Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Praxeology is Necessary for Red Pill Consumption

You all know Mr. Fuller.  One of the earliest agents in the field, he is obviously a lieutenant now.  His trademark is to be

1.  More informed than the Captain
2.  More thoroughly thought out than the Captain
3.  And in a very polite way show the Captain to be a complete moron.  But again, in a very polite and caring way.

I visited Mr. Fuller earlier this year and he was talking about the Austrian School and "praxeology."

If you don't know what that is, don't worry.  Only Mr. Fuller would know and you have to talk to him in order to get this wisdom.  Otherwise, you're just a schmoe like me. Regardless, I'm machine gunning a bunch of brief posts I've been meaning to get to and "praxeology" is one of them, so settle in for a brief economic lesson compliments of Mr. Fuller.

I'm purposely butchering the definition, but to simplify praxeology a lot, it is a logic-based philosophy.  In short, you have an empirical evidence argument, but there should also be a logical argument that compliments the empirical argument, providing the reason and rationale that explains the empirical data.

For example, the left, frankly, has neither.

Empirical evidence is against them with the spectacular failure of outright communist countries and a debt-financed delayed failure of socialist Europe.  And when you think about it logically, socialism can't even pass 5th grade logic muster.

Public School Teacher - "In socialism everybody is guaranteed a certain standard of living."

5th Grade Boy - "How?"

Public School Teacher - "Well, we tax the rich and transfer the money so everybody makes the same."

5th Grade Boy - "Well why would I work hard then?"

Public School Teacher - "GO TO THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE, JIMMY!"

Capitalism, it's the opposite.  Empirical evidence and the success of Western Civilization shows time and time again free people and free markets result in spectacular levels of progress and growth.  Logically this stands as well.  Letting ALL people achieve their best and getting out of their way will result in a much more productive nation than a nation of slaves who work just enough to get by.  Paying somebody to sit on his ass will result in more people sitting on their asses.

You may now be dismissing praxeology as a simple observation.  Like "Yeah, Captain, we got it.  Logical argument to supplement the empirical argument and vice versa."

But praxeology plays a MUCH  more important role in two regards.

One, what happens when there is no empirical evidence or the evidence is tainted or fabricated?  I've been thinking about this as government economists are constantly revising their methodologies and places like Shadowstats.com calculate alternative measures to the official government ones.   I rely HEAVILY on the OECD, ILO, FRED database, BEA, BLS, etc., all are government organizations or non-profits.  All theoretically easily corruptible under political leaders.  I'm not making any accusations now, but it is very easy to see where the BLS would be hijacked by ideologues to produce the figures and statistics the leading party wants.

This makes praxeology and a logical argument all that much more important.  The data has to inevitably stand to reason.  It is a way to test the methodology and the sources of the economic data and statistics.  I'm sure many former Soviet bloc citizens or modern day North Koreans were/are told the "official" statistics showed the "glorious" people's socialist republic kicking economic ass.  Meanwhile praxeology would permit them to make the observation "hey, there ain't no bread in the aisles...matter of fact, there ain't no aisles!" and conclude the data and stats they were being fed were bogus.

Now to be fair, at the same time, you can ABUSE praxeology.  I've seen this many times, typically when I have a liberal on the ropes and they know they're beaten.  They got no data, they got no stats.  So they result the worlds most pathetic, snivelly, cowardly, dishonest argument:

"Well my perception is reality."

(I usually have to fight the urge to physically beat them because they're being so disingenuous)

The point is you can't at the same time IGNORE legitimate empirical data by "invoking the power of praxeology" to dismiss somebody's factual argument.  THat's cowardice and intellectual laziness because you were too damn lazy to look up the data yourself.

On a related note is the second reason praxeology is important.  It is a necessary pre-requisite to taking the red pill.

When you are lied to by society, the government, your entire environment you are going to make decisions based on those lies and erroneous data.  Because you made decisions on erroneous data, you will fail.

Then begins the tortuous process of finding out what's wrong with YOU.

You naturally think there's something wrong with you because well, everybody in your entire environment is telling you how the "real world" works.  YOu made all your decisions based on what they told you, and since you know THEY ALL can't be wrong, it must be you.  SOmething wrong with your delivery, your presentation, you jib, your gait.

You then do about 10-20 years of trial and error, constantly refining and questioning every stinking little aspect of you to explain why you've been failing for 10-20 years.  Nothing works and you're driven to insanity.  But before you go full blow insane, your brain's survival mechanism kicks in and permits you the daring to make what I call "the most arrogant assumption."

"What if it's not me, but society?"

Whether you're conscious of it or not, this is praxeology.  It is NOT you trying to rationalize your failures.  It is the only thing remaining after you've exhausted all other options and theories.  It is the only logical argument that explains the phenomena you are witnessing.  It is the logical epiphany that shines the light on the systematically rigged and corrupted system that you were unaware of and finally wakes you up.

It is the required pre-ingredient to the red pill.

And here you see the value of praxeology - the permitting of oneself to make an arrogant assumption (AFTER EXHAUSTING ALL OTHER OPTIONS) to finally set themselves free.

Those of you who took the red pill when it came to courting relations in Western Civilization are much more free, aware and conscious than you were when you were a bungling high schooler stupidly bringing a girl you liked flowers in the 10th grade.

Those of you who blame yourself for being laid off or unemployed or just plain underemployed are much more free, aware and conscious now that you took the employment red pill and realize just how completely screwed up and corrupted corporate America and employers have become.

And those of you who, like me, were told what an inherently evil person you were because you wanted to go on the monkey bars instead of church when you were 5 years old, took the red pill of religion and are now much more free, aware and conscious realizing religion is nothing more than an old hold-over form of government that has deteriorated into money-making clubs with the added bonus of pompous holier than thou types.

It is praxeology that is the vehicle or catalyst that allows you to take the red pills that makes your life maybe not "easier," but certainly more sane.


alexamenos said...

Even recognizing you were trying to leave a lot on the cutting room floor, I think the short and dirty definition of praxeology needs to specificy a bit about human nature....

...that is, praxeology is a logic based philosophy about how human beings act and react

James Wolfe said...

Wasn't Praxis blown up because the Klingons didn't follow proper OSHA and EPA regulations? The evil capitalist PtaQ!

Captain Capitalism said...

Mr. Wolfe,

Your humor is on par with Mr. Fuller. I think you two would get along wonderfully.


James Wolfe said...

Just thought I'd introduce a bit of geek humor. Being in IT I work with a bunch of 'em.

Thursday said...

I assume you are referring to Austrian economics. Some wise words on praxeology here:

"The "grasped a priori" part has really bothered me. I mean, I read psychology and history, I can't derive it a priori. Recently I was going over some issues in modern Middle Eastern history, and learned that King Hussein of Jordan had apparently asked Israel for permission to send a brigade to Syria to invade the Jewish state during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Honestly, I really don't know if I could ever grasp Arab psychology a priori. The more and more I read about psychology the more I think that anyone who believes that they could develop an axiomatic system of human action from insights they grasped a priori is totally retarded."


Ryan Fuller said...

Thanks for the praise, Captain.

Thursday, the problem that the writer you're quoting is that he's trying to apply Praxeology to things that it is simply not intended to deal with. The sentence preceding your quote defines it: "Praxeology is the study of those aspects of human action that can be grasped a priori; in other words, it is concerned with the conceptual analysis and logical implications of preference, choice, means-end schemes, and so forth."

It's the study of those aspects of human action that can be grasped a priori. When the blogger you quoted goes on to complain that Praxeology is a useless methodology for studying history, he's completely missing the point. It's like saying that a screwdriver sucks for hammering in nails, so it's retarded. Praxeology is an approach to an even smaller scope of human action than economists typically try to handle, and should be judged as such. The Austrian school, for example, does nothing with empirical analysis or econometrics, which is a huge part of other schools of economic thought.

Praxeology, within the scope of its intended purpose, is useful. Trying to use it for something else is like hammering nails with a screwdriver.

If I had a complaint with Praxeology it's that it's very limited in scope. Econometrics is useful for understanding what's going on in the economy, and using Praxeology exclusively rejects such empirical methods. The problem isn't that Praxeology handles empirical data poorly, it's that it doesn't handle it at all, nor is it supposed to.

C.J. Caswell said...

Personally, I think it's more complex than all of that. I'll be elaborating here: