Chapter Overview: 5

A New Science: Volition

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.”

—Leviticus

The physical sciences are characterized by the search for cause and effect predictability in the operation of non-living phenomena such as stars and planets, heat and light, the land and the sea, etc.

shutterstock_116383162

Using the scientific method, scientists formulate hypotheses to explain and predict physical phenomena. If the predictions always come true 100% of the time without exception, eventually the hypothesis is promoted to the status of a “theory” or law of nature. However, one wrong prediction is all it takes to invalidate the theory and demote it to a discredited hypothesis.

The phenomena studied in the physical sciences do not possess volition. Volition is the act of choosing. Planets and atoms cannot consider different pathways of action and choose one. However, human beings can choose what they want to do among various alternatives.

Girl walking on city street

Therefore, a science of volition must account for the fact that we cannot predict the behavior of individual human beings to the degree of accuracy required in the physical sciences.

In the nineteenth century Karl Marx developed what he claimed was “scientific socialism.” However, Marxism makes no use of the scientific method. It is simply a discredited hypothesis that has been totally falsified by experience. Every country that has tried Marxism soon abandoned it in all but name.

Under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, who famously pronounced, “It is glorious to get rich!”, China’s economy grew exponentially. While nominally considered a Communist state, China is in reality a right-wing dictatorship.

The image above is of Shanghai, China, whose brilliant skyline is a symbol of the prosperity that comes with increased economic freedom. After the death of the brutal dictator Mao Zedong in 1976, the new leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Deng Xiaoping, famously said “It is glorious to get rich!” epitomizing the abandonment of communism in all but name by the CCP, which became what can be described most accurately as a fascist oligarchy that permits some economic freedom.

Shanghai, circa 2012

Shanghai, circa 2012

Natural Law Compared to Political Law

What are called laws of nature are subjective opinions. They are man-made. The critical characteristic that makes an opinion a law of nature is that it is found to be universally true and it is a discovery rather than an invention.

Louis Pasteur

French chemist and microbiologist, Louis Pasteur, performing an experiment

Political laws are also man-made. However, that is the only thing they have in common with the laws of nature. A political law is invented; a natural law is discovered. A political law is enforced coercively; but coercion is entirely alien to the process by which one discovers laws of nature.

Political law

Officers and a judge in courtroom

Absolute rightness in volition is that which is both rational and moral, with moral meaning the absence of coercion. Religion and volitional science both deal with morality. However, in volitional science, while morality is not the morality of religion, its foundation is roughly equivalent to the following statement of the biblical Golden Rule: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.” The Golden Rule appears in all religions of the world that have survived for any appreciable length of time.

Golden Rule 1

Bernard d’Agesci (1757-1828), “La Justice”

Majority rule is not a solution to the problems of mankind

The figure above holds scales of justice in one hand and in the other hand a book with “Dieu, la Loi, et le Roi” (English: “God, the Law, and the King”) on one page and the Golden Rule on the other page. While volitional science does not concern itself with religion and rejects the concept of a king, the Golden Rule is central to Galambos’ philosophy.

In a political democracy the majority may authorize the state to tax, i.e., to steal property, because in political democracy right is what the majority makes it to be.

The reader may think that the alternative to majority rule is rule by a minority, such as an aristocracy, or rule by monarch. It is a false alternative to consider minority rule or monarchy the only alternatives to majority rule.

louis 14th

King Louis XIV of France (1638-1715) epitomized the absolute authority of kings when he said “L’état, c’est moi” or in English, “I am the state.” In the era of Louis XIV in Europe, some prominent philosophers argued that absolute power in a monarch was necessary to keep the peace among subjects of the monarchy.

Volitional science presents a new positive alternative, a higher form of democracy called the Natural Republic in which no one, not even by authorization of the majority, is empowered to seize the property of others. In the natural republic, property is fully (100%) protected on a non-coercive basis.

Happy lady natural republic

Individual freedom is a pre-requisite for true happiness

The goal of volitional science is to realize, for every human being, the ideal expressed in the American Declaration of Independence: that, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

It took two centuries to honor fully the idea of human equality by the elimination of laws and customs that treated African-Americans, people of color, and women as less than equal.

In contrast, in a Natural Republic, all human beings have the right to pursue freedom so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others.

Declaration of Independence

George Washington’s personal copy of the Declaration of Independence

Morality in volitional science compared to religious morality; the rightness of the original biblical “Golden Rule”

In the biblical story of Cain and Abel from Genesis, after Cain kills his brother, Abel, the biblical text continues as follows: “Then the Lord said to Cain, Where is your brother Abel? I don’t know, he replied. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). God punished Cain not only for his act of murder, but also for his callous and evasive response, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

438px-Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_Cain_slaying_Abel,_1608-1609

Peter Paul Rubens, Cain Slaying Abel (1608)

According to Judeo-Christian teaching, this dialogue between God and Cain illustrates an ethical requirement as important as the Golden Rule: that is each person is a member of an extended family consisting of all humanity and each person is under an obligation to care for not only his or her immediate family, but also every other member of the entire human family.

People who believe sincerely in this idea may have strong philosophical sympathy with the idea of the welfare state—that through the operation of the state we can and must care for those in need by taking from others via taxation. People of that persuasion may be antagonistic to the idea that taxation by the state is stealing—itself a violation of a commandment not to steal that the bible says emanates from God. Such people see no conflict between the injunction to be thy brother’s keeper and the commandment not to steal.

A resolution of the seeming conflict between these two ethical principles becomes apparent when one takes a long-term view of human civilization. The decline and fall of every civilization is caused by the state attacking property and producers, via taxation and other means. In contrast, a society on the whole prospers in direct proportion to the freedom of individuals to keep and enjoy the fruit of their labor. Then individuals are able to accumulate enough property to take care of not only their own basic needs but to help others—that is to be “their brother’s keeper” on a voluntary basis.

Mohenjo-Daro

Galambos asserted that every civilization eventually crumbles when coercion reduces production to below the subsistence level. The image above shows the ruins of the ancient Indus Valley civilization in Mohenjo-daro, built around 2600 BCE.

The chart below is an illustration of the relationship between the prosperity of a people and their generosity. (Hint: prosperity leads to increased financial generosity.) And the greater the freedom in a society, the greater the prosperity.

One can see voluntary generosity to strangers in operation at its utmost in America, which has more charitable giving than any other contemporary society, including the well-known American voluntary generosity to people in other countries afflicted by natural or man-made disasters.

national_giving

National giving as a percentage of GDP – created by the Charities Aid Foundation, UK 2006

Famed economist F. A. Hayek (1899-1992) observed that the idea of being thy brother’s keeper is sensible within a small circle of family and close friends, but is counter-productive when applied on a society-wide basis. Hayek posits that beyond the immediate family the greatest social good consists in individual initiative that motivates people to achieve high levels of productivity by serving their own interests rather than engaging in altruistic behavior.

Friedrich_Hayek_portrait

Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992), Austrian economist and philosopher

This is a reiteration of the “invisible hand” idea expressed by Adam Smith in his great treatise An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776).

Adam Smith

Adam Smith (1723-1790), Scottish philosopher and political economist

There are more fascinating things to learn about the science of volition. To read more, simply proceed to the full text of this chapter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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