from, defrauds or taxes B.

What explains As initiated aggression? Clearly the transfer of property from the control of B to the control of A is not mutually beneficial. Were it so, it would have been chosen voluntarily. We here assume the subjective theory of value and do not permit the god or other human tyrants to say for A or B what constitutes the greatest value. What we know by the fact that A initiated aggression against B is that B would have used the same property otherwise. B is thereby more dissatisfied while A is more satisfied.

Why did B refuse to trade the property with A voluntarily? Presumably because B did not offer anything in trade that was deemed worthwhile by A? The case of this that comes to mind most for me is military conscription. The government, unwilling to offer a market price for defense (or aggression) imposes itself upon the bodies and property of its citizens and forces the association with threats of violence (fines, imprisonment for no association). No matter what the initiated aggression is, it is always a case where what is offered by he who becomes the initiator of aggression was not enough to satisfy B, given B’s values.

Because B has deemed his property more valuable than A wishes, A has chosen to ignore B’s exclusive use right and to take by force. A has initiated a kind of attack against B. The intimate case is rape. B wants satisfaction. A deems B to be unwilling to offer anything worth the trade. So, A takes by force. A attacks.

What is implied by A’s taking by attack from B? That which A receives is worth less to A than it was to B. This is important. How do I know that what has been taken by force is worth less to A than it is to B? Because what A offered for voluntary trade was not worth it to B, otherwise B would have given it. This means unequivocally that what is taken by force is worth less to the thief or rapist than it was to he who is stolen from or raped.

Let us be simple. X worth Y to B is worth Y-1 to A. Now comes the move that is important for understanding government, taxation and the distribution of spoils relative to the alternative of voluntary association. When A, newly empowered by his attack which resulted in the treasure now held, goes to make further trades with the treasure taken by initiated aggression A will necessarily trade it for less. Why will A necessarily trade it for less? Because A values it less than B did. So, given that it has less value to him it can be rationally given up to another C for less.

So, government attacks voluntary producers and extracts from them booty. It then turns and makes trade for defense services (Republicans) or charitable services (Democrats) (I add the political parties only as generalization of tendency and to show that the analysis applies in either case). If follows from the analysis that the defense or charity services provided are either more highly prices or of lesser quality than they would have been on the free market.

The general and pervasive elephant in the room that is government as a consumer that acquires its tradeable property to sustain its consumption by initiated aggression cannot be ignored. There is nothing in government that protects it from the praxeological analysis of initiated aggression. Is takes by force because it is unwilling to pay market value. Period.

Published by Purilib

Anonymously interested in grasping the good life.

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