Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Panarchy and Natural Rights

Interestingly enough, the atheist Ayn Rand upheld the notion of "natural rights," as did the agnostic Murray Rothbard. In *Natural Law: or don't put a rubber on your willy*, the self-professed "model agnostic" Robert Anton Wilson took them both to task. He denied the existence of "in-dwelling essences."

Though I use the concept myself, and otherwise regard Rothbard as a libertarian theorist without peer, I believe Wilson is correct. There is no empirical and little axiomatic-deductive basis to rights. To invoke them is to enter the realm of values, which is to say, metaphysics.

I invoke them nonetheless. I find it well nigh impossible to discuss political philosophy without reference to a handful of transcendent givens. Truth, justice, honor, fair play and ethics all come down to questions of ultimacy or--dare I use the word?--theology. It may be God doesn't exist. It may be the Big Questions have no answers. I prefer to act as if He does and they do.

Paul Bonneau himself seems to give a nod to metaphysics even after dissing them: "I am not suggesting that alternative politics are equally correct, equally fair or decent. I think anarcho-capitalism is superior to all the others." Is this statement not a value judgment? (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

He hastens to add, "It's just that I'm unwilling to impose it." As am I. Indeed, my value system strictly forbids the initiation of violence or threats of violence for any reason--even in the interests of advancing my value system.

That's why panarchy does work. In the absence of government, we are not inclined to impose our value systems on others.


Post a Comment

<< Home