Religion, Libertarianism

The Rhetoric of Libertarians and the Unfortunate Appeal to the Alt-Right

One of my most clicked-on posts here at BHL was this one on Ron Paul’s newsletters and why they still mattered 20 years after they were published. In that piece, I asked the following questions about the way in which racist organizations like Stormfront found Paul worthy of their support:

Even if Ron had never intentionally courted them, isn’t it a huge problem that they think he is a good candidate?  Doesn’t that say something really bad about the way Ron Paul is communicating his message?  Doesn’t it suggest that years of the paleo strategy of courting folks like that actually resonated with the worst of the right?

That was 2011, before the term “alt-right” was in currency and certainly well before the Trump candidacy dramatically reduced the stigma associated with public expressions of nativism, racism, and anti-Semitism.

The paleo-libertarian seed that Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, and Lew Rockwell planted in the 1990s has come to bear some really ugly fruit in the last couple of years as elements of the alt-right have made appearances in various libertarian organizations and venues. Back in February, alt-right hero Richard Spencer stirred up a fuss at the International Students for Liberty Conference in DC after being invited to hang out by a group of students calling themselves the “Hoppe Caucus.” Hans-Hermann Hoppe, long associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute as well as a panoply of racists and anti-Semites, is perhaps the most popular gateway drug for the alt-right incursion into libertarianism.

And within the last couple of weeks, Jeff Deist, president of the Mises Institute delivered a talk to students at Mises University entitled “For a New Libertarian.” In that talk, he knocks down an extended strawman of what he thinks constitutes the libertarianism he wants them to reject – what many might call “left-libertarianism,” including, I suspect, many of us here at BHL. For example:

Because while libertarians enthusiastically embrace markets, they have for decades made the disastrous mistake of appearing hostile to family, to religion, to tradition, to culture, and to civic or social institution — in other words, hostile to civil society itself.

Most controversially, Deist, after continuing to argue that family, faith, and the like are the cultural glue that humans need and that libertarians should focus on, decided to end with:

In other words, blood and soil and God and nation still matter to people. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance.

For those who know something about the history of the 20th century, the invocation of “blood and soil” as something that libertarians should recognize as a valid concern and should appeal to should be chilling. That phrase, which has a history going back at least to the 19th century, was central to the Nazi movement and was at the core of their justification for eliminating those people who did not have connections to the German homeland. It remains a watchword of the nastiest elements on the right, as a quick visit to will demonstrate, if your stomach can handle it. That phrase, whatever Deist’s intent, would be very attractive to many among the alt-right, including neo-Nazis and other racists and anti-Semites. One click on the Blood and Soil website above will make that appeal abundantly clear.

Perhaps Deist didn’t know all of that. If so, one would expect a decent person to immediately apologize for using that phrase that way in that context. To my knowledge, no such apology has appeared. On the assumption that he is not, in fact, a Nazi, the explanation left standing is that he and his defenders have no problem using rhetoric that will attract those sympathetic to Nazi-like views about nativism and Jews. It’s that lack of concern about engaging in that sort of rhetoric, if not a positive willingness to do so, that is so troubling here, and it is eating away at the liberal roots of libertarianism.

If I may add a personal note for a moment: I have been in the middle of several Facebook debates over that phrase and Deist’s talk, and I’ve taken quite a bit of abuse from fans of the Mises Institute. Let me take this opportunity to clarify what I did and did not say. Contrary to the assertion many are making, I did not call Deist or people associated with the Institute “Nazis.” None of my Facebook posts did that, nor can I find a comment where I said as much. If I did, I will happily apologize as I do not think Deist is a Nazi.

What I did say is the same point I made about the Ron Paul newsletters: the problem with Deist’s talk, and the Mises Institute more generally, is not that they are Nazis, but that they appear to have no problem with making arguments that are appealing to neo-Nazis and the rest of the unsavory elements of the right. That’s the problem here. Why would supposed libertarians want to engage in a strategy and make use of rhetoric that is clearly a signal to those folks? That’s the same question I asked 6 years ago and matters have only become worse since then.

It’s also amusing that I have become the poster boy for the libertine, universalist libertarianism that they attack, for at least two reasons. First, name a libertarian who has written more about the family and its importance for a free society than I have. My book is explicitly a “non-conservative defense of the family.” For the kind of libertarian who is supposedly hostile to family, I sure spend a lot of time writing professionally about how great it is.

And second, again with apologies for the personal stuff, for the kind of libertarian who supposedly doesn’t care about religion or civil society, I sure do spend a lot of time doing volunteer work for synagogues and schools. I was on the board of my local synagogue in New York for a decade, most of which was as Treasurer. My ex-wife and I were heads of the parents group for the music department at the local school for several years. Sarah and I are deeply involved with our synagogue here in Indianapolis. I’m not about to put my tax returns up on the web, but I’m confident that I give at least as much of my time and money to family, religion, culture, and civil society as do any of the folks who nodded along with Deist’s argument.

As I pointed out with the Paul newsletters, all of this appeal to nativism, racism, and anti-Semitism and the like is in deep conflict with libertarianism’s liberalism. It’s particularly in conflict with the liberal cosmopolitanism of someone like Mises. And the use of Nazi language is especially galling as it was the very “blood and soil” crowd who drove the Jewish Mises out of Vienna.

Instead of this sort of nonsense, we need to recapture libertarianism’s progressive roots in the liberal movement of the 19th century. I put it this way in 2011:

What we need right now is Rothbard’s vision of a free society as sketched in For a New Liberty, but we need it defended better.  More carefully.  More richly.  More empirically.  More humanely. More progressively.  More tolerantly. With better scholarship.  And we have to do it in a way that’s immune to the charge that libertarians don’t care about making the world a better place, especially for the least well off and those historically victimized by the color of their skin, their gender, their sexual orientation, or anything else that’s irrelevant to their moral status as human actors.

The writings of the paleolibertarians will continue to stain that project unless and until the rest of the libertarian movement stops trying to apologize for them…

Our history is one of liberal tolerance, universalism, and cosmopolitanism, putting the freedom and harmony of all people ahead of the supposed interests of any parochial sub-group, and especially ones defined by the artificial boundaries of nation-states and their subsets. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance.

Finally, one of the most disturbing side aspects of the controversy over Deist’s speech that it revealed how little so many young libertarians know about the Nazis and the Holocaust. I suppose I can understand ignorance of the “blood and soil” reference, but what troubled me more was when I made a joke involving the phrase “work shall set you free” and several commenters had no idea where that phrase came from or why any positive spin on it (as Deist did with “blood and soil”) should be so troubling. Holocaust ignorance is a real problem. And to the degree that young people are attracted to the alt-right out of ignorance rather than pure hatred, combating that ignorance can also serve the purpose of resisting the alt-right incursion into libertarianism.

Because I believe in education, religion, and the importance of the institutions of civil society, and because I believe in putting my money where my mouth is, Sarah and I recently made a donation to the Birmingham (AL) Holocaust Education Center. We made our donation as a tribute to Ludwig von Mises. I invite my fellow bloggers and all of our commenters who share my concerns to consider doing the same. You don’t have to list Professor Mises’s address as the address of the Mises Institute as we did, but you might also consider doing that as an additional touch.

  • J Peterson II
    • Jason Brennan

      Your decision to post that is ironic self-criticism, no?

      • J Peterson II

        I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over me reading Rothbard

        • jdkolassa

          You mean the hack?

          • J Peterson II

            No, that was Krugman you’re thinking of.

          • jdkolassa

            He’s a hack too.

          • J Peterson II

            Rothbard is better than Brennan Brennan or Horwitz so at least he has that going for him. Not sure the word for someone below a hack. 🙂

          • Pochy

            Krugman has achieved more than any of us will. Will you ever create revolutionary trade theory?

          • Peter from Oz

            Like any other theory, a revolutionary theory can be wrong. Also a person can be good at one thing, but completely useless at everything else. There are plenty of great actors who turn out to be naive prats when it comes to politics.

          • a Texas libertarian

            But as compared to his ‘achievements,’ doing nothing would be vastly more beneficent for mankind.

  • J Peterson II

    Steve, the point Deist is trying to make is that trying to convince a man to abandon his devotion to his family and community aka blood and soil is a foolhardy mission. We should instead convince those people that libertarianism is better for protecting his family and community than the state. The reason the title of his article was called that was because he believes too many libertarians are trying to change man’s nature to make the libertarian man, and that we should instead understand a man’s nature so that we are better equipped to convince that person to see why libertarianism will be to his benefit.

    I see Deist as saying we must recognize this about them and, to some extent, meet them where they’re at with our rhetorical approach. We don’t need to champion tribalism or nationalism (which Deist *isn’t* doing here), but, to bring them along, we must recognize and let them know that we understand their beliefs, passions, and commitments. To convince your audience, you had better understand their current beliefs, passions, and commitments. If you can’t do this, then at the end of the day, you’re just going to be alone tickling yourself.

    Understanding that persons are committed to their homeland and its mythology (are you really going to stand face to face with a Sioux indian, black woman, muslim, a rabbi, or transgender and tell them their history, culture, land, and family is toxic to libertarianism?), allows us to understand their fears and hesitations. We might be able to talk to the closed border advocate, for instance, discover that he’s not simply anti-immigrant, per se, but discover, with him, that he’s actually anti-immigrant because he fears that allowing immigration will encroach upon x. Maybe x is a shared value between us and more we can ease his worries by demonstrating that x will not be encroached by open borders by explaining concepts such as property rights, taxes, and law (a couple things the state undermine or take advantage of).

    This isn’t difficult, but for some reason a significant number of libertarians (not most, necessarily) wilfully neglect the fact that real humans are real humans, loaded with all sorts of superficial tribalist beliefs, passions, and commitments. Acknowledging this undisputable fact in no way means we must champion tribalism. It means we must be attuned to it, tailor our arguments to it, or risk being absolutely irrelevant in applied philosophy.

    //We made our donation as a tribute to Ludwig von Mises. I invite my fellow bloggers and all of our commenters who share my concerns to consider doing the same.//

    I made my tribute to the Mises Institute, because a) I prefer it going to individuals who are Austrians and b) I’m not the type of person to virtue signal and imply others aren’t alt right or fascist sympathizers only if they donate to what I donate to.

    • jdkolassa

      Well, some might also say that convincing people to abandon war and the state is also a foolhardy mission, but LvMI persists nonetheless.

      • ted.sonnier

        Libertarianism is concerned with the legitimate use of coercion.

        Family, religion, community, even nation potentially, are not inherently coercive. As libertarians, we should focus on convincing individuals to abandon initiatory coercion; not ram other people’s non-coercive preferences down their throats–particularly the condescending cosmopolitan’s preferences du jour.

        • jdkolassa

          Perhaps you have good relations with your family, religion, and community. Many people do not, and to them, those are coercive relationships.

          • ted.sonnier

            You’ve spilled the banks of the original definition of coercion. It is not the case that these societal institutions must necessarily be coercive, which is the original point. The outlying opinion of these institutions notwithstanding, the fact of the matter is that the overwhelming majority position is that these institutions are important for whatever reason such individuals decide. Deist’s argument is that it is foolhardy to ignore this fact.

          • jdkolassa

            Okay, foolhardy to ignore this fact. Like the other facts that people love war, love the state, always seem to want to punish the free market for doing things they don’t like…all things that we seem to ignore all the time?

            I just don’t get this argument. “It’s foolhardy to ignore racism!” Well, no, it’s not foolhardy to ignore it, or to fight it. What’s wrong is wrong, and you need to move on from that.

            By using this language, Deist is implicitly trying to reach out to people of that ilk, as Horwitz says, and it is utterly a failure.

            “We have nothing to gain from reaching out to these people. Nothing.

            “Not popularity, because Nazis aren’t a bit more popular today than at any other point in my life.

            “Not shock value, which – if it worked at all – would have worked already, what with libertarians’ advocacy of every truly liberal view the mainstream rejects.

            “Not analytical rigor, because what passes for scholarship on the alt right makes even most Marxist political economy look respectable.

            “We have nothing to gain. And I don’t say this often, but we have our very souls to lose.”

          • ted.sonnier

            You are making a categorical mistake. It is not the case, unlike war, the state, intervention into the market, etc., that family, community, free association, and the like, are necessarily coercive.

            Libertarianism is silent on the vice of racism; it has nothing to say about racism at all. It merely states that one may not aggress on another’s person or property. Racism is not necessarily coercive, and is in fact protected by the freedom of association. Anti-racists haven’t a libertarian leg to stand on.

            Libertarians will only grow their ranks by reaching out to non-libertarians, people who, by definition, do not share our beliefs with respect to the legitimate use of coercion. It is not foolhardy to reach out to these people; in fact, it is the only option we have. It is merely foolhardy to ignore the current preferences of such people–just as it is foolhardy to ignore the socialist tendencies of the readers of C4SS–as if communists are super popular.

            No one is reaching out to nazis at the LvMI. Histrionics are fun, but they are rarely accurate or helpful.

          • J Peterson II

            First of all, this speech was not about reaching out to people of that ilk. It is intellectually lazy to assume that Nazis or people of that ilk are the only ones who care about those things. Deist was talking about all non libertarians.

            Second of all, how is this any different than explaining to a person of color who isn’t libertarian, and is concerned of the general welfare of minorities that minimum wage was targeted to exclude black people from the labor market? When you break it down, what he is actually saying is to convince those people that libertarianism is better for protecting his family and community than the state, and that we should instead understand a man’s nature so that we are better equipped to convince that person to see why libertarianism will be to his benefit.

            Third, please read Deist’s speech in the context of just one Berry poem or Kauffman essay and tell me how it is different. Family, place-ism, localism, front porch anarchism? That’s all he writes about:

            “Over this past quarter-century she and I have learned in a thousand different ways that if you wanna change the world you’ve got to do it within your own ambit. Within your own circle of love. Anything grander—more far-reaching—and you’re dealing with people not as flesh and blood but as constituents, as soldiers, as numbers. You wind up shipping them off to war or herding them into public housing projects—always for their own good, of course. This doesn’t mean shun politics. It does mean, from my angle of vision, that the only meliorative political acts are those which decentralize, which devolve power to the most local levels: to the small community, to the family, to the individual. To the human scale—the only scale that can measure a person’s worth.
            We are, today, subjects of an empire, not citizens of a republic.” – Kauffman

            If our goal is to spread our ideas then this means we need to convert people which will include statists, racists, and so on. If converting people to libertarianism is possible with non libertarians (e.g., state socialists and neo cons, etc) then it is likewise possible to convert racists to turn from their beliefs and history, libertarianism, and markets is a great way to do that. I find it rather narrow minded to apply this to statists but not racists (even though the speech was not about appealing to racists).

          • martinbrock

            Children are subject to their parents, but alternatives to this subjection are also problematic. If you aren’t a child, your family is no more coercive than other relationships you choose to maintain.

  • Jason Brennan

    Pretty sure they don’t think Judaism counts as a good religion.

    • J Peterson II

      Who is “they”? I assume you mean nazis or the alt right. Because if that’s the case then it’s another example of a) you not actually reading the speech b) reading the speech and only paying attention to the last line or c) not reading the speech and seeing people who fall under a) or b) post it all over FB and going along with it.

      The speech wasn’t telling libertarians to pander to the alt right it was talking about all non libertarians

    • Pochy

      No, but we do hate Israel. Which is full of christians. and Soldiers. And Borders.

    • Brasillach_

      Steve isn’t very self-aware. He’s like a tranny adopting a kid saying ‘See, I’m all about family!”

    • martinbrock

      Donald Trump, and the “right” more generally in the U.S., doesn’t think Judaism counts as a good religion, the people who’ll no longer say “Christian” without “Judeo-” as a prefix and never met an Israeli Prime Minister they wouldn’t invite to address a joint session of Congress? When did you arrive from Mars?

    • jandr0

      [Pretty sure they don’t think Judaism counts as a good religion.]

      What is this? Arguing by implied demonisation? What kind of a person are you?

  • MaxBorders

    Here’s something weird, about which I make no judgment. I’ll just put here for others to consider.

    The guy who saw fit to publish this article comparing the IQs of blacks and whites…

    …is also associated with the Mises Institute.

    I make neither commentary about this person nor the contents of the article. Nor do I think the Mises Institution is guilty by association if one were to conclude, say, that singular focus on racial disparities in IQ is… suspicious.

    But circumstantial evidence like this can pile up and cause harm to one’s reputation.

    • J Peterson II

      Ironically, I am no longer his friend, and second, there are plenty of people at LvMI who have spoken to the author of the website you linked criticizing a) the article in question and b) his recent attitude or silly goal of a right libertarian alliance.

      As you said, correlation =/= causation. The guy having 7 degrees of separation ties with LvMI doesn’t mean they are closet fascists anymore than C4SS are full of closet pedophiles and people who want to kill landlords. Pretty disingenuous to stoop that low.

      • jdkolassa

        But at the same time, they still employ Hans Herman Hoppe, who regularly attends white nationalist meetings and wants to keep out non-whites, and racist things have been said by Tom Woods frequently as well. And when Robert Murphy was trying to defend this statement, he immediately started off with Mises’ religion and the fact that Woods had a black guest with him — a tactic I’ve seen before, when John Derbeyshire wrote that you should be friends with “Intelligent, Well-Socialized Blacks” in order to deflect charges of racism. You know, the whole reason why saying “Many of my friends are black” is a no-no.

        When enough stuff piles up, there’s a case to be made.

        • J Peterson II

          I assume when you say keeping out non whites you are referring to his infamous excerpt from his book Democracy: The God that Failed? If thats what you mean then this is totally false. Hoppe never argued that people would be “physically removed” on the basis they are non white. If you did due diligence and looked into it you would know this is the case, see here:

          And c4ss employs a dude who openly calls for 100% taxation and the killing of landlords. Does that mean they are all communists? I’m not saying I agree with Hoppe, there is enough I disagree with him on such as borders, his version of thick libertarianism, and covenant communities but it takes a collectivist mind set to lump an entire institute with one individual.

          • J Peterson II

            See also: post hoc ergo propter hoc and kafkatrapping

        • james

          Mind linking to the Tom Woods comments mentioned?

          • jdkolassa

            For starters, he’s a co-founder of the League of the South, a Neo-Confederate group.

          • J Peterson II

            //he’s a co-founder of the League of the South///

            Which he addressed, remember what I said about due dilligence? It’s like I’m reading reading a Huffpost article.

          • Tim Scott
          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Tom Woods was twenty one years old when he attended a meeting that led to the founding of the League of the South (it’s a bit of a stretch to refer to Woods as a “co-founder”). Few of us would like be judged by everything we participated in during our formative years. When I was twenty, I went to one of the first meetings of the U.S. Taxpayers Party- an organization now known as the Constitution Party. Would you submit that I am therefor one of the “co-founders” of that organization?

          • martinbrock

            You’re repeating hearsay. Woods was not a co-founder of the League of the South or even a member. He attended an early meeting, when he was 21, at the invitation of members who represented the organization’s purpose as decentralization and resistance to Federal imposition without particular allegiance to the Confederate cause. He has made this point ad nauseum, but he’ll never outlive the guilt by association.

          • J Peterson II

            well said

          • a Texas libertarian

            To accept that the North unjustly invaded the South in the American ‘Civil War’ is not a confession of racism nor does it expose oneself as an advocate of slavery. To take that view is sophomoric at best, and at worse is knowingly disingenuous and deceitful.

        • While you have a legitimate over-arching point, I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that Robert Murphy is employing John Derbyshire’s tactics without some clear evidence. In fact, I’d say it’s quite unfair.

          • jdkolassa

            Perhaps, but why make a big deal of it? When you say “Of course X isn’t racist, he had a black guy on his podcast!” that makes me very suspicious, because that defense is frequently used for just that purpose. And why else would you make a big deal of someone’s skin color…unless you’re racist?

          • Okay, so empirical examples of non-racism make you suspicious. Suppose you were falsely accused of racism. How would you counter those accusations in a way that didn’t make someone like you suspicious?

          • martinbrock

            So you hear “he had a token black guy on his podcast” and conclude “he frequently says racist things”?

          • John Howard

            My own working definition of racist is: “The first guy in the conversation to mention race”.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Peter Brimelow once defined a racist as someone who is winning an argument with a liberal.

          • John Howard

            Excellent! I will be using that one. Thanks.

          • a Texas libertarian


        • Mr. Hayekian

          Not a fan of Woods. In fact, i dislike him. But I have heard his podcast a number of times and occasionally see his Twitter. I have never heard him say even one thing that is remotely racist let alone frequently. Feel free to cite an example of that “frequent” racism.

          Calling someone like that racist is juvenile. You aren’t Al Sharpton. Comes up with an adult argument.

        • ax123man

          This really is pathetic. What is causing this mass hysteria whose results are to see Nazi symbols everywhere, even if they are simply construction signs painted on the street?

        • A. Alexander Minsky

          What are some of the “racist things” that have “frequently” been said by Tom Woods? And what “white nationalist meeting” does Hans Hermann Hoppe “regularly” attend? Please be specific when answering both queries.

        • martinbrock

          Specifically, what racist thing has Tom Woods said? Since he says these things frequently, one example isn’t asking a lot.

        • jandr0

          Wow. Cheap shot aspersions without HONESTLY engaging with the precise details of what the targets of your comment actually said and did.

    • ted.sonnier

      Hitler drank water…

      Mises drank water…

      Case closed!

      Get real, dude.

      • MaxBorders

        Can you clarify this comment?

        • ted.sonnier

          Not much, to be honest, as the analogy is barely apt. There is a tendency among PC left-libertarians to relate everything to Hitler and the Nazis, usually with the loosest, softest grounding possible. It appears that you are engaging in this familiar practice by mentioning Chase Rachels.

          Chase’s affiliation with LvMI is not particularly strong, and is largely one-sided by Chase, who is a fan of the institute. The institute, I think, provides Rachels’ orthodox anarcho-capitalist primer for free to anyone that wants it. To my knowledge, Chase has never been a speaker at the institute, nor do I know of any instance that he has attended a Mises event. Even so, this practically one-sided affiliation has zero bearing on LvMI. Nor does unsavory practices or silly beliefs offset, nullify, or falsify anything true an author might say.

          So, it does not seem very notable for the purposes of the larger debate that Chase has developed alt-right sympathies in the last several months.

          Therefore the–I think–dishonest use of Chase Rachels to smear the Mises Institute is founded on incredible evidence–much like the argument that Mises was a Nazi sympathizer because he drank water, JUST LIKE HITLER!

          • MaxBorders

            Oh. I see. No, I’m not into PC. I’m just pointing out that if you don’t take care, people’s perceptions of you can be altered whether you like it or not, especially as instances add up.

            Given some of the dubious associations, people and positions of the past (not including Mr. Rachels), the LvMI has to take such care. This is a pragmatic point, not an accusatory one. I think I made that pretty clear in the post. I honestly find the defenses of LvMI to be as revealing as the initial reactions to the “blood and soil” line. Why?

            Any clear-headed libertarian should be concerned that the brand (such as it is) is getting tainted with the alt-right brush. This is just fodder to have insane progressives brand us as something we’re not. I know full well these good people don’t want to be associated with troglodytes. And to say so is not “PC left-libertarian.” It’s good sense and good strategy.

          • ted.sonnier

            Fair enough. I see it as playing right into the hands of Mises detractors to apologize for something–anything really–especially something as innocuous as choice of words, good or bad. Like an Iron Law of Progressivism, conceding any ground to them only encourages them to demand more. Troglodytes indeed.

            I fear the advancement of alt-right goosestepping more than the SJW threat–which I consider C4SS to be a part. But I know–after nearly a decade of interaction–that the Mises crowd is the highest order of libertarian scholarship and advancement in the world. Horowitz, by comparison, is barely worth addressing–even if his objection were valid or worthwhile. Time and energy must be economized, after all. There are far more interesting and threatening fish to fry.

          • Sean II

            “Any clear-headed libertarian should be concerned that the brand (such as it is) is getting tainted…”

            This is the most frivolous thing commonly believed by libertarians: “Our philosophy could be popular if only we weren’t tainted by association with X”, where X = whatever the hell it is at any given moment: Pinochet, Lew Rockwell, Ayn Rand’s essay about women presidents, that thing Rothbard said about starving your own kids, etc.

            It’s silly for two reasons:

            1) Simple comparison. Just look at the Left. They covered up Stalin’s crimes, put Mao on a poster, Che on a shirt, and openly rooted for Uncle Ho.

            Did they apologize? Nope. Did they start carefully policing their own fringe to avoid a repeat of such embarrassments? Hell no. They just said “fuck you” and went right on seizing the commanding heights of culture.

            If loathsome associations were any kind of limiting factor in our politics, Democrats would be the ones pathetically bragging about breaking 5% in a three way election.

            2) Parsimony. When someone gives 27 different excuses for why they can’t do X, eventually it becomes obvious they don’t WANT to do X.

            The simple explanation why people keep finding reasons to dislike libertarianism is… most people dislike libertarianism.

          • People dislike lots of things until they don’t. Half the reason the iPhone became popular was good salesmanship.

            Progressives use emotions, and emotion persuades. It’s science, we should use it.

          • Sean II

            That’s just it: we can’t.

            Libertarianism is a philosophy for Spock worshipping dorks. The whole thing is based on a rationality that precludes appeal to emotions.

            A terrorist bomb goes off in the square. Lefties have a nice emotional answer. They sing Imagine and talk about how it’s all retribution for our own racist sins. Righties have an emotional answer too. They say let’s go get revenge with a flurry of Tomahawks.

            Then there’s us, saying “Statistically that bomb didn’t really happen, and no course of action would likely improve our condition from this point so why don’t we do nothing.”

            The very opposite of appealing to emotion.

          • Theresa Klein

            Isn’t saying “blood and soil and God and nation still matter people” essentially saying that Libertarians should make emotional appeals?

            We’re just talking about a different set of emotional impulses. Ethnic tribalism vs. class envy. In which case, why not take the opposite position and argue that “sharing and equality still matter to people, and libertarians ignore this at their peril”. Why do right-wing emotional predispositions get the high seat?

          • Sean II

            Again, you respond as though I have made a proposal of some sort about what the libertarian movement should do.

            But I haven’t.

            I don’t know what the movement should do.

            Embrace the right? Ass kiss the Left? Blood and soil? Repent and signal? Make a sanctimonious principled stand and die with our hearts clean?

            I don’t prefer any of these. Because I’m pretty sure they all end the same way.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            I once read about an obscure socialist sect that adopted the following formula: Pessimism of the intellect, paralysis of the will.

            Perhaps libertarians should follow suit.

          • Theresa Klein

            I think right now, both left and right are just about equally bad. The right wouldn’t lead to the same but slower place, it would just lead to a different sort of hell. Ethnocentric nationalism has already been tried and if anything it led to hell even faster than communism.

          • Sean II

            Two problems with that:

            1) The left is pushing ethnic identity harder than the right. Most of the right’s (recent and very halfhearted) identity politics is retaliatory.

            2) It doesn’t bear out empirically. Hitler is tied with Stalin and Mao, but once you drop below that level there is a clear choice to be made.

            Life under right leaning dictators like Franco, Pinochet, Marcos, Cao Ky, Chung-Hee, Batista, etc is better by almost every conceivable measure than life under Left wing dictators like Hoxha, Chavez, Sukarno, Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il Sung, Castro, etc.

            Deaths tolls are lower, standards of living are higher, freedom is less completely crushed.

            This isn’t actually a hard question:

            Left wing regimes impoverish everyone and end up punishing people for acting like humans.

            Right wing regimes unjustly enrich some and end up punishing people who complain – i.e. Leftists.

            You don’t have to like either, but don’t try to pretend the threats are equal. One path is clearly worse on average.

          • Theresa Klein

            Right wing regimes unjustly enrich some and end up punishing people who complain – i.e. Leftists.

            Unless they are Jews, Gypsies or gays, in which case they get executed en masse. I mean, if we’re going to count Hitler and the Nazi’s as part of the right. We are talking about ethnocentric nationalism here, and as far as I am aware, Pinochet’s regime wasn’t particularly ethnocentric or nationalist. But the alt-right IS espousing race and ethnicity-based nationalism. Your typical right-wing dictator isn’t necessarily out there advocating race-based nationalism in the way that the current alt-right is.

          • Sean II

            There’s that refusal to think quantitatively again.

          • Sergio Méndez

            “The left is pushing ethnic identity harder than the right. Most of the right’s (recent and very halfhearted) identity politics is retaliatory.”

            I think it is quite the contrary (you know, after centuries of white supremacist governments, that defended all forms of race based oppression against non whites, from slavery to racial segregation), I will say that left based identity politics are the ones that are in “retaliation”.

            On the other side, this whole discussion is really funny, after what happened in Charlottesville. I wonder what the neo nazis that marched there meant by “soil and blood”. Perhaps Jeff Petterson II or many of the people making apologetics for the LvMi could explain it to us!

          • Isn’t saying “blood and soil and God and nation still matter people” essentially saying that Libertarians should make emotional appeals?

            If only we had some source to consult whether Deist’s use of these phrases was a declaration that libertarians should make emotional appeals. Oh, wait. There is: Deist’s speech. In it, he says this:

            Political decentralization, secession, subsidiarity, and nullification are all mechanisms that move us closer to our political goal of self-determination. Insisting on universal political arrangements is a huge tactical mistake for libertarians. It is precisely because we don’t know what’s best for 7.5 billion people in the world that we are libertarians.

            That’s what Deist is arguing for. If you and others disagree with that thesis, then so be it. But he is definitely not encouraging emotional appeals, and he is definitely not appealing to racists. My reading of his use of the phrase “blood and soil” is that Deist is acknowledging that even the very worst of racism is still alive and well in America, and that “political decentralization, secession, subsidiary, and nullification are all mechanisms that move us closer to our political goal.”

            The simplest explanation for Deist’s speech is a straightforward reading of the text.

          • Theresa Klein

            Fair enough. I suppose a Nozickian meta-state would have a room for racist white supremacist enclaves, just as it would have room for communist enclaves. What is problematic though is this in practicality, people within countries like the US and Poland don’t really get a choice about whether they want to live in a nationalist system. Nobody really gets a choice, and majoritarianism shouldn’t be invoked as a reason to force them to, any more than Nancy MacLean gets to declare that it’s horribly undemocratic for anyone to oppose majority rule when it comes to socialism. Nationalist states, like communist ones, impose upon the liberties of their citizens in numerous ways. Liberties that libertarians ought to be on the side of defending.

          • Honestly, I think Deist would agree with you, and he seems to believe that the best way of ensuring this is to encourage greater decentralization and secession, as far down as it will go, all the way to the individual level. His speech seems to indicate that decentralization and secession are his answer to anyone caught in a majoritarian tyranny of any kind, be it a racist/nationalist one, or one of any other sort.

            Pluck out the phrase “blood and soil” and read his speech again. There isn’t a lot there to get worked up about. We can disagree with his policy priorities, but that’s a pretty weak criticism of interest only to libertarian insiders.What we’re seeing here is a division between decentralist libertarians like Deist on the one hand and the new crop of Silicon Valley, top-down “libertarians” on the other. One side argues for secession and the other argues for UBIs. Surprise, surprise, the smaller government group has wider appeal among the right and the bigger government group has wider appeal among the left.

            But I don’t think racism has anything to do with it. I think that’s just libertarian group-affiliation run amok. In his own way, Horwitz is signalling to his own collectivist team, and you can see the collectivism going wild in this comments thread, with people signalling one way or the other. Only a few of us have tried to keep to our principles. It’s hard during moments like this, I’ll agree.

          • This is such a defeatist attitude. Ideas aren’t meant to be restricted to the walls of think tanks and universities. They’re meant to spread and influence minds.

            You’re talking about policies and facts, so you’re begging the question. People don’t care about policies and facts, they care about emotions, as you said yourself. There is no idea that can’t be sold with the right salesman behind it.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Yes, but many Libertarian Party types lives in a world where libertarianism in general and the LP in particular are always on the verge of a mass breakthrough. Such people have an emotional investment in rejecting the premise of your last sentence- correct though that sentence may be.

          • Sean II

            It’s true, but my god what a delusion.

            Far from being on the verge of a breakthrough, libertarianism is doomed by demography. The future has a better chance of going Amish than it does of going AnCap.

            Twenty years from now people will struggle to understand what the hell we were talking about in forums like this. They’ll wonder how anyone could ever have been so daft.

            The cake of migration and differential fertility is already baked.

            If we couldn’t get libertarianism done under this population structure, we’re damn sure not gonna get it with the new one.

          • ted.sonnier

            Alas. I honestly think that principled libertarians are a higher species.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            So Sean thinks that libertarians are Spock worshiping dorks, while you insist that they actually constitute a higher species.

            Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

          • Sean II

            The worst part is: I meant that as a compliment.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            You must be great on Valentine’s Day.

          • Sean II

            Yeah, it’s not easy finding cards that say what’s in my heart.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Twenty years from now, the overwhelming majority of the country will find the history of forums such as this one completely uninteresting, And many LP types will still be stubbornly insisting that the great libertarian breakthrough is right around the corner, demographics be damned.

            The more things change…

          • Sean II

            Low risk prediction: the big libertarian funding source in 2040 will be some Silicon Valley guy who is currently a public voice for open immigration, and who will be scared straight into the arms of classical liberalism after being shocked when both his taxes and his kidnap insurance premiums go up yet again in 2039.

          • n0truscotsman

            LOL. You and sean have provided me ample entertainment for the evening.

          • Theresa Klein

            Loathsome associations don’t matter…. so lets have MORE OF THEM!

            Sean, most people don’t like libertarianism because most people are collectivists in one way or another. We’re not going to improve things by deciding that nationalist collectivism is OK, so we should come up with a nice nationalist version of libertarianism, so that the nationalists will like us more. We’re only going to create more libertarians by convincing people to be less collectivist, and that includes being both less nationalist and less socialist.

          • Sean II

            I don’t recall saying we should do anything. You’ve imagined that.

            As is the case with most of my comments, the ones in this thread are meant to describe how things are, not sketch out some plan for world transformation.

            I leave that sort of thing to the think tank boys. They’re so good at it.

          • Most people don’t know what libertarianism or collectivism are! Most people don’t think about politics very much. To the extent that they are right or left, it’s to fit in with the group and not get in too many arguments.

            Libertarians who care about persuading/branding could start by understanding that most people don’t carefully consider the Libertarianism Wikipedia entry and reject it based on the facts. Ask advertisers or marketers if that’s how they sell a product.

    • martinbrock

      If Chase hadn’t written an article comparing standardized test scores of blacks and whites, the differences he highlights could still exist. What are you disputing, precisely? Suppose, the statistics in the article are accurate and meaningful, i.e. forty percent of blacks (self-identified by people taking standardized tests) score below the tenth percentile for whites. What are reasonable conclusions?

      • MaxBorders

        Did you read the post? I am not disputing anything. Hence the sentence “I make neither commentary about this person nor [about] the contents of the article.” The point is that posts like this can change people’s perceptions of you and your motivations, whether you like it or not. And that these perceptions — whether accurate or mere suspicions — can add up. You can say _well that’s your problem_ but if the goal is persuasion, the burden is not entirely on others to be reasonable. I will note, however, that the author gave us no context for posting the results of this research. So readers ascribe motivation and context, just as you did. That’s bad strategy at the very least.

        • martinbrock

          An economics think tank might raise fewer suspicions and accusations of racism by ignoring correlations between race, standardized test scores and economic outcomes, but wearing blinders to avoid these accusations doesn’t advance economics distinct from politics. Chase is a minor player, so banning him from the site wouldn’t cost the Institute anything but it wouldn’t stop the accusations either unless the site also bans Herrnstein and Murray.

    • jandr0

      [Nor do I think the Mises Institution is guilty by association…]

      Yet you made damn sure impressionable readers would now subconsciously link them together.

      [But circumstantial evidence like this can pile up and cause harm to one’s reputation.]

      Especially if you broadcast it in the exact manner you did, hey.

      Wherever could you have learned your subtle underhanded propaganda techniques.

    • a Texas libertarian

      I don’t see anything hateful about the Chase Rachel article you linked, nor is it white supremacist. If the facts are true as presented, there should be no problem with it. Jews and Asians are at the top of the IQ spectrum. What racist white person would want to hear that? Almost everyone will concede that blacks are more gifted in athletics than any other race, so why can’t anyone point out where they are deficient?

      To me the true racist advocates treating blacks with ‘kid gloves’ as if they actually are inferior with programs like affirmative action.

  • Horwitz, you could have attempted to respond to Bob Murphy’s critique, which was extremely fair to all sides. Would you care to do so now?

    • J Peterson II

      Also Deists post responding to his accusations.

      • Reuven Mizraha

        Can you give me the link of Deist’s response?

    • James M. Ray

      For those who wish to see it, Murphy’s essay is here. I found the history part about Oswald Spengler, who came up with “blood and soil,” fascinating. But regardless of whether there’s a response, I hope we can all soon agree on this sort of stuff, and get back to arguing about other things.

  • ted.sonnier

    From from the article: “What I did say is the same point I made about the Ron Paul newsletters: the problem with Deist’s talk, and the Mises Institute more generally, is not that they are Nazis, but that they appear to have no problem with making arguments that are appealing to neo-Nazis and the rest of the unsavory elements of the right. That’s the problem here. Why would supposed libertarians want to engage in a strategy and make use of rhetoric that is clearly a signal to those folks?”

    As opposed to making “arguments that are appealing” to communists of all stripes “and to the rest of the unsavory elements” of the left as this page and C4SS tends to do?

    Whatever happened to libertarianism being neither left nor right? Family and community, love of origins or hometown, etc. is no more offensive of libertarian sensibilities than the shared ideals and love of co-op from mutualists et al. Freedom of association ought to be recognized as fundamentally libertarian.

    Steve apparently never figured out, however, that in a comparison between left and right, however horrible both are, the left is worse. And–newsflash–Nazis are leftists.

    • Brasillach_

      Even if you place Nazism on the right, leftism is still worse. There’s a good case to be made that the world would be a better place if the Axis powers had won the war.

      • Theresa Klein

        How is collectivism on the basis of race supposed to be better than collectivism on the basis of class?

    • Theresa Klein

      Family and community, love of origins or hometown, etc. is no more offensive of libertarian sensibilities than the shared ideals and love of co-op from mutualists et al. Freedom of association ought to be recognized as fundamentally libertarian.

      There’s nothing wrong with loving family and community as long as you aren’t using that as a pretext for denying people from different communities equal rights. The point of freedom of association is not so you can feel comfortable being a dick to black people and Muslims.

      • Perry Mason

        Of course it does Theresa! In a stateless society, a people/neighborhood/community/family can discriminate and discern as they see fit! “Equal rights” is not meaningful in this context – people instead in good organizations would look to universal principles of justice, Christian ideas of mercy and love, as the rule and measure for their society. Others may be more negative. Most would be in the middle, muddling through the grey.

        In all cases, that doesn’t mean its bad or evil, and by ‘discriminate’ I mean making choices of association. We all do it. Sometimes on a rational basis, sometimes not. Humility forces us to accept that no central authority can come in and magically divine when its due to ‘wrongthink’, and then punish people for it.

  • Sean II

    Fascinating tension between two arguments being made here:

    1) It’s alarming how many young libertarians answer to fascist dog whistles.
    2) Young libertarians seem dangerously ignorant about the history of fascism.

    But if you’re right, you’re wrong. To the extent 2) is true, 1) must not be.

    Consider: if there’s a group of boys dressed out in white jumpsuits and bowler hats, that’s instantly alarming to anyone of my generation. Because we’ve all seen Clockwork Orange, and to us that get-up symbolizes the fetishization of random violence. We want nothing to do with the kind of creeps who think Alex and Co. are cool.

    But probably there are kids who, being born after 1990, think Bart Simpson invented that look for Treehouse of Horror. For them it symbolizes something else, or more likely, nothing much. They would never waste their time watching a silent black-and-white film from 1971, so they have no idea what that image conjures for us old timers.

    So obviously I must choose: I can either complain that these kids know what they’re doing, in which case they’re thugs…or I can complain they’re playing at images they don’t understand, in which case they’re typical ignorant kids.

    Dropping out of analogy mode, the latter seems much more likely.

    To the kids in college today, the Holocaust is roughly as distant as the Great War was to people my age. It’s a story about a bunch of people who died a long time ago, when the world was impossibly strange and cruel.

    I remember what happened when our teachers tried to impress us with the horrors of WWI. It didn’t take. The nice kids sort of pretended to care about these strangers in funny hats, but a more typical response was to make fart jokes and snigger inappropriately when the poor brat reading the poem aloud had to say “Gas! Gas! Quick boys…”.

    Some of our teachers had probably grown up fatherless because of that war, and they probably thought we were shit for not taking it seriously. If they’d tried to tell us the phrase “over the top” was offensive, we’d have laughed at them.

    Hell, we did laugh when it was explained to us that the flu killed more people than the war. What sort of lame and alien species let’s itself die of the flu? It sounded preposterous.

    The same happens with every generation. The sacred lesson of yesterday becomes the oversold story of tomorrow.

    Now Diest himself is not eligible for this defense. He probably knew what he was doing. But let’s not go freaking out about the next generation of libertarians just yet.
    Wasn’t there something in the previous thread about behavioral symmetry?

    Well, the symmetry I notice is: you can usually predict what a given libertarian chatterer is going to say by knowing where their paychecks come from. Professors with university appointments signal horror at any whiff of racism, sexism, etc. Internet click miners stir up shit and go out of their way to court the Molyneux vote. Catotarians peddle vacuous optimism about how AirBnB is the solution to trans bathrooms or whatever. Genuine declarations against interest are rare.

    • martinbrock

      Very few young libertarians answer to fascist dog whistles. Hoppe’s following on the alt-right, who self-identify as both libertarian and alt-right, are a vocal fringe of a fringe. You might as well tell me that the Klan is a potent force. Outside of a SPLC fundraising letter, the idea is ridiculous.

      Libertarians, young and old, are frightfully ignorant about the history of libertarianism, never mind fascism. Most people aren’t very bright.

      • Perry Mason

        Hoppe’s following is massive and international, and most definitely libertarian and classically liberal at its core. He’s perhaps THE leading libertarian and social scholar of our age.

        • martinbrock

          If one percent of the U.S. population (and a smaller percentage internationally) has ever heard of Hoppe, I’ll be surprised, but I won’t pay Gallup for the survey, and Gallup won’t pay for it, because he’s probably never heard of Hoppe either.

          Hoppe is the THE leading libertarian and social scholar of our age only in the tortured imagination of this tiny following.

    • Peter from Oz

      Good point. But where I come from the Great War is very well understood,
      A hundred years ago, young men were going over the top at Passchendaele.
      They were better men than you and I.
      We rabbit on about the fine distinctions between one libertarian sect and another, whilst we become rootless, de-cultured, gormless beings bereft of spirit or heart.

    • Brasillach_

      The feeling on the right is that, not only is the Holocaust a distant thing, but that it has been exploited by the victimized group for substantial material gain. The place the Holocaust holds in the popular consciousness is very, very large in comparison to the other tragedies of WW2 and the 20th century more broadly. 60 million dead in WW2; why do we spend so much time talking about 10%?

      And that’s why the Holocaust should be mocked. We aren’t hurting the dead. We’re attacking those who are still exploiting the dead for untoward reasons. And don’t think this doesn’t happen. Think about the smattering of articles comparing not wanting to take Syrian refugees to countries refusing Jewish refugees in the 30s.

      • Albionic American

        The hostile elite in Hollywood, the intelligentsia and academia which produces the culture in this country has gone out of its way to spread nihilism, cynicism, despair, anomie and irreverence in the white population. Why should it surprise anyone now that whites don’t care about Jewish historical grievances? If nothing in life matters, then the Holocaust doesn’t matter.

      • Sean II

        I’d prefer a scenario where we neither Godwinned nor mocked.

        The Holocaust deserves to be taken seriously, along with the democides of Stalin and Mao.

        And yes, part of that seriousness means not weaponizing the memory for short-term gain in arguments. It’s in the special nature of these crimes that they are unlikely to repeat, so invoking them is a shabby trick of the form: “I find X [ultra low probability event] so upsetting that I demand we treat it as an imminent threat.”

        And yes, it’s true overuse of that ploy is helping to create a generation of people who don’t mind being called fascists because they were already being called that for a dozen bogus reasons.

        But I think that explains without excusing. Getting Godwinned all the time sucks, but in my book it’s not a reason to put Pepe in a death’s head cap and make jokes about death camps.

        So I settle on my usual co conclusion: fuck ‘me all. Horowitz for being a screechy hysteric. Diest or whoever for being a dog whistling douche.

        • Rob Gressis

          “It’s in the special nature of these crimes that they are unlikely to repeat, so invoking them is a shabby trick of the form: ‘I find X [ultra low probability event] so upsetting that I demand we all treat it as an imminent threat and fight outpost battles against anything that reminds me of it.'”

          It’s strange to me that Hitler is always a possibility we have to watch out for, whereas saying that something will lead to Stalin, Mao, Lenin, Pol Pot, or the various other totalitarian monsters is to be laughed out of the room. I kind of think both are really unlikely in any industrialized democracy, though perhaps massively increasing immigration to Europe will make the fascist thing a lot likelier. (One of the reasons I’m something of an immigration-worrier, perhaps even skeptic, is precisely that I think it will lead to people like Trump, and yet when I voice my skepticism, I’m just as bad as Trump.)

          • Sean II

            Right, and of course Trump is only a half-dress rehearsal, very much held back by unified establishment opposition. Looming somewhere down the line is the real danger: a populist with favorable press coverage, and a crisis from which to draw energy.

            Longer term you have to look at Brazil as the nearest approximation of our future demography. Some of the safer bets for replication are: high inequality along ethnic lines, a rise in public debt, a rise in corruption, a drop in social trust, a drop in labor force participation with noticeable pockets of inter-generational unemployment, and a very large increase in demand for government intervention to address these problems.

            Blacks are sure to get the worst of it, being replaced in the labor market and electoral politics at the same time. Once the group known as non-hispanic whites gets small enough, Democrats won’t need blacks near as much as they do now. Eventually they’ll lose their status of special concern in American culture, and end up like blacks in Brazil: inert and ignored. Given the central place black social issues have had in our policy making for the last 60 years, that will be a massive change indeed.

            Europe’s on a different track, not so slow and steady as ours. They’re headed more in the direction of an acute crisis. Those terror attacks are mere distractions making it hard to discuss the real problem: a fast growing underclass which is heavily male and hopelessly unemployed. Hard to see how that ends without violence.

            And that I think is your main point. The usual correction for political violence is violent politics – i.e. eventually one of these Golden Dawn type outfits is going to win big in an election. Europe is flirting with that hard. And the usual destination for high inequality/low trust states is that global cliche: the pseudo-democracy where threat of military coups is the only check or balance that matters anymore.

            Today it seems unimaginable that the U.S. could ever reach such a point, but hey: never tell Americans something can’t be done.

          • Theresa Klein

            We literally are in the process of witnessing Huge Chavez lead directly to a Stalinesque dictatorship in Venezuela, so that’s a fair comment.

            The thing is that it’s completely erroneous to suggest that because the left gets away with ignoring the crimes of communism, libertarians should feel free to court neo-Nazis. To suggest this is to grant the left’s premise that libertiarianism and neo-Naziism are on the same political spectrum. I deny that. Neo-Naziism is a collectivist ideology that has nothing to do with us. We should reject them as thoroughly as we reject Stalinism. There is nothing to be gained by attempting to portray libertarianism is as a racist collectivist ideology so we can win votes from racist collectvists.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Hugo Chavez is dead, so the late macho socialist isn’t leading Venezuela towards anything. And while I have no truck with the Maduro regime, I don’t think we are seeing the creation of a “Stalinesque dictatorship” in South America. What is taking place in Venezuela is ugly and tragic. However, events in that nation have not reached the heinous level of Stalinist terror. Caracas in 2017 is not Moscow circa 1937.

          • Theresa Klein

            And Lenin died and left Stalin in charge of the USSR.

            events in that nation have not reached the heinous level of Stalinist terror


          • A. Alexander Minsky

            In fairness to Lenin, he didn’t leave Stalin in charge of the USSR. Lenin’s final “testament” called for the removal of Stalin from the post of General Secretary (not surprisingly, “Uncle Joe” and his minions suppressed that document). And Maduro is no more the new Stalin that Orban is the new Hilter. There is no need to paint Venezuela as a nation undergoing Stalinist terror- as it is the current reality is ugly enough.

          • Sean II

            “But Volodya, he’s very intelligent.”

            “He’s not the least bit intelligent.”

          • Theresa Klein

            It’s an analogy man, chill out.

      • Theresa Klein

        Really? How have Jews profited from the Holocaust?
        What material gains are you referring to?

        • A. Alexander Minsky

          Some Jews have received reparations for their suffering during the Holocaust. And it would be hard to imagine the Israeli state sans the events of WW2.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            Well, reparations are not “profit,” and a Jewish homeland in Palestine was supposed to have happened under the 1922 League of Nations mandate prior to the early 1940s. Had Britain honored the terms of this mandate, including the facilitation of Jewish emigration, the Holocaust, had it still occurred, would not have cost so many Jewish lives.

        • Brasillach_

          There’s a whole industry of non-profits built explicitly and implicitly on it.

  • Nicholas Weininger

    This distinction is one that has been a struggle for libertarianism for a long time. A famous example of course is Barry Goldwater, who was not a segregationist, made clear he was not, but nevertheless got an awful lot of segregationist votes for his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

    An older example is of all people Ludwig Von Mises, who strategically allied with the “Austrofascist” Dollfuss in order to fight the Communist threat. It may well be that some right-libertarians today think a similar alliance is a lesser evil than allowing modern managerial social democracy to consolidate its triumph. I don’t agree, but the historical context should give a different cast to their arguments.

  • Nicholas Weininger

    Also: it’s not clear to me why it’s a bad or anti-libertarian thing for libertarians to be hostile to traditionalist religion. Traditionalist religion has historically been a key enemy of individual liberty, both in the “thick” sense of spreading repressive social norms and the “thin” sense of using state violence to impose its doctrines. Think of the baleful influence of Catholicism in Ireland and Latin America, of the ultra-Orthodox in Israel, or of Islam in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and indeed most of the Muslim-majority world.

  • Mr. Hayekian

    I don’t hate Horwitz or the Mises Institute, but I am not a particularly big fan of either one.

    A simple litmus test to see if you are dealing with a libertarian with bad priorities is if they dislike Milton Friedman and/or Rand Paul. That test weeds out almost all of the crazies.

    I came across this gem a few months back.

    If you support a guy, who advocated an assault weapons ban, green energy subsidies, the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, affirmative action, eminent domain to build sports stadiums, and who thought Stephen Breyer was the kind of judge that should be nominated, over Rand Paul, because he is pro-life, a moderate on immigration, and doesn’t think government should be involved in marriage, you have really, really, really bad priorities. Really bad. Gary Johnson was bad enough. But I can at least understand saying Johnson is preferable (not really, but I can sort of see it). Saying Weld is preferable is wrong and not libertarian.

    • ted.sonnier

      What about a guy that conceptualized and instituted a withholding tax, supported a negative income tax, quasi-statist voucher program, MMT 3% inflation targets (not 0%), supported the Fed, etc.?

      Because that’s Milton Friedman.

      Friedman and Rand Paul (and Hayek) are milquetoast.

      • Mr. Hayekian

        I was referring specifically to someone like you. You have no interest in actual freedom. I am not even going to address the specifics of what you said, because it is pointless.

        • ted.sonnier

          Because the specifics are damning to your argument. Your position is weak and totally unconvincing to anyone. This is why Cato and Reason languish in obscurity, pawing at power, and the Mises Institute must sustain ridiculous fusillades from the also-rans, because LvMI’s stock is exploding world-wide, with eponymous institutions cropping up in every country–directly because Mises and Rothbard and Ron Paul do not bother to compromise principles. It is this milquetoast attitude which demonstrates that it is you that has no interest in actual freedom. It is honestly disgusting.

      • Come on. Milton Friedman wasn’t an MMT-er. Yes, he advocated an inflation target, but no, he wasn’t an advocate of MMT.

        • ted.sonnier

          MMT and Chicago School monetarists have slightly different justifications for about the exact same policy recommendations. I would lump the monetarists in with MMT on money and central banking.

          • Mr. Hayekian

            “I would lump the monetarists in with MMT on money and central banking.:

            They aren’t similar at all. They have wildly different policy recommendations. on both monetary and fiscal policy. Even people who are identified as Chicago School have widely differing views on monetary policy. MMT is in no way similar. You should have fewer opinions

          • ted.sonnier

            MMT – “print more money”
            Chicago – “print more money–but not too much maybe?”

            Super different. And I am only discussing monetary theory. The Chicago school is much better fiscally.

            The rest of your comment is drivel. ABCT for life.

          • Mr. Hayekian

            You are the typical example of every aggressively ignorant person who ever voted for Ron Paul and listens to Rockwell. I try not to get sucked in because you are lazy and stupid. You don’t understand or want to understand other views. You proved that with your print more money comment. I view you as subhuman but will get sucked in.

            MMTs think you control inflation with fiscal policy and monetary policy is almost always impotent. They don’t advocate “print more money.” Friedman was for eliminating the Fed as well as saying he would support free banking. If you have a Fed preventing debt deflation in a Depression is crucial. There is a century of data showing why this is important.

            As far as print more money and ABCT.. The guy who won the Nobel Prize for ABCT advocates print as much money as possible to prevent across the board falling incomes.

            “I agree with Milton Friedman that once the Crash had occurred, the Federal Reserve System pursued a silly deflationary policy. I am not only against inflation but I am also against deflation. So, once again, a badly programmed monetary policy prolonged the depression.”

            “If I were responsible for the monetary policy of a country I would certainly try to prevent a threatening deflation, that is, an absolute decrease in the stream of incomes, by all suitable means, and would announce that I intended to do so. This alone would probably be sufficient to prevent a degeneration of the recession into a long-lasting depression.”

      • Lacunaria

        In addition to Ryan’s point about MMT:

        I think it’s a great mistake for peacetime, but in 1941–43, all of us were concentrating on the war.

        I have no apologies for it, but I really wish we hadn’t found it necessary and I wish there were some way of abolishing withholding now.

        Best of Both Worlds: An Interview with Milton Friedman

        Friedman was interested in pragmatic solutions which led him to compromises.
        That’s not the same as “support” or even “milquetoast” which means “meek, timid, unassertive nature.”

        • ted.sonnier

          It is hard to fathom Mises advocating half-measures which increase state efficiency. We don’t want the state to be efficient. From the point of view of principled advocates of liberty, Milton Friedman’s recommendations were indeed milquetoast.

          • Lacunaria

            I would call that compromising rather than milquetoast, but withholding tax wasn’t even that — it was an idea he contributed to as an emergency measure. Existential threats have a way of making people voluntarily agree to more than they should due to severe unknowns. You do want the state to be efficient when it is in the best or only position to defend innocents such as yourself. You just also want it to stop when the threat is over.

            Friedman basically had the right values, he was just creatively pragmatic and compromised in implementing them. I can see his good intent even if I wish other options would have been explored instead. His son’s Ancap approach seems like a natural extension of Milton’s ideals. Theory is nice but if it is not actually implemented or feasible, what good is it?

  • martinbrock

    Even if I accept your premise, that “blood and soil” in Deist’s speech is a thinly veiled appeal to Nazis, rather than shorthand for everything else he says in the speech, what would a Nazi find at the Mises Institute warranting your characterization of the organization? Mises and Rothbard were Jewish. Mises was driven from Austria after the Anschluss, years of his work destroyed. Jews are disproportionately represented among the Institute’s academics. You honestly believe that its officers, who revere Mises and devote their lives to perpetuating his memory, are closet Nazis or anti-Semites? Shouldn’t you have more than three words taken from context to back such a scurrilous accusation? Why not accuse them of beating their wives too?

    • Brasillach_

      To progressive Jews like Horwitz, Nazis are everywhere.


    Professor Horwitz:
    First, let me express my great respect for your intelligence, publications, and commitment to classical liberalism. I understand why you are upset at some of the actions and statements of your fellow libertarians, and I do not regard your reaction as unreasonable. Nevertheless, I believe it is somewhat problematic to say, as you do, that:

    Our history is one of liberal tolerance, universalism, and cosmopolitanism, putting the freedom and harmony of all people ahead of the supposed interests of any parochial sub-group, and especially ones defined by the artificial boundaries of nation-states and their subsets. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance.

    I find the reference to “freedom and harmony of all people” to be a bit obscure. But, putting that aside, I believe that many classical liberals did not regard the nation-state as an obstacle to the realization of liberal values. I think this piece by David Conway makes this point quite effectively:

    Moreover, many prominent philosophers hold that we are entitled if not obligated to place the interests of our family, friends, neighbors, etc, ahead of the equally pressing needs of strangers. In fact, traditional Judaism is quite explicit about prioritizing the needs of our co-religionists. This is distasteful aspect of our faith for many critics, including liberal Jews, but perhaps this ethic is why we have survived many hundreds of years of vicious persecution. Arguably, by extension, it is not wrong to favor the interests of our fellow citizens if we believe that they have, through their embrace of certain values, enhanced our lives in ways that foreigners cannot. At least, so I argue here:

    In any event, please keep up your exemplary work in defense of liberty.

    • Sean II

      You set a good example with your tone there.


        I’ve always been a peacemaker.

    • martinbrock

      Well put. If any group elevates “blood and soil” (without the Nazi association) to a sacred creed, it’s the Jewish people. I’ve even heard a “libertarian Zionist” defending DNA tests to determine property rights in modern Israel. I heard him on the Tom Woods show. Woods wanted to give the idea, inspired by a paper coauthored with Walter Block, a fair hearing.

      • Brasillach_

        Identity for me, but not for thee. Jewish identity (and really any minority identity) is acceptable in the US. Any hit of white identity means it’s 1933 again.

        • martinbrock

          All sorts of “white identity” movements exist in the U.S. People celebrating their German or Irish or other national origin organize, hold festivals and the like. Hardly anyone looks askance at these organizations or their events.

          • Brasillach_

            You’re totally missing the point. Those movements are de-fanged and completely innocuous, as they wield very little cultural or political power. Polish people getting together to cook Kielbasa a few times a year isn’t an identity movement.

            I’m talking about people of European descent organizing explicitly for their group interests, just as we see with the Latino and Black communities. This is anathema to our current political and cultural establishment. The alt-right is a white identity movement – and not all of them are neo-Nazis – but are treated as such, just as I suggested in my original reply.

          • martinbrock

            Irish-Americans don’t want or need to wield political power as an ethnic group. In the past, they did, but these days, ask an Irish-American about his politics, and identity politics doesn’t enter his mind. He’s a Republican or a Democrat or even a libertarian or a socialist, but he’s not an Irish-socialist. Why is that?

            I don’t have the slightest interest in emulating the identity politics of Blacks and Latinos. Most Whites interested in White identity politics are poorly educated and correspondingly poor, and they associate the welfare state with racial/ethnic minorities, particularly with immigrants. In reality, few welfare programs in the U.S. discriminates this way, and low income Whites typically consume more of the benefits than Blacks, if only because they outnumber Blacks.

            All the talk about a “white minority” population in the U.S. is also hysterical. Latin immigrants typically become “white” within a generation or two, just as Irish and German and Jewish and other immigrants, once subjects of discrimination, even statutory discrimination, are now all in the White category. Asians might as well be White too.

          • Brasillach_

            That’s a ridiculously naive perspective when all the current forces are working against assimilation. Elites encourage race-based identities for everyone but whites. There is every reason to believe they will persist given the status quo. With immigration at such high levels, we’ve created circumstances in which new immigrants to not have to assimilate.

            If every other group is operating in their interests, it’s not ridiculous to think that whites are going to lose out long-term, especially when minority levels are high enough that they can push through legislation favoring ever-more robust social services programs and special privileges. I know whites use more in total than any other single group, but they are actually much less likely to be on welfare than most other groups besides Asians. Blacks account for about 12% of the population, whites about 62%, and yet… this screencap of SNAP recipients from 2013:

          • martinbrock

            Robust social service programs are popular among whites, because whites consume them. Social Security and Medicare are, by far, the largest of these programs, but most whites also support aid to needy families and disability benefits and similar programs, not least because their parents, siblings sometimes end up on the programs.

            Few African-Americans are immigrants. Hispanics are 10% of SNAP recipients but are over 15% of the population. Their representation among SNAP recipients is two-thirds of their representation among all U.S. persons, a proportion very similar to whites. The ancestors of many white Americans (including my ancestors) imported the ancestors of many African-Americans centuries ago, but present immigration has little to do with it.

          • Brasillach_

            There’s a lot of evidence that non-whites (asians excluded) and immigrants use welfare at higher rates than the white native population. No, the ancestors of ‘many white americans’ didn’t import slaves. There are a very select few people currently living in the US who can trace their wealth to slave ownership. It’s absurd that we should bear the burden of black dysfunction eternally for the crimes of a few individuals.

          • martinbrock

            Well, I’m among the select few. I’ve seen the slave cabins on my grandparents’ land, but my ancestors weren’t committing crimes, because owning slaves was perfectly legal.

          • Sean II

            Last paragraph is dead wrong. Those Latin immigrants you’re thinking of don’t become white, they already were. Mexico for instance has a ~12% Euro ancestry population that very conspicuously dominates the country economically and politically. People from that class do very well here.

            That kind of assimilation happens much less with Mestizos, and not at all with Amerindians.

            If you run 23andMe on this population, you can make safe bets all day along by predicting success in the U.S. will be positively correlated with the single variable: % Iberian Spanish ancestry.

            Those with 80% and up will present a profile similar to white generally.

            Those with 20% and under will throw up troubling social stats similar to Native Americans.

            Those in between will be in between.

            The thing that makes these highly accurate predictions is a DNA test.

          • martinbrock

            The second sentence in my last paragraph is debatable. The rest of the paragraph is more or less what you say in reply.

          • alzhu4

            Hmm. And there are absolutely *_no_* confounding variables there?

          • Sean II

            Not really. None worth worrying about, to be precise.

            That’s the funny thing about this nature vs. nurture debate.

            Geneticists, being biologists, being scientists, habitually do their best to control for confounders.

            Social and political theorists, being not scientists and rather more like priests, rarely control for anything. Many wouldn’t know how to go about it, even if they were so inclined.

            The result is: what we know about heredity from sources like twin/adoption studies IS largely free of confounds.

            But nearly all of what gets published on – take your pick – the importance of parenting, education, neighborhood SES, etc. is not.

          • alzhu4

            I think I understand the stance you’re taking.

            But I also am wary of conclusions drawn by the reasoning that: A’s, being G’s, mostly do X, which I find valid, while B’s, being H’s, mostly do Y, which I find invalid. Therefore it is valid to assume that in general work done by A’s satisfies this specific property “CFree”, while most work done by B’s does not and is invalid.

            That is, I think we can be more precise than that, and also that we should aim to provide stronger, verifiable guarantees when generalizing in these ways.

            To be more concrete, how would you read the following post, especially with respect to confounding variables in the “nature vs. nurture” discussion?


            FWIW, the paper is also available:


            (there’s a paywall, but see also for a print).

          • John Howard

            Those are not examples of “White”, but rather of culture.

          • martinbrock

            They’re examples of European culture that descendants of Europeans celebrate without controversy. “White” doesn’t even describe a skin color coherently.


        Thankfully, Israel’s High Court would strike down such nonsense before you could say meshuga.

      • Luke Reeshus

        If any group elevates “blood and soil” (without the Nazi association) to a sacred creed, it’s the Jewish people.

        Yet unlike most groups, they have a good reason for doing so.

        I’ve caught whiffs of anti-Zionism here and there in this blog’s comments. I just have an honest, simple question in response: what do opponents of Jewish nationalism think will happen, in the long run, if the state of Israel stops defining itself in terms of Jewish nationalism?

        By all means, paint as rosy a picture as you can.

        • martinbrock

          Roughly half of the world’s Jews live in the United States, where they are better educated and richer than average, disproportionately represented in politics and literally revered as God’s Chosen by much of the U.S. population, including many non-Jews. If Israel ceased to be a Jewish nation and Arabs seized more of the privilege of political position, many Israeli Jews would migrate to the United States (and be better off materially). U.S. politicians would trip over themselves to encourage this migration.

          • Luke Reeshus

            Talk of rising anti-Semitism in the U.S., on the “alt-right” or elsewhere, is laughably ridiculous.

            Well, I’d agree with that.

            To address your broader point: you’re right, Jews have a pretty sweet deal in the U.S. And there’s really nothing in our culture, like there was in Germany, to incline us towards some “Final Solution” to the “Jewish question” in the future. Our answer to it has always been, by default, assimilation. And it’s worked remarkably well.

            Still though, I don’t think “Arabs are insistent about it” is a good reason for any particular group’s mass migration. I mean, I don’t see anyone in the West calling for the last of the Berbers to get out of North Africa or the Kurds to get out Iraq. Maybe they will though, if Arabs there get insistent enough about it. Placating Arabs is, after all, one of our national and cultural priorities.

          • Sean II

            I must concur in part, dissent in part.

            The dissent: it seems pretty obvious to me anti-Semitism is enjoying a recent rise in popularity. Although partly because it’s not hard to improve by rate when you start with such a small number.

            Evidence: look at the web traffic, and the memes. Blatantly anti-Semitic sites like therightstuff rank 10 times higher than the blog you’re reading now. Perhaps even after we subtract all of those federal agents and ADL researchers from its total number of page views. Also shit like the triple parentheses, the hand rubbing merchant, which have sprung up in recent years.

            The concurrence: The Jewish position in American politics does indeed have some peculiar advantages. Going strictly by socio-economic stats, Jews should be in the dock with whites, checking their privilege with us, being shamed for material success with us, catching the blame for other group’s problems like we do, apologizing for our parents not being trans woke in 1955 as we must, etc.

            This hasn’t happened thanks to a bit of equivocation in our language. Blacks, for example, are a “minority” in the everyday sense of being “a minority with special problems”. This is what people mean when they say “minority” in a political context. And by that definition American Jews are certainly not one.

            They are, however, a “minority” in the strict mathematical sense, so instead of joining we the defendants in that great SJW trial which pits modernity’s least successful groups in a perpetual grievance against its most successful ones, they sometimes get to pull a Steve Buscemi and say “how do you do, fellow plaintiffs?”

            Which strikes people as unfair, because it is. The key remaining evidence for whites being oppressive is: we’re overrepresented in the good stats, underrepresented in the bad ones. But of course Jewish Americans share that with us, and so should probably share the burden of it too.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            If you are the sort of person that surveys the world, and has any appreciation of the sorts of repressive, violent, horrible things that are being perpetrated in Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Syria, Saudi, Pakistan, etc., and Israel is the one nation that upsets you so much that you want to BDS it, even knowing the impact it would have on Arab-Israelis, I am willing to call you an anti-Semite. And, that, of course is all on the Left.

          • Sean II

            Yes, and specifically it’s the most consistent people on the Left who think that. It’s a tidy little chain:

            A) Successful people/nations get that way by oppressing and exploiting unsuccessful ones.

            B) Israel is a successful nation, and Jews are successful people.

            C) Therefore they must be the baddies.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            In my experience, anti-Israeli politics in general,and BDS in particular, represents a way for Jewish leftists to establish their radical bona fides. The most vocal opponents of Israel in leftist circles invariably tend to be Jews. And the only non Arabs involved in BDS, and other forms of “Palestinian Solidarity” have been circumcised, and Bar Mitzhvahed.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            Don’t know about “only” in your last sentence, but Jews do tend to be over-represented in the BDS movement, and probably the most rabid. Only God knows why, and he ain’t talking.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            This intellectual cancer is over-determined. There are also those who hate capitalism and Western civilization generally. So in an ocean of dictatorial and theocratic regimes ruling over what they see as indigenous slaves, they turn their malice on the “colonial” nation that has Western values written all over it.

          • Peter from Oz

            A perfect syllogism to describe the folk-marxist worldview.

          • John Howard

            But if it is the lefties who are thinking like this, why is it that the overwhelming majority of American Jews are, themselves, lefties demographically, who keep voting for more and more “democratic” government schemes? It was American Jews who financed and nearly invented the Russian Communist Revolution. Long ago, of course, but that still remains a part of the Jewish culture. My perhaps stereotypical view of American Jews is that they are collectivists and authoritarians. Of course, I am well aware of the many exceptions, Rothbard, Rand, Mises, and many others, but I believe the generalization still stands, no?

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            While Jews are disproportionately represented in left wing organizations, I think it is a stretch to say that “overwhelming majority of American Jews” are leftists. The saying that most radicals are Jews but most Jews aren’t radicals is probably accurate.
            It should also be remembered that one can be both collectivist and authoritarian without being a political leftist. Hasidic Jews are arguably among the most collectivist and authoritarian people in America, but leftist they ain’t.

          • John Howard

            You are telling me that collectivist, authoritarians are not all leftists.

            I understand the old spectrum: commies on the left, Nazis on the right, but that leaves no room for libertarians.

            I prefer libertarians on the right and anti-libertarians (all the collectivist authoritarians such as commies, Nazis, Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, etc) on the left. That’s a meaningful spectrum.

          • Sean II

            I don’t have a good theory for that, but it’s a fascinating question.

            No group is better suited to life in a free market than Ashkenazi Jews, and no group offers a clearer example for the power of heredity and divergent human evolution.

            So why should it be that Ashkenazim are so frequently found not just among the followers, but among the leaders of anti-capitalism and blank slate ideology?

            I’ve never come across even a halfway plausible guess about how that happened.

          • John Howard

            It is not a valid argument to claim that A should not be criticized because B is worse. Compounding your error by calling anyone who does criticize A an anti-Semite is really unfair.

            Further, the term “anti-Semite”, in common use, hints at racism. But criticizing the State of Isreal or the American Jewish culture has nothing to do with race. Unfair again.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            It is a valid argument to claim that if the one nation in the world that upsets you is Israel, your motivations may stem from something beyond sympathy for the Palestinians. And the term anti-Semite, in common use, hints at hated of Jews, irrespective of whether the Jews in question are, say, Sephardic or Ashkenazi.

          • John Howard

            I know of no one who would argue that only ONE nation upsets them, so that is a straw man argument.

            Subdividing Jews into two genetic pools continues to be racism as it is still a genetic, not an intellectual classification. It is perfectly possible to dislike (most) Jews for their thinking, no matter what their genetic background. It is perfectly possible to realize that some people may be genetic Jews, yet are admirable philosophers.

            Jumping to the conclusion that critics of Israel are not critical of other nations simply because they happen to be criticizing Israel at the moment and then to further jump to conclusion that this is a sign of racism is silliness on stilts.

            That strategy outlaws all criticism of Israel. Neat, but not valid.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            BDS does not seek to criticize. Of course I’m fine with that. BDS seeks to pressure others (universities, endowments, governments, international organizations) to act in specific ways to punish the citizens of Israel. That is unjust because Israel relative to all other states does not deserve punishment, even assuming arguendo the justice of economic sanctions.

            Assume you attend a college that has strict rules, including potential expulsion, for certain acts. A large number of students are found to be guilty of these acts. A student and alumni organization is formed to ensure certain guilty students are expelled. They petition the administrators, disrupt classes, pressure donors to withhold contributions, etc. But the only students they wish to see expelled are Muslims–they are silent about all other cases. What would you call the leaders of this movement?

          • John Howard

            You are arguing by analogy. Let us return to the case of Israel. Israel is one of the most expensive burdens that the American Taxpayer is forced to shoulder. The “Israel Lobby” is one of the most powerful and active in our national capital.

            Therefore, Israel deserves very special and close monitoring and is bound to get it. And the result will be heavy criticism.

            And do not play at the game that the punishment is aimed at the “citizens” of Israel, poor dears. It is aimed at the voracious and often evil government of Israel.

            Why do I say voracious and evil? Because it is a government and that is always true of all governments. But few to none are looting Americans as much as Israel.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            Let me now literally repeat myself for your benefit: “Of course I’m fine with that [criticism].” So, what you said is non-responsive.

            Second, for some strange reason you only count direct monetary assistance–used by Israel now almost exclusively to purchase US made weapons–in your charge of “looting.” What about what we spend to station troops and logistics in (say) Japan, Korea, Germany, Kuwait, Qatar, etc. etc. to defend those states (see link). Those expenses don’t count for some reason?

            Third, if there is “looting,” complain to the Obama administration. No one forced them to sign the assistance agreement. We do get benefits from this relationship, although I am fine with ending the aid.

            Finally, there is of course nothing amiss in arguing by analogy. And my analogy establishes that those seeking to expel only Muslims are bigots, and a similar conclusion should apply to those leading the BDS movement who only have eyes for Israel.

          • John Howard

            You appear to love the rhetorical game of finding something that was not said to make a straw man argument that it is not believed:

            I say, “I like women” and you respond with, “Oh so you don’t like children!!!” You are a debate cheat so I will let you have the last word. But meanwhile…

            No, moron, if the subject is Israel, they aren’t talking about Japan and Korea, and Germany and Kuwait and Qatar and you have no idea what they think of those issues. You pretend to read minds and motives and accuse without evidence, because you are the bigot.

            And no, moron, those who are leading the BDS movement against Israel are people that you do not know. For you to assume that they are ONLY interested in Israel is that same failed argument noted above. You are the bigot. You are the prejudiced one pre-judging the motives and beliefs of anyone who dares to criticize Israel. All you are doing is insistently changing the subject to derail such criticism.

            Israel is not to be criticized because that is anti-Semitic. Simple-minded nonsense. Grow up.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            Don’t need the last word. You said nothing that merits a response. Bye.

          • Peter from Oz

            The left is the home of anti-semitism these days.

        • Sean II

          “If Israel stops defining itself in terms of Jewish nationalism…paint as rosy a picture as you can.”

          Okay I’ll take a swing at this. Here’s Israel one year after open borders:

          Pulling his balaclava tight under his helmet, the last guard climbs aboard the lead Sand Cat. He leans from the side runner, carbine in hand. The spotter signals “go” and the convoy is off through the gate. First come the rocks, thrown by refugee boys camped beyond the compound wall. These are just a nuisance. Not so that taxi parked suspiciously up ahead. Better safe than sorry, they put a burst through the driver’s side window. Now comes the hard part, the trip through town. Gunfire is a given, but this armor is good against anything below .50 The real problem is rockets. Except not today. Nobody spots the boy with the backpack until he’s in the road. He goes for the van but his fuse is bad, so it’s the trail car that gets it. Bam! If they’re lucky, all dead before the crowd swarms the wreckage The rest move on. No stopping here. Not ever. Out of the valley now, it’s a straight dash to the blast doors. The rules are simple. You send the code. If it’s valid, the door opens for one minute. If not they blow the mines. The caravan never slows down as it passes through with only 10 seconds to spare. From the second vehicle a door opens, and out steps a little girl in a purple dress.

          “Have fun with your piano lesson, Rachel.”

          “Thanks Mom!”

          That’s about as well as I can see things working out.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            Naturally the technology has advanced, but that sounds rather like the environment there in 1948-49.

          • Sean II

            A problem they solved, as I recall, by establishing some sort of boundary or border.

            I’m not explaining this well, but what I’m talking about is a kind of map line which – although somewhat arbitrary at the level of detail – works to prevent conflict by keeping incompatible people and cultures apart. It’s sort of a fence-like thingy which says: “Here on this side we’ve got one set of rules; there on that one you’ve got another set”.

            Pure evil, obviously.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            It appears that we live in an evil world, for more and more people seems interested in drawing these newfangled things you call “borders.”

          • Sean II

            I think it was Hayek who said: “If you come across some long standing social or political structure but you can think of an a priori argument against it, just go ahead and tear the thing down quickly, and preferably without much discussion.”

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            It was Chesterton who advised that one never tear down a fence without knowing why the fence was originally constructed.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            I’ve actually made that argument elsewhere. Not our actual borders, which are of course arbitrary, but the desire for borders has a legitimate claim to be the sort of “spontaneous order” that you reference.

          • Sean II

            I’m such a lunatic that I actually prefer an arbitrary thing that works to a logical and elegant thing that doesn’t.

          • Rob Gressis

            You’re sounding closer to Sailer than usual.

            Not intended as an insult or compliment. Just an observation.

            Here’s a question, though: how come you never mention Sailer? Or Jayman or Razib, etc.?

          • Sean II

            If I said “to avoid triggering”, would you laugh out loud?

            But you’re not wrong: I follow all those guys on Twitter, along with Cochran, Yeyo, and a host of others you could probably guess.

            Interestingly, I hadn’t come across Sailer’s affordable family theory until you mentioned it once here.

          • Rob Gressis

            No that makes sense. It’s like identifying as an MRA guy. Once you do, you’re dismissed to eternal perdition.

            Never heard of yeyo.

          • Sean II

            Great feed. Just search for yeyoza and add him to your follows.

    • ted.sonnier

      Perhaps that myopically inward-focused aspect of the Jewish faith is a large reason why the Jews have suffered many hundreds of years of vicious persecution.

      I maintain throughout this entire upheaval that Horowitz et al are critiquing preferences from the perspective of libertarianism on which libertarianism has no opinion. Libertarianism is silent on whether one should be cosmopolitan or deeply ascetic, gratuitous or miserly, widely welcoming or viciously discriminatory; and any attempt to demonstrate the correct libertarian position on any of these spectra must fail. Any critique of another’s preferences in this regard does not come from libertarianism, as libertarianism is no more than an opinion on the legitimate use of force. Horowitz’s thickish argument you quoted above falls on its face.


        Yeah, I stopped listening right after the bit about how the Jewish people are to blame for their persecution. Like there weren’t many thousands of Jews who fought and bled for Germany in WWI, and otherwise made major contributions to that country. Bye.

        • ted.sonnier

          It’s hard to know what is being argued–or if something is being argued–if you don’t read it. Or worse, if you just presume what is meant without due diligence or charitable reading.

          The possibility of a feature both causing persecution and facilitating survival in the face of that persecution is not to be dismissed out of hand. What explanation–if you have even attempted to explain it–is there to help understand why the Jewish people have faced hundreds of years of persecution?

          I haven’t argued anything that you attribute to me; I have only submitted the possibility as a potential explanation. Adding irrelevant data points, citing PC talking points about “victim blaming”, and responding with a haughty, condescending–dare I say faggy–tone does nothing but make you look foolish.

          “Bye” is so stupid, too. Get a grip, dude, and discuss something like a fucking man.

          • Peter from Oz

            ”What explanation–if you have even attempted to explain it–is there to
            help understand why the Jewish people have faced hundreds of years of
            I think they were persecuted because those who persecuted them were reacting in an evil manner to the fact that Jewish people were not Christian and were successful.

        • Sean II

          I raise a slightly different objection: anyone who knows Jews should laugh at the idea of calling them “myopically inward focused” when it comes to politics.

          I can’t think of a group that more often throws its own political energy after other people’s causes.

          “Earn like Episcopalians, vote like Puerto Ricans”, as the saying goes.

          I only wish American Jews would start being selfish, and vote their income quintile instead of whatever.

    • Theresa Klein

      This is distasteful aspect of our faith for many critics, including
      liberal Jews, but perhaps this ethic is why we have survived many
      hundreds of years of vicious persecution. Arguably, by extension, it is
      not wrong to favor the interests of our fellow citizens if we believe
      that they have, through their embrace of certain values, enhanced our
      lives in ways that foreigners cannot.

      It’s also possible that the tendency to favor the interests of one’s co-religionists is a cause of increased persecution. Just the way identity politics increases tribalism and harms race relations in the US in visible ways today. However, I would argue that it’s more the dominant group’s responsibility to become less tribal. A persecuted minority cannot be expected to give up tribal alliegances if the people persecuting them aren’t going to do it first. not exclusively the dominant group’s responsibility but they ought to be the ones to start. That’s actually happened in modern times with respect to Jews, so it would probably be time for Jews to reciprocate.

      it is not wrong to favor the interests of our fellow citizens if we
      believe that they have, through their embrace of certain values,
      enhanced our lives in ways that foreigners cannot.

      But that’s not the argument that the alt-right is making. They aren’t talking about favoring our fellow citizens because they have embraced the same values, they are talking about favoring them because they share the same ethnic makeup. Indeed they argue that values and ethnicity are inherently linked so that (say) Latin Americans, Africans, and Arabs cannot possibly fully embrace American values – they just aren’t mentally capable of it, because their brains are wired to be more socialist/violent/whatever.


        There’s no historical evidence to support your first sentence. The fact that Jews feel an obligation to help their extended “family” first does not imply that they have not made monumental positive contributions to the societies in which they lived. This was undoubtedly true in Spain before the Inquisition, and probably even more true in Germany before Hitler. The German Jews were probably the most assimilated to their host society in the entire world, yet Hitler murdered them all, traditional and secular alike. No, it is envy and scapegoating that accounts for Jewish persecution, not that we give priority to community needs.

        • Theresa Klein

          it think you answer your own question – the fact that the Germans wound up murdering almost their entire Jewish population despite them being the most assimilated into their host society in the world is some pretty big historical evidence that people tend to resent ethnocentric groups in their midst – especially if those groups are highly successful.
          Now note that I’m not saying it’s right.
          I’m merely responding to your notion that favoring one’s own ethnicity is morally just or even obligatory. If you’re going to say that, then it’s just for the Germans to get all ethnocentric as well, isn’t it? Which they did, which did not have good results for Jews.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            We reciprocated for German hospitality by being their best doctors, lawyers, philosophers, bankers, scientists, serving in their military, etc. We didn’t get all “ethnocentric” on them, now did we. Their resentment and then genocide was completely irrational and counter-productive, and not attributable to the fact that the traditional Jews of Germany might have given charity first to their own. There is ZERO evidence for this. You are talking nonsense, and can go on without me.

          • Peter from Oz

            You are right. The ”Jew” that Hitler agitated against was a straw man par excellence, a rpresentaive figure upon which all the failures of the German people and their politicians since 1914 could be blamed.

  • Rothbardian

    Hmmm, so on the one hand all the people policing Wrongthink say LvMI peddles Nazism, but the actual Nazis don’t like “Jew Rockwell” and dismiss austro-libertarianism as “Levantine” degeneracy.

    Which is it?

    Maybe we should just keep trying to speak the truth and ignore the namecallers, the haters, and the emotional hypochondriacs.

  • Rothbardian

    I kind of liked Steve Horwitz until he decided to be a shameless guilt manipulator. I stopped donating to FEE and raised my contribution to the Mises Institute.

    • Brasillach_

      It’s in his blood.

      • Rothbardian

        Is it also in his soil?

  • John Howard

    To my mind, the flaw in this entire argument is that the author writes as if he is in charge of deciding what all words mean to others, and who all phrases will appeal to.

    Libertarians may be required at times to defend the rights of a racist to be a racist. And it is up to the libertarian to make clear that defending the right to be stupid is not defending stupidity. This very argument is at the root of the difficulty of promoting libertarianism. The far more popular notion is that government is needed to force everyone to be smart. Giving in to this temptation – to outlaw whatever is stupid or unpopular – will certainly win friends to “libertarianism”, but it will no longer be libertarianism.

    Deist makes an error, common to many libertarians, of thinking libertarianism is a philosophy of life. It is not. It is a political policy limiting the scope of government or promoting its elimination entirely. It says nothing about family or religion. It says those are not the business of government and so not the concern of libertarianism. If some racists are attracted to
    libertarianism because it means less government to interfere with their racism, then libertarians must make the argument that less government is a proper goal anyway and that racism should be thwarted by other than political methods.

    Those who do not understand this very limited message are usually the same ones who want the opposite. They want libertarianism to become a political philosophy that promotes their religion or social values. Those people are the problem with libertarianism. Deist has it backwards.

    • ted.sonnier

      Precisely. Well done.

    • Octavian

      I think you’re quite right.

      I would note, though, that any worldview must sell itself not just on its ethical superiority, but its utility as well, as most people are not pure deontologists: if “live and let live” leads to a world full of destitution, misery, and rampant racism, most people will reject it without considering the ethics of it.

      So there is a practical component that implores us to argue that classical liberalism is good as well as right and a classical liberal society will tend to be less prone to racial hostility. We make this arguement with economics as well: not merely that free markets are fair but that they in net are more prosperous for the general population.

      I think this is a very different thing from arguing for a ‘libertarian way of life,” of course. It just has to be acknowledged that arguing that a worldview will lead to less bad things and more good things is an unavoidable part of the apologetics.

    • Theresa Klein

      to make the very valid argument that racism is not a harm, merely a stupidity.

      Racism that people act on in the form of discrimination motivated by racial prejudice IS a harm. If I was to deny someone a job or a housing application based on racial animosity, I would be harming them unjustly. It’s possible for people to be harmed by unjust actions of other individuals, even if those actors are not agents of the government. People do one another harm on an individual level all the time.
      If you want to say thinking racist thoughts in the privacy of your home is merely a stupidity fine, but don’t pretend it’s not harmful to mistreat someone in public because of their race.

      • John Howard

        You begin by claiming that discrimination is a harm. This is very clearly false. You appear not to understand that if I take something from you which is yours, I have harmed you, but if I refuse to give you something that is mine, that is NOT a harm. 

        We all have the right to avoid whomever we wish – for any reason we wish, including stupid reasons. You do not have a right to an association with me, nor to trade with me, nor to be employed by me, nor to buy a home from me, nor even to my attention while you complain about my avoidance of you. To claim otherwise is to advocate slavery and violence. And to pretend that my motivations are your business is psychobabble arrogance on stilts. 

        Yes, indeed, everyone should have the total freedom to be racist in polite society. A truly Polite society is a tolerant society that allows all views – even those you don’t like. Even your views. 

        No libertarian, nor “Alt-Righter” is demanding that there be no PC or SJW response to racism. Those people are as free to respond in a free society as are racists to be racists. You are setting up a flagrant straw man argument there and utterly misrepresenting the libertarian position. What libertarians are saying is that there must be no harm done to those promoting unpopular or inaccurate views.

        • Theresa Klein

          It’s not “clearly false”. Discrimination imposes costs upon minorities by forcing them to expend more effort to obtain services, housing, and jobs than they other wise would. It puts them at an economic disadvantage in the marketplace in a way that objectively costs them money.

          Yes, indeed, everyone should have the total freedom to be racist in
          polite society. A truly Polite society is a tolerant society that
          allows all views

          But not all skin colors. In your world, people can expect to walk around in polite society expressing racist views without being molested, but cannot expect to walk around with black skin on in polite society, without being molested. What you’re advocating is a world in which it’s okay for a racist to call a black man a nigger in public in front of everyone, but it’s not okay to call the racist a racist. Because only the latter would count as intolerance – to you.

          • John Howard

            You really are confused. Discrimination does not “impose” any costs on anyone. You are saying that if I, your neighbor, will not sell you a beer, and you have to walk a block further to find a seller, that I have “imposed” upon you. No, I have done nothing to you. You are claiming that unless I give you what you want, you are being imposed upon. Grow up.

            You are lying about my position: “…but it’s not okay to call the racist a racist”. I said exactly the opposite. Grow up.

          • Theresa Klein

            Walking a block further to find a beer is objectively a cost. It literally takes more time to do it.
            Whether it should be legal for you to impose such costs on others is a different argument, but you should acknowledge that discrimination does, in fact, impose costs upon the people being discriminated against.

            What libertarians are saying is that there must be no harm done to those promoting unpopular or inaccurate views.

            You mean like not selling them beer? Would it be okay, in your view, to have a society in which people with racist views are systematically denied housing, employment, and servies, on the basis of their views?
            Because you ARE saying that it should be totally okay to deny those exact same things to black people on the basis of their having black skin.

          • John Howard

            Yes, I am saying that discriminating against racists is totally OK. I encourage it.
            Yes, I am saying that denying someone a job is NOT a harm. A job is a relationship with another person. You do not have a right to other people.
            If you have to walk a block further for that beer, it is a cost to you, but not a cost imposed by me. Imagine that on Monday, I haven’t yet opened my beer store, so you have to walk that block to get your beer. On Tuesday, I open my beer store, but don’t sell to you. The beer belongs to me. I belong to me. You do not have a right to me or to my beer. I have added no imposition to your life; I have taken nothing from you, I have merely NOT added a convenience that you want. You do not have a right to whatever you want because you do not have a right to other people.
            Apparently, you still do not understand that not dealing with you is NOT the same as harming you. By your reasoning, if I do open my beer store to you but you chose not to trade with me, then it is you that is harming me, yes? Or do you believe that somehow you get to pick and chose who to buy beer from but I can’t chose who to sell beer to? Why? Why is it that if you are trading beer for dollars, you may not pick your trading partners, but if you are trading dollars for beer, you may pick your trading partners? Where is the moral principle involved in such nonsense? Why do you have a right to my beer, but I don’t have a right to your dollars?

          • Theresa Klein

            Well, if you’re saying that it’s totally okay to fire people for being racist or exclude them from housing or services, then we’re not really disagreeing on much. We’re just having a semantic argument over the definition of the words “cost” “harm” and “impose”.

            Personally, I don’t think discrimination should be illegal, but I do think it’s wrong and needs to be regulated by social mechanisms. That includes public criticism for expressing racist views in polite society.

            You initially seemed to be saying that it should be totally acceptable to express racist views in public, but now you seem to agree that it”s fine for racists to endure criticism and social exclusion – which is consistent with my position.

          • John Howard

            Theresa, you keep playing word games: “You initially seemed to be saying that it should be totally acceptable to express racist views in public, but now you seem to agree that it’s fine for racists to endure criticism and social exclusion …”

            Right. I am very clearly saying both – both are fully consistent with one another; they are not opposing views. Racists can say what they want in public and hyperventilating busy bodies can say what they want about the words of the racists and the racists can say what they want about the words of the hyperventilating busy bodies, and the two of them can warm up the atmosphere as they so choose.

            “Polite” society, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Personally I find both racists and busy bodies to be easily ignored because I find ALL speech to be easily ignored. It’s just noise and only “harms” those who make the political decision to be “harmed” by noise. Those who do make that choice are always the enemies of free speech. A liberal lefty collage girl wanting to prohibit dog whistles is a totalitarian at heart.

            Feelings are bullshit. We all have them, but no one can prove them. They do not belong in an objective discourse about justice. The noise of speech is harmless. Racism is harmless. It deserves the same level of political attention as door stops.

          • Theresa Klein

            They are not fully consistent, because the racists aren’t JUST saying racist things, they are taking racist actions – such as systematically excluding black people from employment, housing, and services. You can’t systematically include BOTH racists and blacks, because the racists by definition systematically exclude the blacks. It’s like if you had a house party and invited blacks and racists at the same time, and the racists all got together and made one room of the house “whites-only”. Well, now the black people aren’t really being included – there are places that whites can go and things they can do that blacks can’t do because some people are excluding them from those activites. Thus if your objective is to make EVERYONE welcome and included in society, you HAVE to either forbid the racists from creating whites-only zones, OR exclude the racists from the party.

          • John Howard

            Therese, you write:

            “…racists aren’t JUST saying racist things, they are taking racist actions…”

            Obviously that is true of some racists, and not all racists.

            As for their racist ‘actions’, obviously some actions are harmful and some are not.

            You offer the example of racists in MY house excluding blacks from a room. Poor example – it’s my house. Remember, property is primary to morality.

            Try again.

      • Peter from Oz

        But if you argue that conduct arising from racism (not racism itself) is stupidity and not harm, then you are more likely to win people over.
        Racism is bad for business, because it not only limits your customer base by excluding a whole race, it problems also means that a lot of the members of the non-excluded races will also boycott you too.
        That is where you have the better of the argument. If people do believe that racism leads to harm, then they will use their social power to oppose that racism.
        John may have the better side of the argument in saying that racism does not lead to harm (yet even he would say that it did where a person was physically assaulted or robbed because of race).

        Personally, I think that racism would cease to be a problem if governments ceased to be involved in trying to stop it. For many years it has been clear that racism is one of those things that has been redefined by activists so as to keep them opn the gravy train.

  • Peter from Oz

    Since 1945, many in the chattering classes have through ignorance or intention tried to create a false equivalence between the left and the right in politics. The biggest mistake they have made is to mistake the often expressed enmity between the two totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century as being proof that they were each the antithesis of the other, when in fact that enmity arose from the similarity of their core notion of the relationship between the people and the state.
    First let me ask you to think about Coke and Pepsi. For many years the makes of these two drinks have tried to tell us that they are radically different, when really that have been developed for the same purpose and have thrived on their competition with each other. Then think of coffee which is also a beverage but which has a different purpose and flavour.
    Well, communism and fascism/Nazism are Coke and Pepsi in political terms. They both have the same purpose, totalitarian rule by which the individual is totally subsumed in the state, but with a slightly different flavour (international as opposed to national socialism). In contrast Constitutional monarchies and liberal democracies are Latte and Flat White.
    The mistake that too many people make is thinking that the left right axis is anything but a measure of the role of the state in life.
    A totalitarian, no matter what his stripe, is an extreme left-winger. An extreme right winger is the sort of nutcase libertarian who believes that there should be no government. What too many pundits call the ”far right” are really just another bunch of lefties who want the government to direct society and crack the authoritarian whip. That is exactly what the Pepsists wanted when they started to vie with the Cokistas in the 1920s.
    The Cokistas of course didn’t want the new Pepsists stealing their followers. Hence, from the 20s they have fought a long and hard turf war trying to convince us that the Pepsists are on the far right. In turn the Pepsists are glad to differentiate their brand from the Cokistas by going along with the deal. As a result, the two brands hated each other with the fierceness that only comes from small differences in product. They each loved to point out that the other was not properly socialist. And of course the Cokistas noted that the Pepsists’ concoction had a very strong admixture of the caffeine of patriotism that had soured into a rabis form of nationalism.
    But this to confuse the range of social and economic attitudes with the political axis.
    In 1991 the Western media called those diehard communists who tried to mount a coup against Yeltsin ”conservatives”. Does that make those communists right wing? Of course not.
    It is true that many people become Pepsists after starting life as social conservatives. But they cease to be right wing when they become Pepsists, because they want to substitute the government for society. Thus it is that the economic policies of Pepsist parties and acknowledged far left parties such as the greens are often very similar.
    We on the right can be social or economic radicals, or Tories like me who believe strongly in the virtues of the old moral order. The thing is that we share a belief that government should not be involved in changing society but in letting it thrive. Some brighter Pepsists will go along with us on the basis that they see we have a chance of bringing down the hated Cokistas.
    Sinistra delenda est.

    • ted.sonnier

      >Calls people who want to direct society and crack the authoritarian whip “just another bunch of lefties”
      >Calls people who do not want to direct society and crack the authoritarian whip “nutcase libertarians”

      Pull your cognitively dissonant head out of your wannabe authoritarian ass, Leftie.

      • Peter from Oz

        English mustn’t be your first language. But that’s being charitable you are just a berk.
        People who don’t want to direct society and crack the authoirtarian whip are not libertarian nutcases, and I neither said nor implied that they were.

        • ted.sonnier

          Texan is probably my first language. And of course you did.

          “An extreme right winger is the sort of nutcase libertarian who believes that there should be no government.”

          An anarcho-capitalist, a voluntarist, a market anarchist, etc. are people who believes there shouldn’t be a government (state); they do not wish to direct society or crack the authoritarian whip. Any advocate of statism, no matter now small a state, necessarily advocates directing society and to some degree wishes to crack an authoritarian whip. That’s you.

          You are either disingenuous or confused.

          • Peter from Oz

            ”Any advocate of statism, no matter now small a state, necessarily
            advocates directing society and to some degree wishes to crack an
            authoritarian whip.”
            That’s just bollocks, my old china plate.
            A minimlaist government is not authoritarian.
            How are these anarcho-capitalists, et al going to enforce their contracts without some coercive power being able to force performance or pay damges for breach? That coercive power, whatever you call it is government.
            If a government oils the wheels of commerce by imposing a mimimum set of rules, then it must be seen as advantageous to society. A government that is advantageous to society is not authoritarian. A government become authoritarian when it converts from being a servant into being the master.
            Of course when you say ”government” you may be thinking of the exeuctive and the legislature, rather than the judiciary and the administrators. I agree with you that the first two are not really necessary for much of the time. They are also the two branches that are the most likely to be authoritarian, especially if they are elected.
            Recently there was an extended period both in Spain and in Belgium where there was no elected government. But the state went on functioning. In both countries the national economy and the markets after at first worrying about the l;ack of a government, actually did better during the ”anarchy’ than they had done before.

    • John Howard

      You write: “An extreme right winger is the sort of nutcase libertarian who believes that there should be no government.”

      That would be me. I define government as follows: a gang of insane, parasitic clowns, surrounded with their hired guns, running a massive extortion racket and a massive counterfeiting racket and a gigantic mass-murder racket, while pretending they are wise and see the big picture. What have I missed, that you in your wisdom understand?

      Is it that “traditional values” ought to be forced on me by clear headed thinkers like you? Could you define traditional values for me? Would those be your values? I need government to force your values on me? Being a nutcase, I have trouble understanding these things.

      Thanks for any clues.

      • Peter from Oz

        WHo wants to force any traditional ideas on you? I don’t. I will argue with you that such ideas are best. Society will, on its own initiative, establish such values which you can choose to follow or not.
        I don’t know where you got the idea that I support governments having any power to enforce morality, when I stated quite clearly I was against governments having such power.
        Government may very well be all the things you say, but it is still necessary. We just have to make it as small as possible so as to limit the harm it can do.

        • ted.sonnier

          Ah. It must be confusion.

          Government is not necessary.

          • Peter from Oz

            The state is necessary, government less so. See below.

          • John Howard

            Could you please define those two terms so I can understand what you mean. Thank you.

          • Peter from Oz

            Let me illustrate, by reference to the Westminster system, what I mean by the difference between the government and the State. I will then see if I can tease it out to a general distinction applicable in other systems.

            In the Westminster system, the government is the group of co-operating parlimentarians whose leader (the Prime Minister) can command the support a majority of members of the lower house. So it is said that there is no government where no single party, or a co-operating group of parties, has a majority of seats in that house.

            SO the government is hte body that determines political policy and implements the laws that put that policy into force.
            In contrast the State is the apparatus that administers the laws or provides the services implemented by the Government, the civil service, the courts the defence forces, the police, etc.
            In the US I suppose the government would comprise the legislature and the President, when acting in his political capacity. The State comprises the bodies set up by the government to administer things and provide services.
            It seems to me that there is a strong argument that the government is not necessary. This was shown in recent times where elections in both Belgium and Spain did not allow anyone to form a government for an extended period. The State kept running during the hiatus and the economy actually improved.

            The State is necessary. We need the law so as to enforce contractspunish crime.
            Never in the history of human civilisation has there ever been a stable society that has not had a State.
            But, as I have said elsewhere on this thread, the important thing is that the State should not become a susbstitute for society.

        • John Howard

          I apologize if I mistook your position. You now say that government is all the things I say and yet is still necessary? I’m the nutcase?
          Making government as small as possible means what? What’s wrong with no government? Which is necessary, extortion, counterfeiting, slavery, or mass murder? Which do you feel are needed, and by whom?

          You say that government should have no power to enforce morality. But government is immoral. With no intention to misrepresent your position, you appear to me to be saying that it’s OK for government to be immoral, you still want it, and you want it to allow you to be immoral also, right? Sounds like a plan.

          • Peter from Oz

            See my post above. I think of the government as the political part of the state. It is the constant politicking that has made things bad for society. It focuses too much on governing and too little on getting on with business.
            Government by its nature is not all the things you said. it can be some or all of those things if allowed. But that is rare.
            In my original post, I think I should have characterised the real far right-winger as a person who thinks the state shouldn’t exist rather than the government. But the two are often used interchangably, when realyy they are different.
            The State is necessary to keep the peace and enforce the law. The government which enacts the law isn’t so necessary. We already have more than enough law. Maybe the paradox is that the government is only necessary in so far it can make a great bonfire of the regulations.
            BTW your name is an illustrious one in conservative circles in Australia:

          • John Howard

            Given your two explanatory posts, you have made clear that government and state are not two things, but rather that government is a part of state. To me, they are just a single gang. True, some of the gang make decisions and others of the gang enforce those decisions, but that is a trivial point. And I believe most Americans use the term ‘government’ to refer to all branches of the gang.  

            You go on to say that perhaps the deciders could be eliminated, but not the enforcers. I would argue that without the enforcers, the deciders are just a bunch of harmless gas bags. But without the deciders, the enforcers remain in power since, being humans, they can decide for themselves. 

            The real problem is the idea that someone – anyone – should have a monopoly on legislating, self-defense, or the enforcement of justice. It is that monopoly on the use of force which is, itself, unjust and which allows – even invites – injustice and corruption.

            I certainly agree with you that rules are needed for civilization. The questions are: which rules, who makes them, and who enforces them? My short answer is: rules that reflect the libertarian non-aggression principle, agreed to by a majority, applicable to all, and enforced by all (meaning that everyone has an equal right to enforce, if they so choose), with no one claiming a right to a monopoly on the power to legislate or to enforce. By my lights, such stark and total equality is the only cure for tyranny. 

            Politicians, with the help of their enforcers, just steal. One of them even stole my name. Can you believe it?

          • Peter from Oz

            So you do believe in the State and in government, but you just want it to be exercised by society as a whole, presumably at the local level. How exhausting. And how does one enforce a contract or receive damages for a wrong?

          • John Howard

            No, I do not believe in the State and in government because they are defined as having a monopoly on the use of force and legislation. Let’s not word-game the issue.

            Sorry to hear that the thought of doing things non-coercively exhausts you. Hope you feel better soon.

            How you do things in a free society is your business so long as you do not violate the non-aggression principle. I realize that, exhausted as you are, it will be difficult to get much done without someone to do it for you while forcing your neighbors to pay for it, but that’s how it is under the awful burden of liberty.

            I would suggest that problems such as you mention will be handled by voluntary organizations who do not enjoy a monopoly on force and who cannot tax your neighbors to pay for the services you want. They might negotiate and enforce on your behalf if you paid them.

            So exhausting, though, having to pay for things instead of simply being forced to pay for them whether you need them or not. You poor thing.

          • Peter from Oz

            It’s interesting how you gloss over the fact that coercion is necessary to keep the peace. You assume that without government everyone will instantly turn into a wise, industrious citizen-farmer who can rush from the plough to settle a dispute his neighbours are having over cows grazing in the wrong paddock, before dashing off to a local meeting to setlle the policy of weights and measures for the district.
            I don’t know about you but I find it much more liberating to live in a peaceful society where I don’t constantly have to reinvent the wheel.
            I agree that we should do as much as possible via volunteer associations , but I cannot see how the basic laws could be enforced withot some body that has the power to enforce those laws. You say I could buy that service. But if the service hasn’t got the power to enforce the rules, then what is the point?
            I do agree that humanity is underrated by most people. If left alone humans are not as violent and nasty as most people would predict. However, It doesn’t take too many psychopaths to reduce society to Hobbes’state of war.
            But we are fighting over small differences. I want the state reduced by 90% and you want it reduced by 100%. There have been some societies where the State has been as small as I would like to see it. I can’t think of any civilisation where there has been no state.

          • John Howard

            I have not glossed over your fact. I said no one should have a monopoly over the use of force. I did not outlaw force in self-defense, nor did I suggest that there should be no institutions of enforcement. I merely said no monopolies – i.e., everyone has an equal right to supply justice if they choose to do so.

            Also the term “coercion” usually refers to the initiation of force, not self defense. If you are saying that peace requires the initiation of force, I suggest you rethink that notion.

            You write:

            “You assume that without government everyone will instantly turn …wise…”.
            Why would I make such an absurd assumption? Do you assume that WITH government, all government employees become wise?

            What I am saying is that the market for wisdom – like all markets – is enhanced by free competition among suppliers and hindered by monopolies.

            I would also say that wisdom is encouraged and the number of wise people increases when all are free and equal in political status and that “dumbing down” is required for the success of tyranny.

          • Peter from Oz

            The problem is that if there isn’t a monopoly over the institution of enforcement, then there wouldn’t be any enforcement, or there would be arbitrary enforcement by local thugs and bullies.
            History is full of examples of this. The classic example is the Wars of the Roses where local landowners used the excuse of a weak King and fractious nobility as an excuse to steal land and goods from others who weren’t well protected. Henry VII was a great King because he managed to curb the power of the nobles and gentry and make people respect the King’s law.
            I do not assume that government employees are wise. But I do think that in a complex society such as ours we need a system of civil and criminal justice that is disinterested and has the power to enforce its judgments.
            Coercion does imply the initiation of force. But that force should only be used when a person has refused to obey the law or has wronged another. Thus where one party refuses unjustly to complete a contract, the State should have the power to coerce him to perform that contract.

            “I would also say that wisdom is encouraged and the number of wise people increases when all are free and equal in political status and that
            “dumbing down” is required for the success of tyranny.”
            I couldn’t agree more. That is why I think government should be kept to a minimum. The people can only really be free when they have the time to go about doing what they wish to do. If they constantly have to be worrying about defending themselves from othersthey may be equal but they are not free.

            The government should be like insurance, something upon which we don’t have to call very often, but the mere existence of which makes the wheels of commerce run smoothly.

          • John Howard

            “The problem is that if there isn’t a monopoly over the institution of enforcement, then there wouldn’t be any enforcement, or there would be arbitrary enforcement by local thugs and bullies.”

            There is no reason to believe that. You are suggesting that there is no market demand for justice or for just enforcement.

            “History is full of examples of this.”

            No it isn’t. History is full of examples of the evils of monopoly power. Your example is of a weak King failing to control criminals, not an established free market security system.

            “…I do think that in a complex society such as ours we need a system of civil and criminal justice that is disinterested and has the power to enforce its judgments.”

            Wherever to you get the notion that those with monopoly power will be “disinterested” whereas those who win their customers in the market will be motivated to fail their customers? I would argue that no one is disinterested and that there is no reason to expect anyone to be. Our best hope is in juries and very public trials, not in putting some people in power over the rest of us and then hoping or pretending that they will be “disinterested”.

            “Coercion does imply the initiation of force. But that force should only be used when a person has refused to obey the law or has wronged another. Thus where one party refuses unjustly to complete a contract, the State should have the power to coerce him to perform that contract.”

            This is wrong. Acts of self-defense, including the enforcement of contracts, are not examples of the initiation of force. There is no reason to assume that a gang holding a monopoly on enforcement will magically do a better job of justified force than anyone else, and plenty of reasons to suppose they will do it more poorly.

            You seem to be equating self-defense with the state, and then you offer the need for self defense as a need for the state. There is no good reason to make this equivalence.  

            Self defense is a right and so also is the right to choose who will provide that defense for those who need such help. Justice comes from the nature of the laws enforced and how they are enforced, not from who makes the laws or who does the enforcing.

            What you will continue to fail at is to provide a reason to suppose that a gang holding a monopoly will make better rules and enforce them more judiciously than the free market. There is simply no reason for such an assumption, and all of history attests to the opposite.

          • Peter from Oz

            ” You are suggesting that there is no market demand for justice or for just enforcement.”
            I am suggesting that the market demands justice, or more properly the rule of law, but ultimately needs a body outside the market to enforce it. The market also wants the law to be consistent in application throughout the relevant area. It’s the same with weights and measures.
            The market got what it wanted. Unfortunately a lot of non-market people came along and then subverted the law so as to interfere with the markets or make the government a player in the market.
            As a lawyer, I know that the vast majority of civil law disputes are settled privately either by agreement, or by mediation or arbitration by an agreed third party. This works because the parties know that in the background there is a court system and that there are experts like me who can tell them how they would fare if the matter in dispute were taken to the courts. That is because there is one set of laws, not some hotchpotch of privately determined rules.
            And that does allow for the best level of disinterested justice that can be achieved. If we were all aloowed to administer justice, then there certainly would be lot lower chance of getting a disinterested judge.
            But where I wonder about your enforcement of justice most is in criminal matters. How is crime punished without the coercive power of the state?
            In sum, I think that it is clear that whilst men and wwomen can solve most of their problems without resort to the State, security of property and person requires the rule of law which depends ultimately upon having the monopoly power to enforce decisions and coerce those who will not obey authority.
            The secret is making that monopoly as small as possible and not allowing interested parties to use it as a tool to change society.
            I strongly recommend you look up the writings of Lord Moulton, who emphasised the importance of preserving the ”Third Domain”, ie that area between government coercion and individual choice where most of the rules by which we live should be made.

          • John Howard

            The “market” is just individuals trading goods and services, not an entity unto itself. Enforcement of the law is one of those services. Where do you get the notion that anyone can be “outside” the market. Everyone is in the market either as a voluntary actor or as a violent actor. Violent actors are neither good nor necessary in the market.

            You are suggesting that to have competing enforcement requires or implies competing or inconsistent law. That is an obvious non-sequitur. Would you argue that having more than one government law enforcement officer must result in more than one law being enforced? You repeat this non-sequitur as if repeating it will somehow make it valid. It won’t.

            Government – those individuals who operate by violence and insist on monopoly – do indeed interfere with the freedom of others to trade. By their very nature and presence they subvert the market. They are the problem, not the solution.

            You write: “If we were all allowed to administer justice, then there certainly would be [a] lot lower chance of getting a disinterested judge.”

            Where is the logic in that? You are saying that the more choices we have, the less likely we are to get what we want – that people who force themselves on us and prevent competition are more likely to provide what we want than people who offer their services to us on a voluntary basis in a free market?

            According to my use of terms, punishment of crime is not coercion, but rather self-defense. But even if we agreed to refer to it as “coercion”, why do you assume that such force must be performed by a gang that also uses force to prevent others from competing with them in offering the same service? If that service is a good thing, why do you wish to limit its supply?

            You summarize by concluding that personal security requires giving up liberty and choice and instead obeying a gang of violent bullies who insist on monopolizing law-making and enforcement. You call them “Authority”. I do too. And I say, “Authority = Parasite”.

            And your main rhetorical tactic is to repeatedly insist that a free market in enforcement would result in inconsistent law, which is a glaring non-sequitur.

          • Peter from Oz

            ”The “market” is just individuals trading goods and services, not an entity unto itself.” I don’t recall that I said anything otherwise. But so far as the market is the sum of the collective wishes of the individuals and groups which take part in it, we can talk of it in the singular, just as we talk about a family in the singular even though it is not an entity but a group of individuals living together or related to each other.

            My argument is based on the fact that both the market and society (which is a broader group comprising us all, both as economic and social actors) require rules to function. They require in other words the rule of law. Without the rule of law society will as Hobbes said revert to a state of war.
            There are three sources of law/regulation, ecah of which has certain powers of enforcement. Firstly there are the rules we make for ourselves: the domain of personal choice. Secondly, there are the rules made by the State to ensure the peace. this is the source that has the strongest ability to enforce its rules. Lastly there is what Lord Moulton called the ”third domain,”

            which is that area between the individual and the government. This where all those little social rules and conventions are made. Enforcement here is less certain, but can be no less devastating .

            From what I can see, it is your view that either the third domain could take over the STate’s role of making and enforcing the law , or that at least the enforcement of those laws could be left to the market.

            That market is already there. As I noted previously, everyday thousands of lawyers all over the world are providing advice on the law and settling disputes before they get to litigation. But it is based on the fact that people can make a good estimate of the result should the matter go before a judge. The rule in Rylands v Fletcher tells me that I can expect to found liable in tort if I allow some noxious subtance escape from my land and it causes damage to the adjacent landholding. The negotiations between the parties will thus come down to the amount of damages payable. This could be settled by mediation undertaken by a private mediator.
            But the parties have to agree to abide the decision reached in mediation. And there’s the rub, if you have the right always to choose a justice provider, you must also have the right not choose a justice provider.

            To go back to our example. If there is no State to enforce the law, then there will be no rule in Rylands V Fletcher that applies universally in the jurisdicition. I assume there will be instead a whole lot of private dispute resolving firms. But what is it that will force me to agree to come under the jurisdiction of any of those firms? Nothing really. So my neighbour is either going to have to get some thugs to threaten me for the money, organise the locals to shun me until I pay up, or just lump it. If I’m powerful he will lose out and if he is powerful he will probably make sure I pay double. Thus starts the state of war.
            If we are agreed that someone or some force has to compel (which is probably a better word than ”coerce”) people to accept adjudication or to settle their disputes in an orderly fashion, then we have a utilitarian justification for the State.

            But there are more justifications than that. I suspect that mankind enjoys the ritualistic aspect of government as well as the fellow feeling engendered by coming under the same dominion. This might account for the fact that there have been very few stateless societies since history began.

            I agree that the State should be as small as possible because it has a propensity to evil if its power to compel is used too broadly. Maybe my view on the State differs from the American libertarian tradition, because I live in a constitutional monarchy with a line of government that goes back a thousand years or more. The State for us is not some amorphous ”the people” but a kindly and shrewd great grandmother who sits above politics.
            God Save the Queen.
            BTW: even if authority does equal parasite, then in its limited form that authority is like the good bacteria that dwell in our digestive systems and make our lives much better.

          • John Howard

            Paragraphs and more paragraphs and yet you fail to address the question which is why should any person or group hold a monopoly on enforcement? Your reply simply continues to confuse law with enforcement so that you can continue claiming that a market in enforcement will result in a lack of consistent law. It continues to be a non-sequitur. Monopolies engender tyrannies and your parasitic “Granny” is hardly kindly.

          • Peter from Oz

            First of all as things currently stand there is no monopoly of enforcement of civil law. Have you got that? Then let me repeat it for you so it gets through: as things currently stand there is no monopoly of enforcement of civil law. The vast majority of civil disputes are resolved privately, via agreement, mediation or adjudication by a mutually agreed adjudicator found in the market.
            But if two parties cannot agree, then they have to be able to go to an arbiter who has the power to force them to obey the judgment handed down. The market cannot provide that service to society because the market is voluntary.
            If Jones shipped goods to Smith who only pays half the agreed price and refuses to pay more, they can solve their differences by getting a third party to adjudicate. Smith and Jones can pick any adjudicator they like, and the market will supply one.
            But what if Smith decides that he has the goods and doesn’t need to pay Jones the agreed price? Why would Smith agree to go before an adjudicator? Smith already has the advantage. The answer is that if Jones doesn’t go to the adjudicator, Jones will be able to appeal to a power that Smith cannot avoid, i.e. the courts.
            This proves why the State is necessary and why it must have the the power to enforce the laws which it makes.
            Your argument, so far as you have put forward any argument, seems to turn on some vague notion that there can be a market for enforcers. I suppose that means that anyone can set up as both judge and enforcer of judgments. Jones could go to any of the enforcers and get judgment against Smith. But wouldn’t Smith then have the right to go to another enforcer and get a rival judgment against Jones? The two enforcers would then end up fighting it out with pick-axe handles to determine who has the right to enforce its judgments. That way lies anarchy and Hobbes’s state of nature as a state of war.

          • John Howard

            Prior to entering into the transaction, Jones and Smith would agree on how to settle their differences were such to arise. They would understand beforehand the obvious problems that could arise – just as you have.

            Your arguments against the market are based upon a rather insulting view of everyone’s intelligence (save your own, of course). You state a rather easily solved problem, then assume that everyone (save you) would turn to axe handles to solve it in the absence of a gang of monopolizing parasites called government.

            Perhaps it makes you feel good to assume that all around you are potential Hobbesian savages, but it is you – who can only imagine monopoly as the solution to every problem – who is the savage.

          • Peter from Oz

            Things I did not say:
            1) Coercive monopoly is the solution to every problem
            2) Without the state everyone would turn to axe handles to solve their disputes
            3) All humans are savages?
            My view is that society needs a sovereign power that in the last resort can uphold the rule of law by compulsion. But 99% of the time that compulsion is not needed because people mostly settle their own disputes without recourse to litigation. The potency of the State supports this and creates the conditions in which the market can flourish. It also serves to ensure that the few savages among us will not be able to drag us into a Hobbesian State of War.
            All you offer as a counter-argument is some vague notion that the market will provide justice that is in some way not ”parasitic”. You also seem to envsion all people as wonderful geniuses living the simple life in many scattered Galt’s Gulches.
            And we haven’t even touched on the criminal law.
            Of course there are examples of free-enterprise enforcers of justice. One that comes to mind is the Mafia, which is not only a crime syndicate but also a body to which members of the local community can appeal for help in resolving disputes.

          • John Howard

            Things I did not say:
            1) All people are wonderful geniuses who are Any Rand fans.

            On the contrary, I tend to assume that most people are snide, condescending savages such as yourself, who favor hierarchy over equality because they feel that someone, not unlike themselves, must “run” society and create conditions in which free markets can flourish.

            However free markets do not need a ruling elite. Individual, self-interested market participants are fully capable of creating the market demand for whatever they need in the way of law enforcement, security, etc. Your picture of people as needing a “sovereign power” (a gang of parasites to be forced on them) rather than vendors offering services that they want, is a false picture.

            Your rhetorical game of picturing the little people turning to rioting and axe handles in the absence of big people of wisdom such as yourself to play the role of the adults is silly. The entire history of the globe is of those “big” people looting and feeding upon their subjects. It is you that has the fantasy: that there is such a thing as a ruler that is wise rather than parasitic. There never has been. There never will be. The rulers are not the big people – they are the little foolish parasites that live by looting. They do not provide justice – they don’t have to. They are not vendors, or servants. They are rulers, living by force. Nobody needs them, certainly not traders.

            As for criminal law, everyone has equal rights – to self defense and to hire security as they so choose. You, of course, will argue that unless such services are supplied by parasitic looters called the state, that they will not be supplied properly. There is no reason to believe such nonsense, but I don’t expect you to ever stop promoting violent, monopolistic authority.

            I’ll let you have the last word. I am done.

          • Peter from Oz

            The ironic thing of course is that we are arguing over such a small disagreement. As I have said continually, I want the State to be tiny. In other words I quite rightly share your aversion to the idea that wisdom resides in rulers. I certainly don’t care for political hierarchies.

            But what has amused me the most in this discussion is the vague notions you seem to have of the markets keeping order without the state. In your last post you speak of the market hiring security guards. I assume the market will also hire judges and jail-keepers. So whoever hires those people becomes the State. You really didn’t understand the mafia analogy did you?

  • Josh Smift

    Katherine Mangu-Ward said something recently on a Reason podcast that I really liked, I don’t have the exact quote but it was something like: One problem with defending free speech rights for everyone, even assholes, is that you attract a lot of assholes who have awful things to say.

    I don’t see an obvious way for libertarians to remain supportive of freedom, and not be at least somewhat compatible with people who want to use that freedom to be assholes. (And I think that’s mostly ok — we just need to speak out against them, and make it clear that their speech is *allowed*, but odious.)

    • Peter from Oz

      Yes, the left has a strange lust for equating any opposition to speech restriction as support for the sort of speech they want to restrict.
      But any sane person knows that lefties are to be ignored.

    • John Howard

      I would go further and stop agreeing with all the goody two shoes who claim that this or that speech is odious. Speech is just noise. It is absolutely harmless. It is easily dismissed when invalid. It is only insulting when taken seriously, but there is no obligation to take it seriously. Let it be and instead encourage everyone to smile and let speech happen without all these histrionics and deep psychic dramas.

      To give speech such power is the problem. Speech is only a problem for those who choose to have it be a problem for them. Choose not and it isn’t.

  • Dr J

    This is classic SJW bullying. No, Deist is not responsible for how other people react to his words. No, the alt-right’s opinions do not make them criminals. No, drawing the sympathies of the alt-right is not a crime for which Deist owes anyone restitution (by apologizing to no one in particular).

  • Albionic American

    It must put Hayekians in an awkward bind when they realize that the Alt Right has arisen organically and spontaneously, a product of human action but not of human design. A lot of alienated white people have independently come to similar conclusions about why their own society has become hostile to their interests because of their race, and they have sought each other out for community and support, often facing adverse consequences in their lives from doing so.

    I mean, you can’t blame the Alt Right as a product of social engineering, but you can characterize it as a healthy rejection of said social engineering, much like how libertarians reject economic central planning.

  • Rich Paul

    There *are* aspects of the Libertarian platform that unavoidable appeal to this sort. We are the ONLY political group, apart from the alt-right, which would allow them to express their opinions, no matter how much we may disagree with them. This point of appeal is a point of principle, as well, so we will never be able to completely purge our movement of this sort, except when they have a movement of their own. It is healthy that those who were attracted to Libertarianism only for this reason can leave us, now, for the alt-right, because they were never comfortable bedfellows.

    But the fact that this aspect of our philosophy may attract Nazi types does not make it, ipso facto, bad. Sometimes parts of the truth appeal to those we don’t much like.

  • Matheus Lima

    Well,its nice that u believe in a tolerant ”progressive libertarianism”,but We cant forget the fact that the majority of self described libertarians are right wingers,and because of this they probably will not fight against bigotry and not seeing a problem on it,or as happens many times,they are the bigots. All rights wingers are bad people and bigots? Of course,not. But its undeniable that the Right has a long history of racism,homophobia,etc. Will it change someday? I dont think so. And I just don’t understand why bleeding heart libertarians are not just progressives.I know u like free market,without government Intervening in economy,but progressives are not the bad guys who wants the government controling everything as the right likes to say; we just believe in individual freedom like you do and government helping the poor instead of helping the rich become richer with government benefits

    • ted.sonnier

      Progressives quite obviously do not believe in individual freedom, as Steve Horowitz’s argument against an individual’s freedom to be a racist, say, demonstrates.

      • Matheus Lima

        Yeah,because being a racist is a exemple of individual freedom haha only on right winger mind

        • ted.sonnier

          Try again. Racism, while unsavory, is not necessarily coercive. Libertarianism defends racism. It also defends being an ignorant, self-righteous jackass with a more-than-likely punchable, effeminate face. You ought to be thankful.

          • Matheus Lima

            Thats why libertarianism is stupid

          • ted.sonnier

            Then I don’t want to see you cluelessly opine on what individual liberty is again, because more than likely–after reading your latest offering–it is you who are stupid.

          • Matheus Lima

            If u really believe that raciss are more important than minorities (as u libertarians think) and dont see any stupidity on that so there are nothing I can do

          • ted.sonnier

            Shoo! You obviously don’t possess the reading comprehension to continue this tête-à-tête.

          • Matheus Lima

            libertarianism continues to be stupid

          • ted.sonnier

            He said, never mattering.

          • John Howard

            Wanting to be free of violence is stupid? Wanting gunslingers to rob the rich and give you some free money is smart?

          • Matheus Lima

            Its smart when u know that capitalists always took government money

          • John Howard

            You are now lying about libertarians.

          • Matheus Lima

            No,I am not. What did libertarians did for minorities ? Oh,yeah.Nothing

        • Theresa Klein

          I think the correct position for a libertarian is that being a racist is permissible but not just. One ought to treat other humans justly and humanely in ones personal interactions with them. In other words, it is immoral to be racist (or prejudiced in other ways). That doesn’t necessarily mean it ought to be illegal.

          • Matheus Lima

            If its immoral why mainstream libertarians never did nothing against racists?

          • Theresa Klein

            Some of us are trying.

          • Matheus Lima

            like who?

          • John Howard

            What would you have them do besides calling it stupid? They have all done that. And that’s enough.

          • Matheus Lima

            Done what? Supporting racists?

          • John Howard

            Do you have an example of libertarians supporting racists?

          • Matheus Lima
          • John Howard

            Still waiting to read anything racist. It appears you are telling us about racists supporting libertarians, not libertarians supporting racists.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            It is quite possible to believe that group difference are intractable/immutable, and that man is basically tribal, while still treating “other humans justly and humanely in ones (sic) personal interactions with them.” To take an extreme example, I have seen alt right poster boy Richard Spencer interviewed by folks of color. During such interactions Spencer tends to be unfailingly polite and gracious.

          • Theresa Klein

            I think treating other justly goes beyond merely being polite. It involves treating people as individuals, rather than making assumptions about them based on group characteristics. For instance, it would be unjust to have a blanket rule against hiring black people, on the assumption that if one believes that blacks are on average less intelligent, it’s easier and cheaper to just not hire any black people at all than to give each individual an equal chance. If you send me a resume and I toss it in the trash just because I think the name on it “sounds black”, I would be doing you an injustice.

          • John Howard

            No, that would not be an injustice, if we care about the word “justice”. For something to be unjust, there must be some harm involved. Not reading my resume is not a harm to me.

          • Theresa Klein

            do justice,
            to act or treat justly or fairly.
            to appreciate properly:
            to acquit in accordance with one’s abilities or potentialities:

            If someone prejudges someone on the basis of skin color, they are not appreciating them properly or acquiting them in accordance with their abilities or potentialities

            That’s pretty much a straightforward application to the idea of tossing your resume in the trash because I think name sounds black.
            It would be unjust of me to make the assumption that you can’t do the job based on what your name sounds like.

            And again, individuals do such injustices to each other all the time. Behaving justly towards other people involves refraining from prejudicial assumptions about them. You can blather all day about how being a bigot doesn’t harm people, but the vast majority of humans are going to get it – being a bigot is unjust as a matter of moral principle.

          • John Howard

            Obviously, my use of the term justice was in a legal context where harm is very relevant and you are now switching to another use of the word, where “just” simply means “for a good reason” (justified).

            Obviously it is not legally “unjust” for me to dislike you – for no good reason at all – as long as I do not harm you.

            Obviously, there is no moral principle that says I should like what you have decided I should like. Morality is not derived from your personal values. Morality begins with property and the idea of harm.

            Obviously, referring to the precise use of words as “blather” while you are busy word-gaming two of the meanings of the term “justice” is childish. Grow up.

    • John Howard

      If you believe in individual freedom, then you do not believe that government should help either the rich or the poor.

      However, there is the iron law of socialism: if you create a government to rob the rich and help the poor, the rich will buy the government and feed upon the poor. Always.

      You need to get rid of the mechanism of extortion and counterfeiting. It will always fall into the wrong hands.

      • Matheus Lima

        I believe in individual freedom and support government policies which help the poor. Its right wingers who are bought by the rich,dont blame socialists for what capitalists always did

  • DST

    I think it’s ironic that Horowitz and others here have spent the last few weeks criticizing Nancy McLean’s attempt to smear libertarians through tenuous connections to racism, and yet Horowitz here seems to try to do the same with right-libertarians and nazis. If this is what left-libertarians have to offer, then they are the bigger obstacles to the progress that Horowitz demands.

  • martinbrock

    Deist was likely responding to this article by Jeff Tucker at FEE. The article uses “blood and soil” frequently and never associates it with Nazis. He’s discussing Trump’s speech in Poland on virtues of “the West”, wherein, according to Tucker, he represents “the West” as a regional/ethnic constituency rather than a transportable proposition.

    On the contrary, according to Tucker, Trump’s appeal to Polish “blood and soil”, and Polish enthusiasm for the speech, was a tribute to the Warsaw Uprising and later resistance to impositions of the Soviet Union. Whether or not you agree with Tucker’s “portable idea” thesis, it’s certainly possible to use “blood and soil” referring to something other than Nazi sympathizers.

    • Theresa Klein

      Tucker is not explicitly mentioning the Nazis but he most certainly is assuming that his audience will get the reference. According to Tucker, Trump is (mis)representing the west as an ethnic constituency rather than a set of universalist principles, and he’s connecting that misrepresentation to the German ethnocentrism of the Nazis – by using the phrase “blood and soil”.

      • John Howard

        You seem to often be telling us all about what other people are secretly thinking and what their secret motives really are.

        • Sean II

          Lot of that going around.

          Someone says maybe we shouldn’t underestimate nationalism, pressure people to completely renounce centuries of extended kinship overnight, etc.

          The other guy hears Hitler screeching away to the accompaniment of Stuka sirens.

        • Theresa Klein

          It doesn’t take a lot of inference to read the words “blood and soil” and think “that’s a reference to Nazis”. It’s a pretty well known phrase to people who are familiar with the history of Nazi Germany.

          • John Howard

            And one of the definitions of “inference” – relevant here – is “guessing”. Do stop pretending to read minds, Sigmund, it makes you look like an intellectual amateur.

            “Blood and Soil” could just mean relatives and land – very high values for many – and not always, “Kill the Jews!”

      • martinbrock

        Ethnocentrism is hardly unique to Nazis or to Germans. Trump’s appeal to ethnocentrism in Poland is not an appeal to Nazis, and Tucker makes this point.

        “The West, in the way the speech rendered it, is not merely an idea, but a people, a nation unto itself, united by great achievements, including triumphs in great conflicts. For example, the speech recounted the remarkable heroism of those who resisted the Nazis in the Warsaw Uprising of 1943, and went further to celebrate the more recent resistance to Soviet occupation.”

        A people unified by great achievements, exemplified by the Warsaw Uprising, is hardly a people incorporating the Nazis, but for Tucker, regarding “the West” as a people and a place, this way, exemplifies “blood and soil”. For the Nazis, the German volk is another specification of “blood and soil”, but it’s a distinct specification.

        • Theresa Klein

          Here’s Tucker’s actual words: “there really is a difference between celebrating freedom and engaging in crude cultural chauvinism. There is a world of difference between the claim that freedom grows out of certain institutions (“the primordial thing,” said Ludwig von Mises, is “the idea of freedom from the state”) and claiming that it is rooted in blood and soil.”

          Now, if you know where the phrase “blood and soil” comes from, it’s pretty clearly a hint that people who DO think that freedom is rooted in “blood and soil” bear a more than passing resemblance to Nazis. In fact, Tucker is probably using those exact words BECAUSE he knows that Poles will get it – and he wants them to remember their history of opposition to the Nazis as opposition to the concept of nationalistic ethnocentrism.

          • martinbrock

            Tucker uses the phrase to denote “crude cultural chauvinism”, and Deist reacts to this characterization of people who value knowing where their grandparents are buried over rubbing noses with polished cultural elites (who can be every bit as chauvinistic).

            The phrase does not come from the Nazis. They appropriated it as a slogan. Must everyone also eschew “motherhood and apple pie”, because it frequents the lips of unsavory politicians?

  • Brasillach_

    Holocaust ignorance is a real problem? Bullshit. I’ll bet $2000 that your average American can better estimate the number of Jews who died in WW2 than they can the total dead in that conflict. Or how about we ask about the number of Poles who died?

    There’s an entire industry built around the Holocaust and most students leave high school with a perverted view of history in which we fought the Nazis to save the Jews. (Truth is far different; Churchill even went as far as to hide the fact of the death camps from the public, since he knew that the British people wouldn’t be very enthusiastic to make such huge sacrifices for Jews.)

    But let’s be real about libertarianism’s prospects. It’s alienating it’s traditional base of white males by trying to appeal to progressives and minorities. It’s completely emasculated. Really, if more libertarians went to the gym they’d be headed in a very reactionary direction.

  • Texian for Independence

    You left-libertarians and your endless moral outrage.

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  • Chris Baker

    While the author seems to be obsessed with Jews and Jew-bashing, he conveniently omits the fact that Rothbard was Jewish.

    • A. Alexander Minsky

      Rothbard was less than comfortable with his Jewishness. Remember the diminutive Austrian counted both Pat Buchanan and Joe Sobran among his close friends. And Rothbard may have been the only Jew in America to endorse David Duke’s electoral ambitions in the early 1990’s.

      • Sean II

        “Rothbard was less than comfortable with his Jewishness.”

        Rand even less so with hers. Barbara Branden, who otherwise gives a fair shake, reports a few explicitly anti-Semitic remarks slipping out between late night puffs of smoke.

        • A. Alexander Minsky

          Rand was, however, a vociferous supporter of Israel. Rothbard, by contrast, never seemed to meet an “anti-Zionist” with whom he was incapable of breaking bread. This included Black Panthers on the left, and paleocons from the right.

          • Sean II

            True, although with Rand one suspects her support for Israel owed less to a fondness for fellow Jews, and more to a strong dislike of those mozzlem meesticks.

            For if believing the Old Testament is bad in her book, surely dressing like it must have been worse.

        • John Howard

          If “anti-Semitic” means racist, then you are wrong. If it means critical of the Jewish (religious) culture, then you are right.

  • Theresa Klein

    The rise of the alt-right signals the end of the right-libertarian alliance.
    Hopefully, since the alternative is that libertarianism is no longer libertarian, but just another collectivist philosophy – and the very one that Nancy MacLean and the progressives think it is – an excuse for the maintainance of white privilege.

    • John Howard

      I have predicted for some time that the very term, “libertarian” will, indeed, be taken over by collectivists. Collectivists are parasites even in language; their syllogism is: everything belongs to everyone / the politicians represent everyone / therefore everything belongs to the politicians. They currently refer to themselves as “liberals” because they stole that term from a previous generation of freedom lovers.

      Collectivists are liars and word-gamers as Orwell so clearly recognized. They never play fair rhetorically. They think of groups, not individuals (or ‘classes’ as the Marxists prefer). Their philosophy is quite simple to learn so it appeals to the simple minded:

      Rich people bad; poor people good
      Employers bad; employees good
      White people bad; colored people, oops, black people, oops African Americans, oops, people-of-color good
      Corporations bad; mom ‘n pops good
      men bad; women good
      adults bad; children good
      humans bad; animals good
      inventions bad; nature good
      individuals bad; groups good (except white males – see above)
      free speech bad; liberal pc good

      Collectivists are parasites. As they see the world, they either rule over others or die. They will never give up. Their chief strategy is to set group against group, one as oppressor, the other as victim, then tax and rule both voraciously, in the name of keeping the peace. Their ideas are so bad, that control of speech is very important to them.

      Freedom is horrifying to them because it means others will be free – of them.

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  • The Future of Liberalism and the Politicization of Everything
    By Samuel Hammond
    (Niskanen Center, Jan. 25, 2017)

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  • Recognizing a fact doesn’t mean liking it or approving of it. He might have used better wording, but the fact remains, regardless.

  • DisqusStealsYourPrivacy

    What promotes the self-interest for white people: joining or opposing the alt-right movement?

  • Phoenix Rises

    Steve Horwitz sounds too hebrew/biased to my taste.

    There was a massive turnover in these movements, and there’s no return, there was a fracture. They expelled the jews out to sort things out… Isisrael, forced immigration, and other stuff that the JEWS aren’t able to cope with.

  • UF6

    Ironic that you would use Ludwig von Mises, since he supported Italian fascism as a means to suppress anything he hated.

  • PlainOldTruth

    In tribute to Mieses I’m making a donation to the Gulag Archipelago Museum of the History of Marxian Genocide. … late … Ooops, does not exist. Nor does anything like it. The victims of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pot, etc., etc. apparently are second rate genocide victims.

  • Avis McAdoo

    It’s a NAZI slogan… He’s using NAZI dog whistles… He can’t say that because NAZIS might like it… But I didn’t call him a NAZI!!! STOP ABUSING ME ON FACEBOOK!! WAAAHH!!! OY VEY!!!

    Strawmen, false history, all around intellectual dishonesty. In other worda, standard issue left-libertarian. Or left-anything.

    For all the whining about Nazis and the alt-right, the great irony here is that if Hitler were alive today and writing Mein Kampf as an e-book, he could link to this column as an illustration of his famous passage about arguing with Jews.

  • a Texas libertarian

    “Instead of this sort of nonsense [culture, kinship and tradition], we need to recapture libertarianism’s progressive roots in the liberal movement of the 19th century.” – Horwitz

    This pretty much tells you all you need to know about Horwitz. No real libertarian wants anything to do with Progressivism.

  • a Texas libertarian

    “Hans-Hermann Hoppe, long associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute as well as a panoply of racists and anti-Semites, is perhaps the most popular gateway drug for the alt-right incursion into libertarianism… …That phrase, whatever Deist’s intent, would be very attractive to many among the alt-right, including neo-Nazis and other racists and anti-Semites.” – Horwitz

    Why must you always say anti-Semites after you say racists? Doesn’t the latter term include the former? Is it somehow more of a social sin to be racist against Jews as against other races? Do you think Jews are superior to all other races and somehow deserve to be mentioned separately? And we ‘blood and soil’ libertarians are supposed to be the racist ones. Tisk tisk!

    “the invocation of “blood and soil” as something that libertarians should recognize as a valid concern and should appeal to should be chilling… phrase…was at the core of their justification for eliminating those people who did not have connections to the German homeland.” – Horwitz

    I’m willing to bet that Jeff Deist used that phrase as a direct response to Jeffrey Tucker’s prior use of it in an article extolling the virtues of libertarian universalism and denouncing the idea that culture might actually matter when it comes to achieving liberty. Here is the order of precedence of the debate.

    May 29th – Deist (no mention of “blood and soil”)

    July 8th – Tucker (mentions “blood and soil” to smear self determination crowd)

    July 28th – Deist (mentions “blood and soil” as a direct response to Tucker and Horwitz’s universalism)

    “Perhaps Deist didn’t know all of that. If so, one would expect a decent person to immediately apologize for using that phrase that way in that context.” – Deist

    Perhaps you haven’t been paying attention, but when it comes to hurting the feelings of the bleeding hearts on the Left, it is never helpful to apologize. So we don’t… ever. Get used to it.

    ” I have been in the middle of several Facebook debates over that phrase and Deist’s talk, and I’ve taken quite a bit of abuse from fans of the Mises Institute.” – Horwitz

    Horwitz is good at acting like the victim in all this, but it is he that has initiated much of the controversy in attacking Ron Paul’s legacy and the Mises Institute.

    For a quick rundown of this fiasco, see Shane Trejo’s post at the Liberty Conservative.

    “Although Horwitz compares “blood and soil” libertarianism to Nazism, he has no problem standing for “blood and soil” when it comes to the state of Israel. Horwitz is an avid Zionist, and sees no hypocrisy in his reflexive defense of nationalism and ethnic pride when defending his beloved Jewish state.” – Trejo

    The sad reality is that there is a war going on to discredit the Mises Institute and all those associated with it, but mostly Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, Jeff Deist, and Tom Woods. CATO, the Libertarian Party, and other sycophantic liberal-tarian organizations are desperate for the approval and acceptance of the liberal dominated establishment and the Kochs, so they smear the one powerful institution (which the entire elite establishment hates) dedicated to real freedom and the unvarnished truth.