Rothbard and Hoppe vs. The Zombie ApocalypseSubmitted by TheKnowingFool on Fri, 07/26/2013 - 12:17
Suppose a tremendous cataclysm rocked the Earth, and conditions were such that the amount of food and fuel resources remaining were only enough to feed a small fraction of the people on the globe.
Imagine yourself in such a world. Moments after this realization hits you and begins to sink in. You consider your family, loved ones, your wife and children, and yourself. You realize everyone else is in the same boat.
The things you love in this world, those are you ultimate ends. Yourself, your children, continuing to live, avoiding death and misery.
Let's be honest. We would all do one of two things.
Some of us would choose to renounce life, to accept our death philosophically and try to have a quick end. We would bow out of the commencing bloodbath gracefully, retaining our civilized poise and balance. A luxury, of course, not open to those with children to look after.
The rest of us? We would tear each other to pieces to get that food and fuel to feed ourselves and our immediate loved ones, and we would do unspeakable things to avoid death, misery, and annihilation.
No concept or idea of right, wrong, Rights, ethics, or any other obstacle would be sufficient to keep us from filling our hungry bellies.
Perhaps there are taboos so strong that many or most of us would still not break. We might forbear doing some things that have long been horrific to the human mind, such as cannibalism. Or maybe not.
Beyond that, we would do anything to continue to exist. And in doing so, to continue the species. There is a certain logic to it, no?
Not all the natural rights or argumentation ethics in the world would stop us from using every means available to secure to ourselves and our closest loved ones a place in that ten percent of survivors.
This simple thought experiment should make it clear in what world rights, ethics and law have meaning. The conditions on which all of our social cooperation and lawful behavior rest - their utility to us as individuals and small units - are not guaranteed conditions. They are just conditions, not laws. Why try to deny it?
Social cooperation and submission to a law for the resolution of conflict are based on their utility. Cultures which engage in cooperation, division of labor, public law and economic activity were selected in an evolutionary process, just as the human species itself was selected for its ability to engage in extended social cooperation and ultimately economic activity - division of labor. Law and custom of some kind proceeded every step of the way to make that possible.
We live in society and respect others not because of natural rights or argumentation ethics, but because there is greater utility or greater advantage to our own interests in doing so. Society, social cooperation, division of labor, and peaceful conflict resolution are better for most of us than engaging in the tactics described in the above scenario.
Our ultimate ends and loves in this world remain the same: our lives, our loved ones, our children, and the absence of an empty belly.
Without the conditions that make social cooperation and lawful conflict resolution more advantageous to us, we would abandon them to continue the struggle for our personal existence and our subjective goals by other means.