(FB 1552598676 Timestamp)
by James Fox Higgins
I’m seeing a number of people who are struggling with some of the core ideas of Curt Doolittle’s Propertarianism like property-in-toto which observes that one man’s ideal of the concept “property” may differ from another’s, just as in some cultures women are considered a man’s property which we in the Christian west find abhorrent. But the reality remains: in the Islamic state, women ARE the property of their men. It doesn’t make it morally right. It’s just an empirical fact.
I thought Curt was Satan incarnate until it clicked for me that he is not in the business of moralisms like just about every other philosopher is. He’s not dealing with Platonic ideals. He’s dealing with Aristotelean empiricism. Not what ought to be (which is culturally relative), but what is (which is empirical).
Words like “legitimate property” are ideals, but fail to argue against what really occurs: people defend with force that which they consider to be theirs. Those with the greater will to power, control such moral definitions. You really think the men of radical Islam will care about our Christian moralisms if they gain control of our lands? Might doesn’t make make right, might makes rule.
You can talk about property moralistically if you like, but it has no bearing on the empirical reality. Wishful thinking seldom changes the reality of those who don’t accept your definitions but do have a greater will to power.
This is what propertarianism is about: using language to describe what actually is, not what ought to be. Your ideals-based definitions of property are fine if you preface them with “I prefer” or “I wish” or “what would be ideal to me is” or “what is most in line with Christian ethics is”… But when it comes down to it… Bane OWNED Gotham city, until Batman took it back. Morality is only as good (in practise) as those with the will to protect it.
Morality is God-given, but it is protected by the will and flesh of men. If you won’t fight for what is yours and what you believe in your heart to be right, you’re just relying on others to do it for you so you can quibble over the language of “legitimate property”. When the barbarians take your lands, livestock, and women, it is (empirically) theirs. Same applies to anything you value. Own it and defend it, or accept that others will.