"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it." -John Adams

Welcome to Patriot's Lament. We strive here to educate ourselves on Liberty. We will not worry ourselves so much with the daily antics of American politics, and drown ourselves in the murky waters of the political right or left.
Instead, we will look to the Intellectuals and Champions of Liberty, and draw on their wisdom of what it is to be a truly free people. We will learn from where our Providential Liberties are derived, and put the proper perspective of a Free Individual and the State.
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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Jordan Peterson's Biblical Sacrifice and Hans Hoppe's Time Preference: Part 2 - A bargain with the future

Cain and Abel are born into the world of time. Their parents had already been thrown from the timeless paradise of The Garden. As "The first real humans" (the first humans BORN into the world), they develop their understanding of the future beyond that of their parents'.

Peterson describes Cain and Abel's sacrifice as "making a bargain with the future." This builds on the idea of time itself, which Adam discovered when God told him he would now have to work. The only reason to work, to defer enjoyment now, is because you know you have responsibilities later. 'Now' and 'later' must be understood for the concept of work to exist. Hence the fall into time and the burden of work happening in the same moment.

The 'bargain' is a bigger discovery than time itself. It is the idea that the future isn't fixed. That it is negotiable. That it is changeable. You can bargain with it. It is not a rigid trap, it is just another dimension of experience which, when understood, offers tremendous opportunity. This is the basis of agriculture, of civilization, and of saving (money among other things).

Hoppe and Peterson's ideas intermingle here as well. Hoppe uses the phrase "in the long run" as description of bargaining with the future.
Those who realize that the future is just as real as the present can trade with it. They can trade with the future version of themselves by saving. This is low time preference. It is in fact just a simple trade between two parties - present you and future you.

An interesting thing about "the long run" or a "bargain with the future"
is that it only works out in a society that is based on honesty and trust. This trust begins within the individual. It begins with you. If the present and future versions of yourself aren't aligned in values, your present or future self is likely to deceive the other. You are likely to scam yourself over time and become impoverished instead of enriched. This is what dishonest financial institutions facilitate. They allow people to fool themselves into thinking that they can become rich without sacrifice, without work. And they end up collapsing and consuming wealth over time, just as dishonest trades in the present do.

The concepts of saving, of the future, and of time preference are the same. They are all expressions of the concept of trade in the present moment between two parties. Are both parties honest? Do both expect to benefit from the trade? Do both parties understand and intend to fulfil their obligation to the other? Are you living a life that will be good for your future-self? Will your future-self honor the commitments of your present self? Or are you trying to deceive yourself across time? To enrich your present self at the expense of your future-self.

Remember Rule 2 of Peterson's 12 rules for life: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. Be honest with your present and future self. Do not pit them against each other or both will lose.

-David Giessel

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