Yet another one on human action

I fear that yesterday’s post was less than satisfying to some who read here. One fellow asked that I not quote as much and just get on with it, or that is what I took away from his message. So be it. Now you will read early morning thoughts typed with the first cup of coffee. So, now a few comebacks that I was trying to get to yesterday. (Yesterday all my troubles seems so far away …) I’ll number them for my own purposes.

1) Over the years I have seen some of our more philosophic friends holler that there is “no free will” so Austrian Economics is built upon an error and hence can’t be of value. Well, if there is a “God” making you do things She sure does make it look like you have free will, and for that reason plus Occam’s Razor we all reason as if free-will is a given. So this argument against the basis of Austrian Economics is just silly.

2) I saw a big discussion over “consciousness” and what that means in regards to man’s behaviour and Austrian Economics on Twitter the other night.  First of all, Austrian Economics or Political Science does not pretend to answer questions of that nature. But I know that some mystics believe that there is just one big consciousness, a “God” if you will, who is playing all the parts and hence we are all “one”. OK, believe that if you will, but the actor is so good she is playing the parts as if all the individuals are, in fact, independent. So there, we still reason as if all individuals have their own consciousness, rationality, and free will.

But really, Man is a “rational animal” and we must treat him as one in Economics or in Political Science. Do do otherwise is foolhardy.

3) Only individual men act. That is, a group like your Church or social club does not feed the homeless — individuals in the organization act to feed the homeless. The USA did not invade Afghanistan but rather many individuals worked together to carry out the invasion and brutal occupation of Afghanistan.

Now, we all use the shorthand language “UT beat Alabama last Saturday by 42 to 21.” That beats hell out of naming all the individuals! But let us never forget that individuals act. Most often individuals do act in concert with other individuals as we are a social animal but don’t hide the responsibility for the action by saying “the army blew up the wedding party”.

Trading

4) At the end of it all, you can see Austrian Economics at lunch in an Elementary school as children trade items with each other for things they would rather have. I know of one little girl whose mother sends an Apple every day in her lunch. She trades that daily apple for all sorts of other things and thinks she is much better off after a trade — but so does the little girl who traded her orange for an apple. Both are better off. Both are “more wealthy”.

If you made it down this far, the above are just a few notes that came to me watching a social-media argument. (or was it a discussion?) I will return to my more normal style now. (yes I know, the smarty kid yelled “you don’t have a style!”

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