Dialectics in One Lesson- a quick introduction

I have recently done a deep dive into the works of Chris Matthew Sciabarra- a libertarian scholar associated with NYU. Anything I have right about dialectic reasoning can be credited to his work. The mistakes are my own.

This is the first in a series of posts about dialectic reasoning and how it relates to libertarianism and Austrian economics.

Before that discussion can begin we have to first be clear on what is meant by “dialectic.”

My first exposure to this concept was in Marx. “Dialectical materialism” is the Marxist idea that the material productive forces of capitalism (the tools, machines and physical capital goods) govern or determine the economic, social and political relationships between people. This is to say the existence of capital goods means that some will be capitalists and others will be wage earners, landlords, lenders, etc and further that this will also determine a socio-political hierarchy. The economic system influences and is influenced by the culture, politics and so on.

Nothing happens in a vacuum, as it were.

I mention these ideas only to begin a rough sketch of what dialectical thinking involves.

To begin that sketch I would say that what is essential to dialectical understanding is the view of reality as a set of relationships between agents or elements which interact and co-determine each other. This is the opposite view from that which treats elements in reality as separate entities with relatively fixed natures.

To relate this to Marx’s ideas one could say that the choice of economic systems is not purely an economic one for it has consequences for culture, politics and society in general. The dialectical insight is that we should not treat the economy as something external to or separate from culture, politics and the rest of the social ecosystem.

Another thing essential to a dialectical understanding is the idea that things are not static. Change happens as nature unfolds through interaction in time.

A non-dialectic approach tends to abstract one dimension in frozen time and reify it as a separate entity with purely external relations to the rest.

An example of reification, in terms of the economic dimension, occurs when economists model man as a purely self interested wealth maximizing automaton, coldly calculating how to make the most profit, without any sense of duty, community or compassion.

This is not a realistic view of man. It’s a fractured view rather than an integrated view. Man is seen as driven solely by material ends as if the human dimension did not matter or carry any weight in his decision making.

A dialectical approach to human motivation would suggest that the profit motive is just one of many motives that we experience and that other values are also present to varying degrees, such as a sense of fairness and reciprocity.

Many Marxist critics of neo-classical free market economics have made the point that the economists vision of man neglects our social and communal natures and reifies the market relationship at the expense of a more fuller and richer view of human motivations. This has been derided as “vulgar economism” and rightly so.

Just as many economists on the right have reified the economic dimension some on the left have reified the collective dimension. There is blame to go around when you put on the dialectical goggles and take a look at the world.

This is to say that dialectics is not a tool merely to beat libertarians and free market types over the head with. It also can help offer constructive criticism of the left.

A dialectical approach finds balance in the middle ground between extremes. It recognizes the mutual necessity of apparent opposites.

In duality, dialectics sees unity. The yin yang is a great symbol to capture this view of the world.

In my next post I will discuss the non-utopian orientation of dialectical thought and what implications it has for libertarianism.

Posted in LNF Information | Comments Off on Dialectics in One Lesson- a quick introduction


So Doug Jones won a closely contested Alabama special election the other night.

On the one hand I want to cheer.  Roy Moore is a walking, talking representation of the worst traits of not just the Republican Party … and specifically the so called “Religious” Right … but of humanity.  A representation of the far right wing id that somehow, purely through the chance he doesn’t believe possible, congealed into human form.  I couldn’t be happier that (hopefully) I will never have to hear his name or see his face again, and after writing this will never have to talk about the man again.

But on the other hand, some of the biggest concerns I expressed a couple of months ago about this development are already  starting to come true.  I was concerned that Democrats would take away the wrong message from this victory like they did from Virginia.  And they seem to be.

Pundits are calling this a repudiation of Trump.  Pundits are calling this a surge of support for Democrats. They’re saying this was as a result of a “highly mobilized” Democratic base.  They’re saying that this is a harbinger of a Democratic tide and that the Senate is actually in play in 2018 now.

And it is this narrative that is going to shape the coming election season and the strategies implemented by the Democratic Party.

And I believe it’s wrong.

It’s the kind of narrative that leads the Democratic rank and file to believe there were no mitigating factors here.  It’s all about Trump.  And it denies all other aspects of this race.  It feeds into the impression that Trump will win elections across the country for Democrats all on his lonesome.

In other words, it feeds into Trump Derangement Syndrome.

It’s the kind of narrative that’ll have younger Democrats go back to smoking pot and playing Call of Duty and forgetting there was an election going on because Democrats’ve “got this.”  Kinda like they “had” the 2016 election.  We are talking about events that are a year from now after all.

And perhaps worst of all, this is a narrative that obfuscates the fact that additional messaging and ideological work needs to be done by the Democratic Party.

It’s incredibly convenient and easy this narrative of the media pundits, I’ll give it that.  And the constant focus on the sexual misconduct of Moore plays right into this strangely delusional idea the left seems to have that somehow the sexual harassment hysteria sweeping the nation will damage the Republicans and not the Democrats.  (Check out the recent events surrounding Kansas’ House seat for a prime example of what a double edged sword this is going to be.  Oh and, Mr. Franken … anything to add here?)

But the big take-away from the Alabama win has little to do with Moore’s repellent politics.  Unfortunately.

It has little to do with Moore’s “alleged” dalliances with young teenage girls.  Aside of course from the suppressive effect this had on enthusiasm for Moore as a candidate among Republicans in Alabama, some of whom, I assume, are good people.

And most importantly, it has nothing to do with Trump.

As reprehensive as his politics and the allegations of pedophilia are, Moore still almost won this election.

With over 1.3 million votes cast, Moore lost by fewer than 21,000 votes.  For those paying attention that’s fewer than the write in votes.  Yes, yes I know Alabama is a deep red state.  But neither Sessions nor Heflin before him were nutjob extremists that Alabamans deserve to be mocked for electing.  But today, hatred of leftists was enough to make many Alabamans support a candidate who was far, Far, FAR worse than Donald Trump was in 2016 on every metric, and nearly win with him.

The fact is, it is the African American vote that carried Jones to victory.  Not the “Democratic” vote.  African Americans make up only 26% of Alabama’s total population.  Yet they made up 29% of the voters who cast their vote on Tuesday.  More African American men and women turned out to vote against Moore than turned out to vote for Barack Obama in 2012.

I think it’s a mistake to think this had anything to do with anything other than Roy Moore.

He was a spectacularly bad candidate under any circumstances.  But he was especially bad if you happened to be black in Alabama.  While Jones’ prosecution of KKK members likely had some impact, by and large it’s less likely they turned out to support Jones and more likely it was to oppose Moore.  To oppose Moore in a way they didn’t turn out to oppose Trump.  And in a way they won’t be turning out in North Dakota and Montana and all of the other contests on the ballot … unless the Republicans try to run another Roy Moore. And I don’t think another example of his poor caliber exists.  Anywhere.  But even if Roy Moore Redux is out there somewhere, good luck marshaling the African American vote to save the Democrats in Montana and North Dakota.

I’m highly skeptical that African Americans are more disgusted by pedophilia than white men and women.  And with all of the focus on Moore’s pedophilia allegations, the fact that he’s kind of a racist and up front about it seemed to fall by the wayside.  But I’m betting if you were a black man or woman in Alabama it didn’t fall by the wayside for you.  And that’s the more important story here.

And before anybody criticizes me for nitpicking, I’ll just point out it was the Democrats’ disconnect from reality on these events that got us into this situation in the first place.

Putting aside the way he fought efforts to remove segregationist language from the Alabama state constitution (he had non racist reasons that involved property taxes … trust him!) Roy Moore actually said this at a rally in September:

“I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another …Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”

That’s not just a stupid comment.  That’s the comment of a man who has never spent any time thinking about things from the perspective of people with a different color skin than his own, despite living in a state where he was surrounded by them.  It’s the kind of ignorant comment that rubs salt in open wounds by refusing to acknowledge the role the white man had (and still in some cases has…) in destroying the black family unit in America.  And it’s the comment of a man who ignores that the direction our country had during slavery was rushing headlong to the most devastating war in American history and the subsequent 100 years of Jim Crow legislation in places like … drumroll… Alabama.

And here’s the third hand if you’re keeping track, and why my personal joy at seeing Moore flushed out of the political sphere is somewhat muted.

This was a pyrrhic victory for the Democrats.

If Roy Moore had won the Senate seat, it actually might have been a harbinger of a blue tide in 2018.  The Democrats would have been able to tie Roy Moore to the Republicans and by extension to Donald Trump and run against him in every election across the United States.  The media would have set up tents outside Roy Moore’s house to capture everything the man had to say and broadcast it far and wide.  And unlike the way they do with Trump they wouldn’t have had to use creative license to have an impact.

I understand why Democrats and especially African Americans in Alabama couldn’t stand the idea of Moore being their representative.

And it’s likely the Democrats will still take back at least the House and lead to more gridlock in our government (which will benefit no one more than Trump.)

But the fact is, Jones’ singular vote in opposition to the Republican agenda in Congress is far less impactful than the complete destruction of the worst elements of the Republican agenda that would have occurred had Moore won the election.  Moore would have been a godsend for the liberal causes I espouse.

And man I gotta admit, I woulda had fun carving up that gigantic elephant.  He would have been an unending source of red meat to throw to the Democratic base.

Ah well.  Missed opportunities.



Introducing my new blog

Welcome to TL’s blog. This is my first post and I’d like to introduce myself and describe the kind of content you can expect to see here.

I’m from Houston, Texas and currently work from home investing in crypto-currencies, dabbling in Forex trading and numerous other side projects. My educational background is in economics and political philosophy. And I have taken a special interest in libertarianism.

With this blog I would like to focus on the new economy emerging from peer to peer technologies such as block-chain tech and digital currencies and explain how these new technologies are leading to new political and social possibilities. I have an affinity for emergent and evolutionary forms of social change as opposed to those forms driven by conscious top down planning or policy. I would point to these new technologies as leading to a future where spontaneous “market” forces play a larger role in social life. This will be a running theme of this blog.

Another theme I plan to tackle involves a constructive criticism of certain expressions of libertarian political and economic thought, including anarcho-capitalism. The criticism is from a dialectical point of view, something commonly associated with Karl Marx but which is also utilized by Hegel, Aristotle and Plato, not to mention many others. Ultimately, the criticism is not fatal to the project of liberty. It does mean there are errors that need correcting. The task is to remove the utopian elements from libertarian ideas without giving up the radical. The goal is to move toward a dialectical libertarianism. This is a project that will straddle philosophy, economics and political theory and will deal with some heady issues but ultimately I believe it is worthwhile and necessary for progressing and preserving liberty.

This is a just a general guide to where I plan to head with this thing. I don’t want to limit myself to just these subjects, I also plan to address sociopolitical themes in film and popular culture and blog about whatever I am currently reading or interested in.

My next post will be an introduction to the basics of dialectical reasoning. So stay tuned and please share if you find yourself so inclined.

Posted in LNF Information | Comments Off on Introducing my new blog

Liberty News Forum is 16 years old

Liberty News Forum is 16 years old. It’s one of the longest running forums on the net.

Posted in LNF Information | Comments Off on Liberty News Forum is 16 years old

Liberty News Forum is 12 years old

The Liberty News Forum is now 12 years old. It’s one of the longest running forums on the net.

Liberty News Forum 12 years old!

Posted in LNF Information | Comments Off on Liberty News Forum is 12 years old

Posting news articles on LNF

When posting an article please only post a small portion of the article followed by the link.  
Some comment or opinion of your own is encouraged.
You can not post entire articles unless you know its ok with the copyright owner. Post a small part of an article, title, author and a link to the story.  
Best to write your take on it as the largest part of your post.
If your copyright material is posted on the forum and you want it removed simply PM admin and it will be deleted.

Posting news articles

Fair Use Notice:
This site, Liberty News Forum, LNF, may contain copyrighted material posted by members. Such material is posted to advance understanding, debate, commentary, criticism, news reporting, educational use, information, research, knowledge, and educational purposes of the environment, news, politics, human rights, economy, democracy, science, and social justice issues, etc. Credit should be given to the author of all such copyrighted material when posting.

We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. For more information on Fair use click here.

Posted in LNF Information | Comments Off on Posting news articles on LNF

Twitter LNF

Twitter LNF




Posted in LNF Information | Comments Off on Twitter LNF

Social Security Clock

Social Security Clock

Posted in LNF Information | Comments Off on Social Security Clock

Obama count down clock

Posted in LNF Information | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Obama count down clock

National Debt Clock

National Debt Clock

Posted in LNF Information | Comments Off on National Debt Clock