Libertarianism, Democracy

Pining for Murderous Dictators is not the Path to Liberty

You’d think the statement in my title should be obvious, but if you were wondering why it’s been so easy for so many supposed libertarians to flip over to the alt-right, you might consider the recent Facebook post of Lawrence Reed, the president of the Foundation for Economic Education, the oldest of the free-market think tanks. Larry, who I’ve known for decades and have always respected, tagged a story on business closures in Venezuela with the following: “Venezuela desperately needs a Hayek right now. Short of that, how about a Pinochet?”

As I said on Facebook, I don’t even know what to say about this given my long association with FEE and respect for the work they and Larry have done. I deeply want to believe that it’s a really bad attempt at humor, yet nowhere in that original Facebook thread does Larry give any indication that he was making a horrible joke. Given the pushback he’s getting there, it would have been very easy for him to try to back out with that excuse, but it’s not there. Not only that, he explicitly argues for “helicopter dropping” Maduro.  Sure doesn’t sound like someone who is joking.

Even as really misguided humor, Larry’s remark fails in several important ways that are worth noting explicitly:

1. The liberal tradition in which FEE sits has always rejected dictatorships and authoritarians. In fact, as co-blogger Jacob noted on Facebook, this is an excellent example of the broken relationship that modern libertarianism has with democracy.  A more sophisticated and serious understanding of democracy, even seeing it as a necessary marriage of convenience, but a marriage nonetheless, would help libertarians avoid saying things like this.

2. In one post, Larry has undermined years of hard work by libertarian academics to come to a more nuanced understanding of the whole Hayek-Pinochet relationship and why it’s been very much overblown by the left. The juxtaposition of Hayek and Pinochet opens up that whole can of worms and gives more ammunition to those who think “See? Libertarians really are fascists in disguise.” To say that’s not helpful is the understatement of the year.

3. Some of the harshest pushback has come, not surprisingly, from the Latin American freedom movement. Those folks have worked very hard to advance real liberty and democracy, and they have taken pains to try to distance their views from charges of being American imperialists or lackeys for the Latin American right wing. Larry’s post undermined that work in ways that they should be rightly enraged about.

4. Much has been written about the supposed libertarianism to alt-right pipeline and how easy it appears for people to pass through the former on their way to the latter, and in some cases not quite leaving their libertarianism behind. (See for example this NY Times piece.) Larry’s post is an example of how this sort of thing can happen. What else can one say when the president of a major libertarian think tank suggests that dictatorship is the solution to the problems created by socialism? Does he not think that young people, who are now FEE’s explicit target audience, are paying attention?

5. I shouldn’t be all that surprised by this development given the tone of a recent fundraising letter I got from FEE. In explaining how America was going down the tubes, and why FEE was important in saving it from that fate, the groups bearing the plurality of the blame for our problems were left-wing college professors and their snowflake students. The only reference to Trump was a throwaway line about how “Trump has not been a perfect president, but…” That the Foundation for Economic Education could not take the time to mention Trump’s economic nationalism, his crony capitalism, and his trashing of the Constitution as relevant factors in the the problems we face and how those should be issues on which classical liberals speak out loudly and forcefully says everything one needs to know about the apparent direction and priorities of FEE.  It’s clear who and what they are trying to appeal to, and it’s not the liberalism of Mises and Hayek, not to mention Leonard Read and Henry Hazlitt. The libertarian movement cannot be premised on hating the left more than we care about preserving the institutions of a free society, no matter who is violating them.

6. Finally, given FEE’s recent emphasis on morality and character under Larry’s leadership, this apparent (even if done as a really bad joke) defense of Pinochet becomes the libertarian version of Roy Moore and Al Franken. It’s apparently okay to overlook all the disappearances, murders, and violations of human rights if you think the guy somehow preserved the “free market.” Even if that were true (and it’s not), maybe one day the libertarian movement will mature enough to realize that “liberty” is not totally subsumed under “property rights,” and that other forms of human rights and freedoms matter just as much. It’s precisely the focus on private property rights as the be all and end all  (says the economist) that is one big factor behind the libertarianism to alt-right pipeline. It’s why the subject of the NY Times profile linked above is still talking about Rothbard and Hoppe and anarcho-capitalism even as he’s gone full Nazi.

This is one of the hardest BHL posts I’ve ever written because of my long-standing relationship with and respect for FEE and Larry. However, too many things in recent months have added up in a way that concerns me deeply about the organization and its commitment to the classical liberal ideas of its founders and that attracted me to it as a young scholar. Again, like Moore and Franken, we cannot, as libertarians, let “our own” off the hook when they do things like this because we think there’s something to be saved in the bigger picture. Larry’s post was a horrible mistake with deeply illiberal consequences, even if he didn’t intend them. I hope he and the rest of the leadership at FEE can see the mistake that’s been made here and respond in ways that restore the confidence in the organization that this has cost them, as one glance at social media will indicate.

FEE was too important in keeping the flame of liberty alive in the intellectual dark hours of the 1940s and 50s to see that flame extinguished when the darkness has returned not as an intellectual threat but as an existential political one.

[Addendum: Larry has issued the following apology.

MY APOLOGIES: Yesterday I posted a piece on Venezuela on my page here with an introductory statement that some have taken as endorsing certain things, or everything, that Augusto Pinochet ever did. I can see by my quick and careless wording how that impression may have been conveyed. It certainly was not my intent, though I freely admit fault in not making it clearly so. Some have also been offended that I referenced Hayek in the same post because, as I would readily and eagerly argue myself, Hayek would never have approved of Pinochet. I did not intend to imply that he would have, and I apologize for not realizing that one could get that impression. I think the answer to Venezuela’s problems is to embrace Hayek, not to embrace another strong-man dictatorship. In the way of explanation, whether you accept it or not, my thinking at the time was of some of Pinochet’s economic policies that proved to be far superior to what Venezuela is experiencing today. But the best way to get to good policies is never to take a chance on a dictatorship; it is, rather, to embrace good ideas, which is what I’ve always believed. So, sorry for the poorly worded post and thanks if you pointed out in good faith that I made a mistake.]

  • jm15xy

    However, sometimes “real liberty and democracy” means irresponsible and corrupt mob rule. For example, when left-wing populists gain power with razor-thin majorities and then set out to increase public spending, nationalize industries, give unions public money, increase inflation, and change the political system to entrench themselves in power.

    Non-democratic rule is not necessarily a dictatorship. A rigged election system can be stable and keep the wrong sort of people out of power where they can do no harm.

    • Frederick

      Or indeed it could put the wrong sort of people in power.

    • George-Llewellyn Rockwell

      Completely arbitrary and useless distinction – ‘the wrong sort of people’.
      The only good politician/cop/bureaucrat is a dead one.

    • Happy_wanderer

      Surely a rigged election is like a government rigged market? The whole point of left wing governments is to enact exactly those policies. If they don’t work out, democracy takes their power away.

      What you’re proposing is pretty un-libertarian.

  • martinbrock

    Endless “jokes” about throwing people from helicopters send mixed signals about libertarians, to say the least, but Al Franken’s mock groping is not in the same category. That’s not a double standard for “our side”. Conflating murderous authoritarianism with subjective standards of what’s funny vs. offensive is not my idea of libertarian consistency.

  • Alpha Dogg

    Steve, I’ve become disillusioned with many current Libertarians for exactly the summary you posted. I feel many of them were not truly ever Libertarians, but more of just seething mass of leave-me-aloners. Easily frustrated, they now each think that the only way they can get the world to work exactly their way is to force themselves upon it. They have all drifted into 50 shades of authoritarianism. it’s been demoralizing to watch.

    • @nsmartinworld

      Agreed. The great libertarian intellectuals are gone and the converts read little more than web pages.

    • Octavian

      When were the glory days of libertarian intellect, and do you imagine the ‘great libertarians of old’ would share your love of net neutrality and other government control over the economy?

  • HermanStone

    Serious question: Whould you have reacted this way if instead Reed had written, “Venezuela desperately needs a Hayek right now. Short of that, how about a Khrushchev?”

  • Sean II

    1) Liberal democracies are preferable to right wing juntas/dictatorships.

    2) Right wing juntas/ dictatorships are preferable to socialist revolutions. They kill fewer people, and almost never starve or impoverish them. No big mystery why: it takes a lot less violence to perpetuate the status quo than it does to create a New Man or make a Great Leap Forward, etc.

    3) Sometimes nations have to choose between second best options.

    Both 1) and 2) are empirically true. Both are robustly replicated.

    3) is the sort of thing that should be obvious to any adult.

    Steve seems to think it’s okay to say true thing 1) but somehow not okay to say true thing 2) in light of obvious thing 3).

    My position, as usual: why can’t we say ALL of the true things?

    • HermanStone

      I think you can tell something about motives by what does and doesn’t get condemned. Milton Friedman never got much grief for giving free market advice to communist countries. But he writes a couple letters to Pinochet, and suddenly he’s a closet facist.

      • Sean II

        Yes, and of course we worry about that to court an alliance with the people who either openly admired or obligingly overlooked Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Castro, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and Chavez.

        “We have to clearly denounce this killer of 2,500 or the people who never denounced these killers of a combined 100,000,000 won’t like us.”

        It’s worth the trouble to read Steve’s message twice. At times he sounds like a high-minded preacher demanding purity for the faith. At other times he sounds like the would-be seducer of a prominent widow hissing “Don’t you dare ruin this for me!” at an inconvenient old friend.

        It’s an odd mix of moralizing and marketing strategy.

        • Your other comment inspired me to review the last several Horwitz posts here. It’s odd to see him alternating between wagging his finger at some libertarians for sounding like fascists on the one hand, and then extensively criticizing Nancy MacLean for suggesting that libertarians are fascists on the other hand.

          What does it take to hold both of those beliefs simultaneously?

          • Stewart Dompe

            It only takes recognizing that MacLean is calling the wrong libertarian a fascist. There is no contradiction.

          • The contradiction, which I have asked him about on his Facebook, is that his standards for what constitutes a “libertarian fascist” are almost as flimsy as MacLean’s, even though he was one of the loudest voices against MacLean’s unfair criticism of his wing of the free market movement. I consider his criticism of Jeff Deist and other Mises people to be just as unfair.

          • Sean II

            You might be interested to know: I tried several times during the various MacLean threads to get Buchanan’s defenders here to state a definition of racist that would actually exclude him.

            They never did, of course.

          • Right. Not Buchanan, but Lawrence Reed! Now I get it…

    • Sergio Méndez

      “2) Right wing juntas/dictatorships are preferable to socialist revolutions.”

      Of course. I was expecting the usuall shitty post trying to defend right wing dictatorships, and you didn´t disapoint me. But then, 2 is just simply false, so 3) is just bullshit.

      • Peter from Oz

        SO you’d rather have socialists killing lots of people and slowly taking away all their freedoms and running the economy into the ground?

    • Tantalus

      You got any evidence you want to cite for 2?
      I’d prefer a systematic methodology that considers a range of regions and time periods (understandably limited by socialism not existing prior to a certain point).

      Because right now you look like so many right libertarians who go on and on about theory and things that are “true” who don’t know how to produce (let alone interpret) empirical evidence.

      • Sean II

        How are the comparisons I listed “theory”?

        They’re historical cases.

        Pretty nearly the exact opposite of the kind of a priori libertarian bullshit you’re describing.

        What’s more empirical than “Mao killed 45 million”, etc?

        Nothing theoretical about it.

        • Tantalus

          Nothing theoretical about “Right wing juntas/dictatorships kill fewer people than socialist revolutions”? (and no statement about how you measured how many they killed?)

          Please, show me the data! Show me your methodology!
          We’re all empiricists here after all!
          …right?

          • Sean II

            Please read the entire thread before commenting.

          • Tantalus

            I’ve read every comment on this article, I still haven’t seen you reference any methodology for collecting data, or the data collected.

            Perhaps you can show me where you did that?

            (If you don’t like it when people ask you to provide evidence, even as little as a link to one of your own comments, just choose any word to describe maybe try to describe your arguments as something other than empirical?)

          • Sean II

            You need a link to know that Mao killed 45 million people, etc?

            That’s what Google is for.

            That’s also what college is for, come to think of it. Anyone with a 1st world education and an interest in politics should have well-established facts like these stored in their head.

            I mean, if you’ve heard of Pol Pot, it’s actually hard NOT to know that he killed 2 million people from a base population of 8 million.

            Many people know ONLY this about him. It’s the reason why he’s famous.

            And so on through the list.

            Anyway if you don’t know things at this level of common knowledge, stop commenting and start reading.

          • Tantalus

            No, I need to know what methodology you used to reach the conclusion:
            “[Right wing dictators] kill fewer people, and almost never starve or impoverish them.”

            If you’re answer is “That’s what google is for” I don’t think you’re making an empirical argument. Period. IF you reached this conclusion through an empirical process you’d be able to explain that process to me — and I’d be able to repeat it.
            Right now your suggestion is: “google it”
            But I can’t tell which right wing dictators you’re including and excluding from your analysis (assuming you actually did any analysis).
            Are you counting the atrocities in the Congo under Leopold II (1-15 million reduction in population) as under a right wing dictator after the advent of socialism?
            Are you saying they kill fewer per capita, or overall? And have you considered how the population concentration in East and South Asia biases those considerations?

            Can you even just outline how you reached your conclusion that right wing Juntas kill fewer than socialist revolutions?
            Because right now I can’t tell it apart from backwards justifying from your theory that: “it takes a lot less violence to perpetuate the status quo than it does to create a New Man or make a Great Leap Forward”
            which is a statement that I’d like to examine the empirical support for.

            P.s. I think there is likely empirical support for Right wing dictators have been responsible for fewer famines in the 20th century than socialist ones, but I still don’t know how you reached even that limited conclusion.

          • Sean II

            What’s hard about this? The method is simple.

            Step 1 – Make two lists: right wing tinpots vs left wing crackpots.

            Step 2 – Count the dead from their various democides.

            Step 3a – Total your columns for the combined score. Absolute numbers matter when murder is involved.

            Step 3b – Compare specific death tolls to available population. This gets you the relative impacts.

            Step 3c – Compare specific pairs chosen for regional or demographic similarity. This lets you control for at least the big and obvious confounds.

            Step 3D – Do withing country comparisons for places which went from one kinds of dictatorship to another.

            But then this is all clearly implied in my various comments. Anyone who wanted to could figure it out.

            You could hardly be confused if you weren’t trying to be.

  • Ordinarily I’d just file this under “Steve Horwitz indignant over Facebook post, news at 11,” but he’s written something so personal that I have to wonder: What steps did he take to find out for himself what Reed meant, and why isn’t he reporting on that conversation instead of just writing a brief objection and feeling sad?

    Does Horwitz ever take the time to understand a person’s position before cutting long-standing ties? I get the impression that there is more going on here than meets the eye. Indignation is cheap and easy. What is the rest of the story?

    • Steve Horwitz

      Oh please.

      First of all, ties were cut long before this post.

      Second, it’s not my job to find out what he meant. It’s his responsibility as a communicator to make that clear. If you read his original Facebook post, where he wants to toss Maduro out a helicopter and makes no attempt to apologize or explain in detail or indicate it was some kind of joke, the only reasonable interpretation is that he meant what he said. He had ample opportunity to clarify before I said a word about this, so no sale.

      And I love FEE. I have worked with them for almost 20 years in a variety of capacities. The events that led to my wanting to move on have added up over a period of time. This was not a rash decision made today. And to assume that this is personal rather than about my deep concern about a libertarian organization appearing to endorse a dictatorship tells me a lot more what’s wrong with you as a critic than it does about me and my relationship with FEE.

      • I’m not sure what you think you’ve managed to conclude about me as a critic, nor why. You explicitly wrote about how this matter affected you deeply and personally. I didn’t make that up, I’m trying to understand you. It might not be your job to understand someone, but uh… Since when are we obligated only to do our jobs in life, and nothing more? I think you might be happier if you tried to understand rather than react with so much indignation, but that’s just my opinion. Sometimes our slower, less emotional reactions prove more constructive in the end.

        I hope my saying so doesn’t cause you to draw even more negative conclusions about me as a critic, but I can’t really control that. I can only hope that we mutually seek to understand each other.

        • King Goat

          “I can only hope that we mutually seek to understand each other.”

          That’s why you started the conversation with “Ordinarily I’d just file this under “Steve Horwitz indignant over Facebook post, news at 11,” of course…

      • Sean II

        1) “Second, it’s not my job to find out what he meant. It’s his responsibility as a communicator to make that clear.”

        First of all, that’s wrong. Communication is a reciprocal affair. You’re supposed to apply effort in both phases, push and pull. If someone says “hot enough for you?” on a late November day, you don’t come back and correct him “no, actually it’s not.” You peek through the irony and realize he’s trying to call attention to how cold it is. That’s a simple example, but the principle becomes even more important as communications become more complex.

        Second, you’d be wrong in this instance even if you were right in the general case. If a communicator is indeed responsible for his communication, then you acquired a responsibility to know what Reed was talking about, the minute you decided to write and publish a post about him.

        2) “If you read his original Facebook post, where he wants to toss Maduro out a helicopter and makes no attempt to apologize or explain in detail or indicate it was some kind of joke, the only reasonable interpretation is that he meant what he said…I love FEE. I have worked with them for almost 20 years in a variety of capacities…”

        Those sound funny together, don’t they? “I’ve never these people for 20 years” + “I had nothing to go on but this one comment! I had to judge the man on what he said in this instance alone.”

        Why though? If you had a 20 year relationship worth of context, you should have been able to weigh this bit in that balance.

        3) “And to assume that this is personal rather than about my deep concern about a libertarian organization appearing to endorse a dictatorship…”

        I don’t what Ryan assumed, but your record suggests a tendency to get emotional and overstate your case. Which is not remotely the same thing as sincere concern for liberty. In fact it’s rather self-indulgent. Go back and read some post from earlier in the year, specifically “Liberalism in the Balance” and “It’s Not a Thought Experiment Anymore”. Those haven’t aged well. They look pretty histrionic today. They’re probably going to look even more so with time.

        So if someone – Ryan or anyone else – assumed you were having another one of those spasms, maybe leaning into a bit of moral theater, etc., they wouldn’t be without basis. You’ve been known to do that.

        • I’m trying to place myself in Horwitz’s shoes here. If someone I’ve known for 20 years said something objectionable on Facebook, my first reaction would be to reach out to my dear friend and try to learn more about what was behind the comment. Indeed, I’ve done this a time or two over the years. This is just the way I react to these situations. I realize Horwitz is entitled to his own approach, but man. I always try to give my friends and acquaintances a chance to elaborate before I shame them in a public forum.

          Now that Reed has apologized, Horwitz has a chance to mediate his tone a little, or something. Something. I hope he does so.

          • Sean II

            All of which reminds me: sometimes people with serious brain injuries will go undiagnosed for years because their loved ones assumed a moral explanation instead of seeking a medical one.

            You might have a guy with 35 years of productive work and a loving family who gets frontotemporal dementia and starts behaving strangely – at first maybe it’s creepy sex jokes, then he starts stealing food off your plate, after a while he’s hoarding linoleum, eating nothing but green Skittles, and scaring the shit out of everyone with angry outbursts.

            Most people see these changes and say “something must be wrong with pops, let’s take him to the doctor”.

            But sometimes a family will just write the old fucker off, thinking “I guess dad up and turned himself evil, you know how people do”.

            There’s a neuro guy who calls this “The Overlook Syndrome”. Clever!

            Anyway I’m not saying we should call for a head CT anytime a libertarian says anything weird.

            But I am saying we should probably do that before concluding they’re a fascist mole.

            That kinda feels like it should be a last resort rather than a first pass.

        • DST

          You weren’t kidding about those pieces not aging well. He unironically refers to Trump as Cheeto Mussolini in more than one post. I think the wave of libertarian-alt-right axis-of-evil articles are just the result of many left-libertarians catching Trump Derangement Syndrome from progressives. (What are the health and safety protocols at those cocktail parties, by the way?). The more left-libertarians make themselves look like fools like this, the more comfortable I am that I’m not the kind of crypto-fascist that they want to paint most libertarians as.

          • Sean II

            Did you notice how he broke his own rule?

            If it’s bad to joke about Pinochet and helicopter rides, then it should also be bad to trivialize Mussolini by mixing his name with a silly gag about spray tanning.

      • Watson444

        Here is my opinion as a plain vanilla, Milton Friedman classical liberal.

        Reed doesn’t call Pinochet a libertarian or a good guy, just preferable to Maduro, just like Pinochet was preferable to Allende. There is no in between for a libertarian on that. Marxism is a human rights violation. BTW, Hayek did actively support Pinochet. You can spend five seconds using Google.

        Maduro needs to go. It is completely moral to assassinate Maduro. It doesn’t matter that he was elected. He is a tyrant and the suffering he is causing can’t be excused.

  • Incidentally, Reed has posted this on his Facebook account:

    MY APOLOGIES: Yesterday I posted a piece on Venezuela on my page here with an introductory statement that some have taken as endorsing certain things, or everything, that Augusto Pinochet ever did. I can see by my quick and careless wording how that impression may have been conveyed. It certainly was not my intent, though I freely admit fault in not making it clearly so. Some have also been offended that I referenced Hayek in the same post because, as I would readily and eagerly argue myself, Hayek would never have approved of Pinochet. I did not intend to imply that he would have, and I apologize for not realizing that one could get that impression. I think the answer to Venezuela’s problems is to embrace Hayek, not to embrace another strong-man dictatorship. In the way of explanation, whether you accept it or not, my thinking at the time was of some of Pinochet’s economic policies that proved to be far superior to what Venezuela is experiencing today. But the best way to get to good policies is never to take a chance on a dictatorship; it is, rather, to embrace good ideas, which is what I’ve always believed. So, sorry for the poorly worded post and thanks if you pointed out in good faith that I made a mistake.

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1954360377925197&id=202924809735438

    • Sean II

      Cool, when do we get an apology from the other side for being a bunch of breathless pearl clutchers who looked at the Left’s fratricidal outrage culture and thought “now there’s a model worth copying”?

  • @nsmartinworld

    Good except for the misunderstanding of property rights. All rights are based on property, starting with self-ownership. Madison explained concisely.

    http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch16s23.html

    • Tantalus

      I don’t think that’s what Madison says.
      In my read, he is making an argument to people who believe in property rights (or a government role in securing private property — like many modern libertarians, yourself likely included) that they should also support government protection of options and the expression of them, and other rights for the same reason.
      He’s not saying that this is the only possible explanation for rights — quite the opposite as he several times refers to hypothetical governments that secure property (in the narrow first definition he provides sense) but violate individual rights.

      • @nsmartinworld

        Yes, Madison says it is the duty of government to secure property rights, including self-ownership.

        “In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them.

        “He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them.

        “He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person.

        “He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them.”

        In his Address at the Virginia Convention Madison said,

        “It is sufficiently obvious, that persons and property are the two great subjects on which Governments are to act; and that the rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. These rights cannot well be separated.”

        • Tantalus

          »These rights cannot well be separated.«
          Sounds pretty different than “individual rights are a subset of property rights” to me.
          I really think he’s just saying you can’t have maximum liberty in property rights without protecting individual rights — which is distinct from saying individual rights are an extension of property rights.
          I can see how people who only believe in property rights could be convinced by Madison to institute a government that protects individual rights … but he doesn’t prove their prior.
          I actually interpret the reading you linked as consistent with the idea that Madison thought preserving individual rights was even more important than preserving property rights. (property being used in the narrow definition he first uses).

          • @nsmartinworld

            Not that individual rights are an extension of property rights. They are the most fundamental property rights. Madison’s essay was, after all, about property, not rights.

  • jm15xy

    “What else can one say when the president of a major libertarian think tank suggests that dictatorship is the solution to the problems created by socialism?”

    Democratic policymaking requires building consensus or at least majorities. Therefore, reforms are gradual and made by compromise. But, in a society that has descended into chaos because of socialism, stopping the crisis requires action and overcoming opposition from supporters of socialism. Non-democracy can overcome opposition from unions, guerrilla groups, and others and dismantle a socialist state —something that could not be done by democratic voting.

  • DST

    I have a hard time understanding your outrage unless I assume that you view Maduro as something less than a dictator himself. Viewing Venezuela as a properly functioning democracy seems untenable in light of the long accumulation of power to the president by Maduro and Chavez, as well as the recent election rigging by Maduro. If Maduro *is* a dictator, then a switch to a Pinochet-type figure would be a lateral move in regard to political rights, but would be a step up in terms of economic rights, for a net increase in rights. To maintain your position, then, you’d have to place significantly more value on democratic participation than on economic freedom, which is a weird position for a libertarian to take.

    • Sergio Méndez

      Actually, I agree Maduro is a dictator himself. I wouldn´t mind an action to take down a dictator. What I don´t understand is why people like you think it is ok to replace on dictator with another (just because the new dictator is right wing?) Is so easy to see thru the mask of faux libertarianism you people put on , and clearly apreciate the horrible fascist face you people really have!

      • DST

        1. Do you think one dictator can be better or worse than another? Do you think moving from living in China under Mao circa 1962 or in Ukraine under Stalin circa 1932 (to pick an extreme example) to living under Pinochet would improve your life, make it worse, or have no difference?

        2. Yes, I am a terrible fascist who wants to maximize individual freedom for everyone! Look at me, fascisting all over the place!

        • Sean II

          If libertarianism were a pentecostal church, Sergio would be that guy who starts aisle dancing WAY too early in the service.

          That boy got the spirit in him!

        • Sergio Méndez

          1. Yes, I think some dictators can be better than other. I just don’t think the only alternative to one dictator is another. That is just plain idiotic.

          2. Indeed, you are.

          • DST

            1. You’ve now agreed with what I’ve said, and disagreed with something I’ve never said. I think you’re arguing with a phantom, and getting all worked up in the process. I never said that dictators were preferable to democratically elected politicians, just that some dictators were preferable to to others, which you’ve now admitted. See, we can have meaningful discussions without resorting to childless, ignorant name calling…

            2. …oh, dear.

          • Sergio Méndez

            1. Please, don´t play games with me here. You and the other creeps who comment in this page and pretend to pass as libertarians, are trying to justify support for Reed´s comments in asking for a Pinochet in Venezuela. Even you pretend Pinochet is better than Maduro, it is still idiotic from your part pretending the only solution to one dictator is another dictator. If you had any shred of decency and integrity, you wouldn´t be calling or making apologies for any form of dictatorship, even as a “second best alternative”.

          • DST

            Your lack of reading comprehension prevents this discussion from being productive.

          • Sergio Méndez

            You mean, your lack of honesty and decency. But i didn’t expect to have a productive discussion with fascists disguising as libertarians in any case.

          • Watson444

            Why are you calling that guy a fascist? I don’t come from the alt-right or the Rockwell wing or any other deplorable wing. I am a classical liberal. The reality is Pinochet was preferable to Allende and would be preferable to Maduro. Economic freedom is freedom. It is the most important component of freedom. I am disappointed to see Steve Horwitz say otherwise. I would MUCH prefer living in a country like Singapore that restricts civil liberties but has economic freedom to a socialist country like Portugal that has stronger civil liberties.

            I don’t see anyone here glorifying Pinochet. Life loses meaning if you don’t have the ability to trade and produce. Maduro and Allende caused shortages and economic chaos. The alternative to Allende wasn’t Thomas Jefferson. It was a strongman who took care of the greater threat which was Marxism.

          • Sergio Méndez

            First, you still are making this a false dichotomy between a left wing and right wing dictatorship, so you can get away with Reed´s comparison and apology of Pinochet. Second, it is more than discussable than “economic freedom is the most important freedom”. As for your comparison,. I rather live in a socialist country like Sweden, that has high standards of living and defends individual liberties, than in any of your capitalists paradises like Singapur

          • Watson444

            There are zero examples of left wing dictatorships making life better for the average person. Singapore and Chile would be examples of right wing dictatorships where life improved for the average person.

            Sweden isn’t a very good example of socialism. I would still prefer Singapore to Sweden but better examples would be Portugal or France for this discussion. http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking

            Economic Freedom Rankings
            17. United States
            18. Denmark
            19. Sweden

          • King Goat

            “Sweden isn’t a very good example of socialism.”

            This is laughable. When they want to, the Right is only too happy to invoke Sweden as a land of liberal socialism, when they have to face the fact that it’s not the hellhole their a priori theories demand, they reclassify it as a capitalist utopia.

          • Watson444

            “They reclassify it as a capitalist utopia.”

            Sorry. I am not going to give a serious response to a dishonest, subhuman dimwit.

          • Sean II

            You’re right about that. Sweden’s failure to be poor is a valid and very important counter-example to libertarian theory.

            According to everything people like me believe about economics, no country should have been able to get away with the policy mix Sweden followed for several decades. And yet they did.

            Responses to this challenge are often comically bad. The record for all time worst must go to Yaron Brook, who tried to explain away Sweden’s prosperity as a fluke produced by a handful of high achieving companies and people. The examples he cited? IKEA, and Bjorn Borg.

            I guess the Ayn Rand Institute’s official position is that socialism is the worst thing in the world, but its negative consequences can be avoided if one of your citizens knows how to beat McEnroe on grass.

            It’s incredibly feeble considering that “what about Sweden?” is THE question every free marketeer can expect with certainty to be asked.

            Other popular evasions include: “But Sweden really small”, “Something something schools!”, “They have iron ore”, “Lutherans”, “that’s not really socialism, it’s just a welfare state”, “Well ackshually, here’s this one policy that’s more economically liberal than its counterpart in the US”.

            Mainstream libertarians cannot solve this problem. They cannot supply a convincing answer to the case of Sweden.

            This should start them looking for other variables, but it rarely does.

          • Peter from Oz

            Well said.
            Exceptions do prove rules.
            But I do think size is important. It is easier to make socialism work in a small economy, if you use capitalism to do it.
            Up until now, Sweden did not produce an underclass. But now that it has diluted its populace win a few years with a huge influx of muslim migrants, we can expect that new underclass will form and Sweden’s socialism will start to crumble.

        • Sergio Méndez

          And to frank…Maduro´s economic policies are worse than those of Pinochet. But Maduro (and Chavez) have not murdered and tortured even a fraction of the people Pinochet regime, nor even they have limited other freedoms to the point Pinochet did.

          • DST

            You’re right that Pinochet’s reign came in with a bang, and involved quite a bit of violence in a short time, whereas the violence and oppression by Chavez/Maduro has been a slow, escalating process. That’s definitely something to be weighed against the braindead, thieving economic policies of Venezuela.

            As to the limitation of other freedoms, I’m not sure that’s quite right. There has been repression of opposition journalists and politicians for years in Venezuela, and Maduro has recently done everything he could to bypass the democratic process by creating his parallel “constituent assembly” and outright faking votes in gubernatorial elections. In that sense, things have gotten worse in Venezuela over time, while things actually got better over time in Chile. Hell, Pinochet let himself be voted out of office, which is rare for a dictator.

    • Bill_S

      I get a queasy sense of some slipperiness between your contention here that a “Pinochet-type figure” would be a step up for economic rights and the broader contention by Sean above that right-wing dictatorships are better than left wing revolutions.

      The reality is, when you get a dictator, you don’t know what you’re getting. Often, they’re corrupt before getting in power … and then there’s the tendency of human beings in general to be corrupted by the experience of power. They’re not all that likely to be focused on your economic rights from the beginning, and once they’re in control there’s a decent chance their cronies sink their fingers down into the economy.

      Vladimir Putin is an emerging dictator who pays special attention to Russians gaining the most wealth. If they’re a possible rival, they end up in jail or worse.

      I get that the leftist pursuit of the “new man” is particularly dangerous and fraught with violence. We also had some right wing dictators in the 1940s who sparked what I’m guesssing is the most violent 5 year period in world history.

      I’m more of a classical liberal than a libertarian. But at least from my own point of view, the point at which a person gains most or all of the power in a country is the point where the future becomes entirely unclear. Human beings can’t handle that power. You really don’t know what level of oppression they’re going to go to once they have it.

      Saying that we (or they) could “use a Pinochet” might run parallel, in a way, to the awkward phrasing you hear in sports journalism — the incoming guy is a “Julio Jones” or a “Cam Newton” type player. You never know about the new guy.

      • DST

        Yes, you can’t perfectly predict what a leader, even a democratically elected one, will do once they take office. It’s also true that you can’t perfectly predict what an a leader already in place will do in the future. Many dictators of the past changed direction midstream and purged their old followers. So in general, dictators are unpredictable. But that seems orthogonal to the question of whether one dictator can be preferred to another, which I answer in the affirmative.

        I’m not saying that the US should depose Maduro and install a right-wing dictator. I’m not even saying that right-wing dictators generally are preferable to left-wing dictators. Maybe they are, but I don’t feel qualified to make those kind of statements. (That’s also putting aside the issue of whether Hitler would qualify as right-wing, for instance).

        What I am saying is that, if you were to rank dictators by harm caused, both to citizens and foreigners, Pinochet would be toward the bottom of the list. And his placement there would be precisely because he embraced the kind of market freedom that even many democracies of the time wouldn’t embrace. Where would you rather have lived in 1985, Cuba or Chile? I would have chosen Chile. And if I were a Venezuelan today (and I have lived there in the past, so this isn’t a completely ignorant opinion), I would much rather be led by Pinochet than by Maduro. At least then I’d have something to wipe my ass with.

        • Bill_S

          I think my basic point is that you don’t have a choice between Pinochet and Maduro. Maybe you have a choice between Maduro and “dictator behind door number 3”. Which becomes a challenging calculus.

          I see lots of arguments about whether socialist dictators are more dangerous than other brands, and some of them may have merit. At the same time, I have a hard time fitting an open preference for an unknowable alternate dictator into a libertarian framework (which shouldn’t mean much, since I’m not a libertarian). There’s the first issue of whether an different option besides authoritarianism is possible … and then the question of what you’re going to get from that alternate dictator.

          • DST

            Your point is well taken, but you simultaneously (1) understate our ability to predict the behavior of a future leader based upon his past behavior, and (2) overstate our ability to predict the behavior of a current leader based upon his past behavior. I agree, it’s always a die-roll, but it’s not as lopsided as you think.

            I agree that a democratic alternative is usually preferable. However, in the case of Venezuela, the political process is increasingly rigged by the President. In the last election, votes were outright fabricated. If democratic change is then taken off the table, the only hope is through a coup or revolution. You can hope that such a movement will quickly lead to a democratic successor, but that may not happen. In the meantime, then, I’d rather have a coup led by someone who is as libertarian as possible, even if, as is almost certainly the case, no truly libertarian person is available.

        • King Goat

          “That’s also putting aside the issue of whether Hitler would qualify as right-wing”

          Let’s drop this forever.

          The argument on the right is that since Hitler and the Nazi’s aped some left wing socialist movements, then they must be left wing, right?

          But that’s like saying that since Nixon had positions that are to the left of modern conservatives he was really a liberal.

          Anyone that lived during Nixon’s heyday would laugh and laugh at that. Because ‘left and right’ are ‘relative’ positions on a scale. Nixon’s day was a more left wing time, but for that time he was not the choice of anyone on the left. Likewise, during the perceived collapse of capitalism, Hitler’s time was one of ‘socialism’ ascendant. So he appropriated much of that talk. But the militarism, nationalism, racialism that was at the heart of the Nazi party are elements which the modern left easily denounces and which the modern right, unfortunately, still struggles with.

          • DST

            You seem to think I’m arguing something I’m not. I couldn’t care less about whether various dictators qualify as left-wing or right-wing, which is why I put it aside. I only mentioned to indicate that I thought it was irrelevant, which seemed necessary given who I was responding to. If it makes you feel better about your own politics to assign the opposite political label to certain leaders, be my guest.

          • Peter from Oz

            What a load of bollocks.
            It suited both the commies and the fascists to pretend that their movements were diametrically opposed to one another, when in fact they were after the same adherents.

      • Sean II

        The relative performanc of right wing authoritarians vs revolutionary socialists is not hard to see.

        I didn’t pull that idea from a hat. The evidence is overwhelming. Take your pick of high quality comparisons: Taiwan vs PRC, Junta Greece vs. Ceausescu Romania, Thailand vs Vietnam, Cuba vs any of the Operation Condor countries, South Korea vs North, Singapore vs Indonesia under Sukarno, etc.

        You can also do before and after using the same countries. Lenin and Stalin were way worse than any Czar including Ivan IV. Mao was worse than Chiang – indeed Mao managed to kill more than twice as many Chinese as the Japanese did in WWII. Pol Pot was worse than whatever puppet reigned before him, and per capita he was worse than any dictator who ever lived. Castro was worse than Batista. Ortega killed more people than Somoza. And so on.

        That’s even before taking account of the poverty inflicted. Death ain’t the only bad there is, and when it comes to making life miserable, socialism is in a class by itself.

        It’s unfortunate this makes you queasy, but that’s not a good enough reason to ignore the facts.

  • Dlareh

    I have been to Venezuela and spoken to many Venezuelans recently (mostly in Colombia of late since entering Venezuela is too much of a security risk the past several years). A right-wing Pinochet-style strongman would be an upgrade over the economic dysfunction of the murderous left-wing dictatorship they’re currently living through, and there are many Venezuelans who would obviously love a functioning liberal democracy, but have little optimism about overcoming the current murderous regime without a new strongman doing a purge. They resignedly tell me that it may be the only way to transition out of the tyrannical economic hell they’re currently living through, with a return to a liberal constitutional order being on more of a 20-30 year horizon.

  • stevenjohnson2

    1.Times change, and you change to fit the needs of the moment. A government in Venezuela that uses majority votes to attack economic freedom is the epitome of tyranny in a way a Pinochet is not, for libertarians. FEE now feels it is useful to admit this aspect of libertarianism, given the continued rightward turn of the owners and their employees in the political and academic world. The question is whether FEE’s alleged commitment to democracy was ever principled, or merely useful for respectability…which has now changed.

    2. This assumes the hard work of all those libertarian academics actually established some sort of opposition between Hayek and Pinochet, that for some random reason Reed mindlessly copied leftist slander. Really? I suggest that Reed just said what he thought, and that what he thought about Hayek/Pinochet is perfectly reasonable, unlike all those memos put out by those hardworking libertarian academics.

    3. The Latin American freedom movement in Venezuela kills people in street violence. A tweet from an English speaking quasi-academic PR flack doesn’t undermine the respectability of the people who do that, any more than if Reed had accused them of bad grammar.

    4. You object this sort of thing looks bad for libertarianism? It doesn’t look any worse than those libertarians who are convinced the evil tyrant Lincoln persecuted the South in the name of protective tariffs, and that fanatical abolitionists tore up the Republic in their vendetta against the Southern People. How are these new friends any worse?

    5. The OP objects to newsletter where ” the Foundation for Economic Education could not take the time to mention Trump’s economic nationalism, his crony capitalism, and his trashing of the Constitution as relevant factors in the the problems we face…” This is in italics to emphasize the outrage. The thing is, an attempt to criticize Trump from the right is a doomed proposition. There is no indication that Trump’s economic nationalism is actually different from business as usual, especially given the absurd idea that TPP, TTIP, WTO, or for that matter IMF were ever any rational approximation of what libertarians invoke in their mythology. His crony capitalism is also business as usual, so far. His ludicrous infrastructure program would be if he gets it to fly, because privatization is probably the most effective form of crony capitalism…except that libertarians favor crony capitalism in this flavor! Lastly, as far as trashing the Constitution goes, Trump hasn’t yet reached Nixonian levels with impoundments, executive privilege, secret wars on an industrial scale (just special forces for Trump, so far!) Libertarians last I looked rather disdained Nixon for his liberalism. When you’re starting that far right, slipping into alt-right is just shifting your weight from one foot to the other.

    6. “…maybe one day the libertarian movement will mature enough to realize that ‘liberty’ is not totally subsumed under ‘property rights’…” After all these decades? Why would they change now? As near as I can tell, the self-ownership principle is essential to all libertarians, even more than states’ rights or the non-aggression principle, because that’s the only thing keeping libertarians from shamelessly standing for chattel slavery. If you define a person as the owner of a body, you are defining people as a property right. Really, if anyone’s being inconsistent, it’s the OP.

    Reed’s retraction is tact, I think we all know now what her really believes.

  • mckyj57

    Maduro has already killed many more than Pinochet, who — if you’ll be able to remember through your partisan blinders — gave up power and rendered Chile the most free, most prosperous country in South America.

  • Mike Shipley

    The quasi apology is no apology at all. Does anyone really believe it is possible in 2017 for a Pinochet reference to be anything else than a helicopter joke? Especially for a scholarly professional. He knew full well what he was saying and why. #nosafespaceforfascism #antifash

    • J Peterson II

      Go away tankie.

      • tomwoodssycophant

        go away neo-feudalist.

        • J Peterson II

          I don’t know what capitalism is, so I will call it feudalism, because I don’t know what is either.

  • J Peterson II

    This just in: libertarians banned from telling jokes.

  • Watson444

    What Reed said is perfectly fine. Pinochet was a tyrant but preferable to Allende and someone like Pinochet was be preferable to Mauduro. It isn’t that Pinochet is libertarian or good or admirable. He is, however, preferable to Marxists and the suffering Marxism inflicts. That is what Reed meant.

    Hayek did approve of Pinochet. There are no shortage of quotes. Here is Wikipedia. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek_and_dictatorship

    Called Pinochet’s results absolutely fantastic. He vociferously defended Pinochet’s regime. I am not saying it is a good thing, but it happened.

  • George-Llewellyn Rockwell

    Libertarian liberty CAN be totally subsumed under ‘property rights’, but one must also account that the strict interpretation of ‘property rights’ rules out legal monopolies of jurisprudence.
    The problem with a lot of ‘vulgar’ libertarians is that they still believe in useless garbage like ‘limited government’, the State is and always will be an agent for the wealthy and well-connected, this was true in the 14th century, the 19th century and today. ‘Property rights’ under a system of state-administered ‘justice’ is just a racketeering operation, and its ‘laws’ are nothing more than a pretense for tyranny.
    There is no such thing as a system of libertarian property rights and contract so long as the State exists, end of story. ‘Libertarians’ who aren’t willing to face up to the need to abolish all centralized states and empires – not ‘reduce’ them, no ‘control them’, not write garbage ‘constitutions’ – are useful idiots for the Plutocratic Communism engendered under state dispensation of the law.

  • Cara L. Barfdt

    Mr. Horwitz’ essay here really offends me, as I am a long time reader of FEE material and have benefited greatly from the work of Lawrence Reed. To me this is pure garbage, and it’s a pathetic attack on a good man. I don’t know the author personally but he sure comes across here as a morally superior constipated dotard, a sanctimonious gas-bag and self-anointed High Priest of Libertarian Thought. Too bad, as Mr. Horwitz once did good work, too, some of it for FEE.

    The author makes Reed’s faux pas out to be akin to a nuclear bomb blast with several over-the-top assertions that are unproven, if not outright idiotic (e.g., “….In just one post, Reed has blown up YEARS of hard work in defending Hayek as not a BFF of Pinochet”… blah blah blah). Oh G-d, spare me please. For crying out loud. It was one silly little Facebook post no one outside the libertarian movement even saw (and I follow Reed regularly — but on a holiday weekend did not see the offending post that apparently included a reference to dropping Maduro from a helicopter — I only saw the apology.).

    But if I, an avid follower of Reed and FEE, did not see it over a holiday weekend in the United States, neither did 99.9999999% of humanity. I will concede, it sounds like it is something I would not have favored Reed saying. Further, I do not agree with Reed when he posts stuff even remotely favorable to Trump. But shall we tar and feather a man for a mistake he quickly deleted and apologized for? Sure, I guess so, if you are a mediocre scribbler out in the middle of a cornfield that no one reads or listens to anymore, but here’s your 5 minutes of fame opportunity to get noticed by beating up a straw-man.

    As Professor Yuri Maltsev pointed out, what rubbish, given that there are so many statist targets who genuinely need reproof, which would in turn educate the masses as to the errors of statism. To assert that Reed’s Facebook post, that apparently lasted about 3 hours, is going to have immeasurable negative effects on the Libertarian movement, is an absurd claim, and can only come from an irrelevant blowhard crank trying hard to be noticed in a world that long ago passed him by. Further, the author cannot even get his facts right. He throws up all over himself extolling all the “hard work” libertarians have done in defending Hayek from being tainted by Pinochet. But, Bruce Caldwell’s fine arguments notwithstanding, Hayek’s recorded statements on Pinochet are well known, and damning to those sophistry artists like Mr. Horwitz who try to deny what is plainly before them in terms of Hayek’s views of Pinochet, e.g.:

    1. “More recently I have not been able to find a single person even in much maligned Chile who did not agree that personal freedom was much greater under Pinochet than it had been under Allende.” FAH in 1978.

    2. “I have seen in some South American countries the most extraordinary progress. … In that much condemned country, Chile, the restoration of only economic freedom and not political freedom has led to an economic recovery that is absolutely fantastic. … You can have economic freedom without political freedom, but you cannot have political freedom without economic freedom.” FAH in 1979

    3. “I visited Chile some time ago and I found that the country is being governed by members of Milton Friedman’s seminar! … The economic system is working marvelously and the recovery is extraordinary. I did not see the system of political control in enough detail to have a serious opinion about it, but I can say that the economy is much freer in comparison to what it had been for a very long time. I also think that the way in which Chile is covered by the international press is scandalous.” — FAH in 1979

    4. “Well, I would say that, as long-term institutions, I am totally against dictatorships. But a dictatorship may be a necessary system for a transitional period. At times it is necessary for a country to have, for a time, some form or other of dictatorial power. As you will understand, it is possible for a dictator to govern in a liberal way. And it is also possible for a democracy to govern with a total lack of liberalism. Personally I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking liberalism. My personal impression — and this is valid for South America — is that in Chile, for example, we will witness a transition from a dictatorial government to a liberal government. And during this transition it may be necessary to maintain certain dictatorial powers, not as something permanent, but as a temporary arrangement.” FAH in 1981

    5. “I cannot help but protest in the strongest possible terms against the cartoon on page 3 of your publication of the 30th of December equating the present governments of Poland and Chile. It can only be explained by complete ignorance of the facts or by the systematically promoted socialist calumnies of the present situation in Chile, which I had not expected the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to fall for. I believe that all the participants in the Mont Pelerin Society conference held a few weeks ago in Chile would agree with me that you owe the Chilean government a humble apology for such twisting of the facts. Any Pole lucky enough to escape to Chile could consider himself fortunate.” FAH in 1982, on a cartoon comparing Pinochet’s Chile to Jaruzelski’s Poland, which was published on in January 1982

    In other words, Mr. Horwitz wants to excuse and rationalize (and minimize) Hayek’s CLEAR support for Pinochet, OVER SEVERAL YEARS, and claim that that was somehow misinterpreted — even though the words could not be plainer (and I have not read Professor Caldwell’s work on this in full but perhaps he makes the same mistake, wanting to twist and contort Hayek’s “meaning” to fit his desired pre-conceived view of Hayek as an unabashed liberal. Too bad if so, as Hayek clearly had good things to say about Pinochet that cannot be washed away, and Hayek was right in predicting a happier future for Chile.).

    But Reed makes one little – similar – allusion to Hayek’s, in what was apparently an ill-worded post — a post that, again, no one saw on a holiday weekend — and it is somehow going to cause the downfall of civilization of civilization, and the end of the libertarian movement. This is not mere hyperventilating sophistry – this is intellectual insanity. Mr. Horwitz also screams in anguish that Reed has let down all the Latin/South American defenders of liberty, and says the pushback against Reed is coming in loudest from them. Oh, really? If Horwitz would read the comments from Latinos on Reed’s post, he’d get a different impression, as per Mr. Hernandez below, who offered a helpful graph of the trajectory of economic growth in Chile after Pinochet took over, and pointedly says Pinochet would be great for Venezuela now. There are many other similar comments on that thread from Latinos, including some in Venezuela who have seen it all first-hand.

    Professor Peter Boettke knows all this, and in a very nice way tried to be a peace-maker, and in essence told Horwitz to back off (though Horwitz is too full of himself to apprehend Boettke was the adult in the room, slapping him down) – Reed’s decades of service to free market ideals are unimpeachable, and in fact, Reed has done far more for the libertarian movement around the world in his lifetime than Horwitz could ever hope to do in ten of his own. Lastly, one scarcely needs to add, if one is a libertarian, one must per force be against all cruel oppression as a general matter, and against the theft of lands and property and homes. Not SOME unjust oppression – ALL unjust oppression. And that includes Israeli theft and brutality toward the Palestinian people. But on this, Horwitz has hypocritically waved it off, and apartheid in Israel is just fine with him.

    Great, but this oppression in fact “sets back” the libertarian movement when libertarians throw support to it, just as much as unqualified US support for Israel has bloodied the image of America in the Muslim world, because the US taxpayer is seen supporting murder and mayhem and apartheid, from Gaza to Yemen at the moment. (In fact, the entirety of the US/Israeli relationship is steeped in corruption, and to deny this is to deny reality; but again, Horwitz is fine with it.)

    Too bad Lawrence Reed said something poorly and infelicitously, and good for him that he apologized and erased the offending post. But some sanctimonious blowhards would be well-served by getting over themselves, rather than use the incident as a virtue-signaling opportunity that only shows, as Mr. Reed said, that they have way too much time on their hands.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2bca5083dc670a37def6a91d8a16451f3d32fa3a2a920300028c848ad70c8211.png

  • Krinein_ev

    Scratch a libertarian and you reveal a fascist… hardly shocking.

  • Happy_wanderer

    Thanks for this. It’s exactly the kind of thing that seems to be sorely missing at the moment.
    Integrity.