Why I Am Not A Libertarian

I have been asked by a few people to comment upon this speech given by Hans-Hermann Hoppe at the 12th annual meeting of the Property and Freedom Society. The PFS is an Austro-libertarian organization founded by Hoppe, for the purpose of promoting libertarian ideas. This conference is like the Burning Man of libertarianism. The heavy weights of the movement tend to show up at this thing and give speeches. Undoubtedly, my past comment about libertarians is what has prompted people to forward this to me.

Before watching the speech or reading the text, I was struck by a ridiculously small bit of nostalgia. Libertarianism, at least in the US, is a dead movement. Talk to alt-right types and they are mostly former libertarians. Many of them were Ron Paul supporters. That was their gateway into politics. For the last decade, libertarianism has been hemorrhaging adherents, mostly to the dissident movements, but some have become mainstream conservatives. Hearing the name “Hoppe” felt like a blast from the past.

This is a topic some in the alt-right discuss, but mainstream debate assiduously avoids any discussion of the libertarian implosion. Fox News, for example, still has a stable of libertarians. Conservative sites like NRO keep a few around like Sloppy Williamson and Chuck Cooke. There are some think tank people, who seriously discuss a fusion of Buckley Conservatism, neo-conservatism and libertarianism, but that is mostly whistling past the graveyard. All three of those movements are headed to the ash heap.

Unlike many people in this thing, I did not make the trip here from libertarianism. In my teenage years, I read Smith, Locke, Hobbes, Bastiat, Mill and some others. Then I was exposed to libertarianism, but I was never swayed. By that point I had seen enough of the world to know that most people would never go along with it. Blacks need structure or you get Somalia. Some Europeans have a strong drive toward clannishness. Stupid people, of course, could never make it work. Libertarianism is a smart white guy thing.

My observation, as an aside, is that libertarianism was most popular with upper middle-class white guys from the suburbs. There, things seem to work and the non-whites they experience are mostly like them, just not white. Poor people, like me, get to see the diversity of life up close and in person, at a young age. I suspect that exposure to this reality is why so many nice suburban white boys have embraced the alt-right. To paraphrase the old gag, an alt-righter is a libertarian who has been mugged by diversity.

Putting that aside, the impossibility of libertarianism has always been my biggest problem with it. You see it in the Hoppe speech. He points this out early in his talk. Even if you assume libertarianism is a possible form of human organization, how do you get there from a non-libertarian starting point? How do you maintain the libertarian order? Hoppe correctly points out that most libertarians ignore these questions. Many, he calls them fake libertarians, embrace the blank slate and egalitarianism as a way to dodge the issue.

Even Hoppe, at least in this talk, ignores the first question. Instead, he focuses on the second question, by way of an example of two neighbors. One is abiding by the rules of the libertarian paradise, while the other is not. He then concludes that there must be a mechanism to physically remove the bad neighbor. In order to have such a mechanism, without violating most of the rules of libertarianism, you have to have a society of people with common heritage, language and culture. Perhaps even an ethnostate.

That still presents a problem. Let us assume you have an ethnostate with a common heritage and belief system. Even in the narrowest ethnic groupings, there is enough variety of personalities, to guarantee some members will not cooperate with the libertarian rules. To police this requires either an Übermensch or a society composed mostly of them, so that when they act in concert, they can police the ranks, yet never be tempted by the power that permits them to police the ranks. A land of angels, rather than men.

Although libertarians never put it this way, and Hoppe does not in his speech, the underlying assumption is that libertarianism can become a civic religion. That way, a common moral code can do a great deal of the policing, but also give temporary license to deal with those who refuse to respect the libertarian culture. Addressing the problem of the bad neighbor becomes a civic virtue. On the other hand, civic religions have given us the Terror, the Holocaust, the Holodomor and the Cultural Revolution.

Of course, there could be no risk of something like that happening in the libertarian paradise. The reason is it would require cooperation. Getting two libertarians to agree on splitting the lunch bill is impossible. That is because no two libertarians can agree on the definition of libertarianism. Academic communism had this problem. This suggests a defect at the core of the ideology. That defect, of course, is that there is no way to make it square with objective reality, particularly the biological reality of humanity.

In defense of Hoppe, who has always been willing to examine the criticisms of his ideology and adjust to them, when necessary, he takes seriously the arguments from the alt-right and allied movements, with regards to race and ethnicity. He also takes seriously the reality of politics. Theory is worthless unless it can inspire a practical political agenda with real influence in society. He goes onto to list a bunch of agenda items he would like libertarians to embrace. Most are a hat tip to the biological realists.

Watching the speech, I got the feeling I was listening to a eulogy. I doubt that was the intent, but that is how it felt to me. The universalist ideology created by Murray Rothbard and others was a creature of the 20th century. It is utility was always in its value as a critique of communist and socialist economics. The 20th century was largely a debate among white people about how white people would transact and regulate commerce with one another. That is a settled argument now, so libertarianism is no longer relevant.

65 thoughts on “Why I Am Not A Libertarian

  1. Hi, I’ve been reading you for a while and listen to the podcasts. To be honest, I am trying to pin down your political views since you do not consider yourself alt-right. Can you speak to that?

    • I don’t call myself alt-right, mostly because no two alt-right people can agree on a definition. That’s fine and I have no criticism of it. I’m just wary of identifying with something that may not be fully formed as an idea.

      I’ve come to believe that the first fork in the road is biology. You must decide if people are primarily the result of their biology or primarily the result of their environment. If it is the former, conservatism, the alt-right, nationalism, populism, etc are where you end up eventually. If it is the latter, then you head into Progressivism, communism, libertarianism and what passes for mainstream conservatism today.

      I am a biological realist. We are the result of the mating decisions made by thousands of generations who came before us.

      • That’s an interesting dichotomy, ‘bio’ v. ‘enviro.’ So the Jews who went Christian…..how do they fit into that?

        There’s a lesson for us in that story; it’s not strictly some tale about the success of Peter & Co.

  2. Libertarians can’t even get a functioning political party to work. Remember the convention with the naked guy and the nomination of “libertarian” Bill Weld? In my own state the LP party has on again off again ballot access problems. It used to be they could at least get ballot questions before the voters, but even there it’s been a while.

    However, I do find the Free State Project interesting and it seems quite a few libertarians followed through and moved to NH. I’d be curious to read a recent review of how all that has panned out. Although, NH occupies a unique space where it is able to reap tax revenue from all the people from neighboring states who have summer homes but don’t otherwise cost the state anything.

  3. As an upper-middle class, suburban, ex-Ron Paul supporting, former libertarian white guy… nice post.

    I still enjoy thinking about how problems could be solved through libertarian methods, but it’s just idle mental masturbation. When I look back on, for instance, this 2007 interview Peter Brimelow did with Ron Paul, it all just seems so cringe-inducingly utopian, and Paul is much more a realist about human nature than some other prominent libertarians (in the interview he defends national borders and sovereignty, which many libertarians have moved away from).

    Really, the central delusion of libertarianism – nobody will cynically exploit the agreed upon rules, and if they do it will somehow be corrected by some perfectly impartial party – is the same as that of communism. The libertarians just take the premise to a different conclusion.

    Students should be introduced to Game Theory at a very young age to vaccinate them against this kind of thinking.

  4. Libertarian – nice theory but Libertarians never endured the blood, toil, sweat and tears required to earn a place at the table. The Dissident Right will get their chance one day to do so.

  5. ‘libertarianism is no longer relevant.’

    Isn’t that rather convincing evidence that libertarianism is correct?

  6. ideologies do not work for the white majority in western nations…what works is small, cohesive nations with parliamentarian gov’t structures designed to prevent gridlock (unlike the american federal govt structure, which is designed to facilitate gridlock so that the majority cannot use democracy against the elite)….you want gov’t to implement the will of the majority…so make the majority cohesive and homogeneous via the structure and makeup of the nation and gov’t….

    …so break the the USA and allow the citizens of states to freely associate…outlaw civil rights laws…keep tax dollars at the local level….

  7. Plenty of libertarians are pretty hard realists, and have arrived at their beliefs not because they think mankind is great and everything will work out peachy as long as the State doesn’t interfere, but because they think most people are pretty shit and should not be left in charge of organising a piss up in a brewery, let alone other people. I don’t think these people fit your stereotype.

  8. When I was moving out of Defense contracting as a means to earn a living – my hypocrisy has its limits – I got involved with a libertarian group in my city. I liked them, they seemed to agree with me on a lot of issues, but the thing that always made me think, “hmmm….” was this little survey that basically tried to pinpoint you on a 4-square ideological map (left/right, up/down), and there were quadrants that made you decidedly Marxist, decidedly conservative or liberal, and so on. “Libertarian” scoped out its own territory. I went to a lot of their quarterly meetings because they had good, engaging speakers.

    They started to lose me when some economist (Wolfe?) from Hillsdale gave a pretty interesting speech on macroeconomics which went to great lengths to say that there is nothing particularly special about the United States of America. You put our laws, our property rights, our basic free market anywhere on the planet, and you’ll get great outcomes.

    You have to ignore a LOT of history and basic human nature to come to that academic sort of argument.

    But I kept going to the meetings because it was a nice group of people, and again we did agree on some things. Then the public-private partnership stuff going going. Um, no, that’s just Elon Musk crony socialism…and I was surprised at how many of them bought into this idea/ideal. Then we had a superintendent from a local school district come to talk about how he was “reforming” the schools, and what a big fan of Arnie Duncan he was. Yeah, no. He had fought the teacher union and won a few court cases, and I guess he was feeling his oats. But it’s still – by far – the worst school district in our very populous county.

    It was the pot legalization I think that pushed me away for good. The way it was sold to people was “for the children” liberalism, and it was sold to people as a way to reduce the size and power of government (i.e. fewer people in jail = more money for other things). What it ACTUALLY did was greatly expand the size and scope of government by creating a “for the children” tax revenue source. Oh, and the state has had one hell of a time with enforcement because everybody wants to grow pot, nobody wants to pay the taxes, and the drug gangs were the best-positioned to capitalize on the new markets because of their existing production and distribution channels.

    But, the “libertarians” in Colorado were for it, and the law passed by wide margins.

    So, I came to the conclusion that “practical libertarians” are just liberals who don’t like paying taxes, want to get high, and like to complain.

  9. I note that Rothbard backed every right wing populist to come along. He was called all sorts of names (racist and so forth) but never backed down. He even wrote a short essay on a winning platform for right wing populism before any of you people ever conceived of “alt-right”.

    And remember, the work “liberal” today is opposite what it originally meant just as the word “libertarian” is falling to the same problems. The left will probably re-define “alt-right” before it is over too.

    So, besides the f’ing snide comments where is Hoppe wrong?

  10. A progressive makes the argument that sodas/cigarettes should be banned or taxed for health reasons and for the good of society. As I see it there’s two objections to that policy. That they are mistaken about those being bad and unhealthy, or that things being bad or unhealthy is not a reason for a policy.

    Libertarians will likely always make the second argument. I find that argument convincing for the most part.

    My problem with libertarians is they are good at talking about liberty but not very good at getting it. When the Gaymafia was agitating for marriage and other “rights” the libertarians claimed the gays wanted something close to autonomy from public policy when it was clear they were more interested in policy of favored status and mandated cultural acceptance. When the conservatives who pointed this out were proven correct, they claimed that was not the libertarian goal so they bear no responsibility for negative consequences (even though those consequences created a less libertarian world than before). Either they were lying about their goals or too stupid to understand the consequences and goals.

    I’m not sure the point of this except that I have no issue tossing out the libertarians for being useless but if it’s because their ideas are useless or utopian than it cedes a lot of ground to progressives in my opinion.

    • The error is more subtle.
      “Unhealthy” things aren’t consumed because they are unhealthy, but because they are desired and have a higher marginal utility than the invisible and abstract damage to health – they often give immediate pleasure.
      We love Bastiat when he talks about the ECONOMIC seen v.s. unseen, instead of the EXPERIENTIAL seen v.s. unseen. A drug high is seen more clearly than the (potential) hangover or drunk driving crash.
      A deeper error is the liberal ELITE EXPERT claims to speak for “society”. But usually have not been elected or appointed in any just process. It isn’t because they are bad for “society” but someone has taken it upon themselves to play nanny (including Carrie Nation and Prohibition).

      As to something being bad and/or unhealthy, the first question is whether or not they are creating externalities so people other than those engaging in them are paying for it – pollution or smog are classic examples. But I would add if we are paying for the unhealthy, directly or indirectly it also applies.

      Finally, the question rarely asked comes from “Just War” theory. Does the policy to discourage or ban the bad or unhealthy thing create problems as bad or worse? Like the “War on Drugs”. Banning large, immovable factories is easy, banning “Meth Labs” that fit into a large soft drink bottle in a back pack isn’t. Banning an exotic plant that is hard to cultivate in a greenhouse is easier than a weed.

      But that is beyond the cronyism we have now where PRESCRIPTION (big pharma profitable patented) opioids are allowed but the rest banned. There should be a presumption against regulation because man is corrupt and fallen and only a showing of real collective harm with a showing it can be ameloriated easily by force should allow the discussion to start.

  11. Hoppe:One is abiding by the rules of the libertarian paradise, while the other is not. He then concludes that there must be a mechanism to physically remove the bad neighbor.
    It is more subtle than that. He specifically says the bad neighbor is NOT violating the NAP. He is violating cultural norms, assuming a monoculture. And he notes the problem if not the impossibility of organizaning even ostracism. If the “bad neighbor” is doing satanic things in public in a town that consists otherwise of Christians who won’t associate (i.e. do business or let him use roads, utilities), he will be laid seige to and have to leave. Again, Hoppe notes if you live on a ranch too far from your neighbors to be affected, there won’t be a conflict, this is for cities and towns.
    Christopher Cantwell who is a fan, but went full alt-right discusses the idea of Hoppeian feudal fiefdoms – people will acquire large property, and be literally land-lords and set rules of conduct. Most libertarians don’t talk about this, it was Cantwell that expanded it, though it is apparently in Democracy, the God that failed.
    Also I think he does address the first question with his list of things at the end. Perhaps it is an infinite series or successive approximation that would converge in an infinite time, but we could get closer each day.

    The one thing is Hoppe – like Rothbard – has become pragmatic and has realized there are many people who want smaller, less intrusive government, are anti-(unjust)-war, or want to be left alone and they are natural allies. Jeff Tucker has gone of the leftward deep end in adopting LGBTQ stuff (which should be orthogonal to government).

    And in this I have to laud Hoppe. One criticism many purists on their side have is to complain the Constitution and Bill of Rights were just papers failed to limit Government (but don’t explore if the problem is the paper or the men). Then they write tens of thousands of pages of paper while Government goes all hockey-stick almost coincident with Rothbard’s initiation of the movement.

    Z:Let’s assume you have an ethnostate with a common heritage and belief system. Rothbard gave several examples, and there are historical ones – Iceland, pre-revolutionary America Quakers in PA. They all cooperated within libertarian rules.

    The problem was not internal strife (which would likely have simply split things with the sides physically moving across some boundary). It was external force.

    Only intellectuals can be so stupid to imagine some kind of insurance cum security companies can resist armies. There are all the public good problems with peace and externalities with conducting battles (7 Samurai – there were three houses that would hide the enemies so had to be burned down to save the village).

    Franklin said “A republic if you an keep it”. Hoppe doesn’t split the second question between internal and external forces wanting to steal the wealth or just destroy the order (think Islam).

    The only imperfect answer is to empower individuals – hence the 2nd Amendment. And the originalist hatred and rejection of standing armies. Calling up the Militia can only be done if the Militia wants to be called up. But they will protect their homes and families.

    Even Mises noted his Praxeology is based on now what some ideal homo economicus would do (much less an angel or even a saint), but what real people will do in the real world given their fallen nature with all the emotional baggage, attachments, tribalism, etc. Yet there is almost ZERO discussion on the “libertarian family”.

    Hoppe is right to note the alt-right has no specific scholarly theory, but they have knowledge of practical man that few libertarians even understand they lack. The alt-Right talks to the people in the context of culture and social order – family, church, and tribe.

    Libertarians argue how many anarchists can dance on a pinhead without violating the NAP.

  12. It’s worth reading Moldbug’s piece of the same title. The first paragraph is awesome! https://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/12/why-i-am-not-libertarian.html

    My great fascination with Kochtopus-style Libertarianism is how completely it got pwned on immigration. You would sort of expect freedom of association to be the kind of thing they cover on Day 1 of Libertarian Youth camp. Yet somehow all mainstream Ls find themselves cheerleading for unlimited streams of migrants regardless of the wishes of present residents and property holders.

    I agree with your thesis that the most interesting voices of the libertarian movement have by now been pushed out to the dissident right.

    • Indeed, all of our political parties end up supporting lots of immigration and wars. Dissident right/Trumpism is the latest new thing and is being compromised before our very eyes with Trump caving on DACA/Dreamers and wars. There’s a dissident right hanging in there, angry at Trump’s betrayals and not blindly supporting him, however they’re not organized beyond holding rallies which end up being photo ops for the attending neo-Nazis and their torch parades. Pathetic. At this point, an organized movement should have our smartest, most articulate leaders lobbying Capitol Hill and the White House for immigration moratorium, among other things, after mobilizing support and holding marches in multiple cities that show strength in support and numbers. Smart men, where are you? We’re in desperate need of leaders and an organized movement.

  13. Madison–It is a melancholy reflection that liberty would be equally exposed to danger whether government has too much or too little power.

  14. Libertarianism was a way for a lot of people to be ‘fiscally conservative’ and ‘socially liberal’. A way to justify both personal vices and selfishness.

    Now that the government and it’s oligarch masters are entirely focused on imposing insane social schemes such as transgenderism and there’s no substantial disagreement on econ policy, libertarianism is irrelevant.

    • Libertarianism – we don’t discriminate among the 7 deadly sins.
      All the sloth, gluttony, envy, and lust of the left!
      All the avarice, pride, and wrath (warmongering) of the right!
      The only philosophy and party that is completely hellish!

  15. Libertarianism (like all political movements) is a competitor in the cauldron of social forces that may come to dominate a culture or a people. Aristocracy had it’s heyday, Communism had it’s run, and now republican democracy is in vogue. What tends to persist (at least for a while) is what works, and then is replaced when something more efficacious comes along. Right now, our species is devolving toward hive-minded sheeple due to extreme affluence. What kind of government will these sheeple choose? The rest of us are along for the ride.

    • The sheeple will choose Bernie Socialism because they’re/we’re almost all poor. It’s inevitable unless the dissident right gets its act together, organizes around a simple platform (e.g., immigration moratorium) and offers something to the average American that translates into tangible improvements in some facet of life. I dread what’s to come and pray the dissident right doesn’t become just another receptacle for discontents like Libertarianism is. All our political parties are “captured” just like our Congress, White House, Judiciary, institutions and media are. I fear the dissident right is being captured as well by allowing the neo-Nazi types to infiltrate and destroy the movement’s potential. It makes it super easy for the media to destroy us when dissident right allows Nazi costumes and torch marches that a normal person looks at and does not want to be a part of.

  16. I was a libertarian for decades. I think I’ve said it before on this website:

    Libertarianism, as you explained in this post, devolves into totalitarianism quite quickly absent a ‘saintly’ population. In economic terms, libertarians ignore the very high costs of maintaining the commons. They are, like their brothers on the Left, parasites.

    Rothbard was arguably a cultural Marxist, which is why so many silly libertarians feel so comfortable with Progressives. Which should be oil to water if they understood their own bullshit.

    • I don’t remember anything from Rothbard to indicate he was a cultural marxist. Having freedom of speech allows the marxists to speak, but doesn’t advocate such speech.

      What Rothbard managed to do on a practical level without realizing the theory is to align with the paleo-conservatives, the Buchanans, and the Sobrans (Sobran was 10x more libertarian than the LP candidates).

      Oh, there’s these Christian cultural conservatives that believe in forming children into adults with all the virtues including civic virtues that seem to want a smaller government that is trying to create barbarians. Let’s ally with them.

      Christendom was a saint factory, but human beings can’t be subject to ISO9000 treatment. So they quarantined the rejects into prisons, or executed the most seriously flawed members. The rest that wouldn’t (or would rarely in a fail into excess temptation) could coexist without much government.

      In Monestaries, how much government was imposed?

    • Binary thinking. I used to think that. That’s how I became complacent with neoconservatism. Up until I read Fred Barnes article in the Daily Standard about Bush bringing us big government conservatism. The basic unit of politics is not the individual, the idea, or even the family. It is a people and the place they live. And if there is a social contract, it is one that crosses generations and so cannot be written in stone, but in faces. That’s why the Romans and other peoples used busts and death masks painted to look alive.

      So many misconceptions. When Aristotle said that man was a political animal he wasn’t talking about an organizational principle in the way we think of it, but the men tend to form cities to live in. The constitutions aren’t the cause of them, but the result thereof. Modernity has it backwards.

      • “The basic unit of politics is not the individual, the idea, or even the family….”

        I dunno about that. Aristotle specified the family as ‘basic’, whereas Plato would sunder the family in deference to the State. The Catholic Church specifies the family–albeit as the first block, expanding to ‘a nation,’ but gradually, through stages: neighborhood, city, State. That structure makes possible the correct way of governance: subsidiarity. Plato’s structure, in contrast, facilitates the “Enlightened” or “establishment”, top-down governance.

        • Yes, yes, and I don’t care. I’m not trying to develop a system, like they did. And I’m not trying to justify a hierarchy.

          How’s the family idea working out for the open borders Catholic Church? Is the Mexican family the basic unit of the American polity now?

  17. When I was in college, the Libertarians I hung around with in my dorm used Rand and Rothbard like the Communists I hung around with in my Humanities classes used Marx and Mao — as a “philosophical” justification for acting like assholes. That said, it seems the Germans figured out how to “police the ranks” in your sense back in the 1930s, with what legal theorist Ernst Fraenkel called “the prerogative state.” 95% of the time, the judiciary functions mechanically… but if your behavior, though not technically even “illegal,” falls afoul of society’s values, you get slapped in a concentration camp by the same judge that, 95% of the time, impartially administers real justice with Prussian efficiency. (and yes, I just implied that Libertarianism leads inevitably to the gulag. As Whittaker Chambers said of Ayn Rand, all her works seem to whisper “to a gas chamber, go!”)

    • You must have attended a good college, Severian. At least your classmates were probing the ideological waters and reading books to justify being assholes. At my clown college, being an asshole needed no book-learning, it was a “thing-in-itself”, and the girls loved it.

      Anyway, kudos for the Chambers reference. His book ‘Witness’ is THE primer on the way the deep state handles problematic people. It’s also one of the finest pieces of “change of heart” literature written since Augustine.

  18. Funny you should write this now. Last night one of my sons showed me this https://youtu.be/eczKlK-j-Qg . I was pleased that the dude recognized how screwed up all our political definitions are. I’ve been saying for some time that the French Revolution was mostly right wing if you look at the issues involved, and it looks like he agrees with me.

    This prompted a short discussion about Burke and how people complain that he never wrote a developed political philosophy, how he used a few natural law arguments, but never tried to make it universally applicable. He had principles, but those were never applied by themselves, but always in the context of prejudice, which to him was a virtue, not a sin.

    He didn’t prosecute Hastings because he considered Indians equivalent to Englishmen, but because he wasn’t upholding English law, just like Cicero vs Verres. He obviously wasn’t your typical Whig or he wouldn’t have gotten along so famously with Johnson.

    One problem we have in talking about politics is that everyone is using different units that can’t be converted into ones compatible with those used by others. Burke seemed to know this intuitively and easily goes from using one set of units here, another there, so fluidly that you don’t notice. Typically English when you think about it. We have a language that is a mishmash of other languages and hop around using feet for this, meters for that, pounds, kilos, & etc. He does it with political ideas. His ability to do so with such facility is why it was so easy for him to see the error of abstraction in the French.

    The source of error in political thinking always seems to arise in the search for a philosopher’s stone. The first and most important thing is knowing who you are and what is around you, in both the atomic and aggregate senses, your relationship to God, and a realization that the periodic table you are using can take many forms of expression.

    I like some aspects of libertarian economics and ideas. I’d like to see my profession lose its monopoly by licensing. That doesn’t mean I don’t think libertarians aren’t idiots. And it doesn’t mean you reject an idea simply because of where it came from.

    • No, because Hoppe to a large extent evades the very questions he asks, or wishes to remain pure while recognizing the alt-right is doing the dirty work of dismantling the socalism. Whatever theory he has right doesn’t apply to real humans in the real world.

      I call this “Planet Rothbard”. It is easier to explain by starting with “Planet Marx” where economic calculation is possible because some massive AI computer assisted by precognative psychics can replace market prices, quantities, supply and demand. Planet Rothbard has no problem with roads because they all teleport. No problem with violence because they have perfect shields. No problem with theft because smart dust registers the owner. And no problem with those who reject the NAP or violate it because they all have brain implants. (HHG2tG: You wouldn’t notice your brain was replaced with an electronic brain because you’d be programmed not to notice).

      A simple but clear example is a Tom Woods podcast transcribed in 14 hard questions for Libertarians answered. He and Bob Murphy take on Ebola. The problem is it is very contageous, and has a long incubation period, so they imagine disease X that has a perfect (no false positives or negatives) test which is not intrusive (e.g. lots of blood or a biopsy), and not expensive and proceed to discuss how THAT would be handled in an Ancap society with the usual DRO stuff.

      It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. (Margerine is trans fat so is bad for you, butter has vitamin A and lots of good fats if you remember the commercial of old). Real diseases can be highly contageous before they present the first symptom (e.g. Measels). Some are contageous before they can be detected (HIV). Some have problems with false positives or negatives in the test – and some have harsh treatments (Rabies until recently).

      If Ebola was already as simple to handle as their disease X, there wouldn’t be anything interesting to talk about. Everyone would just scan themselves or each other with the cell phone and their status would be instantly and correctly revealed.

      How a libertarian city would handle an epidemic of some real disease with real world properties is a really interesting question, but it won’t be asked or answered because it is inconvenient.

      How to create a libertarian city from a multicultural one (much less one that is occupied by constitutionalist Christians which would be much closer), is handled similarly.

    • In fairness, Z did say that a civic religion gave us the Holocaust. That civic religion is Holocaustianity, or Judeovictimism, or whatever you’d like to call it.

    • Can you find even a dozen references that say the HoloDOMOR happened?
      Much less the genocide of the Armenians.
      Or the Hutus machete-ing the Tutsis in Rawanda
      or the current white genocide in South Africa, paralleling Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe?

  19. Beware of “labels”, “possessions”, “pride”, the bane/delusions of “mere” mortals aimlessly treading the wheel-cage / emulating Sisyphus.

  20. I think you flatter them when you say libertarianism is a ‘smart white guy’ thing. My experience with them is that they were as dumb as posts. Like commies the flaws in their ideologies are intuitively obvious and it requires a deliberate, willful stupidity to not see them.

    An interesting experiment might be to put our esteemed Dissidnt Right host through the same wringer that destroyed the credibility of libertarian:

    – how do YOU propose to deal with drug legalization/problems, Z?
    – what about toxic cults?
    – illegal immigration?

    I suppose my question is this: where are OUR cultural/intellectual blind spots?

    • Merely a personal observation. But do see a fair number of “smart guys” mouthing the Libertarian schtick. Mostly because the creed is easy to recite and they choose to devote little bandwidth to really thinking it through. They have a lot of other stuff to do with their time. Not much different from the wealthy middle aged Prog types around here…it feels good and the consequences don’t really touch you much in neighborhoods where the entry ticket costs $1mm+.

  21. Here’s one example. When I mentioned to one particularly spergy specimen that Rothbard himself had endorsed nationalism before he died, he said he was aware of that, but convinced that Rothbard would have eventually recanted had he not died when he did. He said this with all seriousness.

  22. I started reading LRC, where I first heard of Ron Paul, in 2000.

    Otherwise, my path is pretty congruent. I’d say Ron Paul gave me a taste that there was a much larger movement out there. I donated at the real original modern incarnation of the Tea Party, the famous second money bomb, ever. R-love-ution was in the air (End the Fed!). I even got an article of my own published at LRC in support of Ron Paul. Heady days.

    Even then, his larger base could be better described as Constitutionalist, rather than libertarian.

    Libertarians are just another variant of alt-retard. They sperg on an on about the NAP. They don’t believe the cultural war exists, or that if it does, it’s irrelevant (as I’m sure Tim Hunt and many others would agree). Nations are irrelevant. It’s atomized individuals. They share common cause with the globalists while denying the same.

    Most of the ones I am familiar with, through LRC and RP, are at least, anti-abortion. Based on the LRC content, I would say some of the more thoughtful are not fully on board the Asperger Express and are more open to the limits of their ideology.

  23. You raise an interesting point. When one considers the actual human parameters necessary for a libertarian society, it begins to look an awful lot like German Idealism described in market capitalist vernacular. One ceases to call themselves a libertarian once this realization is made.

    • That’s just it. Libertarians, like Progressives, don’t want their ideas tested against the limitations imposed by “actually existing society”, to twist an old East German expression. It is the music of their inner life that they want you to hear, and how beautiful it is.

  24. I wrote a piece about Hoppe’s speech as well, but my issue with it was that he had a lot of normal ideas for dealing with the immigration biological realities that we see all around us, but at the same time he had absolutely nothing to say about all of the immigrants that have already snuck in.

    It was as if the existing problem would simply dissolve into the sky as long as they shut the door now. This goes back to the fact that libertarians cannot bring themselves to consider the ugly actions that will eventually need to be taken as a consequence of these disastrous policies.

    This is reflected in his speech where he disparages white men and states that white men are not the answer, giving as his rationale the fact that western white men are the ones betraying us. It is ludicrous to tar all of us with the same brush – apparently those of us on the alt-right are the same as Antifa because white skin. But once again he does it because he cannot face up to the ugly realities.

    However, I did particularly enjoy his takedown of Jeffery Tucker.

    • Good point. Few people even among the Alt-Right really address the issue of what we are going to do with all the immigrants that are already here. The most we tend to hear are things like Vox Day stating that they have to go back, and leaving it at that. This being said, there are other things that need to be dealt with first, before this issue neeeds to be tackled.

    • This is also the problem with the cuckservatives and “civic nationalists”.
      All men are created equal. Fine. Then why do some men – immigrants – have the right to steal my wealth via government proxy to support their families? OK, cut them off. But they will starve and have to deport themselves, or see if they can vote to impose tyranny.
      The immigrants can violate the NAP, the Constitutional rights, whatever and they will just shrug and either ignore the question, or say it is too hard, or come up with some silly imaginary solution. Just the mere rule of law which should be at the top of the virtue of justice should make EVERY ONE of these advocate for the immediate deportation of anyone here illegally. Just enought judicial review and due process to establish the fact. Break up families or send the anchor babies (which has never been voted on or declared law by courts) with them.

  25. This is one of your best columns recently. In the past I’ve agreed with libertarian thought for a couple years (Hoppe and Rothbardian readings) but had to back away recognizing it was a bit of a false utopia on the right as communism is on the left.
    I had to acknowledge there are threats to person, property, and State that are not handled well in a Libertarian evnviornemnt.
    Communism can be proven wrong economically (Mises critiques are one such), but libertarian paradise breaks down socially with bad actors as you state.
    Of course Communism also breaks down socially as well but different Lu with lazy and corruptible actors.
    Is societal man doomed to flawed forms government that are doomed to fail, some quicker than others, and continued violent upheavals of change every couple centuries?

    • What I call the “Scholarly Libertarians” (maybe I can use scholastic) all attempt to replace having a culture of liberty where every generation is raised to revere and defend it with a series of mechanisms which they figure out how they are authorized to use force via the NAP, or economic coercion (which somehow doesn’t count – if I lay seige to you, cutting you off from food, water, power, even if you haven’t violated the NAP to starve you out, I’m not violating the NAP? See Molyneux FDR 3255 about 50 minutes in where he talkes about DROs doing exactly that for about 15 minutes).

      I live in an area where there are Christians of every denomination, they are orthodox, faithful, and well armed. I feel totally safe, and leave my doors unlocked. That’s not because of the Police, or the Roth-GoldBard device of private security. We simply believe in biblical morality, are high trust (but high penalty when violated), and have long time preference.

      Pointing to Somalia when the government was gone didn’t make libertarians see the problem – just move there and you can have your utopia!. The problem is it wasn’t filled with Christendom Western Civilization Europeans, it was filled with Somali. Perhaps they would like to now try the experiment in Minneapolis?

      I don’t know if having three generations steeped in the ideas of liberty which were just being worked out in 1787-1825 would work, but that isn’t even being tried. But we know no instruction manual or paper works – even the Bible – you need true believers that in their deepest being put truth first, and liberty second, and filter the rest through those principles.

      People who have liberty – for all, not just themselves which is a bit altruistic – in their deepest inmost being don’t need government. But that is the problem in that you need to insure the entire population is that, or the few others are at least pretending it.

  26. One of the problems/defects at the core of this ideology (and some others) is that the American and European variants of movements are not only different, but directly at loggerheads. I didn’t know much about continental philosophy, for instance, until I literally went to Europe. I discovered conservatives like Carl Schmidt and Ernst Junger, and noticed when I returned home that only a handful of people mostly excluded from the discourse (Francis, Buchanan) held ideas close to what I came to understand as my form of conservatism. Some of the neo-confederates get it, and esoteric alt-right types understand, but if I give a Junger book to my American “conservative” relatives and friends, and they hear him talking about the destructive nature of capitalism and how LSD was important to his intellectual maturation, they’ll tell me I’m a hippie/commie. For them, conservatism is fat rich guys on radio talking about how we should bomb all of Israel’s enemies, buy books and mugs and 9-11 commemorative gold coins.

    • Bravo. Conservatism, in the sense that it is understood at sites like this one, is a rabbit-hole that takes one into thinking about the past that makes your garden-variety “red-meat conservative” disoriented and confused; it’s not flapping American flags and citations of the Founders anymore, it’s not Rush’s latest iteration of the glories of “the land of opportunity” or Larry Arne’s ‘constitutional minutes’ or Mark Levin’s vitriolic abuse of callers who bring up the race question.

      Regarding European conservatives, one of my favorite novelists is Knut Hamsun. Read ‘Growth of the Soil’, for example, a kind of roots-conservatism bible (to me, anyway). Sadly, the man lived too long, and ended up a pro-Nazi in 1940s Norway. Anything he had to say worth saying had been written well before 1930, yet, like another continental novelist I regard highly, Ferdinand Céline, he got caught in the great post-war anti-Nazism machine and his personal and literary reputation was wiped out. I suppose something like that applies to Ernst Junger – how many people have heard of, much less read, his great novel ‘Storm of Steel’? It falls on the wrong side of the line, history-wise.

      My point being, if I have one (aside from enjoying your comment), is that many of our natural allies are afraid of the paths we take as “normal people” to figure out not only the roots of Leftist lunacy, Nechaevism we might call it, but the possible roots for a reclamation of stable, natural, cultural life.

      As for libertarianism, it’s just a SWPL apostasy, a white thing for people who have got it going money-wise, career-wise, chick-wise.

      • Joey;
        Interesting comment but a bit puzzling. I did read your relative’s (?) first book ‘Im Stahlgewitter’ (the German title is more evocative than the English translation as ‘Storm of Steel’) some time back. IIRC, it was the combat memoir of a young, German officer of the old type, (who was a natural-borne leader). It was not actually a novel, IMHO. IIRC, it contained very little philosophy but a great deal of streight-forward description of the horrors of WWI.

        Maybe he got philosophical later when he was attacked for ‘glamorizing war’. His big offense was to refuse to play the victim, unlike many other WWI young soldier authors, particularly the English ones. He commemorates his comrades, mourns (mot of) their loss, and is dryly proud of his accomplishments and (near miraculous) survival.

        He seemed to me to be a German nationalist who clearly preferred the old order of the Kaiser’s empire to Weimar. For him Capitalism = Weimar, hence his antipathy to the former. But, of course, the Kaiser’s II Reich had plenty of what we’d call capitalism (of the more crony type), hence it’s rising power, (fear of which had a large part in creating the conditions for WWI). The difference was that the old, aristocratic, elite that had thoroughly discredited itself via WWI, was then at the forefront of German society and not the capitalists, as was the case under Weimar.

  27. I often saw the libertarians as the bad boys of the khaki-trousered, blue-blazered suburban conservatives. I suspected that libertarianism allowed them cover to secretly beat down the blacks – with whom they had become exasperated – with a stream of happy Hispanic labor. Having contributed mightily to the downfall of black America, their sights are now set on the white working class.

  28. Yes, imagine masses of blacks, hispanics or even many asians embracing this ideology. Hard, isn’t it?

    Ever hear some of them regard themselves as Rothbardians? Creepy, and I like a lot of these folks.

    As Brother Nathaniel says, just another form of Jewish capitalism. Again I am focusing on the Mises types as I have very little interest in the Reason crowd and such.

    • The Randian shit is even creepier. Letting a crazy Russian, snaggle-toothed Jew broad tell us what it means to be an American is more than a little insane.

    • “Ever hear some of them regard themselves as Rothbardians?”

      What is wrong with that? It just means one agrees with the political philosophy of Murray N. Rothbard. He one time reduced it all to a simple question, “Do You Hate the State?”

      We believe that if you allow for a nation-state (different from a nation) then that State will come to be a Tyranny over time. It always happens. So those who want a nation-state are in favor of being enslaved.

      The people of Ireland went without a State for 1,000 years documented by the monks from Rome and before perhaps 10,000 years total. So, market anarchy works — and is as right wing as it gets.


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