In the old fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons, there was an alignment system to plot types of players and characters in terms of their moral code. For instance, a player that was lawfully good, strictly followed a moral code, even when that code worked against their self-interest. A chaotically good character was willing to junk the rules to do what they believe was the right thing. The former would deport all illegal aliens because the law required it, but the latter would let them stay as long as they promised to behave.
That always comes to mind when I read about when a serial killer is finally caught or a libertarian is pulling some crap like this.
After her family’s shiba inu died of cancer, Dawn Sabins decided to surprise her 7-year-old son with a new puppy. In March 2015, she dropped into a San Diego-area pet store looking for an English bulldog. She walked out with a golden retriever.
That wasn’t so strange, even if $2,400 was more than she’d intended to spend. (There’s a reason pet stores put puppies in the window.) The odd part came a few weeks later, when she and her husband were going over their credit reports and saw a $5,800 charge from a company they’d never heard of.
The Sabins had bought their new dog, Tucker, with financing offered at the pet store through a company called Wags Lending, which assigned the contract to an Oceanside, California-based firm that collects on consumer debt. But when Dawn tracked down a customer service rep at that firm, Monterey Financial Services Inc., she learned she didn’t own the dog after all.
“I asked them: ‘How in the heck can I owe $5,800 when I bought the dog for $2,400?’ They told me, ‘You’re not financing the dog, you’re leasing.’ ‘You mean to tell me I’m renting a dog?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah.’ ”
Without quite realizing it, the Sabins had agreed to make 34 monthly lease payments of $165.06, after which they had the right to buy the dog for about two months’ rent. Miss a payment, and the lender could take back the dog. If Tucker ran away or chased the proverbial fire truck all the way to doggy heaven, the Sabins would be on the hook for an early repayment charge. If they saw the lease through to the end, they would have paid the equivalent of more than 70 percent in annualized interest—nearly twice what most credit card lenders charge.
Curious about the moral nullity behind this dog leasing idea, I looked up Dusty Wunderlich and found that he is not a boiler room operator living on the edge of society. He is a proud member of the new economy. He even has his own blog.The values section is the most entertaining because it is a dog’s breakfast of stuff he picked up as an undergrad, that he could use to manipulate and take advantage of people. It is a moral code, even if it leads to immoral ends, which is why the term “lawful evil” is appropriate.
That’s always the problem with libertarians. They assume that if something is allowed to be done, it should be done. Since the law allows this guy to prey on the emotionally vulnerable, in order to get them to sign off on leasing a casket for their dead granny, then there’s nothing wrong with it. Since libertarians believe the law should only enforce contracts, protect private property and provide physical protection, grifters fleecing the unwitting becomes a feature of society, rather than a defect.
That’s fine, as far as it goes, which is not very far as few people wish to live in the transactional hell-scape that is the libertarian paradise. Humans understand that what holds a society together is the collection of unwritten rules that we think of as our common morality. The law rests on the foundation of the common morality. An amoral grifter like Dusty Wunderlich may be operating within the letter of the law, but he is living outside the spirit of the law. No society will tolerate that for long and eventually the law is changed.
The Old Right has always understood this. Societies can evolve unwritten ways to deal with guys like Dusty Wunderlich. Ostracism or a Tom Doniphon are two examples. Or, they will create written ways to deal with him. The public will demand it. If the leaders fail to provide the solution, then new leaders will be found. The Right prefers organic social institutions, the unwritten rules, while the Left prefers an authoritarian custodial state, the written rules. Those are the choices and there is no third choice.
To be fair to libertarians, the old guys like Lew Rockwell and Ron Paul understood and embraced this reality. They accepted the fact that an atrophied state would leave a void to be filled by organic social institutions. The end may not be the libertarian paradise of maximum liberty. It could lead to a theocracy, like Utah or Massachusetts, but it would at least result in a set of rules in line with the dispositions and desires of the citizens. Modern libertarians reject all that and embrace a form of utopianism.
It is why the Dissident Right should treat modern libertarians like plague carrying rage zombies. Economics is down stream from culture, far down stream. The willingness of libertarians to stab the Right in the back over culture issues just so they can score some rhetorical points over economics makes them more dangerous than the Left. Every war is a culture war, even the shooting kind. It is one group aiming to prove that their gods, their ways, their culture is superior, by imposing it on others, by any means necessary.
It’s why Buckley Conservatives are a failed movement now. They embraced the transactionalism of the libertarians, over the traditionalism of the Old Right. They have spent countless hours fussing over how best to move commas around the tax code, while the Left is marching from victory to victory in the culture war. The corruption is so thorough that they can no longer muster a reason to oppose guys like Dusty Wunderlich, ravaging the economy like locusts.