John Mark has become an online sensation, with his channel, Mark My Words, gaining over 30,000 subscribers and millions of views.
John’s videos focus on Curt Doolittle’s philosophy, known as Propertarianism, or as many Propertarians refer to it: parasite-proof governance.
Propertarianism has been around for a few years, with many in the Dissident Right familiar with the mathematical and praxeological approach Doolittle takes to philosophy, sociology and economics. His ability to examine human behavior and its effects on markets through the lens of scientific proofs, such as the p-value, has earned him a cult-like following on social media. As Doolittle points out, markets are human, after all, as they are driven purely by the values placed on goods via price signals from consumers.
One of Doolittle’s regular exercises is to test philosophical and theological hypotheses through a process he calls “falsificationism.” That is, to weigh the claims made by the hypothesis in question against a null hypothesis.
In the scientific community, this is a scientific method referred to as falsifiability. Falsifiability is the capacity for some proposition, statement, theory or hypothesis to be proven wrong through hypothesis testing. The way hypothesis testing works is the null hypothesis usually states the contrary of the experimental or alternative hypothesis. The null hypothesis provides the basis of falsifiability (a baseline), describing what the outcome would demonstrate, should the prediction of the hypothesis not be supported by the study. The researcher’s hypothesis might predict, for example, that a shorter work week correlates to lower employee productivity. The null hypothesis would be that a shorter work week is correlated with higher productivity, or that there is no change when employees spend less time at work.
The requirement of falsifiability simply means that conclusions cannot be drawn from simple observation of a particular phenomenon. The black swan problem is a perfect illustration: If a man lives his life seeing only white swans, and never knows that there are any black swans, he might fairly assume that all swans are white. For falsifiability, it isn’t necessary to know that there are black swans, but simply to understand that the statement “All swans are white” would be disproven should a single black swan exist.
In other words, the Propertarian practitioner of falsifiability does not need to prove himself right, he only needs to prove the hypothesis in question false. Using this method, Doolittle has reduced all debates on politics, systems of government, economic theories, religion, morality, rights, etc. to their foundational arguments, demonstrating whether or not they can remain sound under the scrutiny of falsificationism.
The Austrian philosopher and scientist Karl Popper (1902-1994) introduced the concept of falsifiability in his writings on the demarcation problem, which explored the difficulty of separating science from pseudo-science.
”True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the refusal to acquire it.” — Karl Popper
Popper argued that everyone has a preconceived bias about certain phenomena. Popper’s damning analysis of Sigmund Freud is a perfect example of Popper’s emphasis on confirmation vs. falsifiability. Popper claimed that Freud committed pseudoscientific research and promoted fraudulent conclusions, mainly due to the fact that he set out to confirm his beliefs, rather than disprove them. If we set out to find evidence that the Earth is flat, then we are very likely to confirm the Earth is flat, due to confirmation bias. Or as Popper said, “It is easy to find confirmation of a theory if you are looking for it.”
Every sound scientific theory, in Popper’s mind, therefore, is “prohibitive,” in the sense that we are attempting to falsify it — it has to be open to revision and refutation. Simply put, Popper believes that irrefutable theories are impossible to justify. Doolittle has built on Popper’s philosophy of what constitutes a scientific claim or non-scientific claim, and expanded it to the realm of politics.
While many of Doolittle’s followers appreciate his “big-brained” and often highbrow approach to conveying ideas through science and mathematics, many see his style as an acquired taste. John Mark’s ability to translate the tenets of Propertarianism into layman’s terms has solved this problem. John has a way of articulating Doolittle’s ideas that has allowed Propertarianism to break into the ideological mainstream, and his American Right label is one conservatives and libertarians can both identify with.
If Curt Doolittle is the face of Propertarianism, John Mark is certainly its voice.