Analytic Discussion of V-50 Lectures
S. Kurowski (2012 - incomplete, work in progress)
Jay Stuart Snelson's 1978 final version of a 40-hour seminar
course "V-50" originally developed by Andrew Galambos through the Free
Enterprise Institute. Snelson, who died in 2011, was a superbly gifted
researcher and speaker and often entertained intellectuals as he educated them.
He gave the V-50 lectures for 13 years to classes of up to over 300 people per
Key Principles & Innovations
- A scientific, a-political (not-political or
unpolitical) treatment of society structure and operation. Not a call
to action, not a 'movement', not a group to join, etc.
The word 'science' is based on the Greek work to divide or separate
(likewise, 'scissors' and 'incise'), as in the knowledgable discerning of
differences or distinctions. Rigorous scientific treatment and inquiry
to corroborate evidence and observations presented in the lectures is not
only welcomed, but demanded, of the listener. In science, it is
observational evidence, not teachings, which are the paramount authorities
in identification of truths.
The words 'politics' and 'political' are based on the word 'pole' or one of
two or more endpoints, and is directly related to similar words, polarize,
polar opposites, etc. where an alleged 'choice' is typically presented as
having contrasting views, or poles, one with which to more strongly align
oneself when engaging 'political process'.
Unlike science, political decisions depend heavily upon opinion and the ebb
and flow of voter/protester/media sentiment, as James Madison regretfully
observed about what he sensed was an eventual, inevitable federal government
tyranny (Federalist Papers).
- That human action is subject first and always to
physical laws (first pointed out by Erwin Schrodinger) provides scientific
epistemology means to develop new insights to human nature and how society
Scientific 'epistemology' is nearly equivalent to the notion of a math,
geometric or logic 'proof' -- as long as the hypothetical inputs are
reliably true, and the chain of cause-effect reasoning is reliably intact,
then derived conclusions are (almost certainly) necessarily true, too.
For example, Einstein's Special Relativity was epistemologically derived
directly from James Maxwell's equations of electromagnetic phenomena, on
logic alone -- which was initially sharply criticized as 'too abstract' to
be correct. Sir Arthur Eddington (who verifed Einstein) in his The
Philosophy of Physical Science (1958), stated that the consequences of
correct epistimology are "compulsive, universal, and absolute". Even
so, not all truths (nor all not-truths [falsehoods] for that matter) can be
derived by epistemological means, and those that are not can only be
discovered by empirically observed evidence (see Kurt Godel's 1931 proofs on
The characteristic of "intellectual honesty" is essential for any
truth-seeker to arrive at actual 'truths'. By "almost certainly"
"necessarily true" (above), it is meant that observational corroboration
shall always remain the ultimate determination of truth, even if our
confidence is sky-high that such an observation will agree with an
epistemologically derived conclusion. It is also almost always a
characteristic of actual 'truths' that (say, like a marker stone in a
jungle) they are reachable by multiple paths -- they remain consistent with
all observations regardless of method, observer or timing. For
example, there exist over 400 known proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem.
The scientific method does not fear inspections, does not need to defend
itself, and there is no need to.
- Sharpened example definitions of property (self 'p0',
intellectual property 'p1', physical property 'p2'), right and wrong ("whose
property is it?"), and profit (includes anything having value to the
exchanging parties, not only money).
- Identification and illustration of failures to
correctly act upon rational cause and effect; only the "impossible" in
physics is 'truly' impossible (lack of extant example of alternatives is no
reason to suppose their indefinite impossibility);
- Central role of market competition, contracts and
profit motive; the role of thermodynamics in human nature (indeed, all
living things) and therefore all human action
- Identification and illustration of State failures and
- the lack of negative feedback loops in
central State authorities (such loops are necessary in all true
- repeated presentation of political false
alternatives ("which do you prefer, a broken arm or a broken leg [or
perhaps, a broken back]?")
- the 'four horsemen' decisions of all
political processes (whose property to take by State force, how much
property to take by State force, who uses the State's force and does the
taking, who receives the property taken by the State)
- voting as secret weapon of force
- disconnect between legality and
- the repeated pattern of resort to
setting up a central authority by the modern substitution of "The
People" for "The King" or "God"
- contrasts the philosophical polar
opposites of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the U.S.
- interventionism: the "State Knows What's
Best for All of Us" by separation of property ownership from its control
and decreasing individual responsibilities while promoting and
increasing State dependence - use of public schools to indoctrinate
- Identification of the general qualities of a
(future) society having more peace, harmony and higher living standards
despite fiercely competive markets and population growth.
Jay Snelson (not Galambos) was responsible for
most of the lecture series content (really a strength), however Snelson
(perhaps overly) credited Galambos.
Use of 'Absolute' for concepts of right and wrong
morality (in 1987 Snelson retracted the value of the word 'absolute' in
V-50 during his Human Action Solutions lectures)
Incomplete treatment of property definition and
the role of thermodynamics in human nature (indeed, all living things)
and therefore human action
Missing treatment of the State's legal corpus and
the unavoidable inconsistency of such formal systems as they seek to
achieve completeness (Kurt Godel, 1931).
Good, but incomplete, credit to parallel
intellectual contributors Ludwig von Mises, Robert LeFevre, Ayn Rand,
Murray Rothbard, Rose W. Lane, and Frederik Bastiat.
References to course V-201 and 'bridge to freedom'
Attribution of Newton as single point of
innovative integration for most of improvement in standard of living
since late 1600s
Lack of discussion about social structure
evolution relative to present and idealized social environments (the
State may be a 'typical' evolutionary trajectory step of societies)
Lack of documented references (though it is not
difficult to research and corroborate the material, it would be
convenient if the references were previously compiled)
Parallel Intellectual Treatments
Le Fevre, Mises, Bastiat, Snelson, Ridley
Human Action Principles Lectures, Jay Snelson
Human Action Solutions Lectures, Jay Snelson (1987)