Duncan Whitmore

Duncan Whitmore

81p

7 comments posted · 86 followers · following 0

234 weeks ago @ Ludwig von Mises Insti... - Civilization Means Pri... · 2 replies · +5 points

This article suggests one of the greatest hopes we have for liberty in our lifetime - that the state will simply be out-innovated rather than overthrown by violent revolution. We can hope that it will be possible one day for anyone to be able to protect their own person and property from aggression by external force at extremely low cost, thus simultaneously destroying government's means of subsistence and its raison d'être (protection from crime). A libertarian world will then be achieved peacefully and without bloodshed in a decentralised and leaderless manner.

243 weeks ago @ Ludwig von Mises Insti... - Regulating Banks the A... · 0 replies · +6 points

The distrust and, one might say, hatred of the banking system that is endemic following the 2007-8 financial crisis presents a distinct opportunity for Austro-Libertarians to disseminate their sound moral and economic theory with regards to banking. This article is a good summary of the delicate path we must tread between the corporatist-fascists on the one hand and the anti-capitalists who would throw out the baby with the bath water on the other.

246 weeks ago @ Ludwig von Mises Insti... - Statistics: Achilles\'... · 0 replies · +9 points

In addition to Rothbard's insights, one might point out that statistics, apart from being able to tell anyone precisely which ends should be most urgently met with the limited resources available, tend to be fabricated anyway. Either in the method of their selection or in the manner of their presentation they are doctored in order to give the impression of a pressing need for a Government "call to action" and then, subsequently, of apparent Government success following the said action. Price inflation statistics and levels of so-called "income inequality" (together with all other relativistic determinations of "poverty") might be cited as examples.

Statistics can be helpful to private firms but there is no need for these to be obtained by Government force as opposed to a voluntary arrangement. One might cite the Nielsen Company as a successful example of the latter.

247 weeks ago @ Ludwig von Mises Insti... - In Defense of Non-Aggr... · 0 replies · +13 points

The ultimate justification for the NAP is, I believe, that the contrary is to deny moral agency to another thinking, choosing, desiring human being. Moral actions presuppose moral choice and to subject a person to physical force is not to make them behave morally but rather to treat them like an unconscious piece of matter, like stones or water. Thus the problem that any theorist denying the NAP must overcome is to answer who has moral agency and who does not. But (in the same vein as Hoppe's argumentation ethics) this must presuppose self-ownership before the question can be resolved.

Libertarianism is and never has claimed to be a complete moral theory. It only advocates when and where violence may or may not be used between individuals. Libertarians do not deny that it may be morally right for a billionaire to give some of his wealth away to the poor; they only claim that this cannot be enforced violently. To enforce this outcome violently is to give effect to that which the aggressor may hold morally right but to deny the billionaire the very ability to behave in a moral way (for this reason the moral question of taxation and redistribution is not whether one should give - it's whether someone else should be able to take).

This is one of the reasons why enforced collectives fail - because everyone has a different vision of what the collective should be and one person's vision must, necessarily, be violently enforced to the exclusion of others. Indeed, have the majority of conflicts, battles and wars throughout history been between collectivism vs. individualism? Or have they been between one brand of collectivism vs. another?

Libertarianism - and its bedrock of the NAP in particular - is the only way that each person's choices, desires and morals can live in harmony with everyone else's and Dr Gordon's efforts to support this principle should be wholeheartedly welcomed.

247 weeks ago @ Ludwig von Mises Insti... - The Bitcoin Money Myth... · 0 replies · +4 points

Craig,

The question I asked is, in fact, redundant as a bitcoin is already not convertible to paper money in the sense that it is not defined as a unit of paper money. It therefore has a purchasing power independent of paper money and, I believe, is being accepted directly in exchange for goods and services by some people.

I too remain skeptical as the future of virtual currency, but it is important to separate the reasons why people _would not want_ to adopt it as a generally accepted medium of exchange from the reasons why they _could not_ do so (the former question being entrepreneurial, the latter theoretical). The strictly theoretical case against Bitcoin, of which this present article is a part, remains, so far, unconvincing.

In any case, wearing a Libertarian hat as opposed to an "Austrian" one, the fact that new and illustrious ways to circumvent fiat money are being tried and tested is something that should be wholeheartedly welcomed in its own right. As you say, time will tell as to whether they are successful.

248 weeks ago @ Ludwig von Mises Insti... - The Bitcoin Money Myth... · 12 replies · +22 points

Frank,

You state that the purchasing power of paper money and token coins is derived from its convertibility to gold and that this purchasing power has survived notwithstanding the loss of convertibility. Yet you then dismiss this possibility for bitcoins, stating that "Bitcoin can only function as long as individuals know that they can convert it into fiat money".

Is it not possible that a bitcoin's "historical link" to paper money, which in turn has an historical link to gold, would enable bitcoins to survive as a medium of exchange in the event that they are no longer convertible into paper money?

Please could you comment on this apparent anomaly?

249 weeks ago @ Ludwig von Mises Insti... - Mrs. Thatcher\'s Poll ... · 4 replies · +7 points

One of the most insidious dangers to liberty is the free-market rhetoric of politicians that are anything but. In the UK Mrs Thatcher's polarising reputation masks the fact that failures of "privatisation" were and continue to be Government failures. I hope a more balanced view of her legacy will now be afforded by her passing.