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INFORMATION ABOUT THE ISSUE:

The date of the publication:
2020-07-25
The number of pages:
152
The issue:
9:2
Commentaries:
1
The Authors
Walter Block, Anthony J. Cesario, Leith B. Edgar, Pedro J. Caranti, David Iglesias, Ian Hersum, Milton Kiang, Sukrit Sabhlok, Eduardo Blasco, David Marcos, Mike Holmes, Mark Thornton, Lucas Maciel Bueno, Jakub Bożydar Wiśniewski, Igor Wysocki, J. C. Lester, David Fisher,

9:2:

Preface. Libertarianism from the Philosophical Perspective

The Author: Walter Block,
This special issue of Studia Humana is devoted, and dedicated, to
libertarianism; its promotion and its study. I am very grateful to the editors of
this journal for inviting me to put together such a compilation. There are 16
contributions in all, covering most of the social science disciplines.

The School of Salamanca’s Reconciliation of Economics and Religion

The Author: Anthony J. Cesario,
Many years before Adam Smith, numerous theologians associated with the
School of Salamanca, such as Domingo de Soto, Juan de Lugo, Juan de
Mariana, Luís Saravia de la Calle, Martin de Azpilcueta, Luis de Molina,
Leonard Lessius, Thomas Cajetan, and Francisco Garcia had made great strides
in the development of economics. Specifically, these theologians, otherwise
known as the “Scholastics,” analyzed and argued against price and wage
controls by explaining that the only “just” prices and wages are those that are
set by the market, examined and pushed back against prohibitions on usury,
understood the concept of time preference, and helped develop monetary
theory in multiple ways. They also demonstrated that all of this was consistent
with the Catholic religion. This paper analyzes the ways in which these early
theologians contributed to the development of economics and reconciled it with
their Catholicism.

Beneath the Black Robes of Ignatius and Mariana:
Limited Liberty within an Interventionist Order

The Author: Leith B. Edgar,
The Society of Jesus sprang from the devout faith of a sidelined soldier who
traded in his weapons to form a militant order of Catholic Reformers sworn to
serve the Papacy as missionary soldiers of Christ. Specialization in education
led Jesuits to roles as theologians of the 16th Century, including as members of
the School of Salamanca, whose Jesuit members mostly took pro-market
positions on free enterprise. One learned Jesuit in particular deviated from his
order’s default position of papal dirigisme to become an enemy of the state.

Martín de Azpilcueta: The Spanish Scholastic on Usury and Time-Preference

The Author: Pedro J. Caranti,
Martín de Azpilcueta and his fellow Spanish Scholastics writing and teaching
at the University of Salamanca during Spain’s Golden Age are rightly pointed
to by historians of economic thought as being major contributors toward, if not
outright founders of modern economic theory. Among these is the theory of
time-preference for which Azpilcueta has repeatedly been given the credit for
discovering. However, this discovery is a curious one given how the same man,
Azpilcueta, condemned usury in general during his whole life. If Azpilcueta
did in fact discover this theory and fully understand its implications, we would
reasonably expect him to have questioned his support for the ban on charging
an interest on a loan. This paper, therefore, challenges the claim that
Azpilcueta understood and revived time-preference theory and shows how his
understanding was much more nuanced, and, at times, inconsistent.

Rethinking Welfare: The LDS Welfare Program vs Public Welfare

The Author: David Iglesias,
In his libertarian manifesto, For a New Liberty, Murray Rothbard [15] points to
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an excellent model for what
a private welfare program would look like in a free society. In analyzing this
same organization, we can see that nearly 50 years later Rothbard’s analysis is
truer than ever. Unlike the public welfare programs in the U.S., the LDS
church has successfully helped lift countless individuals out of poverty and off
the welfare rolls by increasing their level of productivity – a point that Henry
Hazlitt [7] made in his book, The Conquest of Poverty. Public welfare, on the
other hand, has continuously failed to increase the standard of living or even
lift those it ostensibly seeks to help out of poverty; on the contrary, it is a
system that prevents economic independence. The analysis in the present paper
seeks to revive, amplify and bring up to date Rothbard’s observation and
provide further insight on key factors that other private organizations can take
from the Church’s model. Ultimately, it reveals that the successful journey out
of poverty is not a public but rather a private endeavor.

A Rational Theory of the Rights of Children

The Author: Ian Hersum,
Libertarianism has often found itself under attack from those with misplaced
maternal instincts, who champion the state as the honorable protector of the
vulnerable – and there is no one more in need of protection than a helpless
infant. Consequently, much of the vitriol aimed at libertarianism and its
laissez-faire attitude has included morbid references to child abuse and
exploitation which would supposedly result from its implementation. It is
therefore imperative that more work be done on the topic of children’s rights in
order to reinforce the philosophical framework developed by Murray Rothbard
[9] and expanded on by Walter Block and others [2], [3], [5], [6]. The purpose
of this paper is to provide an independent rational foundation for the
conclusions drawn by Block and co-authors [2], [5] and to expand on parts that
are insufficient.

On Huemer on Ethical Veganism

The Author: Walter Block,
Huemer [33] argues against the killing of animals. I offer a critical libertarian
analysis of his claim.

Medical Mask Resellers Punished in Canada

The Author: Milton Kiang,
In times of pandemics or natural catastrophes, prices of commodities, such as
water, food and medicines, tend to shoot up, in response to a surge in demand
and depleting supplies. The government, in its misguided efforts to maintain
“price affordability”, imposes price controls and anti-price-gouging legislation
and bans the reselling of food and medical supplies. These interventions in the
free market are the exact opposite of what the government should do, if it
wants to ensure that enough commodities go to people who need them, that
people do not hoard all available goods on grocery shelves, and most
importantly, that suppliers have the incentive to produce more goods to meet
current and future demand at market prices.

A Libertarian Perspective on Peace Enforcement by the United Nations

The Author: Sukrit Sabhlok,
Most analysts view the United Nations as a positive stabilising force in
international affairs. In this paper, I critically assess this opinion of the UN’s
peace enforcement actions using the case studies of the Korean War and the
Gulf War while relying on the non-aggression axiom of libertarian philosophy.
In the process, I shed light on some of the moral considerations at play when
deciding on UN-sanctioned military intervention.

Nulla Libertarian Poena Sine NAP:
Reexamination of Libertarian Theories of Punishment

Libertarianism deals with what the law should be. In this article, we focus on
what the appropriate law to punish criminals should be in a libertarian society;
that is, one that respects the Non-Aggression Principle and property rights. We
examine various theories of punishment and explain why some are
incompatible with libertarianism. We contribute to the latest libertarian theory
of punishment suggesting the necessity to take time preference into
consideration. We conclude stating a limit and a limitation to libertarian
punishment theories.

A Review: Digital Archeology of the Modern
American Libertarian Movement

The Author: Mike Holmes,
The modern American libertarian movement began in the mid-1960s. The
surviving written resources from this early era are vanishing, unless converted
to digital format. This article provides background for the development of this
movement and presents currently available online digital publication platforms.
Along with some relevant publications in need of digital preservation.

Libertarianism: A Fifty-Year Personal Retrospective

The Author: Mark Thornton,
This retrospective, covering half a century, is a personal history of modern
libertarianism. It provides some historical perspective on the growth of
libertarianism and its impact on society, especially for those who were born
into an existing libertarian movement, including political and academic paths.
As outsiders, Austrians and libertarians can expect more than their share of
difficult times and roadblocks, although that situation has improved over time.
It also shows the limitations of the political path to liberty and the importance
of the Austrian view that society changes via emphasis on sound economic
science, its practicality, and its subsequent impact on ideology. Finally, it
conveys the importance of solving practical problems and puzzles via the thin,
radical version of libertarianism.

An Interpretative Model of the Evolution
of Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics

The Author: Lucas Maciel Bueno,
This article intends to be a simple guide to understand how Hoppe built the
Argumentation Ethics. In my early studies of libertarian ideas, and of
Argumentation Ethics in particular, I could not find a unique text that would
explain how Hoppe put the necessary bricks together to build the Ethics. As I
was curious about this issue, I assumed others would also like to know it. To
write this article, I reviewed the main literature on Argumentation Ethics,
starting with Kinsella’s Concise Guide [9]. Then, I interviewed Stephan
Kinsella and Prof. Walter Block. Finally, I synthesized the main ideas from the
literature and the interviews elaborating an interpretative model, presented in
this article.

Is Statism an Amoral Philosophy?

Thick moral terms – such as theft, fraud, and counterfeiting – are terms whose
very use implies a definitionally necessary moral evaluation of their content. In
this paper, I shall argue that the philosophy of statism – that is, a philosophy
grounded in the belief in the normative justifiability and desirability of
monopolistic apparatuses of initiatory violence – is necessarily amoral insofar
as it cannot apply thick moral terms in a logically consistent manner. By the
same token, I shall argue that libertarianism – i.e., the view that only
consensual social relations are morally acceptable – is the only general
sociopolitical doctrine capable of accomplishing this task, thus, in contrast to
statism, making its prescriptions susceptible to genuine moral evaluation.

Problems With the Notion of Freedom and Voluntariness
in Right Libertarianism

The Author: Igor Wysocki,
In this short paper, we investigate the problems with the employment of the
notion of freedom and voluntariness in libertarianism. We pretend to
demonstrate that these two, as conceived of by libertarians, figure in as the
main issue when it comes to justifying its major institutions, say: bequeathing,
gifts, transactions (or what they label as “voluntary transfer”). The difficulty
here boils down to the fact that a purely rights-based idea of freedom and
voluntariness, the pretentions of Nozick notwithstanding, cannot do alone,
since it is the consideration whether we do something (e.g. bequeath, donate
etc.) voluntarily (or freely) (in a non-moralized sense) that could account for
the rights redistribution. Therefore, it seems that – at least sometimes – the
notion of voluntariness (or freedom) is prior to the notion of rights.

Peter Singer’s “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”:
Three Libertarian Refutations

The Author: J. C. Lester,
Peter Singer’s famous and influential article is criticised in three main ways
that can be considered libertarian, although many non-libertarians could also
accept them: 1) the relevant moral principle is more plausibly about upholding
an implicit contract rather than globalising a moral intuition that had local
evolutionary origins; 2) its principle of the immorality of not stopping bad
things is paradoxical, as it overlooks the converse aspect that would be the
positive morality of not starting bad things and also thereby conceptually
eliminates innocence; and 3) free markets – especially international free trade –
have been cogently explained to be the real solution to the global “major evils”
of “poverty” and “pollution”, while “overpopulation” does not exist in freemarket
frameworks; hence charity is a relatively minor alleviant to the problem
of insufficiently free markets. There are also various subsidiary arguments
throughout.

A Proletariat of One: Libertarianism and the Psychosis of Authority

The Author: David Fisher,
Libertarianism has a problem, perhaps an insurmountable one, and its problem
lies squarely in the domain from which it is sourced: the intellectual and
political elite of the West. As such, it rests on an ontological viewpoint far
outside the purview and experience of quotidian man. Furthermore, it rests on
an epistemology of the person as sovereign, Natural Law, which requires a
concomitant education or understanding of the Classics, or at least selfawareness
and the ability to think logically. Many non-intellectuals are either
uninterested or incapable of following the Libertarian arguments of personal
sovereignty and instead submit. This unconscious submission to the authority
of a government, father figure, or other self-appointed “authority” relieves the
individual of the psychological pain of breaking out of the herd. C. G. Jung
(1875-1961) was adamant that to be an individual is a radical act: “To develop
one’s own personality is indeed an unpopular undertaking, a deviation that is
highly uncongenial to the herd, an eccentricity smelling of the cenobite, as it
seems to the outsider [11, Para. 298]. Further, Alexander Hamilton (1755 or
1747-1804) noted that the elite are more than happy to have the masses submit
to their authority without question as it advances their control: “a fondness for
power is implanted in most men, and it is natural to abuse it when acquired”
[9]. The rest of this article explores this psychosis of authority and how
Libertarianism suffers in popularity as a result.

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