We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

I’ve always believed that libertarian ideology should be to a well-lived life what scales are to a symphony: essential to know but not the music itself.

Jeffrey A Tucker.

I don’t know when Tucker first crafted this quote. I read it for the first time this morning when it appeared on my Twitter feed, retweeted by a Twitter followee of mine, Preston Byrne, to whom my thanks. I now follow Tucker also.

LATER: It would appear that Tucker said it this morning.

3 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Stonyground

    It would follow that those government funded busybodies that insist on telling us what to eat and drink and how much exercise to do are not living their lives well. It gives me some satisfaction to think that by telling me how to live my life they are wasting theirs.

  • Paul Marks

    Jeffrey Tucker is correct.

    Libertarianism does not tell people what the good life is – it says (philosophical point) that the human person (agency – free will) exists, and it says (political point) that this free will (the “I” the human being) should not be violated by the state or by private criminals – but it does NOT say how one should live.

    Saying that the human person (the being – moral agency) exists, and saying that these free will beings should not be violated by the state or private criminals is only the starting point – after this there is a vast area of thought concerning what is the “good life”, how should people try and live?

    For example is there one good life suitable for everyone? Or are different people better suited to different lives? Or is a mixing of these positions true – with different forms of life being good, but with certain rules that be applied generally to different forms of life?

    By the way – the use of the word “one” (not as a number – but meaning a person, an “I”) itself presupposes that libertarianism (in the philosophical sense) is correct – otherwise there is “subject object distinction”, there is no “one”, no “I”, no self awareness (no free will – moral agency).

    For example – water, unless stopped by a barrier, flows off a cliff.

    Removing the barrier “frees” the water to flow off the cliff – but this is not what freedom means to a libertarian (it is just “freedom” in the sense that thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes or David Hume, Kant being right in holding that Hume’s Combatiblism is a hollow fraud, mis defined the term) – to the libertarian the water would only be a free person in the moral sense if the water CHOOSE to flow over the cliff – and there is no moral choice if one can not CHOOSE TO DO OTHERWISE.

    The libertarian holds that a person (a rational agent – a “someone” rather than a “some thing”) should have the CHOICE over whether to throw themselves off a cliff or not – but libertarianism does NOT explain if this is a good use of life or not.

    Philosophical schools of thought, both religious and secular, take up the discussion after this point.

  • Paul Marks

    To those who do not understand what the “subject-object distinction” is (of course I should have typed “otherwise there is no subject-object distinction”).

    A “subject” is a being (a “someone” not just a some thing) – a subject has moral agency (free will). An “object” lacks this.

    Subjects are also objects – we have physical form, but we are not just a physical form (like a clockwork mouse or a flesh robot).

    The determinist (and the “hollow fraud” which is compatibism) in effect deny the existence of subjects (the existence of the person – the being, moral agency). They deny their own existence – as anything else than objects.

    This does not mean that our personhood survives death – it would be nice if we did survive, but it is possible that we do NOT.

    The soul (in the Aristotelian sense) may not be a supernatural thing – as Alexander of Aphrodisias pointed out.

    Libertarianism takes as its starting point the existence of the person (free will – agency), but it does NOT make any claim for the immortality of the person.

    Nor does libertarianism tell people how they should live – at that point Aritotelianism and other schools of thought carry on the discussion.