Sargon of Blockhead

The reason that Buckley Conservatism completely failed to halt the advance of Progressivism is that the Buckleyites eventually came to accept the moral framework of the Left. Libertarians have gone down the same road, embracing the morality of Progressives, while trying to find a way to carve out a place for individual liberty within that moral framework. It’s why the differences between libertarianism and what passes for conservatism are trivial now. They both operate in the same narrow space.

A good way to illustrate this is with this interview Carl Benjamin conducted with Jared Taylor. Benjamin is a British provocateur who goes by the handle Sargon of Akkad on social media. He describes himself as a liberal, but to Americans that should be understood as libertarian. His views are consistent with what you see from the Reason Magazine types. That means he embraces the libertine social polices of the Progressives, but he likes getting cheap stuff from Amazon without paying sales tax.

He is also an incandescently obnoxious troll, who goes out of his way to pick fights with people on-line. His go-to move for years was to post gay porn into the twitter feed of people he was trying to provoke. He used to spend his days attacking alt-right people on twitter with this tactic, but they largely ignored him. He’s also made a habit of going after feminists, who always take the bait. He styles himself as an intellectual, but he is just another shallow end of the pool libertarian, afraid to venture into deeper water.

In the video, Jared Taylor makes the reasonable point that race relations in America are at a standstill because blacks are fundamentally different from whites. Compulsory integration over the last 40 years has done nothing to improve the lives of blacks and nothing to improve relations between the races. If anything, relations are worse now. The logical solution is to junk the compulsory integration and let people do what they do naturally, which is self-segregate. At some point, a peaceful divorce will be arranged.

In theory, libertarians like Benjamin should embrace freedom of association. After all, what can be more basic to personal liberty than the right of association? If you can stuff your body with illicit drugs, because you own it, you should have the right to put your body near whomever you like. That means having the right to not be around people you don’t like, for any reason or no reason at all. Places where you need to get permission from authorities to be around other people are called prisons.

But, there are no modern libertarians who embrace this as it runs afoul of official orthodoxy on race. Progressives have declared private discrimination to be a mortal sin. You see this in the interview at about the 10 minute mark. Benjamin starts spinning around like a top, trying to re-frame Taylor’s point as compulsory segregation. When that does not work, he then says that everyone he knows loves diversity and they want to forget about the whole race and ethnicity stuff. In other words, there is no need fro freedom of association.

This is why libertarians have been forced to embrace egalitarianism. This let’s them wriggle free from vice of freedom and anti-racism, by claiming that systematic social inequity is the cause of racial differences. Therefore, fixing the social problems will let everyone be treated the same and the gaps between the races will close. Everyone will embrace diversity and multiculturalism. This is now orthodoxy with “conservatives” like Ben Sasse, as well as most libertarians.

At about the 20 minutes mark, Benjamin gives the game away entirely by trying to tie the bogeyman of Richard Spencer to the reasonable arguments in favor of freedom of association made by Jared Taylor. You can see the wheels turning as he tries to square his own self-righteous disdain for guys like Spencer with the reality that Spencer is to the right of him on the issue of personal liberty. Benjamin rattles on a few minutes trying to square that circle, but then gives up and changes the subject.

That’s where is gets a bit amusing as he makes the ridiculous claim the Islam has somehow managed to overcome tribalism. This would be quite shocking to the practitioners of Islam in the Arab world, who have been in waging tribal warfare since the birth of Islam. Sure, Islam has no racial component, but the practitioners certainly do. This is the same with Christianity and Judaism. The same is true of sports and gardening. Just because tribes can have much in common, does not make them any less tribal.

Libertarians and conservatives have the same problem. They have been forced to embrace the moral framework of Progressives. Benjamin starts from the bedrock assumption that racism is evil and that race is an artifact of a prior age. From there he tries to reach classical liberal conclusions, but that is an impossibility as classical liberalism inevitably runs afoul of Progressive morality. This is why Progressives have been able to roll the opposition. They set the rules so the results are inevitable.

Benjamin lacks the intellect to grasp this reality, so he flounders around trying to self-righteously condemn race realism, while smugly pretending to be outside of Progressive orthodoxy. He is a big admirer of himself. Because there is no way to make his brand of libertarianism work while embracing things like anti-racism, he’s reduced to having personal squabbles with heretics. He was unable to do that with Taylor so he just came off as a smug blockhead, which is a pretty good description of the modern libertarian.

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Mister M
Guest
Sargon and the people at Reason represent libertarians…… not at all. While much of libertarian theory is impracticable here in The Current Year, your thinking that these people represent either the leaders or majority of libertarian thought is wrong. Tom Woods, Rand and Ron Paul, the entire Lew Rockwell site are all for freedom of association, and have spoken about how the Civil Rights act should be abolished – and yes, even if it means white people will hang out together. Rockwell’s site is more of an indicator of libertarianism, not Sargon, who is known only because of Gamergate, and… Read more »
Calsdad
Guest
Exactly. Lew Rockwell and all those he publishes on his site are far better indicators of where libertarianism is and what libertarianism is than any of the writers that Zman so persistently wants to call libertarians. There seems to be a problem with an awful lot of alt-right , alt-lite, alt-whatever writers who put themselves on the right side of the political aisle in that they STILL can’t seem to get their heads straight. There’s consistent bitching about the Buckley crowd and the Neocon crowd. I attribute this to some sort of psychological reaction to the fact that they fell… Read more »
Audacious Epigone
Guest
Beat me to it–was going to mention Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell, and of course Hans Hermann Hoppe. The truth is, though, in its official capacity–think tanks and the political party itself–libertarianism is moving further away from these guys and turning into SJWism with lower taxes and less military spending. The hysterical reaction to Jeff Deist’s speech “blood and soil” speech at the Mises event this year is a perfect example. Deist, who has followed the alt right closely over the last couple of years, implicitly crafted that talk with an awareness that the right-libertarianism of he, Woods, Rockwell, and Hoppe… Read more »
Member
An example is Trump is cutting regulations. Any lauds? No, just the purity spiral. The left liber purity spiral is stronger. The hemorrhage is the realization that we’ve already defined the utopia 100 times over, but must do the messy work of ridding ourselves of the Red Coats and Hessians if we want to see any part of it in our life-times. At the same time, the libertarian purity spirals are making the hemorrhage worse, while the alt-right is actually discussing things and appears open to at least minarchy. Richard Spencer will discuss, and may be wrong, but is civil,… Read more »
LoveTheDonald
Guest
Thank you, Zman. A great post, as usual. The libertarians have a real blind spot as to the consequences of certain of their ideas. I was at an anti-Sharia law gathering with Geert Wilders some years ago in NYC and got into an argument with a libertarian who thought completely open borders would be fine as long as we did away with the welfare state… just take away the EBT card and the Section 8, and the Islamic ideology of conquest by infiltration wouldn’t matter. He seemed to be an intelligent man, but there was absolutely no reasoning with him… Read more »
Calsdad
Guest

Libertarians who argue for open borders over national borders and property rights are not libertarians. A true libertarian would recognize the right of a group of people to close their national borders to interlopers.

Freedom of association works both ways.

The fool you were talking with was apparently conflating Mexican illegals with Islamic illegals – and the fact that it seems to be a pervasive fact that many Islamic terrorists are later found to be on the state’s welfare rolls.

Alzaebo
Guest

Thanks, Carlsdad, conflating open borders is an old neocon trick.
Drives me nuts.

I have heard it as, “if you want open borders, then close the welfare office”.

Issac
Guest
The issue of classical liberalism isn’t so much a failure to properly rank or conceptualize their principles of liberty as it is a problem of identifying their context. Liberal rights are derived from locally enforced norms long-held by various western peoples. Those norms aren’t simply alien to other peoples, they put the others at a natural disadvantage. So even without a state granting entitlements to other peoples, one would obviously expect the large-scale migration of new peoples into an area would necessarily cause a change in the culture away from liberalism, ultimately ending in the erasure of liberal rights due… Read more »
Member
I happen to like Sargon on the whole, but admit he is very wrong on a number of issues and this is indeed one of them. He is a ferocious critic of the modern left, and I forgive him his sins for that. I wouldn’t exactly call him a libertarian either as he has expressed that he is a believer in European social democracy, if only if it could be rescued from the leftists. I have respect for Sargon because unlike pieces of garbage like Ben Shapiro, Sargon had never pretended he is something other than what he is, and… Read more »
Peter
Guest

I might be in the minority here but after reading the post I expected to dislike Sargon. Instead, I thought the interview was fair and enlightening. I came out liking him, and as much as I like Mr Taylor I thought Sargon pointed out some of the weaknesses in his worldview. I was however disappointed that Sargon thought bakers should be compelled to bake cakes for a gay wedding.

Ryan T
Guest
I started out around the gamergate era with the Sargons and Milos of the world, but very quickly graduated further right as that gave way to the Trump era. Eventually I found my way here. It’s become a cliche but Guys like Sargon still have a role as the gateway for timid normies, more serious people will filter through, and the nitwits will stick to him. There’s a lot of women in this thing too and I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand I am suspicious they’re just in it for the attention that women crave, on the… Read more »
Zeroh Tollrants
Guest
As a GenXer woman involved w/the movement, I can assure you I crave zero attention. I also know that this is a male movement, especially young men, and I wouldn’t want to change that, even if could. I know my place is in the background, strictly a support position. Nothing led by women should be taken seriously, women shouldn’t be leaders, but it would be a mistake to try to shut women out of the entire movement. As for Sargon, for me, it all boils down to his granddaddy being a negro. He cannot get past the racial aspects of… Read more »
Giovanni Dannato
Guest
Even where libertarians support freedom of association, they do so in the context of the rational economic individual. Libertarianism is just hard core classical liberal capitalism which along with Marxism enshrines the market as the core arena of human life with intangibles such as religion or culture regarded as mere opiates that distract from what really matters. One of the most recent schisms in the alt-right involved a revolt of certain strains of libertarians and for good reason, from their point of view. The alt-right generally rejects the concept of the atomized individual and the blank slate which held sway… Read more »
Ursula
Guest
Brought up to see the West as largely post-religious, over the years I came to see the best of the West as just the opposite — that without the magical blend of Greek philosophy, Roman law and Christianity, the world would never have come to know the most desirable civilization ever created. Apropos to that, yesterday I caught this interview with Judge Roy Moore from 2005, never more relevant than it is today. https://www.c-span.org/video/?185944-1/words-roy-moore He talks about something never heard anywhere — how Christianity is the foundation of our laws, our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc.… Read more »
Zeroh Tollrants
Guest

The problem is, Christianity today is a negative force. The takeover by the Marxists who’ve infiltrated it so thoroughly have destroyed it as a positive force in people’s lives. For it to become a positive force again will require a great reformation by racialists and nationalists. I don’t know if that’s even possible.

Member

The urge to virtue signal is as strong in some as the urge to engage in procreative behavior. If Benjamin was putting gay porn into the social media of others one has to wonder where he puts other things. Just another child trying to justify his lifestyle choices by attaching them to abstractions and constructs others have chosen for him.

Morality->Culture->Politics.

Member

“everyone he knows loves diversity and they want to forget about the whole race and ethnicity stuff”

I know ppl like that too, but when they have kids they always send them to pvt school or move to white areas “for the schools”. Sometimes they move back to diversity city after the kids graduate, but they sure as heck don’t send Jr to city schools.

michael x.
Guest

Speaking of the love of diversity (and the logic underpinning it) here is the Canadian Prime Minister commenting on the terrorist attack in Edmonton: “We know that Canada’s strength comes from our diversity, and we will not be cowed by those who seek to divide us.” Parse that if you can.

Ron
Guest
I flirted with Libertarian for a long time, until I realized its precepts were built without a moral foundation or understanding human behavior, assuming people would do as they please as long as they practice Zero-aggression towards one another. When I thought through the scenario that a libertarian society solely based on individualism could be easily subjugated by others who organized themselves into a unified group and exploited the “Do as you please” while ignoring accompanying the ZAP mandate, I saw the ideology for the pie in the sky fraud it was. As much as I believe in individual freedom,… Read more »
Dutch
Guest

I always saw Libertarianism as perhaps a gateway for the less fanatical Progs to escape the madness of their peers, without asking them to completely give up some of the less odious elements of their belief system. But I have yet to see Libertarianism serve that function. Instead it seems to be a “way out” for those who don’t have the fortitude to actually stand up and take the heat for not agreeing with the Prog loonies.

Sharrukin
Guest

A lot of libertarians did transition over to the Alt-Right.

Member

Yes I saw the interview. Taylor seemed bewildered with him and his indefensible arguments. Definitely a lightweight but a good Sebastian Cabot impersonator.

A fairly decent guy but a bit of a troll in everything he does. Rogan pretty muched undressed him and showed him to the smug person he is. I still think his British accent is somewhat affected.

q503816
Guest

The term I’ve seen used to refer to the Reason people is cosmotarian. It fits well. Their defining trait is their cosmopolitanism.

Anonymous White Male
Guest
I subscribed to Reason magazine in the 80’s and found several things about the Libertarian ideology attractive. For one, they seemed the only ones that actually recognized that government was force, and the bigger the government, the bigger the force. Usually a force for evil, although Libertarians didn’t seem to believe in moral absolutes. I respected Ron Paul’s understanding of the danger inherent in the Federal Reserve. But, I concluded that the Libertarian Party would never appeal to more than a minority of voters. I also believed that if they ever did turn into a viable 3rd party they would… Read more »
Jim VA
Guest

They were infiltrated by themselves. Libertarians are especially susceptible to cultural Marxism because they do not value the sacred’s role in creating societies’ commons.

Member
Liberaltarianism suffers from the same ‘one-world’ disease that drives Progressivism, ignoring the reality of a world with no local structure and order. It’s why Reason has at least one video per month showing some poor illegal immigrant hotdog vendor being rousted by the cops, and zero videos showing white kids getting college rejection letters because the subcontinental and african took their place – their cares about ‘liberty’ are aimed at the same people who believe there is a jackboot behind every anti-Affirmative Action voice, and a poor suffering dusky peasant suffering because the laws are built to protect the people… Read more »
Karl McHungus
Guest

does anyone here have any intimate experience with women who are Ayn Rand acolytes, and go in for the objectivist thing? some look ok and i was wondering if they are capable of bringing the heat…

Member

Funny as hell

Zeroh Tollrants
Guest

Lololol. The only thing I’ve seen objectivist women bringing is STDs and mental health problems.

beau
Guest

if a cat calls himself a dog, does it follow that the cat has become a dog?

benjamin (small letter intended for posing as a libertarian) is a ‘libertarian’ in no way, shape, or form. he is, in fact, a progressive posing as a libertarian. he is the ‘cat’ claiming he is a ‘dog’.

as annotated above, the Pauls, Woods, Rockwell, Hoppe, etc. are the true libertarians and espouse libertarian principles as they exist.

joe_mama
Guest

No True Scotsman Libertarian…

Brigadon
Guest

I prefer “Religion of peace’ libertarian.

Member
Libertarians have split into a left and right. The Left are noisier. There is an alt-lite right wing of those like Tom Woods and Lew Rockwell that agree with freedom of association but don’t talk about it much. Then there are those who are on Chris Cantwell’s path to race realism (their number is high but they keep quiet). The lecture Blood and Soil points out the problem. Inner v.s.outer control. A town 100% Quaker or Mormon doesn’t need police. What the lib-lite-right attempts is to use private insurance – security – etc DROs to create something more oppressive than… Read more »
Leonard Herr
Guest

Labels are like computer models: all are wrong, some are useful. Trump is the epitome of this. I challenge anyone to find a label that really captures that guy. It’s part of his charm 🙂

Bill Robbins
Guest

Hi, Leonard Herr: I think one needs to have grown-up in New York and lived through the 70s and the 80s in NY to fully appreciate Trump’s charms. NY Bankruptcy. Bella Abzug. Son of Sam. Bernie Goetz. Studio 54. Leona Helmsley. Mayor Koch. New York idolizes out-sized personality and all the checkered culture that goes with it.

james wilson
Guest

“I challenge anyone to find a label that really captures that guy.” That’s easy. Trumpian.

Karl McHungus
Guest

Gaius Julius Octavius

Brigadon
Guest

“Useful”

Zeroh Tollrants
Guest

Really? I think of Trump as a classical populist Democrat. Nothing he’s done has dissuaded me from that categorization.

John William
Guest

I happen to work around a very large number of young libertarians. I can tell you that Zman is absolutely right–they have zero sympathy for Rockwell et al. It is all open borders, drug legalization, and gay marriage. In the last couple of years they have largely given up on even pretending to care about the welfare state.

Bill Robbins
Guest

Sounds like millenials, rather than libertarians. Being liberterian requires some awareness of the academic scripture and the prophets.

John William
Guest

Millenials=dominant strain of libertarians now. Check out a Young Americans for Liberty chapter meeting or conference.

Member

You need to try and work with libertarians on a college campus. They are doing some of the footwork for Antifa in keeping real time tabs on nationalists of any stripe on campus and harrassing them.

On campus Rockwell and Woods are irrelevant.

Joey Junger
Guest
Political systems should naturally start from a moral basis/philosophy, but should then be tweaked based on what works/is practical and what doesn’t. Libertarians have the first half down pat and completely refuse to take the second, unpleasant but necessary step. “Stop and Frisk” is obviously a violation of one’s civil liberties, but maybe if you wear your pants around your ankles and like to shoot people for wearing blue while you favor red, you don’t deserve these liberties (people used to have duties as well as rights, once upon a time). Democracy was created for and by Europeans, and will… Read more »
Al from da Nort
Guest
Another aspect where Libertarians and Progs. resemble one another is that they both slyly assume a classless ideal society, ignoring all history and abundant evidence of people’s greatly varying abilities and proclivities. It is a society in which they think they should just naturally be in charge, apparently solely on account of their intellectual facility. Voila, they get to proclaim egalitarianism and their other a-historical religious doctrines from the top of the stack, while disqualifying any and all challengers. Now, one may object that Libertarianism prefers that *nobody* be in charge. Actually, that is the doctrine of Anarchism which was… Read more »
Observer
Guest
A reasoned & constitutionally-grounded assertion of rights always gets steamrolled by shrieks of “evil” “bigot” “racist” “Nazi” etc… Always. That is because white people are programmed to do whatever their society tells them is most moral. That used to be to obey crown, altar & tradition. Now it is to demonstrate virtue by surrendering to the victimized. A morality cannot be eliminated. It can only be replaced by another morality of greater strength & urgency. The most urgent morality is survival of self & family. A white will disobey authority to gain esteem with peers for being moral & virtuous.… Read more »
J Clivas
Guest

If racism is evil, then how is it that fountain of evil called Hollywood pushes its opposite (interracialism) so hard?

D&D Dave in the Bubble
Guest
D&D Dave in the Bubble
“…t.hat means he embraces the libertine social polices of the Progressives, but he likes getting cheap stuff from Amazon without paying sales tax.” Sounds like the typical regressive. Yells about big oil profits and complains about high gas prices, then goes out and buys an SUV that gets 18MPG. Calls the police “pigs”, then turns around and wants to have you arrested by these same police because you committed some type of “micro-aggressive” dog whistle that violated his safe space. Screams for $15 minimum wage for restaurant employees, but is the guy who always leaves a 2% tip, regardless of… Read more »
TomA
Guest

There was a time in our evolutionary past when individuals like Car Benjamin would likely die very early in life because stupidity born of cognitive dissonance was not a good survival mechanism. In our current environment of extreme affluence and the absence of any real existential threats, anomalies like Benjamin continue to persist to the detriment to our species. In the natural world of our ancestors, stupidity had a price and was self-correcting.

Cee Em
Guest

Don’t worry, a Great Filter is coming in the form of a Carrington event.

Alzaebo
Guest

Your best yet on libertarians, like me.
I was wondering where we had lost it, as it never took off.
Much to rethink today, thanks Zman and contributors.

Jim VA
Guest
One of the many fundamental ironies of socialism is that, to have any hope at succeeding, it requires a totally uniform, deeply pious, honest, humble, family oriented culture willing to forego almost all reward until the afterlife, in order to pillage their production. And yet, this is the very culture they must destroy so the State can supersede. To a lesser degree, lIbertarians share that same irony. A libertarian society would devolve into totalitarianism perhaps within a generation or two. But the most fundamental issue with libertarianism is that it believes freedom is taken from us by government. This is… Read more »
Brianguy
Guest
@ Jim….I never considered the Sanders angle as a litmus test but very interesting. My personal take on Sanders as her opponent was that his candidacy was purely fictional. They needed to give their side the appearance of a choice. I suspected the fix was in for her but of course had zero idea as to how they went about it. My analogy that I used was always “they know she is ‘stinky’ but they need some one just a little more stinkier than her. Who at this point in our culture would be more stinkier than her but a… Read more »
Member
” like Benjamin should embrace freedom of association. After all, what can be more basic to personal liberty than the right of association? If you can stuff your body with illicit drugs, because you own it, you should have the right to put your body near whomever you like. That means having the right to not be around people you don’t like, for any reason or no reason at all. Places where you need to get permission from authorities to be around other people are called prisons. But, there are no modern libertarians who embrace this as it runs afoul… Read more »
Member

Oh, yes. The beliefs of our favorite guy determine what libertarians as a whole believe. How many kids on campi are going around quoting him?

Ultimate Gaylord
Guest

Hoppe is considered a badthinking extremist by “respectable” libertarians of today, though.

Member
That means he embraces the libertine social polices of the Progressives, but he likes getting cheap stuff from Amazon without paying sales tax. You have it precisely backwards. Amazon collects sales tax on all purchases (except for the 5 states that have no sales tax). As a matter of fact, Amazon supports legislation requiring all their competitors to do likewise, since it’s a barrier to entry. The reason Amazon’s competitors don’t have to collect sales tax is SCOTUS ruled that businesses don’t have to collect sales tax on the behalf of states where the business does not have a presence.… Read more »
Eclectic Esoteric
Guest

The political winds are reactionary – traditional families, religion, patriotism. The progs jumped the shark with the NFL fiasco. Bloggers playing click bait roulette with nothing of substance to offer will fade away. Simply put, America is ready to get a life, with the exception of the sad cases trapped in black vaginas waiting for Bernie Sanders to rescue them with government vouchers for special vagina shoehorns.

Tom From RFNJ
Guest
Personally I think this characterization is a little harsh. I think more ground was gained in this discussion than lost. Sargon’s contradictions were pretty obvious, and I think it was clear that Jared made the stronger argument. I was a little annoyed at the way the frame kept shifting, but on the whole this is better treatment that Jared usually gets. It was if nothing else, a civil and thoughtful discussion, and I don’t recall any point where Sargon tried to depict Jared as a hate filled madman or totally dismiss his ideas out of hand. I think most of… Read more »
Zeroh Tollrants
Guest

If you think Carl Benjamin acts in “good faith,” then you don’t really know Carl Benjamin. In fact, it is the very opposite of good faith, in which he acts.