Whiggery vs. Abrahamism
First of all, let’s say that there’s been no systematic exposition of Propertarian philosophy, either from Curt Doolittle or John Mark. There’s no book to read and precious few online resources to peruse, and so we’re left with trying to discover the philosophy from Curt’s many Facebook updates and online interviews. This paucity of information has already been criticized by The Distributist here, an intrepid YouTuber who has few kind words to say about Doolittle or Propertarianism as expounded by Doolittle. Thus, I’ll base my critique on what I’ve learned directly through my personal interactions with Doolittle on Facebook, and what little information there is on the Propertarian Institute’s Website.
One of the first things that jumps out at us about Propertarianism is that it is decisively whiggish. It sees history as a list of wrongs being gradually rectified by science and knowledge. While it recognizes the character of European man as described by Ricardo Duchesne in The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, it splits the intellectual heritage of modernity into Western (good) and that which is external to the West, usually Semitic (bad). Doolittle is particularly fond of denouncing “Abrahamism” with the ridiculous contention that Christianity is Semitic and thus exogenous to Europe. This is manifestly false to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of Christian and Jewish conceptions of the world, and specifically, man’s place in it and how it relates to natural law. Indeed, what differentiated Christianity from Judaism, got Jesus crucified, and inspired Saul of Tarsus to become St. Paul was the fact that logocentric Christian forthrightness cut through the proto-Talmudic mental gymnastics of the Pharisees, who were attempting to violate the spirit of the law by twisting its letter to mean its opposite. Doolittle flippantly claims that Abrahamic faiths invented and industrialized lying, specifically in replacing explanatory pagan faiths with “authoritarian mystical faiths promising utopia after death. “ That pagan religions don’t promise rewards and punishment in the afterlife is news to me, as is the claim that systematic storytelling (which is nothing but eusocial deception) is somehow unique to Abrahamic faiths or exogenous to Europe.
This is leaving aside the clear fact that Christianity as it was and still is practiced in the West is a European faith. Anyone who thinks that European Christians do not still venerate Odin should look very closely at the celebration of St. Nicholas, or thinks that we’ve forgotten Hercules should consider St. George. Genetics trump memetics, always and inexorably. Christianity practiced by Africans has more in common with Islam practiced by Africans than with Christianity practiced by Europeans. Similarly, living in the Balkans, I have the privilege of interacting with Muslims whose genetics aren’t so dissimilar from my own – yet we cannot be lumped together into the same racial subgroup. They go to mosque like I go to church, and just as my pagan friends salute the Sun and my Thelemite friends do their weird “Freemasonry but with titties” thing, we all do it to signal belonging (in the Schmittean political sense) and to engage in aesthetic transcendence (psychodrama). This is not to say that there are no noticeable differences between the various faiths – especially as regards the ability to build civilizations – but all faiths practiced by Europeans take on a European character. We cannot escape the basic biological fact of our neural architecture, which is fundamentally different from that of other peoples.
I agree with Doolittle that Judaism – especially Talmudic Judaism – is not a good faith, and not one conductive to the construction of great civilizations. However, I disagree with Judaism’s purported role as the progenitor of Christianity. Christianity was in large measure a reaction to Judaic legalism; Jesus’ ministry was a swift sword cutting through the Gordian knot of pharisaic legalism. Once combined with European genetics, Christianity energized the great potential of pagan Europe, and specifically German Europe. Rome was great, but declined as it grew old; German, Faustian civilization was stratospheric, and even as it is dying before us, we can only stand in awe of the glory that it once was. It began to decline when its Christian faith was Judaized, first by Luther and then by Calvin and the English Puritans, who hated all that was pagan in European Christianity – including Christmas, maypole dancing, grand cathedrals, liturgy, salvation through deeds, the divine right of kings, and patriarchal marriage.
Propertarianism sees not only this history, but all good as coming from white Europeans, and all bad coming from Semites. This is possibly the worst position on our current troubles one could conceivably take, short of actually being a supporter of globohomo. The fact of the matter is that our troubles come from within; from the arrogance and Gnosticism of white people. If Semites are involved, they are mostly acting as opportunists, taking advantage of an already sick civilization. Jews or no Jews, we’re approaching civilizational winter, and it is due to our own sins. Liberalism, altruism, the utopian lust for heaven on Earth, and the lust for empire, greed and usury all came from white Europeans when Jews were still under the thumb of rabbis in their shtetls. To be blind to our own complicity in our demise is to repeat the mistakes of the past. Yes, Jews have acted in bad faith in our societies. Yes, they have taken advantage of our civilization’s winter, and they’ve done so more proficiently than other non-whites. But let’s not think that getting rid of the Jews, or even “Abrahamism,” will fix what’s wrong with the West – if we can indeed fix what’s wrong.
Massachusetts Bay Propertariansim
Propertarianism’s best idea by far is extending the definition of property to include intangible commons. For example, interpersonal trust is something which is painstakingly built, of self-evident value, and worth protecting. Therefore, Propertarians argue, we should protect it as we would any other form of property. Since interpersonal trust cannot be individuated the way land and cattle are, it can only be considered common property. Who will defend the commons? How do we avoid the tragedy of these intangible commons, even as we suffer through the tragedies of tangible commons? Courts of law and torts. Doolittle proposes granting universal standing to citizens to protect the intangible commons from assault. Therefore, he who threatens social cohesion, interpersonal trust, the genetic integrity of the nation, and so on will be prosecuted, and the prosecutor will be remunerated for his service to the community in rooting out this assault on the commons. Of note is the innovation in torts which Propertarianism proposes in order to make these intangible commons easier to defend, specifically making untruthful speech actionable, or rather, speech where the speaker hasn’t performed due diligence to make sure that what he is saying is truthful to the best of his ability. This will also extend to business dealings, where any sort of informational asymmetry will be grounds for nullifying a transaction. Transactions which do not satisfy criteria for productivity will also be circumscribed, as will those that have externalities pertaining to the commons of others’ property.
In effect, Propertarian law will empower the community to root out lies, informational asymmetry, memetic warfare against intangible commons, and unproductive or asymmetrical business transactions – it would create a moral busybody’s wet dream. This will ironically endanger one piece of intangible property almost everyone can agree exists and must be defended with the full force of the law: privacy. To make sure nobody is engaged in nefarious activity against the commons, an interpersonal surveillance state must be established, and people will have to self-police for speculative speech so that they won’t inadvertently speak an untruth, as per the testimonial standard of truth. Indeed, a search for privacy on the Propertarian Institute’s Website reveals no relevant articles. It is strange that a system of law concerned with protecting intangibles which soak up investment and are worth defending would ignore this glaringly obvious example, which is quite visibly under attack in the modern world. But maybe this is a feature rather than a bug. After all, Curt makes a big deal of having “completed the scientific method.” The scientific method is a very bad way of learning things under conditions of imperfect or limited information. Privacy is a gigantic impediment to the free flow of information for a society which subjects every truth claim to a scientific/testimonial validity test. I imagine that a Propertarian Facebook would quite confidently declare your personal information its own private property, to be defended even to the point of suing you for fun and profit if you attempt to protect yourself. What have you got to hide, Abrahamist? Hiding is a precursor to speaking untruth or not performing due diligence – which is to say, informing the community of all the possible and foreseeable consequences of your speech and actions (!). Not saying “the whole truth” as per a witness’ oath is an actionable offense under Propertarian law. Privacy and the right to remain silent (which is a right to keep your thoughts private) are impossible under such a system. Tellingly, Curt Doolittle is skeptical of black swans, or unforeseeable events which bring about greatchange, as befits someone who believes that the world can be completely understood by empirical means. A Propertarian system will compel you to speak all the truth and nothing but the truth, all the time.
Propertarians might counter that there’s no stipulation for compelling speech, but this is a hidden fragility in the system which will become apparent in the event of a Propertarian purity spiral. All movements eventually have purity spirals which can only be halted by the rulers taking decisive action against its perpetrators. This cannot be done if the law restricts the rulers and does not allow them to use the big stick of repressive power with some degree of arbitrariness. And that means allowing the rulers (and, under reciprocity, everyone else) to make judgment calls in situations where there is incomplete information – thus rendering such decisions incompatible with the “completion of the scientific method.” In the event of incomplete information, the scientific method stipulates taking a neutral position, but in real life, not acting because you don’t know everything is suicide.
Contrary to the predictions that “we will permanently defeat the Left,” we can expect that in a Propertarian society, the church lady-type women who are currently busy rooting out political correctness wherever it may hide (and who in Puritan New England were busy rooting out sin wherever it was hiding) would find themselves busy rooting out Abrahamism, mysticism, informational asymmetry, and inadequately performed due diligence. John Mark will try to sell you on Propertarianism by promising you the opportunity to sue Leftists for fun and profit, but human psychology doesn’t really work like that. The Rightist mind fundamentally simply wants to be left alone to live, work, and have children, tending a garden and quietly and privately praising his god. Leftism is a hack of the human social status module; it allows otherwise weak and useless people to rise in status without deserving it, by signaling holiness against a foil: a Rightist. It is the Leftist who busies himself with what others think, feel, and believe, and who uses gossip, rallying, shaming, and moralizing to undermine his social betters – something that Curt despises when he witnesses it in modern populations, but which will inevitably arise under a Propertarian system. He likes to imagine Propertarianistan as a shining Indo-European city on a hill, but it’s likelier to look like the actual, historical “shining city on a hill”: the petty totalitarian nightmare that was the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The key reason for this, of course, is Doolittle’s personal history. We can scarcely expect an old-stock Connecticut Yankee to understand that his ancestors were evil men who undermined the greatness of the West for their own personal lust for power, and that their Puritan fantasies of a city free of sin led to an entire country built entirely on that mother of all sins: pride.
Cracking heads: Propertarianism vs. fascism
Propertarianism’s biggest promise is the suppression of parasitism. The Propertarian Institute identifies several forms of parasitism, both on private producers and on common property, as well as parasitic ideologies, such as Marxism, libertarianism, and neoconservatism. The means of defeating them would be the implementation of Propertarian law, which will be accomplished through the completion of the scientific method – which is to say applying scientific, or at least testimonial, rigor to every public statement. This is a profoundly bad idea for any society which intends to survive for two simple reasons. Firstly, science is allergic to Type 1 errors (false positives) and tolerant of Type 2 errors (false negatives), given its strictly empirical basis, which makes science vulnerable to subversion through the Type 2 error, as we know from Gould, Freud, and other (((scientists))). However, in practice, Type 1 errors usually bring small costs, whereas Type 2 errors usually have gigantic costs – mistaking a rock for a bear while on a hike is a Type 1 error, while mistaking a bear for a rock is a Type 2 error. Science will claim that there’s no conclusive evidence of a bear being present (assuming a rock null hypothesis) and thus carry on with the hike, while testimonialism will claim that, to the best of one’s knowledge, there is no bear. Conversely, the paranoid would proceed with caution, justifying it by saying, “Well, shit, it weren’t no bear, cousin, but imagine if it were a bear, then you and I would get ate.” This is the proper way to behave in bear country – and it’s a world of bears out there.
Indeed, any decision-making under conditions of uncertainty is likely to be the opposite of scientific conclusions: allergic to Type 2 errors and tolerant of Type 1 errors – insofar as they are actual Type 1 errors; you don’t get to cry wolf for fun. We can see how science and testimonialism fare in the real world; there’s still a great deal of uncertainty about aspects of our world simply because there’s insufficient evidence to say anything about them. Similarly, criminals regularly escape justice because the criminal justice evidence standard (a cognate of testimonialism) is exceptionally high, chiefly due to the teleological/ethical orientation of liberal justice systems, which hold that it is better to have a hundred criminals at large than a single innocent man in prison. But to correct this abject absurdity, we don’t need a complicated new legal system with a specially-designed “grammar.” We only need to restore the teleological orientation of the justice system – to remind it that its purpose is to suppress criminals, and that a certain number of innocents jailed are an acceptable cost, given that crime is the primary internal threat to any civilized society. Moreover, suppression of crime is the one of the state’s primary raisons d’être, and thus one big reason why people are willing to tolerate living in the shadow of a state to begin with.
As a researcher of organized crime, I feel obligated to point out that Cesare Mori, the Iron Prefect of Palermo, didn’t use Propertarian testimonialism to crack down on the Sicilian Mafia. He used good, old-fashioned mass arrests, intimidation, humiliation, house-to-house searches in known Mafia strongholds, and other strongman tactics, including winning the favor of the local population – no mean feat given that Sicilians harbor a justified and deep resentment of the Italian state to this very day, after being given carte blanche by Mussolini to do whatever the Iron Prefect deemed necessary to clean up the Mafia. Indeed, so effective was the Iron Prefect’s campaign against the Mafia that it took the defeat of the Fascist state and the subsequent occupation for the Mafia to reassert its presence. The half-measures taken by Falcone, Borselino, and others who availed themselves of the liberal justice system to suppress the Mafia in the 1980s and ’90s don’t even come close to what was accomplished by the Iron Prefect. Indeed, the latter was in all likelihood only effective in suppressing the obviously evil and needlessly brutal Corleone gangsters – and the Mafia persists in Sicily to this very day, as an underground force. Falcone and Borselino were hamstrung by the need to meticulously prove every detail. Mori could arrest on slight evidence and arrest en masse; Type 1 errors abounded in his method, but the Mafia was defeated.
Information as a thing
One of the examples bandied about by Propertarians of the idea’s effectiveness is its prohibition of blackmail. This gives an opportunity to examine Propertarianism by contrasting it to two other systems in the realm of information commons and information protection, blackmail and intellectual property. Blackmail is the act of using one’s possession of a piece of private information for extortion. Propertarianism would declare such information to be property and deem it worthy of legal protection in a court of law, as opposed to classic libertarian approaches, which deem blackmail not to be a violation of the Non-Aggression Principle. Libertarianism would also legalize insider trading, given that no coercion is involved in this supposed crime, whereas Propertarianism would keep it illegal given that it constitutes a form of parasitism on private information (which can be defended as intangible property).
However, strangely enough, the Propertarian legal system would crack down on the only form of intangible property our current system recognizes: intellectual property (IP) and copyright. The libertarian position on IP is crystal clear: it is impermissible, given that it relies on a government monopoly. Let us reiterate: libertarians would allow blackmail and insider trading, but prohibit (or rather, not enforce the law) due to the ethical prohibition of aggression. Myself, acting as a reactionary lawmaker, would prohibit blackmail and insider trading while tightly controlling, but still allowing the existence of IP as a means of outsourcing quasi-statal priestly and mercantile activities, given that the state isn’t well-suited to activities which do not involve force. However, they would still be kept under tight control by the state. I would also retain the requirement for state-issued incorporation charters for the same reason. The Propertarian position is to prohibit blackmail and insider trading, given that they involve violations of intangible property (which I agree they do), but prohibit IP rights because they are a subsidy to entertainment concerns, which encourages pandering in the media. This is a confused and inconsistent position for a system which correctly identifies that there is such a thing as intangible property. However, what’s missing is that the state is in practice the only entity which can mediate between tangible and intangible property owners to reach a solution acceptable to everyone. It won’t always decide fairly, but at least it will decide, and not leave us in a state of indecision, wrongheadedness (there’s a difference between unfair and wrongheaded), or just plain refusal to acknowledge such property, as libertarianism would.
I suspect what’s going on here is that Curt rightfully dislikes what the various corporations are doing with IP and copyright protections, but this can be accomplished with reasserting state authority over these corporate entities, or better yet, removing their recalcitrant owners and operators and replacing them with men loyal to the state. To do this, we need to seize power – Mussolini came before Mori, but the key is to hold power and use it as power is meant to be used, not to think up analytical systems of law which attempt to fix language and immanetize the eschaton, but leave us with glaring inconsistencies.