Category Archives: libertarianism

UPDATE III: Liberty Vs. Conspiracy: The #Left Hates #PamelaGeller, But Why Do Some #Libertarians?

Conspiracy, Free Speech, Islam, libertarianism, Liberty, Neoconservatism

“The Charlie Hebdo Hypocrites” floated the idea that “the double standard toward what is perceived as rightist speech (Pam Geller’s) and left-wing freedom of expression (Charlie Hebdo’s) is a holdover construct of communism,” during which right-wingers were demonized and targeted for destruction. There is no other difference “between Charlie Hebdo’s defiance of Islamic blasphemy laws and Geller’s defiance of the same laws.”

For his part, Jack Kerwick also pinpointed leftist favoritism as the reason “legions of people from around the Western world were clamoring to ‘stand with Charlie,’ while Geller and her organization have been condemned …”

Look, Pamela Geller is a consummate neoconservative; Israel über alles. These things can annoy libertarians; myself included. (About her person, moreover, I can say only this: She has dabbled briefly in writing about South Africa. In the process, Geller made sweeping errors, but has never cited my work on the topic. And when I asked her to reciprocate a “Follow” on Twitter, and tweet out my “Charlie Hebdo Hypocrites,” written in her defense, she failed to reply. She continues to send me fundraisers.)

In any case, what, pray tell, is the reason behind the long-standing, obsequious and convoluted stand, adopted by some libertarian leaders against what is a quintessential part of living freely and unafraid? About one of the defining libertarian issue of our times—speaking and publishing under the threat of injury or death—some of my libertarian friends are acting weirdly, have been for some time. (Geller’s event was on private property.)

As Jack put it, “You don’t need to agree with her, or even like her, in order to recoil at the utter hypocrisy of Pamela Geller’s [leftist] critics.”

What about her libertarian detractors?

What do I mean? See “Those Cartoons: A Reply To Walter Block” and Lew Rockwell’s May 4 Facebook post.

LEW:

Lew Rockwell
May 4 at 10:50am
:

Just because ISIS is a propaganda dream come true for the US empire and its Middle Eastern satraps does not mean it was funded, like other convenient Arab groups, by the CIA, Al Mukahbarat, Mossad, MI6, or DGSE. And now ISIS–after the shootings in Texas–will be used to promote further not only US world dominion, but a full-scale federal police state.

Were the shooters patsies in classic agent provocateur fashion? I’m only sure of one thing: it is not a good idea to seek to offend someone’s religion. Apparently the Texas cartoon show was not, like Charlie Hebdo, mainly aimed at Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, but it’s still a vile notion. Nor, note, would free speech be used to defend a show of anti-Semitic, anti-black, or anti-gay cartoons. But if haters are promoting the state’s foreign and domestic tyranny, why anything is OK.

UPDATE I: As I’ve often stated, some libertarians are social reductionists. All problems they reduce to “The State Made Me Do It.” More accurately, the US State made me do it. It’s of a piece with the Left’s denial of individual responsibility. Thus, the acting out by Muslims is not the fault of the individual and his muse, the Islamic faith, to these libertarians; rather, it’s due to US imperial overreach.

I prefer to say that American aggression is likely a necessary condition for the hatred of America, but it is insufficient a condition. As for a person like Pam or Wielders who wants to depict the truth about Mo: We’re Americans! We speak our minds. Pam’s eff you attitude is 100% fabulous. It’s actually very Israeli/Jewish. We call it Dufka in Hebrew: In other words, tell me I can’t do something benign and righteous, and by golly, I’ll do it. Way to roll! If libertarains persist in being such effetes, they won’t get dates and will go extinct.

UPDATE II (5/6): LIBERTY VS. CONSPIRACY.

Libertarianism is predicated on the non-aggression axiom. It’s quite clear which party is the bully and aggressor here, and which party wishes to force the other to live within its own byzantine boundaries. Geller is right.

UPDATE III (5/19):

Jack Kerwick writes: “From what I’ve been able to gather, the only evil many of these libertarians recognize is that of “the State,” more specifically, the US government. PG is to be despised b/c she is a prop of the State, a neocon, Israeli-Firster, etc. Muslims, however, like all people of color, are simply responding to American imperial aggression, and so forth. There is an air of unreality about it all, the shade of the same PC fantasy for which the left is known.”


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A #British Libertarian’s #Voting Strategy

Britain, Elections, libertarianism

As a private individual, and not in his capacity as director of the UK Libertarian Alliance, Sean Gabb, to whose Libertarian Alliance Blog I contribute, summed up his voting strategy thus: He voted for the people he hates to keep out the people he fears.

The big differences are the survival of England and of political accountability. If the Conservatives remain in government after today, they will allow another reasonably free election in 2020. If Labour forms a government, it will fix the voting system to keep itself in power till street protests are needed to remove it. This fixing will be dressed up as “electoral reform.” Moreover, if Labour must rely on Scottish support, the price will involve some Balkanising of England. In or out of the United Kingdom, Scotland cannot be an important entity in the British Isles so long as there is an England. Therefore, any reasonable Scottish nationalist will need to press for the dissolution of England into a group of devolved and squabbling territories. Only the Conservatives stand in the way of this.

My vote is unlikely to determine who wins the election in my constituency. But it may add to a Conservative victory in England in terms of votes if not of seats. This will give Mr Cameron the right to insist that he is the real winner today, and that he should be allowed to stay in government.

Judged by libertarian standards, the Conservatives in government have been half useless and half malevolent. I despise them and I hate them. But I fear Labour. For this reason, I see it as my duty to vote for the lesser of evils. Voting is more of a public duty than a private right, and I see it as my duty to vote for the people I hate to keep out the people I fear.

In closing, I will repeat that this should in no sense be regarded as a recommendation from the Libertarian Alliance. I am speaking not ex cathedra as Director of the Libertarian Alliance, but as a private individual. I also accept that I may be wrong. …

… Read “The Evil Party or the Stupid Party? A Topic for Debate, not a Recommendation.”


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Foreign Policy Slings Mud At Ron Paul

libertarianism, Neoconservatism, Ron Paul

James Kirchick is at it again: smearing Ron Paul and urging Rand Paul to break with his father: “Dismissing his father isn’t just the right thing to do morally, but politically as well,” asserts Kirchick, who began the practice of badmouthing Ron Paul’s character from the pages of The New Republic, and has migrated to Foreign Policy to continue his gossipy writing.

Since the political philosophy of Ron Paul is beyond the ken of the Kirchicks of the world; they are more comfortable attacking his character in a manner that amounts to ad hominem.

I detected at least one error in the piece. It is untrue that Ron Paul’s “cult-like following” was “cultivated through subscriptions to the “politically incorrect newsletters published under Ron Paul’s name during the 1980s and 1990s, and unearthed strategically in 2008 by The New Republic.” (See “High Priests Of Pomposity Pan Ron Paul.”)

Ron Paul’s following is young. Senior’s supporters were either very young or were not around when the infamous newsletters were published.

Paul has led an exemplary life—has served his country and community, stayed married to his childhood sweetheart for 50 odd years, and is as devout a Christian as he is a constitutionalist. It’s not easy to impugn this impish, man, so mudslinging becomes a must.

Kirchick is correct to point out that the Paul family is a political dynasty and that both father and son have made a fortune living off the plunder that is politics (my characterization).

The article is “What Rand Paul Needs to Learn From France’s Far-Right Political Dynasty.”


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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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