The Contrarian Trap: The Source of the Liberty Movement’s Dark Side

If you have the stomach for it, you might consider reading Hans Hermann Hoppe’s recent attack on all left-libertarians (which I won’t link to). It is the most remarkable combination of megalomania:

Let me emphasize that I consider this theory [Hoppe’s theory] as essentially irrefutable, as a priori true. In my estimation this theory represents one of the greatest – if not the greatest – achievement of social thought. It formulates and codifies the immutable ground rules for all people, everywhere, who wish to live together in peace.


The empirical claim of the Left, that there exist no significant mental differences between individuals and, by implication, between various groups of people, and that what appear to be such differences are due solely to environmental factors and would disappear if only the environment were equalized is contradicted by all everyday-life experience and mountains of empirical social research.

And ferocious racism, sexism and heterosexism:

Libertarianism, as an intellectual system, was first developed and furthest elaborated in the Western world, by white males, in white male dominated societies. That it is in white, heterosexual male dominated societies, where adherence to libertarian principles is the greatest and the deviations from them the least severe (as indicated by comparatively less evil and extortionist State policies). That it is white heterosexual men, who have demonstrated the greatest ingenuity, industry, and economic prowess. And that it is societies dominated by white heterosexual males, and in particular by the most successful among them, which have produced and accumulated the greatest amount of capital goods and achieved the highest average living standards (my emphasis – YUCK).

The only reason for libertarians to read it is not for its claims (which Hoppe has recycled for decades, and that even many at have criticized him for, first among them Walter Block). Instead, our aim should be to reflect upon and discuss why the liberty movement is so vulnerable to such ridiculous, disgusting nonsense. Why are intellectuals like Hoppe so powerful and prominent among libertarians? Why do we have cult leaders like Stefan Molyneux and all-around professional trolls like Christopher Cantwell carrying so much sway? So what’s wrong with us? What’s our problem?

My answer: the contrarian trap.

Libertarianism is an unpopular view. And it takes particular personality types to be open to taking unpopular views. Some of these personality types are people who are open to new experience, love the world of ideas and have a disposition for independent thought. However, some of these personality types simply enjoy holding outrageous and provocative views, who like to argue and fight with others, who like insult and and shock. The contrarian is someone of the latter type.

I don’t know what makes people contrarian. My suspicion is that there are a sub-group of individuals who are more naturally disposed to take up minority, unpopular positions. The problem with these people, though, is that they’re congenitally open to all kinds of contrarianism. If most people say x, the contrarian says not-x, but if most people say y, the contrarian also wants to say not-y. That is, the danger is reflexive and global contrarianism.

If I am right, we should expect to find relatively large populations of contrarian personality types in any unpopular or minority ideological movement. And we should expect to find linkages between different radical, contrarian positions. I think it is no surprise that many libertarians are also atheists (unpopular), climate change deniers (unpopular), paleo dieters (unpopular), anti-psychiatry (unpopular), conspiracy theorists (unpopular), transhumanists (unpopular), cryonics-supporters (unpopular) and hardcore nativists about intelligence (unpopular). Think of some popular libertarian book titles, “Atheism, Ayn Rand and Other Heresies” and “Defending the Undefendable.” The liberty movement trades in “Gotchas!” How else are we to get noticed?

Global contrarianism is an easy thing to fall into. After all, if you think you’ve rationally decided that millions and millions of people are completely wrong about something, it is natural to think they might be wrong about lots of other things as well. Heck, maybe mainstream elite opinion is wrong about everything and the whole world is turned upside down!

All that’s left is to take the red pill and step into a world of radical free thought where everything is open to question.

The worst flaw in the contrarian trap is that it makes libertarians open to views that deserve to be unpopular and despised, including the thinly-veiled racism of the sort the Hans Hermann Hoppe trades in from time to time. The social democratic left can’t just be wrong about the state, they have to be wrong about everything, and obviously wrong at that.

If I’m right, then what are we to do in order to stop the most virulent, nasty forms of contrarianism? We can’t do a lot directly, I don’t think. As long as the movement is small, we will attract a disproportionate number of contrarians, and that means we will probably find ourselves stuck with unsavory nuts and bigots having outsized influence.

The better long-term strategy is to grow the movement and make sure we aren’t growing the movement with more and more contrarians (Rothbard and Rockwell attempted this with paleolibertarianism; the Ron Paul Newsletters are the bitter fruit of that endeavor and will always bring shame on their names). Only by growing the movement can we import large populations of non-contrarians, and so shrink the influence of cult leaders, trolls and racists.

UPDATE: Some commenters mistakenly think the point of this post is to engage Hoppe’s ideas and arguments. It is not. Instead, I’m using his awful essay to illustrate a broader problem in the liberty movement that I’ve been mulling over for some time. So I’m not engaging in “ad hominem” attempts to refute Hoppe or anyone else.

  • Fernando Teson

    Nicely done. Kevin. There is a simple antidote to this disease, though. Go where the arguments take you. Now, the danger is that, if intellectual honesty leads you to an unpopular position, your adversaries will tag you as a contrarian, which is an ad-hominen move that avoids addressing the merits.

    • jtlevy

      Fernando, thinking that that’s a “simple antidote” seems to imagine that we can pull ourselves out of cognitive biases by our own bootstraps. It’s not like that.

      • Then how else do we solve the problem?

      • Fernando Teson

        Jacob: I reject the view that every time someone expresses an unpopular opinion the majority is entitled to attribute it it to a cognitive bias. Everything then becomes ad-hominem, and there’s no space for rational argument.

        • jtlevy

          I’m not talking about what names we’re entitled to call each other; I’m talking about avoiding falling into error oneself, as I took you to be. “Think better” or “think honestly” doesn’t help when we there are kinds of mistakes that we’re prone to think ourselves into.

          People who reach the discovery “I have a complicated, unpopular, non-mainstream view that I think is right” become susceptible to the bias that “complicated, unpopular, non-mainstream views are right.” And you can’t just simply intellectually will yourself out of that trap.

          • Fernando Teson

            I have trouble understanding your point here, Jacob. One should try as honestly as one can to gauge the truth. That the argument is simple, complex, popular, or unpopular is irrelevant to its truth). I don’t know anyone who has the bias that “complicated, unpopular, non-mainstream views” are right. It is silly. Some of the most plausible views in the sciences (hard and social) are indeed opaque and counter-intuitive, some are simple. And many non-mainstream, complicated, unpopular views are wrong. I think there are more dangerous and widespread biases than the one you describe –the confirmation bias, for example. Thinking honestly includes trying not to succumb to it. And yes, you can intellectually will to make the best effort you can to be honest, even if you don’t always succeed.

          • jtlevy

            ‘I don’t know anyone who has the bias that “complicated, unpopular, non-mainstream views” are right. ‘

            Then I’m puzzled how you can endorse Kevin’s post, which is about that bias. It is, by the way, precisely a subtype of confirmation bias: “my own unpopular beliefs are more likely to be right if unpopularity correlates with rightness and if avoiding the mainstream conventional wisdom is a good truth-seeking heuristic, therefore I’ll interpret your unpopular beliefs as being persecuted truths just as I interpret my own to be.” The more you understand the shape of the world to be “oppressive mainstream elites and brainwashed mainstream followers vs. brave truth-seekers like me,” the more confirmed you will feel in your own unorthodox views; the more other unorthodox views you decide to treat as persecuted truths, the more that’s the shape of your mental representation of the world.

          • Fernando Teson

            I took Kevin as criticizing that silly bias, the chronic contrarian. It is irrational to suppose that unpopularity correlates with rightness. And with that I agree. I do not endorse what I take to be your position, which is that people cannot even attempt to be honest because that effort will be fatally blighted by bias. (BTW, I know there is something charming and exhilarating about unmasking where the “other” comes from, his race, gender, or class, but it is a disloyal way to confront argument.)

          • jtlevy

            Of course, I never said that they *cannot even attempt to be honest*, whereas you did say that it’s *simple* to overcome our cognitive biases by deciding to do so.

            Hayek, “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design”– the answer to that lack of knowledge is not the “simple antidote” of knowing more.

          • Fernando Teson

            I guess we’re talking past each other. I didn’t say that the antidote to “chronic contrarianism” was to know more, as if you could know more by fiat. I said that the antidote is to go where the arguments take you.

    • Innu_Endo

      Intellectual honesty depends on how honest the *you* in your contention might be. Writings that focus on liberty’s values rather than the effect of liberty on a rapidly changing environment miss the import of the moment we occupy. Principles either stand the test of time or they do not. Liberty has not led the masses to utopia. Only the inheritors of wealth, or those w/ ample opportunity, good luck and privilege have made it to safe ground. The Liiberty alluded to by the contrarians is bound up w/ capital and private property that at some point in history was taken or worse, stolen. And what have they done w/ it? The contrarians point to such advances as American healthcare while today’s news tells us that what we do on the ground proves to be no better than what’s done in West Africa. The right of capital to seek it’s upper level does nothing for the commons. These activities have resulted in a planet nearing the eve of it’s destruction while the contrarians seek the *argument* that takes them to where they want to be.

  • Jon Murphy

    Hi. First time commentator (here) long term reader. This is just a great post.

    I’ve encountered similar things dealing with the Free State Movement here in New Hampshire. That is not to say all Free Staters are like this, but some do use the libertarian philosophy as intellectual cover for racism, sexism, xenophobia, and the like. This has caused me to withdraw from these groups, kind of “go it alone.”

    • Jason Sorens

      I can’t speak for your experience, but I haven’t observed any racism or sexism in the FSP. There are some anti-immigrant types, but I think they’re a small minority.

      BTW, I don’t know who you are, which is a bit surprising. Maybe you should go to more events in NH and see more people. I mean this in a completely sincere, non-snarky way. You’ve probably drawn a small, non-representative sample.

    • Keith

      The Free State Movement is something created by the media. As for the Free State Project and free staters, many of those folks are well educated enough to that there is only one human race. Obviously, there is almost no racism by free staters. Or are you saying that some free staters hate all humans? If this is you, you are only friends with two free staters anyway. Neither of them are racist.

    • Bob_Robert

      I think the lady I was sitting next to this morning at the Merrimack Valley Porcupines meeting would be surprised to hear you say that. The enthusiasm with which she talks about moving here, _after_ having been to events, meeting people, a protest or two, makes me wonder just who it is you’re talking about.

      Of course I cannot speak for anyone but myself. What I can do is watch how I see others reacting and responding, and so far everyone I’ve observed has been greeted warmly regardless of their external appearance.

  • The “movement” has already grown exponentially, and I don’t see any reason why it won’t continue to grow without silencing the ever-offensive Hoppe. The way to “grow the movement” is to continue the positive momentum of Ron Paul, not to banish and cast away all the people whom you find embarrassing. If Hoppe is as dangerous to the spread of liberty as you say, well, it wouldn’t have spread this far already, I would think.

    • MikeSchilling

      Sure, the way to avoid charges of racism is to embrace Ron Paul!

    • There are loads of embarassing people now trying to be self-appointed leaders of some abstract “libertarian movement”, thus why I know shy away from the term and for the most part, have disassociated from all of them.

      • +100. I think it’s because libertarians want to feel like they’re in a party like the Reps and Dems so they feel the need to play PR whenever someone in their “party” steps out of line. It’s just politics seeping into what I consider an anti-politics “movement.”

  • Sergio Méndez

    “Libertarians” defending Hoppe in 5,4,3,2…

    • oldoddjobs

      How dare they!

  • Pingback: Is there a Contrarian Trap? | From the Desk of Ben Bachrach()

  • jtlevy

    I took my swing at this way ‘back here:

    While I think that the entanglement with neo-Confederatism is something more than this, 9-11 Trutherism and transhumanism (to take two examples) show up so prominently in libertarian circles because of cultic milieu dynamics– taking the red pill, as you put it.

    • Benjamin

      What about transhumanism puts it on that level?

      • jtlevy

        As I say in that post, this is not a comment on transhumanism as such, about which I have no views whatsoever. (Really.) It’s about the sociology and psychology of small movements. The comparison between transhumanism and Trutherism explicitly *isn’t* about their merits– I chose one example of something I think is wrong and one that might for all I know be right, to talk about the fact that they both have hugely disproportionate support in libertarian circles for reasons that I think are just the kind of habits of mind Kevin talks about here (and then to distinguish them from neo-Confederatism, whose relationship to libertarianism is more insidiously intimate).

  • Jameson Graber

    A lot of us who are into libertarianism haven’t even heard of Hans Hoppe. So maybe things are not as bad as more experienced libertarians might think.

    As for Stefan Molyneux, if you make Youtube videos, they will come.

    • ThaomasH

      Reading the excerpts sound like the imagination of someone on the far left what a “libertarian” thinks.

  • Ironically, Hoppe says in this very piece that left-libertarians are drawn to libertarianism because of their own contrarianism. Seems a strange thing to not bring up in your blog, Mr. Vallier. Or perhaps that was intentional?

    “Psychologically or sociologically, the attraction of non-discrimination policies to libertarians can be explained by the fact that an over-proportionally large number of libertarians are misfits or simply odd – or to use Rothbard’s description, “hedonists, libertines, immoralists, militant enemies of religion …., moochers, scamsters, and petty crooks and racketeers” – who became attracted to libertarianism because of its alleged ‘tolerance’ toward misfits and outliers, and who now want to use it as a vehicle to free themselves from all discrimination typically, in everyday life, dished out to their likes. But how do they do it “logically?” Left-libertarians, bleeding heart libertarians and humanitarian-cosmopolitan libertarians are not simply leftists. They know of the central importance of private property.”

    • Jason Brennan

      It’s Dr. or Prof. Vallier.

      But who are these left-libertarians? Hedonists, misfits, etc? That describe any of the left-libertarians or Arizona school people I know. It’s most highly conscientious, two-marshmallow, stable overachievers.

      • Pardon me. I almost just called him Vallier but thought that sounded rude. 🙂

        I’m not saying Hoppe’s necessarily right about any of this, I just thought it was strange that Vallier didn’t acknowledge that he was accusing Hoppe of a pretty similar thing that Hoppe accused him of, in the exact article Vallier was quoting.

      • Hans

        It is hard to call someone Dr. or Prof. who does not know how to spell defendable (I is not even close to A on an keyboard)

      • Matt Pritchard

        “It’s Dr. or Prof. Vallier.”

        You cannot have seriously just said that.

        • I think it’s polite to call people by their earned titles, and acceptable to point it out when others don’t. I’m old-fashioned though.

        • Jason Brennan

          Yeah, I was just goofing around.

      • Fritz

        Rather snobbish, Mr. Brennan.

        • Jason Brennan

          Prof. Brennan

          • Aeon Skoble

            Jason is right. “Mr.” is just another title. For Kevin, it’s the wrong one.

          • jdkolassa

            Yes, m’lord.


          • Bob_Robert

            Actually, I’ve always been surprised by the Left’s adoration of titles, their hero worship of the military. I guess it’s all bound up with the religious fervor with which they hold the state, since it is the state which grants titles of nobility.

      • Bob_Robert

        What? Defending the Nobility to be addressed by their Titles?

        • murali284

          He earned that title

          • Bob_Robert

            Not from me.

          • murali284


          • murali284

            In the army it is appropriate to address a person as befits his or her rank even if I am not the person who granted that rank. In fact, given that I am a lowly corporal, I’m not in a position to grant anyone any rank. That doesn’t mean that I can causally call people mister as and when I feel like it. The same principle applies. Someone who has gotten a PhD has done original research of some significant given scope and rigour. That alone deserves some respect and acclaim and such is appropriately provided by addressing him with his title Dr or Prof as appropriate. It takes a grade A asshole to refuse to recognise this and insist that everyone must prove to him his credentials or aptitude before appropriate respect is accorded.

          • Bob_Robert

            I’m not in the army, either.

            Care to try again, Mr. Murali?

          • murali284

            Let’s review the conversation shall we?
            Brennan: It’s Doctor Vallier
            You: blah blah nobility blah titles (i.e. you insinuate that his doctorate is unearned in the same sense that nobility don’t earn their titles)
            Me: He earned his title
            You: Not from me
            Me: Respecting people’s titles is something we do in a lot of other contexts, especially when said title is earned. Its the polite thing to do. And only a complete jerk will want to respect titles only when earned from him
            You: You’re projecting
            If you’re telling me that your blathering about nobility and titles was not intended to imply that he does not really warrant respect and that your further reply to me was not intended to say that you’d only respect those who earned their title from you (as if you have any great accomplishment to your name) then you are either a poor communicator or a liar.

          • Bob_Robert

            “If you’re telling me that your blathering about nobility and titles was
            not intended to imply that he does not really warrant respect”

            Ah! My statement about titles of nobility has nothing what so ever to do with his deserving of respect.

            Are you trying to tell me that the only people who deserve respect are those with titles? Of course not.

            Yet your assertion is that just because someone has a title they deserve respect, which I consider just as false as trying to say that only titles convey respect.

            It’s not like he could earn any title from me. What he has not earned is my respect.

          • Brendan

            Why did this gather any heat at all?

            As an independent person, Brennan was free to offer a title that was, in his opinion, more accurate. He the other dude accepted and corrected himself, as a free person. He didn’t have to. He could have ignored him, as he was free to do. It has nothing to do with nobility, etc.

            It might be a greater threat to the liberty movement that we have such types who seek out fights on principle by extrapolating little things into power-grabs. What happened to just ignoring stuff and moving on?

          • Bob_Robert

            “What happened to just ignoring stuff and moving on?”

            Welcome to the Internet, it’s obvious you’re new here.

            If people ignored stuff that was trivial or irrelevant, there wouldn’t be much to talk about. Seems to me it would be violating human nature as well.

            “Why did this gather any heat at all?”

            I agree. “Mr.” is a perfectly good title.

      • Jameson Graber

        You have to admit, stable overachievers are pretty odd.

  • Hektor

    Lots of projection in here. The article pretty much describes the psychopathology of self-described “contrarian libertarians”. Pseudointellectual narcissistic highbrow know-it-alls who constantly create and refute strawmen in order to pat themselves on the back and cycle jerk each other off pseudointellectually. Let me guess: the author of this article also lives off stolen loot like so many of the retards who write for this shitty blog. Am I right? No wonder he likes the state so much.

    • Hugo Newman

      Odd. I thought most, if not all of the contributors to this blog were professional academics with many peer-reviewed publications in academic journals…? Not know-it-alls, but certainly know-it-mores than the overwhelming majority of people who weigh in on these issues.

      • Hektor

        They are as academic as Paul Krugman…

        • Jason Brennan

          I like how this always gets into a status competition. Let’s be clear, Kevin beats HHH on academic cred easily. Kevin is tenurable at any university in the country, and HHH is not.

          • Bob_Robert

            “Tenurable” is not a complement.

          • Jason Brennan

            No, but it is a compliment.

          • martinbrock


            1. HHH and Rothbard are gods.2. HHH and Rothbard did badly in the academy, with low-tier jobs, and couldn’t publish in good journals.
            3. Therefore the academy is evil and corrupt.
            4. Therefore, people Kevin, who can publish libertarian stuff in the very best journals in his field, are evil and corrupt.

          • Hektor

            That pretty much sums it up.


            I hope you also listened to all of his lectures. They provide important additional commentary to his written work. People bashing HHH actually never listened to them and most of them didn’t even read all of his stuff. They only read excerpts or the wikipedia article about him.

          • King Snail

            Hektor, quickly. I have listened to Hoppe’s lectures several times. I got a lot from them. I mean all of his lectures; many, more than once. I even defend apriorism in the social sciences– as an addition not merely competition to empiricism. Hoppe does a great job in defending apriorism from a Kantian approach etc…

            But without going normative here– neither in characterization or judgment– I will flatly say that Hoppe is a “race realist” and into scientific racism a la the eugenicist Richard Lynn and Pioneer Fund. This is not mere everyday soft bigotry. It is stuff that when politicized/nationalized in the past led to incredible violence–forced sterilizations, anti-immigration laws, ethnic cleansing…and worse, much worse. Of course, it doesn’t mean his views are wrong. That needs to be shown… I will hold that off for a moment while I establish Hoppe’s views.

            So, it’s not mere individualism that Hoppe believes in– but an individualism constrained by ranked race groupings, races marked by mostly heritable and immutable factors especially “intelligence”, a phenom reducible to a single number…

            At any rate, I will cite Hoppe going on at length referencing Richard Lynn and discussing the racial bio-deterministic aspects of economic possibilities:

            Hoppe’s Economy, Society, and History lecture series in 2004. Lecture 5 states it right in the title: “The Wealth of Nations: Ideology, Religion, Biology, and Environment”.

            Please listen to the beginning 18 mins of lecture 6, “The Production of Law and Order: Natural Order, Feudalism, and Federalism”. (…/The-Production-of-Law-and-Order…) Hoppe, following up on Lecture 5, clarifies his near confidence (it is now clearly 100%) in Richard Lynn’s “findings” that not only show a ‘mind-boggling high correlation between IQ and GDP’, but suggest an inherent causal function. In other words, IQ leads to GDP. And IQ is race/nation based, and mostly inherent therein. There are exceptions, but races are inherent and ranked.

            Lynn and others often state that blacks are inherently incapable of civilization without whites, etc.

            Hoppe, like other race realists, does not seem to question IQ as a phenom in of itself. But adds that IQ is not invariable– only because eugenic breeding may help. Hoppe shows his hand:

            “…You can also see, for instance, how relatively vain the attempt is, for instance, to expect economic miracles in Africa to take place. If you look at African countries and look at IQs there you will have a rather dim impression as far as the growth potential of these countries are concerned.”

            So there, Hektor, I am someone that is familiar with Hoppe– and identifies his beliefs as something more ferociously racist than even the everyday bigotry mentioned around the original post and comments.

            If you want more info, links, argumentation, undermining the pseudo-science of race realism etc. lmk. Thanks.

          • Hektor

            I know this stuff. He also says that Jews and Asians have a higher IQ than Caucasians. This probably means that he wants to kill himself or something. I’m really not interested in this kind of racial stuff. I just think that forced immigration and forced anti discrimination is much more totalitarian that some anarchist being a “race realist” on his own property in his living room. People on this blog advocate forced immigration and forced anti discrimination. In my opinion, that’s a totalitarian ideology and has nothing to to with liberty or libertarianism. That’s all.

          • King Snail

            Hoppe supports forced anti-immigration. You are not comparing oranges to oranges. I was establishing Hoppe’s beliefs first. if you want to talk about race realism’s normative side then it’s not at all ‘kept to living room innocuousness’. Included in Hoppe’s circle are advocates of white nationalism, separatism, etc. Pioneer Fund has been very active in the past at trying to get anti-immigration legislation. You would do well to read about Pioneer Fund’s history. It funds Mankind Quarterly and other white supremacist “scientific” rags. There are so many connections to nazis, neo-nazis etc– that I will not list them all now for fear that it will lend backing to “guilt by association” defenses… Each one would need to be qualified.

            That these modern race realists put Jews and Asians slightly ahead of whites is almost always used as cover for the fact that they keep blacks at a distant standard deviation lower than whites in general. That Pioneer Funders hate– hate– black people is well documented.

            But even if Richard Lynn did not cook the books in his research, which is well documented, and test results still came out as the apriori rankings stand– it still would leave everything to be proven in terms of meaning. Is it inherent race based traits or cultural exposure that leads to these scores etc. It is this gap that race realists believe they have spanned. It’s magical thinking.

            Ok then– but at least you know that there is one person who knows Hoppe and still labels him racist. Racist of the academic/intellectual kind. And can back it up!

          • ohgosh

            1. Who cares?

            2.Look who’s talking. You’re the biggest lover of that status competition game, as displayed in many of your toxic interventions on this site or social media.

            The constant theme is this: apparently if one has some academic credential he is dispensed to engage into an argument over someone else who has not the same credential. He can just call him names and abstain from engaging anything. That is, once he got that CV prize, it’s ok for him to engage in the very unacademic practices he is normally rejecting.

            Hey look at my CV, therefore “racism” or whatever derogatory term. Permanent dick contest.

            That could be funny if participants were not some big CV academics. Does not look too good for academia by the way.

          • Jason Brennan

            We’ve already refuted HHH. But we keep getting told that’s he’s a god.

          • ohgosh

            No, you are getting told that he is a god by your own impersonation of an imaginary cult member. That’s because you make up these conversations alone.

            Same procedure with your Austrian dude on method. You are such an awesome academic that you cannot even quote an actual Austrian on the subject. And then you settle the debate in a question-begging way, by mere assertion.

          • oldoddjobs


    • Jason Brennan

      Didn’t HHH work for UNLV, like Rothbard?

      In contrast, I work for a private university. I guess HHH and Rothbard were evil thieves. Let’s cut their hands off.

      EDIT: Yeah, I just looked this up. Looks like HHH and Rothbard spent almost their entire lives stealing money from taxpayers. May God damn these rotten thieves.

      • Hektor

        At least they were libertarians and fought for liberty in contrast to you. They actually put tax dollar to productive use and risked being fired for upholding their convictions. They tried to get rid of Hoppe more than once at UNLV. The same applies to Block at Loyola. None of this will happen to any of you crypto marxists, that’s probably clear. You love the state too much.

        • Jason Brennan

          HHH’s work is garbage. If he fought, he failed.

          You do realize that I published a book defending anarcho-capitalism this past year, right? And, unlike HHH, mine was published by a prominent academic press, and actually appears on syllabi in universities, and gets read widely by non-libertarians?

          • Hektor

            I don’t even want to imagine how your anarcho-capitalism would look like. It probably contains a progressive tax rate, forced collectivization of the means of production, a basic income, conscription, labor camps and extensive warfare. Because liberty.

            I think HHH is brilliant. I agree with him on many issues. The border issue is one of them. If you look at pictures where ISIS members cut the throats of dozens of innocent women and children in Iraq and Syria, you realize that the open borders fraction amongst libertarians failed miserably and the spreading of this murderous cult might even be the end of libertarianism itself. You can’t have a peaceful society made of murderers, slaughterers and people of ill character. Even “moderate” libertarians like Larry Reed say that. Hoppe stressed this point and insisting on the right to discriminate against other people is as important as his border policies in order to maintain a civilization. Forced integration is totalitarian in its core. Freedom of association is not. So you left-wingers are the ones who are actually promoting a totalitarian system here.

            None the less, I have to admit that I almost have to throw up reading some of HHHs and Rockwells stuff. It is obvious that people around the LvMI try to appeal to the right though. But what I find even more disgusting is the totalitarian ideology promoted by left libertarians. The arrogant and aggressive demeanor, the lies, the character assassinations, the intrigues and the betrayal when dealing with political opposition (e.g. libertarian infighting). All these attributes can almost exclusively found in left-wingers like the people who write for this blog. The Horwitzes, the Zwolinskies, the Biers, the Reisenwitzes. I`d rather turn my back to libertarianism and accept paying 80% in taxes than to let these kind of totalitarian autistic cultural marxist social engineers gain any influence.

            After all, you aren’t really interested in any kind of serious discussion anyhow. It’s still the old Cato versus LvMI fight. David Gordon wrote on this issue extensively. Rothbard stole Charles Koch breaktime snack on the schoolyard and pinched his girlfriend half a century ago or something. That’s why you guys keep bashing the LvMI today on a daily basis. It’s the Koch money. Please go die in a fire.

            Thanks in advance.

            Best regards from Germany.

          • jdkolassa

            “I don’t even want to imagine how your anarcho-capitalism would look like. It probably contains a progressive tax rate, forced collectivization of the means of production, a basic income, conscription, labor camps and extensive warfare. Because liberty.”

            You have got to be a troll. Nobody would go that far in the opposite direction in describing Brennan’s view.

          • Les Kyle Nearhood

            It’s not that he is a troll it is that he is a fanatic. That is what fanaticism looks like. It aint pretty. That is why I warn against absolutism even in libertarianism. None of us are smart enough to have all the answers.

          • Hektor

            Yes, it was a joke but just look at this blog. Zwolinskies favorite topic seems to be the basic income. You probably need some kind of forced redistribution for that. We already had “the libertarian case for military conscription” from other Cato folks. Then there was Cohen with “the libertarian case for parental licensing”, and tons of other disgusting stuff as well published on here and on other sites. And they still call themselfes “libertarians”. You can’t make this shit up. It’s probably only a matter of time until one of these guys publishes an article defending “the libertarian case for labor camps, genocide and nuclear warfare” or something along these lines. This is totalitarianism in disguise. You probably won’t hear any of this stuff from LvMI folks. Not even from Hoppe. Well, it was only a matter of time until the crypto marxists undermine the libertarian movement with their critical theory bullshit. We now have to make up a different term in order not to be associated with these kinds of totalitarian control freaks. “Classical neo-libertarianism” or something like that would probably do it…

          • jdkolassa

            Cohen is left field, even for this group.

            As for this,

            “You can’t make this shit up. It’s probably only a matter of time until one of these guys publishes an article defending “the libertarian case for labor camps, genocide and nuclear warfare” or something along these lines.”

            Now you’re just being a fanatic nutjob.

    • Tim O’Keefe

      Small request Hektor: I understand that you’re trying to be rude and abusive in talking about the “the retards who write for this shitty blog.” But it would be nice to avoid the casual use of ‘retard’ as an abusive way to call somebody a dumbass, and ‘retarded’ as a abusive way to say ‘incredibly and willfully stupid.’ It’s derogatory toward people with intellectual disabilities, even if you’re not thinking of it that way. Thanks.

      • Hektor

        Oh, I’m terribly sorry. I actually wasn’t aware of that. I promise to try my very best in the future not to be derogatory toward people with special needs. Cocksucker.

        • martinbrock

          Some of us have a special need to suck cock, but thanks for trying.

      • You do know words like “stupid” and “idiot” were used in a similar way to “retard” amongst the medical community, right?

  • DavidRHenderson

    Kevin, I agree about growing the movement. Would you agree with me that, whatever Ron Paul’s faults, he DID grow the movement?

    • It’s not even disputable. I wouldn’t be a libertarian, and I’m sure this is true of thousands of my generation, without Ron Paul. That doesn’t make right-libertarianism better, but it does tell us that no amount of political incorrectness by contrarian libertarians is going to stop the movement from growing.

      • Hugo Newman

        But presumably could slow down/limit that growth?

        • Presumably, sure. I just don’t think it’s something to get up in arms about. There are lots of other things that could presumably slow down/limit the growth of libertarianism too. Such as feminist-egalitarian “shame is coercion” articles. But maybe that isn’t as embarrassing to Vallier as Hoppe’s soft racism*, so he doesn’t write an article claiming it will hold back the movement. Vallier may be justified in defending left-libertarianism, but I think he over-defended.

          * I’m hesitant to even call Hoppe’s views “soft-racist” because “racism” is such a charged word that it almost has no meaning.

          • King Snail

            Harry, Hoppe is into “race realism” or scientific racism a la Richard Lynn and the Pioneer Fund. (Hoppe references Lynn a lot in lectures and has him speak at his own club, Property and Freedom Society, along with other racialists) It’s not merely the soft bigotry you mention– which is well documented. Hoppe mentions individualism, sure. But Lynn, and hence Hoppe, believes it is subordinated to ranked racial
            groupings– the key factor being “intelligence”, a mostly immutable and
            heritable phenom reducible to a single number that serves to predict
            cultural and economic possibilities. You can guess which race is ranked on top
            and bottom…. Notice that I have not addressed normative questions nor
            judged Hoppe’s beliefs in this comment.
            If you want links, quotations and references, I got them. There is a lot more to this– especially in addressing why race realism is pseudo-scientific…Thx

          • KS

            sorry for terrible paste format. yikes

          • Okay well I am not a huge Hoppe follower. I am going off this one article and a few past articles. But mostly this article, because that’s what’s under discussion. He didn’t make any racist claims in it. The rest of my comment still stands.

          • King Snail

            You would be wrong in this interpretation as well. I think it is Hoppe’s intention to cause this feeling among first time readers. First, the Left also recognizes that individuals are the products of biology and environment. (Lewontin, Gould, Kamin, Gardner…) So Hoppe is straw manning there. In essence, Hoppe is lying! He hints the other side of the coin– the important side– where race realist conclusions about the nature v. nurture question exist. But without background info on his buying into Richard Lynn and others associated with Pioneer Fund– the first time reader will easily be duped. If you do not think Hoppe is a race realist please see my comments to “Hektor” here. I cite Hoppe’s actual lengthy referencing of Lynn’s IQ/race nationalism….

            Ok, Hoppe writes:
            “The Right recognizes that these mental differences, resulting from the
            interaction of the physical environment and the physical human body, are
            the results of both environmental and physiological and
            biological factors. The Right further recognizes that people are tied
            together (or separated) both physically in geographical space and
            emotionally by blood (biological commonalities and relationships)…”

            Blood commonalities. Seems innocuous and well, like common sense, right? But not in context of this:

            “But the Left does deny the existence of mental differences or,
            insofar as these are too apparent to be entirely denied, it tries to
            explain them away as “accidental.” That is, the Left either explains
            such differences as solely environmentally determined, such that a
            change in environmental circumstances (moving a person from the
            mountains to the seaside and vice versa, for instance, or giving each
            person identical pre- and post-natal attention) would produce an equal
            outcome, and it denies that these differences are caused (also) by some –
            comparatively intractable – biological factors.”

            Comparatively intractable biological factors. (btw, “Intractable” has become the dog-whistling word for Charles Murray of The Bell Curve fame– a book that relied on– you guessed it– Richard Lynn as a “specialist in race differences”.) What is he referring to here? Well, who does he reference in regard to intractable mental differences– especially “intelligence”? A one Richard Lynn of Pioneer Fund. What does Richard Lynn believe? That there is individualism– but that it is constrained by racial groupings identified by inherent differences in intelligence; intelligence being an intractable bio phenom reducible to a single number allowing for prediction of economic and cultural possibilities. Lynn believes black people are inherently incapable of civilization without whites. This is the guy that Hoppe cites and invites to his personal club to speak, Property and Freedom Society.

            Tip of iceberg stuff about race realism, really. And, this is not describing the normative side of Hoppe. Not yet. And you can judge for yourself whether racialist claims are good or bad science…

            So, again. The hard hard racism is there. With basic background, not controversial even, one can’t miss it. Don’t be fooled by Hoppe. Thanks for for listening.

          • King Snail

            sorry again for embarrassing formatting. I am clueless

          • jdkolassa

            Try dumping your text into Notepad first, then into Disqus. It might help.

          • KS

            I will. Thanks jd.

          • oldoddjobs

            How incredibly squeamish you are. This stuff actually constitutes shocking racism to you, doesn’t it? It really does. Quick, ready the smelling salts! “Intractable biological factors”….UH-OH HATEFACT ALERT WARNING WARNING

          • oldoddjobs

            I can never understand why yanks get so hysterical over race. So, Hoppe believes a bunch of stuff about ethnicity, intelligence and economic development. Wow. And…-GASP-….it’s insufficiently sensitive to our holy objects, black people! What’s this NONSENSE about Jewish intelligence, for example? I see that renowned conspiracy theorist Steven Pinker has been spouting similarly deranged speculation recently. How could a single number predict economic possibilities? A population with an average IQ of 80 will be just as productive, innovative and competitive as a country with a population IQ of 120 because these numbers are just made up by evil whites… bolster their self-esteem, duh!

            Obviously because of my contempt for this insufferably sanctimonious blog entry, I must also hate the other groups-that-officially-don’t-exist-until-a-white-person-misspeaks-about-them. I must also agree with the scientific claims of these crypto-Nazis.


          • murali284

            No, Hoppe is clearly a racist. Racism is charged and its meaning has expanded, but even under the old narrower meaning, Hoppe is racist.

          • Maybe – see above – I have read only a little Hoppe, but nothing Vallier addresses in this blog is racist, even though Vallier tries to make it look racist.

          • oldoddjobs

            Just like the Japanese, right?

      • martinbrock

        I don’t consider Ron Paul a “right libertarian”. He’s a peacenik who would like to slash the Pentagon immediately but only wants to diminish the welfare state gradually as voluntary alternatives emerge. Where in the history of the English language has this position ever commonly been called “right”?

        • Yeah well there are so many ways you could define right- or left-libertarian. In a sense, I agree with you. These prefixes are superficial. I usually use them to mean cultural right or left; I think Ron Paul would consider himself a cultural conservative.

          Hoppe in this article calls himself a right-libertarian, and he fits all of the platform you attribute to Paul…then again so does everyone on this blog probably. In the manner you’re probably thinking, libertarians aren’t right or left.

          • martinbrock

            I wouldn’t even say that Kevin’s quote of Hoppe suggests “ferocious” racism, sexism and heterosexism. The quote seems to reflect these isms, but Hoppe seems to be reacting, as a good contrarian, against a politically correct canard that white, straight men are somehow the root of all evil and somehow wealthier than other demographic groups (other than white, straight women and white, gay men perhaps) only because they have their collective boot on the collective neck of the rest of humanity. I’m no follower of Hoppe and don’t now what else he has to say, but this canard merits ridicule, so I don’t object to ridiculing it.

            If Hoppe were advocating racial genocide or the brutal subjugation of women or jailing homosexuals, I’d call that “ferocious”, but he’s not as far as I know, so I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

          • jdkolassa

            “I’m not sure “cult leader” is a fair characterization of Stefan Molyneux, despite the “shun your parents” thing, which he backed away from ultimately. ”

            He did?

          • martinbrock

            Yes. The reasons aren’t clear, but he did. His wife is a licensed counselor in Canada, and the licensing body threatened her license over it, so they caved. I don’t recall the details, but I think they issued some sort of formal retraction and stopped telling people to shun their authoritarian parents.

        • jdkolassa

          My guess is that it’s because Ron Paul is culturally conservative and identifies with a lot of folks on the right.

          Also this:

          • martinbrock

            I have no idea what Gary North thinks these days, and something he wrote over 30 years ago is not evidence of what he thinks today. Michael Shermer was once a religious fundamentalist too (or “born again” if there’s a difference), though his fundamentalism presumably wasn’t as scary as North’s appears to have been. I know that North is still religious, but being religious doesn’t make him a theocrat threatening to stone homosexuals to death, even if his fundamentalism once led him to defend this sort of thing.

            On the other hand, I have a pretty good idea of what Tom Woods thinks these days, and though he’s apparently still religious, I don’t at all believe that he has any sympathy, or ever had any sympathy, with a totalitarian, Christian Reconstructist, theocratic state, even if North does, and I doubt that North still does.

          • jdkolassa

            I’m only pointing out why people identify him as right wing. In the United States, Christian Reconstructionism is VERY far right wing. As for Gary North, there’s nothing indicating he has abandoned these views whatsoever. I may also gently suggest you may know less about Tom Woods than you think. I certainly don’t know much about his views beyond economics – I read his book *Meltdown* and some of his columns, but beyond I don’t really know. He *seems* to be a somewhat culturally conservative Christian, but that’s just a vibe.

            As for Ron Paul lending his name…look. Paul allowed Rothbard and Rockwell to use his name to write some pretty nasty racist screeds in his newsletter. He has not exactly demonstrated good judgment in this area. A lot of people don’t pay too closely, unfortunately, when lending their names to projects, so long as they get some sort of kickback. You would think people would be more careful, but they’re not. Paul lending his name to this project says absolutely nothing about whether or not North still holds Christian Reconstructionist views.

          • martinbrock

            Woods is a culturally conservative Christian, but so is my mother. I have no problem per se with culturally conservative Christians. Woods is not “very far right wing” or anything like a Christian Reconstructionist after the fashion of Rushdoony. He’s not even as right wing as my mother.

            I’ve read the racist screeds, and they’re not all that nasty. They’re definitely incorrect and stupid politically, and some of them are personally objectionable to me, but I’ve seen nastier stuff on South Park and Family Guy, not to mention the comments section of this forum. Poor political judgment? Yes. If that matters to you, I agree.

            I don’t know how much Paul’s endorsement says about North’s evolving views, but I doubt that it says nothing, and I also doubt that Woods’ participation says nothing. I’ve suggested in Woods’ comment section that Woods have North on his podcast to discuss these views and how North squares them with his libertarianism. I’d like to hear it.

          • jdkolassa

            I’d like to hear it as well, it would be enlightening. But I still wouldn’t read Paul’s endorsement of Gary North’s curriculum as North having moderated or liberalized his views. That’s assuming facts not in evidence.

    • Kevin Vallier

      What does RP have to do with my post?

      • DavidRHenderson

        Kevin, You advocate expanding the movement and so a reasonable question to ask is whether you think Ron Paul did so.

        • Kevin Vallier

          Of course he did! But what does that have to do with anything?

          • DavidRHenderson


          • I don’t know if this is the point Henderson is making, but I think, as I said above, that Paul’s success at spreading liberty is reason not to be too concerned about perceived poisonous thought from alleged contrarians.

          • murali284

            There could very well be long term effects. At my own digs, the libertarians usually have an uphill battle convincing others that we are not monsters. This often happens when some lefty wonders along and thinks that libertarians believe all sorts of crazy things. The liberals who have been there long often tend to say something like “you guys are different, but you are an exception. Libertarians in other places believe horrible things” Merely growing the movement is not enough if the only people who join are people who believe horrible/crazy things.

          • Well okay, but that hasn’t been the case. I don’t know any libertarians who believe horrible/crazy things, and I know a good number of libertarians.

          • While modern liberals are quick to ask hyperbolic critics of liberalism to distinguish between serious minded liberals and crazy, leftist, extremists, they hardly ever distinguish, themselves, between serious libertarians and any old kooky survivalist who says “I hate guvmint!”, or a racist group that wants to take Idaho as their new, separate state.

          • murali284

            mfarmer, its not like you fall under the nice libertarian category. 2 years ago you were sounding more like a republican and less like a libertarian. I know you are kind of a right-libertarian, but you were really going off the rails in the run up to the election.

          • Les Kyle Nearhood

            mmm well I was also one who thought that the current administration was dangerous, statist, and not committed to liberty or the rule of law and guess what? Seems I was right.

          • Thanks for that.

          • Just as just as suspected , making it personal. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I have been libertarian probably before you were born, the problem with guys is you couldn’t take no-bullshit honesty

          • murali284

            Look, when leftists/ welfare liberals talk about libertarians who have crazy beliefs, they are not talking about crazy survivalist dude. I haven’t met crazy survivalist dude on the internet. I have met lots of libertarians like you who use absolutist rhetoric yet whose political advocacy in election time seems at odds with said rhetoric.
            So, the people leftists are talking about when they talk about crazy libertarians are not crazy survivalists, but ordinary people who say things like “taxation is theft” or “taxation is slavery” without any sense of irony.
            I’m asking you to have some self awareness.

          • I don’t understand these ad hominem attacks, and I would appreciate you showing me and others how I’ve been simplistic regarding libertarianism . These charges are baseless and I voted libertarian. I made several posts where I stated if gop would move toward liberty movement they would be preferable to progressives. They didn’t move.

          • I don’t understand these ad hominem attacks. Most tv shows and movies portray libertarians in cartoonish fashion, and I’ve witnessed liberal writers do so.. Show me and others where I’ve been simplistic regarding libertarianism. I voted libertarian although I urged republicans to lean toward liberty movement to combat progressivism

          • There was also another response from another commenter here that’s no longer here

          • The reason I bring up the missing response is because it supported my original comment

          • Now the missing comment has returned. Wow

          • Les Kyle Nearhood

            That is a clear sign of the growth of the movement. When I first got interested in Libertarianism about 18 years ago it was a hotbed of kooks and cranks. Kevin is absolutely correct in saying that small contrarian parties attract that sort of people. Growth of our ideas and entering more into the mainstream will leave these people more on the sidelines. But they will never go away. Witness that both the Right and the Left also still have their share of misfits, extremists, and angry, silly people.

  • Kevin, while I agree with your sentiment here, it’s just as easy to adopt an even more mainstream position than yours and call you the contrarian. You’ve highlighted an important shortcoming of Hoppe’s, but you’ve done it with an argument that is largely ad hominem and susceptible to itself.

    There are all kinds of problems with red pill, dark enlightenment logic, but your post doesn’t tackle any of them directly. This is unfortunate because I do keep up with what those folks say and write, and I already know how they will respond to your arguments.

  • Pingback: The Contrarian Trap: the Source of the Liberty Movement’s Dark Side | Official site of DJ Michael Heath()

  • ohgosh

    On Hoppe’s “megalomania”, he has stressed in the past that the theory of rights he is defending is not his. This theory he considers “the greatest achievement of social thought”. What is specifically his is the attempt at a justification for it, not the theory itself.

    The rest of this post is essentially an exercise in psychology (what leads Hoppe to say what he says). This is of course just a hypothesis with no attempt at showing that it would specifically apply to Hoppe. But what about the claims Hoppe makes? Apparently, It’s enough to mention (some of) them. We know that they are wrong, right? Not worth discussing. Not even worth linking to (NSFW?)

    • Yeah, Hoppe calling the libertarian theory of rights a great achievement is about as megalomaniacal as a priest calling the Golden Rule a great achievement. Vallier totally misread this (I’m willing to bet willfully), as well as the other parts of Hoppe’s essay that he quoted.

  • smh

    Yes I agree with everything you said and would add that Libertarians seem to very often be anti-science and not interested in perusing at research and stats that disagree with their POVs – just like conservatives.

    • oldoddjobs

      Yeah the anti-sciece, cryonic endorsing, transhumanist speculating, brain emulating, galaxy colonizing, sci-fi obsessed “Libertarians” need to look up stats pronto, dude

  • Daniel Kvasnička

    Ah, if all Ron Paul haters did for enlargement of the liberty movement what he has done… World would be a *lot* nicer place.
    I’m not saying he hasn’t done mistakes (like appearing on russian state TV every other day, for example), but he has done an immense amount of work during his life and Americans, of all other people, should pay at least a little respect to him.

    • Matt

      If someone can name one terrible law Ron Paul helped stop from getting passed, or better yet repealed, they’ll be the first. Of course, it will be difficult since it never actually happened. Moreover, I’d wager the only thing Paul did to enlarge the liberty movement was bring in more contrarians of the type Kevin describes above. I used to be a Paul supporter, but he’s become far more of an albatross to the liberty movement than he ever was an asset.

  • eccles11

    This is a great article. I have thought about this from time to time. And i really do try wherever i can to recognise this and try to distance myself personally from any particular viewpoint before critically examining another.

  • martinbrock

    Yeah, but white, heterosexual males also gave us Fascism and Communism.

  • Timothy

    I’m not as offended by their social views as I am by their views on what are good arguments (Argumentation Ethics, UPB, Rothbard’s argument for self-ownership in Ethics of Liberty, etc.). These people are so contrarian that they seem to think formal logic is a statist tactic. Their arguments tend to be flat out invalid and riddled with fallacies that first year philosophy students could catch.

    • Bob_Robert

      “riddled with fallacies that first year philosophy students could catch”

      Like what?

      • Timothy

        False dichotomies, strawman arguments, question-begging, and more. This guy does a pretty good deconstruction of Rothbard’s terrible argument for self-ownership:

        • Bob_Robert

          Thank you.

      • Jason Brennan

        HHH’s argumentation ethics argument equivocates between permission rights and claim rights.

        • martinbrock

          A serious critique of “argumentation ethics” would be more interesting than “we’re not all a lot of right-wing, racist, sexist homophobes like these other guys who can’t show their face in the institutions paying our salaries”.

          • aaron
          • Matěj Šuster

            It´s funny that the same person who revealed his somewhat snobish tendencies (“see his It’s Dr. or Prof. Vallier.” comment) would spell “non-sequitur” as “non-sequitor”.;)

          • Matěj Šuster

            Anyway, Hoppe´s argumentation ethics doesn´t work at all and I, too, find it strange that anyone considers it persuasive.

          • Jason Brennan

            I don’t spell-check.

          • martinbrock

            Yeah, that’s more interesting.

        • Bob_Robert

          Did you point that out?

        • Muh rights!

          I think that the main problem with AE is that it is, at best, tu quoque, and at worst, not even that.

          I ran into a staunch defender of AE the other day (I used to be a mild defender myself, and still think that it can be used to demonstrate hypocrisy in certain circumstances, but little else) and I got him to admit that “well, argumentation ethics is a weak proof, I prefer logical negation and self-reflection over it,” whatever all that is supposed to mean.

  • Ben Southwood

    I am very wary of defending anything that looks even a bit like HHH because I’ve always had a strong gut-level cringe feeling attached to him. I think your analysis here is reasonably sound: once you believe that one orthodoxy might not be true, you tend to question the others. And of course, many of the orthodoxies are actually correct.

    But I think it’s important to hone in on what’s actually bad about HHH. I don’t share any of your disgust about his sacredness violations on race, gender or whatever (cf. ) and I think that calling empirical claims ‘disgusting’ is a generally shit place for us* to be at.

    The issue is more that he’s more or less crazy and thinks, for just two examples, that Ludwig von Mises invented optics and that his own detailed theories are completely a priori true.

    (Final nitpick: among elites in the West atheism or quasi-atheism are pretty popular)

    *non-insane people with libertarian leanings

    • King Snail

      Hoppe is into scientific racism a la Richard Lynn and the Pioneer Fund angle. Individualism, sure. But it is subordinated to ranked racial groupings– the key factor being “intelligence”, a mostly immutable and heritable phenom reducible to a single number that serves to predict cultural and economic possibilities. You can guess who is ranked on top and bottom…. Notice that I have not addressed normative questions nor judged Hoppe’s beliefs in this comment.

      • Ben Southwood

        Ah but haven’t you. After all ‘scientific racism’ is not how Lynn would describe his work. Nor would he mention ‘ranked racial groupings’, intelligence’s being ‘immutable’ or its being ‘reducible to a single number’ nor indeed would he accept that what he does puts some people on the top or on the bottom! It’s hard to call it a non-normative comment on these beliefs when it’s riddled with obvious dogwhistles!

        Funnily enough your comment reads a lot like someone else’s writing…

        • King Snail

          Ben, you got me. Richard Lynn has not used those exact words. I have scheduled a press conference for first thing in the morning to retract everything I have said today and officially apologize to the greatest psychologist of group differences the world has ever seen.


          I will grant Arthur Jensen two things. One, he is the most sophisticated of the well known race realists. Two, he does say to Gould that intelligence is an abstract concept. Now maybe this mitigates Gould’s reification charge. (In referencing Gould there is no need to dog whistle. Gould may be controversial for Punctuated Equilibrium. It looks like he messed up his review of Morton’s skulls, too. But his takedown of the reasoning behind The Bell Curve– and hence Jensen and Lynn– is great beyond great.)

          But for all intents and purposes– Jensen’s admission matters very little. Factor analysis is used by race realists as if intelligence is mostly biological and stably heritable in groups– especially a particular kind of group which sharpens the difference outlook on charts, graphs and statistical tables. What might that grouping be?

          Well maybe Lynn’s 2008 The Global Bell Curve book cover provides a hint. It shows a yellow curve farthest to the right on a standard graph bell. Then slightly to the left is a white curve. Then way over on the left— way farther than the distance between the yellow and white curves– is a black curve. Hmmm. What in the world might Lynn mean by this? It’s only scores. Not ranking and not racial!

          Lynn spends the opening chapter of The Global Bell Curve downplaying cultural, structural and human capital explanations for inequality in the world in favor of intelligence as the most significant factor in outcomes. But of course, this statement is not racialized– yet.

          On pg 15 (30 in pdf) he then says that genes and environment play a role and that he agrees with Artur Jensen. Jensen, mind you, has posited .8 heritability of intelligence. And heritability implies group. So what group(s) is Jensen and Lynn talking about? Any guess, Ben?

          Lynn writes, also on pg 15: “First of all, for all the social phenomena there is a consistent racial hierarchy in which whites perform the best…” (then the book “proves” it through charts and stats etc)

          So, Ben, for Lynn there is a belief in intelligence as predominantly genetic, more heritable than not– and specifically tied to racial hierarchy in social outcomes. Hence, they reverse engineer this to say that there is a natural racial order.

          No wondering why Lynn would come to normative conclusions such as this gem:

          “I think the only solution lies in the breakup of the United States. Blacks and Hispanics are concentrated in the Southwest, the Southeast and the East, but the Northwest and the far Northeast, Maine, Vermont and upstate New York have a large predominance of whites. I believe these predominantly white states should declare independence and secede from the Union. They would then enforce strict border controls and provide minimum welfare, which would be limited to citizens. If this were done, white civilisation would survive within this handful of states.”
          —Undated interview with fascist magazine Right NOW!

          Please review the cover of the book again.

  • Roderick T. long

    Fusion of libertarianism with public-reason liberalism: unpopular. 😛

    • Kevin Vallier

      You forgot the Christian theism part!

  • Matěj Šuster

    Re: “ferocious racism, sexism and heterosexism” — the funny thing is that the claim that Western culture, civilization, market economy and classical liberalism has been largely created and developed by “white heterosexual males” is exactly the sort of claim which a typical academic feminist or anti-colonialist routinely makes; of course, the main difference is that for feminists and other radical leftists it is all the more reason for hatefully attacking Western culture and libertarian principles. 😉

    In other worlds, Hoppe´s claim is a factual observation which is to some extent indeed true (apart from the part about heterosexuality — after all, as Woody Allen would say, weren´t all those Greek philosophers (at least) bisexual? ;).

    • CT

      Interesting you should say that. I’ve had 2 debates (hardly a scientific study I know) with socialists who made those exact claims. They were both trying to figure out what was ‘wrong’ with white, heterosexual men. Not trying to defend or attack Hoppe, I just find it interesting coming from 2 completely different camps.

      • Is it not funny that we should find that those ensconced in the middle, right smack in between these two extremes (rad fem/socialist types and hard right libertarians), the pragmatists, would be the one’s to call this thesis into question? I’m not sure what we should make of that, if anything.

  • Nicholas Miles

    This piece seems to overlook the rather obvious possibility that libertarianism is simply suffering from selection bias in it’s recruitment. The fact that libertarianism is unpopular means that obsessive-compulsive contrarians will be drawn toward it.

    The suggested solution is spot on, though: By continuing to expand the movement it will eventually become so popular that obsessively contrarian people will have to put themselves in opposition to it. Now that I think about it, the contrarians described in this post could pretty much be considered the hipsters of the right.

  • stevenjohnson2

    Well I’m an outsider to libertarianism (despite flirting with it during my transition from inherited conservatism,) so perhaps an outside view might be considered relevant?

    I’m not sure the psychological causes for social/political phenomena are ever very persuasive, and tend largely to end up being moralizing in disguise. So I’d like to suggest the tendency for some libertarians to add right-wing nuttiness to their libertarianism is because libertarianism is just another right-wing option they added to their reactionary ideology. And you can’t get rid of the tendency of these people to make libertarianism look reactionary until you actually formulate a libertarianism that really isn’t right-wing conservatism.

    It’s not promising. I keep coming here to read the arguments for a world miniarchy to replace imperialism and it’s not happening.

  • Dshapiro

    Hi Kevin. I really liked this post, thanks a lot. Besides growing the movement, wouldn’t another cure for the contrarian problem is to do with Michael Huemer and I have done. Huemer: here are common sense views we all share and they imply or support libertarianism. Me: here are a variety of nonlibertarian philosophical views which support more libertarian institutions conclusions than those views think that they do? In other words: we’re not that contrarian!
    Daniel Shapiro

  • martinbrock

    So I finally googled for Hoppe’s article (that you refuse to link while quoting it at length). Your emphasis on ferocious racism, sexism and heterosexism is incredibly misplaced. Regardless of what you think of Hoppe’s reasoning, the article offers plenty of meat for substantive disagreement without obsessing over political correctness, so I’ll address an issue that you avoid in favor of this obsession.

    Absent a perfect harmony of all interests, conflicts regarding scarce resources can only be avoided if all scarce resources are assigned as private, exclusive property to some specified individual.

    No. Insisting that all scarce resources be assigned to specific individuals is responsible for endless conflict, because most people want specific resources held in common. A harmony of interests requires satisfying these wants. Human beings are familial and tribal by nature, and the individualism that Hoppe imagines is alien to their nature. Precisely which resources are governed exclusively by individuals, and which resources are governed by a committee of tribal elders or otherwise, is a subjective preference that individuals must be free to exercise within communities of their choice to avoid conflict.

    • King Snail

      Short note, friend. Martin, Hoppe is into “race realism”, not merely everyday soft bigotry. He references the racist eugenicist Richard Lynn a lot– and had Lynn speak at his Property and Freedom Society get-together. Understanding Lynn and scientific racism should put Hoppe’s remarks in different light for you. Hoppe is being sly. Claiming individualism and then only hinting at his hereditarian race/nation IQ beliefs. Background info helps. Lynn (and so Hoppe) believes in an individualism constrained within ranked race groupings– where cultural and economic possibilities are also constrained by mostly immutable and inherited “intelligence”– a phenom reducible to a single number. There is a lot lot more to this but I do not want to overwhelm you with citations etc. If you want ’em I got ’em. But the point is that Hoppe is indeed in league with those that espouse similar beliefs that, when nationalized and politicized in the past, have motivated mass forced sterilizations (eugenics), strict anti-immigration laws, ethnic cleansing, slavery and, of course, genocide. This is not just ‘call the fags hedons, keep woman in the kitchen’ diatribes. Hoppe perpetuates the most intractable social disease. Racism, scientific racism, is just another rationalization– like religion once was– for man to lord over man.

      Keep in mind, I am not saying Hoppe shares the same normative beliefs of the Nazis. I am separating beliefs from actions in analyzing racism.

      • martinbrock

        Suffice to say, if Hoppe advocates forced sterilizations or any of the rest, I have no sympathy with him.

        Again, I don’t follow Hoppe and don’t much know what he says outside of this article. I haven’t even read all of the article, which is incredibly wordy. I am not a Rothbardian or an objectivist (or a deductivist) more generally, so I have plentiful disagreements with what I have read. These disagreements don’t involve racialism or intelligence per se; however, I doubt that Hoppe considers “intelligence” a simple characteristic reducible to a single number. What we call “intelligence” is complex, multi-dimensional and not simply a matter of genetics, but it does contribute critically to human productivity.

        If I produce more than you, because I have greater intelligence (acquired through experience or otherwise), I do not therefore “lord over you” if I consume what I produce rather than handing my produce to you in exchange for nothing. If a group of people, defined by racial characteristics or otherwise, is more productive than another group, and if one group produces more than the other, the mere fact of this difference in productivity does not imply any “lording over” either.

        These differences in productivity, corresponding to differences in material wealth, between racial groups, national groups and other groups do exist, and members of these groups routinely note the differences themselves, often attributing the differences to some sort of institutional injustice. Does institutional injustice really account for the differences or not? That’s a fair question, and we can’t make sense of the differences in material wealth without confronting the question.

        • King Snail

          Suit yourself. But these race realist guys are all in the hereditarian school– Arthur Jensen etc. — which competes directly with other psychology schools of thought– especially ones espousing multiple intelligences– Howard Gardner etc. Do not confuse Hoppe for a Howard Gardner fan. Richard Lynn was a key reference for The Bell Curve, Murray and Herrnstein1994 racialist propaganda. Factor analysis and reductionist IQ theory is evident on page after page in that long compilation. Lynn is always citing single number IQ scores and applying them to whole nations, ranking them, racializing them. Hoppe uses them in his lectures these days. See my comments down below to “Hektor” for an exact Hoppe’ Lynn citation.

          The race realist guys say that black people are inherently incapable of civilization without white masters. Cheers

          Don’t be fooled by Hoppe’s sleight of hand.

          • martinbrock

            I’m not easily fooled, but if I want mindless chatter about race, gender and sex, I already have Oprah for that. I realize that BHL needs readers to generate revenue, but I’d really like to discuss more substantive issues here. Politicians don’t really give a flip about racial justice, and their academic comrades don’t either. Hoppe’s sleight of hand involves diverting attention from other issues by focusing on race and other appeals to emotion, but this tactic doesn’t distinguish him from the “left libertarians” he opposes. They’re doing the same thing.

        • We have to ask: if “institutional injustices” are to blame for material disparities between perceived groups, where did those “institutional injustices” come from in the first place?

          Are they just random and happen to favor white, heterosexual males?

          Or were they put in place by white, heterosexual males who just happened to be more able or willing to set them up than members of other groups?

          And if they were more able, is this a result mostly of higher, on average, intelligence, or mostly environmental factors such as geography and climate (note that these two are not even mutually exclusive; it would not necessarily be a contradiction to say, mostly one AND mostly the other, and even Hoppe, I recall, has touched on this)?

          But if they were simply more willing, does this mean that white, heterosexual males are simply more conniving and oppressive than members of other groups?

          If they are, why is that? Again, we must revert back either to environmental factors or inherited traits (which again, aren’t even mutually exclusive).

          • martinbrock

            Well, white, heterosexual males are not actually wealthier than white, heterosexual females in the United States, and they have never been wealthier at any time during my 50 years on the planet, so maybe someone is more conniving and oppressive than white, heterosexual males. I mean, when you’re actually wealthier but manage to play the role of the oppressed anyway, that’s a pretty successful connivance.

            Gays suffer other disadvantages, more in the past than in the present in my neck of the woods, but I doubt that gay white males are actually poorer than straight white males either. I suppose gay males support many fewer children on the average. Within the “white race”, the advantages of being a straight male are grossly exaggerated if not entirely fictitious.

            In terms of race, whites were clearly privileged over blacks institutionally in the United States in the past, even during my life time. Statutory enactments explicitly discriminated, and there’s no getting around that. Simply being more intelligence or better educated or better equipped with capital produced from greater intelligence and education is not a privilege, but if the tools that one produces with greater intelligence are instruments of coercion, then they can be used to impose privilege, and instruments of coercion have certainly been used this way in the past and continue to be used this way today.

            In fact, unlike Hoppe, I suppose that most wealth today reflects privilege, and making this case objectively based on empirical measures is not difficult. Every dime of the value of U.S. Treasury securities reflects privilege. Every dime of the value of software patents or any similar, statutory monopoly reflects privilege. Practically ever dime of the value of Lockheed-Martin reflects privilege. Add up these dimes alone, and you have one hell of a high stack of dimes, and this stack is only the tip of an ever growing iceberg.

            White males had a lot to do with erecting all of these privileges, though not always exclusively for themselves, but it’s not like Africans and Indians and Chinese weren’t erecting similar privileges at the same time. Not all systems of privilege are equally productive, or equally destructive of productivity, and the systems that developed first among Europeans and their descendants strike a better balance than alternatives. Hoppe seems right on this point, but that’s a far cry from saying that we aren’t privileged or that our privileges play a minor role in disparities in wealth, racial or otherwise.

  • I don’t have much to say about Hoppe. I’ve read very little of his writings, and I don’t consider him a leading libertarian thinker. As to why such thinkers have an influence on libertarianism, I’m not sure how much influence they have on modern libertarian thought — no more, I suspect, than questionable kooky radicals in the environment movement or questionable characters like Al Sharpton have on modern liberals. One can ask how any thinking person can be influenced by the likes of Ward Churchhill. But, like I said, Hoppe is not the issue.

    I guess contrarianism is the issue, as the author claims that libertarianism is falling into a contrarian trap. The author claims that libertarianism is unpopular, so it attracts unsavory nuts who love to hold outrageous and provocative views. I usually think of contrarians as practical investors who go against the grain with an investment purpose. I suppose there’s some type of personality disorder that drives some people to be contrarian, and there must be if the author thinks it’s worth writing about. If there’s a personality type driven to contrarianism, and if they make up a significant part of the libertarian movement, and if it’s true that like-minded thinkers are attracted to one another, what keeps these personality types from disagreeing with one another, holding views that are contrary to the “right” libertarianism of Hoppe or other such “right” libertarians in their like-minded group? It seems this personality type, once there are enough such like-minded thinkers to write a post about and call them a threat to libertarianism, would all splinter off into various provocative and outrageous views that no longer have anything to do with libertarianism.

    I’m not sure how such personality types could ever form an ongoing group within a movement such as libertarianism long enough to be a threat. It appears to me that this type of personality disorder when it affects a group would lead to dissolution and they’d all fade away in different directions in search of outrageous unpopularity. If too many of them agree, then agreement among themselves would no longer satisfy their individual needs to be contrary. It’s also doubtful that the superficial, meaningless motivation to be outrageous could ever affect a group of serious thinkers like libertarians to the point of destroying their intellectual foundation.

    The biggest threat to libertarianism is the opposite of contrarian nuts. I’m not sure it’s a real threat to libertarianism in the broadest reality of the movement, but among intellectuals who call themselves libertarians of a sort the threat is a milquetoast pragmatism, go-alongism that seeks acceptance and popularity among other intellectuals over adherence to principles. Contrary (yes, it’s intentional) to the idea among left-libertarians and bleeding heart libertarians and such that rightwing nuts are killing libertarianism, what’s hurting libertarianism is what hurt classical liberalism in the early 20th century, capitulation to the popularity of government interventionism. When many classical liberals yielded to the pressure of European social democracy, they turned their backs on limited government, non-interventionism and economic liberty for the more intellectually popular progressive movement.
    Now that there’s a new liberty movement threatening the State, intellectuals who’ve been molded by social democratic ideology are pressuring liberty-minded intellectuals to deaden their libertarian impulses and join the effort to marginalize the liberty movement, at least when it comes to economics, if nothing else. Sure, promote pot legalization — promote civil rights — just don’t promote strict limits on the State, and don’t promote free markets. Stay away from anti-statist sentiments. Don’t be harsh and unreasonable. Condemn those among you who stubbornly hold to libertarian principles to the point of extremism. Call them nuts, radicals –call them contrarians who are the way they are, not because they’ve worked out a political philosophy in which they believe, but because they’re flawed personality-wise and seek provocation for its own sake. Throw these principled libertarians a bone, though, and commend those among them who are seriously seeking openness — maybe they’ll get on board and renounce the nuts.

  • ThaomasH

    I sense a tinge of “contrarianism” (maybe not the right diagnosis) in many Libertarians who think that on any specific difference of opinion on a particular issue that the issue must be one of deep principle. To exaggerate, the person who favors a minimum wage favors having the government set wages and prices generally. (After all the same guy also favors rent controls.) Dialogue might reveal that his principles may not be totally different (although they can hardly be identical), but that he thinks there is something different about wages of low income workers. [Please: this is not about minimum wages, which I am not arguing for.]

    • The way I see it is that libertarianism is limited to a few major principles.. Libertarians agree that we possess rights the state should not violate. Once past this, libertarians can disagree on practically any issue with no problem to the integrity of libertarianism. I might believe anyone who wants to marry should be left to the freedom.of their choices, period, yet another libertarian might believe same sex marriage is unnatural and unhealthy, but doesn’t call for the state to act because it would violate individual.rights. in other words, there are a few areas of agreement that make us libertarian, and many areas of possible disagreement that have nothing to do with libertarian principles, per se

  • Craig J. Bolton

    “Global contrarianism is an easy thing to fall into. After all, if you
    think you’ve rationally decided that millions and millions of people
    are completely wrong about something, it is natural to think they might
    be wrong about lots of other things as well. Heck, maybe mainstream
    elite opinion is wrong about everything and the whole world is turned upside down!”

    “All that’s left is to take the red pill and step into a world of radical free thought where everything is open to question.”

    This analysis may make a great deal of sense if one is focused only on psychology or sociology. From the standpoint of Philosophy, however, it is a pseudo-argument. Some widely accepted conclusions may be dead wrong and some may be mostly right. That is why one should regard them all, initially, as dead wrong (including the ones that you currently endorse) and then examine and re-examine the arguments and evidence for each such conclusion. If that is what contrarians do, then those who are contrarians make a major social contribution. .

    As for the specific issue of racism, the problem is not that it is factually right or factually wrong but that it provides an answer to a question that is really not very interesting or important. Suppose we could define “race” so that we could classify each individual in a particular racial category. So? Well, so we would know that ON AVERAGE there is a somewhat better or somewhat worse chance that such individual would have certain characteristics. So? Such information is only helpful if we have a mostly collectivized society in which allocations of goods or bads must be made on the basis of the traits of groups rather than individuals. It is beyond amusing that people like Hans Hoppe claim to be radical individualists and believe that a thought system like racism has important things to tell us.

  • Lizzaroni

    “If I’m right, then what are we to do in order to stop the most virulent, nasty forms of contrarianism?”

    I do think there is a way to do this directly, and which is to engage the social justice issues that are the most prominent home to these contrarians and frame them in a way that shows libertarians (a) acknowledge their existence, and; (b) are actively trying to find ways to mitigate or resolve them in a way that is facilitated by libertarian principles.

    Racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. are all real and the predominantly affect certain groups of people. Maybe things have changed since I was in college, but I raised this to the attention of the Ron Paul group on my campus and was quickly dismissed by a room full of young white guys who insisted they weren’t going to acquiesce to calls for ‘special rights’ rather than individual rights.

    The lack of interest in combating these concerns gives contrarians a rather natural political home. If we keep conflating ‘individuals’ with the ‘default’ (white men, usually middle class and above), the movement will never grow in terms of thought and engagement — the sorts of characteristics that allow libertarians to ‘market’ their ideas to broad swaths of people who feel they have no place as ‘outliers’ — and thus will never grow in number and consistently keep attracting the bottom of the political barrel who have nowhere else to go because other groups have rightfully ostracized them.

  • Gus diZerega

    Many years ago when IHS was still in Menlo Park and Hoppe
    was likely a sperm yet to meet its egg, I heard similar views.

    I think the cause is more than simple contrarianism, though
    that is likely a part of it.

    People like Hoppe and Rothbard and Mises thought apriori reasoning
    had something insightful to say regarding empirical public affairs, and also
    thought that markets on balance reflected human abilities and values.
    Therefore anyone who did less well in the market was objectively inferior. Mises said as much explicitly. Therefore along with individual failings,
    sex and race was the explanation for persistent differences, because the
    alternative was to realize the market, valuable as it is, is not a simple
    reflection of human values and capacities.

    • King Snail

      Gus, no. Hoppe was 11 when IHS was founded back in ’60. Further, Mises might have said some chauvinistic things, and that you are dependent on your “betters” for all the best things in civilization, brought to you of course by big business. But no way was he racist like Hoppe. Mises believed that “backward peoples” might be on top again with the importation of classically liberal ideas and free market capitalism. Hoppe is of the school that says these “backward peoples” ate down there because of inherent racial characteristics e.g. intelligence. This is a huge huge difference.

      I will leave apriorism to the side for now. I will say that thee is a lot more strength to it than what empiricists would have you believe. Cheers

      • Gus diZerega

        Hoppe just lost his last excuse for his position.

        I did not say Mises was a racist, I have no idea. I did say that their interpretation of the market process led them to say that failures were personal, and so if there was a pattern in a group, it was a group characteristic, be it sexual or racial or, as in Mises’ letter to Rand, in most people simply being inferior. And I encountered such people at IHS back then, while Hoppe was a little kid.

        The problem with Mises’ approach was that he insisted, as did Rothbard and I assume Hoppe who I have not read for years, that interpersonal comparisons of utility are not scientific and so not valid for social analysis.

        As a young scholar I accepted that argument. Then I realized that the argument is too strong – if one gains psychically while everyone else suffers, the argument holds we have no reason to say “social utility,” or human well-being, has diminished, even if many died. Praxeology, whatever its other strengths, has nothing to say about intervention in the market helping or hurting people beyond the observation that some gain and some lose, whether it be Nazi genocide or creating national parks.

        And so I went to Hayek, where I have remained.

        • “Praxeology, whatever its other strengths, has nothing to say about intervention in the market helping or hurting people beyond the observation that some gain and some lose, whether it be Nazi genocide or creating national parks.”

          This is a bad thing?

          • Gus diZerega

            It means no one can turn to praxeology to support or oppose ANY public policy on what Mises and especially Rothbard claimed were scientific grounds. You can say that is good or bad- your call. I say it’s a fact.

        • Ed Ucation

          That’s all nice and all, but the moment you start regulating the market with guns (e.g., kicking people out of their homes to create a national park), you become an asshole.

          • Gus diZerega

            You seem to want to change the discussion. Sorry.

  • Ethan Pooley

    Excellent post Kevin, thank you. The ability/reflex to contradict is surely a double-edged sword. Those of us who exhibit it, and I certainly do, should strive to at least be conscious of it. That is the first step down the path to dulling one of the edges.

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  • martinbrock

    Again, in an effort to derail this dull (to me) dispute over race, gender, sexual preference and other hot button issues, I’ll address other points in Hoppe’s article that are outside of this pop-politics domain and more within the historical debate between “right” and “left” libertarians, including debates among classical liberals most of whom were counted on the “left” only a century or two ago.

    … it is the further-reaching claim that past injustices also render all current private property holdings morally suspect, which does not follow and which is certainly not true. As a matter of fact, most private holdings are likely just, irrespective of their history – unless and except in such cases in which a specific claimant can prove that they are not. The burden of proof, however, is on whoever challenges the current property holdings and distribution.

    This point is not “libertarian” in any sense. It is conservative, and I dispute it as matter of empirical fact.

    For example, last time I checked, the value of all U.S. Treasury securities roughly equaled the value of all shares of all of the S&P 500 companies, and the market cap of the S&P 500 was 80% of the market cap of all publicly traded companies in the U.S. Furthermore, this division of “property” into “public” and “private” categories places many assets controlled by states in the “private” category. An S&P 500 company like Lockheed-Martin receives the overwhelming majority of its revenue directly from the U.S. government and other states, so it’s practically a state agency, yet this division calls all of its market cap as “private”.

    And the last time I calculated these statistics, the Bush and Obama “stimulus” packages, following the “financial crisis” had not occurred. Nor is the value of U.S. Treasury securities a remotely adequate measure of the “public property” that Hoppe presumably wants redistributed to a “private sector”. It ignores much property of the Federal government, other entitlements to rents imposed at the Federal level, everything else the Federal government controls through its spending both of tax revenue and expanding liquidity from the Fed, not to mention state and municipal governments, not to mention patents and other state granted monopolies of ever growing scope.

    • Ed Ucation

      Excellent comment, Martin. Thanks.

  • Theresa Klein

    I find it somewhat mystifying how 9/11 Trutherism has come to be associated with libertarianism in the last few years. I remember when the conspiracy theorists were all on the left, especially in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 when the left couldn’t decide if America had it coming of if the attack was orchestrated by the CIA.

    Transhumanism and paleo dieting strike me as cool ideas that aren’t particularly anti-scientific, and not even really that contrarian. Atheism is unpopular with Christian conservatives, but not at all unpopular with leftists, which is usually what libertarians are reacting against. I’ve never met any anti-psychiatry libertarians.

    Climate change denial, well, I hate the word denial because that’s a loaded word. One can also believe that AGW is real, with believing that we have yet seen a discernable effect on the climate. But yes, lots of libertarians fall into the contrarian trap with respect to climate change. perhaps because the left has been too successful at framing the problem as one that can only be solved with central control of the economy.

    The hardcore nativists about intelligence are mostly closet racists seeking cover in the libertarian movement, IMO.

    • jdkolassa

      I think the anti-psychiatry thing is a reference to Szasz.

    • Conspiracy theories have long been popular on the extreme right as well. Not that extreme right and extreme left are altogether distinguishable, especially when they have strong populist sentiments.

  • jdkolassa

    In general, I agree with you, Professor. A small yet growing movement like libertarianism is going to attract a lot of cranks who want to use it’s contrarianess to be a vehicle for their own contrianism. I’m glad folks like you are taking the time to explain why this happening, and also in some way take folks like Hoppe to the intellectual woodshed, so hopefully we can clean them out.

    That said, I do want to quibble with you lumping atheism into this. I was an atheist long before I was a libertarian, and they’re not necessarily connected. Oh sure, there’s definitely a sense of individualism in both – avoiding spiritual dogma and avoiding political dogma – but I don’t necessarily see them as being related. And while everyone seems to think that a disproportionate number of libertarians are atheists, I don’t know if this is really true. Has anyone done any surveys? I think there’s a good chunk that are atheist, but it’s maybe 30-40%. I think the majority are still definitely in the Judeo-Christian tradition. If there are surveys, I would love to see them, and if not, I think it would be interesting to see the results (though the polling might not actually be useful.)

    As for the other things, climate change is still being debated (though I think there’s something going on, probably just nowhere near as bad as a lot of people think), and I don’t get what’s up with transhumanism. Unpopular? I mean, it’s kind of a niche thing, but it’s not like it’s hated and “crankish” like being racist, sexist, and homophobic. I do think the paleo diet is a tad silly, though that’s just my opinion.

  • Sam

    What is scientific racism?

    If it is the belief that there are a different races with different mental/physical attributes then you are condemning a big part of science(psychology and genetics).

    Is Charles Murray a racist then? He seems quite welcomed by mainstream libertarians(Cato, FEE). The Bell Curve was highly praised by Milton Friedman. Is he also a scientific racist? I’m African yet these questions are empirical(which Kevin and Brennan favour I presume) and and also very important. Why is it impossible for BHL to approach race/ethnicity/culture with a sober mind. You might disagree but don’t pretend there isn’t good science behind it.

    I’m trying have an open mind about BHL but it is obvious when I read things like this that this movement is more driven by emotions:

    “That it is white heterosexual men, who have demonstrated the greatest ingenuity, industry, and economic prowess. And that it is societies dominated by white heterosexual males, and in particular by the most successful among them,which have produced and accumulated the greatest amount of capital goods and achieved the highest average living standards (my emphasis – YUCK).”

    Is this a true or false statement by Hoppe?

    At my university I’m constantly being lectured about dead white males. These liberals seem to be annoyed at the very fact that dead white males have dominated history. Kevin’s reponse is to write “yuck” and call it “ferocious racism, sexism and heterosexism”. Does Kevin disagree with liberals or is he simply mad at Hans Hoppe for mentioning these facts without any regret about it?

    Either way this seems very unscholarly.

    • Les Kyle Nearhood

      It is because Race and Ethnicity are the largest hot button issues in the United States. The idea that ANY discernible difference in abilities can be attributed to genetics is totally anathema to some (most) academics. To my way of thinking such genetic differences if they do exist are small potatoes compared to cultural differences, nevertheless I do not rule them out completely.
      As for the patrimony which we have talked about before as part of the western tradition. I think those things arose out of Europe for a reason. (not because Europeans are so smart). Because the platform of thought was there to be built upon. I do not think it may have arisen just anywhere. China had from early times been dominated by an Imperialist world view. India and the Middle east were dominated by religious clashes. Africa and other parts of Asia were hamstrung by Tribalism. The Americas? Who knows, they were at the level of bronze age empires when they joined the rest of the world.

      • King Snail

        All the big names in psych/anthro/genetics/etc admit that it’s both nature and nurture, genes and environment, immutable difference and cultural influence. This is not controversial. Hoppe is straw manning big time. Why? (Lewontin, Kamin, Flynn, Gould… all who challenge Hoppe’s race realism– can be quoted to back me up.)

        • TheGuyinCharge
          • King Snail

            It’s not really an appeal to authority when it’s common knowledge within the sociobiological research paradigm. I was not making claims about the quality of their theories, either… To avoid a blizzard of links– which are like wah pedals in rock guitar, used as weapons as much as for making music, I will ask, what kind of citations/quotations would you like in particular?

            I am a big fan of Nizkor Project, btw. Very useful in skirmishes with Holocaust Deniers. Inadvertently while researching arguments and evidence on sites like Nizkor, I came across connections between Holocaust denial and race realism. Sure enough, it tracked to right wing libertarians. One example: The head of HD clearinghouse Institute for Historical Review, Mark Weber, a real neo-Nazi with National Alliance roots, is often a guest at Jared Taylor’s residence while attending Taylor’s American Renaissance conferences. (It makes sense because both are into insinuating their ideas into polite intellectual discourse.) That Taylor seemingly wants to promote a white diaspora consciousness that includes Jews– a radical break from the past– is called into question. Nonetheless, the important thing here is that Taylor is one of Hoppe’s main race gurus. And you guessed it– Taylor is a recipient of Pioneer Fund money. But not nearly as much Pioneer Fund dole as Richard Lynn– Hoppe’s other go-to scientific racist.

            Go ahead and press the ‘guilt by association’ button. I am not claiming that all the people mentioned share all the same ideas nor to the same extent… But there is a lot more to this. And yes, I can get you a blizzard of citations if you want them. There are qualities to these relationships that ought not be ignored.

            Btw, where is Hoppe’s backing of his claims? His so-called Left-Right dichotomy? At any rate, it is not even apparent to most people who read his piece that he is straw manning on two accounts: 1) claiming that the Right recognizes individuals while the Left does not; 2) obscuring the language so people do not know his beliefs in racial hierarchy and bio-determinism that severely constrain this so-called individualism… If I had not been reading about scientific racism I would not have detected Hoppe’s real position.

            Maybe racialitarian and/or racitarian should be added to the growing libertarian taxonomy.

    • King Snail

      Saying that ‘white heterosexual males’ are responsible for the great achievements of Western Civilization stops short of what Hoppe and friends really mean: that white hetero males are of higher inherent worth due to biological superiority. Do Richard Lynn, Jared Taylor, Philippe Rushton, other Pioneer Funders, and yes, Charles Murray, prove such superiority? The biological record does not support such genetic discretion. “White” “race” works only as social construct. And social stats and test scores are just as easily explained as outcomes of environment e.g. cultural exposure– not inherent nature. These racists claim otherwise– but based on what exactly? And how come you don’t know, Sam, yet are so confident to judge who is being scholarly here?

      • TheGuyinCharge

        So black domination in speed sports is just a byproduct of ghetto life and tribal culture? Raise any Chinese kid in a sub-saharan African community and he’s just as likely as any of his brothas to be an excellent sprinter? And if he doesnt perform in accordance with black averages that’s because of institutional racism? This is proven I guess by the fact that raising so many millions of black Africans in Western culture has made their achievements and social stability pretty much on par with Englishmen’s. Also, this is why people so commonly use pit bulls instead of border collies to herd sheep. No such thing as heritable behavior or capacities. Damned social constructs. I’m going to go throw the Frisbee for my cat.

        • King Snail

          I do not know who you are attributing these claims to or if you are merely stating positions. But can we at least stipulate that Hoppe, Jared Taylor, Richard Lynn, and other Pioneer Funders tend toward a reductionist view on race and heritability? These guys believe more or less that what you see on government forms so to speak– white, black, asian, indian, etc, represent underlying biological realities, especially varying levels of inherent intelligence, that clue cultural, moral and economic potentials of these discreet groups. It’s all about social factor analysis and weeding out redundancies. They further believe that these races can therefore be ranked as to worth to the species. (some have gone way beyond that to suggest that the difference between blacks and whites is so sharp that the term “sub-species” is applicable.)

          Most lab associated researchers claim that race is a useless term for research purposes. There are so many other forms of groupings that one may use taxonomically and for heritability research purposes: eye color, left-handedness, gays, sickle cell, etc… Why must it be traditional views of race? Lewontin and others studying blood alleles found that almost any way you slice and dice humanity into ethnicity (not merely standard race groups) that 85% of all known diversity is within the group. Meaning that between group difference is far less. Further, physical/visual differences around the world tend to appear gradually as geographical distance changes. There are not too many immediate sharp differences in populations– and those populations with the most unique characteristics tend to be isolated.

          There are also arguments over whether traits evolved due to environmental adaptation or sex selection, choice i.e.

          But due to conquer, slavery, trade, and other factors bringing strangers together– the genetic outlook makes the race realist reductionism appear even more mythical. Blacks in America have anywhere from 2-25% European genes. There is even a significant portion of white looking people that actually have more African genes than European, and vice-versa. The traditional idea of race is useless for scientific purposes. Why must the race realists persist?

          Now, a quick note on sports and heritability. On top of the uncertainty of race and ethnic identification in their relation to underlying genes– there is the fact that genes for a trait, even when 100% heritable, can still express themselves differently when exposed to different environments or stimuli. Then there is what they call “stereotype threat” or simply understood as the role of social expectations play. Let’s not forget access to training; this is huge for any athlete.

          How does one control for these factors in accounting for heritability? Anyone? What this should be telling you is that the discourse must happen on too many levels for any reductionism to take place.

          Okay, so much late night rambling. I hope some of this made sense. Quick conclusion:

          Claude Bouchard counted muscle twitch fibers and found genetic differences per ethnicity… But this can mean what exactly? It certainly does not prove that social construct is a biological race reality. Or that calve muscle difference between “whites” and “blacks” means race-brain differentiation. It is merely one factor in many- very many- to be considered. These questions are ongoing…

          • TheGuyinCharge

            Visibly different human populations evolved largely separate from each other, adapting to different challenges. That’s why they look different. The fact that you can’t see behaviors and IQs doesn’t mean that these things aren’t just as different, on average, as appearances. Taking achievement records, social organization, etc., into account, this conclusion is inevitable for anyone interested in being consistent and honest.

            I don’t need to cite sources or reference so-called experts. I am citing the inescapable fact that measurable physical differences in distinct human populations align closely with well-charted behavior and intelligence differences. To deny this is to deny that timber wolves and golden retrievers have different average tendencies and capacities.

            You’ve been trained to consider any possibility except that two plus two equals four. This is a silly discussion.

          • King Snail

            Again, it’s not the social stats that are being challenged here. (Although, Richard Lynn is notorious for cooking the books on IQ scores.) Given the social constructs at play, the historical situations etc, one would expect to see e.g. blacks at the bottom and whites at the top (leaving out asians and others for the moment).

            Again, science 101: Correlation does not prove causation. Humans are not canines.

            How would you test for your causal hypothesis when you need to control for all of the social and biological factors? Design the test for me.

            Explain what you mean specifically by race and prove that it is biologically discreet– and that it ought to serve as the primary grouping– in light of that there can be many others– for heritability in the first place. Vagueness doesn’t cut it in science. Your views are currently that of a Medieval serf. Superstitious, apriori.

            IQ. The hubris of reductionism. There are two other major schools of intelligence besides the hereditarian. Maybe people have multiple intelligences, says Howard Gardner. Stephen Jay is probably 90% right when he claims that hereditarians are engaging in reification via factor analysis. Treating intelligence as a physical trait mostly immutable, mostly heritable, racial, and reducible to a single ranked number is pure fantasy. See Science 101 again. But not only that, review the complexity of the socio-biological milieu that I hinted at too.

            Factor analysis still requires the researcher to make arbitrary decisions concerning what counts as the causal reduction. Factor analysis has what they call a rotation problem. Because scatter points on a graph have a spatial relationship– using different factors– or thereby rotating the graph– can reveal a different causal function given the researcher’s original theoretical perspective. An analogy oft used is hands on a clock stuck at the same angle. If one rotates the time designations but not the hands– the hands will point at completely different times. In other words, I could use the same methodology as Arthur Jensen and just as easily “prove” that socio-economic status causes IQ. Not the other way around.

            James Flynn has shown that IQ scores among populations can change drastically in just a few generations. These changes correlate highly with improved nutrition and access to education. Surprise surprise. Black scores have been going up, btw.

            The remarkable changes in IQ scores have happened so fast that evolution cannot possibly be the explanation.

            This does not mean factor analysis is not useful– but for all its sophistication and statistical wizardry–it provides no special route to revealing biological reality. Only magical thinking, along with fear and ignorance, would make it appear to do so.

            Oh man. The intractable perniciousness of racism. Is the attraction that
            it takes so little effort to hold such false beliefs?

            I am going to
            fund anti-scientific racism spots based on the old school “This is your
            brain. This is your brain on drugs.” campaign.

          • King Snail

            “Stephen Jay” = Stephen Jay Gould. Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science. Here he is crushing Pioneer Fund race/IQ “science” that serves as the apriori methodology behind The Bell Curve by Murray and Herrnstein:

          • TheGuyinCharge

            Ha. Yes, I must describe what a human race is so you can babble another 1,000 words of bald man fallacy and cite “expert” studies showing that day is in fact night.
            You got me. It’s only the subspecies of every other species whose variations in behaviors and capacities are evolved traits. Not humans. We’ve all got identical intelligence and behavioral tendencies. Hell, we aren’t even divided into races. Stephen Jay made us on an assembly line and painted us different colors for excitement. All of recorded history and all figures showing distinct race trends are just damned KKK conspiracies.

            You win. Because you said “racism.”

          • King Snail

            Nice and predictable way to lose, chum. You have nothing– cite nothing, argue nothing– and so you resort to being a scoundrel. It is easy to see through the flimsy construction of libertarian anti-political correctness political correctness.
            I have already demolished whatever crumbs of reason you tried to turn into a loaf. Now, let me take care of your insults:

            You are, technically, a racist scum. Wear those shoes, clown. Go join Hoppe, Taylor, Lynn and their lapdog sycophant Stephan Kinsella at the racist Property and Freedom Society… They are big on pseudo-science too.

          • TheGuyinCharge

            Did you get hurt feelings? I actually specifically cited the fact that all scientists, even Mr. Stephen Jay, take variations in the capacities of the subspecies of all other animals to be evolved traits. They know why dogs aren’t wolves and why border collies aren’t pit bulls….But gee, they just can’t figure out why black Africans aren’t white Europeans! Man oh man! What could make this one set of humans unable to make other than huts, and this other set of humans fly around in rocket ships? No, no, it couldn’t be that one thing there, that would be…cue the horror movie screaming….RACISM!!!

            Sorry, man. Your worldview is pretty much a joke. But it’s a widely-believed joke, so live it up. You have super noble thoughts. You think what you’re supposed to think and deserve tremendous back pats… I’m racist scum and a clown because I have bad thoughts. Bad me. Two plus two is five. I will remember.

          • King Snail

            Michael Shermer once visited the Institute for Historical Review (Holocaust denial central) headquarters. Shermer found that the topic of discussion there, eclipsing all others, including HD, was about how victimized they were by PC society. It’s the same with their cousins– the race realists (you).

            Even if I was merely screaming “racist!” it would neither prove nor disprove your race “science”. You have not countered the litany of logical and empirical problems of race realism I listed– at all. It is sad that you don’t even recognize them at all. That’s denial. Instead, all attacks are from left wing pc police yada yada yada… Who is shutting down conversation really? You really do prefer butt hurt and special collective feelings of victim hood. Oh, the irony.

          • TheGuyinCharge

            Yup. Yada yada….Your position relies on manufacturing endless gray areas where nobody can ever quite say what’s true, so no morally complicated conclusions are necessary….My position relies on applying the same logic that every scientist and normal person accepts for animal subspecies to human subspecies. My position immediately explains what everyone, even you, observes with regard to human types.

            You’re just afraid you’ll be one of Them if you face facts, so you babble and babble and ad hominem and string silly associations together. Fact remains. We know why the subspecies of all other species look, act and think differently from their cousins….It’s just cowardice for a smart guy like you to not connect the last dot with human subspecies.

          • KS

            Time to end the show. You know it’s jumped the shark when “human subspecies” enters the dialogue.

            Cue “Those Were the Days…” from All in the Family. Add:
            ‘When blacks were blacks, and whites were whites….’
            Ok, take it, Archie Bunker…

          • TheGuyinCharge

            Dang. Archie Bunker. Yeah, you hate to use cheap fallacies. I think I’m seeing a hasty retreat. Unless you can link that feel-good book where Gould shows how science….just…can’t…quite….figure out whether polar bears and grizzlys aren’t the exact same interchangeable animal. It’s all so magically mysterious and obscure, and people who say, er, no, it isn’t really all that complicated….we better associate them with thought criminals and characterize them as simpletons.

        • King Snail

          Here is a 1972 paper by Richard Lewontin in the journal Evolutionary Biology where he attempts to measure human diversity based on traditional population labels. His caveats and detail correct my oversimplifications:

          • KS

            Slight discrepancy in how I explained Lewontin in that he specifically aims at using “conventional race types” as population markers.

  • Sam

    Here is Charles Murray at FEE talking about The Bell Curve:

    If you want an introduction to socio-biology then start here:

    This guy writing is black anthropologist(not that it should matter) if that helps.

  • Mandeville

    Human nature is egocentric and totalitarian, not egalitarian or libertarian, but those latter ideologies attract people who calculate they would improve their circumstances and reputations among their chosen peers by adopting them.
    Examine the relationship between the slave and his master. Both are identical in that they each seek maximum empowerment vis a vis the other. One tries to maintain his position of power and the other seeks empowerment through liberty. It is a mistake to make a moral judgment regarding their relationship, because once the slave is free, his next ambition is to enslave someone for himself. One must be free before one can enslave. The ambitions for power by the slave are held by those making moral judgments as ‘good’ and ‘noble’, and likewise the opposite for the slave holder. But nothing can be further from the truth than those judgments themselves. The only difference between the slave and the slave holder are their circumstances.

    • Mandeville

      All libertarians are fundamentally disingenuous, as are all ideologies. Equal freedom, or liberty, or equality under law, or any other way of describing the ideology, is the result of human competition for power and dominance that results in a stalemate due to a relative equal sharing of power. Liberty is a byproduct, a spontaneous unintended consequence of human competition to dominate, similar to how in the economic realm market prices are determined. No one desires market prices; they either want cheaper prices or to be able to charge more for items they are exchanging. Liberty is revealed to the species through competition and compromise. It is the wisdom of the species, which is contrary to the emotional desires of the individuals themselves. The libertarian is a libertarian until he can do better for himself.

      • Theresa Klein

        Hmm. Ok, liberty is a compromise that is arrived at by recognizing everyone’s equal desire for (and right to) power.
        Therefore libertarians are disingenuous? What about those of us who consciously recognize that ‘all men are created equal’ is exactly that compromise between human beings to cease attempting to dominate one-another?

        • Mandeville

          Your devotion to liberty is hypothetical, since you are not in a position to expand your power in any meaningful way.

          • Theresa Klein

            Hypothetical =/= disingenuous.
            Disingenuous is when you aren’t sincere about what you claim to believe. Only AFTER libertarians have been tested with power, and if they fail, will claims of devotion to liberty prove to be disingenuous.

          • Tedd

            This meme, that the devotion to liberty was insincere, or even that the concept of liberty itself is flawed, because the founders used the phrase “all men are created equal” but did not apply it to certain races, or to women, is nonsense. People of that time did not apply the concept of liberty to African Americans, aboriginals, or women because many simply did not believe those people were “men” in the sense they were using the word. And those who did were constrained by the older opinion for 90 years or more before being able to begin correcting the problem. The idea that this somehow discredits the concept of liberty itself, or the arguments in favour of it, is pure ad hominem.

        • Mandeville

          “all men are created equal” ? Was that true for black men at the time? Wasn’t Thomas Jefferson a slaveholder? You proved my point. It should have been written that only men who have equal power are equal under law. those without power are not. That is the fact of history, based on the facts of human nature.

          • Mandeville

            …and I forgot to add the indigenous ‘indians’ whom were slaughtered by the very people living under the Declaration that “all men are created equal”

        • Mandeville

          Consciously recognizing something that is hypothetical, without the power to do better, is only talk and posturing. You posture as a libertarian because totalitarian power is unreachable and thus unthinkable to you. Lord Acton was right when he said that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” He didn’t add the caveat “except for libertarians like you who consciously recognize that all men are created equal”.

      • Now this I can relate to.

    • Ed Ucation

      Speak for yourself. This does not describe me at all. For example, if I somehow ended up with a slave, I would instantly free him.

      • Mandeville

        Nothing happens suddenly and your emotions have been conditioned to feel shame at the thought of owning a slave, but you would not have felt the same way 300 years ago about the matter. In fact, either did Aristotle and Plato, who thought slavery was ‘natural’. Our civilizations are based on their thought.
        Further, the concept is hypothetical and theoretical, not real, so your talk is cheap, without cost or consequence. You can’t own a slave and others wouldn’t allow you to. The type of slavery you would seek in contemporary society would be subtle and generally acceptable, such as protesting the elimination of a law that serves you an advantage over others, or that merely secures what you already own from competition.
        Libertarian posturing businessmen won’t hesitate to use government to their advantage, where possible. The power sought is always on the margins, where it is supported by a large degree of public opinion, so your little ego can get away with it and conveniently justify it.
        You are in no position to speak of others when you aren’t even acquainted with yourself, your true self.

        • Ed Ucation

          LOL, I guess you know me better than myself. What the hell, man. Why don’t others allow me to own slaves, and why does virtually everyone find this practice abhorrent, if it is in the nature of man? You are making no sense.

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  • Gene Callahan

    “What’s our problem?” A nutty view will attract nuts?

  • JW Ogden

    People who feel that they are powerless will gravitate to what I call the libertarian compromise, that is I will leave you alone as long as you leave me alone. Once racists were the majority and could push blacks around now they are a minority and so the libertarian compromise looks good. They now say we will not harm blacks but do not make us pay for or send our children to their schools. Better to be a libertarian from the start which even means supporting both racists, blacks and AA supporters rights. So we will get plenty of fringe thinkers.

  • Tim Condon

    This is quite incredible: A fascinating discussion about an essay that the original writer “refuses to link to,” yet everyone seems to have read it. Would someone send me the link. It would be nice to know what everyone is arguing about.

  • Canal Vorfeed

    Oh noes!! Muh Mobment is full of people with diverse preferences! Why can’t they all embrace the same stuff I do?

    • Ed Ucation

      Best comment ever 🙂

  • Samson Corwell

    How about you just recognize that libertarianism is not as cohesive as it seems and that there are people in it with radically diverging points of view that only sound compatible because of convoluted argumentation? (Seriously, Hoppe’s “covenant community” is a giant frigging reductio ad absurdum of his views. No one in the Westward expansion of America, for instance, would have accepted the existence of a town ruled by a wannabe Mafioso.)

  • TheGuyinCharge

    No irony here. A lot of brainy white libertarians rush in to counter a brainy white libertarian suggesting that only brainy whites can advance libertarianism.

    • guywithoutacharger

      Could you post the list of comments and the race associated. Thanks.
      Good work!

  • stevesailer

    “Some commenters mistakenly think the point of this post is to engage Hoppe’s ideas and arguments. It is not.”

    That’s for sure!

    • Superstition

      Hoppe’s race realism has been addressed in the comments.

      • oldoddjobs


    • Hans Gunther

      If only Kevin Vallier had a little race consciousness maybe he wouldn’t have posted this trash, right Steve?


    Bleeding Heart Libertarianism, as I’ve pointed out in example after example in the comment sections to posts in this blog, isn’t about social justice or finding common ground with the left. It’s about one thing and one thing only: finding a role for the state in society. That’s it. Everything this blog does comes down to that. The goal is to discredit libertarianism and especially anarchism by trying to force some role for the state onto us. Whether it’s that Zwolinski dude’s demand for a state-imposed living wage or Horwitz’ admission that he’s a consequentialist and that if it could be proven that government were superior at providing ends he favors, he’d support it, this is and has always been the goal of BHL. This blog and its writers are a farce.

    • martinbrock

      Practically every “anarchist” I’ve met is hiding a state behind a curtain somewhere, so I can’t take anarchism very seriously. If you think you’re an exception this rule, we can talk about it.

      I consider myself a radical minarchist, because I advocate a libertarian system (essentially Kukathas’ Liberal Archipelago) much thinner than Rothbard’s. The bloggers here are not minarchists for the most part. They are “libertarian realists” who take a powerful state for granted, because powerful states exist as a matter of fact. Most people submit to these states. This submission is not voluntary, but it is a fact of life.

      How you incorporate this fact into your political preferences is up to you, but denying that the state influences, even largely determines, the distribution of wealth among its subjects requires more suspension of disbelief, and more blind faith in the state, than I observe here.

    • Nay Ragin

      Is this the best comeback a Hoppe fan and Kinsella consort can produce?

      • GTFOofNOLA

        Show us all on the doll where Hoppe hurt you.

        • Nay Ragin

          Hoppe is a racist oops I mean “racialist”, not a pedo, as far as the data shows. Wait, maybe you know something?

          • GTFOofNOLA

            You know-nothings nipping at the heel of the great Hoppe is embarrassing for libertarianism.

          • King Snail

            Whether Hoppe is great or not is beside the empirical point. Should anyone espousing “scientific” racial hierarchy and, further, the use of state power to enforce these beliefs (though whether Hoppe is all-in like Richard Lynn is a question) be considered great for libertarianism?

            Who is undermining libertarianism with backdoor statism?

          • TheGuyinCharge

            Could be that people espousing “scientific” egalitarianism undermine libertarianism by directing resources into endeavors that won’t bear fruit, i.e., by trying to educate, incorporate, convert, pander to groups that can’t or won’t follow all the complex calculations that prove libertarianism ultimately makes a better society.

            Empirically speaking, there’s very little (if any) evidence that nonwhites, as biological/cultural groups, care about libertarian principles.

  • JoshInca

    The problem with these people, though, is that they’re congenitally open to all kinds of contrarianism. If most people say x, the contrarian says not-x, but if most people say y, the contrarian also wants to say not-y. That is, the danger is reflexive and globalcontrarianism.

    The condition that you describe has become a defined psychological problem in the DSM-5 Oppositional defiant disorder.

    While I reject calling it a mental defect, which is downright stalinist imo, it does recognize an organic basis for general oppositional behavior in specific people, which seems to be genetically based as it tends to run in families.

    • TheGuyinCharge

      The psychobabble is an attempt to avoid the actual debate by implying that Hoppe’s views could only stem from some kind of personality disorder.

      Sort of a roundabout ad hominem.

      Or question-begging, inserting (with zero proof or argument) the conclusion that Hoppe’s views aren’t backed by logic or evidence.

      What disorders can be pinned on people who go right to weasel tactics?

      • JoshInca

        To Clarify:

        1) I’ve never heard of Hoppe and don’t know anything about his positions.

        2) I think the constant expansion of the DSM is politicized bullshit which is why I referred to the recent embrace of ODD as a personality defect* as Stalinist.

        I was just using that development as support for the contention that some people are inherently contrarians and will argue and oppose for their own sake. Which was one of the author’s points.

        *Imo it is not a defect but a genetically based personality type

  • ldm

    Thank you, Mr. Vallier. I have come to the brink of resigning my LP responsibilities and pulling back my donations due to the contrarians, racists, bigots, and all-around haters in the LP who have such a strong voice in social media. I do not have the time, energy, or desire to engage them in their call for “cage matches” and (almost exclusively) testosterone fueled BS games. It is difficult to grow a party when these morons are so committed to spoiling it. However, having read your article, I feel encouraged. Thank you, again. LDM

  • MikeSchilling

    Global contrarianism is an easy thing to fall into.

    No it isn’t.

  • Good article. I tried to address this problem myself briefly. Sadly one of the best videos I had linked from it is now gone.

    Black Sheeple

    You Just May Be A Sheep Of Another Color

  • Davy Goossens

    your article doesn’t even attempt at proving or discussing whether his claims hold any truth. you hold it to be self evident that equality is true, desirable or that genetics and hereditarianism isn’t a thing.

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  • JPeron

    While the comments on Hoppe show him to be a bigoted and disgusting as expected the analysis of libertarians, in my opinion, is only fitting to a minority. The emphasis on reason in libertarian theory is why people who apply it to religion (atheism) are attracted. But saying atheism is unpopular really is culture bound and depends on where you live. One election in New Zealand had the leaders of three of the four major tickets (including the winner) as open atheists.

    As further proof of his theory he posits that libertarians are paleo-dieters. If I know a single libertarian who would be so described then I don’t know about it. I’ve never had a libertarian thrust that fad diet into my face in person or one social media. I’ve not seen one libertarian promote it. I do not doubt you can find some, but there is no evidence this is common. Most libertarians I know, and I know hundreds, are NOT conspiracy theorists though some on the extreme right of the movement may be, it’s not the common view. I’ve had none of them push transhumanism or cryonic to me and very little discussion on the topic. I don’t doubt if you find the right circle it will come up, I’ve just not run into either very much over the last 40 years as a libertarian.

    As for hard-core nativists very few libertarians I know are. If you want to describe the circle around Loony Lew and the Auburn Boys this may be true, but that klan remains a minority by far within the libertarian movement.

  • smh

    If your argument were true, then there would be just as many neo-Nazi’s in the Green Party -which is even smaller than the Libertarian Party, for example. Face it, Libertarianism attracts bigots because of Libertarianism.