Argumentation

February 2024 Forums General discussion Argumentation

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  • #81556
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Being that world socialists put much weight in educating workers, spreading the idea, including through debates, were there any debates with or responses to “libertarians”, I would like to see what arguments you give against self-ownership principle, and private property as a deontological ethical theory.

    #89848
    zundap
    Participant

    The productive technological potential we have today has been collectively/.socially developed by humans throughout our history, so as we see it this potential should, must be collectively/socially owned and controlled.  As all wealth is also socially produced, this must be socially owned and controlled. The private ownership of the natural and industrial recourses of our world is theft and confines the majority of us to servile wage slavery, living our lives not for ourselves but for our masters.

    #89849
    Fabian wrote:
    Being that world socialists put much weight in educating workers, spreading the idea, including through debates, were there any debates with or responses to “libertarians”, I would like to see what arguments you give against self-ownership principle, and private property as a deontological ethical theory.

    Self ownership is nonsense and bunkum.  I am myself, I cannot own myself.  If I tried to sell myself, I’d still be me, I am inseparable from myself.  This fact lies at the heart of Marx’ theory of alienation.  In principle, within the wages system, we are meant to alienate our labour, and sell it.  However, we come attached.  Psychologically and aesthetically, we are aware of that.Self ownership libertarians often are into the tyranny of contract, after all, anyone can be free to make any contract, and so theoretically can sell themselves into perpetual slavery.  Caveat Emptor applies, and just because a deal might be badly made doesn’t make it binding.Property is a social phenomena, you can only have property in so far as other people recognise the fact and act accordingly.

    #89850
    ALB
    Keymaster

    This extract from an article in the January 2006 Socialist Standard refers to C. B. Macpherson’s book which explains the origin and significance of the so-called “self-ownership principle (and which everybody interested in this question should read)”:

    Quote:
    So-called “human rights” have always been linked to property rights. As C.B. Macpherson showed in his classic study of 16th and 17th English political philosophy, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism, the whole concept of human rights was based on the idea of every human being having a property right to their own body. The state is not supposed to stop them using their mental and physical energies as they think fit; this involves not just freedom from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, but also the freedom to exercise their mental faculties in speech, publication and religion.Property as such came to be regarded as a human right when it was argued that humans also had a right to what they themselves had got from nature by their own bodily efforts, i.e. by their own labour. However, given the existing unequal ownership of property, especially land, the bourgeois “theorists of possessive individualism” shied away from the egalitarian implications of this labour theory of property. Instead they came up with various more or less specious reasons as to why property, however acquired (and including land, which no one created by their labour, and even slaves), was, in the words of the French Revolution’s 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, “an inviolable and sacred right”.The freedom of property-owners from arbitrary dispossession by the state was what the French Revolution established in France, but which the so-called Glorious Revolution in England in 1688 and the US Constitution had already established in these countries.
    #89851
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    zundap wrote:
    The productive technological potential we have today has been collectively/.socially developed by humans throughout our history, so as we see it this potential should, must be collectively/socially owned and controlled.  As all wealth is also socially produced, this must be socially owned and controlled. The private ownership of the natural and industrial recourses of our world is theft and confines the majority of us to servile wage slavery, living our lives not for ourselves but for our masters.

    Repeating propaganda that is by definition vague and unargumented is not what I had in mind.

    Young Master Smeet wrote:
    Self ownership is nonsense and bunkum.  I am myself, I cannot own myself. If I tried to sell myself, I’d still be me, I am inseparable from myself. 

    Yet you can give as a gift or sell parts of “yourself”, like organs, blood, semen/ eggs, women can rent their uterus. It’s irrelevant whether the Lockean concept of mind not being the body is literal (like in the case of Locke, who was a Christian, or metaphorical), doesn’t change the fact that self-ownership principle has to be addressed with more then “it’s nonsense”.

    Quote:
    Property is a social phenomena, you can only have property in so far as other people recognise the fact and act accordingly.

    This whole message of yours is stating of an opinion, without argumenting it, and without attacking the agruments of the opposite opinion.

    ALB wrote:
    This extract from an article in the January 2006 Socialist Standard refers to C. B. Macpherson’s book which explains the origin and significance of the so-called “self-ownership principle (and which everybody interested in this question should read)”:

    Quote:
    So-called “human rights” have always been linked to property rights.

    There’s a big mistake here in accepting this disinformation of Murray Rothbard, who promoted this “human rights are property rights” in his Ethics of liberty. Argumentation ethics, that “libertarians” use to justify their capitalism is actually a caricature of Habermas’ Discoursive ethics, that basically shows anarcho-communism (or socialism in your definition) as an undeniable ethical truth.

    #89852
    Fabian wrote:
    Yet you can give as a gift or sell parts of “yourself”, like organs, blood, semen/ eggs, women can rent their uterus. It’s irrelevant whether the Lockean concept of mind not being the body is literal (like in the case of Locke, who was a Christian, or metaphorical), doesn’t change the fact that self-ownership principle has to be addressed with more then “it’s nonsense”.

    Yes, you can sell parts of yourself, but they are products, you cannot sell yourself.  You are you.  There is nothing separate from you to do the owning (that is the substantive point, the inability to sell yourself is just the proof).  On that basis, it’s perfectly fair and reasonable to dismiss the “self-ownership” principle as nonsense without further debate.If I wanted, I could develop it further into how it is just ideology and the natural extension of commodity fetishism.  But you asked how to deal with it in debate, that’s how, stick doggedly to the key question, there is no part of you separate from you to do the owning.

    Fabian wrote:
    Quote:
    Property is a social phenomena, you can only have property in so far as other people recognise the fact and act accordingly.

    This whole message of yours is stating of an opinion, without argumenting it, and without attacking the agruments of the oppossite opinion.

    The substantive point was that property cannot be inherent, like a kidney, it only can exist when other people acknowledge it, hence it is inevitably social, thus we enter into Rousseau’s realm and the notion that property only exists at the grant of the community.I gave two quick propositions which rebut those arguments, no opinions.  Those propositions are open for debate and disproof.

    #89853
    ALB
    Keymaster

    You’re right that the argument that a person has a “right” to the product of their labour as this is an extension of their body does lead to socialism (common ownership of the means of production and the products). This is because production today is collective and social, so that the entire social product should, on this theory, belong the entire workforce. However, this is not an argument we use but it does refute rather effectively the so-called “libertarians” (who seem to be living in a world of isolated and independent producers which never existed anyway).

    #89854
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Young Master Smeet wrote:
    Yes, you can sell parts of yourself, but they are products, you cannot sell yourself.  You are you.  There is nothing separate from you to do the owning (that is the substantive point, the inability to sell yourself is just the proof).  On that basis, it’s perfectly fair and reasonable to dismiss the “self-ownership” principle as nonsense without further debate.

    Looks to me like dodging debate, it’s slim.

    Quote:
    If I wanted, I could develop it further into how it is just ideology and the natural extension of commodity fetishism.

    Which would be a sort of psychologist fallacy. 

    Quote:
    But you asked how to deal with it in debate, that’s how, sick doggedly to the key question, tehre is no part of you separate from you to do the owning.

    I just saw there is a little about that in the FAQ, I’ll take a look at that.

    Quote:
    The substantive point was that property cannot be inherent

    You stating your moral nihilism cannot be the “substantive point” of a debate, especially after Habermas’ (and to an extent Hoppe’s) point that objective ethics exists.

    Quote:
    thus we enter into Rousseau’s realm and the notion that property only exists at the grant of the community.

    Even Rousseau acknowledged existence of objective ethics in the state of nature (such as theft of personal possession) as self-evident.

    ALB wrote:
    You’re right that the argument that a person has a “right” to the product of their labour as this is an extension of their body does lead to socialism (common ownership of the means of production and the products).

    Actually it leads to mutualism. If people have the right to the full product of their labor, then the products that a factory makes is not the property of the society as a whole, but only of the workers of that factory as a whole.

    Quote:
    This is because production today is collective and social, so that the entire social product should, on this theory, belong the entire workforce. However, this is not an argument we use but it does refute rather effectively  the so-called “libertarians” (who seem to be living in a world of isolated and independent producers which never existed anyway).

    People cannot till the ground by themselves for the purpose of feeding themselves?

    #89855
    Quote:
    There is nothing separate from you to do the owning (that is the substantive point, the inability to sell yourself is just the proof).

    Sorry, remembered I was going to put this forward.  Supposing you did sell yourself, to a weird cyber-punk doctor, who managed to subordinate your nervous system to another person’s control, every part of your body, including actions and thoughts would exist entirely at their cyber command.  What of you would remain?  My suggestion is nothing, you’d be effectively dead (as assuredly as if you sold your heart).As another wee point, this debate cannot be resolved factually, since it is primarily about how we see ourselves and our freedom.  To someone who sees property as a good thing, seeing ourselves as property is a good thing.  I spent years, once, arguing with an anarcho capitalist.  Eventually we agreed that our fundamental premises regarding individualism versus collectivism were just insurmountable.I would say, though, that we do share one fundamental agreement with libertarians, which is that property is the route to liberty.  The bone of contention is the possibility of universal emancipation via private versus collective property.

    #89856
    Quote:
    Looks to me like dodging debate, it’s slim.

    Yet, singularly, you haven’t provided a refutation.  Arguing about the rules of debate is a classic mechanism for dodging it.

    #89857
    ALB
    Keymaster
    Fabian wrote:
    Actually it leads to mutualism. If people have the right to the full product of their labor, then the products that a factory makes is not the property of the society as a whole, but only of the workers of that factory as a whole.

    No, it doesn’t as not even one factory does/can produce a product on its own, eg without materials or energy from outside. Today the whole social product is produced by the whole (worldwide) workforce.

    Fabian wrote:
    Quote:
    (who seem to be living in a world of isolated and independent producers which never existed anyway).

    People cannot till the ground by themselves for the purpose of feeding themselves?

    What with? Some sticks they’ve found lying around?Under modern conditions, the “labour theory of property” leads to common property. Ironically, this was precisely the view that Locke and the other theorists of “possessive individualism” set out to refute as, up till then, christian theology preached that originally god had given the Earth and its products to all humanity in common with everyone having an equal right to satisfy their needs.

    #89858
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Young Master Smeet wrote:
    Quote:
    There is nothing separate from you to do the owning (that is the substantive point, the inability to sell yourself is just the proof).

    Sorry, remembered I was going to put this forward.  Supposing you did sell yourself, to a weird cyber-punk doctor, who managed to subordinate your nervous system to another person’s control, every part of your body, including actions and thoughts would exist entirely at their cyber command.  What of you would remain?  My suggestion is nothing, you’d be effectively dead (as assuredly as if you sold your heart).

    As I said, it’s irrelevant whether the mind-body dualism is factual or metaphorical for the self-ownership (which means ownership of your body) principle to be put forward. Disregarding it on liguistical ground does nothing to disprove it. As one “anarcho”capitalist said- if to say that “we own ourselves” is nonsensical because we are ourselves, then it would be equally nonsensical to say that we can shave ourselves, which we all both say and practice.

    Quote:
    As another wee point, this debate cannot be resolved factually

    I think it can, in favor of anarcho-communism which has deontological ethics at it’s base.

    ALB wrote:
    No, it doesn’t as not even one factory does/can produce a product on its own, eg without materials or energy from outside. Today the whole social product is produced by the whole (worldwide) workforce.
    Quote:
    What with? Some sticks they’ve found lying around?

    Let’s say I’m an artisan, and I make tools from natural resources that I collect myself. Are those tools mine?

    Quote:
    Under modern conditions, the “labour theory of property” leads to common property.

    You have complete misunderstanding of labor theory of property, but answer my above question first, and we’ll talk about it more.

    #89859
    Fabian wrote:
    As I said, it’s irrelevant whether the mind-body dualism is factual or metaphorical for the self-ownership (which means ownership of your body) principle to be put forward. Disregarding it on liguistical ground does nothing to disprove it. As one “anarcho”capitalist said- if to say that “we own ourselves” is nonsensical because we are ourselves, then it would be equaly nonsensical to say that we can shave ourselves, which we all both say and practice.

    It is not a question of dualism or linguistics, it is to do with the properties of property.  Property can be disposed of, transferred and owned and controlled.  Whilst I can indeed shave myself, I cannot sell myself (without destroying myself as self).Now, as a matter of fact I do practice alienating myself and selling my labour power, but I don’t shave.  Make of that what you will.If you will, I would counterpose Being to self ownership.

    #89860
    ALB
    Keymaster
    Fabian wrote:
    Let’s say I’m an artisan, and I make tools from natural resources that I collect myself. Are those tools mine?

    Quote:
    Under modern conditions, the “labour theory of property” leads to common property.

    You have complete misunderstanding of labor theory of property, but answer my above question first, and we’ll talk about it more.

    I’m not a defender of the “labour theory of property” but am merely pointing out that logically under today’s productive conditions it leads to common ownership of production.I think that a supporter of the theory would argue that your artisan would be able to claim the tools he himself made from materials he himself collected from nature were his property, on the grounds that he had mixed his labour as the exercise of his body in them. But this is an imaginary situation that could only be taken seriously by an armchair philosopher.Here’s Engels’s take on the argument that the labour theory of value leads to communism (from his 1884 Preface to the first German edition of Marx’s Poverty of Philosophy, which Marx wrote in French):

    Quote:
    The above application of the Ricardian theory that the entire social product belongs to the workers as their product, because they are the sole real producers, leads directly to communism. But, as Marx indeed indicates in the above-quoted passage, it is incorrect in formal economic terms, for it is simply an application of morality to economics. According to the laws of bourgeois economics, the greatest part of the product does not belong to the workers who have produced it. If we now say: that is unjust, that ought not to be so, then that has nothing immediately to do with economics. We are merely saying that this economic fact is in contradiction to our sense of morality. Marx, therefore, never based his communist demands upon this, but upon the inevitable collapse of the capitalist mode of production which is daily taking place before our eyes to an ever growing degree; he says only that surplus value consists of unpaid labour, which is a simple fact. But what in economic terms may be formally incorrect, may all the same be correct from the point of view of world history. If mass moral consciousness declares an economic fact to be unjust, as it did at one time in the case of slavery and statute labour, that is proof that the fact itself has outlived its day, that other economic facts have made their appearance due to which the former has become unbearable and untenable. Therefore, a very true economic content may be concealed behind the formal economic incorrectness.
    #89861
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Young Master Smeet wrote:
    It is not a question of dualism or linguistics, it is to do with the properties of property.  Property can be disposed of, transfered and owned and controlled.  Whilst I can indeed shave myself, I cannot sell myself (without destroying myself as self).

    People sold themselves (their bodies, the same one you can shave) into slavery troughout history, to make money for their family, or by pledging themselves as collateral when taking a loan.

    Quote:
    If you will, I would counterpose Being to self ownership.

    What properties does that have and in relation to what? What about organ donation? What about unconsensual taking of organs from someone (eg. in order to give it to someone who needs it more)? Such questions must be anwered by taking some ethical stance.

    ALB wrote:
    I’m not a defender of the “labour theory of property” but am merely pointing out that logically under today’s productive conditions it leads to common ownership of production.

    In order to reject LToP you’d have to firstly understand what it means, and this shows that you don’t seem to understand it.

    Quote:
    I think that a supporter of the theory would argue that your artisan would be able to claim the tools he himself made from materials he himself collected from nature were his property, on the grounds that he had mixed his labour as the exercise of his body in them. But this is an imaginary situation that could only be taken seriously by an armchair philosopher.

    It’s called thinking about ethics, and not wanting to think about it could be called something of demagogy, to be polite. When civilization, agriculture and property developed, these situations were common- people taking resources and making something by themselves. The point is that when they made, e.g. a plough, and gave it to the tiller in exchange for something, and the tiller used it to till the earth, the plough-maker isn’t entitled to anything of the tiller’s fruits of labor, he got his due when he traded his plough for whatever he tool from the tiller in that trade. Saying otherwise turns into a rent of means of production, thus employment, thus exploitation (taking of someone’s fruits of labor) which would make communism/ socialism exactly like capitalism, just the “democratically organized community” around you takes the role of the capitalist. Kropotkin correctly states that communist economy must be voluntary, and that only exploitory relations will be abolished in the revolution. If a peasant works a piece of land by himself and doesn’t want to be a part of the commune (even though living inside it) and share fruits of his labor with everyone else, that’s his right, and he finds likeminded peasants or artisants or factories, and they barter or trade, that’s also fine, as long as there’s no exploitation (meaning theft). The community around his taking products of his labor would be theft as much as capitalism is. Communal property can only be a product of direct communal work (a single product being made by the collective of workers in one factory, or a single piece of land being tilled by a collective of peasants) and not of some imaginary labor that someone put in the making of tools that the workers use, or the walls of the factory that the workers work in, etc. Appeal to this interconnectedness of multitude of workers’ labor can be a way of persuading someone to join others in the communist economic system, but if doesn’t make a free choice to give what is his to the community, but the community takes products of his labor from him or like the capitalist deceives him into thinking that it’s not his to being with, but the community’s, it’s plain theft, the same that the workers are submitted in today’s capitalism, or that they were submitted to in state capitalism.

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