Us and Them

By Neil Lock

This is the final essay of six in in a re-appraisal and re-working of my philosophical system. I am calling the new version of this system “Honest Common Sense 2.0.”

Today, it’s time (at last!) to offer some thoughts on how we might seek to move from where we are today towards a better world. Some of these ideas, I’ll warn in advance, may seem radical to many people. To some, even scary.

I’m going to try to make this essay as stand-alone as I can; so that even those who haven’t read the preceding five parts should be able to appreciate my points of view. To that end, I’ll begin with some brief summaries culled from the earlier essays.

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The “We” Dimensions

By Neil Lock

This is the fifth essay in a six-part re-formulation of my philosophical ideas. It covers, at a similar level to the previous essay, the fourth and fifth dimensions in my system, which in classical philosophy correspond to Politics, and to Economics and Aesthetics, respectively. I call these two the “We” dimensions. For the questions, which must be answered in these dimensions, are phrased in the first person plural. “How should we organize ourselves for maximum benefit to all?” And “What are we here to do?”

Today, I’ll be looking to outline a new system of governance, to supersede the states and bad politics under which we all suffer today. I call it “just governance.” I will deliberately try not to map things out in too much Utopian detail. For I expect just governance to evolve organically, getting better as it goes. So, what I will try to do is merely lay down some guidelines, and give a flavour of how the system might work. This is also, I think, a good moment at which to issue a plea for feedback on my ideas; particularly from those who share my pro-freedom views, but have different expertises.

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Two World Systems

By Neil Lock

This is the third part of a six-part re-formulation of my philosophical ideas. Today, I’ll give an overview of my updated framework, which I am calling “Honest Common Sense 2.0.”

My title alludes to Galileo’s famous work, the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Now, he compared his heliocentric model of the universe to the prevailing geocentric model. But I shall instead compare my bottom-up model of humanity and human interactions with the top-down model, that prevails among the political classes, their hangers-on, and other enemies of humanity today. This top-down model I call Downerism, and its practitioners I dub Downers – short for “top-downers.”

Further, I’ll introduce and discuss three common-sense ethical and political principles, which I have built in to the foundations of my system. I call them: ethical equality, voluntary society, and common-sense justice. You may be surprised at how radical these simple, common-sense ideas turn out to be, when contrasted with today’s received wisdom!

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Six Thinkers

by Neil Lock

Back in 2014, I wrote and self-published a short book called “Honest Common Sense.” In it, I sought to explicate “a brief, radical Philosophy, starting from first principles and aimed at non-academic people.” I diagnosed what I saw as the root of the problems we good people face today: “that we are in a war of the political means versus the economic, the dishonest versus the honest, the state versus Civilization.” And I made some suggestions as to how we might set ourselves to win that war.

But as a friendly thinker, who calls himself Jason Alexander, has told us: “Ideas that are alive, grow and change.” And my ideas are certainly no exception to that rule. Ten months ago, I determined to re-visit my philosophical thinking, and to put it in context with the ideas of others from whom I have drawn material; including Jason Alexander himself. The task has been long and hard. So much so, that this essay introduces a set of no less than six. And all six are long; representing, as they do, the product of ten whole months of hard mental labour.

But I have found the work worthwhile; for in the process, I have found several new insights. New to me, at least. And I’ve gained a clearer grasp of some areas I had thought I already understood. The major new and clarified ideas are all in the areas of ethics and politics; and particularly around the dividing line between them. Happily, these are good areas for thinking people to be looking into in the current, parlous state of human civilization. I hope that these ideas may, perhaps, help to suggest some fresh possibilities for how we humans might go about re-claiming our rights and freedoms, and bringing to the enemies of humanity the justice they deserve.

One observation before I begin. We are living in a strange time, in which virtually the entire intellectual class in Western countries has become corrupted. The reason is not far to seek. Academics and other intellectuals are, with only a few exceptions (and most of those are in their 70s or older), all bought and paid for by the state. So, we cannot expect today’s professional thinkers to do anything to help human civilization or human freedom; for they cannot, or will not, go against their paymasters. That means that amateurs like me have to step up to the plate.

Six parts

In this, the first essay of the set, I’ll review some of the ideas of six thinkers who have influenced me. In chronological order of their births: Aristotle, John Locke, Franz Oppenheimer, Ayn Rand, Jason Alexander and Frank van Dun. In the second part, I’ll seek to put our situation today into historical context, and to draw out some rhythms of human history. I shall be making particular use of the ideas of Jason Alexander in that exercise.

In the third part, I’ll give a broad outline of my updated philosophical framework, which I’m provisionally labelling “Honest Common Sense 2.0.” I’ll also compare and contrast my approach with the philosophy of our enemies; the political classes and their hangers-on, that collectively I label the “Downers.”

In the fourth and fifth parts, I’ll describe my system in more detail. And I’ll sketch out a possible future system of minimal government. I call it “just governance,” and I describe its remit as: “to enable people to live together in an environment of peace and tranquillity, common-sense justice, and maximum rights and freedom for every individual.” Finally, in the sixth part, I’ll offer some thoughts on how we might seek to move from where we are today towards a better world.

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The Unique Importance of the Tory Anarchist

By CJay Engel

If ever there was a phrase that deserved more widespread repute in libertarian circles, it is the charming title “Tory Anarchist,” which Murray Rothbard— though not the first to apply it— gave to the likes of H.L. Mencken and Albert Nock in his book The Betrayal of the American Right. What he meant by this phrase, together with a case for its adoption today, are the themes of the present article. Continue reading

The Case for Natural Law

By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

I’ve long been a natural law guy, in the sense that nature has endowed all of us (whether this is via a God, some Gods, or just plain old Darwinian evolution) with a basic set of behaviours we know to be good (e.g. do not steal other people’s property, do not murder other people, let other people be free so long as they’re not interfering with you directly, etc), often codified into early religions as ‘commandments’ of one sort or another, as human civilisation emerged from the Stone Age.

These ‘natural laws’ may purely be intra-tribal in that raw native state of a stone-age living human, and may not apply to extra-tribal people (such as those ugly Neanderthals on the other side of the mountain). However, the spread of society and civilisation is in my view the spread of these natural laws extra-tribally until all are governed by them. Whereas the destruction of society and civilisation is the opposite, particularly the actions of those people in the last 10,000 years often collectively known as ‘the state’, to steal other people’s stuff, murder other people, remove the freedoms of other people, etcetera, etcetera. I think this appeal of ‘natural law’, as codified by people such as St. Thomas Aquinas, has led to a particular appeal of Catholicism to many Austrians, via this link to Aquinas, and his own direct link back to Aristotle.

It fails to help, alas, that the current Pope is a communist. I would much prefer that Pope Benedict XVI was still the supreme Pontiff myself, but I still think that there is a natural affinity between Catholicism and Austrian Economics, and that it’s far from being a coincidence that Austrian Economics did finally arise in Austria, a Catholic country, even despite people such as Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Israel Kirzner (amongst others) being Jewish.

For Judaism seems to possess a strong basis in natural law itself, and of course via the Old Testament forms the basis of later Christianity and Catholicism.

However, I do think you can still believe in natural law without necessarily being religious. All sorts of higher-order animal societies (such as wolves, lions, and so on) are codified by certain behavioural patterns that all will generally obey, except in the most unusual circumstances. So, it is the ‘natural law’ of a pack of wolves to eat a human who strays too close, without breaking any ‘moral’ code of wolves. But if one wolf offers submission to another wolf at the end of a fight for male reproductive supremacy, then generally, the superior winning wolf will not kill the defeated and now submissive inferior wolf.

Even a pure believer in ‘The Selfish Gene’ can come to human natural law via simply the mechanism of genetic natural selection.

The problem for human society comes of course, when that group known as the state begins to impose fiat, positivist, or state laws, for their own loosely-connected group benefit, at the expense of all others under their military control. That is when aggression and hatred grows within and between different human groups. Whether we codify natural law into something such as the ‘NAP’ (non-aggression principle) or some other ‘libertarian’ philosophy, at the heart of our own march to a world of civilisation, peace, freedom, and property, should we accept that what we are trying to create is a natural law society? Or do we believe in game theory, the might of power, or some other human-societal-organising system?

(I have placed this article within Swithun Dobson’s new ‘Mises UK Forum’ and I would be interested to hear any of your thoughts on this within that forum. You can get a registered login on our new forum by visiting

Natural theory of corporeal justice

Sebastian Ortiz

The stateless enforcement of natural justice, that is the provision of the services named “defense” and “conflict resolution” is a kind of science, namely a natural, normative, corporeal science that deals with what entails invasion of a body, a threat of invasion of a body, whether that is a personal body or owned object, proportional punishment, burden of prooof and due process. This “law” limits and is hierarchically superior to contract, “private” law. Continue reading