Libertarians Against Property Rights and Freedom of Association, Unabridged Edition

The other day I mentioned an exchange that I had with regular R.-J. columnist and occasional libertarian Vin Suprynowicz, over an ill-tempered blog post he wrote on so-called illegal immigration. Since my most recent comment on the post was deep-sixed into a moderation queue and shows no signs of reappearing, I offer this post as a way of recording the conversation so far in full.

Vin’s original article, Speaking in code words to disguise what they really mean,, is an extended complaint about a recent immigration freedom rally in Vegas — not the 1 May marcha that I participated in, but a more recent rally by Reform Immigration for America, focused on family reunification. Suprynowicz reacted with a polemic against the alleged euphemisms being used by those radicals (his word; he says it like it’s supposed to be a bad thing somehow) who would dare propose even the smallest rollbacks of government constraints on voluntary migration. One of these euphemisms, he says, is calling people who move to Nevada without a permission slip from the United States federal government undocumented immigrants, or even immigrants at all; instead, we are told, they should be called trespassing illegal aliens. We are also told that fewer government restrictions on immigration would lead to the swarming and bankrupting of our current [state] socialist policies like government-run schools and hospitals. And he tells us that anyone who does not support the most rigorous and aggressive enforcement of the Fugitive Alien Acts by federal police agencies is promoting amnesty, which is, apparently, supposed to be a condemnation beyond any hope of appeal:

These radicals [sic] can use all the euphemisms they please to avoid the word, but anyone who believes illegal trespassers should not be deported — or imprisoned and THEN deported — is promoting amnesty, and needs to answer the question: How does giving amnesty to a couple million knowing law-breakers not encourage the next set of knowing law-breakers, inviting them in no uncertain terms to Come on in and enjoy all the free stuff; after a few years you can get amnestied, too!?

— Vin Suprynowicz (2009-06-14): Speaking in code words to disguise what they really mean

Well, I wouldn’t know; but one of the advantages of being an unterrified radical is that you don’t have to live in fear of boogey-words, or waste time defining down your goals to suit the status quo. (On which, see GT 2007-11-12 Sin Fronteras.) I don’t know all the details of what Reform Immigration for America stands for, but, in any case, I’ll be your huckleberry: sure, I’m for amnesty — immediate, complete, and unconditional amnesty, without any penalties and for every single criminalized immigrant in this grand old country. I’m promoting amnesty, and I’m promoting open borders, too, so I don’t care how many people show up in hopes of the next amnesty. If I really had my way, there’d be no next amnesty — because there’d be no government border laws left for anyone to violate.

So here was my first reply. (In which I chose, for rhetorical reasons, to use Vin’s own terms, using socialist to mean state socialist, and also illegal immigrant, for undocumented immigrants, a phrase that I would never choose for myself in conversation, because I think it’s dehumanizing and brutal. But in this context, I chose to use the phrase rather than criticize it, because part of the basic problem here is the underlying notion that there’s something morally wrong with breaking government laws.) Anyway:

The people to whom Ms. Arguello-Kline refers as immigrants aren’t immigrants, by that sensible definition, at all. They’re trespassing illegal aliens,

A trespasser is someone who intrudes on another person’s property against the will of the property-owner.

Let’s pretend I’m an illegal immigrant renting an apartment, working for a meat-packing plant, shopping at the local grocery store, et cetera. Presumably my landlord is willing for me to live on his or her property: if the owner didn’t want me to live there, he or she wouldn’t have signed the lease. Presumably, also, my boss is willing for me to be inside his or her plant; otherwise he or she wouldn’t be paying me to do it. Presumably, also, the stores I shop at are willing for me to be inside their stores: otherwise, they wouldn’t welcome my business.

So just whose property, exactly, am I trespassing on?

How does giving amnesty to a couple million knowing law-breakers not encourage the next set of knowing law-breakers, inviting them in no uncertain terms to Come on in and enjoy all the free stuff; after a few years you can get amnestied, too!?

You say knowing law-breakers like it’s supposed to be a bad thing to knowingly break the law. Coming from someone who so vocally praises the American Revolution, this seems odd.

If the radicals who gathered downtown on June the first want to demonstrate in favor of a mass amnesty — for open borders, over which hundreds of millions of the world’s poor and oppressed would be invited to come here and swarm our free public schools and free hospital emergency rooms until our current socialist policies drive us finally, completely, bankrupt — let them at least say what they mean.

That sounds like a problem with the socialist policies, not a problem with free immigration.

Why exactly do you want to save socialist policies like government control over schools and hospitals?

— Rad Geek, June 15th, 2009 at 12:48pm

(For more on conservative welfare statist arguments against immigration freedom, see GT 2007-12-13: On the dole.)

Vin’s reply:

So, presumably, if I wrote warning people not to let their children swim in the river because there are crocodiles, Rad Geek, hiding behind a cloak of anonymity, would ask:

Why exactly do you want to save the practice of crocodiles eating little children just because they go swimming in inappropriate places?

Signing my name, standing tall and risking the consequences, I have fought a radical, no-compromise battle for the complete shutdown — not some kind of half-assed reform, but the literal dynamiting (once the children have been removed to a safe distance) — of the government schools, and every government income redistibution bureaucracy, for more than 15 years.

Warning of — heck, simply observing — the consequences of allowing unlimited millions of people to violate American immigration laws, arriving here to flood the government welfare schools and enormously expensive tax-subsidized hospital emergency rooms every time they come down with the sniffles, means I want to save these evil redistributionist schemes?

How does acknowledging a reality of which we disapprove indicate we want to save it? By this logic, if you believe the Constitution forbids government agents from restricting your right to carry a loaded firerarm into a federal courthouse (as it most certainly does), you MAY NOT leave your firearm in the car; you MUST carry it into the courthouse in defiance of the orders of the armed guards there, lest you stand accused by Rad Geek of wanting to save all their unconstitutional gun laws.

You must, in short, PRETEND that all current conditions of which you disapprove DO NOT EXIST.

In the real world, this is a good way to quickly get yourself killed. But Rad Geek will accuse us of wanting to save any current condition that we merely acknowledge as currently existing.

Do the illegal aliens stand up and declare We reject your laws, here we stand with our guns, we’re willing to risk death to proclaim that your laws have no dominance over us, like the patriots at Lexington and Concord?Are they fighting to free us, as well as themselves, from unconstitutional tyranny? I haven’t noticed them doing that. What I notice them doing is walking away from car crashes and hospital bills and orders to appear in court to answer for their crimes, refusing to take any responsibility for the damage they cause.

Yes, if there were no tax-funded commons, and none of us were numbered or taxed, the arrival of a million strangers seeking work would do me little harm, provided they maintained reasonable sanitary safeguards. When Rad Geek, hiding in the shadows of anonymity, has managed to accomplish goals to which courageous Libertarians have been unable to win over even 5 percent of our casually socialist neighbors in 40 years of effort, I hope he’ll let us know.

Meantime, since he wants to speak in hypotheticals, let’s pretend Rad Geek is a landlord or an employer, telling all applicants who speak poor English, I’m not going to rent to you or offer you a job, because I think you may be an illegal immigrant and I don’t want to become an accessory to your crime. Do you think our brave federal bureaucrats will congratulate him and back him to the hilt, demanding the applicant prove he or she is here legally?

Those employers and landlords soon find themselves in an Alice-and-Wonderland world, threatened with fines by the EEOC and other alphabet bureaucracies, you simpering innocent. Presumably my boss and landlord are willing? Go talk to a few of them, before you go presuming too much, you ivory-tower twit.

Why do you suppose Barack Obama declines to put E-Verify into widespread use?

Yes, I would prefer no Social Slave number or internal passport were necessary to go about my business. But if we WERE allowed to take one state of 50, and make it a Libertarian state, hasn’t it occurred to you that we’d have to require new immigrants to forswear socialism, under oath, and upon penalty of immediate exile, before granting them the right to vote? Otherwise, we’d be swarmed by socialists fleeing their own dysfunctional enclaves, who would immediately vote to tax their wealthier neighbors for their own sustenance, at which point we would have accomplished nothing at all.

— Vin Suprynowicz, June 16th, 2009 at 11:47am

My reply, from behind that cloak of anonymity:

“Rad Geek” is a pseudonym, but it’s hardly a “cloak of anonymity.” If you spent a minute searching for it on Google, you’d find my website, which (among other things) talks at length about what my views are, who I am, where I live, what my real name is, and what I’ve published under my name. I don’t usually post comments on the Internet under my given name because it’s a common name, which happens to be shared by at least one prominent blogger with radically different views from mine, so that “Rad Geek” actually provides you with a more reliable way of finding out who I am and what I stand for than Charles Johnson would.

Not that your sniping about pseudonyms as against big manly signatures, or your thuggish anti-intellectual sniping at “ivory-tower twits” has anything to do with the argument; these are simply textbook examples of argumentum ad hominem (abusive form).

Warning of — heck, simply observing — the consequences of allowing unlimited millions of people to violate American immigration laws, arriving here to flood the government welfare schools and enormously expensive tax-subsidized hospital emergency rooms every time they come down with the sniffles, means I want to save these evil redistributionist schemes?

The question is simple. If you don’t want to save government welfare schools and tax-subsidized hospitals, then why in the world do you care whether or not they are flooded? Are you normally in the business of advising government bureaucrats about how to keep their unsustainable socialist schemes running?

By this logic, if you believe the Constitution forbids government agents from restricting your right to carry a loaded firerarm into a federal courthouse (as it most certainly does), you MAY NOT leave your firearm in the car; you MUST carry it into the courthouse in defiance of the orders of the armed guards there, lest you stand accused by Rad Geek of wanting to save all their unconstitutional gun laws.

Well, no. All that I think you MUST do is refrain from cheering on government agents when they go to arrest, exile or kill those who DO choose to exercise their rights.

If you stand by government police when they do try to enforce tyrannical gun laws on innocent people exercising their rights, then yes, you are trying to save tyrannical gun laws. Otherwise, no, you aren’t.

Of course, the problem here is that you ARE explicitly calling for bigger and more aggressive government when it comes to monitoring, policing and punishing illegal immigrants. Even though you haven’t anywhere stated who they are trespassing against by living in the U.S. without a permission slip from the federal government. And one of the reasons you give for this is the alleged effects of free immigration on cockamaimey socialist schemes that you yourself consider wasteful and foolish.

Yes, if there were no tax-funded commons, and none of us were numbered or taxed, the arrival of a million strangers seeking work would do me little harm, provided they maintained reasonable sanitary safeguards.

It’s true that when you combine something basically moral (free immigration) with something completely immoral (government subsidies for education and medicine) you may get bad results from the combination. But why spend your time attacking the moral part of the combination, instead of the immoral part?

Are they fighting to free us, as well as themselves, from unconstitutional tyranny? I haven’t noticed them doing that. What I notice them doing is walking away from car crashes and hospital bills and orders to appear in court to answer for their crimes, refusing to take any responsibility for the damage they cause.

I don’t care whether or not illegal immigrants fight to free me from tyranny. A little help is always appreciated, but I don’t think that fighting for everybody else’s freedom is necessary for people to be justified in breaking unjust laws. Do you think the American Revolutionaries should have been expected to fight not only for their own freedom but also to free the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, the English commoners, or any number of other victims of tyrannical English government? Do you expect Ford to make cars for GM?

As for those fighting their own freedom, maybe it’s a matter of who you know. I know plenty of undocumented immigrants who are actively engaged in pro-freedom politics and against the bordercrats’ Papers please police state.

And as for irresponsibility, I’m sure there are some individual illegal immigrants who are irresponsible. So what? I hear some native-born Americans are irresponsible, too. In a free society, institutions work to hold individual people responsible for what they do. They don’t launch massive collectivist campaigns to hunt down and exile whole populations regardless of whether or not they have ever actually done any of the things you mention.

But if we WERE allowed to take one state of 50, and make it a Libertarian state, hasn’t it occurred to you that we’d have to require new immigrants to forswear socialism, under oath, and upon penalty of immediate exile, before granting them the right to vote?

No. I don’t believe in using government to police political thought.

I also don’t know how you intend to enforce these immigration restrictions you plan on implementing without exactly the sort of Officially Permitted Citizen, Papers-please documentation requirements that you claim you would prefer to abolish.

Those employers and landlords soon find themselves in an Alice-and-Wonderland world, threatened with fines by the EEOC and other alphabet bureaucracies, you simpering innocent.

Oh, please. If you think that Tyson wouldn’t be hiring any illegal immigrants but for the nefarious manipulations of the EEOC, I think you probably need to think about this harder.

Of course, in specific cases where a landlord would like to exclude illegal — or for that matter legal — immigrants from renting apartments, or a boss would like not to hire them, I think that he or she ought to have the right to do so, and that if the EEOC tries to interfere, the EEOC is violating the rights of that boss or landlord. But of course this doesn’t answer the question of who illegal immigrants are trespassing against. If the landlord doesn’t give a damn where the tenant comes from as long as she pays her rent — and many landlords don’t — and if the boss doesn’t give a damn where the worker comes from as long as she does her job — and many bosses don’t — then just who the hell is left for this trespasser to trespass against?

— Rad Geek, June 16th, 2009 at 5:09pm

(For more on how border laws necessarily entail police state measures, inflicted on immigrants and natives alike, see GT 2009-04-17: Death by Homeland Security #3: The Disappeared and GT 2008-01-27: Someone must have slandered Thomas W…..)

Vin’s reply:

Rad Geek asserts:

The question is simple. If you don’t want to save government welfare schools and tax-subsidized hospitals, then why in the world do you care whether or not they are flooded?

Vin replies:

Because I am taxed to pay for them. I am given no choice in the matter. If I refuse to pay the (ever-increasing) taxes to fund these things, the government will (it has, since I have fought these battles for real, not merely as a let’s pretend intellectual exercise) ) seize(d) my paychecks. It will eventually seize and expel me from my house.

Illegal immigrants, who are trespassing because they come where they have no legal right to be, violating the laws of the place to which they travel , tend to vote socialist, because they are looters. Ask those charged with collecting hospital bills how many illegal aliens make good faith efforts to pay their bills. Those who would amnesty them will guarantee the continued spread of socialism, bankrupting us all.

There IS a theory that this is a good thing: Let socialism be overburdened and collapse. Then we will build a better, more Libertarian society on the ruins.

Interesting theory. It can be argued, for instance, that a society more respectful of the Rights of Man [sic] was built on the ruins of Rome, once Rome fell.

It was. The only problem is … it took about a thousand years.

If there is no right to exclude looters from our midst; if we must allow free entry of anyone who wants to come to our community — and the smallest community is my house — and then allow them to decide how my stuff shall be redistributed by majority vote, then freedom of a family of three can last only until four guest workers break down their front door and vote on how to divvy up the food in the refrigerator.

This is the current reality. Rad Geek supports it, apparently under the delusion this is some kind of admirable conscientious objection., whereas organizing a campaign to track down and punish lawbreakers is inherently collectivist. I rarely find myself supporting the existence or activities of the FBI, but I fail to see how it’s despicably collectivist for them to try to catch and punish runaway rapists, murderers, and stickup men.

Or those who violate our perfectly constitutional immigration laws.

I would wish him a happy life in the Looters’ Carnival he prescribes for all of us … if only I were not forced at gunpoint to share it with him.

— Vin Suprynowicz, June 16th, 2009 at 6:18pm

I have no idea how an open demand for the abolition of all existing border laws constitutes supporting the current reality, but whatevs. In any case, my reply was posted to, and appeared publicly in, Suprynowicz’s comment section, on the next morning, but within a day it was deep-sixed into the WordPress moderation queue. Of course, Vin’s blog is his place, and he can choose what to print or not to print; but if the unabridged version of the conversation won’t appear there, I’ll publish it here, as a matter of record, and to keep things open for further discussion and comment:

Vin Suprynowicz:

Because I am taxed to pay for them.

This is pretty rich, coming from someone who vocally insists on the right of tax-mooching immigration bureaucrats and a jackbooted federal police agency to reach their hands into the tax slush fund to enforce immigration policies that I never asked for and don’t want, and then tax me to pay for it against my will.

In any case, in a welfare statist system, it is true that government forces to pay for everyone—and that it forces everyone to pay for you. But this is true regardless of immigration status. Every time some pair of Officially Approved Citizens send their Officially Approved children to government schools, the government spends money which is ultimately extracted from your pockets and mine. I have no idea why you would blame this on people who could not possibly have shaved one cent off of your taxes by refusing to accept government hand-outs — do you suppose that if government doesn’t spend tax funds on schools, it’ll give the money back to taxpayers? ho, ho, ho — rather than blaming it on the people who are actually taxing you.

But in any case, if you are going to blame the people who reclaim government-seized money, rather than the government that seizes the money in the first place, then you do realize, don’t you, that illegal immigrants aren’t special in any particular way on this count? That you could use this argument just as easily to justify government force against just about anyone — government-enforced population control (since children receive big tax subsidies for education, healthcare, etc.), internal passports (since immigrants from poorer states tend to move to richer states and take advantage of the more plentiful welfare benefits), summarily jailing and exiling everyone over the age of 65 (seeing how they mooch of Social Security and Medicare, usually far in excess of what they paid in when they were working), or any other collectivist horror you might dream up.

Perhaps, rather than creating a police state in order to hunt down, round up, and punish those who take receive welfare payments funded by taxation, the thing you should be doing is focusing on the real problem — the welfare state and confiscatory taxation?

Illegal immigrants … tend to vote socialist, because they are looters.

Dude, what you are talking about? Illegal immigrants don’t tend to vote at all in the U.S., because illegal immigrants can’t legally vote.

Maybe you’re worried about what would happen if currently undocumented immigrants were able to become citizens, and then to vote. The fact is that right now, in the real world, immigrants from California pose a much bigger threat to freedom in Nevada than immigrants from Mexico do. And the real threat is not immigrants from anywhere, but rather from unlimited majoritarian democracy, which is always going to have these problems regardless of who can or cannot immigrate. Maybe you would be better served by focusing on the real problem, rather than on trying to get government to police political beliefs (!) or on getting government to inflict punishment on all members of a population for the bad thoughts or bad behavior of some of them?

Ask those charged with collecting hospital bills how many illegal aliens make good faith efforts to pay their bills.

You know, as it turns out, there are already perfectly just laws against refusing to pay your bills, without getting the federal bordercrats involved.

Surprisingly, it turns out that the appropriate punishment for this is not exile from the country.

Also, surprisingly, they don’t take a federal police state or “Papers, please” checkpoints to enforce.

Also, as it turns out, the laws against running out on your bills generally only allow for you to go after the individual person who actually defaults on the bill, or occasionally close family members — in any case, not against complete strangers and entire populations on the collectivist premise that everybody in that population can be held to account for the bad behavior of a bunch of perfect strangers who just happened to come from the same country as they did.

I have no idea what the hell you think this kind of collective guilt-by-association smear, let alone your proposal for addressing it by means of collective punishment of both the innocent and the guilty, has to do with the politics of individual liberty.

If there is no right to exclude looters from our midst;

You have a perfect right to exclude anyone you want from your private property, for any reason, or for no reason at all. What neither you, nor the United States federal government, has any legitimate right to do, is to go around excluding people from my private property, let alone inflicting a massive system of “Papers, please” documentation requirements and checkpoints on me in order to do so, without my permission and indeed against my will.

So, please, exclude whoever you want from your midst. But who’s “we”, kemosabe? Keep your preferences on your own property.

if we must allow free entry of anyone who wants to come to our community

You have a perfect right to evict trespassers from your own property.

The problem is, you see, that “the community” as a whole is not your private property. Or the United States federal government’s. Sorry.

… and then allow them to decide how my stuff shall be redistributed “by majority vote,” then freedom of a family of three can last only until four “guest workers” break down their front door and “vote” on how to divvy up the food in the refrigerator.

This is of course a ridiculous strawman of my position. I explicitly argued above that private property owners should have a right to exclude anyone they want from their own private property.

It’s also pretty rich, hearing this stirring defense of the sanctity of the family home and private property, come from someone who is so angrily insisting that the federal government has a right to send federal police agencies around and stage stormtrooper raids on my private home or workplace, if some elected government passes a “perfectly constitutional” law that says that I can’t invite who I damn well please onto my own damn property.

Or those who violate our perfectly constitutional immigration laws.

Your immigration laws, maybe. Not mine. I wasn’t asked, I didn’t pass them, I don’t enforce them, and I don’t support them; they are inflicted on me and on people I care about without my permission, against my will, and over my explicit protests. Keep that “our” to yourself.

organizing a campaign to track down and punish lawbreakers is inherently “collectivist.”

It is when the laws you’re trying to enforce are collectivist.

Illegal immigrants, who are trespassing because they come where they have no legal right to be, violating the laws of the place to which they travel ,

Again. Trespassers against whom? You can only trespass against the will of an aggrieved property owner; that’s part of the meaning of the word “trespass.” But the laws you’re talking don’t come from the owners of the property on that illegal immigrants live on, or work on. They are passed by government.

Staying somewhere in the U.S. that the United States federal government doesn’t want you to stay is “trespassing” only if you think that the United States federal government is in fact the rightful owner of all the land in the United States. Do you?

I don’t. My view is that the government is not the rightful owner of my home or my business. I am. If I want to invite anyone to peacefully move in on my land (for love or money), or to work for me in my shop, that is exactly none of the government’s business, and the fact that people have not gotten a permission slip from the federal government doesn’t make them “trespassers” on my land — when they have permission from me.

As for whether or not It’s The Law, who gives a damn? Seriously? So’s tax evasion; so’s nonviolent drug use; so’s owning an unlicensed fully-automatic AK-47; lots of things are Against The Law that government actually has no legitimate right to prosecute or punish people for doing. When that happens, the problem is with the government law, not with the law-breakers.

—Rad Geek, June 17th, 2009 at 10:46am

On which, see also GT 2006-04-09: Freedom Movement Celebrity Deathmatch.

Elsewhere, Tom Knapp stages a tough love intervention against border-creep libertarians. And while I’ll thank him for the support, I can’t agree with Justin M. Stoddard (2009-06-18) that I completely owned Vin Suprynowicz. Inalienability, you know.

See also:

63 replies to Libertarians Against Property Rights and Freedom of Association, Unabridged Edition Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Jeremy

    And while I’ll thank him for the support, I can’t agree with Justin M. Stoddard (2009-06-18) that I completely owned Vin Suprynowicz. Inalienability, you know.

    LOL. See, this is why 4 out of 5 consistent libertarians prefer the word “pwned”.

  2. b-psycho

    Ironically, if he sincerely believes the standard line about “illegal immigrants” and employment, the best outcome for him is…the end of border enforcement.

    See, as people in the U.S. without that magic permission slip from the self-assumed masters of the nation, they’re generally unable to argue about the pay & conditions of their work — agitation brings attention, and attention can get them deported. Do away with the artificial state-enforced line & the need to lay low goes away. Now able to question their employer (and organize), immigrant workers can reach parity with people who were already here, thus nullifying the previous (exploitative) incentive to favor immigrant workers anyway.

    This is an example of why I’ve come to see the “illegal” immigration ranting as just latent bigotry. Whether they realize it or not, they’re not arguing against “illegal” immigration, they’re arguing against ALL immigration. If the above scenario doesn’t make any sense to them, it’s because they think there’s too many people here that don’t look like them.

  3. Black Bloke

    It looks as if the coward has shut down comments now.

  4. littlehorn

    This post is extremely helpful to me, as there’s going to be a No Border camp in my home town of Calais this week. There’s gonna be debates and I can already hear Vin’s points being made.

    Excellent work, thank you so much for these rebuttals, several insidious accusations have been cleared from my mind.

    http://calaisnoborder.eu.org/

  5. Gabriel

    One thing I’ve wondered about is that although it sounds consonant with freedom to say people should be allowed to go wherever they like, you also believe in private property, and this leads to two questions.

    1) Do you imagine private property can be “huge”, e.g. could areas the size of Disneyland or Delaware be privately owned and if so would you still support the free migration of people across those areas?

    and

    2) Is it still “free” migration if the immigrants all have an explicitly statist ideology, and are migrating for the purpose of outnumbering the native population and eventually declaring their own state to rule the area?

  6. Darian

    Damn. My jackassatarian response didn’t show up there. Doesn’t Vin know that moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue?

    I said something along the lines of “What kind of Politically Correct secret decoder ring do I need to believe that government paperwork makes the difference between good guys and bad guys? Or is the entire country the property of bureaucrats in DC?” Should’ve saved it.

  7. Life, Love, and Liberty

    And that extremeism in defense of liberty is no vice? ( :

  8. Anna Morgenstern

    Goddamn, you’ve written some beautiful things here. Thank you. This in particular: “I don’t. My view is that the government is not the rightful owner of my home or my business. I am. If I want to invite anyone to peacefully move in on my land (for love or money), or to work for me in my shop, that is exactly none of the government’s business, and the fact that people have not gotten a permission slip from the federal government doesn’t make them “trespassers” on my land — when they have permission from me.

    As for whether or not It’s The Law, who gives a damn? Seriously? So’s tax evasion; so’s nonviolent drug use; so’s owning an unlicensed fully-automatic AK-47; lots of things are Against The Law that government actually has no legitimate right to prosecute or punish people for doing. When that happens, the problem is with the government law, not with the law-breakers.”

  9. Neverfox

    One thing I’ve wondered about is that although it sounds consonant with freedom to say people should be allowed to go wherever they like, you also believe in private property, and this leads to two questions.

    I think Rad Geek was clear that his position is not that people should be allowed to go “wherever they like” but wherever they like provided they aren’t intruding “on another person’s property against the will of the property-owner”.

    1) Do you imagine private property can be “huge”, e.g. could areas the size of Disneyland or Delaware be privately owned and if so would you still support the free migration of people across those areas?

    Well, there is always some debate going on somewhere about how “huge” property can be. Some occ/use folks, for example, would say it strains the concept of property (which is usually based on some analogy to it being an extension of the person’s body or sphere of authority) to have it be boundless. But that’s another debate really that probably isn’t appropriate here.

    So, putting that aside, Rad Geek’s point seems clear: to the degree that land is private property, then no, free migration without the permission of the owner is not OK. However, I think there are exceptions, as Dr. Long pointed out, such as easements (e.g. you cannot box someone in by surrounding them with your property or cutting off the only source of water for hundreds of miles). I suppose that if a piece of property were large enough and intrusive enough that it implied an easement in any reasonable conception of justice, then I would say that yes, one should support free migration across that property.

    2) Is it still “free” migration if the immigrants all have an explicitly statist ideology, and are migrating for the purpose of outnumbering the native population and eventually declaring their own state to rule the area?

    I’m not sure what the ideology or intention of the migrant has to do with the justice of the situation. They seem like two separate issues to me.

  10. Gabriel

    The relation to justice is that you don’t have to wait until an attack on your person to actually defend yourself from an attack, e.g. it’s ridiculous to say the bullet has to already be leaving the gun before you can defend yourself. Libertarian defenses of immigration often assume the immigrants are peaceful people who just want to work and be left alone (e.g. as with Mexican immigration to the US). But if the immigrants are not peaceful, but actually want to take over and set up a state in, say, a previously stateless or relatively free area, then suddenly the case for allowing their free migration seems to be weakened significantly.

    Of course in my example I assume most of the immigrants share an ideology that calls for taking over the area, so the threat they pose is obvious. My intuition is less clear if there is no organized plan, but instead the immigrants are just mostly private criminals, the case Suprynowicz seems to be envisioning. The basic hypothetical I’m asking is, would Charles still be willing to allow free migration if it posed a threat to the stability or existence of a free society

  11. Neverfox

    But if the immigrants are not peaceful, but actually want to take over and set up a state in, say, a previously stateless or relatively free area, then suddenly the case for allowing their free migration seems to be weakened significantly.

    But, Gabriel, while what you say is true concerning threats, you aren’t opposed to them qua migrants but qua aggressors. It in no way weakens the case for free migration per se any more than the fact that some people will try to shoot you and those people should have their gun taken away or otherwise stopped weakens the case for gun ownership per se.

  12. Scott Bieser

    Gabriel:

    It would be a sad state of affairs if libertarians bought into the idea that people should be punished not for crimes committed, but for crimes you think they might commit in the future.

    If you’re worried about “La Reconquista” or something similar, the solution here as in every case of dealing with an evil ideology, to fight bad ideas with good ideas.

    And if you don’t think that’s possible, then the great libertarian project must be a hopeless cause, and the only solution is to find some island somewhere and hole up with sufficiently massive firepower that the bogeymen will stay away.

  13. Rad Geek

    Gabriel,

    1. I don’t recognize any de jure limits on the size of private property that one person or association could accumulate in a free society, but I think there are natural, technological, and economic constraints that tend to put de facto limits on how large an accumulation someone would be able to acquire and maintain. (They have to do with the difficulty of concentrating that much wealth in one place when a fully freed market is exercising its normal centrifugal effects, and with the natural and technological difficulty of maintaining extremely large properties without pockets of it falling into a condition where they could be treated as abandoned and re-homesteaded.)

      So I expect that you might, rarely, see the occasional Disneyland; I doubt that you’d see anyone maintaining a private colony the size of Delaware in any situation short of settling some newly terraformed planet with a basically Solarian level of technology and reconstruction of social organization. Certainly it would be nearly impossible in a free society on Earth as it is, with roughly today’s population and the not-too-distant future’s level of technology.

    2. Well, see, the thing is that I’m already surrounded by statists who share an ideology that calls for taking over the area and dictating to me against my will. Even without the effects of any kind of migration across political borders. So I have trouble seeing how this kind of Evil Alien Invasion scenario actually differs from the situation that I already face with natives. But I don’t think that an appropriate response to the situation I already face is to barricade the roads or burn all my statist neighbors out of the neighborhood, so as to force them to stay further away from me.

      If some identifiable group of people are genuinely threatening an attack on you, then you have a right to defend yourself against those who are actually threatening you. But I don’t see how inflicting blanket travel prohibitions and permanent exile on entire populations could possibly count as a proportional form of self-defense against crimes perhaps to be committed by some of them.

      Rather, what you need to do is look at the means that they are using to make the threat, and do your best to either deprive them of those means or else to equip yourself with an adequate defensive arsenal. When we’re talking about takovers using bullets, that means individual or cooperative self-defense against the specific crimes actually threatened or attempted. When we’re talking about takeovers using ballots (which is more often the case in this kind of immigration debate; certainly it’s what Supes had in mind), that means working to dismantle the state’s enforcement capacity and thus to make yourself ungovernable by the majority.

      Trying to pre-emptively roust up some limited, scapegoated subset of all the statists who surround you, rather than actually dealing with what makes them a threat — viz. the existence of a political apparatus that allows the majority to seize control over your life against your will — is just missing the point. And missing it in a way which guarantees that lots of perfectly innocent people will get shoved around, humiliated, ruined, imprisoned and exiled, while the policy aggressively worsens the exact problem that it was allegedly introduced to solve.

  14. Gabriel

    You give a very wise and insightful answer, in the current political climate the existence of a large political machine available to be controlled certainly is a big dilemma. I was more thinking a hypothetical scenario where libertopia had been established and people were arguing against the migration of “hostile invaders”.

    I was also going to spring my trap on you, but you answered a slightly different question! In any case, I was going to surprise you by saying the historical case I had in mind was the Zionist migration to Palestine. Since I know you have a great deal of sympathy for the Palestinians I wasn’t sure if you would stick to your open borders guns in a case like that, where many of the Israeli migrants came with the explicit purpose of one day having a state to call their own.

  15. Rad Geek

    Gabriel,

    On the specific issue of pre-Nakba Zionist immigration, I favor the same thing I favor for the contemporary problem: a No-State Solution. In particular, I think you need to distinguish three classes of Zionist immigrants: (1) those who bought small tracts of land for individual or communal use, from willing Arab sellers who were more or less legitimate owners of the land; (2) those who bought larger tracts of land which had been politically allocated to a feudal landlord under the Ottoman system of land tenure; and (3) those who just came in smashing and grabbing through either political or terrorist methods. The latter two groups posed a genuine problem, but not a problem to be solved by some politically-enforced national prohibition on either Jewish or specifically Zionist immigration.

    The use of more local, more decentralized, and property-rights-based forms of resistance (such as boycotts, strikes, systematic ostracism, banning people from stepping on your own property, etc.) might have been called for (I dunno for sure; I wasn’t there), but to the extent that the question was handled through those kind of methods, rather than by means of a top-down one-size-fits-all national policy, it’s much more likely that it would have been targeted narrowly at the actual aggressors (political Zionists who adopted methods of type 3) and perhaps occasionally those who profiteered from aggression (those who used type-2 methods to amass artificially large concentrations of land without respect for the rights of existing tenants), rather than being targeted at all Jews or all Zionists or all immigrants, since, among other things, group (1) immigrants tended to maintain fairly peaceful, productive, and mutually beneficial business and community relationships with their Arab neighbors, and it wouldn’t pay for the local farmers and workers and merchants who would be doing all this to cut off those consensual relationships out of political spite.

    In the real history, those folks only got lumped in with the attitudes of, conduct of, and political response to, Zionists from groups (2) and (3) because the whole question was forced through the brutalizing and collectivizing filters of nation-state politics, converting a question about who belongs in your home to a question about which ethno-religious collective has a right to a homeland, so that it was no longer a matter of millions of individual people each asking herself, Which relationships make my life better and which threaten to make it worse? How can I encourage the one and avoid the other? and became a matter of a handful of armed factions debating the question of Should Palestine as a whole belong to The Jews or to The Arabs or both? If both, how do we divvy it up between them? And what do we do to make sure people stay in their place once it’s assigned? There is no possible humane or just answer to the second set of questions; the only thing to do is to decentralize and devolve until you get back to the first set of questions.

  16. Discussed at aaeblog.com

    Minuteman at the Door of Thought | Austro-Athenian Empire:

    […] Apparently Vin Suprynowicz is one of these guys who deletes comments from his blog as soon as he realises he’s losing the argument. But you can read the unexpurgated version of his debate with Charles over immigration rights here. […]

  17. Robert Paul

    It’s hard for me to get too worked up about immigration debates between real libertarians, because the libertarian position is obvious and well-known. But is Vin here a real libertarian? Notice he brought up a hypothetical “Libertarian state” which is run as a democracy. Screw democracy, Vin.

  18. Aster

    It’s hard for me to get too worked up about immigration debates between real libertarians, because the libertarian position is obvious and well-known.

    As long as paleolibertarianism is the strongest and most active wing of the libertarian movement, the genuinely libertarian position is regrettably not obvious and well-known. It’s unclear how many libertarians actually support migrants’ right, but it is clear that those who speak for the movement (Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Lew Rockwell, H.H. Hoppe) are in the paleolibertarian camp.

    I think that appealing to clear libertarian principle on such issues, and allying this appeal with a clear stand against racism and nativism integrated into a larger liberal or individualist ideal, could do much to wrest control of the libertarian movement away from the usurping paleos.

    Let’s say clearly to them, before the public: “you guys are failing at libertarianism, you are failing at individualism, and you are failing at humanity.” Left-libertarianism has a logical right to claim the political and moral high ground. My guess is that there are a great many disaffected libertarians and disaffected leftists ready to join a movement which said this, meant this, and displayed the fiery dynamism characteristic of a young political movement with the potential for success.

  19. Rad Geek

    Robert Paul,

    But is Vin here a real libertarian?

    Well, I don’t know what you have in mind as criteria for real libertarianism here. Certainly I think that he is being inconsistently libertarian on the whole, and in this particular conversation he is advancing definitely anti-libertarian arguments. But while the fact he’s being such a jackass about it obviously has to do with the feelings he has towards Mexicans, or so-called illegals, or whatever, I think the basic fact that he’s willing to accept government border laws as being somehow consistent with libertarianism is just a downstream result of the fact that he’s willing to accept government (specifically government limited by the United States Constitution) as consistent with libertarianism. While other minimal-statists or Constitutionalists may be much more liberal on immigration than Vin is, I think that any commitment to the territorial state is going to have to issue in at least some acceptance of state border controls as legitimate in principle. Of course, I think that is inconsistent with the law of equal liberty and with the non-aggression principle, but I think that the territorial state is inconsistent with the law of equal liberty and with the non-aggression principle, so….

    In any debate between an anarchist and a minimal statist or a Constitutionalist focused on immigration, I think once the debate gets past surface policy recommendations and down to bedrock principle, the anarchist is going to turn out to be the only one who can consistently defend the genuinely libertarian (keep your borders off my property) position. Does that mean that minimal-statists and Constitutionalists can’t count as real libertarians? Well, I dunno. Probably depends on what your criterion for the genuine article is. If it’s strict consistency, I already figured minimal-statists couldn’t possibly qualify. If it’s something else, then what else?

    Aster,

    Well. I certainly agree with you that libertarians general, and left-libertarians especially, should vigorously challenge conservative views on immigration. (Indeed, I think that libertarians in most U.S. communities should be making immigration freedom a prominent and central plank in their political platform.)

    And I definitely agree that we should make a special effort to put a rhetorical stick check on those who claim that it is somehow demnded by, or consistent with, libertarian politics. (Which is why I do it on a pretty regular basis.) Both as a matter of internal dialogue and also as a matter of making the consistently libertarian view more prominent in broader political conversations.

    But as for the public spokes-men for libertarianism, I would note that (1) much as I detest Barrbarism within the LP, Barr is a conservative but not a paleo, and in 2008 his explicit position on immigration was to eliminate all numerical limits on immigration and all screens except for (vomit) national security checks. Still a statist position, not at all what I’d like, but much better than the statist quo and much better than the kinds of policy suggested by Hoppean nativists.

    (2) I think you’re dramatically overestimating Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s name recognition outside of TMOO. He’s controversial and polarizing amongst libertarians, but I think close to zero non-libertarians would even know who he is, let alone recognize him as a spokesman for libertarianism.

    (3) Lew Rockwell has a better claim, but mainly because of the online prominence of LRC, not because he himself gets much personal recognition. Lew used to be a vocal Hoppean on immigration but his recent writing on the topic, like his recent writing on law-n-order, policing and race, shows a pretty significant shift away from conservatism, and his venue, LRC, is very clearly a house divided on the issue (Walter Block has criticized Hoppe’s view repeatedly; William Grigg, Anthony Gregory and Manuel Lora have all published anti-border-Stasi items on the LRC blog), with recent discussion mostly trending towards the anti-borders camp. I don’t know whether Lew’s shifting views are a matter of personal conversion or political calculation, but either way the public face of libertarianism at LRC, as far as immigration goes, is quite different from what it was even, say, 3 or 4 years ago.

    (4) I agree with you about Ron Paul, and that was one of my major reasons for being as negative about his campaign as I was.

    But also (5) I think that outlets which have a much better claim for being publicly recognizable spokespeople for libertarianism (e.g. Reason) than, say, Hoppe, advance a much better line on immigration. (Reason is the highest-circulation libertarian publication in the U.S., and nowadays often the only one available on bookstore newsstands; they’ve run two cover stories in the past couple years, and several smaller features, against restrictive border laws.) Their position is typically to the right of mine, but to the left of Barr’s 2008 position, and Barr’s 2008 position is already much better than either the statist quo or the nativist border-creep policies advocated by Paul or by Hoppe.

    Of course, none of this is to say that I disagree with you when I say that left-libertarians should make immigration freedom — and, in particular, the most unflinching defense of undocumented immigrants and a radical no-borders position — a signature issue. I absolutely think that we should.

  20. Jessup

    Why has it come to no one’s attention that our “perfectly constitutional” immigration laws are, in fact, unconstitutional? No lesser a Founder than Thomas Jefferson observed, in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, that the federal government was given no authority to control our “alien friends.”

    Congress appears to have been aware of this until at least the mid-1850s. In 1847, when it was widely desired to control the immigration of the undesirable Irish during The Great Famine, they attempted to accomplish that via the constitutional Navigation Laws, by effectively raising the fares to America. They did not attempt to address immigration directly.

    I believe it was not until the Chinese Exclusion Act that enough racists could be gotten on the same page to just ignore the issue of constitutionality, as has been done ever since.

  21. Aster

    Charles-

    Kewl.

    In regards to specifics:

    1) True enough, altho’ your point suggests that mainstream conservatives can be less evil on crucial and revealing issues than paleolibertarians. I’m quite comfortable with that conclusion, but I wonder how many other left-libertarians would be.

    2) I didn’t mean to imply that Hoppe had heavy name recognition outside of Greater Libertaria. I do, however, believe that he is one of the most influential intellectuals within libertarianism. Hoppe deals with a deeper level of metapolitical theory than do most libertarians, and he draws strength from conservative cultural strains with far deeper power to move human beings than most economically-focused libertarians recognise (those who are culturally or religiously conservative themselves do recognise it but often conceal this). His presence has shifted the centre of libertarian politics and has a palpaple effect on how welcome many of us have felt within libertarian society. I’m far from the only person to notice this; I’ve had at least three people say the same to me without prompting. And Hoppe has also gone mostly unchallenged and unanswered- especially on basic premises. Where are the shouts of philosophical outrage?

    3) Rockwell has indeed become better over time, and thank you for drawing my attention to that hopeful fact. Whether his ‘conversion’ is genuine or not will be shown by his political positions and rhetoric in the context of the Obama administration. My guess- it is just a guess- is that he means it. Which is good, but it doesn’t erase the immense harm his conservatism did to libertarianism and to many individual libertarians. I personally think it makes more sense to focus on the late Rothbard as the responsible one… Rockwell’s never pretended to be anyone but himself, but Rothbard consciously allied with monsters and purged from the movement those ‘modals’ who took individualism seriously in their own lives. If libertarians were to begin to publicly recognise that the later Rothbard was a disastrous collective misstep for the movement we would be much closer to a broader libertarian movement worth being proud of.

    4) Agreed, obviously.

    5) I feel more-or-less comfortable with Reason, altho’ I suspect I wouldn’t be if I was being hit with the class stick as often as most left-libertarians. But circulation isn’t a sufficent indication of influence. I haven’t had anyone refer me to anything published by Reason in at least 5 years. People refer me to Lew Rockwell articles and VMI pieces constantly, at least once a month. A post-left anarchist did so this morning.

    At the very least, the libertarian centre has done almost nothing to effectively combat the rise of paleolibertarian sentiment. We need to build towards a firm confrontation with social conservatism within the libertarian movement and to refuse philosophical constructions of libertarianism whose intent and function is to denature libertarianism of all individualism and to throw individuals in oppressed and marginalised groups to the traditionalist wolves.

    I very seriously suggest you would do well to ask Angela Keaton about the change in the social atmosphere of libertarianism she’s noticed in her long activist career. If you’ll write me I’ll forward her email.

    As an aside, I’ve stated that I’m personally uncertain about the minarchism/anarchism issue. I find the paleo/left- and localist/cosmo- splits much more crucial as regards essential philosophical issues. I agree that the minarchist/anarchist split can indicate serious divergences- especially as regards attitudes towards authority, law and order, and political legitimacy. But there are plenty of minarchists who are great on all sorts of issues- including migration, just as there are any number of anarcho-capitalists whose values and goals were clearly vomited from the depths of Hell.

    I very deeply think that left-libertarianism should be kept firmly open to left-libertarian minarchists as well as anarchists. I also think that there are decentralists within left-libertarianism whose broader values will logically lead them to oppose freedom of migration far more quickly and consistently than will any minarchism.

  22. Rad Geek

    Jessup,

    Well, there was a discussion of whether or not the Constitution allows for federal immigration laws in an earlier thread when I first mentioned the exchange with Suprynowicz (1, 2, 3).

    You’re correct that there were no federal restrictions on free immigration to the United States until 1882 — when the Chinese Exclusion Act, and another Immigration Act levying a 50¢ poll tax and allowing immigration agents very broad authority to forbid entry to convicts …, lunatics, idiots and persons likely to become public charges, were both passed.

    On my reading Article I Section 9 does seem to allow for the federal legislature to have the power to generally prohibit or restrict immigration (as of January 1, 1808). The intention of the section famously had to do with a compromise over the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but the text says The Migration or Importation of such Persons, which would seem to encompass free immigration as well as forced immigration.

    However, I should say that I consider all of this to be a matter of historico-legal trivia at best. Suppose it is true that the international apartheid laws that we face are perfectly Constitutional. Does that make them right? If anything, I think that would only prove, not that there is no fundamental problem with the laws, but rather that there is a fundamental problem with the Constitution that permits them.

    Suppose, on the other hand, that you can prove to most people’s satisfaction that the international apartheid laws that we face are really unconstitutional. What do you suppose will happen then? I predict that what would happen, barring some massive shift in U.S. political culture, is that Congress and the several states would move as quickly as they could to ratify an Amendment to the Constitution explicitly allowing Congress to pass federal immigration laws. At which point we would be back where we started.

    I think that the only important arguments against immigration restrictions are moral arguments, not legalistic arguments. Human laws are not written on stone in letters of fire; law-makers can always change them to fit their designs. What needs to be done is to show that those designs are themselves worthless, whatever the laws may say; and to dismantle the political structures that make it possible for would-be law-makers to impose worthless designs on unwilling victims.

  23. Rad Geek

    Aster,

    On 1. I think the point here is just that paleolibertarians and Barrbarian conservatives are just different kinds of beasts. Paleos tend to be worse on some issues than more conventional conservatarians, and less bad on others, and vice versa. As an example, in spite of being better on immigration, Barr was much worse than the modal paleolibertarian on just about any other National Security State sort of issue. For Barr and the LNC I think that the conservatism, much as it sucks, is much more a matter of slimy political opportunism than it is any kind of influence from paleolibertarians or any other thought-out ideological position. And it’s the embrace of such slimy political opportunism and collaborationism that made the Barr campaign, and the trends that were leading up to it lo these many years, so toxic. Also why I’m actually more worried about its overall influence on libertarian politics than I am about paleos. The paleo turn in the late 1980s-mid 1990s had lots of really nasty effects on the libertarian movement, which I have repeatedly execrated, but as terrible as bad ideas can be, they have the advantage that they are ideas, and so can be fought and defeated with better ideas. Whereas forget ideas, let’s win elections! is something you can’t defeat by argument alone, since the whole point just is to inoculate the political status quo against argument; at best, you can just point at it, ridicule it, and do your best to route around the damage that it creates.

    As for Hoppe and shouts of philosophical outrage, well, I dunno, there’s been extended criticisms of paleolibertarianism in general and Hoppe in particular published in Liberty and JLS. And of course a lot of the early work that went into laying down the left-libertarian tendency we’re now talking about. (Roderick’s and my Libertarian Feminism essay compares Hoppe’s proposal of enlisting traditional patriarchy against the State to siding with Stalin against Hitler.) I think some of these shouts clarified the issue and others (e.g. Timothy Sandefur’s) muddified it. I agree with you that Hoppe is far more prominent within libertarian intellectual circles than he ought to be, and that people who should know better have carried water for him in the past, but I think it would be quite a stretch to say that he has gone mostly unchallenged. Typically, among those who know who he is to begin with, he is nothing if not controversial.

    On Reason, I certainly agree that it has its problems (or rather, some contributors do; Jesse Walker almost never fails to be right-on, and Radley Balko admirably defies Rothbard’s Law by spending almost all of his time writing about the issues that he is best on). But my point was just that it’s a prominent libertarian outlet which takes a pretty good line on immigration specifically — certainly a much better one than Ron Paul or Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

    On the rest, I think that it would help to clarify whether we’re talking about those who are taken to speak for libertarianism in the sense of representing libertarianism to non-libertarians, those who are taken to speak for it internally, in the sense of influencing opinion among people within the libertarian movement, or some other things (e.g. shaping the internal culture of the movement, which may not be the same thing as representing or influencing majority opinion). I thought we were talking mainly about the first; your reply seems to be primarily about the third, and to some extent about the second. I think that Reason is clearly far more influential than LRC if we’re talking about the public face that libertarianism presents to non-libertarians (counted both in terms of readership and in terms of how often Reason, or prominent contributors like Nick Gillespie or Radley Balko, are written about in the press or called up for interviews on film, on teevee, or in print); that it’s probably about even within TMOO broadly; and that the in the specific circles that you and I hang out in, or near, within the libertarian movement — mostly radicals and mostly anarchists — that LRC is far more closely read and far more often commented on. Of course, that last is important and worth talking about — probably much more important than the PR question of just who non-libertarians tend to think of when they think of a libertarian. But it’s worth getting as good and precise a map of the terrain as we can.

    I admire Angela Keaton and I doubt I’ll disagree with much of what she has to say, but I think it’s important to keep in mind that much of what she has to say is about the Libertarian Party. Which has gotten much more conservative over the past 20 years — although I think that’s not actually the result of paleolibertarian influence (the paleo turn was mostly carried on in Rothbard’s political exile from, and with a great deal of hostility towards, the LP) but rather political opportunism and concerted efforts to recruit more conventional conservatives during the heyday of right-wing hate radio (more Project Archimedes than Rothbard-Rockwell Report). But I think that precisely as the Libertarian Party has become more and more opportunistic, and more and more stupidly conservative, it has also become less and less central, or even relevant to the small-l libertarian movement. Which is presumably why Angela has a much easier time making a home for herself in the latter than in the former.

  24. Jessup

    Rad: Sorry I missed the earlier thread. I only discovered Rad Geek within the last 24 hours, and the volume sort of overwhelmed me. I admit to being an impatient reader.

    I completely agree with your reasoning that the morality of the immigration question is more important than the legalities, but I have so much fun springing the factoid on Strict Constitutionalists, that the constitution does not explicitly permit the federal government to control immigration, that I can never resist rushing to do so. It is so much fun listening to them stutter and stammer, and not even be prepared to cite Article I Section 9, that I never miss the chance.

    As we all know, almost all Strict Constitutionalists’ opinions of what the constitution means, is keyed to the outcomes they desire.

  25. Aster

    Charles-

    You make a number of appreciated and worthwhile points I’ve not the time at present to reply to, so I’ll stick to four:

    1) Can you post any links to the relevant articles in JLS and Liberty? I stopped subscribing to Liberty about 7 years ago, precisely because I saw far too much social conservatism and started dreading reading the next month’s issue. The contemporary JLS I’ve always thought of as a body in the Rockwell/VMI orbit. I’d be happy to be shown that reality is better than I’ve thought.

    2) Of course I’m aware of, and highly respect and appreciate, your own words spoken against Hoppe and the paleos. I merely think that your voice and Roderick’s alone have not been enough to counter the flood of influence in the other direction. I agree that the work that has led to the left-libertarian project is valuable in this regard, but it will only remain valuable if there are future confrontations with libertarians who make excuses for patriarchy and traditional authoritarianism, including and especially within L-Lism.

    3) I have focused much (tho’ hardly all) of my attention upon the internal culture of the libertarian movement. We’re very social creatures, and an unfriendly social environment is something which very few human beings can manage to ward off or ignore. And my experience with the libertarian movement has been a long and bloody fight for social inclusion. And I’ve had women, queer people, libertarians of colour tell me of similar experiences over and over again, and the demographics of TMOO show it.

    To the degree that the problem is a matter of honest blindness made possible by privileged standpoints, there are grounds to be hopeful and to expect that reason will prevail. But this isn’t the case where a group of hard right reactionaries who aren’t open to reason have successfully nested themselves within the libertarian camp. And that’s what people like Hoppe, Sobran, or diLorenzo are. I believe such people need to be challenged and exposed if libertarianism is ever going to be a welcome place for those who can’t or won’t collaborate with patriarchs and neo-confederates.

    4) I think that political movements whose errors are grounded in an essentially irrational and collectivist worldview are nearly always more dangerous than political movements which have fallen victim to petty corruption and opportunism. To the degree the latter problem has any long-term or specific meaning, the root problems lie in libertarianism’s shallow philosophical grounding and a broader culture infused with pragmatism, relativism, and anti-intellectuality.

    It’s worth noting in this context that the opportunism of the Party high-ups has almost entirely been a matter of appeasing the right, and has been carried out almost exclusively by white upper-middle class straight (or straighter-than-thou) men. Aaron Starr isn’t just a rotting bastard, he’s a rotting bastard with deep class attitudes and worse ways of relating to women. And Angela has related stories of every kind of homophobic, racist, and sexist (apparently some LNC types don’t think strippers are human) attitudes being tossed around with utter entitled obliviousness.

    I’ve trouble believing that this has nothing to do with the rightward cultural shift of the libertarian movement as a whole, a shift which owes much to the late Rothbard and the paleos. I think what is most needed in this regard is for the libertarian movement to hold itself up to the minimal standards of a typical garden-variety liberal… simply put, a public acknowledgment that race, class, gender, etc. should not matter to rational people and that a rational political movement should hold in contempt those for whom such things do matter. In this regards, I don’t see the LNC types as much of a problem. The paleos, however, encourage a culture of bigotry and tribalism and their influence is holding the libertarian movement back, behind even the average American, who after all voted for Obama.

  26. Robert Paul

    Rad Geek,

    Well, I don’t know what you have in mind as criteria for real libertarianism here…I think that the territorial state is inconsistent with the law of equal liberty and with the non-aggression principle…If it’s strict consistency, I already figured minimal-statists couldn’t possibly qualify.

    Bingo. A coercive democratic state is not compatible with libertarianism. Sorry, I probably should have been more clear.

    Aster,

    the genuinely libertarian position is regrettably not obvious and well-known.

    At least among anarchist paleos, I think all of them agree on the libertarian position. The disagreement seems to be about reconciling this with today’s mega-states.

    As an aside, I’ve stated that I’m personally uncertain about the minarchism/anarchism issue. I find the paleo/left- and localist/cosmo- splits much more crucial as regards essential philosophical issues…I very deeply think that left-libertarianism should be kept firmly open to left-libertarian minarchists as well as anarchists.

    I could not disagree with you more strongly. I would much rather have a left-libertarian anarchist community coexist with a paleo community than let either faction rule over me. Coercion is simply not acceptable. Even minarchist states devolve into total states. Left-libertarian anarchists know this, and so does Hoppe, by the way.

    The paleo/left- and localist/cosmo- splits are simply not as important as liberty itself, because those splits can be worked out within a liberal order and without any coercion or violence.

  27. Soviet Onion

    The paleo/left- and localist/cosmo- splits are simply not as important as liberty itself,

    If you define “liberty” as a simple lack of visible guns being pointed directly at someone’s head or homestead, sure.

    I tend to think that for libertarians, ones who burn with an intense passion for individual self-creation deep within their bellies, who’s blood boils and eyes widen and twitch at the thought of one person telling another how to live, for whom the ideals the Constitution pretends to protect are written into their constitution as human beings, and which they cannot by nature refuse to protect, and who have made it their goal to promote and realize an interpersonal dynamic that reflects all of this . . “liberty” should probably entail caring a little bit about the social and material conditions necessary for people to actually be able to live lives that reflect that freedom.

    because those splits can be worked out within a liberal order and without any coercion or violence.

    Would a liberal order even be sustainable, or feasible in the first place, with a widespread belief in the things that paleos believe?

    I could not disagree with you more strongly. I would much rather have a left-libertarian anarchist community coexist with a paleo community than let either faction rule over me. Coercion is simply not acceptable.

    Much of the coercion and rulership in this world manifests and reinforces itself through more intimate methods than those involving blackhawk helicopters and DEA agents, and can be just as effective or more than having a gun held on you.

  28. Robert Paul

    Soviet Onion,

    “liberty” should probably entail caring a little bit about the social and material conditions necessary for people to actually be able to live lives that reflect that freedom.

    Believe me, I don’t need to be told about thick libertarianism. This is all fine with me.

    If you define “liberty” as a simple lack of visible guns being pointed directly at someone’s head or homestead, sure.

    No, I don’t need to have a “thin” view of liberty in order to prioritize liberty over cultural splits.

    Would a liberal order even be sustainable, or feasible in the first place, with a widespread belief in the things that paleos believe?

    Yes, because for all their faults, the paleos I’m talking about are anarchist libertarians. That means we get the decentralizing effects left-libertarians talk about all the time, even if the paleos don’t believe us. It also means people like you, me, and Aster can spread our cultural ideas peacefully. I would turn your question around and ask: would a widespread belief in the things that paleos believe be sustainable, or even feasible in the first place, under a liberal order? If so, not for long.

    Much of the coercion and rulership in this world manifests and reinforces itself through more intimate methods than those involving blackhawk helicopters and DEA agents, and can be just as effective or more than having a gun held on you.

    Sure, and the way to deal with this certainly isn’t to advocate for the State’s existence. It is of course fine if you or Aster personally think leftist and localist cultural values are more important in your lives than liberty, but we can’t ignore the relationships between the State’s coercive power and the cultural problems we’re trying to solve. In other words, if you sacrifice liberty (which minarchists must necessarily do), you have already surrendered — not just on the issue of liberty itself, but also on leftism and localism, because the State will exploit the poor and artifically centralize the economy.

    Thick libertarians are still libertarians. A consistent view of liberty entails some form of anarchy. Adding our thick views to thin libertarianism is one thing, but abandoning anarchism for leftism and localism is not only unlibertarian but counterproductive as well, even if you ignore the sacrifice of liberty.

  29. Aster

    Robert Paul-

    1) I consider myself a left-libertarian, but strongly oppose many forms of decentralism and localism. I think there is clearly one left-lib faction which can be coubnted upon to be cosmopolitan, universalist, culturally leftist, feminist, anti-racism, LGBT-friendly, and rational in outlook. There is another faction with is decentralist, localist, culturally conservative, relativist, and particularist in outlook. I think that the second perspective has until recently overshadowed the first, but I don’t in any sense recognise its values as the core of left-libertarism. I persoonally think that they are mostly ideological cover for something very reactionary and collectivist.

    2) I’m a feminist. Any libertarianism which demands that feminism be placed on the back burner in compariaon with statism is asking me to sacrifice my liberation for theirs. I can be both a feminist and a libertarian, but I get very tired of libertarians telling me that feminism is disposable. This is just second class status all over again. And when people play this game, it really makes me starting to want to treat libertarianism as a disposable issue. That may not be right, but it’s no worse than the typical libertarian collaboration with paleoism. Patriarchy has hurt me far more directly than has the state.

    3) I can see no logic whatsoever in aligning minarchism with leftism. There are leftists who are anarchists and others who are statists. There are minarchists on the cultural left, right, and centre. As I said, I’m on the fence on this issue. But I care much more about what a person’s stance is as regards sexism or racism which can be directly fought here and now than whether someone stands on anarchism or minarchism. The latter dispute is extremely unlikely to have significant effect on my personal life. Bigotry and prejudice are matters which, at least online, I am forced to confront every day.

    4) More importantly, liberty is meaningless and worthless without an open society to undergird it. Feminism is, or ought to be, the full extension of the open society to women. And I agree with Rand that culture is prior to politics, and with feminism that supposedly apolitical matters can in fact be very political matters of life and death for those who can’t accept what is demanded of them by the social status quo.

  30. Robert Paul

    Aster,

    1) I consider myself a left-libertarian, but strongly oppose many forms of decentralism and localism. I think there is clearly one left-lib faction which can be coubnted upon to be cosmopolitan, universalist, culturally leftist, feminist, anti-racism, LGBT-friendly, and rational in outlook. There is another faction with is decentralist, localist, culturally conservative, relativist, and particularist in outlook.

    Of the seven terms you used to describe the first left-lib faction, only six apply to Progressives. But I do agree that there are similarities between localism and some aspects of conservatism.

    2) I’m a feminist. Any libertarianism which demands that feminism be placed on the back burner in compariaon with statism is asking me to sacrifice my liberation for theirs. I can be both a feminist and a libertarian, but I get very tired of libertarians telling me that feminism is disposable. This is just second class status all over again. And when people play this game, it really makes me starting to want to treat libertarianism as a disposable issue. That may not be right, but it’s no worse than the typical libertarian collaboration with paleoism. Patriarchy has hurt me far more directly than has the state.

    Unfortunately, I think this is just the kind of straw man certain paleos look for. Anarchist left-libs are constantly being accused (or at least watched with suspicion) of not actually being libertarians. We talk of how our leftism and our libertarianism, far from being in conflict, actually inform and reinforce each other. But thanks to the actions of so many leftists of the past two centuries, we are expected by some to abandon liberty and turn into state socialists at any moment.

    Unless you’re living in a secret anarchist community I don’t know about, wouldn’t the State’s defeat liberate you as well, at least in some way? From what you’re saying, it sounds like you believe anti-feminism has affected you more than coercion. Of course, it’s not for me to say you’re wrong about this.

    To be clear, of course I’m not demanding you adjust your priorities. I don’t see why you think opposing all coercion requires sacrificing feminism, though. I believe coercion is unacceptable, but that doesn’t mean feminism must be “disposed” of.

    If one does not oppose all coercion — e.g., if one advocates coercion in an attempt to achieve some feminist goal, which is what I take prioritizing feminism over libertarianism to mean — then one is, by one popular definition, not a libertarian. Surely no one should be forced into becoming a libertarian, but we should all be clear about our beliefs.

    But I care much more about what a person’s stance is as regards sexism or racism which can be directly fought here and now than whether someone stands on anarchism or minarchism. The latter dispute is extremely unlikely to have significant effect on my personal life. Bigotry and prejudice are matters which, at least online, I am forced to confront every day.

    You say the State cannot be directly fought here and now. I disagree. I can understand why one would be led to prioritize anti-racism or feminism over liberty; I just think it’s a strategic mistake, even if we ignore the sacrifice of liberty.

    I believe most libertarians accept there’s a strong possibility that our effort will extend past our lifetimes, but we work towards the goal anyway. I can understand and respect your decision, though again I disagree. Again, I don’t see why one can’t be a consistent libertarian without treating feminism as a disposable issue.

  31. Victoria

    I’m really enjoying this! Left-libertarians can speak from an open mind in balance with an open heart, important virtues held in common with the LGBT Radical Faeries(=), whom I credit, this Pride Week, with getting my heart and mind ready to meet Left-libertarians beginning Aug 2004. And then these two exceptionally progressive communities of individualists together supported me, opening heart and mind to re-vision myself living with pride and authenticity as a strong and confident dissident intellectual woman.

    ‘A Community of Individualists’ has been running through my mind and my conversations over the past weeks. I’ve been talking up Individualism from every progressive soapbox available to me in my life. I am tremendously excited to be part of this Community of Individualists.

    Victoria

    (=)’LGBT Radical Faeries’:honest disclosure: the Radical Faeries were founded by, and at first exclusively for, gay men, and today I would estimate the membership at over 90% gay men and a small minority of women welcomed on the authenticity of our interest, cis women and formerly gay men like me who have, as Faeries, transitioned to female. In regard to their ongoing discussion as to who can be a Faerie, I have imported the term ‘Paleo-Faerie’ to denote the few who still resent the presence of women.

  32. Aster

    Robert Paul-

    I think our values are actually closer that these words may makes them appear. Please let me try to explain my views more clearly.

    I’m not advocating that libertarianism ought to be sacrificed to feminism. Nor am I advocating the implementation of feminism by statist means. I believe that the principle of individual rights and the full recognition of women as human individuals are compatible and harmonious goals; both flow from reason and the premises of the open society. If there is a priority, it is the establidhment and cultivation of a kind of civilisation built on the individual’s pursuit of their own values in this world. I don’t think there is any inherent priority bewteen the application of individualism to formal-political systems (libertarianism) or the application of individualism to women across all social spheres, including the formal-political (feminism). Or rather, I think the priority is a matter of individual context and standpoint.

    It’s not that I think libertarianism should be sacrificed to feminism. It is that I feel constant pressure from libertarians to do this, a constant hail of insistences that gender inequality, patriarchal family structures, rape, spousal abuse, the virgin/whore dichotomy, etc., etc. are unworthy or trivial matters compared with the urgent need to eliminate the post office and end the capital gains tax. I’ve been told on innumerable occasions that concern with the status and opportunities of women in society is inherently collectivst. I’ve been quite often told that patriarchy is perfectly just so long as there is no legal coercion involved, or that there’s no problem whatsoever when conservative parents use their virtually unlimited power to force their children to live under microdictatorships for the first 18 years of their lives (as if a society characterised by authoritarian childraising can possibly sustain any meaningfully libertarian political order).

    My mother was sexually and physically abused by my father over a period of 22 years before she finally drank herself to death. His family was Christian and conservative and willfully evaded the reality of the situation and did nothing. Her mother didn’t see because she’d spent a lifetime artfully refusing to see anything which might disturb or unsettle her. The larger society looked the other way and didn’t care- “not my business”, “a man’s house is his castle”, “she could leave if she wanted to”, “that’s just the way things are”. And since then, I’ve read many libertarians not only repeat this words but, like Hoppe, deliberately and coldly align their libertarianism with defences of patriarchy and a desire to roll back the incomplete project of feminism. In fact, explicit sacrifices of women’s liberty to the cause are now almost the norm; witness the lack of protest at the appointment of forced-childbirth advocates such as Ron Paul and Bob Barr to positions of leadership within the movement. Apparently, liberty is inalienable, except when the question of the entire course of a woman’s life and how she regards her own body and sexuality are in question. I think it that the least feminism has a right to demand of libertarianism is that it at least be libertarian in regard to women.

    What I ask for is not the abandonment of libertarianism for feminism, but rather the conjunction of libertarianism and feminism; the extension of the broader Enlightenment individualist concept of humanity which precedes libertarianism to women as well as to men. What I ask of individual male libertarians is not that they drop what they are doing and attend to others’ concerns, but that they respect womens’ mind, spirit, and freedom as fully equal to mens’, and practice this, and as regards to feminist ambition and activism to simply get out of my way. I’m not asking men to adopt my priorities, but to cease constructing theirs to continually impede women who seek political liberty and social autonomy.

    And part of this, yes, is asking for a self-examination and confrontation with instiutionalised patterns of patriarchal and sexist behaviour which normalise female second-class status in most of the world’s societies. But this is anything for an unfair burden- all it askes is that libertarian men apply the same principles of conduct to their lives as lovers, husbands, and fathers that they apply to their political lives. Just as no human should be expected to live for others, no woman should be expected to sacrifice her dreams or voice for the sake of men and children. And yet this demand is in most places, especially in premodern families and countries, taken as a given of womens’ nature and social role.

    And I have encountered grossly sexist, condescending, and dismissive treatment by libertarian men within libertarian society, and I’m hardly the only woman to have noticed this. Angela’s been told by libertarian men (Party high-ups) that she just naturally becomes less valuable with age because men have less use for her sexually. That is all they can see in her. Surely, when society sees you this way, one may care more about fighting this kind of dehumanising blindness than about the tax laws or the drug laws.

    As long as libertarianism maintains the stance towards feminism which it does, it is inevitable that feminists will in fact consider libertarianism a worthless thing whose loss is of no political conesequence. That’s the wrong answer, but it’s inevitable. I think what I’m trying to get you to see it that treated patriarchal social orders such as those advocated by paleolibertarianism as acceptable is demanding that women sacrifice their liberation to libertarianism’s political goals. The converse demand by feminists is equally unacceptable, but I’m not making such a demand. I’m merely saying that if libertarianism forces such a choice, I would choose my own liberation over that of another person’s who doesn’t care for mine. And I’ve had libertarians give me worse trouble as a feminist (or just as a woman, or as a sex worker, etc., etc.) than I have had feminists give me trouble as a libertarian. Admittedly, part of the reason is that among feminists I find it vaery difficult not to express shame for my involvement with libertarian politics. Left-libertarianism ought to be the solution to this, but left-libertarians have yet to demand the same standards in regard to feminism that they do with regard to liberty and with regard to class. I am impatient to see more effort to change this and call out those within left-libertarianism who make apologies for patriarchal collectivisms.

    Lastly, I don’t understand how neutrality between minarchism and anarchism implies that one doesn’t care about liberty. Many and likely most minarchists regard today’s states as far removed from the liberty they would like to see prevail. Just because one is a minarchist doesn’t mean that one cannot in one’s own life and action oppose sex laws, drug laws, abortion laws, censorship, police brutality, imperialism, conscription, taxation, etc., etc., etc. An anarchist might justly argue that the minarchist desires insufficient liberty, or accepts a fatal premise of state legitimacy and authority, but it’s simply not true that a minarchist perspective doesn’t value freedom.

    Again, I don’t know where I stand on the minarchist/anarchist issue, but it’s simply not the case that liberty isn’t of value to me merely because I hesitate at anarchism. It’s the anarchist/minarchist question, not freedom and individualist, which I consider an issue far removed from my practical life. On the contrary, government coercion is something I confront more often than some here and do my best to ignore, subvert, and sabotage. I’ve been involved since I was 18 in the libertarian movement, the sex workers’ rights movement, social anarchism, LGBT-liberation, and sporadic protests of America’s imperial wars. I devote a fair amount of my time and mind to radical politics. I just don’t see much reason to concern myself with what feels mostly like an ideological technicality of little spiritual substance.

  33. Robert Paul

    Aster,

    Thank you for taking the time to explain your views in detail.

    If there is a priority, it is the establidhment and cultivation of a kind of civilisation built on the individual’s pursuit of their own values in this world.

    I agree completely.

    I feel constant pressure from libertarians to do this, a constant hail of insistences that gender inequality, patriarchal family structures, rape, spousal abuse, the virgin/whore dichotomy, etc., etc. are unworthy or trivial matters compared with the urgent need to eliminate the post office and end the capital gains tax.

    I think you’re describing the type of “libertarian” who tends to serve as an apologist for the corporate state. I share your frustration with them, but I would suggest not taking them very seriously as spokesmen for libertarianism. Of course, it’s a problem that many non-libertarians will hear these people and think they represent the essence of libertarianism, but we know they don’t.

    My mother was sexually and physically abused by my father over a period of 22 years before she finally drank herself to death. His family was Christian and conservative and willfully evaded the reality of the situation and did nothing. Her mother didn’t see because she’d spent a lifetime artfully refusing to see anything which might disturb or unsettle her. The larger society looked the other way and didn’t care- “not my business”, “a man’s house is his castle”, “she could leave if she wanted to”, “that’s just the way things are”.

    That is of course a horrific crime and such things can never be allowed in a free society. Of the four excuses you mention, the only one that doesn’t completely repulse me is the first — only because it’s a good thing sometimes if people are willing to leave others alone. But in this case, all four just sound like convenient rationalizations to justify not having to doing anything.

    witness the lack of protest at the appointment of forced-childbirth advocates such as Ron Paul and Bob Barr to positions of leadership within the movement…I think it that the least feminism has a right to demand of libertarianism is that it at least be libertarian in regard to women.

    Again I agree completely. When I talk about libertarians, though, I’m usually either talking about us or the anarchist paleos. Almost all of us regularly criticize the LP. I’m sure you already know how most left-libertarians feel about Ron Paul and Bob Barr. Paleos aren’t exactly fond of Barr, either, and if pressed they’d have to admit that Ron Paul isn’t being a consistent libertarian. I will admit that I have more respect for Ron Paul than Bob Barr, but I don’t think I’m the only left-lib who would say that. You are absolutely correct in demanding consistent libertarianism, though.

    I’m not asking men to adopt my priorities, but to cease constructing theirs to continually impede women who seek political liberty and social autonomy…Just as no human should be expected to live for others, no woman should be expected to sacrifice her dreams or voice for the sake of men and children. And yet this demand is in most places, especially in premodern families and countries, taken as a given of womens’ nature and social role.

    I don’t disagree at all.

    And I have encountered grossly sexist, condescending, and dismissive treatment by libertarian men within libertarian society, and I’m hardly the only woman to have noticed this. Angela’s been told by libertarian men (Party high-ups) that she just naturally becomes less valuable with age because men have less use for her sexually.

    The majority of people who call themselves libertarians are not actually all that libertarian by my standards. Whether it’s because they believe in the Constitution or because of something like what you describe, I wish we’d never get confused with these people.

    I think what I’m trying to get you to see it that treated patriarchal social orders such as those advocated by paleolibertarianism as acceptable is demanding that women sacrifice their liberation to libertarianism’s political goals.

    Well, if something is legally permissible, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s acceptable in every sense. But my point is that under a liberal order (i.e., with the achievement of libertarianism’s political goals), traditional social orders become much easier to defeat. The market and free association aren’t just for trading goods. Libertarianism is the most effective way to achieve feminist goals, even if many self-described libertarians don’t understand or don’t care about this.

    Also, I don’t think paleolibertarianism is all that popular, but I can understand that you don’t want the attitudes you describe to become more popular than they are now.

    Lastly, I don’t understand how neutrality between minarchism and anarchism implies that one doesn’t care about liberty. Many and likely most minarchists regard today’s states as far removed from the liberty they would like to see prevail. Just because one is a minarchist doesn’t mean that one cannot in one’s own life and action oppose sex laws, drug laws, abortion laws, censorship, police brutality, imperialism, conscription, taxation, etc., etc., etc. An anarchist might justly argue that the minarchist desires insufficient liberty, or accepts a fatal premise of state legitimacy and authority, but it’s simply not true that a minarchist perspective doesn’t value freedom.

    It’s not that minarchists don’t care about liberty; it’s that their proposals don’t actually work to bring it about. Statist Progressives are a good example of this. Presumably, they care a great deal about ending poverty, racism, anti-feminism, and ignorance, but their policies work to increase all of these things. Similarly, by advocating for a minimal state, minarchists are working to set people up for a long period of tyranny.

    Again, I don’t know where I stand on the minarchist/anarchist issue, but it’s simply not the case that liberty isn’t of value to me merely because I hesitate at anarchism. It’s the anarchist/minarchist question, not freedom and individualist, which I consider an issue far removed from my practical life…I just don’t see much reason to concern myself with what feels mostly like an ideological technicality of little spiritual substance.

    The anarchist/minarchist question is absolutely crucial, and not just because anarchism is technically a state of 100% freedom and minarchy isn’t. As I said earlier, coercive states inevitably devolve. This isn’t just a technicality of little substance. Minarchy is not libertarian, and it would prevent us from enjoying the consequences of actual freedom, leaving us instead with just another era of slavery.

    Before I end this post, I wanted to mention that it seems clear many of us have arrived at libertarianism in different ways. When it comes to feminism, I’m sure I know only a tiny fraction of what you and Charles know, but I’m always open to learning more. Just as feminism is probably the issue most important to you, economics and education are probably the most important issues for me, so that’s one reason I think it’s so critical to favor anarchism over minarchism. I don’t want the State getting another chance to exploit people’s bodies and minds.

  34. Aster

    Thanks so much for your support on feminist issues. All I want to hear is for people to speak up against patriarchal societies and sociopolitical movements, and to realise that those who mix libertarianism and patriarchy are betraying the humanity (and liberty) of women, LGBTs, the intelligent young, and those who think generally. No one has an obligation to spend their lives attempting to fight every injustice, and you certainly do not. All I ask is that when you see patriarchy, that you speak your opinion and not grant social injustice sanction.

    On anarchism/minarchism….

    “As I said earlier, coercive states inevitably devolve.”

    If this is true, how does one explain the development of societies which have increasingly recognised individualism and liberty, over the last five centuries and over increasing portions of the world?

    Freedom of speech, religious tolerance, and equality before the law would have been considered nearly laughable principles not so many centuries ago. Women’s rights and sexual liberty were considered so in the most liberal countries within living memory. I would never have survived long enough to find a life of my own even one generation ago.

    The state may contain a tendency to increase its power, but this is only one historical tendency among many, and it has clearly often proven less than decisive. So I see no reason why one can’t hope to continue this progress incrementally, with minarchists and anarchists sharing many common goals. For that matter, I don’t see why we shouldn’t work with advocates of statism who want something which is better than the status quo and which is based on essentialially liberal and rational principles. The ACLU is a good thing, even if it doesn’t want to overthrow the state or any number of state policies which we would both consider unjust.

    If contemporary America is showing unstoppable growth of state power, I suspect it has less to do with any inherent tendency within the state than with the distinctly anti-intellectual and authoritarian character now shared by likely a majority of Americans.

  35. Aster

    I admire Angela Keaton.

    You admire a (former) sex worker? I’m very pleased, but I didn’t expect it from you.

  36. Roderick T. Long

    I was once at an academic party where a libertarian man introduced himself to two female professors with the winning line “Hi, are you feminists? I hate feminists.” (No, he wasn’t drunk as far as I could tell.)

  37. Life, Love, and Liberty

    Roderick,

    Sounds like a dreamy romantic to me…

    Er yeah ( :

    Funnily enough; I always have had the opposite approach. I figured having sincere feminist convictions would attract independent minded women.

  38. Robert Paul

    If this is true, how does one explain the development of societies which have increasingly recognised individualism and liberty, over the last five centuries and over increasing portions of the world?

    First, there’s the possibility that the societies’ values are developing separately, even as states are devolving. I don’t think this is actually what has happened more recently, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

    Freedom of speech, religious tolerance, and equality before the law would have been considered nearly laughable principles not so many centuries ago. Women’s rights and sexual liberty were considered so in the most liberal countries within living memory.

    Second, these concepts (properly understood) are still considered laughable today. Even if we consider freedom of speech protections to be strong in the US, we certainly can’t say the same for other Western countries. Hate speech and/or Holocaust denial are banned in most of them. Real religious tolerance requires respecting individual beliefs, and not just the beliefs of large groups. And it’s difficult to conceive of true equality before the law without anarchy.

    You probably know all of that already, but I think it’s important to keep in mind that we don’t actually have these things even if politicians worldwide pay them lip service.

    The state may contain a tendency to increase its power, but this is only one historical tendency among many, and it has clearly often proven less than decisive. So I see no reason why one can’t hope to continue this progress incrementally, with minarchists and anarchists sharing many common goals. For that matter, I don’t see why we shouldn’t work with advocates of statism who want something which is better than the status quo and which is based on essentialially liberal and rational principles. The ACLU is a good thing, even if it doesn’t want to overthrow the state or any number of state policies which we would both consider unjust.

    This is where I differ with most leftists. I don’t believe Progressivism is actually based on liberal and rational principles. I see Progressivism as a religion — not because Progressives are necessarily theists, but because their belief system requires ignorance of reality and reason. They have integrated certain Christian beliefs into their own belief system, and Progressivism has spread and been run just as you’d expect of a typical organized religion. I have seen Progressives corrupt, perhaps unwittingly, the fields of economics, the humanities, and even some of the natural sciences. The best comparison might be to Catholicism in Europe half a millenium ago, with the university system serving as the Church today. Yes, Progressives think their beliefs are grounded in science and reason, but after seeing how wrong many of their supposedly scientific claims are, there’s no reason to believe them. They’re not the first religious group to pretend their beliefs are all reasonable, either.

    This would explain the inconsistent progress you describe — at best, it’s like seeing a nice-looking house on a shaky foundation. That is what scares me about building feminism or anything else atop a Progressive (capital P) foundation, rather than a liberal one based on reason. I fear it’s a disaster waiting to happen, and what you’re doing might be akin to admiring the in-progress construction of beautiful corbels on an ugly building just before it topples as a result of a weak foundation. I would rather the foundation be replaced with a solid one.

    If contemporary America is showing unstoppable growth of state power, I suspect it has less to do with any inherent tendency within the state than with the distinctly anti-intellectual and authoritarian character now shared by likely a majority of Americans.

    I must disagree here. Once coercion is accepted as legitimate, as must be done when a state is created, rulers have little trouble capitalizing on this (no pun intended) to increase their power.

    If you’re referring to the red-state fascists (as Lew Rockwell calls them) that Progressives love to target, then yeah, I think they’re stupid and dangerous, too. But “anti-intellectual and authoritarian” applies to Progressives equally well. State power is actually directly held mostly by Progressives (civil service, school systems, much of the media) and right-wing corporatists (military, finance, some media outlets). Most of the overtly Christian policies the State enacts are just successful attempts at vote-buying. Very few who actually hold State power really care about these policies, no matter what they say on the stump.

    This isn’t to say Progressive views on certain things haven’t been better than some of the alternatives for many, many people. The problem is, they are invariably incomplete and flawed (from a liberal perspective based on reason) and they come together with the inevitable economic and intellectual destruction caused by the State. When I said states inevitably devolve, I was speaking first of economics and intellectualism. States, by their very nature, slow economic progress and corrupt people’s minds. Yes, there has been much progress in science, technology, and even some aspects of culture, but not as much as would result in a liberal order.

    Whatever benefits we’ve received from the spread of Progressivism are unfortunately the result of control by the followers of a relatively friendly religion (compared to, say, radical Islam) and not the result of a widespread march towards liberalism and reason. Yes, suffrage has been extended, but that doesn’t mean State power hasn’t been increasing. Notice again that Progressives outside the US (and some inside the US, as well) are generally just fine with banning hate speech, for example. The US is the exception here, probably due to the additional liberal influence at the time of its birth.

    In fact, when I consider the Progressive obsession with measuring, managing, and schooling people (all based on “science”), I sometimes think of them as forming just another right-wing religious conservative group, with no meaningful connection to liberalism.

  39. Aster

    I was once at an academic party where a libertarian man introduced himself to two female professors with the winning line “Hi, are you feminists? I hate feminists.” (No, he wasn’t drunk as far as I could tell.)

    I’m trying to figure out whether the proper response is to smile sweetly through a period of very uncomfortable silence, or to inquire as to his martial preference as regards dueling.

    Note to self: when health improves, go back to rapier practice. Become more familiar with modern fashion in killing devices. Mock self at situational absurdity.

  40. Aster

    Second, these concepts (properly understood) are still considered laughable today. Even if we consider freedom of speech protections to be strong in the US, we certainly can’t say the same for other Western countries. Hate speech and/or Holocaust denial are banned in most of them.

    1) I oppose these restrictions on freedom of speech.

    2) My sympathy for Ernst Zundel and the like approaches zero, and I’ll worry about laws against Holocaust Denial sometime after we successfully denationalise the post office.

    Laws against hate speech are much more complicated; the relevant distinction being that ‘hate speech’ is a very broad, imprecise, and ambiguous concept, while Holocaust denial is a concrete which in all cases involves extreme irrationality, either as conscious lying or as willful ignorance, of such an intense degree that I no longer care about what happens to the victims. Laws against Holocaust denail are wrong, but the danger they pose to rational individuals is minimal, even as a precedent. And the primary purpose of such laws is to make a militarily defeated murderous totalitarianism politically taboo.

    I look at the recent fascist victory in the Roman election and the terrifying poll results coming in from all over Europe these days, and I can’t help but be glad that this taboo lasted as long as it did, even if embodied in an unjust and statist form. Fascism is regrettably anything but dead.

    But, as I said, hate speech laws concern me more. Some of what is here criminalised really does amount to very serious threats of bodily harm; burning a cross is a threat. Legal systems controlled by priveleged groups need to be pushed to adequately defend oppressed groups against pervasive sublegal violence, and hate speech laws are a misguided and incoherent response to this very real problem.

    But the form hate speech laws take in, for instance, the UK is terrifying. At least some powerful factions near the imperial centre calculate that they can secure their collective power best by a (selective and somewhat tokenistic) inclusion of women and ethnic and sexual minorities within the elite in exchange for collusion in statist and class repression. Hate crime laws are pushed by people who have created such monstrosities as Britian’s surveillance society and the abandonment of all due process in the form of ‘anti-social behavioural orders’. Racism is a real evil, but this is merely an advancing totalitarianism of a kind which shares some features with Stalin, as Bush’s form shared some features with Franco. I think that there are some valid kinds of narrow hate crime legislation (bashing a gay man to ‘send a message’ really is a very different kind of harm than ordinary assault), but these hate speech laws are a disaster.

    Of course, what makes this maneuver possible and attractive to elites in previously absolutely excluded groups is precisely the brutalised bigotry which runs all but unchecked in much of the periphery. I know that I look at a world of increasing economic stratification and can’t help but notice that in most places (New Zealand pakeha society is an exception) that elite culture is often less bigoted and less sexist than the cultures of those the elite oppress.

    In this kind of context, it can really start to feel like the only way to avoid drowning in the storm is to seek high ground. My mind agrees with libertarian ideals. My stomach looks at the powers that be and sees a division of globalist neoliberal elites who make me sick with their hypocritical class injustices, and traditional tribal elites who would reduce me to subhuman status or leave me bleeding in a ditch. I’d rather refuse both options for a truly rational individualism which applies to everyone. But that only works if you trust rational individualism to be rational individualism and get your back when the system leaves you specifically defenceless. And what I see is a libertarianism which continually collaborates with the Right. And to the degree that libertarianism refuses to be the third alternative it ought to be, I’ll take the devil who offers alliance on unequal and unjust terms over the devil who offers me untouchability and murder.

    If libertarians wish to offer a third alternative, they need to defend the principle of free speech and make it a point of honour to preserve their own territory as a shore of refuge for those who cannot face the naked fury of patriarchy and tribe as others cannot face the naked oppression of state and class. What this requires is a commitment by libertarian individuals and organisations to speak out against patriarchal and racist irrationality whenever they see it, especially within libertarianism. This is in truth already an implication of the only principles which can meaningfully animate a successful libertarianism: a defense of reason and the individual.

    I think that we should always pair a defence of the rights of bigots with a firm moral statement that their bigotry, while noncriminal from a libertarian standpoint, remains inherently dangerous to the open society. I feel very frustrated to note that many libertarians who rightly oppose censorship of very nasty people easily go too far and start inviting racists and the like into their living rooms and legitimising their tribal collectivisms. I’d be much more comfortable protesting hate speech laws if I didn’t feel that doing so would jeopardise my own safety within libertarian society. Libertarian opposition to PC in the 90s was often justified, but it invited very nasty people into the movement which have made it very difficult for me to find any kind of respectful community within it.

    When the ACLU defended the Nazis in Skokie, it lost a third of its membership as the price, primarily because the organisation had previously attracted a number of Marcusean leftists who had only ever intended to defend free speech percieved as to the left of centre, and they jumped ship when the ACLU stood on principle. I think the ACLU made the right choice. But the ACLU kept context and made very clear to anyone listening that they had absolute spiritual contempt for everything the Nazis stood for.

    If libertarians would do the same, they would have my unqualified support on these matters. I suspect quite a number of individualistic women, LGBTs, people of colour, etc., would warm to a movement which defended liberty on principle, provided it also displayed a concerned awareness of the illiberalism of other forms of oppression.

  41. Roderick T. Long

    I think laws against holocaust denial are a fair bit more dangerous than you do. For one thing, most of these laws criminalise “minimising” the holocaust — and many advocates of these laws argue (though the laws generally don’t get applied this way, thank goodness) that questioning the uniqueness of the holocaust by arguing that other regimes committed comparable crimes counts as “minimising.” The upshot is that such laws can easily be made to function so as to inhibit the criticism of other, contemporary regimes and their crimes — which strikes me as a very dangerous application indeed.

    Plus there’s just the more general fact that laws criminalising deviant historical interpretations of the holocaust provide a handy precedent for laws criminalising deviant historical interpretations in general. You think politicians and bureaucrats would hesitate to expand bans on holocaust denial to bans on other kinds of historical revisionism unfavourable to state interests if they could possibly get away with it?

    In addition, I think banning holocaust denial has been the biggest boost holocaust denial has ever received. The natural question a neutral inquirer might be led to ask (and holocaust deniers will certainly do their best to lead people to ask it) is “Why are they banning these arguments rather than answering them with evidence? Is it because they don’t have the evidence?” So I see the bans as working as inadvertent recruiting tools for holocaust deniers. (I do think it’s inadvertent, btw — even I’m not quite paranoid enough to think that the hidden purpose of banning holocaust denial is to promote it.)

  42. Roderick T. Long

    P.S. — Needless to say, though, I agree with your larger points.

  43. Aster

    Roderick-

    Fair enough, and true enough. If my stance leant a little a side which insufficiently addressed libertarian concerns, the reason is that I have met libertarians who consider Holocaust denial harmless and seem to delight in the frisson of playing with notions that feel like cold death.

    My old salon collapsed shortly after it came to light that man whose friendship meant a great deal to me had previously published in the Journal of Historical Review and decades later still adamantly refused to see anything wrong with this, all the while engaging in extremely rude debate (on semi-related issues) with a Jewish Objectivist of recent Eastern European descent, whom he accused of excusing mass murder for his moderate defences of selective regime change and humanitarian intervention (!). At that point I found out that there was a small clique of libertarians who had done the same, including James J. Martin and Tom diLorenzo. I’ve since encountered several libertarians who have demanded a focus on the rights of Holocaust deniers to the near-total exclusion of condemnation of the epistemological and ethical pure evil that Holocaust Denial clearly is. The event was one of the primary reasons why I became so deeply distrustful of libertarianism for a year and a half, and cost me two friendships. I’m somewhat ashamed that it hasn’t cost me a third.

  44. Robert Paul

    Holocaust denial is a concrete which in all cases involves extreme irrationality, either as conscious lying or as willful ignorance, of such an intense degree that I no longer care about what happens to the victims. Laws against Holocaust denail are wrong, but the danger they pose to rational individuals is minimal, even as a precedent.

    I think they’re much more dangerous than you’re saying. Roderick already mentioned many of the reasons, but in addition I would ask anyone to read this fascinating article: http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0201-FEB_DENIERS_rev_2

    Just one of the many interesting bits of information in that piece (emphasis mine):

    One speaker, David Irving, had been fined $18,000 for saying aloud in Germany that one of the cyanide chambers at Auschwitz is a replica built by the Poles after the war. A replica it truly is, but truth in these matters is no defense in Germany.

    So we don’t even have to speculate about truth-telling being criminalized.

    And the primary purpose of such laws is to make a militarily defeated murderous totalitarianism politically taboo.

    Perhaps, but that’s no excuse, and it doesn’t work well anyway.

    I look at the recent fascist victory in the Roman election and the terrifying poll results coming in from all over Europe these days, and I can’t help but be glad that this taboo lasted as long as it did, eOven if embodied in an unjust and statist form. Fascism is regrettably anything but dead.

    Actually, I see the increased fascism in Europe as part of a backlash against Progressive social democracy. The attempt at enforcing unjust and statist taboos has strengthened European fascism, not weakened it. I sincerely don’t mean any offense, but your reasoning here sounds similar to a typical statist (Progressive in this case) explanation: “The fire is still burning; we added fuel to it but it hasn’t been extinguished yet! We need to add more!”

    I do agree with most of your other points, though, especially what you said about standing for reason and the individual and strongly opposing right-wing collectivists even as we defend their rights. It is indeed up to us to present a rational, individualist alternative. But — and forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted you here — it sounds like you’re saying, “Libertarians have to separate from the Right or the Progressives will be the better option.” I can see why one might prefer Progressivism to right-wing collectivism, but I just don’t see how, given all of their faults, Progressivism could ever be a better option than working to improve certain attitudes within libertarianism — even an imperfect libertarianism — or even standing alone as a left-libertarian. If your answer is that you want to focus on feminism, I can certainly understand — but I still think that’s a counterproductive approach even if judged solely on effectiveness in achieving feminist goals. The Progressive foundation for feminism (and everything else) is hopelessly flawed, and is bound to crumble. It is for a similar reason that fascism, racism, and nativism are growing in Europe. Notice that these problems exist in the US, too, but aren’t as bad as they are in Europe. My guess is that this is due to the US being relatively more liberal and egalitarian (even if it doesn’t appear at first glance to be more leftist), and not because of Progressivism, which has been more dominant in Europe recently anyway.

  45. quasibill

    There is another faction with is decentralist, >localist, culturally conservative, relativist, and >particularist in outlook. I think that the second >perspective has until recently overshadowed the >first, but I don’t in any sense recognise its values >as the core of left-libertarism. I persoonally think >that they are mostly ideological cover for something >very reactionary and collectivist.

    Would that the keen pop psychology intellect be used as a mirror, instead of a lash, as the last sentence very much describes how I see you.

    I do think it is telling that Robert Paul saw the same tendencies in your writing that scream out at me, with your inevitable back-tracking once called on it. It surely is obvious that your “program” could quite easily be used as a banner for a Maoist advance, no matter what you yourself feel or believe. As noted, this is obvious due to your constant need to qualify your statements after the fact. And given the choice between an anti-state racist and a politically correct Maoist, I know who I fear more: one is a potential threat to liberty with some very ugly but non-rights threatening beliefs, the other is an immediate, immense threat to liberty and life. I’d rather not choose between them, as they are both flawed ideologies. However, alienating either one to make them a sworn enemy rather than someone with whom I can continue a dialogue and seek to influence seems to be foolish and counter-productive.

    With that said, I’m actually an agnostic on the anarchist/minarchist divide myself. Partially, however, this comes from what might be my idiosyncratic definition of state: any group that seeks to coercively impose its vision of morality on me. Given that definition, even Carson’s vision of “panarchy” bleeds into minarchism.

    However, I do believe that the concept of a centralized minarchy is an oxymoron. It would do well to remember that the U.S. federal government was in fact granted fewer powers than most minarchists would advocate for their state. And yet, over time, it has grown, as you note, into something no true minarchist could support. The reasons for this are numerous and well documented, from public choice economics to biology to social theory. Those that believe that you can remove the human scale from any institution and hope to retain control of it are operating on something akin to religious faith. They belong with the folks who made the creation museum - they are just as adamantly refusing to acknowledge well established facts.

  46. Rad Geek

    Aster:

    Laws against Holocaust denail are wrong, but the danger they pose to rational individuals is minimal, even as a precedent.

    Speaking as someone who has repeatedly spoken out in favor of political ideas that are widely viewed by law-makers as somewhere between deviant and criminal, and whose forebearers in the U.S. and Europe were repeatedly targeted for prosecution, exile or murder, under criminal anarchy and similar statutes, for political speech that was considered unacceptably dangerous to political society — I can’t say I’m very sanguine at all about the precedent.

    As much contempt as I have for Holocaust denial, and as much as I despise fascism, and as much as I regard it as the polar opposite of my own views, I am aware that government, including liberal-democratic and social-democratic government, despises me quite as much as they do the neo-fascists and Holocaust deniers; and that ideologically and strategically they consider all of us extremists as of a piece.

    So besides being opposed to these laws as a matter of moral principle, I will also say that, while I have no reason to like or try to befriend or somehow (ugh) team up with Reich-revivalists, I do have very real and immediate practical reasons for viewing the laws designed to persecute them as also being a menace to me, as with any other effort by government to use force against people for expressing positions or making arguments judged by the state to be extremist, hateful, subversive, or otherwise in need of a punitive taboo. Because, well, guess who else government constantly labels with exactly those terms?

  47. Aster

    Quasibill-

    I once offered you an honest chance to settle your differences with me with words before the public. You declined; the offer is now expired, and henceforth I don’t consider your words worth answering. I’ve been clear as to my positions, and am willing to modify them as intelligent criticism shows them wrong, as I just did above.

    I don’t think of you. I’ll be glad to debate Robert Paul, Charles, or Roderick here. You, I wouldn’t trust to hold my purse at a mall. I’ve lived under social systems maintained by people with your kind of sense of life. It took me thirty years to completely get away from them. But I’ve found my freedom, and intend to stand forth for the Enlightenment and feminist principles that liberated me. It will take far more than you to stop me now.

    You would be well advised to give up your vendetta. You can toss as many verbal rocks as you like at me, but the only response you’ll get is a more provocative style. Left-libertarianism is now my political community of reference and I ain’t leaving for your sake. You waste your virtual breath and your scarce time in this beautiful world.

  48. Aster

    I can see why one might prefer Progressivism to right-wing collectivism, but I just don’t see how, given all of their faults, Progressivism could ever be a better option than working to improve certain attitudes within libertarianism.

    Because a social environment where open bigotry is socially accepted is more unspeakably painful to me than the sense of loss and self-betrayal that comes from cooperating with statists. And it’s not just me, by any means. I don’t think most libertarians understand how greatly the attitudes which often go unchallenged within their movement scare off those who have to be concerned with non-state forms of oppression. I’ve even known a fair number of sex workers (a segment with a great number of practical reasons to favour libertarianism) who privately described themselves as libertarian but who worked exclusively with Leftist political causes precisely because they didn’t want to deal with the sexism and/or queerphobia they’s encountered in their dealing with libertarian culture. There’s a reason why libertarianism, a universalist creed which ought to appeal to everyone, is absurdly and disproportionately white, male, and middle class. Real human beings who aren’t altruistic martyrs need more from a movement than formal truth- they need support, acceptance, and understanding.

    Please understand: liberal statists, and social anarchists who share some of the premises of the liberal statists, have been wonderfully, touchingly, kind to me. Libertarians, as a rule, have by contrast stood by thoughtlessly while a significant subset of their number has used every dirty trick in the patriarchal and queerphobic book to make me feel unwelcome. This was happened over and over again, in at least five Objectivist and post-Randian virtual and IRL forums, within the Libertarian Party, and at various libertarian social functions.

    (I’ve had two individual feminists treat me comparably- one of them a noted Dworkinite anti-prostitution crusader, the other a cowardly little Kiwi pseudo-anarchist with a fetishistic hatred for libertarians, who confused me with her abusive husband’s mistress {and I’d been her husband, I would have taken a mistress too}. Otherwise, I’ve never had the Left give me trouble for anything except my ideals and actions- which is of course, only fair. And even with the political differences, I found more friendship and community among anarchists than I ever did among libertarians, some of whom seem unable to recognise that I am an intelligent being with a mind of my own.)

    To a great degree, I consider these matter in the past. I do so because the left-libertarian community specifically did show that they held themselves to higher standards, that they refused to remain silent at bigotry in their midst, and that in many cases their devotion to the principles of reason and individualism was explicitly stated as more than politics-deep. Left-libertarianism has, after some struggle, given me all I need and all I ask for, and I intend, as soon as I can get my own website and my own business smoothly up and running, to show my own loyalty and gratitude.

    Because of this, I feel partially more comfortable to start lowering my guard and voicing more criticism of the statist left than I once would, for the simple reason that I may now do so in some expectation of having individualist principles applied to me if I come under fire from bigotry against which it is practically impossible to defend oneself without help. Or, to put it bluntly, the Left is now no longer the only street on which I feel safe to walk. But the expectation others may fairly have that I call out the injustices of the political Left is contingent upon their honour in keeping libertarianism’s own implicit rational and individualist promises to noncoercively condemn and oppose bigotry.

    Charles, Roderick, and (above-and-beyond-call) Kevin Carson have done so. I merely ask that they and others of goodwill continue to do this, against any future paleo demands that the non-state forms of oppression which came close to killing me and did kill my birth mother be accepted as harmless allies. This is, after all, stated in the formal program of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left, and implied by the broad principles of liberal humanism which we all ought to share.

    If a society in which racism, patriarchy, homophobia, etc. is a requirement for your pursuit of happiness, and those who are entirely right on principle refuse to defend that prerequisite, and those who are partially wrong will defend you, then those who are partially wrong will win your allegiance. For those who believe in truth to ask otherwise is to demand a self-sacrifice, possibly in honest ignorance of the life experience of those who lack the security which those with other privileges take for granted. And there is so easily a better way: let rational people condemn bigotry and social oppression as their principles ought to imply, and let them condemn those who dismissively minimise bigotry as the parties responsible for the alignment of most active mind among disposessed groups with statism.

    That’s all: don’t sanction bigots. Don’t collaborate with them. Speak out against collectivist ideas which are not true where they present themselves. That’s all I ask of libertarians, and in return I’ll enjoy the chance to give the judenrat establishment liberal class a piece of my mind. It’s not a difficult or unreasonable request. But it will be seen as unreasonable for those whose premodern sense of life or tribal loyalties imply an evasion of the consequences of patriarchy, racism, etc. for their victims. In a Western context, the issue nearly always seems to boil down to one’s degree of acceptance of the Enlightenment refounding of civil society upon philosophical premises which inherently sociopolitically disestablish the traditions, mores, and forms of life of Christian majorities.

  49. quasibill

    Sorry, Aster. I will, time constraints permitting, continue to show up every time you crank up the personal attacks and slander machine. I know your tribe has no desire to call you on your BS attacks, but I do. I care how this project is seen, and I care about the people you slander.

    I’m not attacking you - I’m pointing out how ridiculous and self-serving your positions are. I have no vendetta - unlike you - but I do think it is important that your misrepresentations and outright lies are countered every time you start this process. We’ve seen how far it will proceed.

    If your clique feels like I’m a distraction, I’ll gladly go away and leave the echo chamber intact. So long as these blog owners don’t make that suggestion, I’ll continue to point out how dangerous and wrong your rhetoric is.

    If you can’t understand the difference between your personal attacks against those you disagree with and my pointed critique of your actions and rhetoric, it’s not my problem. I even pointed out that in some senses, I agree with your undecided position on the anarchism/minarchism divide.

    I was going to leave this alone, since the debate had passed on, but your renewal of the slander:

    I’ve lived under social systems maintained by >people with your kind of sense of life.

    takes me back to your accusation that there are left-libertarians who are culturally conservative. If you actually believe that, I’d be interested in seeing that list. It would also be very interesting to see some support for the accusation for each specific persona you put on that list. It’s quite clear that you place me in this category, so I’m truly curious whether you have an actual reason for it, or it just constitutes your modus operandi of lobbing ridiculous personal insults at people with whom you have disagreements with.

  50. Aster

    Correction to the above, likely an obvious one:

    If a society in which racism, patriarchy, homophobia, etc. are not hegemonic is a requirement for your pursuit of happiness, and those who are entirely right on principle refuse to defend that prerequisite, and those who are partially wrong will defend you, then those who are partially wrong will win your allegiance.

    Aster

  51. Aster

    ‘your tribe’

    Enough said. I’ll save my time and arguments for those I respect. Those who make familiar excuses for racism and bigotry fail to meet that standard. As I said, I’ve lived (if you can call it ‘lived’) in places where people think like this, and I’ll let it happen again when Caina boils.

  52. quasibill

    Those who make familiar excuses for racism and bigotry fail to meet that standard.

    I see you still fail to provide any evidence for your slander. Carry on.

    If you don’t like being incorrectly called a tribalist, then maybe you’ll be slightly more careful in throwing around the insult in the future. I doubt it though.

  53. quasibill

    And just as an addendum - I’ll add that your quick admission to failing to have any respect for another human being that you have a mere disagreement with demonstrates a large part of the problem I have with your rhetoric.

    History is replete with the evils that flow from failing to respect the humanity of those whose disagree with you. Given your self-described history, I would hope that you could readily understand this.

  54. Aster

    Actually, I see the increased fascism in Europe as part of a backlash against Progressive social democracy. The attempt at enforcing unjust and statist taboos has strengthened European fascism, not weakened it. I sincerely don’t mean any offense, but your reasoning here sounds similar to a typical statist (Progressive in this case) explanation: “The fire is still burning; we added fuel to it but it hasn’t been extinguished yet! We need to add more!”

    I would also hold the establishment Left substantially responsible for the resurgence o European fascism, but in a different way.

    The postmodern trend has long undermined the Enlightenment premises which precede liberalism. It has championed cultural relativism in an unstable form which asks for respect for all inherited traditions, regardless of their truth or humanity, but asks for the mutual tolerance of each tradition by each to be held an an illogical, out-of-context, universalist absolute. Politically, this has translated into making excuses for illiberal abuses among populations who have themselves been collectively oppressed by racism or imperialism, while continuing to apply (properly, if in some cases by unjust methods) the full weight of Enlightenment standards against the past and present barbarities of the dominant white tribes.

    This could not last. It was only a matter of time before the priest-backed elites who rule traditional cultures in the real world took the next step and declared their irrational and unjust inherited traditions equal (or better, more ‘grounded’, more ‘authentic’) to the teachings of reason. The result is a politics of a de-Enlightenment and a return of epistemic authority to ways of seeing and being that do not seek to justify themselves by reason. Since it is, of course, only the recognition the validity and competence of independent thought which can justify the individual engaged in religious and social dissent, Europe’s cosmopolitan intelligentsia have been busy digging its own graves- as well as, in principle, ours.

    Before the rise of paleolibertarianism, in used to be a libertarian commonplace that nominally Left postmodernists and cultural relativists were reviving precisely the same premises upon which fascism and Nazism depended. Today, the results of these philosophical errors are evident in the rise of conservative collectivist nationalisms against which the established Left is proving itself impotent. These seem to take two primary forms.

    The first, and I believe most dangerous, is the resurgence of European right-wing nationalisms which are increasingly open about their racism and fascism. Theoretically, this perspective is articulated by Alain de Benoist and the French nouvelle droit, who have successfully rebottled their far right ideologies by spiking them with the language and hard pluralist philosophy of the postwar Left. Practically, the results are evident in the frightening success of neo-fascist movements such as Le Pen’s National Front, the Belgian Vlaams Blok, Haider’s blasphemously misnamed Freedom Party, or most recently by Alemanno’s electoral sack of Rome.

    The second disaster enabled by the establishment Left is the threat of Islamism in Europe. The essential problem is the same: a relativism which refuses to uphold the open society as superior to the closed society is leaving reason and freedom defenceless against primordial horror. The only difference is that the particular authoritarian reactionaries enabled by the establishment Left in this case belong to a different tribe.

    I wish to be very clear here that I have absolutely no use for the ‘Eurabia’ crowd who object to immigration from Moslem countries and who themselves enable bigotry and persecution against European Moslems. I believe in open borders and detest racism, nativism, and nationalism as the most repulsive, unsophisticated, and inexcusable forms of collectivism. The conservatives advancing this thesis begin with the same basic worldview as the Islamists and their behaviour is the same in practice. The European Right does not object to patriarchy, authoritarian, or theocracy… it merely objects to the versions of these things practiced by other tribes and fears dilution of their collective irrationalism by the collective irrationalism next door, whose members are more brown and look and speak differently.

    Any appeals to the defence of liberal civilisation made by the European right are hypocritical propaganda, and are made possible and necessary only the presence of liberal attitudes within Europe utterly at odds with their own deepest convictions. (This attempt by Christian nationalists to present their bigotry as humanism has obvious parallels with the American infiltration of individualistic libertarianism by Christian conservatives) But the danger of Islamism is nevertheless potenitally as serious as that posed by American Christian fundamentalism, and the context of anti-Arab and anti-Moslem prejudice does not alter this fact.

    Islamism is not a particular focus of mine, so I’d rather turn elaboration of these issues over to Maryam Namazie’s excellent piece here:

    http://www.iheu.org/node/3301

    Again, it is the philosophical default of the respectable centre-Left that makes this possible. In fact, the establishment Left’s stuttering in the face of neo-fascism and appeasement in the face of political Islam reminds me forcibly (and painfully) of the Weimar Social Democrats’ parallel behaviour towards, respectively, the Nazis and the Communists. What is needed now, as in that case, is a firm and uncompromising defence of reason and the open society. And, no the mainstream Left isn’t doing this, even when it presides in power over a modernity which can only be preserves, sustained, or extended by the recognition of Enlightenment ideals.

    ~~

    What isn’t so clear to me is that social democracy, per se, is the element of the contemporary Left program responsible for this catastrophe. New Zealand is more social democratic than America, and there is some law-and-order and economic rightist backlash against these policies, but little of it could be fairly called fascist, and those movements which do suggest fascism (such as the Exclusive Brethren or Bishop Tamaki’s Destiny Church, or Winston Peters’ NZ First Party, are not revolting against social democracy but against cultural modernism and nonwhite immigration. In short, I don’t see how contemporary neo-fascism is significantly a primary response to Left economic policies, whatever one might think of them (my own economic views are very slightly more capitalist ans significantly more globalist than Carson, if that helps).

    Note: I hope at some point in this discussion to respond to your analysis of ‘Progressivism’. My own view is that the original American Progressives were indeed as a rule authoritarians working from an explicit or implicit set of political Christian premises. But Progressivism was only one primarily American strain of the Left, and neither the best nor the worst, and some Left-wing currents (the New Left and the counterculture, for instance) evolved in explicit reaction to establishment liberal managerialism. Today, ‘progressive’ is lttle more than a label which the generic Left has picked up after the successful rhetorical demonisation of the term ‘liberal’ by conservatives, and seems to have only a vague relation to the original Progressives. And as regards that crew, I utterly agree that they represent a corrupted pseudo-Enlightenment whose superficial rationality conceals a way of thinking appropopriate to a mystical dogmatism, as did Engels’ ‘scientific socialism’ or Stalinist diamat. John Ralston Saul’s Voltaire’s Bastards captures the type perfectly, altho’ I think his evidence should identify the ruling class as fake rationalists, not the natural product of rationalism as the liberal Burkean Saul insists.

    It’s worth noting that it was Progressivism which destroyed America’s sex worker culture, a project which patriarchy and Christianity had until that point failed to complete. There are many parallels between the Progressives’ monopolisation of first wave feminism against sex workers and other insufficiently respectable women and the contemporary division between Dworknite and pro-sex feminisms, or earlier proto-feminist sex-class conflicts between women aligned with collectivist and individualist responses to patriarchy. The convent is to state socialism what the theatre and the salon are to individualist anarchism.

  55. Marja Erwin

    Aster,

    Cultural relativism developed in response to the missionary ethos and the imperialist ethos, both of which sought to remake non-European cultures on European lines.

    I believe that cultural relativism was and is a necessary reaction. It helps to shed our baggage. It makes sense to see how each culture’s customs fit together, instead of examining each custom in isolation, or how it would fail to fit in some other culture.

    I believe that pragmatism and poststructuralism were and are necessary reactions to some of the poorly-grounded tendencies in late modernism. If we try to base our philosophy on first premises, we may choose false premises (I suspect that Leibniz’s “principle of sufficient reason,” among others, is wrong) or we may commit individually-indiscernible but cumulatively-total equivocations (I can only think of more blatant equivocations, like Fundamentalists’ use of the phrase Word of God in two, arguably three, very different senses).

    I believe that postmodernism is the entirely justified rejection of purely formal aesthetics. Meaning matters. The viewer’s reaction, matters, even if postmodernism tends to underrate the artist’s intent. Beauty is more than an elegant arrangement of colors.

    That said, I’m not sure how these lead to the kind of tribalism you’re rightly condemning.

  56. Rad Geek

    Marja:

    I believe that cultural relativism was and is a necessary reaction. It helps to shed our baggage. It makes sense to see how each culture’s customs fit together, instead of examining each custom in isolation, or how it would fail to fit in some other culture.

    Well, presumably we need to distinguish here between some different meanings for the term cultural relativism. There’s relativism in the methodological sense, as used to describe a particular approach in cultural anthropology (as associated with, e.g., Franz Boas and Margaret Mead), which involved the claim that the anthropologist should try to understand other cultures primarily on their own terms, rather than in comparison with either the anthropologist’s own culture, or as representatives of various stages in some scheme of world-historical development (from savagery to barbarism and onward to civilization, or whatever); and that people’s customs and conventions within a culture should not be analyzed in isolation, but rather should be understood holistically, in the context of the larger system of categories, judgments, practices, projects, etc. which make up the culture that person is living within. I think that this methodological thesis is clearly a legitimate response to the missionary and imperialist approaches; that it does indeed shed baggage that needs to be shed, and (by stressing the importance of context) corrects one-sided theories and half-baked analyses that often are made. And I don’t think it’s just a necessary moment in the dialectic I think that most of the positions defended under that heading are basically right, and should remain best practices in the long term.

    There is also, however, cultural relativism as a normative theory, which is not just about the best way to understand other people’s conduct and customs but also about how to evaluate them — which not only suggests that people’s conduct and customs should be understood in the context of their own culture, but also that people’s conduct and customs, once understood correctly, can then only be evaluated as good or bad relative to that culture’s majority opinion, or hegemonic opinion, about what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad, or what is beneficial and what is harmful for the people effected. (This is generally combined with a false claim to the effect that majority or hegemonic opinion is the same thing as the values of the culture as a whole; and it is generally justified by reference to some logical or epistemological theory which claims that there are no facts of the matter at all, or no discoverable facts of the matter, as to whether value judgments are correct or incorrect; or a claim to the effect that there are no such facts of the matter which are universally binding on all people, regardless of culture; or no such facts of the matter which are independently discoverable by means of individual reason; or rationally communicable from a person in one culture to another person in an alien culture. If that’s the claim — not just the descriptive claim, but the normative one as well — then we’re no longer just talking about the best way to understand people; we’re also saying something further about how to react to them once you’ve understood what they’re doing. And in fact I think that further claim is not really an intelligent critical response to either the missionary ethos or to sadistic imperialism, and is philosophically indefensible, and in fact actively immoral as a doctrine (because it involves you not only in cognitive vices, but also in the moral vice of making excuses for some people who don’t deserve it, and of condemning other people who don’t deserve it, and generally of expressing disrespect for people in alien cultures, by failing to hold them to the same standards of common human decency and responsiveness to intelligent criticism that you hold people in your own culture to).

    I could, of course, be mistaken, but it seems to me that Aster is mainly discussing cultural relativism in the second (normative) sense; whereas Marja’s discussion of the context and virtues of relativism seems to be tracking the characteristics of cultural relativism in the first (anthropological) sense.

    Aster:

    I would also hold the establishment Left substantially responsible for the resurgence [of] European fascism, but in a different way. […]

    Well. Couldn’t it be both?

    I think that the Social Democratic centre in Europe is more of a mixed bag, philosophically speaking, than what you indicate here. But if the response towards fascist revivalism from the European center-Left has mostly been to abandon a philosophical refutation of fascist principles, in favor of political or legal attacks on its outward trappings, then you might say that the resurgence, where it has happened is both due to the lack of an intellectual response, and also due to the perverse attractions created by repressive policies.

  57. Aster

    Marja-

    I don’t understand how one can justify an idea simply by noting that it was a reaction to the idea before it. If someone revolts from dogmatism in favour of skepticism, and dogmatism is wrong, that doesn’t necessarily make the skepticism more right- in fact I might argue that one is simply the flip side of the other.

    Otherwise I’m not sure which to distrust more in this formulation, the triplicate ‘I believe’ form or the appeal to progressive historical necessity over truth or humanism.

    It may be true that, say, Boas’ relativism was a reaction against missionary imperialism, but relativism as a philosophical concept is at least as old as the sophists, and it was false and dangerous then and remains so now. Levi-Struass may have beautifully understood the subtleties of kinship systems that escape an ignorant observer, but any society which functions on sexist categories still makes this feminist sick- including, of course, contemporary examples.

    I mean, someone who tells me that Nazi Germany, Imperial America, the Mongol Hordes, Puritan New England, or the slave South were ‘just their way’ and ‘who are we to criticise’ is either abdicating their ability to evaluate social systems or evaluating them by a standard that cares little for freedom, individualism, or human happiness. The intellectual history is interesting, and I don’t doubt your knowledge of the field, but the point was that today’s Left has philosophically crippled itself and is steadily losing to the neo-fascist Right on one side and Islamism on the other. Perhaps they had understandable reasons for doing this, but that doesn’t help the Roma under Alemanno or women trapped under legitimised Sharia in localised European enclaves.

    My point as to how this leads to tribalism is simple: if you blind human beings to the possibility of consciously identifying and defining the good society, if you proclaim all cultures equal and all judgment by a historically transcendent reason or exterior standards imperialistic, then you open the door to every absurdity and atrocity rooted in faith and tradition. By what standard can one henceforth criticise socially accepted evil? Human rights? Liberty? Equality? Social Justice? Human dignity? Once you reduce all of these to mere prejudice, you render yourself powerless before anyone who wishes to proclaim his ancient legends and tablets of divine commandments equal to science and humanism.

    As for Leibniz and the missionaries, what was fundamentally wrong with them was not that they believed in truth but that the truths they proclaimed were fundamentally arbitrary- cranky floating abstractions or dogmatic revelations, is either case mental concepts spun out of nothing with no relevance to reality. Now if that is what is meant by foundationalism- ‘rationalism’ in the narrow technical sense of ideas derived without reference to the sensory experience, then I’d agree with the rejection entirely, further technical disputes aside. But the point remains that ideas need to be based upon reality, and the fact that some people declare all value systems arbitrarily equal as a response to others declaring certain arbitrary values as absolutes is merely a sign of one error inspiring another. Fascism is wrong. Islamism is wrong. Both are wrong because they endorse social systems that make human beings into miserable slaves incapable of expressing their potential.

    If a society exists in which women or Black people are treated as property, in which Jews are gassed, in which unbelievers are stoned or burned at the stake, in which queer people are thrown out to starve, where police or soldiers brutalise the populace, where wars of aggression are launched on the basis of lies, or where wealth is monopolised by a tenth of the percent of the population, or any other number of imaginable atrocities, then the situation is objectively bad for human beings. And yes, I think it’s entirely reasonable for Boas, Heidegger, de Man, Levi-Strauss, Foucault, de Benoist, and all the rest to have figured this out. They had the evidence. They’d read most of the same basic books we had. They knew. They may have evaded the bloody horror before their eyes, but they knew.

    Relativist intellectuals have been giving the whole world the same lesson which O’Brien gave Winston Smith in 1984, and much of the Left has listened, and learned, and betrayed all of us and themselves. Certainly, some of the intellectuals had better intentions, if such a word has meaning once one has abandoned transhistorical standards. But the creatures who stand to benefit from better people learning those false lessons (and need others to become defenceless by learning them) are IRL fascists and religious fanatics who aren’t that far away from the world of Big Brother and Airstrip One.

    2+2=4. Dictatorships are bad for human survival and flourishing. The open society is superior to the closed society, and we should be prepared to defend that superiority y any means necessary. This means that when the secret police come, when the torturers violate the innocent, there is something to say to them. Or more precisely, we may sit down and reason with those who are not torturers, who do not create social systems in which individual rights are merely someone else’s prejudice. Against the torturers and violators, the appropriate words are less complicated:

    “stop, or I’ll shoot”.

  58. Marja Erwin

    Roderick and Aster,

    I certainly don’t allow cultural relativism to keep me from criticizing genuinely oppressive practices in other cultures.

    It would be far more complicated if I were performing fieldwork and encountered an oppressive practice in that culture. Perhaps most anthropologists would be too loath to criticize, or intervene, but anthropologists may remember the ethnic cleansing of Native American populations, through the Indian School system, the forced switch to agriculture, the forced division of tribal lands, etc. and the role of pseudo-liberal missionary universalism in enabling this, as well as the use of European inheritance laws to deny native inheritance practices, and confiscate the land.

    There are several contexts which require three kinds of cultural relativism.

    Fieldwork requires one. Study outside fieldwork requires another, which may attempt to explain the institutions in terms of each other, or by comparison with other institutions, and their respective conditions, roles, etc.

    Philosophical and political work requires another. I assume we are defending individual rights; collective rights all too often refer to the powers of a hegemonic group within any given culture, and all too rarely refer to the collective exercise of individual rights. That said, we need to understand the context; it makes sense to defer to dissenting voices from within the cultures and communities in question.

  59. Marja Erwin

    Require several kinds. I don’t mean to suggest the three examples were exhaustive.

  60. Aster

    Marja-

    Ok.

    I entirely respect this kind of anthropological relativism, as long as it is not confused with normative relativism. My impression from most anthropology I’ve read has not suggested that those within the field always make this distinction, or are willing to make this distinction. If you do, then were in senselessly violent agreement.

    Relativism in your sense has value in the sense of an intellectual tool for understanding societies with different premises. Even if one is studying the Soviet Union, one needs to set aside one’s knowledge as to what is necessarily and contextually valuable to rational animals, so that one can understand it as if from the inside.

    The process does seem inherently philosophically dangerous (but so is life). It always seemed to me that most state-backed ‘Sovietologists’ came to be changed by what they studied- they started with a disturbingly intent interest in horrifying things, and ended up mirror-imaging the horrifying thing in their own lives, policies, and institutions. You probably can’t study irrational murder well without ether liking what you’re studying or cruelly dulling or repressing one’s sensitivity. The same principle applies to studying societies which may not institutionally recognise reason, individualism, or human rights as valid premises. Cthulhu mythos knowledge=lost sanity.

    I would merely emphasise that anthropological relativism is the most appropriate tool for understanding a society only in certain contexts. One can with profit choose to specialise in these contexts, as does an anthropologist- or a missionary, market researcher, or diplomat. But learning how to drop one’s values for a context or a period of time is a skill or a specialisation (possibly an art), not a normative cultural philosophy. The danger of grappling with the monster is that you become it.

    Please tell me if I’m wrong to state that we agree on these points. Where we may inessentially disagree may regard where we would draw the lines as to when we should relate to societies in an anthropologically relativist fashion. The issue seems to me to be a matter of context, personal experience, and trust. Personally, I trust individuals isolated from the mob’s influence a great deal. In groups I trust the traditional or cultural aspects of the human condition to enshrine falsehood, persecute outsiders, and burn thinking people at the stake if you turn your philosophical back for half a moment. But I don’t object if you’re more trusting, as long as we both believes in human reason’s capacity to invalidate tradition and social authority. I think there’s a time for hospitable diplomatic understanding on the presumption that all are trying to honestly observe and know the good with what context and mental tools each has. I think there’s also a time to draw lines and recognise and respond to the incredible harm to human life implicit in certain kind of falsehoods, superstitions, parochialisms, and ignorances. There are people who will evade the reality of genocide because they are unwilling to judge others. There are people who will enable genocide because they are in love with national, religious, or ideological myths and will refuse to acknowledge their natures and implications until it is too late for the victims.

    When discussing the European Left, I’m thinking of the kind of relativism which will play any kind of mental game in order to avoid describing a set of cultural beliefs, values, or practices as false, wrong, harmful, evil, dangerous, or intolerable. Academic relativism, as nurtured by historicism and pragmatism and brought to fruition in the postmodern turn, has a great deal to do with this. Perhaps we’ve had different experiences, but when I was in high school and uni this kind of relativism was a commonplace, especially among those politically inclined to the centre-left. Many professors did everything they could to batter down certainties, always equating rational judgment with religious and cultural prejudice as if such a distinction did not exist, usually employing various versions of post-Kantian philosophy as their preferred tool to undermine their student’s intellectual confidence.

    My fear is that it all works to the advantage of the political and cultural Right. When reason and universalism are deligitimised as standards their places will be taken by convention, tradition, authority, and faith. The nouvelle droit cash in on this vacuum- as, more crudely, do the American evangelicals. The result is generally horror, and always horror for the young who choose to think. My concern in that this relativism has escaped the control of those leftists who primarily intended to deploy it as a weapon against Western dogmatisms, and is now used to excuse and legitimise not only non-Western authoritarian traditionalisms but immediately dangerous Western authoritarian traditionalisms as well. Islamists, European fascists, American fundamentalists, Southern neo-Confederates, and Asian dictators all stand to gain from declarations that cultures and ways of being are their own justifications which reason and liberalism dare not have the presumption to criticise or prevent from acquiring greater power. We’re becoming disarmed against fascists, and if reason doesn’t offer people the tools to resist the forms of irrationality they fear, another irrationalities will. Contemporary Europe seems to be a field in which centre leftists wring their hands while native and transplanted barbarities batter them about from both aides. Liberalism has been here before, and I think the more quickly liberalism has the courage of its convictions the better.

    In this context, it isn’t anthropological relativism which is of most concern to me, which is not the same thing as dismissing its contextual value. I think Soviet felt the same way as regards a similar issue on the pan-secessionist FLL thread (which I wish to get back to).

  61. Marja Erwin

    Aster,

    There have been different interpretations of cultural relativism in anthropology. Some anthropologists have favored the normative conception; others the methodological. I, of course, favor the methodological.

    I do not see any danger in studying another culture, or in trying to understand its institutions in its own terms, instead of our terms; if anything, it can help us see through our own culture’s institutions.

    Sovietology was different; people could go into it with their own prejudices, and come out of it with these infinitely reinforced, and with an absolute sense of urgency about them.

— 2011 —

  1. Discussed at www.amptoons.com

    Open Thread and Link Farm: More Nerds vs Jocks | Alas, a Blog:

    […] It’s both gratifying and weird to see Rad Geek, a libertarian who is not a right-winger or an anti-immigrant racist, completely school another libertarian who is a right-winger and a racist. Gratifying because Rad Geek rocks and the person he’s arguing against has genuinely offensive opinions, and weird because some of the particulars of the argument — like, which one of them is being more genuinely radically anti-government? — are places I’d never even think to go. […]

— 2012 —

  1. Discussed at www.republicanoperative.com

    Horowitz on the Paul newsletters and the left/progressive roots of libertarianism:

    […] always brings up property rights as one of the defining (if not, THE defining) axioms. Rad Geek People's Daily 2009-06-19 – Libertarians Against Property Rights and Freedom… What's the problem? As far as I can tell, you seem to be complaining that I won't accept straw […]

Post a reply

By:
Your e-mail address will not be published.
You can register for an account and sign in to verify your identity and avoid spam traps.
Reply

Use Markdown syntax for formatting. *emphasis* = emphasis, **strong** = strong, [link](http://xyz.com) = link,
> block quote to quote blocks of text.

This form is for public comments. Consult About: Comments for policies and copyright details.