Category Archives: libertarianism

UPDATE II: Libertarian Anarchism’s ‘Justice’ Problem (The Great Clyde Wilson Weighs In)

Crime, Justice, libertarianism, Liberty, Natural Law, Political Philosophy, The State, The West

“Libertarian Anarchism’s ‘Justice’ Problem” is the current essay, slightly abridged on Praag.org. An excerpt:

To the extent the Constitution comports with the natural law—upholding the sanctity of life, liberty, privacy, property and due process—it is good; to the extent it doesn’t, it is bad. The manner in which the courts have interpreted the U.S. Constitution makes the Articles of Confederation, which were usurped in favor of the Constitution at the Philadelphia convention, a much better founding document than the Constitution.

THE SIN OF ABSTRACTION

Unless remarkably sophisticated and brilliant (as only Hans-Hermann Hoppe indubitably is), the libertarian anarchist invariably falls into sloth. Forever suspended between what is and what ought to be, he settles on a non-committal, idle incoherence, spitting venom like a cobra at those of us who do the work he won’t or cannot do: address reality as it is. This specimen has little to say about policy and politics for fear of compromising his theoretical virginity.

Suspended as he is in the arid arena of pure thought, the garden-variety libertarian anarchist will settle for nothing other than the anarchist ideal. And since utopia will never be upon us, he opts to live in perpetual sin: the sin of abstraction.

Indeed, arguing from anarchism is problematic. It is difficult to wrestle with reality from this perspective. This is not to say that a government-free universe is undesirable. To the contrary. However, the sensible libertarian is obliged to anchor his reasoning in reality and in “the nit and the grit of the history and culture from which it emerged,” in the words of columnist Jack Kerwick.

This mindset maligned here is not only lazy but—dare I say?—un-Rothbaridan. For economist and political philosopher Murray Rothbard did not sit on the fence reveling in his immaculate libertarian purity; he dove right into “the nit and the grit of the issues.”

And the “nit and grit” for this not-quite anarchist concerns the problems presented by the private production of justice.

COMPETING THEORIES OF JUSTICE

A belief in the immutably just nature of the natural law must elicit questions about the wisdom of the private production of defense, as this could, in turn, give rise to legitimate law-enforcement agencies that uphold laws for communities in which natural justice has been perverted (in favor of Sharia law, for example).

It’s inevitable: In an anarcho-capitalistic universe, fundamentally different and competing views of justice (right and wrong) will arise. And while competing, private protection agencies are both welcome and desirable; an understanding of justice, predicated as it is on the natural law, does not allow for competing views of justice. …

The complete essay is “Libertarian Anarchism’s ‘Justice’ Problem.” Read the rest on Praag.org.

UPDATE I: The Great Clyde Wilson Weighs In.

Contra a few irate “readers” at WND, distinguished scholar and prolific author Professor Clyde N. Wilson had not the slightest hardship comprehending—even appreciating—the essay. He writes:

“A very fine column on anarchy and justice.”
Clyde N. Wilson.”

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D., provided good cheer with amusing comments about the creature, on WND, who had “graded” the essay (F) by passing it through some Internet auto-program, and who herself professed to read a dozen or so books a month.

Jokes aside, the essay raises theoretical questions that cannot be boiled down to, “Hey, this works here; and that has worked there; and these guys have proposed Y.” These are not questions of pragmatism, but of principle:

Does natural law comport with a vision of society where systems of law antithetical to natural law could arise and co-exist as a matter of principle? That’s the question. It’s a fundamental one.

UPDATE II: The great Clyde Wilson has been most supportive. He further wrote:

“The idiots are loud but soon forgotten. You have tackled something so basic that libertarians are reluctant to face it.
Best wishes, Clyde.”

Although it is a bit of inside baseball, I had imagined this essay was pretty basic. However, if “a,” “natural law” “to” and “the” are a some reader’s idea of five-dollar words; he or she should stay away from the Federalist Papers.


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Libertarians, Brace For Heartbreak

Elections, Foreign Policy, libertarianism

David Gordon is hopeful. “Surely it is grounds for optimism when one finds a knowledgeable account of [Murray] Rothbard in The New Republic!” he remarks. David is referring to “Rand Paul Will Break Libertarian Hearts, Just Like Reagan Did” by Jeet Heer. An excerpt:

… The late Murray Rothbard, a towering intellectual and political activist in libertarian circles, was a striking example. During the 1940s, he belonged to New York’s Young Republican Club, but during the Cold War he concluded that the GOP’s militarism was a betrayal of the traditional anti-war and isolationist principles of the Old Right. During the 1950s, Rothbard preferred Democrat Adlai Stevenson to Eisenhower, and while some other libertarians like Milton Friedman jumped on the Goldwater bandwagon in the early 1960s, Rothbard still distrusted the Republicans. “Goldwater and the Conservative Movement are not only not libertarian, but the preeminent enemies of liberty in our time,” Rothbard wrote in 1964 in a letter to a small libertarian magazine called the Innovator. “For the Goldwaterites are, first, aggressive and ardent champions of American imperialism and intervention in political affairs all over the globe; and, second and most important, are eager advocates of nuclear war against the Soviet Union.” During the heady days of the late 1960s, when he dreamed of a new politics cutting across the traditional left-right spectrum, Rothbard even forged an alliance with the Maoist Progressive Labor Party, preferring them to Nixon’s Republicans.

Although Rothbard had a propensity for extremist gestures, he shouldn’t be dismissed as a fringe figure, at least not among libertarians. His application of Austrian economic theory to America, formulating a critique of the Federal Reserve as a central source of bad policy, was widely influential, not least on Rand Paul’s father, Ron Paul. Moreover, Rothbard’s allergic reaction to the Republican Party was widely shared within the libertarian movement, culminating in 1971 with the formation of the Libertarian Party (LP).

The party—founded by David Nolan, an anti-statist advertising man who was disgusted by Nixon’s embrace of wage and price control—quickly gained the support of a wide swath of the libertarian movement, including generous subsidies from David and Charles Koch. David Koch was even the LP’s vice presidential candidate in 1980. In the 1970s, the Koch Brothers seemed to have shared Rothbard’s hope that libertarians forge a partnership with the radical left. In the mid-1970s, Charles Koch made a bid to buy The Nation magazine, hoping to use it as a wedge for an opening to left-of-center opinion. When that attempt failed, Koch financed Inquiry, a libertarian journal that published many left-wing radicals like Noam Chomsky.

For Rothbard, the mission of the LP was to be a “party of principle,” as against the GOP, a party of expediency. This disgruntlement with the GOP remained core to the LP’s identity. Andre Marrou, who was the LP’s presidential candidate in 1992, despite his checkered history of not making child care support payments, voiced the common consensus when he said in 1991 that Nixon “really disappointed me. He didn’t cut government like he said he would—just like Bush and Reagan.” After a lifetime of spurning the GOP, Rothbard returned to the Republican fold in 1992, just three years before his death, giving his blessing to George H.W. Bush. Rothbard became a born-again Republican because he saw Pat Buchanan’s success in the primaries as proof that there was a still a vital anti-establishment wing to the party. Ron Paul, who was deeply swayed by the ideas of Rothbard and his ideological mate Lew Rockwell, made a similar return to the GOP. The Koch Brothers, perhaps out of pragmatism, have also turned their energies toward the Republican Party.

Yet if there has been a Republican turn among libertarians, it is worth remembering that this movement has come from people who don’t see the GOP as their ideal vehicle but rather as a necessary evil. Moreover, Rand Paul is not necessarily one of those people. Unlike his father, he didn’t leave the Republican Party and return as a blistering libertarian voice. He has always been a Republican, albeit one that spoke with a libertarian lilt …

MORE.


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Rand Paul Shoots From The Hip

libertarianism, Political Philosophy, Politics

Rand Paul might be a disappointment to principled libertarians, however, one cannot deny his smarts, quickness, humor and verbal fluidity. On some matters, Rand is even trying to somewhat pacify us libertarians by articulating a kind of gradualism; he seems to be promising to eventually arrive at our positions (no foreign aid, for example), only gradually, first kicking overt haters off US welfare rolls. That sort of thing.

His refusal to apologize and be more obsequious is refreshing.

Here are captions of Rand’s interview with Wolf Blitzer, down to the one hysterical headline:

“Rand Paul Sparks Uproar About Abortion.”

“Justice System Not Treating People Equally.”

On Hillary Clinton’s Emails.

“I’m Universally Short-Tempered With All Reporters.”


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Get Off Your Knees, Gov. Pence! (You’re Not In A Gay Bathhouse)

Individual Rights, libertarianism, Private Property, Religion, Republicans

“Get Off Your Knees, Gov. Pence! (You’re Not In A Gay Bathhouse)” is the current column. An excerpt:

Pretend the U.S. is as free as the Founding Fathers intended it to be. In this authentically (and classically) liberal America, no one can tell free men and women what to do with their property, namely their bodies, their abodes and their businesses.

The individual living in America as it was meant to be is free to run his business as he wishes, associate with those he likes, dissociate from those he dislikes or disapproves; hire, fire, rent to or evict from, invest and disinvest, speak and misspeak at will.

This hypothetical free man is at liberty to bruise as many feelings as he likes, so long as his mitts stop at the next man’s face. So long as he harms nobody’s person or property, our mythic man may live as he wishes to live.

Americans have been propagandized for so long; they no longer grasp the basic building blocks of liberty. A crude reductio ad absurdum should help:

A retail store selling Nazi memorabilia opens its doors in my neighborhood. I enter in search of the yellow Star of David Jews were forced to wear during the Third Reich. The proprietor, decked out in Nazi insignia and regalia, says, “I’m sorry, we don’t serve Jews.” “Don’t be like that,” I say. “Where else can I find a pair of clip-on swastika earrings?” The Nazi sympathizer is polite but persistent: “Ma’am, I mean no disrespect, but back in the Old Country, Jews murdered my great grandfather’s cousin and used his blood in the leavening of the Passover matzah.” “Yeah,” I reply. “I’m familiar with that blood libel. I assure you my own mother’s matzo balls were free of the blood of brats, gentile or Jewish. No matter. I can see where you’re coming from. I’m sorry for your loss. Good luck.”

There! Did that hurt?

Did I rush off to rat out my Nazi neighbor to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice? Not on your life. A principled Jewish libertarian (with a sense of humor)—who believes in absolute freedom of association and the rights of private property—would doff his Kippah and walk out. …

… Read the rest. “Get Off Your Knees, Gov. Pence! (You’re Not In A Gay Bathhouse)” is now on WND.

Featured on The Unz Report:

“Is Anarcho-Capitalism Compatible with Natural Justice?” By Ilana Mercer


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UPDATE II: Judge Andrew Napolitano: Some Libertarian (A Good Lawyer Counters)

Individual Rights, libertarianism, Private Property, Religion

The much-lauded Judge Andrew Napolitano, a feature speaker on some heavy hitting libertarian forums; quoted ad nauseam by these outlets too—does not appear to believe in the most basic of liberties: absolute freedom of association and the rights of private property. The Judge—supposedly a libertarian who should support the spirit of a law in furtherance of freedom of association and property rights—objects to giving individuals who want to exercise these individual rights, however, obnoxious, a legal standing to argue their case in a court of law.

WATCH.

UPDATED I: FACEBOOK THREAD & The Cult of Personality.

I suggest people listen again to the Judge. Moreover, it’s so stupid the way these TV personae acquire their fans who will defend them no matter. I’ve been following the Judge long enough to know he is a Reason-type, left-libertarian, who supports Civil Wrongs legislation. Look at the hot mess he made here.

UPDATE II: Jim Ostrowski is excellent, as always. Listen to a good lawyer as opposed a blowhard TV persona:

As I understand Indiana law, the only plausible libertarian position is to support the (very wimpy) religious defense statute. All laws banning private discrimination are to be opposed. This statute carves out a small slice of liberty in an otherwise loathsome legal regime. Liberty always trumps equality, including equal protection of the laws. It does sound like the Judge opposes this statute which position is NOT libertarian.

Also, as I argued on my page, the liberty required to carry out one’s religious obligations is far more that the right not to be shot on the way to church. The pioneers of liberty, many of whom were deeply religious, understood this and supported liberty in the fullest sense of the word (the right to do what you wish with what you own) precisely in order to meet one’s one religious obligations.

Further thoughts on Indiana–

Sandy Beach, WBEN.com, is a social moderate but fiscal conservative who opposes a religious exemption to civil rights laws. He appears not to realize that the very same principle that allows progressives to force business firms to serve this or that designated group, that is, the state’s right to force its alleged values on individuals, ALSO justifies all the taxes and regulatiions that Sandy presumably objects to, e.g., Obamacare. Liberty is seamless and so is progressivism!

Sandy made the point that being forced to do business with this or that group doesn’t threaten their religion. He misses the point. To be able to carry out one’s religious views, one needs liberty in all things, e.g., to be charitable, one needs the fruits of one’s labor. To raise your children properly, one needs the fruits of one’s labor as well. To visit the sick or prisoners, one needs time, energy and even money. All state coercion interferes with one’s religious moral duties.

Now that the progs have made quick work of several uber-conservative politicians, they smell blood in the water and will now go after religious groups more aggressively. You may laugh but I know the progressive mind fairly well. They start out attacking a thing but soon end up banning it.


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Move On. Nothing More To See @ The Site Of The Rand Paul Crash (Ron, Rand: Politicians Both)

English, Iran, libertarianism, Republicans, Ron Paul

Libertarians seem fascinated with tracking Rand Paul’s every move, waiting for some critical-mass of evidence to show that Rand is no libertarian. How often can one relive the same eureka moment? Move on. There’s nothing more to see at the site of the Rand Paul crash.

“Rand Paul: Action Hero, Or Political Performance Artist?” was penned in 3/1/2013, when Rand was first presenting himself to the public in a big way. Back then, there were still questions to be asked. Matters were inconclusive on the Rand Paul front.

Like most Americans, I like an action hero. I am just incapable of telling whether Rand Paul is such a hero, or whether he is no more than a political performance artist.

One thing should always be a certainty for libertarians:

“It is a smart libertarian who retains a healthy contempt for politicians, even the libertarian ones. Ultimately, they’re all empire builders, who see nothing wrong in using fame and the public dime to peddle their influence and their products.
The people—at least those who’ve never fed at the “public” trough, unlike every single politician and his aide—are always morally superior to the politicians.
In all, some politicians are less sickening than others, but all fit somewhere along a sick-making scale.”

The Daily Beast’s “Why Real Libertarians Hate Rand Paul” is yet more hoo-ha about Rand Paul’s latest un-libertarian mistep—Paul signied Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) open letter to “the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The letter stated, rather condescendingly, that Iranian leaders ‘do not fully understand our constitutional system.’ Soon a new president would be in office, Cotton wrote, and that president could (if Republican, would) ‘revoke’ any executive agreement President Obama signs.”

While the Beast pardons Justin Raimondo for his prolonged Rand Paul crush; I cannot forgive the Beastly writer for a usage such as “cyber-bullying” and “… it feels like.”

UPDATED (3/22): Ron, Rand: Politicians Both.

Ron and Rand Paul are just … politicians. A few years back, in the midst of the Ron Paul orgy, Karen De Coster pointed this out rather gruffly. She must have gotten flack of the order even she didn’t feel like handling, because she did not repeat the observation. It bears repetition. Here: Rand and Ron Paul are politicians. Senior is way better than junior, but he too showed all the trappings of a politician. We just turned a blind eye, b/c he was ours.


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