Libertarians and the Left

I posted this to Facebook a bit ago and share it here unedited:

I am mystified by people who think it’s a horrible idea for libertarians to try to work with the left on issues of common concern. The long-standing attempt by many libertarians to work with the right has brought us such loveliness as alt-right assholes calling themselves libertarians, people who don’t understand that freedom of movement and contract applies across political boundaries, people who wish to bomb innocent brown people in the name of supposed liberty, and the perception that we are all a bunch of Gordon Geckos who just like to smoke dope.

Yeah, that work with the right has been really successful….

Look, Johnson and Weld courted the left and did better than any other LP candidates ever. The causal relationship might be weak there, but let’s at least explore it. And the menace that is Cheeto Mussolini demands that those of us who care about liberty and limits to state power work with all reasonable people who share those concerns on specific issues.

Plus, as I’ve argued over and over: the history of classical liberalism and libertarianism is that we came from the left. We have a progressive heritage. If libertarianism means anything, it’s that we understand that markets and cultures are dynamic, emergent orders that lead to human progress for all, and globally. In the 19th century, classical liberals were on the “right side of history” pretty much up and down the line. There is nothing in libertarianism that should make us hesitate about working with the left on issues of shared concern.

What is it about the status quo that we want to conserve?

“The liberal position is based on courage and confidence, on a preparedness to let change run its course even if we cannot predict where it will lead.” – Hayek, “Why I am Not a Conservative”

Published on:
Author: Steve Horwitz
  • Jerome Bigge

    Neither of our two major political parties has any interest in reducing the power of government. Their only disagreement is about what they want government to do to the rest of us. The idea of repealing laws, regulations, any thing that reduces the power of government over our lives is “libertarian”. Neither Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton favored doing that.

    • Farstrider

      Largely true. But that is because the vast vast majority of Americans also have no interest in reducing the power of government. The parties reflect the voters, not the other way around.

    • A. Alexander Minsky

      In fairness, Mr. Horowitz’s argument is that libertarians should work with left, not the Democratic Party. There are many leftists who wear their independence from both major parties as a badge of honor (whether libertarians can find significant common ground with such folks is another matter entirely).

  • dnr

    Amen, Make it so! I always wondered why libertarians courted the far right (other than the love of money). It seems to me that liberals have much in common with libertarians when it comes to personal liberty. All of my personal friends who are liberal agree that what is done in the privacy of your own home is of no one’s concern as long as it doesn’t harm another being.

    • Farstrider

      It’s the classic split between (1) economic freedom and (2) personal freedom. Libertarians want to maximize 1 and 2 (although there are trade offs between them). The Republicans want 1 (somewhat) but not 2. The Democrats want 2 but not 1 (somewhat). I say somewhat because both are pretty inconsistent on economic freedom depending on the industry – Republicans love to interject government into farming, for example, and Democrats are largely willing to leave Wall Street alone. But this explains the fundamental divide between the three groups pretty well.

      • mphillips57

        i agree. And your categorization gets to why I’m a Democrat, not a libertarian.

        I don’t see that libertarianism has an answer for technological unemployment. Addressing that looks to me like a job for Big Government. FDR’s Four Freedoms include freedom from want; I think FDR was on-target in his “economic bill of rights” speech (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Bill_of_Rights).

        Perhaps the libertarian-Democrat common ground here, or at least a workable compromise, will turn out to be the universal basic income.

        I hope libertarians and Democrats can figure out how to work with each other. In Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, Gary Johnson got more votes than Trump’s margin over Clinton. And I don’t expect President Trump to work out well for either Democrats or libertarians.

        • Puppet’s Puppet

          The people who have been pushing simple cash transfers like UBI, negative income tax, etc., throughout history have been libertarians–mostly as a “second best” to minarchist taxation. Democrats, and to some extent Republicans (and their respective counterparts in other countries), have allowed some very meager implementation of such programs but have overwhelmingly preferred to address “want” with a whole suite of more statist strategies: centrally planned personal benefit packages; protectionism; industry bailouts and subsidies; wage and price regulation; paternalistic restrictions on consumer/personal freedom; regulation of industry; government programs to make work and/or provide services; and so forth. The idea that these strategies are better than simply writing the poor a check is not only deeply insulting to a free and dignified people but simply wrong (sometimes to the point of actually being counterproductive) from an efficacy point of view. But for various reasons they are preferred by mainstream politicians–and, based on the myths that they actually subscribe to in lieu of their self-supposed love of capitalism, so does the public.

          For a lot of people reading this website, the “left” in their left-libertarianism may involve an unqualified enthusiasm for cash transfers. I know it does for me.

          (Oh, and I wouldn’t worry too much about the other thing. Senate Majority Leader Schumer will, by the standards of what they have allowed themselves to become, work out very well indeed for Democrats and all that they stand for nowadays.)

      • Sean II

        Except that Democrats don’t support personal freedom anymore. They did once. They don’t now.

        • King Goat

          I thinks that’s dependent on the issue. Blue states might be passing gun control initiatives, but it’s also Blue states decriminalizing assisted suicide and marihuana (neighboring Red states have responded by suing those states).

          • Puppet’s Puppet

            Gun control initiatives, paternalistic “consumer protection” laws, “hate crime” laws, requirements that Christians bake cakes celebrating gay sex, seat belt and helmet laws, absurdly low DWI thresholds, cheap healthcare policy bans, single-sex club bans, plastic bag bans, smoking bans, trans fat bans, toys in fast food bans, soda bans, circus bans, nuclear power bans, foie gras bans, GMO bans, doorknob bans, playground bans, energy drink bans, “chemicals” in your food bans, fracking bans, styrofoam bans, light bulb bans, campus hate speech bans, campus bans of sex as it actually occurs, bans on political speech too close to an election, bans on due process if the state wants to deny you a gun…even I am getting tired of droning on and on here.

            On most other things they are simply no better than Republicans–such as gambling and drugs other than marijuana. There are a handful in which they have been better, mostly gays and pot. Being “socially progressive” has little to do with personal freedom, though they still quaintly describe it as such sometimes. In addition to bourgie virtue-signalling causes like we-know-it-doesn’t-do-anything-but-it-raises-awareness-and-changes-the-culture-and-the-children-and-don’t-believe-your-common-sense-it-actually-helps-the-poor-instead-of-burdens-them-look-we-found-one environmentalist/animal-rights theater, there is also the watered-down, condescending residue of old appropriated-Marxist “radicalism,” whereby instead of a Rawlsian society of individuals we are a society of struggling noneconomically defined “classes.” The job of the “social progressive” is to be an ally in this power struggle of the oppressed groups: the gays; the women; the Latinos like myself. (Conveniently enough, this is exactly how the Democrats have rebuilt their party coalition after abandoning the working class; no wonder the “oppressed classes” are no longer supposed to express our radicalism by grabbing guns and marching on city hall, but by tearfully pleading to authority that we are “in pain.”)

            Whether we are talking about a measure like sodomy legalization that enhances personal liberty, or a “wedding cake force bill” that detracts from it is irrelevant, because “social progressivism” is irrelevant to liberalism. Now gay sex and pot smoking is legal–not because neither one of them is any of your damn business, but because we now approve of them. That is the real America.

          • King Goat

            Everything you’ve said could be said for ‘the other side’ too. It’s not like when and where Republicans are in control all the areas they pay lip service too become founts of individual freedom. Anyone who has lived in both Alabama and Maryland can tell you that there’s plenty of government interference depending on whether what you’re doing is approved of by the political party in charge of either.

            Maybe it shouldn’t have such a high place, but reversing the WOD has been a ‘marquee’ item for Libertarians for a long time, and it’s just true that that is really only going on in Blue states.

          • Lacunaria

            Is legalizing marijuana really the same as reversing the WOD? MJ is winning in Blue states due to its popularity, mild or positive effects, and misclassification, not because of any libertarian principle. Reds at least give better lip service.

          • King Goat

            What is ‘lip service?’ Seems to me the important thing is, in Colorado you won’t be imprisoned and get a record for weed, in neighboring Oklahoma you will.

          • Lacunaria

            Sure, but my point is that Dems aren’t fighting for a libertarian principle, they are fighting for their weed.

            Carving out exceptions like this is what ingrains illiberal policies. How much motivation is there to stop the War on Drugs now that there’s an exception for weed in those states?

            Lip service has at least resulted in deferring to property owners in cases of labor and bathrooms and such. And lip service makes it easier to identify hypocrisy.

      • Puppet’s Puppet

        What color is the sky in the universe in which Democrats want personal freedom?

        • Farstrider


  • Rick Reynolds

    I wouldn’t say libertarianism came from the left.

    Until mid 20th century, socialist movements and progressivism were all quite authoritarian and illiberal. Woodrow Wilson for example, instituted segregation on a federal level. The left insinuated itself into liberalism starting in the 1960s, and have increasingly made it a lot less liberal, and much more coercive.

    • PeterGrfx

      You’ve got the history wrong. Wilson was not a Leftist, and the Left began working with populist progressives, especially LaFollette, going back to the late 1800s. Even earlier, a couple of Marxists served in Lincoln’s army and war dept. The most significant overlap, though, was during the 1930s between the labor Left and FDR’s New Deal.

    • A. Alexander Minsky

      Woodrow Wilson was not a leftist. Eugene Victor Debs was a leftist. And Debs was jailed for his leftist activity by none other than Wilson.

  • Daniel J. D’Amico

    “If libertarianism means anything, it’s that we understand that markets and cultures are dynamic, emergent orders that lead to human progress for all, and globally.”
    Why not interpret the above to suggest that there are lots of good reasons to hesitate from “working” with either the right or the left as the bulk of beneficial social change has not been the bi-product of such work; and the net effects of such attempts tends to be negative?

    Instead of “there is nothing in libertarianism that should make us hesitate about working with the left on issues of shared concern.”

  • Gurrie

    While I have worn the label of libertarian or classical liberal for many years, it has always bothered me to be lumped into any group, and especially one that looks to politics and government for solutions to any problem beyond traffic lights. I have always liked Liberals personally. They have a keen awareness of the human condition and its social and economic problems, and to their way of thinking there is no limit to the good works that government can accomplish as long as that government has enough money and the right people in office. If Libertarians can advance adequate explanations of why and how government usually works against the good intentions of Liberals, then communication between the two groups is worthwhile. Otherwise, I see such communication only as something that both Libertarians and Liberals say that they dread — compromise of principle.

    • mphillips57

      Politics—including the politics of reducing government—requires compromise. That’s life.

    • A. Alexander Minsky

      I might take issue with the idea that liberals have a “keen awareness of the human condition.” I think a convincing case could be made that liberals have an excessively rosy view of human nature (I write this as someone who is accord with liberals on more matters that not).

      • mphillips57

        Churchill apparently actually didn’t say “Democracy is the best form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.” But the (mis)quote persists, because it rings true.

        Human nature is the worst basis on which to run a government, except for all the other possible bases for government.

        The checks-and-balances of the Constitution are intended to empower the best parts of human nature, and hobble the worst. But the bottom line is that people are people, and even the best system isn’t going to stop people from doing some stupid, destructive stuff.

        • Gurrie

          The essence of government is force. Democracy, and Constitutional checks and balances, are merely the methodology by which certain people are chosen to exercise that force and, hopefully, enshrine clear limitations on how they may exercise that force. I am much more concerned about what those who govern are allowed to do than about how they are chosen.

  • Fritz

    There’s a bit too much generalization going on here. I’m neither of the left nor the right. I consider myself a traditional conservative, which means that both economic and social systems work best if they’re based on voluntary, cooperative behavior — which is channeled in beneficial directions by evolved norms. Trial and error, in other words. Not everyone will be happy with all of the norms or all of the outcomes, but that’s inevitable whenever there’s more than one person in the picture. Libertarians, it seems to me, have a preconception about what those norms ought to be, just as do socialists and pseudo-conservative yahoos. So libertarians are happy when government inserts itself into the equation by enforcing norms that libertarians prefer: e.g., open borders, which actually do impose costs on a lot of people, and which aren’t compensated by the benefits derived by other people; special categories of rights, such as “affirmative action” and “gay rights,” which inevitably and predictably lead to the stifling freedom of speech, freedom of association, and property rights. As long as government is already in the picture, and is unlikely to leave, I’ll be realistic and suggest legislative compromises that would work in a libertarian direction without imposing the kinds of burdens that libertarians seem to ignore or dismiss. For example: I’d be all for legislation that allows a person to enter the country who has a job lined up (there’s an opening for a market solution), or who has a sponsor who’ll pick up the tab for the immigrant’s housing, the schooling of his children, etc. (there’s an opportunity for libertarians and leftists to put their money where their mouths are — and I’ll bet that a lot of them, as well as “conservative” organizations like churches would do it). I’d be all for legislation that restores property rights, speech rights, and rights of association to business owners (and managers), but which provides greater freedom of choice in where one works and buys things everyone by abolishing the thousands of ordinances, codes, regulations, and laws that hinder business formation and expansion.

    • Puppet’s Puppet

      Libertarians are probably among the most outspoken enemies of “special rights,” and identity politics of all kinds, today. They would never support affirmative action; and they are supporters of “gay rights” exactly insofar as they want the government out of everyone’s sex lives (for some, but not all, that includes support for same-sex marriage). They are in complete support of pretty much everything you have mentioned.

      The one exception is immigration. Many libertarians, with the proportion probably increasing with prominence, are indeed dovish–sometimes to the point of “anarchism”–on the immigration question. These people often feel that this follows very strongly from general and widely-accepted libertarian principles. You can read that point being made here a few months back. But note that this is still an argument to be made among libertarians–it’s still a matter of contention that called for such an effort. Many libertarians–among them by far the purest ever to be hold office in this country, Ron Paul–are immigration hawks.

      From reading this post, I hardly blame you for the mistake. Gary Johnson–he of the preposterous and repugnant wedding-cake laws (though even he not affirmative action!)–as the exemplar of libertarianism. Open borders treated as a so-obvious-it-barely-needs-mention de fide article of libertarianism, with those who oppose them treated as bigoted reactionary yahoos deserving of only contempt. But no. You are thinking of “social liberals.” That is not libertarianism.

      • Andrew

        Ron Paul is not a libertarian, much less an exemplar of libertarianism. He is a paleoconservative. During the height of his popularity, many small government conservatives like him flocked to the libertarian banner because they didn’t want to be associated with mainstream conservativism.

        Perhaps the strongest litmus test for identifying one of these “libertarians” is the issue of immigration. Open borders occurs in the absence of government coercion. It requires the use of government coercison to regulate immigration. One of those positions is libertarian and the other is not. I’m no fan of engaging in No True Scotsman line drawing, but that one is clearer than most.

        It’s perfectly fine to be a conservative, just don’t try to redefine libertarianism around your consevative beliefs.

  • IceTrey

    We can’t work with people who favor positive liberty, which isn’t liberty at all, when we favor negative liberty.

    • Andrew

      We can’t with that attitude.

      • IceTrey

        That’s like saying Lincoln couldn’t work with the slave masters because of his attitude.

  • Sean II

    “Yeah, that work with the right has been really successful….”

    Actually, it has. First by saving the planet from communism. Then by saving the West from socialism, to the enormous betterment of living standards everywhere.

    But that was, like, a million years ago, eh? Maybe we should ask what the right-alliance has done for liberty lately. Better yet we should ask what the people who congregate on the right are doing for liberty right now.

    Quite a lot, it turns out. Libertarianism is about people leaving each other alone. Look around and see WHO is willing to do that in America 2016.

    It’s not the Left. Those who in another generation called themselves “liberals” are now the most indefatigable prigs and scolds in our society. They crave the atmosphere of social crisis – which is to say, they crave and every chance they get create an atmosphere where people cannot afford to mind their own business. They conjured up ersatz religions in the form of anti-racism, feminism, progressivism, etc, and now they see blasphemy and sin everywhere they look. And they show no sense of proportion in punishing either. If someone is on their side, if someone is sanctified by the new religion, the Left doesn’t give a shit what crimes he commits. They effortlessly forgive shooting, looting, arson, vandalism, censorship, etc. The most housebroken among them seem less offended by what Omar Mateen did, than they are by someone crass enough to point out why he did it.

    In short, their crazy. And not at all content to be crazy by themselves. One way or another, these fuckers are always up in someone’s face. They will not leave anyone alone.

    Meanwhile the people of the right mostly mind their own business, and indeed they usually have some productive business to mind. They go to work. They pay taxes. They have political opinions, but somehow manage to express them without blocking highways or breaking windows or setting fire to parked automobiles. When someone writes something they don’t like, they answer it or else they ignore it…again, mysteriously, without trying to get the other guy fired or kicked out of school, or de-platformed. They respect property, and propriety along with it. Their idea of a big daring protest action is refusing to bake you a cake.

    In short, they make good, non-nosy neighbors. By revealed action if not necessarily by state policy, they leave you alone. That’s why I like them.

    • King Goat

      Lol, yeah, those on the right would never do something like armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge, or chain themselves to the doors of a women’s reproductive health clinic, or organize boycotts of chains because they say ‘happy holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas,’ passing constitutional amendments about who can marry who, calling for millions of their neighbors to literally be rounded up and sent to camps on their way to being deported, etc. Nope, just hardworking folks keeping their nose out of others business, those folks.

      • Sean II

        “…right would never do something like armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge”

        Perfect example. Even when they do something stupid, right-wingers tend to do it someplace where there aren’t any people around to be inconvenienced by it.

        • Kurt H

          Way to ignore all the other things in that post . . .

          Or is mass deportation a “liberal” policy in your world?

          • Sean II

            I don’t really think of mass deportation as a “liberal policy”, but rather as a “thing that’s not happening or going to happen”.

            Which admittedly colors my views on the matter.

          • Kurt H

            Yes, but your comment mentioned how nice and friendly those conservatives are despite their desire to shatter millions of families.

            Even if it will never happen, which is arguable, they still want it to happen.

          • Earl of Sandwich

            “”is mass deportation a “liberal” policy in your world?””

            The fact that very few on the left ever squawked about the Obama admin’s very-healthy record of deportations suggests to me that its not something they actually object to in principle.

            They don’t object to state power = they object to who has it.

          • Kurt H

            Please, the only criticism of Obama’s deportation policies have come from the left. Yes, the moderate Democratic party organs have kept quiet, but that is not the left.

        • King Goat

          Actually the refuge is a “popular site for birding, fishing, hunting and hiking.”

        • Theresa Klein

          Even when they do something stupid, right-wingers tend to do it
          someplace where there aren’t any people around to be inconvenienced by

          You mean like electing Donald Trump?

          • Sean II

            The people of the right didn’t elect Trump.

            The people of the former center-left did.

          • King Goat

            Huh? Unless you’re getting that ‘former’ to do Herculian level labors, that doesn’t jibe. 90% of self-identified Republicans voted for Trump, only 9% of self-identified Democrats did. Trump got 81% of self-identified conservatives and 10% of self-identified liberals.


          • Sean II

            Here’s an excellent rule of thumb:

            Anytime you find yourself staring a comment with “Huh?” or “Whaaa?” or some such like, stop. You’re probably about to play dumb, and that’s obnoxious.

            And if you’re not playing – that is, if you really are dumbfounded – well stop then, too. Close the little comment box and take a bit more time trying to figure out what you’re missing.

            I’ll say it again: Trump won last week because of votes he captured from the former center-left. You should easily be able to figure out what that means, with the help of a few simple red-blue maps.

          • King Goat

            Don’t be coy, if you have a point, make it. The exit polls show that overwhelmingly Trump’s votes came from self-identified Republican conservatives. You’re welcome to argue that they just converted this year or make some ecological fallacy argument, but make it.

          • Kass Belaire

            Who decides the winner: The ~90% of people who always vote with their party or few in the center open to either?

    • Theresa Klein

      I think both left and right are crazy these days. The left nearly nominated Bernie Sanders, and the right successfully elected Donald Trump. What does that say?

      But maybe we should talk about whether it’s possible to work with the sane parts of either side.

      The problem right now with working with the right is that the sane parts of the right are not in control anymore. They’re still somewhat in control on the left.

      • Sean II

        “The problem…is that the sane parts of the right are not in control anymore”

        That’s one of the oldest concern-trolling tropes around. It was used against Republicans in 1964, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1994, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, and of course 2016.

        Everyone not on the right is always pining for a “saner” right, which for them simply means “an easily defeated right with someone like Gerald Ford or Jack Kemp at the helm”.

        • Puppet’s Puppet

          It’s also worth noting that libertarians cannot join with the Very Serious Respectable and Reasonable People of both parties in celebrating the “moderation” of a John Kasich because he wants to pass laws to protect the gays and keep guns out of the hands of people on the terror watch lists, or of a Hillary Clinton because she knows how to make government and business work together and understands what it really takes to defeat terrorism at home and abroad. We might not even fully join in on the nostalgia for a time of greater collegiality when Democrats and Republicans worked together to ensure that government “got more done.” Rather, we might say horrifying things like what the “extreme”, “right-wing,” appallingly un-Rockefellerish Republican Congressman Justin Amash tweeted: Merrick Garland is no “compromise” that we are the least bit interested in. He is, rather, the very worst of both worlds. What we want from Democrats is to at the very least give us a true “liberal activist.”

          We are not very popular at cocktail parties.

          • Theresa Klein

            Libertarians are too principled to be popular at cocktail parties. And are too unwilling to silently listen to bullshit.

            Cocktail parties are supposed to be fun. Bullshit is fun.

        • Theresa Klein

          Ok, maybe I should say the *libertarian* parts of the right are not in control. Because Trump is about the furthest thing from one. Definitely not on anything related to economic issues. Nor on anything related to civil liberties. The best Trump has to offer is that he won’t take your guns away. I can’t think of a single issue on which libertarians might be able to make progress during a trump presidency. Not trade, not immigration, not asset forfeiture, not criminal justice, not eminent domain, not entitlements, not spending.

          At BEST he’ll cut the corporate tax rate. There might be some sort of tax reform but it’s not going to be a flat tax or anything that’s libertarian looking. It’s going to be just another set of jury-rigged cuts designed to benefit favored constituencies.

          I think we might be able to convince some of the saner people on the left that free trade is beneficial. Not the Marxists of course, but the centrist Democrats who have a few brains and have read Ricardo.

        • King Goat

          I love the selection of years here. It was used in 72 (not very well I guess!) but not 88 (Bush the Elder has officially been excommunicated I guess)?

          The thing of course is, partisanship being what it is, *every* year you can find some Democrat party yahoo saying the other side has gone insane (and vice versa). There’s no sense of the traction that gets though. Such nuance gets in the way of the narrative being pushed, and the narrative on the far right has long been that we just need someone more unabashedly conservative, it’s only when we compromise that we lose!!!! Interestingly, this is *the same* narrative, though in reverse, on the left!

    • jdkolassa

      ” Libertarianism is about people leaving each other alone. Look around and see WHO is willing to do that in America 2016.”

      Well, not conservatives or anyone else on the right.

      • Sean II

        Sure they are. It’s a simple game of numbers.

        Add up all the conservative buttinskis you can find, and the sum of their mischief is enormously smaller than that of the progressive scold army.

        Indeed it’s always been so. Left wing delusions are bigger, and hence require more intrusion. Last century their big one was Communism – the idea that one can have economy without prices or trade. That required a level of intrusion very closely approaching 1984. Their current major delusion – the one about humans not having a nature – would end similarly if they ever got hold of the power they crave.

        Meanwhile conservatives are mostly interested in preserving some status quo. By definition, that means: they mostly tend to leave everyone EXCEPT world changing radicals alone, because most people are already behaving in a way they find acceptable.

        Ever notice how Pinochet had to kill A LOT fewer people than Pol Pot? That’s why. One of them was trying to keep people as they were, and the other was trying to build a new man.

        • King Goat

          “Meanwhile conservatives are mostly interested in preserving the status quo”

          Which means they have a track record of fighting to preserve the past status quos of slavery, subjugation of women, segregation, the criminalization of homosexuality, etc.. Awesome sauce! The only reason you can even try to argue that their position would be fine now is that all those ‘world changing radicals’ of their day moved the bar to a pretty good place.

          • Sean II

            1) Conservatives ended slavery, and they did it precisely to protect their status quo.

            2) “Subjugation of women” was not ended by radicals either. The good part of feminism was always pretty tame, which is why conservatives put up no fight against it. Bobby Riggs was always in on the joke.

            3) Yeah, maybe, kinda with the gay thing you have half a point. That movement (though hardly radical) would not have advanced quite so rapidly if conservatives had got their way. But it was already advancing long before people started having parades about it.

            Conservatives aren’t against change, they’re against centrally planned change, against radical change, and often they’re against forcing the pace of change.

            In other words they’re Hayekians. They like cultural evolution and piecemeal reform.

            Yet another reason why I like them.

          • jdkolassa

            “In other words they’re Hayekians. They like cultural evolution and they like piecemeal reform.”

            HAHAHAHA, that’s a good one!

          • Sean II

            That laughed sounded just a tiny bit forced.

            In any case you’re mistaken: the vast majority of conservative people really are Hayekian in outlook.

            I hope you’re not making the mistake of projecting the overstated opinions of movement conservatives, radio hosts, think tank douchebags, etc. onto regular everyday conservatives with productive lives to lead.

            Big mistake indeed. We’re talking about human beings here, not Heritage fellows!

  • Fallon

    I almost liked this post but then I realized it makes the same egregious error that almost all critics of the so-called “Rothbard Strategy” or “Redneck Strategy” or what have you– make. Historical accuracy, and indeed the possibility of progress, requires good faith libertarians to recognize that Rothbard and co. were not only interested in ‘reaching out to the right’ to gain traction for libertarian ideas: but that Rothbard and Co. were 1) deliberately race baiting to make money through the e.g. infamous Ron Paul Newsletters (Ron Paul purportedly even said this to Ed Crane of Cato Institute); and, 2) promoting and advocating not merely ‘redneck’ racism but academic racialism aka ‘scientific’ racism. Rothbard, Rockwell, and many of those around them became racialists of the Pioneer Fund sort. The ideas of Jared Taylor, JP Rushton, Murray and Herrnstein, Michael Levin, Robert Weissberg, Sam Francis– and others believing in racialized biological hierarchy and a genetic determinism of (Western) culture– became fused with the otherwise basic libertarian message. This was not just salesman tactics but a continuing part of the fabric of the libertarian Right.

    In other words, core Mises Institute and Lew Rockwell types were alt-right before Richard Spencer coined the term. This is not to say that they are as hardcore as the neo-Nazi Spencer. But neither is Milo or Bannon (so far).

    There are rewards for getting the facts right. You get to laugh at the the third rate theorists/economists like Walter Block– who, like other Right libertarians, deems himself a champion of ‘liberty’ over Progressivism, Fascism, and other collectivisms. Block, however, is a useful idiot for the Pioneer Fund– the foundation specifically set up to continue Progressive Era racialized eugenics and white supremacism. It’s been true to its word. Does Block know about the mutual admiration society Pioneer Fund founders formed with the Nazis?

    I hope Trump’s victory will indeed serve to expose a duality in Right Rothbardian libertarianism. Because the Rothbard candidate won. And yet it was resounding defeat for libertarianism. Unless, of course, scientific racism is “true”.

    • Sean II

      I got great news for you: scientific racism is definitely not “true”.

      • A. Alexander Minsky

        Do you completely dismiss the works of the scholars listed in the post to which you were replying? Murray and the late Hernnstein, to take one example, had brains to burn. Do you contend that their work in “The Bell Curve” was entirely without merit?

        • Kurt H

          Lots of racists are quite smart. Still racist, though.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            How do you define racist? Is it anyone who believes that there may be immutable differences between the races, and that these differences explain ,at least in part, why groups tend to achieve at radically varying levels? Or does one have to wish harm to folks from other groups before meriting the scarlet “R”?

          • Kurt H

            Anyone who believes in immutable differences between “races” that are social categories with no genetic definition is clearly a racist.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Are you of the belief that race is merely a “social construct”? I’m not sure I understand you otherwise.

          • Kurt H

            Yes, as is the entire scientific community in multiple fields, both in the physical and social sciences.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Jared Taylor once said that the idea that race is a social construct is so incredibly stupid that only very intelligent people would be capable of believing it.

          • Kurt H

            Cute line, but since Jared Taylor is about as racist as a person can get without having swastika tattoos, quoting him doesn’t help your case.

    • A. Alexander Minsky

      The reason that Murray Rothbard found race realism attractive ,assuming that the diminutive scholar wasn’t just out to make a buck, is because he felt that in a truly libertarian society, different groups would achieve at radically different levels academically, professionally, and financially. If the races are essentially interchangeable, opponents of libertarianism could make a convincing case that a libertarian society is also a racist society. However, if differences between the races are intractable/immutable, then it would be perfectly natural that achievement would vary dramatically between different groups living in a truly free polity.

      It’s a quibble, but I believe the term alt right was actually termed by the paleoconservative Paul Gottfreid. And since you dismiss the scholarly efforts of folks like Murray, Levin, Weissberg, and the late Herrnstein, I’d be interested in knowing how you explain patterns of racial achievement and difference across countries and cultures. Do you really believe that everything is environmentally determined? Or would you concede that genetics may ,at least, partially explain intractable group differences?

      • Fallon

        My comment was about racialism and not a total condemnation of everything Rothbard and co. did and stand for.

        I was going to mention Paul Gottfried. I think he credits himself with congealing the general direction associated with alt-right. But I think Spencer coined the actual term. Will have to check. Thank you.

        I have not really discussed the so-called “scholarly efforts” of these racialists– so how could you conclude that I categorically “dismiss” them? One could even accept racial differences as intractable and/or immutable. But what has been said? Almost nothing. You have to define what you mean by ‘race group’ and then prove it. How much is social construct and how much biological construct? Or how much are your biological priors bound with social and environmental causes? Vice-versa? What is the underlying developmental hypothesis? Murray and Herrnstein waffled on this–if they said anything at all. Murray did not start using the word “intractable” with race-IQ until sometime in the 2000s. Murray, then, backtracked. But now, changing his story once again– is seeking shelter in the new hyper-assumptions about finding THE specific combinations of genes/alleles that separates the so-called races and, of course, classes.

        Even if we accept Richard Lynn’s data, analysis, and predictions as correct it still does not answer nature v. nurture questions. But to be sure, nobody should accept the work of Richard Lynn at face value. Lynn has been shown to play loose with data. Wicherts et al. find him to be hopelessly corrupt. At any rate, environmental causation fits social data equally as well as biological explanations. So the question is– how in the hell did these racialists find any confidence in their conclusions? Lynn is a racist-eugenicist, e,g, More importantly– the more I read on this stuff the more I recognize that modern researchers have failed when they give the impression that nature and nurture are easily separable and reducible. There are many many complex synergistic layers. Then on top of disregarding the complexities and unknowns of biological-environmental reality– they have the nerve to reify IQ and race.

        Besides, the claim of ‘intractability’ is failing in its predictive power. Nigerians of a certain tribe, Sub-Saharans mind you, go to England and the USA and destroy racialist myths consistently via performance in just about everything. And there really is no statistical stability in just about anything. More racialist bullshit. Even the “IQ” tests have frequently changed.

        It is a complete straw man argument to say that one side recognizes difference or genetic effects while the other does not. In fact, that is typical Pioneer Fund devotee script. That in of itself should raise some concerns for you. If one surveys the history of eugenics– from say Malthus up through Richard Lynn (btw, a shared racial guru for both Murray and Hans Hoppe)– you see that actual science is usually ignored by these elites who wish to pervert science for their own selfish ends. Allan Chase has a good book on this: https://www.amazon.com/legacy-Malthus-social-scientific-racism/dp/0394480457/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

        Okay, there is so much more to this. I am sure something is terribly off but I will not be able to edit or change comment late. So, sorry.

      • Fallon

        Google confirms my take on the coining of alt-right. But mentioning Gottfried is still very valuable. He is a Mises Institute scholar (fits my thesis) and heads the paleo- racist- Mencken Club (fits my thesis).

        • A. Alexander Minsky

          Well, Gottfried did coin the term alternative right in 2008 (I don’t mean to be argumentative- it’s part of my aspergers). Gottfried was also ,I believe, something of a mentor to Richard Spencer, which is a tad ironic given Spencer’s current position on Jews.

          • Fallon

            It is not ironic. Nor surprising. If you read Paul Johnson’s “A History of the Jews” you might get the idea that Jews have always been the Jews’ most vicious critics.

          • Fallon

            Okay, asperger it up then. Cite where Gottfried coined the actual term alt-right. It would be cool if he did. Makes it even more interesting.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I think that Gottfried first used the term alternative right at a speech to the H.L. Mencken Club in 2008. Spencer later shortened the phrase to alt right.

          • Fallon

            “You think” or you have a quotation and link?

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I can’t recall exactly where I read this. I would recommend you visit the H.L. Mencken site, but Gottfried isn’t exactly rigorous when it comes to making speeches from his conferences widely available.

          • Fallon

            So you don’t really know. Ok. Looks like Spencer is winning in the documentation department.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I found an article on the Jewish site “Forward” that has an article citing Gottfried as the paleocon who coined the phrase alternative right. I’m not tech savvy enough to provide a link, but if you google the relevant terms, the article should come up.

            Interestingly, according to the article, Gottfried also coined the term paleoconservative. For some reason, I thought that honor went to Thomas Fleming of the Rockford Institute.

          • Fallon

            Bonus for mentioning Thomas Fleming and Rockford Institute!

            Really good find, the Forward spot on Gottfried. http://forward.com/news/national/348372/meet-the-jewish-paleoconservative-who-coined-the-term-alternative-right/

            But then, here is wikipedia under alt-right:

            “In November 2008, Paul Gottfried addressed the H. L. Mencken Club about what he called “the alternative right”.[30] In 2009, two more posts at Taki’s Magazine, by Patrick J. Ford and Jack Hunter, further discussed the alternative right.[31] The term, however, is most commonly attributed to Richard B. Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute and founder of Alternative Right.”

            Looks like an IP battle waiting to happen…. Good. Divide and Conquer.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I just finishing reading a column by Paul Gottfried about Steve Bannon on Frontpagemag.com (a site run by Marxist turned conservative David Horowtiz). In the course of the article, Gottfried refers to himself as the “co-inventor” of the tern alt right.

          • Fallon

            I missed this comment. “Co-inventor”. Okay. Will settle for that.
            I saw Horowitz give a talk some years ago. His presentation and ‘reasoning’ reminded me of this homeless lady I knew who once tried to kill herself through drinking paint thinner. She was permanently brain damaged– but still somewhat high functioning.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I also attended a Horowitz talk a few decades ago. Let’s just say the man is a better writer than he is a speaker. Some f Horowitz’s critics have argued that in rejecting leftism Horowitz merely changed sides in what he views as a global, all encompassing, Manichean struggle. I tend to agree with that perspective. The former Marxist is an anti-Communist Communist (term stolen from “The God That Failed”).

      • Fallon

        Okay, yeah. I am ‘mean’ to Block. But he warrants it. Philosopher and author Michael Levin added him to the ‘special thanks’ page of “Why Race Matters”, a Pioneer Fund standard. In WRM, Levin uses the black cultural phenom of interacting loudly with the flick at the movie theater as proof of biological inferiority.Block calls this stuff, and many other similar observations void of sophisticated follow-on reasoning, ‘solid empiricism’. If Block’s kind of empiricism was all that was ever known then there would not have been even the curiosity that lead to heliocentrism. Block’s ‘science’ merely perpetuates intractable prejudice.

        • A. Alexander Minsky

          I’ve never read “Why Race Matters, but I have watched some of the speeches that Levin gave at various American Renaissance conferences. He certainly struck me as a first rate scholar (granted this is a layman’s opinion). Levin is interesting- he apparently was quite a foe of the Bush administration, and actually viewed the Obama administration as an improvement. In any case, the New York philosopher claims that he has said all he has to say on the race issue. Dr. Levin is not ,to my knowledge, in any way associated with the alt-right (I can’t imagine he would be able to stomach the Jew baiting that goes on in that tendency’s circles).

          • Fallon

            Amren is clearly alt-right, white nationalist! But Jared Taylor of Amren differs with David Duke and other Stormfront types over the status and of Jews. (Although, Taylor is very open to Holocaust Denial and Revisionism. Ian Yobling, former assistant to Taylor, said that Mark Weber, the neo-Nazi director of the Holocaust denying Institute of Historical Review, was/is a frequent guest at Taylor’s residence.)

            The Jews that want to play the alt-right game are playing with fire. Their motives may have nothing to do with an affinity for alt-right values– but rather, a certain anger at what they perceive as a destructive Jewish culture. However, the consequences for helping the alt-right rise to power will just as likely come from the alt-right as from other Jews. These alt-right Jews and libertarian/alt-right Jews like Block remind me of the conservatives that shared a hatred for the Weimar Republic with the Nazis, and helped in its destruction, but then got more than they bargained for when Hitler actually got power. Fools.

            Taylor is a Pioneer Fund recipient, btw.

            The alt-right is not monolithic. e.g. Surely Milo is not as intense as Richard Spencer. Milo would be made to pay for his homosexuality under a Spencer regime, no? Further, it is not uncommon for contributors to the alt-right to overlap in select areas in Venn diagram fashion.There often sharp divergence between beliefs about physicality and value systems. There isn’t a uniform equation where Racialism A = Action B. JP Rushton, the guy who posited a direct evolutionary racial trade-off between penis size and brain capacity, said he supported civil rights. Whereas there are people who are far less racist but seek to perpetuate the massively racist-in-consequence Drug War.

            Levin wants to distance himself from proposed actions maybe. But those racist beliefs remain.

            When you say so and so is a ‘first rate scholar’ it is, again, yet more meaningless fluff straight out of the plausible deniability playbook. So what? David Hume, Kant, Thomas Jefferson, Malthus, Galton, …..Rothbard, Hoppe, you-name-who, could all be considered great scholars. Doesn’t make them right in conclusions, correct in their methodologies, or good scientists in all things. They are racists, all.They are human, all.

            This should hit home the idea that racialism, scientific racism, is nothing new. It has been the dominant idea for centuries. Yet it is its adherents that play the Galileo victim card.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            AmRen precedes the alt right by a few decades. That organization ,while not officially changing its position, seems to have become less amenable towards Jews over time. At their inaugural conference in 1994, four ,out of I believe nine, of the speakers were Jewish. The keynote was given by an Hasidic rabbi ,Mayer Schiller, and kosher food was served. AmRen’s 2016 conference featured no Jewish speaker, and ,I suspect, kosher fare was hard to come by.

            I’m not sure what you mean when you write that Jared Taylor is “open” to Holocaust denial and revisionism. Ian Jobling ,not Yobling, is a disgruntled former AmRen employee, so perhaps his musings should be taken with a grain of salt. My understanding is that one is considered a Holocaust revisionist if one questions the following three points: a) The six million number, b) the existence of a Nazi plan to eliminate the Jewish seed, c) the practice of systemic gassings in the concentration camps. I don’t think Taylor has written two sentences on any of these issues. And the fact that he may enjoy Weber’s company, doesn’t mean the two men see eye to eye on these issues. Guilt by association went out with the fall of Joe McCarthy.

            Most alt rightists reject the idea that Milo is part of their tendency. Milo is an advocate of classical liberalism, and this puts him at philosophical odds with the overwhelming majority of folks who claim the alt right moniker. Richard Spencer does not appear to have an issue with homosexuality. He has invited the openly gay writer Jack Donovan to address two of his conferences (and Spencer stuck by Donovan when League of the South poobah Michael Hill refused to share the podium with a homosexual). Spencer has also banned the White nationalist Matthew Heimbach from his events- reportedly due to homophobic comments made by Heimbach.

            Besides Paul Gottfried, are there really any Jews eager to make nice with the alt right? I don’t think Jewish support of alt rightism is really a pressing concern. And some scholars have paid a price for publicly embracing race realism (or what you call scientific racism). Egalitarianism is all but the official ideology of American and European society. It takes courage to buck that trend, even if those doing the bucking may be wrong on certain matters, and operate from less than pristine motives.

          • Fallon

            Some good points in there. Attention to detail can be beneficial. My poor spelling, grammar, and phrasing probably drives you crazy. I apologize.

            I recognize Amren predates alt-right. But in name only. That’s part of my point. Libertarians are not responsible for its rise– but definitely helped it along through acquired affinities. I do recall most of the details you mention there.

            Interesting to know that homosexuality will be a divisive issue, along with the status of Jews, in the battle for control of the alt-right conch shell. If Spencer is tolerant, so be it. Is he a minority in this? Is he trying to be like his idol, Adolph something or other?

            I am very familiar with Holocaust Denial/Revisionism through past debates that even included ‘no gas chamber for mass murder’ Fred Leuchter. At any rate, shouldn’t it raise some flags that someone is so friendly with a National Alliance (neo-Nazi) dude like Weber?

            Playing the Guilt-by-Association victim card is terrible. You really want to be an anti-witch hunter witch hunter? (like an anti-fascist fascist) Did I say Taylor is a Nazi or something?

            What do you even mean by Egalitarianism? Is this victory through syncretism? Next you will be throwing out charges of ‘Cultural Marxism’ and other such reductionist conspiratoid nonsense. Why are you able to provide detailed information about Ian Jobling etc but then stay vague about the key subject matter, like ‘group difference’ and ‘Egalitarianism’?

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Granted, having Mark Weber for a friend might “raise some flags”. Then again, Taylor ,while being opposed to interracial marriage, has entertained the writers John Derbyshire and Fred Reed along with their non White spouses in his home (Reed is married to a Mexican, Derbyshire, a Chinese). So clearly complete agreement with Taylor is not a prerequisite for being his friend.

            I tend to define egalitarianism as the idea that if groups are not achieving at roughly equal levels, an injustice is clearly afoot and a policy/program is needed to ameliorate that injustice (I concede this is a rather non textbook definition of egalitarianism). I can provide some detailed information on Ian Jobling because I have immersed myself in race realism for the past few years. I am vague on some subjects because my thoughts on many of these issues are incomplete and in process.

          • Fallon

            So, they have mixed marriages. The Asian one is simple because the Asian IQ supremacy hypothesis is quite popular among these race realists. Fred Reed, wrote a drunken (as usual) defense (?) of Mexican IQ but seemed to accept the Jensenist hereditarian view anyway.

            Racialism is not monolithic. There is a difference between belief and values. And then there is history. There were black slaveholders in the South, Jews serving in the Nazi war machine, Jewish wives of Nazi administrators in charge of rounding up Jews for the Polish Ghettos.

            Hans Hoppe excuses race mixing by making it a cosmopolitan privilege for the commercial elites. For the proles outside the city– well, they cannot afford the “genetic luxury.”

            Okay, egalitarianism by your definition has had some major play post WWII. But I think that it is more narrowly a political belief/action system. On the other hand, many egalitarians call for a leveling of the playing field without expectation of equal outcomes, right? And the word egalitarianism can be made to mean too much. Hans Hoppe and Murray Rothbard used the word in blanket fashion that aimed at covering not only the political side of things– but biological too. That is way too much– and is yet more evidence of their dive into racialism. So many biologists, sociologists, etc, have had somewhat egalitarian or even Marxist political values– while still sticking to strict scientific principal in their work. This, of course, does not fit perfectly by any means. But you certainly have racialists (lightly) supporting government programs for the poor or racial minorities etc.

            If one reviews the history of UNESCO statements on race– how it kept being changed and that nobody was happy— you can see that “Egalitarianism”, or its alleged victory, fails to capture very much of real events. But I will grant this: racialism proper was certainly relegated to lesser status in the sciences.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I tend to think those egalitarians who only advocated a level playing field, thought that once said playing field was established, different groups would achieve at (roughly) the same rates. And some ,admittedly very few, “racialists” support a very active role for government when it comes to programs designed to alleviate the plight of the poor and folks of color. You might want to check out a guy called Robert Lindsey- he’s a race realist, and self described leftist.

            I forgot to mention in a reply to an earlier post that I have don’t believe there is such an animal as Cultural Marxism. I view that term as a way opponents of social liberalism try to make themselves sound intelligent and their opponents especially sinister. I’ve had some rather heated exchanges about this very topic on some AmRen comment threads. My own social liberalism ,combined with my philo-Semitism, aversion to group think, and distaste for tribalism, has made me a tad unpopular with some of that site’s regular posters.

          • Fallon

            Robert Lindsey. Alright. Definitely shows some complexity. “Beyond Highbrow” blog. Found it. First thing I notice is that Lindsay differentiates racialism and racism. I try to do that too. Especially in the hopes that it derails attempts to counter whatever I posit with simplistic PC v. anti-PC conversation crushers. But it also helps in organizing.

            Glad you reject “Cultural Marxism”. To me it is of one of those terms thrown out by people who only feel safe in a Manichean Right v. Left mob paradigm that bloviating idealogues like am radio style podcaster Tom Woods are only too happy to exploit. It is important to note that like PC, there is something to Cultural Marxism, it has a history and is problematic. But the way it is being used is perverse and transparently marginalizing.

            So you have gotten right into the fray at AmRen. And you are attesting to the tribalism there. That’s great. So do you find yourself believing in race as more or less a biological construct but rejecting the white supremacist inferences from such differences; and, then, further, rejecting the need for separatism etc? Or what is your take?

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            There may be something to Cultural Marxism, but unless one has immersed oneself in the works of Gramsci and the Frankfurt School, one should be reticent about using the term. Very few of the folks I encounter online seem to have done the requisite reading. Hence, they are hard to take seriously.

            Call me incredibly observant, but I get the sense you don’t care for Tom Woods. I used to attend an Austrian Economics meetup where Woods was held in very high regard. I would be interested in reading your criticism of that man and his body of work.

            AmRen ,or more accurately Jared Taylor, holds that while Whites are smarter than Blacks and Hispanics, North Asians and Asheknazi Jews are smarter than (Gentile) Whites. So AmRen doesn’t really meet a strict definition of “White supremacist”. I was originally attracted to that site because I have an affinity for taboo subjects. And while I have found some folks on that site with a similar proclivity, many AmRen posters merely wish to replace one orthodoxy with another (some of these posters have aggressively suggested that I be banned from the site- so far to no avail).

            It probably would be accurate to say that I see race as more of a biological than a social construct. Racial separatism strikes me as non starter, in any case it isn’t a subject in which I can work up much interest. I would like to see our nation reach the point where we could have a no holds barred discussion on race, irrespective of how uncomfortable that discussion might be.

            In fairness to Taylor, he has deleted a number of anti-Semitic statements on AmRen comment threads. Some of these were directed at me personally, including two by his friend and co-worker Paul Kersey (the guru of the site Stuff Black People Don’t Like). Taylor does seem determined to walk the tightrope between embracing the alt right , and rejecting anti-Semitism.

          • Fallon

            Note on Tom Woods. I have enjoyed his lectures at Mises Institute and elsewhere. He is quite genial. Re-injecting interposition and nullification into the culture is a great idea. I do not like that when I went to discuss racialism and Mises Institute with him that he almost immediately shot ‘Cultural Marxist!’ and ‘that talk is toxic’ garbage at me. Then he misuses Thomas Sowell on the issue and accuses me of being victim of college professors who only teach “egalitarianism”. I believe I mentioned reading Barbujani and Colonna on genetic diversity– essentially saying simultaneously that yes people are different and that almost nobody in research fits Woods’s caricature. Almost immediately after the non-conversation– from which he apparently got nothing from– he doubles down on his ‘defense’ by posting a long quotation by Hoppe and then has Charles Murray on his radio show. He still doesn’t get it.The dismissive exchange has left me kinda vindictive. But my characterization of his style is correct. Woods has traded intellectual inclinations for the am radio approach. Mind you– all I was trying to do was present the obvious racialism that has been around the Mises Institute for a long time. But then I looked further into Woods’s past. He has always been right there in it– apologizing for the Confederate Cause and Neoconfederacy; citing approvingly Peter Brimelow’s cultural security defense of anti-immigration; and, being an active member of Bishop Williamson’s CatholicTraditionalist revolt within the Church. This last item means rejection of Vatican II and the conflation of pedopilia and homosexuality concerning the ongoing sexual violence in the Church. Bishop Williamson is a Holocaust Denier/Revisionist and defender of war criminals.

            So Woods’s reaction to new information was typical of a cult member under threat. I should have expected that. Given that my interaction with Stephan Kinsella went down in almost the same way. Again, I queried as someone who was once a fan of Hoppe (in many respects) etc. I learned something about libertarianism as a social movement for sure.

            Ha, I too know about a lot of these skeletons because I have been somewhat adventurous. Some people even assume without asking me that because I listened to KKK type radio, Stefan Molyneaux (in early days), and attended Black Panther meetings that somehow I agree with anything that is said… Maybe I should have my Favorites Tab deleted before I die…

          • Fallon

            Sorry, for clarity: Woods believes that pedophilia and homosexuality is interchangeable.

          • Fallon

            geez why try to correct myself now? ha

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Folks at the Mises Institute don’t seem to deal well with criticisms. David Gordon made some fairly nasty remarks about your truly when I called attention to some of Rothbard’s ,shall we say, interesting alliances on both the right and left. Gordon came off like a priest dealing with a parishioner who had questioned the Immaculate Conception.

            Don’t really know what to say about Woods’s views on homosexuality and pedophilia except wow.

          • Fallon

            David Gordon has made a living off of being nasty. Wear it as a badge of honor.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I can be as nasty as the next guy. T’is a pity now one will financially compensate me for that character flaw.

          • Fallon

            I do not troll very well. I tried it once and it wasn’t fun. Sometimes I admire people who can be nasty– but with a wink or some good purpose in mind…

            You could pose as a hardcore but not too hardcore white not supremacist and get Jared Taylor to hire you. You know the stuff. Shoe-in. Then you could get paid while you clandestinely write an expose on his dealings. Then comes the book/documentary deals. Or, you get more convinced of his angle and take over AmRen operations when he retires. And the book becomes hagiographic…

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Jared Taylor has a staff of two, and I don’t think he is looking to expand. And I don’t imagine exposing him would be lucrative, seeing as how he isn’t that prominent. Furthermore as someone with aspergers, I lack all the necessary traits to run an organization or organize a yearly conference (to say nothing of soliciting and appeasing donors).

            Interestingly, Taylor’s wife wrote her doctorate on the Klan. In the course of he research, she got to know and earn the trust of David Duke. Some of the former grand wizard’s most damning quotes were provided by the current Mrs. Taylor.

          • Fallon

            Taylor is probably boring anyway. That anecdote about his wife is priceless. Oh my word haha.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I’ve never met the man, but I tend to doubt that the Jared Taylor is boring. Taylor was raised in Japan, speaks several languages fluently, knows a great deal about linguistics, literature and military history, and is an accomplished musician. It would be difficult to experience ennui in the presence of such an individual.

          • Fallon

            But of course. How fitting. Taylor is American Renaissance… Man.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Touche. Nice touch.

          • Fallon

            I send you to the principal because I lack principle.

          • Fallon

            *Though Richard Lewontin would say that biological determinism, of which many racialist theories are derived, is still the reigning presumption. Lewontin cites the popularity of Arthur Jensen’s, Richard Herrnstein’s, E.O. Wilson’s, and Richard Dawkins’ ideas… I would throw in Steven Pinker as well, for starters. (BHLs really like Pinker and Charles Murray apparently). At any rate– the idea that now it’s an “Egalitarian” hegemony doesn’t tell much of the story. Libertarians of the “Right”– and some BHLs too, love that ‘we are victims of PC narrative’ though.

          • Fallon

            “Besides Paul Gottfried, are there really any Jews eager to make nice with the alt right?”

            Geez. Let’s play Who’s a Jew. Really? I am laughing because just skimmed Evelyn Rich’s emotional letter and noticed how she went to extraordinary lengths to clear her name via ancestry records. Her desperation is Schadenfreude for me. I feel bad for her kids. Kids are innocent. But I say pour on the accusations of Jewess! It is great comedy.

            I don’t usually care who is what. But identifying Jews friendly to alt-right is important because the history of eugenics, scientific racism, and race realism usually put Jews outside the acceptable. In some sense isn’t it announcing ‘we have arrived’ into dominant culture acceptance when a Jew can now take the oppressor role?

            At any rate, alt-right friendly types of Jewish background have included Murray Rothbard (Mises Institute), Paul Gottfried (Mises Institute), David Gordon (Mises Institute), Walter Block (Mises Institute), Michael Levin (friend of Block and contributor to Lew Rockwell dot com. Lew Rockwell is head of Mises Institute). Robert Weissberg (Lew Rockwell contributor), and Richard Herrnstein (The Bell Curve, the book Rothbard cites in support of his anti-egalitarian argument). I am sure there are more.

            This is not to say that they share the same values as the alt-right en toto; or with each other. Lots of fusion going on. Something they hold glaringly in common here is the adherence to the Pioneer Fund hereditarian race-IQ hierarchy meme. Is it any wonder that Jews– who top the charts in the IQ game– would gravitate towards liking the research and conclusions that feeds their egos?

            History identifies this kind of racialism and classism as being very much bound up with the classic Eugenics movement. It is the original purpose of the Pioneer Fund. Though I am not sure how the founders would feel about Jared Taylor’s Pan-White-ism (Italians, really?). Never mind that Jews were to be included.

            Any guesses on how Ludwig von Mises himself would feel about his name being used to advance the scientific racist ideas of the Progressive and Fascist Eras?

            I guess the Mises Institute Jews would just say “Hey Ludwig. Jews are ‘in’ now– so what’s the worry? The sterilizations, severe immigration restrictions, anti-miscegenation laws, euthanizing, ethnic cleansing, and genocides– those are just things of the past.”

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Well, it doesn’t look like many Jews are associated with the current alt right. Rothbard and Herrnstein are dead. I’ve never heard of David Gordon or Walter Block attending ,let alone addressing, an alt right gathering or writing for an alt right site. Michael Levin no longer addresses race (and Levin is on record opposing eugenics). Robert Weissberg has spoken in front of AmRen on a few occasions, but I don’t think he has ever written or spoken about anything directly connected to the alt right. It seems like all we can come up with is Paul Gottfried and possibly Milo (who seems to be Jewish one day, and Catholic the next).

            AmRen has only ever taken two policy positions- total freedom of association and a total moratorium on immigration. One can be all for interracial marriage, and all against “euthanizing, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, and still address their conferences and write articles for their web page. Anyone can claim the title alt right, and a wide array of individuals have. These individuals range from libertarians with a taste for the taboo to “14?88ers” and Holocaust deniers.

          • Fallon

            It depends on what lens you use. If meetings people attend is the one true identifier then sure, the list is whittled to one. If 100% purity is the test then nobody is alt-right or libertarian. My original post was about libertarianism and its historical close relationship with racialism of the redneck and Pioneer Fund sort. Hyphenations might suck but they do work in situations like this. Libertarian- alt-right or alt-right libertarian look like useful descriptors.

            Okay, all of these Jews are race realists. Isn’t race realism a key component of the alt-right core? (Milo is not core and probably a usurper). The race realist world is quite small as well. And aren’t alt-righters, if it means anything, heterogeneous in their immediate interests– e.g. whether it is concerned with ending Jewish World Domination or reinvigorating grass roots traditionalist Christianity?

            Whether the people I mentioned are alive or dead is irrelevant because I am making an historical case that the alt-right has had close antecedents and that certain key libertarians often embraced it. Too many libertarians today who were around back in Rothbard’s paleo days like to whitewash the history.

            At any rate, I am talking fusionism. And ‘alt-right friendly.’

          • Fallon

            *certain segments of libertarians have had close relationships with what would now be deemed alt-right. sorry

          • Fallon

            Add physicist Michael Hart to the list of alt-right friendly Jews. White separatist, AmRen attendee, and contributor to Lew Rockwell dot com.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Michael Hart had a verbal altercation with David Duke at an AmRen conference in 2006, in which the diminutive physicist called Duke “a f-cking Nazi”. Since then, Hart has not been seen at AmRen events. I doubt that Dr. Hart has anything but loathing for the alt right.

            If you go on YouTube and type in “AmRen incident”, you can witness the Hart/Duke meltdown.

          • Fallon

            I watched it some time ago. Funny to see all these self-anointed tips of the human evolutionary spear exhibiting such Jerry Springer behavior. I see the bust up between the Taylorites and Dukebots as good news because it is more efficient for the alt-right to implode. I see you trying to define Taylor out of the alt-right?

            How do define alt-right then? It’s only the neo-Nazis? Well, then how do you explain Paul Gottfried co-inventor? Milo? Breitbart? Are you going to say that alt-right is Duke, Gottfried, Spencer (co-inventor), Milo, and Bannon…but somehow not Taylor? Taylor who wants to be the face of white nationalism and ‘race consciousness’?

            (marxist class consciousness, the catnip of the left = race consciousness, catnip of the right)

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I think the Jewish Holocaust revisionist ,and all around gadfly, David Cole put it best when he wrote that if you think you’re alt-right, it’s only a matter of time before some alt-right purist assures you that you aren’t. Like many a fringe movement, the alt right tends to be concerned ,if not obsessed, with ideological purity.

            My understanding is that if you believe American conservatism doesn’t pay enough attention to racial differences and the desirability of hierarchy, you probably ,at the very least, have alt right characteristics. And it certainly doesn’t hurt if you have an aspergian like fixation on ,real or imagined, Jewish influence and perfidy.

          • Fallon

            I’ve had a couple of negative run-ins with David Cole. The interaction kinda solidified my impression that most deniers/revisionists are either complete noobs easily manipulated or people that have some pre-existing internal problem, some grudge, mental disturbance, or character weakness that blocks their ability to be good historians. Cole is a textbook case.

            And, ha Ha. I will add David Cole to the alt-right of Jewish background list.

            Planet Aspergers’ aside, i think you are forming a good definition of alt-right. But how would you then categorize Pat Buchanan (leaving aside his trail of racist statements going back over decades)? Buchanan might symbolize a pure culture warrior where biological determinism plays little or no part. So his White Nationalism looks more forgiving because at least there is the possibility of conversion.

            We have reached the 16th Century portion of the show. Conversion with Torture or Deportation with Torture?

            Here comes the White Inquisition! (Nobody expects the White Inquisition!)

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I would love to hear about your interactions with David Cole. I thoroughly enjoyed his book “Republican Party Animal”. And I tend to think that Cole is too much of a contrarian to be fully welcomed into alt right circles. In addition Cole is a self described Zionist, his unorthodox views on the Holocaust notwithstanding.

            Pat Buchanan is basically Donald Trump with a penchant for intellectual crankiness and anti-Semitism. And Bucahanan is well into his seventies, he’s not converting to anything at this point.

          • Fallon

            So Buchanan, a white nationalist, is not alt-right? That seems a little odd– because there he is at Gottfried’s HL Mencken Club. Then Bannon, who I think recently just said he is not a white nationalist but merely a nationalist, is also out of the alt-right loop? Then there is Milo, who pissed off the racialists and Daily Stormers by claiming alt-right isn’t racist. (Milo may be a younger more ideal version of Ann Coulter, really. Maybe what Ann Coulter has always wanted to be in more ways than one.)
            Hmm, I don’t know.

            Cole really backed off discussing claims denying gas chambers for mass murder at Auschwitz– and did it in the most cowardly way imaginable. He ‘pivots’ the conversation towards fragmented irrelevancies delivered in such a way as to illicit an emotional response that will, hopefully for Cole, shut down the critical functions of his opponent. An example is how he rants on an on about how sad it is that there are (allegedly) all these Jews somewhere East that could be reunited with those that went West. Now, he remains vague, a tactic, but the message is that deportations to e.g. Kazakhstan by the Soviets etc. could majorly cut into the 5.5m or so Jewish murder victims of the Holocaust. All we have to do is stop the ‘orthodox’ historian charade and achieve great joy in reuniting these lost family members.

            With that level bullshit it is no wonder they like him at Taki Mag.

          • Fallon

            Zionism can fit alt-right if it means Jews self-deporting. It’s like white separatists/supremacists teaming up with black nationalists that are on a Back to Africa mission. They even call it Black Zionism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back-to-Africa_movement

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            That’s not the way Cole uses the term. Bear in mind, Cole was making his living as a GOP/conservative operator before being outed as a Holocaust revisionist by an angry ex-lover. Cole ,to my knowledge, never took issue with even the most hawkish policies of the Bush administration or the neoconservative community. This is one of the reasons I think he would be woefully out of place at an alt right gathering.

            Speaking of alt right gatherings, you can watch today’s National Policy Institute Conference online (just google the appropriate phrases, and the video comes up). There was a large protest outside by the usual suspects. One would be attendee was bloodied and sent to the hospital by the forces of tolerance and diversity. In any event, some of the big alt right names are on the video- Richard Spencer, Jared Taylor, Peter Brimelow, and Kevin MacDonald.

          • Fallon

            Usual suspects all around… inside and outside the conference.

            Violence of that sort is self-defeating. It will be exploited for alt-right gain. There is a chance that some alt-right attendee instigated the ‘violence’ as well. Who knows.

            These alt-right guys already have massive victim complexes anyway.

            If they address divisive and What is alt-right issues like the Jewish Question, homosexuality, Milo, Bannon, race realism, David Duke, Blacks, or libertarianism, I may have some interest. Not sure I can stand the typical preaching-to-the-choir fluff that will probably take up 80% of the time. Maybe a reporter will give a post-conference synopsis that targets some juicy stuff.

            Maybe some disgruntled figure from the past will interject a bombshell discovery that Taylor is 23% Senegalese, Evelyn Rich is indeed Jewish, and that David Duke and Taylor are gay lovers. Too good to be true? Tune in and find out…

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I think it is highly unlikely that the violence was “instigated” by a lone alt right attendee surrounded by “anti-racist” protesters. And it was a little ironic that some of the folks carrying out this act of violence were brandishing flags emblazoned with the slogan “anti-fascist”, since they were behaving like ,well, fascists.

            It’s interesting that in a true anarcho-capitalist polity, the alt right would have nowhere to meet, since private hotels and conference halls won’t rent to such organizations. The National Policy Institute meets in federal buildings in D.C., and American Renaissance holds their events at a national park in Tennessee. Were he still alive, Murray Rothbard would probably attend ,or be an invited speaker at, alt right get togethers. Yet under a Rothbardian system, such get togethers quite possibly wouldn’t occur.

          • Fallon

            Rothbard would attend with Sam Francis and Joe Sobran maybe. More likely that Hans Hoppe would invite all out to Turkey for a Property & Freedom Society conference. The 3rd party nature of it– not Mises Institute and not NPI– gives them all ‘plausible deniability.’ (Not really). Anyway, Hoppe did just that minus the dead guys.

            Predictions about a Rothbardian society are difficult given your priors. The very idea of race realism, if it really is correct in some way, threatens basic economic theory. No longer could one merely hold the Ricardian Law of Association as meaning that we can all get along, full stop. Statements like this would have to be filled with caveats like e.g. “Blacks must have leadership roles while whites do menial labor.” “For the fully functioning market, there cannot be a situation where whites make up more than 20% of the workforce in a specific geographic area.” “Eliminating whiteness through eugenic forethought will increase the productivity of any given society.” Stuff like that. If the racial inequalities these race realists talk about are really knowable and quantifiable things– then soon they should have enough detail enabling pre-designation of all roles in the social-division of labor. It’s science. And God approves.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Sam Francis spoke at many AmRen conferences before his death. Joe Sobran addressed two conferences. Sobran even went so far as to speak at a gathering of the Institute of Historical Review. And Jared Taylor has spoken at Hoppe’s get togethers. Rothbard was something of a mentor to Sobran after the latter was fired from National Review, he even converted the former NR columnist to anarcho-capitalism. So it’s not a stretch to picture all these folks getting along swimmingly on the alt right.

            For the alt right’s view on Rothbard, check out a piece by Hubert Collins that was posted on Radix Journal several months ago.

          • Fallon

            “A few months ago Richard Spencer noted that for all the hate Libertarianism Inc. was giving Donald Trump, the
            late libertarian polymath Murray Rothbard probably would have liked him and his candidacy quite a bit.” Hubert Collins


            I agreed in my first comment. Trump is the Rothbard candidate. Walter Block and his Libertarians for Trump club is not surprising at all. Though the pragmatism looks like witch doctor remedies…So your arm hurts? Break the other one so you stop worrying about it…

            It is unfortunate that so many libertarians don’t know the controversial parts of their history and then react hysterically when it is referenced. It only helps their enemies– who will dig up the facts and weaponize them with embellishments. It’s also boring and somewhat demeaning to constantly regurgitate hagiographies.

          • Fallon

            Or rather, libertarians react with dismissive indifference.

          • Fallon

            “I would like to say, in sum, the Murray Rothbard was in many ways a lot
            more of an “alt-right-er” than Trump is today, and probably ever will
            be. Rothbard personally knew and corresponded with Sam Francis, kept
            company with Jared Taylor, he endorsed racial separation,
            and as pointed out earlier, he never disavowed David Duke. Regardless,
            there can be no doubt that if Murray Rothbard were alive today, he would
            be happily riding the Trump Train.” Hubert Collins


          • A. Alexander Minsky

            In fairness to Walter Block, my understanding is that the good professor has been an open borders advocate for all of his libertarian career. He has also never entered into the race realist fray a la his mentor Murray Rothbard. Block’s attraction to Trump was supposedly limited to foreign policy, and the greater likelihood of war occurring under a Clinton administration.

          • Fallon

            Nope. Block has sprinkled his racialized belief that “All stereotypes are true” here and there. It is what Rothbard used to do as well. And then Levin, author of Why Race Matters, puts him on the special thanks page. Maybe Block helped him with spell checker? This is the same guy that gets, a long with other Jewish race realists, glowing reviews from David Gordon. But sure, if i was Block’s and Gordon’s lawyer i could weasel them out of any charges. “Do my clients ever say that they agree with the race realist author in question? No. I rest my case…”

            But not so fast. Levin’s book is chock-full of proposals for action based on his perception of inherent black inferiority. Block lent his ‘good’ name to it. That means Block, a supposed libertarian, was not concerned about imposing dual standards of law based on race. Levin says institute stop and frisk for blacks only. Use someone’s DNA to categorize them as ‘pre-crime suspects’. And, he believes that courts should be able to limit black participation on juries.

            Mind you, this formal racism Levin supports. There is nothing in the way to re-instituting Segregation. American Apartheid. “President” Levin, again:

            “…Likewise, it is impossible to measure the maturity of every youthful offender, but if blacks mature more quickly than whites on average, which scientists tell us they may well do, black offenders might be treated as adults at an earlier age than white offenders. If blacks are on average less deterred than whites by the punishments currently attached to crime, and deterrence is an important goal, the two-part tests says that race can be taken into account in sentencing. It maybe that, while the objectivity of particular jurors cannot be measured in advance, blacks tend on average to side with black victims and defendants regardless of the evidence in interracial cases. If so, the two-part test permits the exclusion of black jurors from such cases. It may be that blacks tend on average to be less objective than whites about black defendants no matter what the victim’s race, in which case the two-part test sanctions limits on the number of blacks in juries.” (Levin, Why Race Matters)

            I don’t believe you help someone out on ‘substantive’ matters of a book that includes this and then keep quiet about your opposition to it when you are a Rothbard type loudmouth like Block. But Okay, I can’t read minds. Block gets away on a technicality. Make that technicality #324 for these Mises Institute bums.

          • Fallon

            Hart had a change of heart? Cite it for me then. Just because he doesn’t like the Duke Nazi angle doesn’t mean he left the Taylor alt-right camp.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            In 2009, Hart put on his own conference dedicated to preserving or defending Western civilization. Apparently, this was an attempt to create an explicitly philo-Semitic alternative to AmRen. For whatever reason, this effort doesn’t seem to have borne much fruit. Hart is now in his eighties, I don’t think he’ll be starting any new endeavors.

            I don’t think Hart changed his views on matters racial. I just think that he found AmRen ,and by extension what is now know as the alt right, to be unacceptably welcoming to anti-Semites. My understanding is that Hart was disappointed that Jared Taylor attempted to “straddle the fence” after the Hart/Duke altercation. Hart wanted Taylor to more forcefully condemn anti Jewish sentiment among the conference attendees. When this didn’t happen, Hart took his ball elsewhere.

          • Fallon

            Levin opposes certain aspects of eugenics but likes some government interventions to alleviate what he calls the ‘race gap’. Levin simultaneously says that government attempts could fail due to black’s biology. Then writing as a hypothetical President Levin addressing the American people he says lovely stuff like this:

            “Crime control would emphasize discipline, swifter justice, and more effective punishment—possibly corporal punishment for those undeterred by imprisonment. Capital punishment would be a basic element of this approach. One can envisage new technologies such as brain scans and DNA testing that permit monitoring of potential criminals, although the most effective step might simply be a return to now-discredited practices, like the chain gang. Measures like these, though they would affect blacks disproportionately, would not be inherently racial. Other anti-crime measures might well be. Race, for instance, might become a legitimate “probable cause” for police intervention. The police would be allowed to search all black males for weapons, confiscating any they found.” (Levin, Why Race Matters)

            Race realism informs what many would consider violence. And Levin is on board with it. So much for libertarianism as fundamentally generic.

      • Fallon

        I have tried twice now to post a link to some solid snippets of Wicherts’ take down of the eugenicist/race separatist, and key source for Charles Murray and Hans Hoppe, Richard Lynn. Not sure why it is blocked. But it comes up easy in Google. “Devastating Criticism of Richard Lynn”. It’s from Racial Reality blog, August, 2011. Btw, this blog does not appear to be against race as a solid genetic identifier…. which destroys the Pioneer Fund us and them narrative as well.

    • Earl of Sandwich

      Maybe you should read Scott Alexander’s piece about the whole Racism canard


      • Fallon

        TL/DR. What is the gist?

      • Fallon

        If you think I am conflating Trump or Bannon or Milo with Richard Spencer or the Nazis you are wrong. I do not care for the AM Radio ‘Tom Woods’ reduction of all things to PC and Anti-PC.

      • Fallon

        Not discussing structural racism here, anyway. You on a witch hunt, then?

      • Fallon

        If you are accusing me of joining in the hysteria then you are an idiot.

      • Sean II

        All you need to know about Fallon: he started reading a post by Scott Alexander and didn’t finish it.

        • Fallon

          Didn’t your parents teach you anything about honesty or decency? Keep hiding behind that pseudonym, fool.

          • Sean II

            Never had any parents. I was grown in lab financed by the Pioneer Fund, along with all the other people you disagree with.

        • That puts him in good company, though not quite as good as those who never start.

          • Fallon

            I skimmed the article posted elsewhere later. It’s anti-hysteria hysteria for the most part.The Trump immigration platform (#13) and proposal to register muslims are glaring exceptions. Did you know that Trump’s possible deportation czar, Kris Kobach, was a lawyer for the legal wing of the Federation for American Immigration Reform: staunch ant-immigration lobby and a recipient of Pioneer Fund moneys? Scott Alexander doesn’t. You didn’t. Now go read some of my exchange with Minsky. Or don’t. Whatever.

            I would have gladly read Hurl the Sandwich’s link if he had explained why he thought it would be useful to me. But he just dropped it there. And notice how he did not respond to my request for clarification. Links look like glue-sniffing arrogance, clickbait and trolling when done in Hurl’s fashion. Get it?

            I’m glad we had this talk.

          • Fallon, to clarify: I’m the guy saying that people should not read Scott Alexander…

          • Fallon

            Oh, ok. Thanks. I will put the dueling pistols back in the draw.

          • Sean II

            For real? You don’t like Scott? Please tell me why.

            I promise I won’t even argue, I’m just very curious to know what would make someone arrive at that conclusion.

          • For one thing, I’ve got an axe to grind with the Cult of Bayes. It has the same core problem that hardcore utilitarianism has, in that the models look rational until you consider that variable inclusion/exclusion is part of the system. So it’s not fair to just exclude considerations you don’t want to think rationally about, and unfortunately a lot of these “Rationalist Community” types can’t see it. You can’t modify a “prior” that doesn’t exist in your model.

            Ordinarily, this would not be a huge deal, but when it comes to the Bayes Cult, they’ve got themselves convinced that they are doing The Lord’s Work and being super-duper rational about it. They’re not, they’ve just obfuscated the irrational part of their thinking. You try to talk it over with them and they just bombard you with their peculiar linguistic norms, and if you don’t play along, well, you’re just not “rational.” Ick.

            The other thing is that Scott Alexander really and truly doesn’t write well about things he doesn’t know about. He does cursory internet research into a topic and then comes up with a big “take” on it as though he is a thoroughly researched expert. He writes such long posts that it’s easy to just give up and assume he knows what he’s talking about. But every so often he writes about a topic that I happen to know a lot about, and suddenly his poor research skills become obvious. I can only assume that the same holds true for the topics he writes about that I don’t happen to know about. And when I say “poorly researched,” I mean “I think he just Googled the first 5 articles on the topic, fused them together into a reasonable story, and then just made the rest up on the spot.” It’s the kind of stuff that goes over well in law school or on the debate team, but lordy, he has a huge following of people convinced that he really does know about this stuff.

            And finally, he seems like a real weird dude. The things that occasionally pop up about his personal life are surprising enough to me that they make me question the soundness of his overall perspective. I realize that might be an unfair judgment on my part, but how a person chooses to live their lives offers me some degree of insight into the level of balance and reasonableness in their opinions. They “modify my priors” if you will, and I can’t just ignore it.

            Now, having said all that, I actually liked and agreed with the Trump-is-not-a-racist post .I thought he managed to do a good job that time. Occasionally, he does write something I can appreciate. But the wheat-to-chaff ratio is pretty low on that blog in general, in my opinion.

            But, hey, the other thing is, what do I know? I’m some internet Austrian that nobody really listens to ha ha… So maybe this comment could be seen as a better argument in favor of Slate Star Codex than anyone could write.

          • Sean II

            You’ll have to take my word for this, but if you use the proper comparison set of “psych residents”, Scott’s not that weird.

            Also didn’t know you’re Austrian. I assume you mean that in the “School of Economics” sense?

          • Yeah, “Austrian School enthusiast” might be a good way to put it. I say “Internet Austrian” because it’s been used as a pejorative term (including, I believe, on this blog) that I feel is worth owning. Specifically, I’m a big Mises fan, but I feel like Rothbard lost the plot. I’m pretty eclectic though, I mean I don’t think every recession is a “crack-up boom” and I like what old Chicago School guys usually say about stuff – as long as they’re not Market Monetarists, ha ha. But I’d say I’m more Austrian School than anything else, anyway.

          • Sean II

            Is it fair to say you’re more of a Peter Boettke, Bob Murphy type Austrian?

            Like a lot of people, I became very interested in the ASE viewpoint after the ’08 crash. In fact I made a nice profit trading miners on the premise: “what should I buy assuming a 10% chance these guys are right about QE?”, then selling in mid-2012 when it started to look more like a 2% chance of them being right.

            Here’s where I ended up:

            1) The Austrians have a very good and still-unanswered point about the theoretical problems with fiat money, centrally-planned interest rates, stimulus-driven malinvestment, the business cycle, etc. In other words, they are absolutely right to say Krugmanomics is built on a foundation of absurd fallacies.

            2) But…at just about any given moment, the anti-Austrians have crude empiricism on their side. This economy that isn’t supposed to work mostly does. Peter Schiff is right only once per decade or so, and in the long run each bubble burst seems like a small inconvenience to the grand uptrend. “Yeah sure, it works in practice, but the really important thing is: does it work in theory?”

            3) Meanwhile both factions play a similar tautological game when it comes to never admitting error.

            When predicted inflation fails to materialize, the Austrians never say “hey, maybe we were mistaken about monetary theory”. They just tell some story about exporting inflation to China, or how the coming hyper-inflation is going to be even more hyper for being delayed five years beyond their first prediction, etc.

            When a given monetary stimulus actually coincides with even worse unemployment than the direst prediction, the Mainstreamers never say “hey, maybe we were wrong about animal spirits”. They just tell some story about how demand collapsed in India or European debt crashed the party, and say “thank god we did what we did, obviously we should have done more.”

            Not a very satisfying couple of choices, eh?

          • Yeah, I guess I’m in the same vein as you here. I agree with Dan Klein maybe 80% of the time, Robert Murphy maybe 90% of the time, and George Selgin (not an Austrian School guy per se, I realize) almost always. I guess I’m not as big on ABCT as much as I feel that the Austrian School presents a more realistic and compelling way to view economics in general, compared to Keynesian-inspired frameworks, which I view as being mostly circular.

            But I’ll say this: A few months ago, Tyler Cowen wrote a blog post about how different business cycles can be explained best by different schools, as the case may be. One recession might be an “Austrian recession,” while another might be a “Market Monetarist recession,” and so on. I liked that idea, at least in theory. So I try not to get too involved in any one school of thought. But the one I consistently come back to is Austrianism. The explanations always make sense, we’re never left with some gaping hole that has to be closed by a neat side-theory.

          • Sean II

            Well, since you failed to specify what percentage of the time you agree with Guido Hulsmann, I have no choice but to conclude you are a fake Austrian and, quite possibly, an agent provocateur sent by the state.

            Burn in hell, you mainstream sell-out!

  • J Peterson II

    //The long-standing attempt by many libertarians to work with the right has brought us such loveliness as alt-right//

    Very true, but this is special pleading. While I do think it is positive to disassociate with those on the alt right the same argument applies to the left where we end up with many who are just as vile (including but not limited to the libertarian left, anarcho-communists, etc.)

    //Look, Johnson and Weld courted the left and did better than any other LP candidates ever. //

    The only real reason you can really get away with saying this is because Ron Paul didn’t run on the LP ticket. Anyways, appealing to Johnson and Weld is no way to demonstrate that an idea is sound. One must defend ideas on their own merits, not the presumed authority of other intellectuals. The only value in having a Libertarian candidate in an election cycle is to take advantage of the media attention and present libertarianism to people who aren’t familiar with it, like what Ron Paul did, so I’m for that. But instead of getting candidates who actually has any philosophical understanding of libertarianism, we got 2 guys that are viewed as more “electable” in an election they didn’t win. You have people who don’t like Hillary or Trump wanting to explore a 3rd party, which is great, but those people aren’t libertarian so they will have some demands and concerns that lead the Libertarian party (and thus libertarian philosophy) to bend on fundamental principles.

    //Plus, as I’ve argued over and over: the history of classical liberalism and libertarianism is that we came from the left. //

    This seems really close to a motte and bailey. I have seen too many times libertarians on the left say this but then use it to smuggle in “sjw”, anti propertarian, anti hierarchical, concepts. And perhaps you don’t mean that as I am familiar with your writing but this isn’t 1845 France. We should appeal to ideas, not tradition or where some dead guys sat in parliament.

    I also think it is absurd to disqualify *social conservatives* (distinct from political conservatives), many of which are libertarians and anarchists.

    3/10 wouldn’t recommend.

    • IceTrey

      The LP should have gone with McAfee. Sure he’s crazy but he would have fit right in this go round.

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  • DST

    You are mistaken to think that libertarianism is in any way compatible with leftism. Although leftists often characterize their actions as promoting “freedom,” nothing could be further from the truth. They never want to upend existing power structures to liberate people from them, but rather to impose the inversion of said structures. Whether its Title iX kangaroo courts, affirmative action, high income and estate taxes, or any other progressive policy, the goal is subjugate the historically powerful, not to liberate the historically subjugated. Nothing could be further from libertarianism.

    We have a progressive heritage.

    Citation needed. Progressivism is the idea that with the right policies and leaders, authoritarianism can be beneficial for society as a whole, and its practice led to all sorts of early 20th century horrors like eugenics. If you think that that is the tradition that current libertarianism should cleave to, then I personally will put more effort into distancing myself from left-libertarianism than right-libertarianism.

  • Puppet’s Puppet

    I am a “convert” from the statist left who has been pleading much the same thing ad nauseum. All libertarians, “left” and “right,” should stop summarizing ourselves as “economically conservative and socially liberal,” because neither one of those things as commonly understood today remotely resembles opposition to government intervention. Whatever we may hope to gain from trying to pass ourselves off as Republicans with gay friends is outweighed by the opportunity we give up with those who might be interested in a bold, fresh, outside-the-box, historically venerable yet pro-progress political philosophy that addresses leftist desiderata better than mainstream leftism itself. Much of your post had me nodding my head.

    Your central move, though, has me wondering if we were ever on the same page in the first place. The avatars of this bold new strategy, apparently, are…two “socially liberal” Republican governors! (The less said about WASP George Pataki the better; the absurd shortcomings of Governor Chong are nearly as well documented.) I did not recall either man doing anything more than any other libertarian to appeal to traditional leftist concerns (either to the working class, or even to the heavily bourgeoisized Corbynesque state of current left politics); there was a bit about crony capitalism, a bit about foreign nonintervention, but where was the stuff we couldn’t have heard in a House Liberty Caucus meeting? Indeed, what we got was a lot of “pro-business” boilerplate seasoned with a bunch of virtue signalling about abortion, gays, immigrants, and so forth. Naturally, this would rid America of the age-old Proudhonite scourges of homophobic bakers, sexist burqas, and attempts to question the “good government” exemplar of the EPA.

    What is going on, of course, is that “The Left” is ambiguous. It could mean what it meant starting in the late 19th century: solidarity with the interests of the working class. Or it could mean what it has come to mean, in country after country, since the late 20th: A rickety coalition, centered around the (mostly economically “harmless”) statist hobbyhorses of “enlightened” urban professionals, with enough noneconomic “oppressed groups” tacked on to ensure electoral viability. Gary Johnson, to his credit, is certainly a ways away from Chuck Schumer and Mike Bloomberg. But he is a bit more down that road than is a “traditional” or “purer” libertarian of any stripe; and the ways in which he distinguishes himself from them in any way are all “Bloombergish” rather than anything more meaningfully leftist. All in all, you picked rather odd prophets to make the point that we should be moving away from “Gordon Gekkos who smoke dope.”

    As for practicality, I point out: The Lib Dems did not score stunning electoral triumphs of late–UKIP did; a Democrat did not just get elected president–Trump did. I am a proud Latino immigrant myself, as it happens, but I do not find your embrace of the same concept of “leftism” that has caused the Democrats so dearly over the years–complete with contempt for the Trump voters and their concerns–to be a winning strategy. I think it is headed in precisely the wrong direction. Rather than simply condemning as perverse the fact that some (certainly not anywhere close to most) on the “alt-right” call themselves “libertarians,” why not be unafraid to see what we have in common–and thus, understand precisely how they have perverted our ideals, and be in a better position to fight them? Namely, note that the mainstream “left” has completely abandoned both working-class politics and any semblance of liberalism, in favor of their perverse and authoritarian type of identity politics. People are tired of this, they are tired of having any questioning of it be shamed as backwoods bigotry, and Trump and “alt-right” are nothing but its bastard offspring–a “reverse identity politics” for those who have despaired of beating the game and just want to join it. As with everything else, there will be some who are incorrigible. But others can be won over with a little respect. This does not begin with calling them “assholes.” An appeal to classical liberal and humanist values is something that can both provide a real challenge to the right for the hearts of the (justly, in so many ways) left-disaffected working class, and excite idealistic young libertarian thinkers.

    So, no, I guess this particular left-libertarian does not “share your concerns.” Your libertarianism may be my libertarianism, or something close to it. But your left is not my left.

    • Earl of Sandwich

      well said.

  • Earl of Sandwich

    “”There is nothing in libertarianism that should make us hesitate about working with the left on issues of shared concern.””

    You act as though the problem is with Libertarians, and not leftists who demand total-compliance on all issues.

    Where was the anti-war left for the last 8 years? Where were the protests in the streets against NSA surveillance?
    Why is it that a decade of libertarian concerns for police misconduct/excessive-force have been rejected in favor of a “Structural Racism” argument?

    Sorry, you’re pleading to the wrong crowd.

  • Theresa Klein

    Libertarians have to learn how to work with the left if only because the right is currently a non-viable path. Trump is about as statist on economics as any Democrat, considering his positions on trade, eminent domain, entitlements, and infrastructure (keynesian stimulus). The traditional strategy of libertarians has been to work with the right on economic issues, and with the left on personal liberties. Well, economic issues seem to be off the table for a while. Unless we can sway the left towards a more libertarian position on trade and eminent domain, we’re not going to make any progress on those issues. Pure pragmatism.

    As noted elsewhere, Trump is a feel good candidate for people on the right. But he’s about as anti-libertarian as you can get.
    The alt-right types who are calling themselves libertarian are deeply confused. Merely sticking it to leftwing progressives doesn’t make Trump in any way libertarian friendly. it feels good to hate on leftists but it does nothing whatsoever to advance the cause of liberty.

    Besides, tribal warfare is what got us to this. Hating on the left is just going to bring us more Trumps of both a left and right wing variety.

    • A. Alexander Minsky

      It seems to me that when libertarians attempt to work with either the left or right, they tend to be attracted to the most unattractive poles in both camps. A good example would be Murray Rothbard. In the 1960’s, he aligned himself with the thugs in the Black Panther Party, and the Stalinist/Maoists grouped around the Progressive Labor Party. Then in the 1990’s, Rothbard tried to make nice with Pat Buchanan and other cultural warriors. Rothbard even endorsed David Duke’s gubernatorial campaign (possibly the only Jew in America to do so).

      • Theresa Klein

        It seems to me that when libertarians attempt to work with either the
        left or right, they tend to be attracted to the most unattractive poles
        in both camps.

        Because we’re inclusive and non-judgemental.
        But seriously, fringe groups are always attracted to libertarianism because we’re the one group of people offering a system in which they can be allowed to live according to their fringe beliefs. And libertarians tend to want to take the allies they can get.

        • A. Alexander Minsky

          In the case of Rothbard and his circle, it appears as if though the libertarians were attracted to fringe authoritarian characters on both left and right, not the other way around. Rothbard went out of his way to ally himself with the Black Panther Party, the Progressive Labor Party, and ,later, the paleoconservatives. This is interesting, since it would be hard to think of three groups that would be less conducive to libertarian thought and practice.

          • jdkolassa

            Perhaps Rothbard was just a terrible judge of character, as he was on a lot of things, and maybe libertarians should stop looking up to him?

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I think the issue was more one of temperament, as opposed to character judging. Rothbard liked extremes, he began his political life with Strom Thurmond, and ended it with Pat Buchanan. In the interim, Rothbard hung with Stalinist and Black Panther thugs. The interesting question is was Rothbard an anomaly in libertarian circles, or do libertarians tend to gravitate towards extremes? In other words, could you picture many libertarians working constructively with ,say, social democrats or Burkean conservatives on issues of mutual interest and concern?

        • IceTrey

          I’m very judgemental when it comes to objective morality.

  • Most of us agree that when libertarians formed a coalition with the paleo-conservatives, it was a bad idea.

    That’s precisely why I think it’s a bad idea to go forming coalitions with the left. Unless you want to turn around in 40 years and set up a new blog called “Burkean libertarians dot com” or whatever, I think it would be a good idea if libertarians stuck to what they do best: being libertarians.

    • Sean II

      I’d totally read that blog. I can imagine some of the postings now:

      “68 is Enough: The Case Against Ecuadorian Statehood”

      “No President Kasparian, The Market Can Protect The Rights of Trans-Racial Intersex Replicant Cloud People”

      “Private Knife Ownership: Less Crazy Than It Sounds (with Proper Background Checks!)”

  • Neil Ringlee

    Agreed to a point but I think you are interpreting “Progressive” not as an ideology but as a direction. Progressives are not about liberty. Often they beg a pass in debate by appealing to “progress” but much of their public policy prescriptions have yielded anything but. The early progressives initiated their movement with a declaration of war on Reformation values. That is not consistent with liberal values as we understand them from a classical, philosophical perspective. Case in point is that there are no liberals left in the current Democratic Party of the US. They are either Progressives or New Left Progressives.

    Likewise there is very little “conservative” about the Republican Party of the US. Most cannot define the term conservative with any clarity. Some believe there to be 5 to 7 distinct ideologies contained under the term “conservative” just as there are four or five hiding under the brand “libertarian.”

    But your point is a good one concerning the ability of libertarians to communicate effectively with and even work with those on the left. We have few friends and where we can find common accord to work in the name of liberty we should. Just wear your helmet and flack jacket when you do. You are walking in a minefield of ideological confusion whether you take the right fork or the left fork. Mention one hot button issue like abortion, school vouchers, pot,guns, criminal injustice or any of the other Newspeak forbidden terms and you are off to the races. Big boom. Either side.