Rejoinder to Murphy and Callahan on Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics

Today’s document is an article written by Walter Block that was taken from the Vol. 22 #1 issue of the Journal of Libertarian Studies, which was published during 2011. It is a refutation of Robert Murphy and Gene Callahan’s criticisms against Hans-Herman Hoppe’s argumentation ethics. Footnotes have been removed for brevity and clarity of reading.

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Although I shall have highly critical things to say about Murphy and Callahan, I am delighted they have written it, and very happy that the refereeing system organized by the editor of The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Roderick Long, saw fit to accept it for publication. And this for two reasons.

First, a minor one: there are those who accuse libertarianism of being a cult. A necessary (but not sufficient condition for such a statement is that all members be in thrall to the eminent leader. Well, Murphy and Callahan (hence, MC) are certainly members in good standing of the libertarian community. With the passing of Murray N. Rothbard, Hoppe has a good a claim as anyone, and a much better one than many, to being the new leader of the libertarian movement, at least insofar as being its most eminent and accomplished theoretician. And yet, while MC is of course respectful of Hoppe, it is a highly critical attack on the libertarian construct for which he is most justifiably famous: argumentation ethics. Yet, MC are still members in good standing in this community. So much for that unwarranted charged.

Second, there is a fierce battle now taking place within the libertarian community over this issue. I do not think we have seen the last word on this matter, including the present attempt; there are simply too many leading libertarian theoreticians on both sides of it for that to be the case. I think that the best way to resolve all such issues is through debate, and, yes, argument. Here, I am sure, all participants on both sides would agree. For this reason I welcome MC to the lists, and am delighted to be playing a small role in this myself at present.

Third, Hoppe’s argumentation ethics claims that people who argue against private property commit a performative contradiction, insofar as they are using private property (their own bodies, plus room to stand in, or a chair to sit on) to do so. MC are using, what else, argument, to attempt to refute the Hoppe thesis. This, alone, of course does not demonstrate that these two authors are themselves committing a performative contradiction. But it does at least furnish further evidence, as if any were needed, of the centrality of argument to the intellectual process. There are many libertarians who have whined and groused about the Hoppe thesis, or who have confined their remarks to unrefereed blogs, and web sites. MC have not limited themselves to that route. Instead, they have published their reflections in a peer reviewed scholarly journal, and have thus made themselves into far greater targets, as if of course fitting and proper. For this alone they deserve congratulation.

With these introductory remarks I am now ready to consider, and reject, several of the criticisms leveled at Hoppe by MC. Continue reading

Anthony Bosworth Admits He is a Failure!

During what is now referred to as the Statist Turf War, constitutionalist Peter Santilli interviewed Anthony Bosworth, the latter of whom gave the impression he was Krisanne Hall’s sidekick. Apparently, Bosworth is an “activist” in his own right, who himself admitted that he utterly failed to get elected to be sheriff of Yakima County, Washington. These videos are presented here in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine; cited sources are listed below the video compilation.

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Cited Sources

The Neocon Infiltration of the Patriot Movement

Today I’d like to present the full version of an interview I gave on Louie Bee’s The Crotch Shot Radio Show last year, where I whistle-blew on the neoconservative infiltration of the patriot movement, and how that has influenced strong support against American Muslims. For purposes of authenticity, hyperlinks to the original version will be given below the logo as the cited sources.

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Tonight, I am joined by libertarian blogger, Kyle Rearden, and we’ll be discussing the neocon infiltration of the patriot movement.


Cited Sources

Texas “Constitutional” Sheriff Letters (2013)

Today’s documents are a collection of letters from three years ago that were solicited in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. They reveal the position of less than a dozen Texas sheriffs about gun control and the official position by the Sheriff’s Association of Texas, which is referenced by almost half of these individual sheriffs. These are available largely courtesy of the Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA); any mistakes in transcription lie solely with this humble blogger.

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Sheriff’s Association of Texas


Every Texas Sheriff, upon assuming their office, took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the great state of Texas. Of course, the Sheriffs of Texas are committed to uphold their oath of office. It goes without saying that Texas Sheriffs recognize that Amendment II of the Constitution provides that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” and that Amendment IV provides that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” Continue reading

You Are Known By the Company You Keep: How to Choose Your Allies Wisely

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“Associate yourself with skilled doers, not ‘talkers.’ Seek out people that share your outlook and morality. Living in close confines with other families is sure to cause friction but that will be minimized if you share a common religion and norms of behavior. You can’t learn every skill yourself. Assemble a team that includes members with medical knowledge, tactical skills, electronics experience, and traditional practical skills.”

James Wesley, Rawles


vetting & ostracism


Free association is an application of the libertarian principle that is the self-ownership axiom, namely, that individual humans enjoy absolute property rights in their own person, and as such, they are free to choose whom they will associate with voluntarily; conversely, this also implies the right to disassociate. Similarly, the freedom of contract is a parallel application of self-ownership as well, and as such, the right to refuse service, much like the right to disassociate, is another voluntary way to keep the peace. This freedom of association is implied by the freedom of assembly, which is constitutionally recognized by the United States Constitution’s Free Assembly Clause within the First Amendment and the Texas Constitution’s Art. I §§ 27 & 29, which say, respectively, that:


“Congress shall make no law…abridging…the right of the people peaceably to assemble…”

“The citizens shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good…”

“To guard against transgressions of the high powers herein delegated, we declare that everything in this ‘Bill of Rights’ is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate, and all laws contrary thereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.”


Despite these constitutional clauses, both the federal and Texan governments unjustly profile Americans in order to chill their dissent. For this reason, American citizens will be able to freely associate once they begin using security culture techniques. Continue reading

Mark Kessler: An Enemy of Liberty

The following is a mirroring of Gary Hunt‘s series about Mark Kessler’s infiltration of the American patriot community. Hyperlinks to the original articles will be provided at the beginning of each section. For other examples of similar miscreants, please be sure to also read, “May You Live in Interesting Times…


I. A Checkered Past (12/8/14)

Benedict Arnold began his military career with accolades for his ability to gather fighting men and win battles. Somewhere along the line, disenchanted with not receiving the recognition he sought, he switched sides and joined the British against the American colonists. Mark Kessler appears to have been, at least, an advocate of certain rights, though he, with other motivation, turned against American patriots.

We will follow some of his controversial career, and detail some recent events, that should be a lesson to all true patriots. There are techniques that are used to establish “credentials” (a presence), which might induce some to trust someone who is not really on their side, eventually leading to their downfall. This process is explained, rather briefly, in Vortex, though this story is far more detailed and is a real life education in that process.

According to Linkedin, Kessler was Chief of Police in Gilberton, Pennsylvania (a borough of about 1.5 square miles, population approximately 800 in 2010) from July 2000 through February 2014. As Chief, he was the only full time employee in the police department.

On Linkedin, he claims to be Founder/CEO of CSF (Constitution Security Force) from February 2013 to present (more about CSF, later). Without explanation, he claims “Reality TV” from January 2014 to present. Finally, claims to be CEO of III% BOG (Boots on Ground) from January 2014 to present. He fails to mention his work for the government, but, then, that is the purpose of this article.

A number of articles indicate that Kessler began his working career as a coal miner. Depending on sources, he became Chief of Police in Gilberton in either 1998 or 2000. Regardless, he was law enforcement in Gilberton for over a decade before his first instance of questionable competence. Continue reading

A Reply to the Current Critiques Formulated Against Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics

Today’s document is an article written by Marian Eabrasu that was taken from the Vol. 1 #20 issue of the Libertarian Papers, which was published during March of 2009. It is a refutation of the criticisms against Hans-Herman Hoppe’s argumentation ethics. Footnotes have been removed for brevity and clarity of reading.

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I. Introduction

The aim of this article is to defend the usage that Hans-Herman Hoppe makes of performative contradiction for justifying the self-ownership axiom. “Any person who would try to dispute the property right in his own body would become caught up in a contradiction, as arguing in this way and claiming his argument to be true, would already implicitly accept precisely this norm as being valid.” The stake of this argument is to show with the help of performative contradiction that only the libertarian ethics based on self-ownership axiom can be justified. Better explanations of this idea will be provided in the next section.

Hoppe himself has done a lot of work in elaborating on his own argumentation ethics and in replying to some of his critics. Other scholars accurately reassumed and retraced the history and the key moments of the debate. Leaving aside the debates already closed, this paper concentrates on ignored and still unanswered critiques. For a clearer exposition, we distinguish between strategies of critique. On the one hand, there is a general type of critique which disputes the capacity of performative contradiction in justifying any ethical principle. On the other hand, there is a specific type of critique which contests the ability of performative contradiction in justifying the self-ownership axiom.

This article will first reiterate the argument by performative contradiction and its importance within the libertarian framework. Second, some of the general critiques and misunderstandings will be discussed. Third, focus will be given to the very specific and challenging critiques of the use that Hoppe makes of performative contradiction. The critiques formulated by Callahan and Murphy will be reviewed before answering them. Finally, the perspectives for new research opened by this argumentation will be emphasized. The main advances of this paper consist in providing a broader and systematic discussion of the debate on libertarianism’s justification, in preventing future misunderstanding of Hoppe’s argumentation and in formulating an original and pertinent reply to Callahan and Murphy’s critiques. Continue reading

Data-mining the Haystack: Should You Attempt to Overload the NSA’s Servers with “Suspicious” Email Keywords?

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“The problem was not that we weren’t collecting information, it wasn’t that we didn’t have enough dots, it wasn’t that we didn’t have a haystack – it was that we did not understand the haystack that we have. The problem with mass surveillance is that we’re piling more hay on a haystack we already don’t understand. And this is the haystack of the human lives of every American citizen in our country. If these programs aren’t keeping us safe, they making us miss connections, vital connections, on information we already have, if we’re taking resources away from traditional methods of investigation, from law enforcement operations that we know work, if we’re missing things, like the Boston Marathon bombings, where all of these mass surveillance systems, where every domestic dragnet in the world didn’t reveal guys that the Russian intelligence service told us about by name, is that really the best way to protect our country? Or are we trying to throw money at a magic ‘solution’ that’s not just costing us our safety, but our rights and our way of life?”

Edward Snowden


email keyword scanning


Misinformation abounds when it comes to mass data-mining. Typically, the federal government will either deflect attention by stressing they are collecting only foreign intelligence (not domestic intelligence) or that they are only collecting metadata (not the content of your communications). Whether it be by way of the USA PATRIOT Act’s § 215 or FISA’s § 702, the fact of the matter is that any hypothetical “limits” imposed by these statutory laws don’t matter, and the constitutionality of them even less so, considering the history of the unconstitutional National Security Agency (NSA). Continue reading

Argumentation Ethics & the Philosophy of Freedom

Today’s document is an article written by Frank van Dun that was taken from the Vol. 1 #19 issue of the Libertarian Papers, which was published during March of 2009. It is both a review of Hans-Herman Hoppe’s argumentation ethics as well as a refutation of the criticisms against it. Footnotes have been removed for brevity and clarity of reading.

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I. Introduction

In justificatory argumentation, two or more persons seek to justify or to excuse a belief or action, to determine whether it is a belief one ought to accept (or to reject) or an action one ought to undertake (or to forgo), or whether the circumstances of the case present sufficient reasons (e.g., necessity, duress, compulsion, coercion, manipulation) for excusing a person for believing or doing something that is contrary to right. Philosophers, scientists, and lawyers regularly and publicly engage in such argumentations. In fact, most people do the same at least occasionally, albeit in private, at home, at work, in clubs and barrooms.

Twenty years ago, Hans-Herman Hoppe presented the argument that no justificatory argumentation can invalidate the principles of libertarian capitalism because those principles are presupposed in every dialogue in which their validity would be questioned. Moreover, “no other ethic could be so justified, as justifying something in the course of argumentation implies presupposing the validity of precisely this ethic of the natural theory of property.”

In this article I shall focus on the argument from argumentation itself rather than on its implications for political economy. My purpose is to clarify the relevance of argumentation or dialogue ethics for libertarian theorizing. I shall also endeavor to rebut some frequent criticisms of Hoppe’s theory, some of which have recently been revived by Robert Murphy and Gene Callahan, but only insofar as they betray a serious misunderstanding of the argument from argumentation.

Continue reading