Category Archives: Libertarianism

Zerohedge Fears Millennial Lack of Ideological Purity

From Zerohedge, two polls are cited with overlapping percentages. 58% favour socialism; 64 percent favour a free market.

While Zerohedge is correct that socialism is not a free market, it is wrong to suggest only capitalism can be a free market. Before capitalism, we had free markets; free markets have always been a thing.

What we’re perhaps seeing is an end to a political ideology: Classical liberalism. That end cannot come soon enough. I believe it was the Cold War and the one-directional television/radio communication that created such fanaticism as we have today among the Hippie generation.

“Third Way” ideas are not some degradation of a perfect ideology; they are a return to sanity. Millennials might not know what socialism is, but they’re right to reject classical liberalism.

Addendum: Perhaps another factor that encourages rigid classical liberalism is the overfocus on a single historical period for political values, rather than appreciating multiple periods.

Zerohedge Claims Most Under-30 Adults Reject Capitalism

I view this quote as potentially good news:

The Harvard University survey, which polled young adults between ages 18 and 29, found that 51 percent of respondents do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent said they support it.

It isn’t clear that the young people in the poll would prefer some alternative system, though. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. The survey had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

To start with, how many, even Harvard students, would give a consistent definition for the term “capitalism”? Most from Harvard might give correct definitions, but their definitions would inevitably vary. And when Hilaire Belloc attacked capitalism in The Servile State, he had to first define capitalism. Note: Belloc was arguing against capitalism’s tendency to bring about socialism. *Libertarian heads explode.*

Secondly, many of the paleos were labeled as “anti-capitalist”, and I’ve never believed in the mythos around the Industrial Revolution. The strength of capitalism exists where economically productive assets within a society are given power. The less economically productive then must focus efforts on more immediate concerns, like finding a job so as to eat. As a result, you have less idleness but also reductions in socially useful assets such as monasteries.

And on this second point, let me note that this is only capitalism as functioning ideally. Also, these less productive assets, such as monasteries, can serve vital functions. So, while ideal capitalism might lead to a dramatic flowering, it isn’t necessarily stable. We see in America today, moneyed-special-interests influencing political campaigns, culture, the media (including bloggers though obviously not this site). There’s almost no place for those who value anything other than money.

Today, nationalism is condemned. Faith is condemned. Our society is becoming more individualistic, secular, transient. What value is left to Americans but pursuit of greed? And we see the results, wars partly fought for profit (also for Israel lobby), mass immigration for profit, free trade for profit (Francis once said free trade is “economic ethnic cleansing”). Greed destroys. (And it’s not a Christian value, but it feels somehow dirty to make such an obvious reference.)

The term for what is lost in present-society used to be called, by a paleo blogger, “social capital”. We could all sense something was amiss with Wall Street speculation and greed, though we certainly didn’t want socialism. “Distributism”, “Third Position”, and other “Third Way” ideas became popular as a result.

Anyway, I’m proudly anti-socialist, and that is why I’m also anti-capitalist. Third solutions are the future, however one defines them, alternatives existing within both the “Left” and the “Right”. And I find many on the “Left” agree with me on many things, so long as I don’t break certain taboo topics, at least not all at once. There is potential there for a movement to draw support from both groups to assault the “moderate” centre.

One thing investors and speculators know well: The market doesn’t move in a straight line. If the march of “history” appears inevitable today, that march will shift.

Ann Coulter Battles Libertarian Students

This is excellent. I would make mistakes; Coulter makes none.

Coulter says the Libertarians are advocating most strongly for popular but less important positions, not important, controversial positions. She brings up hiring, correctly argues the conservative position on marriage, and she notes that with the loss of family ties one is left with but the individual and the state. And her unstated implication there is that other intermediate ties ideally separate man from the government of such a large polity.

On drugs, Coulter says if the welfare state were removed, then she wouldn’t care about drugs. But currently she has to pay for a pot head’s unemployment, etc. I’m not saying such is the ideal position on drugs, but the point is she’s focusing Libertarians on the important issues.

On marriage, Coulter highlights how government is indeed involved in marriage (child support, alimony). She could have also mentioned adoption. Though she doesn’t speak more, she could have readily added how two men or two women cannot, without a great deal of technology, produce children. Marriage is supposed to be for the children. And couples are supposed to produce children.

Regarding what’s possible with technology, I forget the details. Google brings this up. Will such a child be healthy and happy? Older parentage could also be questioned here.:

The complicated arrangement carried out by the Encino, California-based Center For Surrogate Parenting Inc – a favourite with Hollywood stars – means that little Zachary effectively has two fathers and two mothers.

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Ann Coulter has won acclaim for her recent book, Adios, America.

When Libertarians Attack!

The enemy of liberty has been found. Now it’s only a matter of exposing the monster for what it is, and it shall die from humiliation.

That monster is — conservatism.

It seems conservatism is an ideology, like communism or Nazism, that demands a powerful, centralized government, a police state, regulation over every aspect of an individual’s life, and a militaristic foreign policy.

Or so says libertarian author and blogger Tom Mullen. His book Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? claims to expose conservatism as the ugly and vicious love-child of those ancient apologists for despots, Thomas Hobbes and Edmund Burke.

Wait, what? Edmund Burke?

It takes only a cursory look at Mullen’s assertions to see just how sloppy and poorly researched they are. In doing so, I will let conservatives define conservatives, rather than libertarians. Seems only fair.

First, let’s consider how ludicrous it is to claim conservatism was co-founded by Thomas Hobbes and Edmund Burke. In fact, Hobbes belonged to a camp of political science that was directly opposed to Burke’s. Hobbes was a rationalist philosopher. Rationalists, as Michael Spicer explains in The Founders, The Constitution, and Public Administration: A Conflict in World Views, view human reason as sovereign. Reason, say the rationalists, is the ultimate authority on how humans should conduct themselves and organize society. Rationalists believe man can perfect himself and create utopia on earth. Because reason is the same everywhere, its principles apply to all peoples. Spicer observes that “rationalists distrust ideas derived from customs and traditions,” and therefore customs and traditions “are seen as impediments to obtaining true knowledge and must be swept aside.”

That’s why rationalist philosophers look to violence, whether by revolution or state-sanctioned force, to sweep out those musty old traditions that impede their programs.

Edmund Burke, on the other hand, was an anti-rationalist. As Spicer explains in his book, anti-rationalists do not believe human nature can be perfected. Instead, anti-rationalists “see the world, particularly the world of human affairs, as simply too complex and hence too unpredictable for any one mind, however wise, to comprehend and control.” For that reason, anti-rationalist philosophers look to established customs, traditions, and institutions as the most reliable guides to human conduct.

I cannot improve on this summary of Burke’s thought from the Edmund Burke Institute:

Burke is commonly regarded as the founder of modern conservatism. In his speeches and writings, he articulated the concept of an organic society: a social order that is sacred, natural, historical and traditional. He believed that social change was best achieved when eschewing abstract thought divorced from experience; instead, he favored renewal of the polity in harmony with a regard for individual liberty, respect for the accumulated wisdom within existing institutions and a concern for the greater good of the community. His political theory can best be summarized by his most famous phrase: “Society is a contract between the past, the present and those yet unborn.”

Traditional, organic society, then, is the foundation of order. Russell Kirk argued that traditional society is the only — the ONLY — source of our rules for mutual interaction — in other words, our rights:

Traditions are not abstractions; they are particular beliefs and customs closely related to private life and faith. The American Republic has its traditions, and so has the Cambodian Kingdom; but traditions are not created by political authority, and ought not to be debased into party slogans.

Only for the past century and a half has the word “tradition” been employed to signify “ancient customs” or “established habits of life in society.” Edmund Burke, for instance, writing in the last years of the eighteenth century, used the word “prescription” to convey these meanings, rather than the word “tradition.”

When we speak of tradition in America, then, generally we mean prescriptive social habits, prejudices, customs, and political usages which most people accept with little question, as an intellectual legacy from their ancestors.

The stable of rationalist philosophers includes Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Dewey, and Irving Kristol. Rationalists believe in the sovereign individual, whose chief concern is economic, and from that assumption, they derive their advocacy of the unitary, consolidated state; open borders; economic globalization; and the eradication of all traditional restraints on individual choice.

Among the notable anti-rationalists are David Hume, Adam Smith, and Joseph de Maistre. Anti-rationalists believe in the social nature of man, whose chief concern is the preservation and well-being of one’s culture, and from that foundation, they argue for small, culturally based political units; mediating institutions, such as families, churches, and voluntary associations to shelter and nurture the isolated individual; border security to insure demographic continuity; economic nationalism to protect jobs; and respect for traditional morality, which strengthens families and communities.

Mullen’s sloppiness is most apparent — and grating — in his conflation of neoconservatives and conservatives. Neoconservatives, despite their misleading name, are rationalists who view America as a “creedal nation” rather than a nation founded on Western traditions. Neocons base their ideology on Trotsky’s strategy of the “permanent revolution,” which called for supporting socialism in other countries to protect socialism in the USSR. So when Neocon handpuppet George W. Bush launched his US-led “global democratic revolution” beginning with Iraq, he argued that exporting democracy would help protect democracy in the US. When real conservatives, such as Pat Buchanan, Charley Reese, and Sam Francis aired their objections to Bush’s crusade, National Review’s David Frum denounced them as “unpatriotic conservatives.” Nevertheless, Mullen equates “militarism” as a defining conservative value.

There’s also an amusing aspect of Mullen’s intellectual confusion. On the basis of a few quotes, Mullen claims Edmund Burke fundamentally agreed with Thomas Hobbes, despite Burke’s radically different politics. While Burke believed in an organic society, Hobbes argued that man is not a social animal. Hobbes even went so far as to claim that society could not exist without a powerful government. The foundation of conservatism is that culture precedes government. Despite this breathtaking contradiction, Mullen frequently (obsessively?) uses Hobbes to discredit conservatism. Yet, Mullen applauds John Locke as one of the good guys, despite Locke’s frequent citation of Hobbes and partial agreement with him.

Why is this important? If we are to defend liberty, we have to understand where it came from, how it can be preserved, and what threatens it. Today we are faced with an out-of-control and self-serving central government that is busily importing a compliant Third-World population. Libertarians such as Mullen claim to defend liberty, but vocally support open borders and economic globalism, the same double-edged sword the ruling elite wields against us, its subjects. Without a Western majority, we cannot hope to preserve Western standards of behavior and governance.

David Stockman: Immigration Laws Fill US Prisons

In a recent “Chart of the Day“, David Stockman highlights how US prisons would be “emptied” if not for drug and immigration laws. Immigration is not the second highest percentage in his chart, but it’s highlighted to imply that immigration laws are unnecessary.

This is typical of libertarians, typical of financial types, and typical of “socialists” like George Soros.

Is libertarianism truly the “opposite” of socialism? No.

Anyone Following #Spanglergate ?

Some of y’all may be familiar with Brad Spangler. Some of y’all may have been following this surreal story. For those who don’t know who or what I am referring to, here is a brief overview. Brad Spangler is a left-libertarian anarchist who co-founded the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) among other claims to left-libertarian fame. On 22 Jan he confessed in a Facebook post for all to see that he molested his daughter in 2004 and said he was going to turn himself into the police. He also implied without saying so directly that he frequents questionable (likely illegal) websites and/or otherwise engages in questionable internet activities. As far as I can tell, he has not turned himself in yet.

Our sphere overlaps less with left-libertarian anarchist types than it does with paleo-libertarians, but it still overlaps some. I am vaguely familiar with Spangler and somewhat familiar with the C4SS.

I don’t have much time now. I’ll add some thoughts and links to some reactions when I have more time. I just wanted to get this up because a lot of people in our circles are talking about it.

Yggdrasil on Libertarianism and Atlas Shrugged

Ygg 2012:

Those who refuse to assert their group interest lose, and libertarianism is a moralistic cloak in which those who wish to shirk their collective interests and burdens may wrap themselves, as Ayn Rand understood.

I would go one step further than Gregory Hood, and suggest that the fact that all of her characters are nordic in appearance is not necessarily driven by an unarticulated preference or yearning for the nordic type, but rather – as a good disciple of Edward Bernays – to attract that type, like moths to flame, to a strategy of inevitable defeat.

And in that she succeeded and had her revenge.

Rand’s cult followers were encouraged to read works including Atlas Shrugged. So, one would expect it to exert some Objectivist influence on the reader.

The sense of beauty in Atlas Shrugged is man’s achievement, not God’s. Contrast a factory of rearden metal, every aspect efficient and purposeful, with a hobbit house where the resident is content to live as part of a greater whole, whose slight cosmetic imperfections, variations, and living order simply add to the beauty.

Rand’s focus on progress and superiority is a similar threat. Progress needs to be defined within a religion, but modernity threatens to “progress” outside of all bounds, so that it becomes impossible to distinguish up from down. Some whites seem to identify white heritage as a heritage of pursuing progress, evolving, which is not the same as striving to preserve a people.

GK Chesterton’s Patriotic Idea (which, yes, I link too often) dreampt of a world where nations could self-rule as they saw fit, minding their own affairs, cherishing their distinct homelands, each as subjectively “best”. Such a utopian world could never endure, life is a struggle; but it’s a pleasant goal that I believe humanity naturally yearns for. While Chesterton might have been more moderate on the fluidity of ethnic identity, I expect he’d be in arms if returned to the diverse England of today.

An American activist, acting on Chesterton’s dream, would, I believe, quell the self and pursue power and identity for his group until it could secede to be free, to self-rule as a Chestertonian republic. If such were not possible, then it would seek survival as a minority. The goal: Group survival and glorification of God. Power is only useful as a defence for these First Things, and “progress” increasingly seems to threaten the good life we enjoy today. The modern obsession with progress seems to help fill a need for meaning, though it ironically threatens to destroy our legitimate sources of meaning.

That said, Gregory Hood wrote an incredible article that pulls no punches against the Ayn Rand whose book he defends. In closing, Hood wrote:

Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, is unapologetically selfish. Rand proclaimed “greed is good” well before Gordon Gekko. Family, religion, nation, and race were all collectivist “mysticism” that a free man must ruthlessly wipe aside.

As Nikos A. Salingaros wrote, ideologies and memes are like viruses. They can only reproduce; they cannot sustain a civilisation. Post-Cold War, the West continues to be afflicted with libertarianism and similar ideology.