In reply to a reply by J.H. Huebert and Walter Block

J.H. Huebert and Walter Block have recently published an essay which claims to be a reply to Roderick Long’s essay on left-libertarianism for Cato Unbound. Huebert and Block insist that they are going to set the record straight on the correct libertarian view of these matters. But it’s not clear that they have succeeded in even setting the record straight on Roderick’s view of these matters. For example, I think they have clearly and grossly misread him on the question of selective tax breaks for politically-connected big businesses. (Roderick never claimed that getting selective tax breaks are morally equivalent to receiving a government subsidy; only that firms or practices that get a comparative advantage from government taxes on their competitors are, like firms or practices that get a comparative advantage from government subsidies, not good examples of the free market at work.) Similarly, their attempt at a response to Roderick’s claims about big-box retailers like Wal-Mart, and the importance of using government-subsidized roads to the success of their business model, wavers between an attack on a claim that Roderick never made — that Wal-Mart deserves blame for their successful exploitation of government-subsidized roads — and willfully obtuse replies to the claim that he did make — that Wal-Mart’s road-dependent business model shouldn’t be counted as an example of the free market at work, and that if Wal-Mart had to pay the full costs of its business model, without government subsidies to cross-country freight trucking, it would lose some or all of the comparative advantage that it currently holds over smaller and more local competitors. (Did you know that, since we all use government roads sometimes, that means we are all getting a subsidy like Wal-Mart? Hey, you know, back in May I got a $600 check from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which was supposed to be for economic stimulus. Just like how AIG gets $85,000,000,000 checks from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, for the sake of economic stimulus! So how could I possibly claim that AIG gets government privileges that I don’t enjoy? Well. See my discussion with Will Wilkinson in a comment thread about the original article.)

In any case, though, Roderick has promised a reply, which I eagerly look forward to. My main reason for mentioning Huebert and Block’s essay here is that it contains a link to my old post Free the Unions (and all political prisoners)! (2004-05-01), and four paragraphs which purport to be a reply to my argument, and the claims Roderick makes on the basis of that argument. Here are those four paragraphs:

Those Poor Unions

Long also laments that our hampered free market doesn’t give unions enough power. He writes: Legal restrictions on labor organizing also make it harder for such workers to organize collectively on their own behalf.

Given that the law allows some workers to not only organize themselves but also coercively organize others, it’s not clear what Long is talking about. To support his claim, he cites a blog post which laments that U.S. labor laws do not go far enough. We should support current labor laws, says Long’s source, but ideally we will return to the days of more militant unions.

You remember militant unions – the kind that used to (and, well, still do) beat and kill workers who do not cooperate with them. Long and his comrade, of course, make no mention of the unions’ bloody history.

Unions are like a tapeworm on the economy, sucking sustenance out of businesses. The entire rust belt is a result of unions demanding wages higher than worker productivity. The present problems of the Detroit Three (Ford, Chrysler, General Motors) are mainly dues to their foolishness in not withstanding the unwarranted demands of the United Auto Workers. But, Long can rejoice: under an Obama administration, these economic scourges are likely to obtain even more power.

— J. H. Huebert and Walter Block (2008-11-24): In Defense of Corporations, Tax Breaks, and Wal-Mart

This is a bizarre misinterpretation of my post, and hard to understand how anyone could make it other than through utter carelessness or willful misreading.

The post that they are referring to was the first in a series of annual May 1 posts, commemorating International Workers’ Day — a grassroots labor holiday originally organized by anarchists, to honor the memory of the five anarchist organizers and agitators who were murdered by the state of Illinois after the Haymarket Riot.

Block and Huebert claim to be puzzled by what Roderick could mean when he says that, due to government regimentation of labor unions, labor organizing is substantially more restricted than it would be in a free market. I’m unclear as to what they find unclear, because if it was not clear to them already, the footnoted post by me, which they claim to have read, goes ahead and lists several of the restrictions in question.

The Wagner Act was the capstone of years of government promotion of conservative, AFL-line unions in order to subvert the organizing efforts of decentralized, uncompromising, radical unions such as the IWW and to avoid the previous year’s tumultuous general strikes in San Francisco, Toledo, and Minneapolis. The labor movement as we know it today was created by government bureaucrats who effectively created a massive subsidy program for conservative unions which followed the AFL and CIO models of organizing—which emphatically did not include general strikes or demands for worker ownership of firms. Once the NRLB-recognized unions had swept over the workforce and co-opted most of the movement for organized labor, the second blow of the one-two punch fell: government benefits always mean government strings attached, and in this case it was the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which pulled the activities of the recognized unions firmly into the regulatory grip of the federal government. Both the internal culture of post-Wagner mainstream unions, and the external controls of the federal labor regulatory apparatus, have dramatically hamstrung the labor movement for the past half-century. Union methods are legally restricted to collective bargaining and limited strikes (which cannot legally be expanded to secondary strikes, and which can be, and have been, broken by arbitrary fiat of the President). Union hiring halls are banned. Union resources have been systematically sapped by banning closed shop contracts, and encouraging states to ban union shop contracts—thus forcing unions to represent free-riding employees who do not join them and do not contribute dues. Union demands are effectively constrained to modest (and easily revoked) improvements in wages and conditions.

— GT 2004-05-01: Free the Unions (and all political prisoners)!

Of course Block and Huebert are right that government patronage grants substantial illegitimate privileges to a certain kind of union (the establishmentarian, conservative unionism of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win [sic]). But those privileges come at the cost of accepting an extensive and intrusive set of government regulations on official union activity. The result is not only a violation of the rights of employers to refuse to bargain with union reps, but also a substantial government subsidy for conservative unionism as against competing forms of union organizing, like those practiced by anti-establishmentarian, radical unions like the Industrial Workers of the World — tactics like minority unionism (crowded out of the market by government-subsidized majoritarian collective bargaining), wildcat strikes (illegal under the Wagner Act), secondary strikes and boycotts (illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act), general strikes (ditto), union hiring halls (double ditto), and so on. The combination of government privilege with government controls may benefit the select outfits that toe the establishmentarian line and get their hands on the government loot. But it does so at the expense of the goals that those organizations supposedly support — in this case, organizing workers for the sake of greater control over the conditions of their labor. I know that Walter Block is perfectly well aware of the way this works when it comes to tax-funded education vouchers for private schooling: although the selected schools that receive the vouchers may profit, the availability and quality of education suffers, because of the way that government privileges squash unofficial competitors who do not qualify for the government hand-out, and also because of the way that government controls restrain the activities that the remaining privileged-and-regulated schools can perform. Have Block and Huebert failed to apply the same analysis to privileged-and-regulated labor unions, and the availability and quality of labor organizing, because they are simply ignorant of the restrictions imposed on NLRB-recognized unions? Or because they are aware of the restrictions, but it hasn’t occurred to them that they might matter as much as the government-granted subsidies?

One way or the other, the post closes by calling for the immediate and complete repeal of the Wagner Act and the Taft Hartley Act, and the complete abolition of the National Labor Relations Board, and all other forms of political patronage and political control in labor organizing, which I argued would always hold the labor movement back from its professed goals:

Don’t get me wrong: the modern labor movement, for all its flaws and limitations, is the reflection (no matter how distorted) of an honorable effort; it deserves our support and does some good. Union bosses, corporate bosses, and government bureaucrats may work to co-opt organized labor to their own ends, but rank-and-file workers have perfectly good reasons to support AFL-style union organizing: modern unions may not be accountable enough to rank-and-file workers, but they are more accountable than corporate bureaucracy; modern unions bosses don’t care enough about giving workers direct control in their own workplace, but they care more than corporate bosses, who make most of their living by denying workers such control. The labor movement, like all too many other honorable movements for social justice in the 20th century, has become a prisoner of politics: a political situation has been created in which the most rational thing for most workers to do is to muddle through with a co-opted and carefully regulated labor movement that helps them in some ways but undermines their long-term prospects. It doesn’t make sense to respond to a situation like that with blanket denunciations of organized labor; the best thing to do is to support our fellow workers within the labor movement as it is constrained today, but also to work to change the political situation that constrains it, and to set it free. That means loosening the ties that bind the union bosses to the corporate and government bureaucrats, by working to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act, and abolish the apparatus of the NLRB, and working to build free, vibrant, militant unions once again.

— GT 2004-05-01: Free the Unions (and all political prisoners)!

The comments expressing some watered support for the actually-existing labor movement are grossly misrepresented by Block and Huebert as support [for] current labor laws (in fact, the point was that the labor movement deserves some watered support in spite of the baleful effects of government labor laws on it). And my call for all existing government labor laws to be repealed and replaced with nothing but free association is, astonishingly, glossed by Block and Huebert as a [lament] that U.S. labor laws do not go far enough.

This is followed by a tirade about my use of the word militant to describe my ideal for free unionism. This is apparently taken, just as such, to be an endorsement of vigilante violence against non-union or anti-union workers, by unions of the kind that used to (and, well, still do) beat and kill workers who do not cooperate with them. This is an absurd and unwarranted misreading. Of course, there have been unions whose members used vigilante violence to achieve their goals. I find the use of aggressive violence, against fellow workers or against anyone else, to be completely reprehensible. But that’s not what militancy refers to in the context of labor organizing. Labor militancy is a term of art that refers to the degree to which unions are willing to use confrontational tactics with bosses, as opposed to back-room negotiations or appeasement of the boss’s demands — where confrontational means just that, not violent. Some militant unions endorsed confrontation in the form of violence against bosses, or their property, or scabs. Others refused to on principle, and expressed their militancy through strictly nonviolent forms of confrontation. I agree with the latter, and what I have argued for in more or less everything I have ever written about unions is the principle that fellow worker Joe Ettor set out when he was working to help organize the great Lawrence textile strike of 1912 with the IWW:

If the workers of the world want to win, all they have to do is recognize their own solidarity. They have nothing to do but fold their arms and the world will stop. The workers are more powerful with their hands in their pockets than all the property of the capitalists. As long as the workers keep their hands in their pockets, the capitalists cannot put theirs there. With passive resistance, with the workers absolutely refusing to move, lying absolutely silent, they are more powerful than all the weapons & instruments that the other side has for attack.

Block and Huebert complain that I make no mention of the unions’ bloody history. (An odd claim, since they seem to think that my use of the adjective militant is an explicit reference to it.) But I may as well complain that Block and Huebert make no mention of the bloody history of bosses who called out hired muscle, injunction-wielding courts, city cops, state militia, or the federal military to commit every sort of atrocity against striking workers, their wives, and their children. If Block and Huebert have not mentioned the extensive use of aggressive violence by bosses, who have always been far more politically powerful and had far greater resources for hiring on thugs than the unions had, and who were frequently able to call out the repressive forces of the State itself in addition to their own thugs — if they have not mentioned it, I say, because (of course, of course) they don’t agree with it, and intend only to defend the actions of bosses that are consonant with libertarian principles, then that’s fine; but then the reason that I didn’t spend a long time talking about vigilante violence by unionists is because (of course, of course), I don’t agree with that, and intend only to defend the actions of union organizers that are consonant with libertarian principles. But if Block want violence mentioned, then it is totally irresponsible for them to insist on such a wildly distorted and one-sided presentation of the matter, since unionists were victims of far more intense and far more systematic violence than they ever committed, and since much (but by no means all) of the violence attributed to unionists was in fact defensive force against those same company and government thugs.

Huebert and Block close with a laughably overheated ritualistic denunciation of labor unions as a tapeworm on the economy, sucking sustenance out of businesses, and an astonishing monocausal theory of middle-American industrial decline, on which the entire rust belt is a result of unions demanding wages higher than worker productivity (!). Apparently decades of unsustainable malinvestment, public-private partnerships with city, state, and federal governments, corporate welfare, protectionist tariffs, bail-outs of failed business models, etc. have nothing to do with it.

But whether all that is accurate or inaccurate is something best hashed out elsewhere. For right now, my main concern is how wildly Block and Huebert have misrepresented the position that they claim to be arguing against, in the attempt to make it seem as though this overheated denunciation of state unionism had anything to do with the freed-market unionism that I advocate, or that Roderick endorsed via footnote. It is inconceivable that a post whose primary purpose was to condemn the effects of government labor laws and to call for the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act and the Wagner Act, for the immediate and complete abolition of the National Labor Relations Board, and in general for the exorcism of all political command-and-control (including all enforced recognition, all political patronage, and all political regulation) from organized labor could be reasonably read as support for current coercive labor laws, let alone a call for their expansion (!). An error like that must either be the cause of extraordinarily careless reading, or willful misrepresentation. In either case, Block and Huebert ought to be embarrassed that they have published it.

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72 replies to In reply to a reply by J.H. Huebert and Walter Block Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"

    I saw Block’s error on militant unions immediately. Not in the linguistic way you did, but it’s clearly a strawman — equivocating between some unions killing people and radical or militant unionism per se.

    I’d like to point out to Charles’s readers that Walter Block defends “voluntary” slave contracts.

  2. Araglin

    Fantastic post, Charles.

    A few questions:

    1. Do you come down on one side or the other of the divide between industrial unionism versus craft unionism? In your view, is industrial unionism always better, or does each have a particular role to place?

    2. Related to the previous question: I believe you mentioned some place or other that the medieval guilds weren’t originally near so bad (from a libertarian perspective)as they later become, once they were essentially coopted by various governments via a process perhaps somewhat similar to that enjoyed by conservative business unions. Do you know of any sources I could go to to learn more about this history or about how the guilds organized and functioned in the absence of privilege? and

    3. Can you point me in the direction of any theoretical work on the (non-statist) unionism, that goes about explaining how general strikes, secondary strikes, boycotts, and the like could really deliver on their promise to improve the lot of the working class as a whole (rather than raising wages in one sector while leading to lower wages in others, as per the standard Reismanesque story), that is not only consistent with but perhaps even entailed by a consistent application of Austrian price (and production) theory to the labor market? It seems like this could be done by showing the manner in which greater solidarity among workers could render more inelastic the demand for labor services, thus preventing higher wages from requiring substantial reductions in “quantity demanded” (i.e. throwing people out of work).

    Thanks, Araglin

  3. Roderick T. Long

    My own reply to Huebert and Block is now up. I sent it in before I saw your response, but we ended up saying similar things.

  4. Keith Preston

    Roderick and Charles/Rad,

    Good responses to Block and Huebert. I’m on your side on these questions.

    I recently had this posted on the Attack the System site:

    http://attackthesystem.com/should-libertarianism-be-cultural-leftism-without-the-state/

    I wrote this primarily as response to Charles’ article on thick libertarianism in The Freeman a while back, and to some of Roderick’s blog posts on related subjects.

    While I agree with the libertarian Left on the majority of issues, I also think the totalitarian tendencies of the modern cultural Left are grossly underestimated by the libertarian wing of the Left. I see this as a repeat of the historic mistake of some classical anarchists who failed to recognize the implicitly totalitarian nature of Marxism.

  5. Sergio Méndez

    Congratulations Charles and Roderick. This last replies were oustanding :)

  6. Bob Kaercher

    “The corporation, therefore, has no power to speak of.

    “Instead, only the state has power.”

    Yeah, it’s not like there’s any mutually reinforcing relationship going on or something. I mean, when Goldman Sachs got $10 billion in the recent bailout, that was just the state using its power to benefit Goldman Sachs just ‘cause. It’s not as though the U.S. secretary of the treasury being a former Goldman Sachs exec had anything to do with it.

    And anyway, Goldman Sachs getting a chunk of the loot is no different than the privileges and benefits the state confers on, say, a couple of plumbers when they decide to form a partnership.

    Give me a break.

  7. Sergio Méndez

    Keith:

    I have read your long article, and I think it is to long to comment in an extensive way right now. But I think I will make a couple of comments:

    1. During the length of your essay, you seem to be worried about an alliance of libertarians with the left because you think most sectors of the traditional and cultural left, are too pro statist to trust. The point, still, is that this is that the libertarian left pretends to be a movement on its own, and to gain adepts on the left, not to simply to * form a coalition with the existent left wing stablishment*. So your fear that the libertarian movement will be co opted by the “left” (assuming we accepted the idea that the democratic Party is left in any possible meaning of the word) as the right did with libertarians 40 years ago (the fusionism debate) is baseless.

    2. More importantly, and following what I was saying, is that what people like Roderick and Charles are saying is that libertarianism has common and inescapable roots with the left. In other words, that Thick libertarianism should lead us to the IDEALS of the left, even if the historical left used the wrong methods in the process of achieving those ideals. Also, that many of the injustices the left denounces are REAL, regardless if their own proposed solutions will make matters worse. So, there lies the difference with the right. The right can only be ocasionaly an strategic ally of the libertarians, but at the end the right is incompatible with libertarianism. So your proposed alliance with all sorts of right wing populists at the end will turn into in an unavoidable mess, cause libertarianism and the rights are fundamentally at odds.

  8. Cork

    I wasn’t too impressed with their response, either. My own reply here:

    http://corktageous.blogspot.com/2008/11/block-and-hueberts-horrid-article-on.html

  9. Araglin

    Keith, Sergio, etc.:

    Apropos the dangers of the PC, Cultural Left (real, exaggerated, and imagined), I think Kevin Carson’s combined review of Sean Gabb’s Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back and Chris Dillow’s The End of Politics: New Labour and the folly of managerialism is quite illuminating.

    IMO, in trying to think through the way forward, it’s extremely important not to totalize such complex and heterogeneous social formations as “the Left” and “the Right.” Rather, both justice and strategy counsel that we do the hard work of sifting and sorting out selectively with whom and for what purposes to ally with others, and an arrangement that makes sense at one time or place may cease to do so as conditions change. Left-libertarian though I am, I think it would be both foolish and intellectually dishonest to refuse to acknowledge the existence of certain strains within what one might broadly call the “political right,” that are worthy of being treated with something less than total disdain:

    For just a few (somewhat overlapping) tendencies within the “Right” with which the libertarian-left may be able to fruitfully engage:

    -The traditionalist, localist, communitarian, or social-pluralist right (See Bill Kauffman’s oevre for specific examples of this, and Robert Nisbet on how this ought to be what ‘conservatism’ should be about); -The agrarian and distributist movements (with their quite-cogent critiques of enclosure; technocratic management; the fetishization of “efficiency” and “growth” in industrial policy; and the “the servile state.” This current has been picked up and developed in interesting ways by people like Wendell Berry, Joel Salatin, and Michael Pollen (all frontliners in the food wars); Daniel Larison; and more superficially by Rod Dreher and the “crunchy cons”; -Post-liberals working within the ideological space opened up by Alistair MacIntyre. -The Canadian “red tory,” Burkean tradition (as theorized and developed by people like George Grant); and -The “blue socialist” or “arts and crafts” tradition kicked off by people like William Cobbett, John Ruskin, Carlyle and William Morris and later taken up and radicalized in a leftwardly way by the Guild Socialists and the Christian Socialists.

    Thanks, Araglin

  10. Keith Preston

    Sergio,

    “The point, still, is that this is that the libertarian left pretends to be a movement on its own, and to gain adepts on the left, not to simply to * form a coalition with the existent left wing stablishment*.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this.

    “So your fear that the libertarian movement will be co opted by the “left” (assuming we accepted the idea that the democratic Party is left in any possible meaning of the word) as the right did with libertarians 40 years ago (the fusionism debate) is baseless.”

    Not so much the Democratic Party per se as much as the wider totalitarian left. How is this a baseless concern? Think of Noam Chomsky, who claims to be an anarchist, but takes the cliched left-wing position on virtually every issue, even to the point of supporting the United Nations and gun control laws. Think of what the New Left has become, with former Vietnam War protestors advocating “humanitarian” war, former civil rights protestors advocating racial favoritism, former student radicals advocating speech codes, hippie eco-freaks defending the federal regulatory bureaucracy,feminists advocating censorship,etc.?

    “More importantly, and following what I was saying, is that what people like Roderick and Charles are saying is that libertarianism has common and inescapable roots with the left.”

    Well, all contemporary people are on the Left historically, except monarchists.

    “In other words, that Thick libertarianism should lead us to the IDEALS of the left, even if the historical left used the wrong methods in the process of achieving those ideals.”

    Well, I don’t know about “thick” libertarianism, but libertarianism proper ought to lead to liberty. Liberty may overlap with some left-wing ideas but not others.

    “Also, that many of the injustices the left denounces are REAL, regardless if their own proposed solutions will make matters worse.”

    Sure, although I do think contemporary left-wingers often overstate their case concerning some matters. Racism and sexism, for instance. Also, there are some “injustices,” from a libertarian perspective that the Right recognizes but the Left does not.

    “So, there lies the difference with the right.”

    How so? For instance, how are anti-racism, feminism, gay rights, environmentalism, counterculturalism or union organizing any more or less important or compatible with the libertarian cause than defending the right to bear arms, free speech against left-wing censorship, property rights against eminent domain and government regulation, home schooling against compulsory education, religious liberty against authoritarian secularism, freedom of association against antidiscrimination laws, tax resistance, massacres of people with non-PC cultural values, or the right to use or farm tobacco against the therapeutic state?

    “The right can only be ocasionaly an strategic ally of the libertarians, but at the end the right is incompatible with libertarianism.”

    Agreed, but I’d say the same about the Left as well.

    “So your proposed alliance with all sorts of right wing populists at the end will turn into in an unavoidable mess, cause libertarianism and the rights are fundamentally at odds.”

    You’re misinterpreting this. I am not arguing for allying libertarianism with right-wing populism for its own sake. I’m for allying libertarianism with all of those most under attack by the state at any particular time. At present and in the likely future, this would certainly include some of the subgroupings of right-wing populism, but certainly not exclusively or even primarily so. I’m actually more oriented towards the urban lumpenproletariat, of which a corps of anarchist revolutionaries would be the natural leadership. The populist right and other sectors would simply be potential allies against the common enemy, the US empire.

  11. Keith Preston

    Araglin,

    Yes, exactly. The Carson review you mentioned is an excellent read.

    What Sean Gabb is doing with the Libertarian Alliance is very interesting. He’s incorporating left-libertarian economics and a robust defense of civil liberties across the board into an ideological framework that also stridently opposes PC authoritarianism and imperialism. Pretty much the same as my own outlook.

  12. Jeremy

    Well said, sir. BTW and completely OT, you might be interested in an article Keith Preston just wrote critiquing thick libertarianism.

  13. Roderick T. Long

    Isn’t that the article that the last few posts were already discussing?

  14. Sergio Méndez

    Keith:

    *Sergio,

    “The point, still, is that this is that the libertarian left pretends to be a movement on its own, and to gain adepts on the left, not to simply to * form a coalition with the existent left wing stablishment*.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this.*

    Basically that you are confusing the task of convincing people on the left to become libertarian, with the idea of forming a coalition with the already existing political left (the democratic party).

    Not so much the Democratic Party per se as much as the wider totalitarian left. How is this a baseless concern? Think of Noam Chomsky, who claims to be an anarchist, but takes the cliched left-wing position on virtually every issue, even to the point of supporting the United Nations and gun control laws. Think of what the New Left has become, with former Vietnam War protestors advocating “humanitarian” war, former civil rights protestors advocating racial favoritism, former student radicals advocating speech codes, hippie eco-freaks defending the federal regulatory bureaucracy,feminists advocating censorship,etc.?

    So you see, the point is not to form an alliance with people on the left who advocate all such things, but to convince them that their concerns are best represented from a libertarian point of view.

    Well, all contemporary people are on the Left historically, except monarchists.

    That is nonsense, at least you believe all forms of hierarchy and coertion are represented by monarchy.

    Sure, although I do think contemporary left-wingers often overstate their case concerning some matters. Racism and sexism, for instance. Also, there are some “injustices,” from a libertarian perspective that the Right recognizes but the Left does not.

    How so? For instance, how are anti-racism, feminism, gay rights, environmentalism, counterculturalism or union organizing any more or less important or compatible with the libertarian cause than defending the right to bear arms, free speech against left-wing censorship, property rights against eminent domain and government regulation, home schooling against compulsory education, religious liberty against authoritarian secularism, freedom of association against antidiscrimination laws, tax resistance, massacres of people with non-PC cultural values, or the right to use or farm tobacco against the therapeutic state?

    We can say, first at all, that left and right sometimes over represent their cases. But, and this a factual question, I think the issues the left demands are usually far more real, systemic and pervading than those that the right demand. Discrimination against women (who are more than half of human population), racism (when only in the US an appartheid existed until 45 years ago) and homophobia are rampant issues, that affect large groups of human beings just for their preferences, sex or skin colour. And lets not talk about the systemic destruction of the enviroment.

    Now, what is funny is that I have found that many of the issues for the right, turned to be issues for me as a leftist after seeing them with libertarian lenses. Take for instance gun rights. Why, as a leftist, will I handle the right to the state of being the only handler of arms, when that state is clearly in league with big buisness and spouses authoritarism and represion against many vulnerable sectors of society (poor people, black people, women, etc…)? Or educatio: Why will I want the state to educate my sons, if in the process they get indoctrinated with patriotism, blind obedience and trained to serve or as burocrats or loyal employes in a Wall Mart? But more importantly, in all this issues I find that there is a deep conection with leftist ideals: freedom and the posibility of constructing true laces of solidarity between workers or vulnerable sectors of society. People on the right have not that incentive when they look at libertarianism. For them is just an excuse. Freedom of speech is defended only when it is their right to publish “revisionist” literature about holocaust, or racist panflets. Freedom of association makes sense to them only to discriminate against the negro or the inmigrant (it didn´t matter a bit when the state santionated mandated discrmination. In that case, the state was doing just fine)

    Well, I don’t know about “thick” libertarianism, but libertarianism proper ought to lead to liberty. Liberty may overlap with some left-wing ideas but not others.

    So, you see, that is why I think your whole argument fails. Libertarianism looks liberty, but liberty is not the ultimate goal of libertarianism. Is only the most basic and fundamental one. As much as a society is free, if most of its members happen to be racists or bigots, that society is in big trouble. Libertarians (or at least left libertarians) tend to contend that in a free society, such things will tend to disapear. I agree with them, but I think it is not an automatic process that happens just for its sake. Human agency counts, and is up to people to fight those injustices, even if it is not using coercive methods. On the other side, historically libertarianism was tied with the use of reason that the french revolution spoused. And those forms of discrimination are deeply irrational, and as charles have pointed out, they create an environment were liberty is treatned.

  15. Belinsky

    It’s official: Walter Block is a blockhead.

  16. Keith Preston

    Sergio,

    “Basically that you are confusing the task of convincing people on the left to become libertarian, with the idea of forming a coalition with the already existing political left (the democratic party).”

    I’m all for trying to convince people on the Left to become libertarian, but I also think libertarianism should go the extra mile to distinguish itself from both Left and Right. Many left-libertarians and orthodox left-anarchists basically present their version of libertarianism as the standard laundry list of left-wing popular causes with “plus, we’re against the state” tacked on at the end.

    “So you see, the point is not to form an alliance with people on the left who advocate all such things, but to convince them that their concerns are best represented from a libertarian point of view.”

    Well, I agree that a fully or mostly libertarian society would be more “liberal” in the cultural/social sense that what we have now, with some possible exceptions (like religious conservatives and racialists forming their own separatist enclaves along with the general strengthening of non-state institutions like family, religion or community, though these wouldn’t necessaryily be “traditional” expressions of these things). I also think a libertarian society would need an ethos that placed more emphasis on personal responsibility and self-reliance and less on self-esteem, getting in touch with your inner child, sensitivity and the like.

    “Well, all contemporary people are on the Left historically, except monarchists.

    That is nonsense, at least you believe all forms of hierarchy and coertion are represented by monarchy.”

    The political Left has it beginnings with the French Revolution, and the overthrow of the monarchy, the aristocracy and the Church. The opponents of these sat on the left side of Parliament, the proponents of royalism, theocracy, etc. on the right. Hence, the political terms “left” and “right”. The goal of the radicals of the era was to establish a bourgeoisie republic. So, yes, anyone who is not a monarchist or a “throne and altar” conservative is technically a leftist as leftism is historically understood.

    “Discrimination against women (who are more than half of human population), racism (when only in the US an appartheid existed until 45 years ago) and homophobia are rampant issues, that affect large groups of human beings just for their preferences, sex or skin colour.”

    But how are these groups specifically oppressed right here today, right now, in the US and other similar societies? And to what degree are these groups more oppressed than other people in the context of the society we actually find ourselves in? This is a question I have asked left-wingers over and over again and rarely can they provide an answer of any substance. What’s your view?

    “People on the right have not that incentive when they look at libertarianism. For them is just an excuse. Freedom of speech is defended only when it is their right to publish “revisionist” literature about holocaust, or racist panflets. Freedom of association makes sense to them only to discriminate against the negro or the inmigrant (it didn´t matter a bit when the state santionated mandated discrmination. In that case, the state was doing just fine).”

    Obviously, you have little knowledge of authoritarian leftist regimes or experience with authoritarian leftist institutions or organizations. The universalist, anti-racist, “workers have no country,” atheist Communists were every bit a tyrannical as anything that ever came from the Right. I know a number of people who grew up in the old Communist countries. Many of the things we call “multiculturalism,” “hate speech laws,” “speech codes,” and so forth existed there as well, often in identical form. You know who introduced some of the first laws criminalizing Holocaust-denial in Europe? The Communist deputies of the French Parliament.”First they came for the Holocaust deniers…”

    “As much as a society is free, if most of its members happen to be racists or bigots, that society is in big trouble. Libertarians (or at least left libertarians) tend to contend that in a free society, such things will tend to disapear. I agree with them, but I think it is not an automatic process that happens just for its sake. Human agency counts, and is up to people to fight those injustices, even if it is not using coercive methods.”

    I agree that narrow-minded attitudes do not strengthen libertarian values, but bigotry of the kind opposed by leftists is hardly the only kind of authoritarianism, repression or narrow-mindedness there is. You will find plenty of liberals who think racism is just god-awful but think the “war on drugs” is just fine. You’ll find people who think homophobia is a crime against humanity but who think putting people in prison for exercising their right to bear arms is wonderful. You’ll find those who are all for feminism and gender equality, and also favor economic policies that oppress the poor for the sake of the middle to upper classes.

    What I’m saying is that I reject the claim that people with left-wing cultural values have any special claim to enlightenment, virtue, humanitarianism, goodness, etc.

    “And those forms of discrimination are deeply irrational, and as charles have pointed out, they create an environment were liberty is treatned.”

    This is setting up a false dichotomy. What about liberal, cosmopolitan, multicultural New York City electing socially liberal, pro-gay, pro-abortion but politically and economically fascist Rudy Giuliani as mayor?

  17. Keith Preston

    Sergio,

    This is a link to the Constitution of the old Albanian Communist regime of Enver Hoxha, arguably the most totalitarian of any of the old East European Marxist states:

    http://tinyurl.com/6msc9e

    Some of its language will be quite familiar:

    Article 40

    All citizens are equal before the law.

    No restriction or privilege is recognized on the rights and duties of citizens on account of sex, race, nationality, education, social position or material situation.

    Article 41

    The woman, liberated from political oppression and economic exploitation, as a great force of the revolution, takes an active part in the socialist construction of the country and the defence of the homeland.

    The woman enjoys equal rights with man in work, pay, holidays, social security, education, in all social-political activity, as well as in the family.

    Article 42

    Protection and development of their people’s culture and traditions, the use of their mother tongue and teaching of it in school, equal development in all fields of social life are guaranteed for national minorities.

    Any national privilege and inequality and any act which violates the rights of national minorities is contrary to the Constitution and is punishable by law.

    Article 43

    Citizens who reach the age of 18 years have the right to elect and to be elected to all the organs of state power.

    The only persons excluded from electoral rights are those deprived of them by decision of the court and those who are mentally incompetent and declared as such by the court.

    Article 44

    In the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania citizens have the right to work, which is guaranteed by the state.

    Article 47

    The state guarantees to citizens the necessary medical services as well as medical treatment in the health centres of the country, free of charge.

    Article 48

    Mother and child enjoy special solicitude and protection.

    A mother is entitled to paid leave prior to and after childbirth.

    The state opens maternity homes and creches and kindergartens for the children.

    Article 52

    Citizens have the right to education.

    Eight-grade education is universal and compulsory. The state aims at raising the level of compulsory education for everybody.

    Article 53

    Citizens enjoy the freedom of speech, the press, organization, association, assembly and public manifestation.

    The state guarantees the realization of these freedoms, it creates the conditions for them, and makes available the necessary material means.

    Article 55

    The creation of any type of organization of a fascist, anti-democratic, religious, and anti-socialist character is prohibited.

    Fascist, anti-democratic, religious, war-mongering, and anti-socialist activities and propaganda, as well as the incitement of national and racial hatred are prohibited.

  18. Jeremy

    Yeah, it’s not like there’s any mutually reinforcing relationship going on or something.

    Precisely. There’s no way to critique the modern state that actually exists without simultaneously critiquing the corporations which derive their legitimacy from it. Corporate America is a giant, vital pillar in the state’s hegemony over this territory. You simply cannot address the hard power of the state without addressing the soft power of the interest groups that support it - that is, if you want libertarianism to be relevant to the actual tyranny occurring and not just some theoretical challenge to “power”.

  19. Micha Ghertner

    The choice of section title “Those Poor Unions” reminds me of another Walter - Walter Sobchak.

    WALTER: Aitz chaim he, Dude. As the ex used to say.

    DUDE: What the fuck is that supposed to mean? What the fuck’re we gonna tell Lebowski?

    WALTER: Huh? Oh, him, yeah. Well I don’t see, um— what exactly is the problem?

    DUDE: Huh? The problem is—what do you mean what’s the—there’s no—we didn’t—they’re gonna kill that poor woman—

    WALTER: What the fuck’re you talking about? That poor woman—that poor slut—kidnapped herself, Dude. You said so yourself—

    DUDE: No, Walter! I said I thought she kidnapped herself! You’re the one who’s so fucking certain—

    WALTER: That’s right, Dude, 100% certain— […] So far we have what looks to me like a series of victimless crimes—

    DUDE: What about the toe?

    WALTER: FORGET ABOUT THE FUCKING TOE!

  20. Araglin

    Micha,

    I had completely forgotten about that interchange between Walter and the Dude. In terms of sheer hilarity, that’s got to be up there with Walter’s completely-non-germane reminscenses about ‘Nam at Donny’s funeral with the ashes blowing into their faces…

  21. Bob Kaercher

    Anyone who quotes The Big Lebowski in the course of political discussion—and such that it’s actually relevant to the topic at hand—has my unbounded admiration.

  22. Bob Kaercher

    Keith: What point are you trying to make in posting the Albanian communist constitution?

  23. Keith Preston

    Bob,

    I was using that as an illustration of the fact that the political Left can be just as authoritarian and tyrannical as anything on the Right. The Albanian Communist regime of Enver Hoxha was widely known to be one of the worst, yet right there in their constitution we see them proclaiming their opposition to racism, nationalism, fascism, capitalism, sexism, religion, etc.

    The wider point is that those proclaiming their hostility to forms of prejudice abhorred by the Left are not always benevolent, high-minded humanitarians by any means.

  24. JOR

    That leftist cultural values are 100% consistent with totalitarianism.

  25. Sergio Méndez

    Keith:

    You actually think here we do not distinguish between the “new left” and many of the movement originated in the west, that were far less inclined (or directly and vehemently opposed to authoritarism) and the old communist fossilised left of european comunist nations? Do you distinguish them, actually?

  26. Bob Kaercher

    “I was using that as an illustration of the fact that the >political Left can be just as authoritarian and tyrannical as >anything on the Right.”

    True enough. But insofar as this relates to a discussion of thick libertariansism, is it your concern that by pursuing culturally “left” ends, even if by eschewing statist means, today’s libertarians run the risk of turning totalitarian themselves in some way?

    That would seem to imply that pursuit of those ends—opposition to racism, sexism, homophobia—is inherently corruptive, regardless of the means used.

    I also have to wonder how seriously anyone could take a communist regime’s statement that they sought to end racism and sexism, rather than treat such a statement as merely a convenient pretext for a power grab. I noticed that the Albanian constitution you cited also contained a provision for a free press and free speech, but does anybody seriously believe that the communist regime wanted a free press or free speech in the only way those concepts have any real meaning? (You only need to scroll down to the next article to get the answer to that question.)

  27. Keith Preston

    JOR,

    Yes, that sums it up in one statement quite well. Thank you.

    Sergio,

    Of course, I distinguish between Western European social democracy and the former Eastern European Stalinist states. Of course, I recognize the differences between the New Left and the Old Left, including many of the criticisms of the latter by the former. I’m pretty sure most everyone here understands the difference as well. The point, however, is that the most predatory forms of totalitarianism can come in the form of egalitarianism and internationalism as easily as things like racism and nationalism.

    Bob,

    “it your concern that by pursuing culturally “left” ends, even if by eschewing statist means, today’s libertarians run the risk of turning totalitarian themselves in some way?”

    No, but I do think a much stronger distinction should be made between left-libertarianism and its totalitarian humanist counterpart. I would prefer that libertarianism be more than “oh, we’re against racism, sexism, air pollution, animal cruelty, child molesting and, by the way, we’re against the state,” which is how some forms of cultural left libertarianism or anarchism come across.

    “That would seem to imply that pursuit of those ends—opposition to racism, sexism, homophobia—is inherently corruptive, regardless of the means used.”

    No, not at all. In fact, my own views on these things are more “left-wing” that what many seem to recognize. I’m not as dogmatic as some left-wingers on these matters, if for no other reason because I don’t see these issues as particularly pressing or as emergencies in 21st century North America. My general criticism of the Left is rooted in part in my view that the Left is far too oriented towards combatting any conceivable form of alleged “bigotry,” no matter how marginal or dubious, and not nearly enough oriented towards combatting the state, corporatism, the US empire, the police, etc. This is certainly true of the mainstream Democratic Party-oriented left. The “hard left” is generally opposed to US imperialism, but has its head up its ass when it comes to the state. The various forms of left-wing libertarianism or anarchism are better, of course, but not sufficiently attentive to what I would consider to be the most serious and immediate issues, largely because dogmatic views on matters like race, gender and other cultural issues have tended to obscure virtually everything else in many instances.

    “I also have to wonder how seriously anyone could take a communist regime’s statement that they sought to end racism and sexism, rather than treat such a statement as merely a convenient pretext for a power grab. I noticed that the Albanian constitution you cited also contained a provision for a free press and free speech, but does anybody seriously believe that the communist regime wanted a free press or free speech in the only way those concepts have any real meaning?”

    Well, that’s my point. Just because someone claims to be against racism and sexism doesn’t mean they cannot be an aspiring tyrant. Communism claimed to be “for the workers” but that was only taken half-seriously. In reality that was just window dressing designed to cover up totalitarian rule by political functionaries. I submit that the contemporary totalitarian Left is doing the same thing, only in the name of race and gender rather than class and economic egalitarianism.

  28. Keith Preston

    If others want to know more about my outlook, I’d suggest this:

    http://attackthesystem.com/liberty-and-populism-building-an-effective-resistance-movement-for-north-america/

    This is the most comprehensive statement of my views that I’ve produced, and it’s simply a proposed strategy for attacking and dismantling the US government, its international empire, its economic arms, etc. The views I outline in this are really not much different that the Left’s “outgroups, unite!” strategy that has been used since the 1960s, except I focus on more contemporary outgroups, rather than those from the past as the Left continues to do.

    What really sets some people from the Left off concerning my perspective is my advocacy of including people with various forms of “conservative” social views as part of a strategic alliance against Leviathan/Big Brother/NWO/whatchamacallit.

    Of course, the Left does the same thing. For instance, is increased feminism, gay rights, secularism, sexual libertinism, etc. really compatible with giving more political power to racial minorities who tend to be more socially conservative and religious than whitey, or importing even more socially conservative and religiously fundamentalist immigrants? Or supporting traditional working class labor unions, whose members are not always the most progressive folks around, and supporting cultural leftism at the same time?

  29. Sergio Méndez

    Keith:

    Well, your beef seems to be of how serious are the left wing preocupations. But you still haven´t showed the left wing preocupations are indeed big problems. Still, as much as it sounds a cliche from the left you, women, blacks and homosexuals are far more discriminated and persecuted in many ways. On the other side you love to downplay the dangers of the authoritarism on the right. You even dismiss the existence of bigotry (putting it on quotations), of things as nasty a racism, religious zealotry of fundamentalisms, or nationalism.

    But I think your whole point fails in a more important way. Lets say the causes of the left and of the right can lead to totalitarism. Granted. But if we compare the causes, which ones are more worthy of respect and which ones are closer to the ideal of libertarianism: the bigorty of the right, its love to discriminate for skin color, nationality or sex o sexual preference? Its natural impulse to maintain a hierarchy, order and obedience though out that order of the lower classes? Or the impulses of the left that seek equality before the law, liberty as a value on its own and solidarity regardless of any boundary that does not violate non agresion principle (you know, sex, gender, race)?

  30. Gabriel

    Hah, talk about a loaded question. Sergio asks which is better, the people who favor “hierarchy, order and obedience” or the ones that favor “equality before the law, liberty as a value on its own and solidarity regardless of any boundary”.

  31. Keith Preston

    Sergio,

    In what particular ways are blacks, women and homosexuals “far more discriminated and persecuted in many ways” right here today, right now, in 21st century North America, and in ways that plenty of other people are not?

  32. Sergio Méndez

    Gabriel:

    Ok, I realize it is loaded, but is certainly what I think it represents the right and the left.

    Keith:

    block Sergio,

    In what particular ways are blacks, women and homosexuals “far more discriminated and persecuted in many ways” right here today, right now, in 21st century North America, and in ways that plenty of other people are not?

    quote

    Well, we can go greatly in details, but at least concerning women, is weird that you ask that question in this blog. And anyways, since when is that the only place it matters for left libertarians to care about persecuted groups to care is in the United States of America?

  33. Keith Preston

    “Well, we can go greatly in details,”

    Please do.

    “but at least concerning women, is weird that you ask that question in this blog.”

    Well, I could think of a number of ways in which women might be oppressed in our society (North America), although identical oppression is often inflicted on men in many circumstances. Police brutality and mass imprisonment, or instance.

    “And anyways, since when is that the only place it matters for left libertarians to care about persecuted groups to care is in the United States of America?”

    Well, this gets back to another criticism of the Left I would make. Libertarians don’t need to adopt the pseudo-Christian “save the world” messianism of the Left. US libertarians should focus on abolishing their own state, not taking on the rest of the world’s problems. The best thing American libertarians could do to help people in other places is to oppose US imperialism and the US empire.

    Beyond that, yes, if they want to join an organization opposing clitoridectomies in West Africa or misogyny in Afghanistan, or even form a militia of their own to go fight in those places, by all means, they should do so.

  34. Sergio Méndez

    Keith:

    The difference is that there is no violence headed against men, just for the fact of being man, as there is violence against women precisly for the fact of being woman. Police brutality is bad on its own, but it is hardly gender motivated violence on its own.

    On the issue of if the left must be “saving the world”, the point is we are not discusing what the left or the libertarians ought to do, but rather what they ought to believe (say, gender equality). And since gender equality is a problem in almost all the world, in worst degrees that already is in the US, I think it is something libertarians and leftists ought to be concerned.

  35. Keith Preston

    “The difference is that there is no violence headed against men, just for the fact of being man, as there is violence against women precisly for the fact of being woman.”

    That’s a fairly naive view. Men as well as women can be victims of domestic violence, as can people in same-sex relationships. For instance, I knew a fellow who was murdered by a mentally ill, jealous ex-girlfriend. There used to be two gay guys who lived in an apartment underneath me who regular got into fistfights in the backyard. I don’t mean to make light of genuine domestic violence where women are the victims, and I agree that’s a terrible thing, but it’s not really a political issue. Men who beat women are not considered good citizens and given medals of honor. In my area, for instance, the police are fairly stringent about making arrests when it comes to domestic violence cases. One of the local jurisdictions will even prosecute women who fail to show up in court to testify for the prosecution for contempt once charges have been filed. What about the anti-male bias of the family court system? What about the modern debtor’s prisons associated with “child support enforcement”?

    If we want to discuss issues of this type, we could say the same thing about hate crimes against minorities or gays. People who do those things are frequently arrested, put in prison for a long time, or even executed. The people who murdered Matthew Sheppard, for instance, received life sentences, not Congressional medals of honor. Plus, there’s just as racially motivated violent crime by blacks against whites rather, probably more, than vice versa. Everyone’s heard of the guy who got dragged under the truck in Texas, but how many have ever heard of the Wichita massacre?

    http://www.wichita-massacre.com/

    “Police brutality is bad on its own, but it is hardly gender motivated violence on its own.”

    Well, why is violence against women any less acceptable than police brutality?

    “And since gender equality is a problem in almost all the world, in worst degrees that already is in the US, I think it is something libertarians and leftists ought to be concerned.”

    Sure, though I still think it’s better to focus more energy on your own state, rather than social customs in Saudi Arabia.

  36. Sergio Méndez

    Keith:

    This is getting really tyresome. Your anecdotal evidence of domestic violence against men, which nobody denies, is no match against the fact that women suffer systemic violence for gender in far larger numbers (absolute and relative) than men. Do you really wan´t to argue that?

    Secondly, nobody is saying that people who murder or beat gays or women recieve “mdeals of honor” in the US. But certainly that doesn´t change the fact that such violence exists in a systematic manner, and that it is encouraged in culture, tolerated and accepted, in many ways. I don´t think that is such a complicated idea to gasp.

    Third, nobody is saying that violence against women is less acceptable than police brutality. Nobody is even saying police brutality ought not to be fought back (agains is really weird you claim that in THIS blog. I mean, have you ever met anybody more dedicated to expose police brutality as Charles? And he happens to be a radicall feminist too…)

    Fourth: you still don´t get my point. Is not about what strategy is primary, to fight imperialism, or economic priviledge or to fight opresion on women. Is about which ideas must be in the core of a philosophy, and certainly equality and gender equality should be tow of them. But even if it was a question of strategy: What is so difficult of actually fighting BOTH, imperialism, economic privilddge AND gender inequealities? Not only there is nothing incompatible, but it seems that they are causes tied, closer than you seem to accept.

    Finally: Why haven´t you answered me when I asked why your obsesion with pointing to totalitarism in the left, even in anti autoritarian forms of the left, and turn a blind eye in your wanted allies in the right, homophobes, bigots, racists and religious loons, by your own description of them?

  37. Keith Preston

    “Keith: This is getting really tyresome. Your anecdotal evidence of domestic violence against men, which nobody denies, is no match against the fact that women suffer systemic violence for gender in far larger numbers (absolute and relative) than men. Do you really wan´t to argue that?”

    LOL-okay, I agree to a cease fire.

    “But certainly that doesn´t change the fact that such violence exists in a systematic manner, and that it is encouraged in culture, tolerated and accepted, in many ways. I don´t think that is such a complicated idea to gasp.”

    In some corners perhaps, but given that the state regards such actions as a serious criminal offense, are such matters even a political issue any more than any other kind of common crime is a political issue? It’s interesting how left-wingers, who often “law and order” harshness, suddenly do an about face when it comes to crimes against their favorite groups.

    “I mean, have you ever met anybody more dedicated to expose police brutality as Charles?”

    His work on this question is quite impressive, indeed.

    “Is about which ideas must be in the core of a philosophy, and certainly equality and gender equality should be tow of them.”

    Well, I’m about meritocratic individualism, not carte blanche “equality.” I don’t think women, racial minorities or gays who exhibit merit should be held back simply because of their group status.

    “Why haven´t you answered me when I asked why your obsesion with pointing to totalitarism in the left, even in anti autoritarian forms of the left, and turn a blind eye in your wanted allies in the right, homophobes, bigots, racists and religious loons, by your own description of them?”

    Well, not every issue raised by the Right is wrong or all wet. Also, the worst elements of the reactionary Right are out of power politically, socially unacceptable to a large degree, and even illegal in some places or instances. However, the authoritarian/totalitarian Left has sympathy among elites, intellectuals, academics, journalists and others who actually hold power and have the means of shaping opinion. What I call “totalitarian humanism” is a new and dangerously subtle form of totalitarianism, and is on the ascendency.

    I deal just as frequently and am just as sympathetic with left-wingers who recognize these issues as anyone from the Right. Do I think political oppression or private violence against minorities, women, gays, etc is a good thing? Of course not. But it’s something that’s eschewed by the establishment, nearly universally opposed, and it’s nothing you can’t get from a Sociology 101 university course.

    The issues I wish to address are more pervasive yet more obscure so far as public consciousness goes, and involve things that are supported directly by the state and its institutions.

  38. Marja Erwin

    “Men who beat women are not considered good citizens and given medals of honor.” - Keith Preston

    It depends on the class of the me and the women. If the men are cops or soldiers, and they are not caught by civilians, then they may well be given medals despite their actions. If they are caught by civilians, then they may instead be given paid vacation.

    http://radgeek.com/gt/2008/06/30/law_and/

    And, if the case might hurt the department, someone may silence the victim.

    http://radgeek.com/gt/2008/11/11/rip_duanna/

    Of course, this case involves a nasty combination of misogyny, race, class, and the privileges of the police.

  39. Sheldon Richman

    An excellent and badly needed conversation. Interesting that both sides (Block-Huebert v. Long-Johnson [& me]) have the same policy position: repeal all labor laws while condemning all aggressive violence. The difference comes in the predictions of what would then occur in a freed market. Do Block-Huebert really want to legalize general strikes, wildcat strikes, secondary boycotts, etc.?

  40. Keith Preston

    Marja,

    You know perfectly well I was referring to ordinary cases of domestic violence by husbands and boyfriends against their wives and girlfriends, which do indeed frequently lead to arrest and prosecution, though not always, as it’s not a perfect world.

    Yes, cops also frequently commit heinous criminal acts themselves against women (and men), and this has become more frequent as the police state has expanded, which is one of the reasons why I’m more or less for an insurrection in American cities by civilian militias for the sake of driving off the PIGS.

    Yes, I’m aware that prostitutes, transgendered people, drug addicts and other marginal people are often ignored when cops or civilians commit violent crimes against them. There are several cases of that type that I’m dealing with in some of my other activities right now.

    I used to write about that when I was a journalist covering municipal politics.

    http://attackthesystem.com/the-last-minority/

    http://attackthesystem.com/the-politicial-economy-of-the-war-on-drugs/

    http://attackthesystem.com/the-richmond-city-jail-as-a-component-of-the-american-police-state/

    Still, I reject the left’s claim that mainstream American society amounts to a racist, sexist, homophobic conspiracy. Frequently, expressing views on these matters that deviate from liberal orthodoxy can get you fired, villified and, in some countries, arrested. For one thing, the abominations I mentioned in those articles included not a few PC liberals, blacks, women, and even homosexuals among their perpetrators.

  41. Gabriel

    Do Block-Huebert really want to legalize general strikes, wildcat strikes, secondary boycotts, etc.?

    Block has stated in the past that as long as unions limit their actions to refusing to work then they are ok (a less charitable reading of his views is “as long as unions always allow scabs to come in unchallenged then they are ok”). Some on the left have criticized Rothbard for postulating a free society where things like union organizing are automatically considered outlaw behavior.

  42. Marja Erwin

    Keith,

    To be honest, I’m usually busy and understanding, but this is Thanksgiving, so I’m bored and angry.

    Violence is not restricted to police and military families; nor is it restricted to misogyny, nor to racism, nor to the other prejudices involved. It is far more common where these intersect. I have had relatively few encounters with police brutality and only with with outright torture. Others have not been so lucky.

    While policing is one of the most important enablers of this brutality, I think it is one of the hardest to remove at this moment. It makes perfect sense to try to stop the prejudices now, and condemn policing now, so that we can prevent policing too in the future.

  43. TGGP

    How frequently are gays attacked? http://inductivist.blogspot.com/2007/06/are-homosexuals-attacked-more-than.html I would guess that a lot fewer women than men are also attacked, even if we exclude men who “had it coming” due to their actions. Rather than compare Matthew Shepard to the Wichita Massacre, I would follow Eric Raymond in contrasting him with Jesse Dirkhising.

  44. Gary Chartier

    A brief (and now, I recognize, somewhat dated) bibliographic comment on Araglin’s 12:42 note of November 25 re. “tendencies within the ‘Right’ with which the libertarian-left may be able to fruitfully engage”: one person who fits into several of the categories Araglin mentions is the University of Liverpool philosopher Stephen R. L. Clark, who refers to himself sometimes as a libertarian and sometimes as an “anarcho-conservative.” Stephen’s distinctive array of concerns and perspectives isn’t to everyone’s taste; but his stuff on anarchism—see Civil Peace and Sacred Order (1989) and some of the material in a more recent collection of essays, The Political Animal: Biology, Ethics, Politics—is both incisive and insightful (as is essentially everything else he writes). His concern for community, for locality, for the non-human world, his blunt opposition to authoritarianism, all resonate with me, even though Stephen’s political instincts are often, I think, well to the right of mine. Add him to your reading list.

  45. Araglin

    Thank you, sir. I will certainly check him out.

  46. Bob Kaercher

    Keith, I previously asked:

    “[I]s it your concern that by pursuing culturally “left” ends, even if by eschewing statist means, today’s libertarians run the risk of turning totalitarian themselves in some way?”

    To which you answered:

    No, but I do think a much stronger distinction should be made between left-libertarianism and its totalitarian humanist counterpart.

    I’m a little confused by this answer. You start out by saying no, you don’t think that pursuing culturally left goals risks turning libertarians into some form of totalitarians, but then you proceeded to claim that thick left-libertarianism and totalitarian humanism are “counterparts”, and that there isn’t enough distinction between them.

    I think that the libertarianism in left-libertarianism does establish a suitable distinction from any form of totalitarianism. They are in fact, completely and totally opposed. (One is totalitarian and the other is libertarian.) And why should the distinction necessarily preclude concerns about racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.?

    You wrote:

    I would prefer that libertarianism be more than “oh, we’re against racism, sexism, air pollution, animal cruelty, child molesting and, by the way, we’re against the state,” which is how some forms of cultural left libertarianism or anarchism come across.

    It’s really difficult to know who you’re specifically referring to here as promoting that conception of left-libertarianism. But since this discussion started off as a critique of left-libertarianism as articulated by Long’s and Johnson’s writing on thick libertarianism, if you’re saying that’s the most accurate way to characterize that conception of culturally left libertarianism, then I’d say that characterization is inaccurate.

    It would be more accurate to say that one point thick libertarianism makes is that at least a few of those things you list are trends that help to culturally reinforce statism, and so therefore it does make a certain amount of sense for libertarians to address those cultural issues. Take, for example, when a group like the Minutemen volunteer their time and guns to enforce the U.S. government’s immigration restrictions. If racism isn’t one driving factor behind that kind of voluntary bullying on behalf of the state, then at the very least it’s a sort of pig-headed, chauvinistic nationalism that sees immigrants as an invasive, demonic other: They’re taking “our” jobs, they’re clogging up our schools and hospitals, etc., etc., etc.

    Is it merely government policies driving that kind of chauvinism, or is it also being culturally reinforced by certain prevalent attitudes? If it’s the latter, then it would make sense for libertarians to address that. If you want to change the politics, you’re going to need to change the culture. Anyone who chooses to seek radical political change—particularly if the change you’re seeking is to a non-coercive, anti-authoritarian, entirely voluntary society—and ignores that does so at their own peril.

    I had previously asked, in reference to your posting an excerpt of the Albanian communist constitution:

    “I also have to wonder how seriously anyone could take a communist regime’s statement that they sought to end racism and sexism, rather than treat such a statement as merely a convenient pretext for a power grab. I noticed that the Albanian constitution you cited also contained a provision for a free press and free speech, but does anybody seriously believe that the communist regime wanted a free press or free speech in the only way those concepts have any real meaning?”

    To which you replied:

    Well, that’s my point. Just because someone claims to be against racism and sexism doesn’t mean they cannot be an aspiring tyrant.

    I think you missed my point: Just because a tyrant claims to be against racism and sexism doesn’t mean that anyone who expresses opposition to racism and sexism is an aspiring tyrant.

    Communism claimed to be “for the workers” but that was only taken half-seriously. In reality that was just window dressing designed to cover up totalitarian rule by political functionaries.

    Right. But we’re supposed to assume that they took their claims to be for women and minorities completely seriously? Couldn’t that have been “window dressing,” too?

    “I submit that the contemporary totalitarian Left is doing the same thing, only in the name of race and gender rather than class and economic egalitarianism.”

    No argument there. They’re acting in the name of race and gender egalitarianism. And how much have they actually accomplished toward those ends? But then how much could they accomplish toward those goals, seeing as how they’re totalitarians?

  47. Keith Preston

    “You start out by saying no, you don’t think that pursuing culturally left goals risks turning libertarians into some form of totalitarians, but then you proceeded to claim that thick left-libertarianism and totalitarian humanism are “counterparts”, and that there isn’t enough distinction between them.”

    “Counterparts” is the sense that both factions have virtually identical cultural values, if not political or economic ones, just like Marxists and anarcho-communists have similar views of economics, but not of the state. I don’t think this by itself will necessarily turn left-libertarians into totalitarians, but usually people ultimately side with those who hold their own cultural values. Think of the right-libertarians (like Bill Evers, for instance) who’ve joined the Republicans. Think of the left-anarchists and syndicalists who joined the Communist Party once Communism achieved hegemony on the Left following the Bolshevik Revolution.

    “I think that the libertarianism in left-libertarianism does establish a suitable distinction from any form of totalitarianism. They are in fact, completely and totally opposed. (One is totalitarian and the other is libertarian.) And why should the distinction necessarily preclude concerns about racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.?”

    Theoretically, yes. A big question is which will take priority, libertarianism qua libertarianism or the promotion of left-wing cultural values? If the latter is deemed more important, then I suspect not a few left-libertarians would “defect” to the authoritarian Left. The same is true on the Right. How many “conservatives,” for instance claim to be anti-“big government” when what they really hate is the Left, rather than the state.

    “You wrote:

    I would prefer that libertarianism be more than “oh, we’re against racism, sexism, air pollution, animal cruelty, child molesting and, by the way, we’re against the state,” which is how some forms of cultural left libertarianism or anarchism come across.

    It’s really difficult to know who you’re specifically referring to here as promoting that conception of left-libertarianism. But since this discussion started off as a critique of left-libertarianism as articulated by Long’s and Johnson’s writing on thick libertarianism, if you’re saying that’s the most accurate way to characterize that conception of culturally left libertarianism, then I’d say that characterization is inaccurate.”

    No, I think Roderick and Charles are more serious thinkers than that. However, hyphenated versions of anarchism or libertarianism tend to place more emphasis on the hyphens rather than the libertarianism. Anarcho-capitalists usually care more about capitalism than anarchism, anarcha-feminists usually care more about feminists than anarchism, anarcho-syndicalists usually care more about labor unions than anarchism.

    “If racism isn’t one driving factor behind that kind of voluntary bullying on behalf of the state, then at the very least it’s a sort of pig-headed, chauvinistic nationalism that sees immigrants as an invasive, demonic other: They’re taking “our” jobs, they’re clogging up our schools and hospitals, etc., etc., etc.

    Is it merely government policies driving that kind of chauvinism, or is it also being culturally reinforced by certain prevalent attitudes? If it’s the latter, then it would make sense for libertarians to address that. If you want to change the politics, you’re going to need to change the culture. Anyone who chooses to seek radical political change—particularly if the change you’re seeking is to a non-coercive, anti-authoritarian, entirely voluntary society—and ignores that does so at their own peril.”

    But that’s my point. Left-wingers can just as easily advocated bullying, authoritarianism and statism as a means of advancing their own cultural values as well. The majority of cultural leftists advocate using the state to advance their own cultural agenda, often rather extensively so, and often more so than some of their counterparts on the Right. Racists may have cultural values that strengthen the state in some instances, but so do leftists who regard their cultural values as moral imperatives to be imposed on everyone by force of law. They are much like religioustheocrats in this regard: “There’s only one right way to live, and you’d better be doing it.”

    “I think you missed my point: Just because a tyrant claims to be against racism and sexism doesn’t mean that anyone who expresses opposition to racism and sexism is an aspiring tyrant.”

    Of course not, but then someone who goes to church every Sunday is not necessarily an aspiring theocrat either.

    “Right. But we’re supposed to assume that they took their claims to be for women and minorities completely seriously? Couldn’t that have been “window dressing,” too?

    “I submit that the contemporary totalitarian Left is doing the same thing, only in the name of race and gender rather than class and economic egalitarianism.”

    No argument there. They’re acting in the name of race and gender egalitarianism. And how much have they actually accomplished toward those ends? But then how much could they accomplish toward those goals, seeing as how they’re totalitarians?”

    Well, how much did the Commies actually achieve concerning their stated goal of a classless society based on “from each according to his abilities, to each other according to his needs”? Not much, really. Yet, that didn’t stop formidable throngs of Western intellectuals from sympathizing with them? All things considered, the status of women and minorites probably was higher in some of the Commie regimes that in some of the systems they replaced. For instance, women’s education was often emphasized in a way that the old order feudal systems Communism overthrew typically did not. Communism was anti-racist, at least in theory, and some of those countries, notable Yugoslavia, had things like ethnic quotas, “multicultural” education and ideology (they called it “internationalism”), hate speech/hate crimes laws, criminalization of things like Holocaust denial of the type we see in Western Europe today, and so on.

    At the same time, I also tend to disagree that racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. are marginal or emergency issues in 21st century North America. I see causes of this type as very mainstream and largely status quo, maybe not universally so. I mean, for God’s sake, the incoming president is a black man, the president of Harvard was dismissed for his alleged sexism, a prominent scientist was dismissed from his position for alleged racism, when Mearsheimer and Walt published their article on the Israel lobby, there were howls of outrage. How much further do things need to go?

  48. Sergio Méndez

    “I mean, for God’s sake, the incoming president is a black man, the president of Harvard was dismissed for his alleged sexism, a prominent scientist was dismissed from his position for alleged racism, when Mearsheimer and Walt published their article on the Israel lobby, there were howls of outrage. How much further do things need to go?”

    What about that blacks stop getting systematically discriminated in general terms (having ONE black president or few blacks in positions in power hardly means blacks are NOT discriminated). How about if women stop being targets of violence by their male counterparts, including rape? How about women actually get paid the same ammount of money for doing the same jobs man do? That seems to me more worthy than having Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton president or that some that somejackass like Summers gets his kicked out of a private institution by the pressure of students etc…

    “But that’s my point. Left-wingers can just as easily advocated bullying, authoritarianism and statism as a means of advancing their own cultural values as well.”

    1) The point you don´t seem to be gasping is that we are trying to convince left wingers to join libertarian movement, WITHOUT them leaving aside their statist aspirations. Charles and Roderick are not preaching an alliance with stalinist parties or maoist movements. This is no an alliance with social democrats to make electoral gains. The idea is to convince leftists that libertarianism actually represents better their interests, in praxis and even in theory.

    2) Saying that libertarianism represents left wing interests in theory, is something you still haven´t refuted. I think Roderick specially has provided powerfull arguments, quoting libertarian thinkers like Rothbard and Bastiat, on how libertarianism and leftism have common philosophical grounds and aspire to the same goals. That is the cannot be said of the right and libertarianism. Lef wing ideals on their own do not promote coertion. Promoting gender equality or defending the right oinmigrants, or separation of church and state (or the right of anybody to be free of theocratic rule, and the absurdity of theocratic rule) are goals that are perfectly compatible with libertarian means, and that express libertarian spirit. On the other side, that cannot be said of right wing goals. Racism rest on the assumption that some races are superior to others and thus have more rights or can, by force, coerce people of “inferior” races to serve or be subjected to the “superior” race. Xenophobia (the example of the minutemen exposed by Bob that you haven´t adressed is excelent) implies the use of force to segragate inmigrants by force, or to force any dissident member of the “community” into not accepting inmigrants: how can you even consider an alliance with people like that? And so we can go on with almost all tendencies in the right.

  49. Keith Preston

    “What about that blacks stop getting systematically discriminated in general terms (having ONE black president or few blacks in positions in power hardly means blacks are NOT discriminated).”

    You’re speaking in generalities. What are some specific examples of how blacks are oppressed AS BLACKS, in ways that other groups are not? I disagree that black business executives, politicians, professional people, cops, etc. are “oppressed.” There’s certain subset of blacks, those inner-city blacks who are under the boot of the plutocracy and the police state, who are oppressed,but there are plenty of poor whites in similar circumstances. I would attribute this situation to the power of State and Capital, not “racism” per se, except for perhaps in a very residual or peripheral way. Racial profiling is something that at least approximates what you’re talking about, although that is an outgrowth of the “war on drugs,” which not a few blacks either support or are involved in perpetrating.

    “How about if women stop being targets of violence by their male counterparts, including rape?”

    Rape is a terrible crime. It’s also a major felony that carries a possible life sentence in many states, not something that’s considered socially acceptable or whose perpetrators are honored members of the community. There is no “pro-rape” lobby. Rapists are not some powerful organized political interest group. There are no subsidies to political organizations advocating rape. There is no propaganda in the media or in education about how wonderful rape is. Also, rape is not the only type of violent crime there is. Why don’t left-wingers have a similar fixation on armed robbery, mugging, car jacking, drive-by shootings or murder? Left-libertarians and anarchists typically do not belong to “law and order” activist groups. Hell, maybe they should.

    “How about women actually get paid the same ammount of money for doing the same jobs man do?”

    I disagree that misogynist conspiracy is the source of what you’re describing.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/miqn4208/is19950325/ai_n10190358

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EK6Y1X_xa4

    “Charles and Roderick are not preaching an alliance with stalinist parties or maoist movements. This is no an alliance with social democrats to make electoral gains. The idea is to convince leftists that libertarianism actually represents better their interests, in praxis and even in theory.”

    I understand the difference.

    “Lef wing ideals on their own do not promote coertion. Promoting gender equality or defending the right oinmigrants, or separation of church and state (or the right of anybody to be free of theocratic rule, and the absurdity of theocratic rule) are goals that are perfectly compatible with libertarian means, and that express libertarian spirit. On the other side, that cannot be said of right wing goals.”

    Well, what about “right-wing” goals like opposing taxes, compulsory school attendence, the right to home or alternative schools, the right to bear arms, the right of self-defense, freedom of religious practice, private property rights, voluntary exchange of goods and services without state interference, anti-smoking laws and other nanny state prohibitions, and much else.

    It’s not a matter of either/or.

    “how can you even consider an alliance with people like that?”

    When it comes to the question of alliances, I follow Rothbard’s example of aligning with those in opposition to the state at any particular time. Rothbard sided with the Old Right in the 40s, the antiwar movement and black power in the 60s, and with paleocons and militiamen in the 90s.

    My primary orientation is towards the urban lumpenproletariat, whose ranks cut across boundaries of race, religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation, etc. and also across the boundaries of opinions concerning these things. I favor a class-based insurgency against the liberal-bourgeoisie elite, their plutocratic benefactors, and their state. Think of the “LA Riots” writ large, only as an organized, insurgent movement rather than a chaotic expression of rage, and you get the idea. The “right-wing” aspect of my thinking is really more of a secondary matter or an afterthough. The “red state rubes” (I call them the neo-peasantry) are also in antagonism with the state and the plutocracy. Therefore, they are the natural allies of the lumpenproletariat against state-capitalism. So are other groups-genuine dissident intellectuals, genuine anti-imperialist leftists, rebellious youth inclined towards political radicalism, those left-wing or countercultural factions that exist outside the totalitarian humanist paradigm, formerly middle class persons sinking into the ranks of the lumpenproles/peasants and others.

    My views on cultural separatism are simple enough that a ten year old should be able to understand them. People with conflicting values and irreconcilable difference should simply practice separatism. Socially conservative racial minorities, formal separatists, racist rough-and-tumble white working class neighborhoods, conservative Islamic immigrants, patriarchal Asian or other 3rd World immigrants, feminists, homosexuals, hierachical street gangs, and ostensibly democratic, cultural leftward anarchists, smokers, vegetarians, druggies, hookers, etc. should all have their own independent enclaves in large metro areas where they can pursue their own preferred lifestyle interests independently of their cultural rivals or the plutocratic common enemy. In a wider sense, liberal-cosmopolitan, multicultural cities can be independent of homogenous, conservative, religious rural communities and small towns. Hispanic immigrants can have their own Spanish-speakig enclaves in the Southwest and “Aryans” can have theirs in the Northwest, complete with Viking parades.

    I fail to see why this concept is so hard for some left-wingers to understand or why it sets some of them off the way it does. Given that there’s no rational reason for their persistent hatred of me, I’m inclined towards the view my attackers are motivated by either sheer cultic fanaticism or ulterior motives (like totalitarian humanist ambitions). And, no, Sergio, I’m not accusing you or anyone here on the blog (with the possible of exception of “anonymous”) of holding such ambitions or cultism.

    Once again, I just flat out don’t consider “racism, sexism, homophobia” and other pet causes of the mainstream Left to be emergency matters in 21st century North America. If we were in Saudi Arabia or Iran or Iraq or Rwanda or the former Yugoslavia, yeah, I’d be more worried about it.

  50. Bob Kaercher

    Keith, I’m fairly confident that the left-libertarians who broadly identify themselves with thick libertarianism are quite aware of the long and sordid and bloodied history of statist-left tyranny.

    There’s no disputing that there are a whole lot of cultural leftists who resort to the state to force their values on others. I’m pretty sure people who frequent this blog are pretty well aware of that. But does that necessarily refute the values in question? The ends does not justify the means, but does the use of a certain means (coercion) necessarily render the stated ends sought as corrupt in and of themselves? Or could it be that those same ends could be sought using purely non-coercive means (rational persuasive argumentation to convince people to voluntarily alter their own attitudes and behavior)?

    If you don’t think that the ends themselves are worth libertarian pursuit, then that’s what you should be arguing. But citing the former communist constitution of Albania and the actions of social democrats and bolsheviks doesn’t address those values in and of themselves, and that’s where I think the discussion needs to be focused.

    George W. Bush was recently preaching the virtues of the free market to the Europeans, but does that mean everyone should beware of any and all pro-free marketers due to their bloody history of invading foreign countries to forcibly convert them to “freedom”?

    As for accepting a black man’s being elected president as being evidence of anti-racist progress, you would have to actually accept the state’s own propaganda to believe that, something I find odd coming from an anarchist.

  51. Sergio Méndez

    Keith:

    1) Concerning racism, if you want practices specifically aimed against blacks, forms of discrimination, look for racial profiling, or police brutality against blacks (for example in L.A). Trying to reduce it all to an economic bi product, a subset of capitalist opresion strikes me as something pretty marxist from your part.

    2) Concerning women, nobody is saying that rape is legal or that there is a “pro rape” party. You seem to be obsesed that the only place were politics exists is electoral politics or in the rule of law. The point is more simpler: there is a rape is or glorified, or excused or presented as something natural (even if pretended it is wrong). And there is the fact that rape is violence extended against women only or mainly. In the issue of how much women get payed in comparison with men. Who is talking about a “misogenist conspiracy?”. I suggest you take a read on what Charles has written on this (in general for feminist topics, which is pretty good:

    3)”Well, what about “right-wing” goals like opposing taxes, compulsory school attendence, the right to home or alternative schools, the right to bear arms, the right of self-defense, freedom of religious practice, private property rights, voluntary exchange of goods and services without state interference, anti-smoking laws and other nanny state prohibitions, and much else.”

    Many of them are not right wing policies on their own. Many right wingers do not oppose compulsory school attendence, they just oppose having to send their kids to schools where they teach them stuff they don´t like (evolution, sex education etc…). When school taught the values and the classes they wanted, they didn´t have a problem with compulsory school attendence. Others are simply false: take for instance ” freedom of religious practice”, which is nothing else than a way to say “the right to force our believes in state, via legislature or simbolism”. Or their opposition of taxes: Have you seen this “Joe the plumber”? In the interviews he ctiticized the state for taking away his money, yet he defended the war in Iraq (that was paid with what? Yes, tax payer money…). Conservatives simply have taken libertarian language to promote their pet statist issues, because there is not one fibber in their bone that is anti statist, and unlike the left, that is anti authoritarian (quite the contrary).

  52. Gabriel

    As for accepting a black man’s being elected president as being evidence of anti-racist progress, you would have to actually accept the state’s own propaganda to believe that, something I find odd coming from an anarchist.

    That doesn’t make sense. It’s not progress against totalitarianism or statism sure, but it does represent progress against racism. Keep in mind Jim Crow was only eliminated 30 years ago, and blacks today have less income than whites and make up a bigger percentage of prison-industrial complex victims. In this kind of environment a black president is definitely a hit against racism in the minds of most Americans; it probably isn’t going to swell the ranks of white separatists at any rate.

  53. Keith Preston

    Bob,

    “Keith, I’m fairly confident that the left-libertarians who broadly identify themselves with thick libertarianism are quite aware of the long and sordid and bloodied history of statist-left tyranny.”

    I don’t doubt that.

    “There’s no disputing that there are a whole lot of cultural leftists who resort to the state to force their values on others. I’m pretty sure people who frequent this blog are pretty well aware of that. But does that necessarily refute the values in question? The ends does not justify the means, but does the use of a certain means (coercion) necessarily render the stated ends sought as corrupt in and of themselves? Or could it be that those same ends could be sought using purely non-coercive means (rational persuasive argumentation to convince people to voluntarily alter their own attitudes and behavior)?”

    I agree with everything you said here.

    “If you don’t think that the ends themselves are worth libertarian pursuit, then that’s what you should be arguing.”

    The best way I know to explain my views on this matter might be to drawn on analogy to something else that really sets some people off: namely, drug abuse. As one who takes the standard libertarian position drug laws, obviously prohibtionists are going to accuse me of advocating drug abuse, minimizing it harms, ignoring its peripheral damage to third parties, etc. To hear the average drug warrior tell the story, any amount of drug use, no matter how mild, moderate, restrained, or how otherwise functional the individual user may be, is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated and must be wiped out at all costs. Of course, efforts to do this prove counterproductive and actually increase the problems associated with drug abuse.

    I think many liberals, left-wingers and others take a similar position when it comes to social prejudices. Any amount of racism, sexism, homophobia, et.al., no matter how mild, moderate, or marginalized must not be tolerated and its eradication must be the highest priority. Most of the proposed solutions advocated by conventional left-wingers to these questions, IMO, actually increase the amount of such prejudice by exacerbating such hostilities. The practice of “school busing” that was popular among liberals in the 1970s being a good example.

    Yes, left libertarians don’t advocate the use of the state to advance such ideals. Conservative libertarians like Ron Paul don’t advocate use of the state to eradicate drug use. They prefer medical or moral persuasion. At the same time, conservative libertarians usually don’t make private action to curb drug abuse a centerpiece of their political agenda, because such actions are supposed to be, well, private. At the political level, libertarianism is simply about abolishing drug laws. Think of how pointless and silly it would look if a paleolibertarian site like LRC, for instance, started published regular features on the evils of drug use, with essays and articles about IV drug use and AIDS, crack babies, street derelicts, overdoses, and accidents by intoxicated drivers. Even if they did all this while making it clear they were opposed to drug laws and the drug war, a lot of folks would still think, “Yeah, but what the hell does this have to do with libertarianism?”

    I’d say the same thing about the Left’s views on social prejudice.

    If you want my personal views on these questions, I’d say I’m a thorough-going indvidualist. On drug abuse, for instance, I think certain forms of drug use on relatively harmless and more or less value neutral. I think full-blown alcoholism and alcohol abuse, heroin addiction, crack addiction, smoking methamphetamine, chain smoking cigarettes, etc. are bad ideas, self-destructive, and potential harmful to third parties like one’s children who are neglected,etc. Yet, I know lots of people who do all of this, I can’t really say I think any less of them for doing it, or really personally give a fuck one way or the other. I look at it like that’s their business, not mine.

    I’d say the same about social prejudice. I’ve known lots of different kinds of people from all sorts of backgrounds-races, immigrants, religions, gays, trannies, drug users, gang members, criminals, yuppies, academics, bikers, etc. I’d say I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to “difference” in that I don’t mind knowing or being around people that are different from me. Of all the places I’ve ever been, some of my favorites have been New York, Toronto,San Francisco and Amsterdam-not exactly socially conservative or culturally homogenous places.

    I’ve also known plenty of people who exhibit “prejudice” of the kind we discuss here. Some times I think they raise genuine issues, like racial double standards, sometimes I think they’re being narrow minded. Sometimes I think they just have a different way of looking at things. Either way, I don’t feel any need to go all out to oppose or disagree with them, just as I don’t feel I need to go all out to oppose all the alcoholics and drug addicts I know.

    “George W. Bush was recently preaching the virtues of the free market to the Europeans, but does that mean everyone should beware of any and all pro-free marketers due to their bloody history of invading foreign countries to forcibly convert them to “freedom”?”

    “Any and all pro-free marketers”? No, of course not, but, yes, when establishment figures start talking about “free markets” I’d say, yes, a red flag should go up, because for them “free market” is just a code word for state-capitalism, mercantilism or what Kevin Carson calls “vulgar libertarianism.”

    “As for accepting a black man’s being elected president as being evidence of anti-racist progress, you would have to actually accept the state’s own propaganda to believe that, something I find odd coming from an anarchist.”

    Now, that’s a really over the top statement. I agree with Gabriel on this. I hear comments like this from the cultural left all the time and it’s one of the things that undermines their credibility, IMO. From the time the first blacks arrived in the 1620s or so until 1865, most of them were slaves, followed by another 100 years of Jim Crow. Blacks are still only 12.5% percent of the US population, yet a black man is elected president. Yes, I’d very much say that’s a sign of “anti-racist” progress. Also, I saw some research a while back that indicated a majority of white Americans had a generally more favorable rather than less favorable view of blacks. That’s “anti-racist” progress as well. Does that all whites are falling all over themselves to show their love for blacks? No, but it’s not a perfect world. Perhaps mutual tolerance is the best that can be achieved among people with serious differences in history and worldview, and a lengthy history of antagonism.

    Sergio,

    “Concerning racism, if you want practices specifically aimed against blacks, forms of discrimination, look for racial profiling, or police brutality against blacks (for example in L.A).”

    Well, wouldn’t it be better to oppose police brutality, harassment,etc. of any kind and in general, rather than always trying to make it into a racial issue. For instance, guys like Al Sharpton make serious opponents of police brutality, harrassment, excessive force, 4th amendment violations,etc. look foolish by claiming every police brutality case is a race issue (even when the perpetrators are black cops) and making every arrest of a black thug into a civil rights case.

    “The point is more simpler: there is a rape is or glorified, or excused or presented as something natural (even if pretended it is wrong).”

    “You seem to be obsesed that the only place were politics exists is electoral politics or in the rule of law.”

    Well, I regard politics as being about law, government, statecraft, political economy, international relations, etc. I reject the claim that the “personal is political.”

    “I suggest you take a read on what Charles has written on this (in general for feminist topics, which is pretty good:”

    Examples? I don’t have time to sift through his archives.

    Who does this?

    “Many right wingers do not oppose compulsory school attendence, they just oppose having to send their kids to schools where they teach them stuff they don´t like (evolution, sex education etc…). When school taught the values and the classes they wanted, they didn´t have a problem with compulsory school attendence. Others are simply false: take for instance ” freedom of religious practice”, which is nothing else than a way to say “the right to force our believes in state, via legislature or simbolism”. Or their opposition of taxes: Have you seen this “Joe the plumber”? In the interviews he ctiticized the state for taking away his money, yet he defended the war in Iraq (that was paid with what? Yes, tax payer money…). Conservatives simply have taken libertarian language to promote their pet statist issues, because there is not one fibber in their bone that is anti statist, and unlike the left, that is anti authoritarian (quite the contrary).”

    You find hypocrisy and inconsistency on both the Left and Right. Conservatives are no special sinners in this regard. And, like it or not, most left-wing advocates of ideals like egalitarianism, secularism, universalism or cosmopolitanism are statist of one stripe or another. Libertarians are in the minority among these.

  54. Sergio Méndez

    Keith:

    Regarding Charles writings on feminism, and how opresion of women can arise from spontenous order, see:

    http://radgeek.com/gt/2008/05/16/women_and/

    Concerning Al Sharpton and race issues: who cares if he is supposedly wrong when he claims every police beating of black people is a race issue, if the problem exists really?

    On conservatives and libertarianism:

    First, my point was that many of the presented as libertarian from the right, aren´t at all. Second, sure, both sides (and libertarians to) have hypocrites. But vis a vis libertarianism, only conservatives are hypocrites. It is they who parrot, day and night, the stuff about “big goverment” etc, yet their own very interests REQUIRE big goverment or some form of coertion. The left, being most of it statist, has not that hypocresy issue. But again, you haven´t show me that conservatives aren´t anti state, or even anti authoritarian. At least the left has some more recognizable traces of anti authoritarism in its ideology, even if they favor the existence of the state.

  55. Keith Preston

    “Regarding Charles writings on feminism, and how opresion of women can arise from spontenous order, see:”

    Thanks for pointing me to that. It’s an interesting article and it makes arguments that are certainly worthy of being heard, but here’s a few initial problems I can see:

    “Women are not free because they must figure out how to live with the fact of widespread, intense, random violence against women. That fact has profound ripple effects on where women feel they can safely go. When they feel they can safely go there. What women feel they can safely do or say—especially what they can safely do or say in the presence of men. How they dress, how they take up space, how they react to social interactions that are wanted or unwanted. Some of this is conscious adjustment to fears and explicit warnings; a lot of it is the sort of small-scale, subconscious acts of vigilance and self-protection that we all carry out, as a daily routine, or as an expression of felt anxiety.”

    When I read this I was reminded of some right-wing manifesto I once came across that declared: “Everyone has the right to be safe from crime every place, every time, everywhere, etc.” And I was like, “Yes, theoretically, maybe they do, but is that realistic to expect?”

    Of course, it’s not “fair” that women need to take actions to protect themselves against rapists and other violent criminals, just as it’s not “fair” that men or women have to get security fences and alarms to prevent home burglarly, but such is life in a dangerous world. Crime has existed since time immemorial. What is anyone supposed to do about it other than act to restrain the perpetrators?

    “But unlike the kinds of State violence to which male anarchists and libertarians are accustomed to discuss — violent restrictions of freedom handed down according to explicit State policies, ratified through political processes, promulgated from the top down and consciously carried out by officially appointed or deputized agents of the State — patriarchy expresses itself in attitudes, behaviors, and coercive restrictions that are largely produced by bottom-up, decentralized forms of violence, committed by many different men, who wouldn’t know each other from Adam, freelance terrorists who commit violence of their own accord,”

    How is this different from any other kind of common crime?

    “of us who believe that freedom is for all human beings, and who work for an end to all forms of systematic political violence, have to fight, at the very least, a two-front war: against the violence of the State, and against the violence of patriarchy.”

    This reminds me of a news article I once saw about a fundamentalist preacher described as “known for his fiery sermons against sin and rock music,” as if rock music was some category of iniquity above and beyond sin itself. This statement would make more sense if it said we needed a two-front war against both the public violence of the state and the private violence of common crime including rape to be sure and also murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, assault, arson, carjacking, burglary, mugging, malicious wounding, etc, but it seems to single out rape as some special category of violence or crime that’s somehow different from these other kinds.

    If this is to be the justification for feminism, then should we not also advocate, along with feminism or anti-racism, “murder victimism,” “convenience store clerkism,” “bank tellerism,” “homeownerism,” “mugging victimism” and so forth.

    Don’t get me wrong, this is a very good essay, and some of the sociological arguments are very interesting, but it still sounds like a case of special pleading for one’s favorite aspect of crime-fighting.

    “Concerning Al Sharpton and race issues: who cares if he is supposedly wrong when he claims every police beating of black people is a race issue, if the problem exists really?”

    Well, for one thing, guys like Sharpton have a “little boy who cried wolf” effect on these issues, and undermine the degree to which others will take these issue seriously.

    “The left, being most of it statist, has not that hypocresy issue. But again, you haven´t show me that conservatives aren´t anti state, or even anti authoritarian. At least the left has some more recognizable traces of anti authoritarism in its ideology, even if they favor the existence of the state.”

    My view is that both Left and Right have authoritarian and libertarian tendencies. Who is worse is an individual’s value judgement. If you value the right to bear arms, own private property, attend a traditional church, smoke cigarettes,or not pay taxes, you’re probably happier on the right. If you prefer the right to engage in same-sex or interracial relationships, have an abortion, or live a non-religious lifestyle, you’re probably happier with the left.

· December 2008 ·

  1. Nicholas

    “In other words, that Thick libertarianism should lead us to the IDEALS of the left, even if the historical left used the wrong methods in the process of achieving those ideals.”

    Is it just the methods which are wrong or some of the ideals as well? What do you think of this kind of radical feminism?

    “As for the issue of whether or not to continue to reproduce males, it doesn’t follow that because the male, like disease, has always existed among us that he should continue to exist.

    When genetic control is possible—and soon it will be—it goes without saying that we should produce only whole, complete beings, not physical defects of deficiencies, including emotional deficiencies, such as maleness. Just as the deliberate production of blind people would be highly immoral, so would be the deliberate production of emotional cripples.”

    —Valeris Solanas, SCUM Manifesto”

    And what do you think about the rampant sexism against men in ads and tv shows? Left libertarians would be well advised to listen to what this girl is saying: link

  2. Bob Kaercher

    Nicholas: Just because thick libertarianism advocates feminism, that doesn’t mean thick libertarians should be packaged with every single angry control freak who calls herself a feminist. There are lots of self-described libertarians who favor aggressive war, but that doesn’t make every libertarian an aggressive warmonger, nor do pro-war libertarians by the tactics they advocate negate the libertarian ideals of individual liberty and freed markets in and of themselves.

    If you’re interested in finding out what thick libertarians regard as equality—-since we’re talking about gender equality here—-you can read “Equality: The Unknown Ideal” by thick libertarian advocate Roderick Long:

    http://mises.org/story/804

    Essentially, he asserts that the only way the egalitarian concept has any real meaning is in the Jeffersonian/Lockeansense: “[Equality in authority: the prohibition of any ‘subordination or subjection’ of one person to another.”

    I think that after some reflection on that, you should be well satisfied that feminist thick libertarians do not agree with anyone’s proposal to completely wipe the entire male gender clean from the Earth.

  3. Rad Geek

    Nicholas,

    What do you think of this kind of radical feminism? […] —Valeris Solanas, SCUM Manifesto

    I don’t want to be rude, but what I think is that if your knowledge of radical feminism is such that you’d identify Valerie Solanas as an example, then you may need to read more about radical feminism before you try to figure out what to say about it.

    Solanas was never involved in the radical feminist movement. She was a New York writer and actor who wrote the SCUM Manifesto in 1967, a year before any organized radical feminist movement existed, and sold mimeographed copies for pocket change. She was never a member of any WL groups (SCUM was a one-woman invention which Solanas later described as not an organization but a frame of mind). Her Manifesto is very clearly a mix of seriously-intended criticism and a wicked sense of humor; it’s often hard to tell just what is intended as a serious expression of Solanas’s views and what’s intended as a satire of common male-supremacist arguments or expressions. In any case, the contents of the Manifesto, insofar as they do seriously express her views, express a view radically different from the views that were advocated by women who actually were involved in early radical WL efforts like W.I.T.C.H., New York Radical Women, Bread and Roses, Jane, Notes from the First Year, Notes from the Second Year, etc. Among other things, Solanas was a biological essentialist, whereas early radical feminists were certainly not, and which most radical feminists still are not. The proposal to eradicate the male sex (on the grounds of men’s biological inferiority) as such has more or less nothing to do with anything that any large number of genuine radical feminists (including lesbian separatists) has ever said.

    In any case supporting feminism in general, or radical feminism in particular, and viewing your support of (radical) feminism as somehow importantly linked with your support of (radical) libertarianism, does not mean agreeing with anything and everything that anyone who could possibly be identified (accurately, or in the case of Valerie Solanas, inaccurately) as a member of the feminist movement has ever said. For one thing, the feminist movement is large and old and women and men involved in it have said many different things, some of them mutually exclusive, often in debate not only with anti-feminists but with each other. I’m willing to agree with and defend a lot of very radical feminist theory, but I don’t think it much complicates my view or my stance to reject (e.g.) biological essentialist views that many of the most radical and prominent radical feminists (the Redstockings, Andrea Dworkin, et al.) also explicitly rejected.

    And what do you think about the rampant sexism against men in ads and tv shows?

    If you mean the common pattern of portraying men as irresponsible, incompetent, childlike buffoons, perpetually immature, (hetero-)sexually exploitative, or whatever, for the purposes of a punchline or a sitcom character dynamic — just because they are men — then I certainly agree that that kind of gender humor is (1) pernicious, and (2) also not funny. So do most feminists. (For example, just to pick a couple people I know off the web, consider the section on sitcoms in this post by Amanda Marcotte or the post about teevee sitcoms by Barry Deutsch.) Where feminists may disagree with you about this has to do with whose interests we think these kind of tropes serve.

    If you’re using the word sexism the way that feminists use it, then it means more than just something like thinking or saying bad things about other people based on their gender. If that latter is all you mean, then, sure, that’s an example of blanket prejudice against men as such, and it sucks and people oughtn’t do that. But when feminists say sexism, what they’re referring to includes prejudice but is not limited to it; it is a structured system of social, cultural, political, and economic power, through which members of one sex-class gain power and control over the members of another, which they use to oppress and exploit the members of the subordinate sex-class. If your claim is that the portrayal of men these kinds of sitcoms, ads, etc. tend to subordinate men to women, or somehow reflect or express some kind of subordination of men to women, or that they somehow redound to the benefit of women as a class, then I think that’s ridiculous. Most of this kind of humor is in fact created, distributed, controlled by, shown to, and laughed at by, men, and its cultural function has nothing at all to do with reversing or even with challenging traditions of male dominance.

  4. Marja Erwin

    Our media teaches that women are only good for two things: to fulfill the sexual and reproductive needs of men. My parents didn’t teach this, but I learned my lessons from elsewhere (and reject these lessons). A woman who excels at some other purpose is like a man; a man who performs these purposes for either sex is like a woman.

    People regularly speak of men as more complete, of injured men as like women, and of women as incomplete men. (Which really feeds into anti-trans misogyny.) People speak of testosterone as a source of ability - increased alertness, increased sex drive, etc. as well as increased strength. (In fact, it can dull the senses and reduce the sex drive.)

    In order to expose and to rebel against this conditioning, it helps to parody it… Which is exactly what the SCUM Manifesto does.

  5. Araglin

    Marja,

    You said: “Our media teaches that women are only good for two things: to fulfill the sexual and reproductive needs of men.”

    However malign this sexist “lesson” is (and it would be unspeakably malign assuming it were near so pervasive and unchallenged in the media as your comment suggests), hasn’t that lesson been largely written-over by the different and somewhat contrary* class-ist “lesson” that women of today can and must “have it all” (the deliverances of the doctrine of opportunity cost notwithstanding)?

    In other words, they can and must:

    (1) Be driven, accomplished, and powerful careerists (effortlessly ascending various corporate and governmental hierarchies);

    (2) Be and remain physically beautiful (by received and conventional aesthetic standards)(including maintaining the lithe body-type of a 19-year-old well into their 40s/50s);

    (3) Be sexually liberated, satisfied, and adventurous(which happens usually to equate to mimicking the entirely self-regarding excesses and exploits of the traditionally-male sanctioned activity of “sowing one’s wild oats”; and

    (4) Able to be exemplary mothers (beginning perhaps in the late 30s or maybe early 40s) and perhaps wives also?

    In other words, the “lesson” is the joint-realizability or compossibility of all of these things, so long as one has perfectly planned out and coordinated her various goals. If a mere mortal (or more pointedly, a non-rich, non-Hollywood-celebrity-type) finds it difficult or impossible to achieve all of this simultaneously, her life could not be a happy one, and she might as well resign herself to living vicariously through the Nicole Kidmans and Sarah Jessica Parkers who are plastered all over the TV and supermarket checkout lines?

    Regards, Araglin

    • I don’t mean to say that it’s entirely contrary at bottom, since even this new message may itself be but an instance of the more subtle machinations of patriarchy.
  6. Marja Erwin

    Well, perhaps your fellow-students didn’t tell you “you can’t rape a pussy if you marry it.” These attitudes certainly were pervasive and certainly did drive me into denial and self-hatred. And I’m not alone.

  7. Anonymous

    Marja isn’t alone.

    I heard precisely the same thing, in precisely those words, from male students, in my own adolescence.

  8. Nicholas

    “If you’re using the word “sexism” the way that feminists use it, then it means more than just something like “thinking or saying bad things about other people based on their gender.” If that latter is all you mean, then, sure, that’s an example of blanket prejudice against men as such, and it sucks and people oughtn’t do that.”

    The latter is what I meant. Do you think this is something to be taken lightly, or is the psychological damage inflicted on men and boys an important issue?

    “If your claim is that the portrayal of men these kinds of sitcoms, ads, etc. tend to subordinate men to women, or somehow reflect or express some kind of subordination of men to women, or that they somehow redound to the benefit of women as a class…”

    No. I think they benefit the ruling elite who control the media to the detriment of middle class men.

  9. Rad Geek

    Marja,

    I agree that there’s a lot in the SCUM Manifesto that is really brilliant parody and satire. (The essay as a whole is extremely funny.) But, based on what Valerie Solanas said about it in later interviews, I don’t think that the entire thing can be read as satirical. A lot of the biological essentialist stuff is definitely reflective of her own views.

    Araglin,

    I agree with what Marja and Anonymous have said about how common misogyny, in its vilest and most explicit forms, is if you scratch the surface of politeness even a little (especially in all-male spaces).

    I’d also like to add that (1) you’re right to suspect that the messages you’re talking about still have something to do with patriarchy. And (2) that when you listed four life-defining goals that you think malestream society suggests women can and must do to have it all and live a successful life, three of those life-shaping goals (2, 3, 4) are explicitly and directly about the woman successfully fulfilling the sexual and reproductive needs of men. (So long as the lessons being taught about sexual attractiveness, sexual adventurousness and availability, and mothering/wifing are being taught on the presumption that the woman is heterosexual. And in this heteropatriarchal society of ours, I think the lessons are pretty much always taught on that presumption.) So I don’t think that the lessons you’re talking about, if those are the lessons being taught in malestream media and culture, are anything other than a slight variation on the same old lessons Marja was discussing.

    Nicholas,

    Do you think this is something to be taken lightly,

    No.

    or is the psychological damage inflicted on men and boys an important issue?

    Sure it’s an important issue, but as psychological damage goes, I can think of a lot of bigger concerns for feminist politics — including bigger concerns about how boys and men are bullied, browbeaten, traumatized, stifled, or terrorized into a particular gender role — than sitcom portrayals of men as doofuses or lechers. (I think it’s safe to say for example, that when I was a boy, I was a lot more hurt by the bullies who constantly harassed and occasionally physically terrorized me over their perception that I didn’t live up to their notion of appropriate heterosexual masculinity, than I was by dumb gender humor perpetrated by ad men or bad sitcoms or stand-up comics. How about you?)

    I mean, look, if this issue is your bag, go for it; but I hope you won’t begrudge it if I’m occupied with different issues.

    Me:

    If your claim is that the portrayal of men these kinds of sitcoms, ads, etc. tend to subordinate men to women, or somehow reflect or express some kind of subordination of men to women, or that they somehow redound to the benefit of women as a class…

    Nicholas:

    No. I think they benefit the ruling elite who control the media to the detriment of middle class men.

    O.K. Then I largely agree with you. But that’s why I’d consider this an example of classism, not an example of sexism against men (if, again, sexism is being used to describe a structured system of class power).

  10. Araglin

    Marja and Anonymous,

    To your heartwrenching replies, I can only say that it deeply saddens me that anything like what you’ve described actually goes on. I suppose that because I have no personal recollection of having been exposed to influences “teaching” either that (i)women were ONLY good for sex and procreation, or that (ii) there was no such thing as marital rape, I must have slid into the position that my experience was at least representative if not nigh universal in this regard. However, even assuming you’re right, that the death of these views has been exaggerated, I would still submit to you that they are contended with the more subtle (if still sinister) ones that I tried to sketch out.

    Charles,

    Thanks for your reply. I agree with basically all you’ve said here, except that these days (perhaps more than hitherto) the cultural pressures for women to do the things I mentioned are nearly-always framed in terms of the (i) occupational, (ii) sexual, and (iii)maternal/uxorial fulfillment of the women themselves (and no doubt there is some actual fulfillment to be had this way).

    However, I think that the bosses are often the true beneficiaries of the first of these (because supposedly only participation in the cash-nexus is supposed to “count” as worthy); men, the beneficiary of the second (because they can easily take advantage of the norms coming out of this strand of the sexual-liberation encouraging availability and nonchalance among women when it suits their own purposes); and the fertility-clinic-pharmaceutical sector, the third (because women seeking to conceive in their late thirties and beyond give rise to something like 80% of medically-cognizable fertility issues).

  11. Nicholas

    “I think it’s safe to say for example, that when I was a boy, I was a lot more hurt by the bullies who constantly harassed and occasionally physically terrorized me over their perception that I didn’t live up to their notion of appropriate heterosexual masculinity, than I was by dumb gender humor perpetrated by ad men or bad sitcoms or stand-up comics. How about you?)

    I mean, look, if this issue is your bag, go for it; but I hope you won’t begrudge it if I’m occupied with different issues.”

    Personally I wasn’t bullied into a particular gender role when I was a boy. On the other hand, I recollect watching angry women on tv shows saying how awful men are and blaming them collectively for their oppression or watching that dumb gender humor. I was 13 and I was going between feeling angry thinking “women must hate men” and feeling guilty for being an oppressive male.

    Our experiences may differ because we are different or because we grew up in different social settings, but this isn’t about you and me and our personal preoccupations.

    It’s about the present Orwellian system, the social engineering methods it employs to its narrow benefit and whether libertarianism should have anything to say about them.

    If someone is against patriarchy because they are only against what has hurt them personally, fine. But if someone is against the system, I’d expect them in addition to confronting patriarchy, to address the issues I’ve raised as well.

    The totalitarian left certainly won’t. How about the libertarian left?

  12. Marja Erwin

    Well, I can’t speak for you.

    I suppose supportive parents can inoculate their children against some of the damage of sex stereotypes - those which support patriarchy as well as those which contradict it. And friends can do that for their friends. In my case, I had the supportive family but the wrong inoculations, so to speak, so I can’t really say.

    The media may not be the mainspring of misogyny. It can feed into it, but the school system is also important; it enables bullying as well as less coercive forms of peer pressure. Later on there are job pressures. The media does push the cult of testosterone.

  13. Nicholas

    “The media may not be the mainspring of misogyny. It can feed into it, but the school system is also important; it enables bullying as well as less coercive forms of peer pressure.”

    Good point. Psychological violence (ridicule, name-calling) in schools is a serious problem.

— 2010 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2010-05-07 – Bits & Pieces on Free Market Anti-Capitalism: two meanings of “markets”:

    […] grassroots mutual aid associations and community free clinics are part of the market; so are voluntary labor unions (based on free association and the right to protest or quit), consensual communes, narrower or […]

— 2011 —

  1. Discussed at rafaelhotz.wordpress.com

    >Enxurrádicas (V) « rafaelhotz:

    […] e qualquer grupo que deseje desmantelar o “Império”)… Aqui e aqui o pobre Preston argumenta incessantemente… Quanto a mim, creio que as duas visões são […]

— 2012 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People's Daily 2012-10-19 – Coalition of Immokalee Workers victory in Denver; struggle in Miami:

    […] The Blockheads of the world may insist that unions survive only through violence, and win only through either the intervention of the State or vigilantism against non-unionized fellow workers. Yet somehow, today, I find this message from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers — and a similar e-mail from their allies in the Student/Farmworker Alliance — a southern Florida farmworker’s union that uses nonviolent protest, secondary boycotts, and other creative pressure campaigns on behalf of Florida tomato pickers, and which (because it is a farmworkers’ union) has no access at all to the government labor relations bureaucracy. Somehow, they have survived. Somehow, they have won — again. . . . Fellow workers, the C.I.W.’s ongoing series of inspiring victories for Florida farmworkers are both an inspiration and a reminder. We should never forget the power of creative extremism and wildcat unionism — a power that needs no government, no ballot boxes, no political bosses, no Officially Recognized labor bureaucrats, no lawyers, and no Changeling political parties. It’s the power that fellow worker Joe Ettor reminded us all of, as he and his fellow workers struggled to a hard-won victory in the great Bread and Roses textile strike of 1912, when he said: […]

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