Bulls & Reciprocity
"At one time or another, Mises, Hayek, Friedman, and Rothbard espoused ideas that I now believe are mistaken. (I'm not going to identify these ideas here because at the moment I don't want to get into those particular brawls.) Do I believe that the foregoing perception entitles me to denounce them as frauds, sell-outs of libertarianism, or lesser thinkers than I? If you think it does, you need to get a grip. I do not consider myself entitled to carry these great men's luggage, much less to hold myself up as their intellectual equal. My disagreements with them on certain ideas attest only my capacity for independent thinking, not my credentials as a better libertarian or a superior thinker. It's really amazing how people who haven't done squat feel free to issue sweeping condemnations of libertarianism's leading lights. My suggestion: fight a few heroic battles before you pin a row of medals on your chest." - Robert Higgs (source)
Bulls are persons engage others aggressively. Typical behavior may include personal/reputation attacks, antagonizing behavior, verbal aggressiveness, trolling, playing stupid, distorting / misrepresenting, condescending, flame wars, baiting, general intellectual dishonesty and willful logical fallacies, and a diverse array of similar aggressive or passive-aggressive behaviors.
Bulls aren't always hated, in some cases, they're 'celebritized' for their effectiveness in "rampaging through the other guys china shop." Some even see them as necessary, useful, or effective. I however see them as a destructive entity, regardless of whose side they're on.
Reciprocity: As with reciprocity norms including golden rule & self defense, any 'bull' deserves to have 'bulls' in their own china shop. A taste of one's own medicine; don't dish it if you can't take it. 'Bulls' who rampage recklessly through other's China shops, then complain deserve no sympathy and are merely hypocrites and cowards who lost at their own game.
The Bull$#!t Game
That brings us to what can perhaps best be described as the "Game of Bulls" (or "The Bull$#!t Game") Much of philosophy, politics, and debate is a game of either (a) being a bull breaking everyone else's dishes, (b) feeding bulls & looking the other way as they do your dirty work.
- (a) Being a Bull: There are persons who behave like bulls, and perhaps 'deserve' to be recognized for what they are. Maybe they initiate, or not, but that's what they do. It is probably only a matter of coincidence and/or popularity whether a bull is breaking someone else's dishes or your own; the psychology that drives these people and the net destruction caused is nearly identical.
- (b) Bull by Proxy: After having bulls rampaging through your dishes, many are tempted to overlook the bulls rampaging through the "competition's" dishes. "Better the bull break the other asshole's dishes, than to break mine." If the other guy is a bull, perhaps he deserves it, but obviously that's not always the case. If not, it's similar to looking the other way as someone mugs a guy wearing a t-shirt from the other sports-team. Perhaps only worse is feeding, sheltering, and supporting these bulls & then looking the other way as these bulls do your dirty work, in effect, enabling destruction.
Obviously (a) "being a bull" is not identical to (b) "bull by proxy" by I find the two ethically similar, and have little sympathy for those who "bull by proxy" and then "have a bull problem." I also observe that this game causes nothing but mass destruction and poverty, as limits genuine progress. (see: Republicans vs Democrats)
Dealing with Bull$#!t
Those who wish to engage in the Game-of-Bulls with other Bulls are perhaps 'voluntarily' engaging in the equivalent of a boxing match. If a boxer, then initiates a "boxing match" with an unsuspecting stranger, we call that "assault," even if that stranger aggressively defense themselves. It matters little what sports-team logo the victim has on his t-shirt, the ideal action (if possible) is to stop the mugging. I would too hope that, given I were being mugged, he too would stand up for me.
Persons who share my values should1 both stop feeding, housing, and supporting these bulls and encourage others to do the same. Further, I consider it ideal behavior to protect individuals2 from these bulls, as one might defend an innocent mugging victim.3
- Describing in precise detail who/what bulls are is perhaps a subject for another article, but beyond the scope of this one. I fully expect several 'bulls' to deliberately misinterpret, distort, or play stupid in regards to the content here… and there's not much I can do about that.
- "Political Correctness (PC)" is one such tactic used to bully dissenting persons/ideas. I recognize it is often done so under the guise of "fighting bulls," however this article is NOT in support of PC.
- I have created two "no bulls allowed" communities on reddit, (1) "The AnCap Heretics Club" and "(2) /r/MarketAnarchism". Both have been a fantastic success according to my own personal metrics of success4.
- Reddit Discussion of this Article on /r/Anarcho_Capitalism
- Reddit Discussion of this Article on /r/AnCapHeretics
on iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, PC. It's free.