Steve G.

The Libertarian Temperament versus the Minarchist Temperament

In Libertarian on December 12, 2008 at 12:51 pm

A satirical response to John Hospers’ essay “The Libertarian Temperament versus the Anarchist Temperament“. At last weekend’s LNC meeting in San Diego this essay by the LP’s 1972 presidential candidate was included in the meeting binder customarily provided for LNC members. Apparently it had been circulated earlier on the LNC email list. It’s my hope that this satirical reworking of Hospers’ essay will help illustrate just how insulting and hateful Hospers’ essay (and therefore its inclusion in the meeting materials) was felt to be by many of those anarchists who have toiled mightily for the Libertarian Party and for its mission of “nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime”.

I want to distinguish the libertarian temperament from the minarchist temperament; and this distinction is quite important because there are many “minarchists” within the Libertarian Party. While minarchism as a theory may have a lot of arguments in its favor; I do not wish to question these here, or to raise the philosophical issue of minarchism here. I could even assume that all minarchist arguments are quite valid, and yet make the same point. I am concerned here only with psychological aspects of minarchism or, I should say, minarchists. In traveling here and there about the United States during the recent presidential campaign and since, I have come up against many a minarchist. And more than 90% of the poison pen letters I have received have come not from anarchists but from libertarian minarchists. I certainly do not want to be guilty of over-generalization, or to tar everyone with the same brush; but I have certainly noticed, as doubtless many of you have, a recurring personality pattern among those who label themselves minarchists.

Part of it can certainly be called an eagerness to submit to authority; but this, to a libertarian, is quite all right if it means that such submission is completely voluntary in nature. This is indeed a basic principle of libertarianism. But there is more: there is a strong, usually I would say a neurotic, insistence on the desirability of all forms of authority, especially government authority. There is a childish insistence on the obviousness of all points of minarchist doctrine, and of the evil and malevolence of anyone who makes an honest point against it. There is either an unwillingness to enter into calm sustained argument about it, or a childish frenzy in which they conduct argument, which makes it difficult for anyone to enter into it with them without being at the receiving end of name-calling and numerous personal slurs. I have seen this tendency reach the point of petulant screaming and stamping of feet, so that any impartial observer, regardless of whether or not he understood the arguments at issue, would exclaim, “These are a bunch of spoiled children!” Can it be that they have never grown up, that they love to dish it out but can’t bear to take it the way they give it, because they really have no experience in the cultivation of rationality? Many of them take to minarchism because it seems to give them a theoretical justification for their own psychological tendencies: they can’t really get along with anybody for a sustained period of time, and minarchism is the ultimate acceptance of the notion that some external authority must ultimately be in control of your interactions with your fellow men. One doesn’t have to deal fairly with his fellow men to continue in their favor, since in the minarchist ideal “the state” of course is always present to act as a last recourse for disputes. Thus, it is not an accident, I think, that the unconscious formula that the typical minarchist projects is: “Go screw yourself!” The view provides a convenient intellectual camouflage for their psychological propensities. (Egoists vs. egotists.)

Now, all this is very unfortunate from the standpoint of the Libertarian Party. It simply cannot grow as long as it is fractured into warring splinter groups, with the minarchists shouting from the housetops for all the world to hear what stupid idiots or fiendish devils all the other libertarians are. With a group so small to begin with, it is not difficult to imagine what picture the outside world will form of a party some of whose factions at least parade their differences as if they had no principles in common. Most people try to reduce everybody else to a slogan anyway, and the Libertarian Party is not accurately represented by any quick and easy slogans; the first impression people have of us from a couple of sentences in the daily paper is that we are a bunch of crackpots anyway, and this initial impression is only reinforced when they hear the minarchists berating the rest of us. They then feel that their initial impression of us is justified, and don’t bother to go on to investigate our views further; they have already got us tagged, and the tag is as far as it goes in their subsequent attitude toward us. The result is that every time this happens we have lost a possible ally.

Minarchism, as I see it, is an issue for the far future as far as practical application is concerned. If we get to the point where 9/10 of the present government functions are government functions no longer, then we can consider the question whether what remains is best performed by government or by private individuals and organizations. But it is virtually certain that we shall never reach that point if we do not present a united front to the world. What we should be working for together is the limitation of the governmental apparatus, not support of its current unlibertarian institutions. On this point we can all unite against all the other political parties; and, moreover, millions of people are so fed up with big government that they will surely listen to us if we get a chance to speak to them. The principal way in which we ourselves stand in the way of this, I think, is not only the minarchist doctrine but the minarchist psychology. They will not listen to self-styled defenders of reason who simply rant and scream. They already have a big mental block to overcome in even entertaining the word “minarchism” with any sympathy since the word in most minds conjures up images of basement-dwelling readers of Robert Heinlein who sport “Galt/Taggart ‘08” bumper stickers on their cars – if they have cars. And they will surely be turned off totally by a person whose main attitude toward them seems to be that it would be somewhat preferable if they didn’t exist.

Libertarians can’t do without creative disagreement and free discussion within their ranks, but they can jolly well do without the-attitudes of contentious and badly brought up children.

  1. susan, we lessarchists are pleased to be on the sidelines of this sideshow.

  2. Do I have to remove my Galt/Taggart 2012 bumper sticker that is next to my Don’t Blame Me, I Voted Libertarian sticker?

    At the time Hospers issued this statement, the anarchocapitalist libertarians weren’t very upset at all.Those who were weren’t working in the LP anyway. The tension between all flavors of libertarianism will remain – and is healthy.
    Otherwise we end up like the socialists, with seventeen different parties trying to decide who is the true heirs to Euguene Debs, Lenin, DuBois or whomever.

  3. Satire is often true.

    Someone e-mailed me something I wrote a couple of years ago. I don’t remember writing it, so I don’t know if it was intended to be satire or not. But, it seems to fit in this thread and it describes some who frequent these pages:

    http://angelakeaton.com/2006/07/26/072606-no-jefferson-airplane-pun-today/

  4. I don’t understand mini-archist, or is it many arches? Does this have anything to do with McDonalds?

    Can we get back to the discussion on Pimpotarians? Pimp my candidate!

  5. Roscoe, that’s an easy one: Murray Rothbard was heir to Lenin😉

  6. I don’t think I had seen the Hospers piece before. What most struck me about it was the degree to which the essay is an example of some of the behavior that it is complaining about. Most obviously:

    “which makes it difficult for anyone to enter into it with them without being at the receiving end of name-calling and numerous personal slurs”

    in an essay which describes the people the author is criticizing as “spoiled children,” “childish,” “neurotic,” “never grown up,” “can’t really get along with anybody for a sustained period of time,” “intellectual camouflage for their psychological propensities,” …

  7. I don’t think I had seen the Hospers piece before. What most struck me about it was the degree to which the essay is an example of some of the behavior that it is complaining about. Most obviously:

    “which makes it difficult for anyone to enter into it with them without being at the receiving end of name-calling and numerous personal slurs”

    in an essay which describes the people the author is criticizing as “spoiled children,” “childish,” “neurotic,” “never grown up,” “can’t really get along with anybody for a sustained period of time,” “intellectual camouflage for their psychological propensities,” …

  8. To me, Hospers always seems very bitter about the Libertarian Party, in which he is no longer active. The fellow should just move on.

  9. David,

    Excellent point. Name-calling, and generalizing about bad behavior of some and implying it applies to all, is as inappropriate and dysfunctional as the behavior cited.

    Not all anarchists are childish. Not all minarchists condescend.

    I prefer to suggest we find common ground. All Ls are, near as I can tell, lessarchists.

    On the other hand, it seems that denying differences is no way to heal this decades-long rift. I prefer to be fair-minded about discussing the differences. So, for instance, I have been told by self-identified anarchists that my theoretical asymptotic anarchist/applied lessarchist approach is not L, and not “principled.” I hear the critique, and I understand it, but I disagree.

    What do you suggest we do about that?

  10. I have a low tolerance for the Libertarian Party elite any more who wish to catagorize everyone who disagrees with them and put them in little boxes and it probably results in some sarcasm from me.

    Instead of looking for areas where we disagree we should be looking for area of agreement and working to develop those.

    Left Libertarians, right Libertarians auto this and auto that mini, not so mini, geo-libertarians, liberventionist are all unnecessary labels. Just because two of us disagree on a particular issue doesn’t mean we can’t work together on another. Quite frankly the whole point of lableing someone creates those divisions that cause our problems and ignores the fact that we are all individual thinkers who are apt to change our minds on any issue from time to time. It is certainly a poor example to set for others.

  11. Michael, agree…in spades! What you say is the motivation behind the 08 Platform. Perfect? Hardly. But a start, I’d submit.

  12. What I find tragic is that all of us don’t immediately recognize the statement “the Libertarian Party will always fight for less government intervention in the market” as an incorrect statement of what libertarianism is about (compare “We oppose all intervention by government into the area of economics and the free market should be allowed to function unhindered by government”). And I find it absurd that the “leader” of our party would subscribe to an absurd statement like “the Libertarian Party will divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals.”

    Honestly, are we the party of somewhat less government when we can? Even a lot less? Or maybe just less than some other party? How much less? And is the Libertarian Party really in the business of figuring out what government functions need to stay government functions? If that’s the case, I want the people who believe that in their hearts to post here a list of things that can never be provided voluntarily, without coercion, i.e., by the free market. I dare you. List them. And sign your name to it. Post a single thing we need governments to do. I double dare you.

  13. Dan, who are you quoting?

    Regardless, the question for me is, can we be a party in which all members answers the question exactly the same way, or can we all get along with variations on the theme of less government? My answer is Yes…yours?

    Personally, I find it tragic if we must all toe a plumbline, or go elsewhere to express ourselves politically.

    At the moment, I can’t imagine nuclear deterrence to be provided by the market. National defense generally seems hard for me to imagine provided by Acme Defense Co. If it CAN be, the market would need to evolve to a place where it could be plausibly provided, but it’s not there now, in my judgment. And, as you know, policing pollution (chemcial assault) through torts would be another that I find implausible, possibly unimaginable.

  14. Hi Robert-

    The quotes were from Redpath’s last e-mail vs. platform language from ’04.

    And I’m glad you responded to my double dare. I don’t think too many other people will. But what I appreciate more is that you tempered your answers in terms of practicalities, rather than absolutes. So the question then is one of marketing, rather than the actual principles.

    We can have an honest debate about the best way to market our principles, so long as we agree there is not a single thing that dictates we must have governments.

  15. Dan, thanks. It’s not my practice to engage in absolutist thinking, with the exception of metaphysical inquiry.

    I’d also suggest a forgiving attitude toward those who sometimes say things that don’t quite ring true. If we approach intra-LP dialog in a linear, us-vs-them fashion, I’m not liking our chances of influencing the general public. Sometimes, we use short hand to communicate a point. And sometimes we discuss issues with a different timeframe in mind.

    For ex., in the short term, I don’t believe ending Social Security is practical, either, at least in the short to intermediate term. In fact, if I were running for Congress, I’d probably talk about expanding IRAs and raising the early retirement age, or some such.

    OTOH, if I were a college professor, I might speak in more radical terms. SS is a vast intergenerational ripoff, is bankrupting the country, and is a scam.

    You might read Butler Shaffer’s essay on LRC, and consider his linear/non-linear thinking passage.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer185.html

    Politics, I’d suggest, is far more non-linear than linear. So, while I think I’m OK with your “single thing” condition, I’d need to understand that a bit more.

    It reminds me of the language in the SoP, “Since governments, when instituted….” To me, that’s linear thinking. With the possible exception Somalia (where anarchy’s not working out too well), governments ARE instituted. “When instituted” is code to satisfy theoretical anarchists, it seems.

    As a theoretical asymptotic anarchist, I’m OK with deleting “When instituted.” It might be useful to re-insert it when the State is only, say, 5% of GDP.

  16. David, your Hospers quotes could use some context. For example, “spoiled children” is not a description of all anarchists, but rather a quote of how an observer would describe it when incivility “reaches the point of petulant screaming and stamping of feet”. As an anarchist yourself, you of course haven’t been on the receiving end of anarchist “name-calling” and “personal slurs” and “insistance on the evil and malevolence of anyone who makes an honest point against” anarchism. I have. Many times. Hospers’ essay indeed goes overboard with the strained psychological analyses, but it would be absurd to say that his essay is guilty of exactly the same level of incivility that he decries.

    Susan, your bizarro version of Hospers’ essay wouldn’t strike me so much as “hateful” or “insulting” but rather as simply divorced from reality. There is nothing in my experience that resonates with the notion that among minarchists there is “a strong, usually I would say a neurotic, insistence on the desirability of all forms of authority, especially government authority. There is a childish insistence on the obviousness of all points of minarchist doctrine, and of the evil and malevolence of anyone who makes an honest point against it. There is either an unwillingness to enter into calm sustained argument about it, or a childish frenzy in which they conduct argument, which makes it difficult for anyone to enter into it with them without being at the receiving end of name-calling and numerous personal slurs.”

    The reason, of course, is that minarchists don’t argue from an absolutist, bumper-sticker-sized single-axiom philosophy. It’s apparently very tempting for anarchists to insist that all government is obviously irredeemable and that anyone who defends any state authority is on a slippery slope to e.g. “advocating mass murder”. There is a fundamental psychological difference between a) having to argue against both more state authority and less state authority and b) arguing that all state authority is ethically indistinguishable. Defending both flanks encourages respect in minarchists for principled disagreement about the optimal amount of state authority, whereas when anarchists defend only one flank there is no need to ever respect any argument of the opposing type. Dan Grow is my poster child here.🙂

    Dan, your “double dare” is just darling. In the last year I’ve repeatedly pointed you to the following lists and discussions of market failure:

    http://libertarianmajority.net/public-and-private-goods
    http://libertarianmajority.net/do-markets-under-produce-public-goods
    http://libertarianmajority.net/can-torts-police-all-negative-externalities
    http://libertarianmajority.net/does-abstaining-from-aggression-minimize-it

    Equally amnesiatic is your indignation that Chair Redpath “would subscribe to an absurd statement like ‘the Libertarian Party will divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals.'” As a member of the 2008 PlatCom, I would think you would recognize the LP Platform when our Chair quotes it. Hmm, maybe my discourses on market failure have had more impact on you than either of us realize. I always assumed that a committed anarchist like you would just read that platform language and say: “right on, because there of course are no government functions that can’t be privatized”.

    Now, just because I personally don’t think all government functions can’t be privatized, I don’t think the LP should officially say that either interpretation is disallowed. I want the Platform to allow both interpretations. I understand that you do not. I’m curious where Susan stands on this question of ecumenicism. Susan, do you think the Platform should contradict a Libertarian candidate who says that something like national defense or the courts could never be privatized?

  17. David, your Hospers quotes could use some context. For example, “spoiled children” is not a description of all anarchists, but rather a quote of how an observer would describe it when incivility “reaches the point of petulant screaming and stamping of feet”. As an anarchist yourself, you of course haven’t been on the receiving end of anarchist “name-calling” and “personal slurs” and “insistance on the evil and malevolence of anyone who makes an honest point against” anarchism. I have. Many times. Hospers’ essay indeed goes overboard with the strained psychological analyses, but it would be absurd to say that his essay is guilty of exactly the same level of incivility that he decries.

    Susan, your bizarro version of Hospers’ essay wouldn’t strike me so much as “hateful” or “insulting” but rather as simply divorced from reality. There is nothing in my experience that resonates with the notion that among minarchists there is “a strong, usually I would say a neurotic, insistence on the desirability of all forms of authority, especially government authority. There is a childish insistence on the obviousness of all points of minarchist doctrine, and of the evil and malevolence of anyone who makes an honest point against it. There is either an unwillingness to enter into calm sustained argument about it, or a childish frenzy in which they conduct argument, which makes it difficult for anyone to enter into it with them without being at the receiving end of name-calling and numerous personal slurs.”

    The reason, of course, is that minarchists don’t argue from an absolutist, bumper-sticker-sized single-axiom philosophy. It’s apparently very tempting for anarchists to insist that all government is obviously irredeemable and that anyone who defends any state authority is on a slippery slope to e.g. “advocating mass murder”. There is a fundamental psychological difference between a) having to argue against both more state authority and less state authority and b) arguing that all state authority is ethically indistinguishable. Defending both flanks encourages respect in minarchists for principled disagreement about the optimal amount of state authority, whereas when anarchists defend only one flank there is no need to ever respect any argument of the opposing type. Dan Grow is my poster child here.🙂

    Dan, your “double dare” is just darling. In the last year I’ve repeatedly pointed you to the following lists and discussions of market failure:

    [four links in next comment, awaiting moderation]

    Equally amnesiatic is your indignation that Chair Redpath “would subscribe to an absurd statement like ‘the Libertarian Party will divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals.'” As a member of the 2008 PlatCom, I would think you would recognize the LP Platform when our Chair quotes it. Hmm, maybe my discourses on market failure have had more impact on you than either of us realize. I always assumed that a committed anarchist like you would just read that platform language and say: “right on, because there of course are no government functions that can’t be privatized”.

    Now, just because I personally don’t think all government functions can’t be privatized, I don’t think the LP should officially say that either interpretation is disallowed. I want the Platform to allow both interpretations. I understand that you do not. I’m curious where Susan stands on this question of ecumenicism. Susan, do you think the Platform should contradict a Libertarian candidate who says that something like national defense or the courts could never be privatized?

  18. I find it astonishing (because I’m a closet optimist), Brian, that you continue to defend Hospers’ screed with the assertion that it is, in essence, true. Nothing is more illustrative to me of the gap between us.

    Susan, do you think the Platform should contradict a Libertarian candidate who says that something like national defense or the courts could never be privatized?

    I think you’re looking at it backwards: a platform is constructed, *then* candidates run on it (or not). It’s not constructed in contradiction or support of candidates’ prior statements – at least this is my way understanding of what a platform is. So I think your talk of a platform ‘contradicting a candidate’ is either nonsensical or another of your attempts to preload a question (or both).

    If you want to know whether I think the platform should support the notion that some functions currently held by government can not be privatized, ask _that_ question.

  19. Susan, I just criticized the psychologizing in the Hospers essay, so I’m hardly certifying its vague assertions as “true”. What I’m saying is that I too see among many anarchists “a childish insistence on the obviousness of all points of minarchist doctrine, and of the evil and malevolence of anyone who makes an honest point against it”. For example, even on the 2008 PlatCom I was treated to name-calling like “eco-fascist” and “brownshirt”, comparisons to “Pol Pot”, and sexual innuendos about the “DP” (directional principles) approach to platform repair.

    It’s absolutely hilarious that you can dodge the question of whether the platform should prescribe a goal of government abolition, and pretend that a more interesting question is whether the platform should support any privatization of current government functions. This reminds me of Hospers’s complaint about “unwillingness to enter into calm sustained argument about” anarchism.

  20. Susan: …a platform is constructed, *then* candidates run on it (or not)….

    Me: Yes and no. Platforms are constructed, then candidates run, then platforms are adjusted, then candidates run, and on and on.

    It’s kinda like price discovery. Or the unending search for Truth.

    The exception would be BTP, which apparently doesn’t allow any adjustment to the platform. We’ll see how that works out for them.

  21. What I’m saying is that I too see among many anarchists…

    I see among many minarchists bad logic and bad behavior as well – some great examples are on the page of quotes Hospers cites as praise for his work.

    Some anarchists are crapheads. Some minarchists are crapheads. Should we keep a running tally of crapheadism, or should we just eschew crapheadism ourselves and move on?

    It’s clear what Hospers thinks we should do – even if you don’t think his essay was itself insulting, his public citing of insults as *praise* for his work shows where his feeling lie (lay?) – at least to me. But maybe you think his republishing such comments from readers as ” I would go slightly further in the critique and levy the charge of nihilism at the self-proclaimed anarchists. At the very least, they are fundamentally anti-social, in the sense of failing to understand that human society is the foundational environment for everything we call “human.” Along with that, I would add narcissism. And megalomania,” as an attempt to promote civility within the Libertarian Party. I find that hard to swallow, myself.

    It’s absolutely hilarious that you can dodge the question…

    I am happy to be a source of amusement for you. Perhaps I am just too simple to understand your complex questions. I now have even less idea of what you’re on about than I thought I did when I first read your question. Can you put this one into, say, bumper-sticker-length? Then maybe even a simpleton such as myself can understand it an give it some serious thought. Thanks!

  22. 2 things:

    1) It seems inappropriate to me that Hospers’s essay would be included in the LNC binder. It’s obviously inflammatory, especially in context.

    2) Whether as Susan says some anarchists and some minarchists are “crapheads” is true or not, I’m pleased that there are NO “crapheads” among the burgeoning lessarchist set. At least, I sure HOPE not!

  23. Susan, it’s fascinating how you can plumb the depths/layers of meaning in Hospers’s decades-old essay and related comments, but draw a blank when as a 2010 PlatCom member you are asked this simple question: “do you think the Platform should contradict a Libertarian candidate who says that something like national defense or the courts could never be privatized?”

    Your complaint that I’m “looking at it backwards” seems disingenuous — or else you believe that it’s unlikely that any future LP candidate will ever be someone who says that something like national defense or the courts could never be privatized. If it helps, let’s stipulate that I will again be an LP candidate who says this.

    If the choice is between ignoring incivility and condemning it, I choose the latter. All that is necessary for incivility to triumph is for the civil not to condemn it. When you track down and quote alleged incivility on Hospers’s comments page, is that an example of “eschewing and moving on”?

  24. When you track down and quote alleged incivility on Hospers’s comments page, is that an example of “eschewing and moving on”?

    Fair criticism. I brought up the Hospers essay, though, and wanted to defend my assertion that Hospers himself is uncivil.

    …draw a blank when as a 2010 PlatCom member you are asked this simple question…

    Yes, it’s a pity the Libertarian Party is filled with such weak intellects as mine. However, we’ll have to muddle on somehow.

  25. The LP Radicals tell us: “Libertarians must always make clear that the outright removal of the injustice and interference of the State is our ultimate goal. Speaking from our basic principles avoids the quagmire of self-imposed, obligatory gradualism.”

    One wonders, though, about self-imposed obscurantism.🙂 And no, obscurantism does not necessarily imply a “weak intellect”, as a little tactical obscurantism might sometimes be the better part of valor.

    Oh well, I’m in no hurry to start the 2010 PlatCom cycle. Susan has plenty of time to make up her mind about whether the Platform should say there would be anything left of State power once all State “injustice and interference” has been removed.

  26. One wonders, though, about self-imposed obscurantism.

    Does one, now?

  27. Unwillingness to enter into calm sustained argument about anarchism, anyone?

  28. OMG, John Hospers looks JUST LIKE Brian Holtz.

    Well, that certainly explains a lot.

  29. OTOH, susanhogarth looks JUST LIKE a spider.

    Maybe that explains a few things as well😉

  30. I went for another look at Hospers’ website.

    He has two ‘guest editorials’ (reprints, presumably, since they both appear at other places) on his site; one is a piece by Walter Block, and the other is this anti-Obama screed by Jack Wheeler:

    http://johnhospers.com/Articles/GuestEds/WheelerJune52008.html

    In part, it reads:

    Thus Obambi has become the white liberals’ Christ, offering absolution from the Sin of Being White. There is no reason or logic behind it, no faults or flaws of his can diminish it, no arguments Hillary could make of any kind can be effective against it. The absurdity of Hypocrisy Clothed In Human Flesh being their Savior is all the more cause for liberals to worship him: Credo quia absurdum, I believe it because it is absurd.

    Thank heavens that the voting majority of Americans remain Christian and are in no desperate need of a phony savior.

    That Hospers’ would single out this piece for reprint and make it 50% of his ‘guest editorial page’ is pretty revolting to me, and more evidence that his consistent self-reported problems communicating with anarchists might be due more his temperament than to any sort of hypothetical ‘anarchist temperament’.

  31. I’m not sure how the case for the incivility of the c. 1973 minarchist Libertarian Hospers is strenghtened by the snarkiness of the “guest editorials” posted on the web site of the 2008 90-year-old Republican Hospers.

    I’ll see your three-decades-removed snarky Hospers guest editorial, and raise you multiple race-baiting Rockbard newsletters only a few years after leaving the LP. 🙂

  32. Brian-

    The moment you snake me into a “market failure” argument is the day I embrace “negative externalities” and support a carbon tax. “Mainstream” economics has, and always will, leave some little door open for the knight in shining armor (government) to come charging in…

    “Here I come, to save the day!”

    But seriously, Brian, post your short list here of things that, no matter what, we need government to do. Not in terms of what we can do given way the things are mucked up now, or even what might be hard for the products of public schools to wrap their heads around, but rather in an absolute kind of way, i.e., it could never happen.

  33. Dan,

    Let’s take them one at a time, then. The Rothbard-Evers 7/8ths protected Preamble ends by saying:

    “Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.”

    Good, lofty stuff! Could be interpreted many different ways, of course, so let’s unpack it.

    Is it your interpretation of those words that that means the USG should end its policy of nuclear deterrence, and should unilaterally dismantle all nuclear weapons in its possession?

    In my judgment, that would be unwise. Nor would I view such a move to be consistent with “a world set free.” The risks of such a move are simply too high, IMO.

    I would say that perhaps there COULD be a time when such a thing IS wise. Red-pill-takers never say never.

    I remind you, Dan, I took YOUR double dare!

  34. from the Hospers piece…

    “more than 90% of the poison pen letters I have received have come not from statists but from libertarian anarchists.

    I certainly do not want to be guilty of over-generalization, or to tar everyone with the same brush; but I have
    certainly noticed, as doubtless many of you have, a recurring personality pattern among those who label themselves anarchists.”

    ***********************************

    So, Mr. Hospers makes it very clear that he is not referring to all anarchists. He is just making the point that the “The Anarchist Temperament” was true often enough that he wanted to write an essay about it.

    Obviously there are reasonable LP Radicals, and there are “craphead” LP Reformers, but if you did a per capita count of Internet postings, I bet the number of four letter words, ad hominem attacks, and circular reasoning is higher amongst Radicals than amongst Reformers, at least on the Internet.

    One example – look at the two states that have refused to put the Libertarian Pres. Nominee on the ballot – Arizona in 1996, and NH in 2008 (yes, I know Barr eventually got on the ballot).

    In Arizona it was obviously because Harry Browne was not enough of an anarchist to be acceptable to Ernest Hancock and his supporters, and in 2008 it was the anarchists in NH who supported Dr. Phillies as the nominee over Congressman Barr. I can not think of any examples of Reform dominated state LP’s refusing to put a Presidential Nominee on the ballot because he was “too” Radical.

    This example does not prove my point, but it does support it.

    And yes, I do agree that it was not a good idea to distribute the Hospers essay in the binder for the Dec 2008 LNC Meeting. I have known about that essay for about six months, but I have not posted the link in a public forum because I realized it was a wee bit inflammatory 🙂

    Scott Lieberman LNC Alternate, Region 2

  35. …if you did a per capita count of Internet postings, I bet the number of four letter words, ad hominem attacks, and circular reasoning is higher amongst Radicals than amongst Reformers, at least on the Internet.

    I look forward to the results of your scholarly analysis. I know a good statistician if you want to consult with one.

    I’m glad that you agree the essay was inflammatory and that the LNC meeting was not a suitable environment for ‘sharing’ it.

  36. Robert said, “I remind you, Dan, I took YOUR double dare!” But he waffled.

    Brian said, “[Insert Web Link to Something].” But I am still waiting for “the List.”

    Dan.

  37. At libertarianmajority.net:

    public-and-private-goods
    do-markets-under-produce-public-goods
    can-torts-police-all-negative-externalities
    does-abstaining-from-aggression-minimize-it

  38. Dan,

    I guess it depends on what you mean by “waffle.” I’ve cited nuclear deterrence, national defense generally, and SS for decades, at least.

    Holtz has given you his list MANY times.

    Who is “waffling” and who is “dodging”?

    As a TAAAL-ist, I see no imperative — logical or otherwise — that says Ls must specify (construct) abstract social orders with such detail. Government is too big IMO, and I’d like to see it much smaller for a host of reasons. (This is the Taoist, Hayekian part.)

    I give you the greatest level of granularity I can, and you seem to stonewall. If you believe nuclear deterrence can be delivered by the market, what’s YOUR level of granular specificity?

    Be honest. We’re among friends!

  39. Here’s a few questions for those who think the free market can’t provide a nuclear deterrence.

    Would a free market entity acquire more nukes than any other nation state in the world and then threaten to use these weapons (“no option is off the table”) on nations who did not obey their demands?

    Would a free market entity spend fortunes on overt and covert military and political actions designed to effect regime changes in dozens of nations around the world?

    Would a free market entity use military force or political bribes in order to station a private army in areas where vast numbers of people did not want them?

    I think the answers to these questions is no, no and no. The notion that investors would spend billions of dollars on unpredictable endeavors such as those described above is unimaginable. The idea being that it is only government that provokes other nations to the point of creating a demand for nuclear deterrence in the first place.

    If you believe that insane evil-doers want to nuke us because they hate our freedom, then answer how government can prevent them from doing so if they are willing to die because of their hatred.

    Or, if you believe that a free market entity would invest the money necessary to build a global empire, both creating and provoking enemies, then explain why no free market entity has attempted to do so before now.

    Peace is the best way to avoid war, and as we all know, war is the health of what?

    The State!

  40. TB: Would a free market entity acquire more nukes than any other nation state in the world and then threaten to use these weapons (”no option is off the table”) on nations who did not obey their demands?

    me: Unlikely, but possible.

    TB: Would a free market entity spend fortunes on overt and covert military and political actions designed to effect regime changes in dozens of nations around the world?

    me: Unlikely, but possible.

    TB: Would a free market entity use military force or political bribes in order to station a private army in areas where vast numbers of people did not want them?

    me: Unlikely, but possible.

    tb: If you believe that insane evil-doers want to nuke us because they hate our freedom, then answer how government can prevent them from doing so if they are willing to die because of their hatred.

    ME: You miss the point of this exercise, Mr. Blanton. Nukes exist. The US, Russia, and China have lots of them, other nations some. That’s a fact, yes? Do you want to risk abolishing the USG with its nukes unilaterally? I don’t, because it opens up possibilities for nuke-rich nations like Russia and China subjugating us WORSE then we are now. It’s a practical consideration, one that swamps the matter of little vs. no government. This is one trade-off I don’t care to make. Now, if the day comes where nukes can somehow be neutralized, we can have another conversation.

  41. Renunciation of war is the health of the tyrant.

    Give me liberty or give me peace.

    There was no effective international law governing the nuclear arms acquisitions of the first half dozen nuclear powers, so they were “free market entities” in the sense of not operating under a territorial monopoly on law enforcement. The same is effectively true of every street gang and mafia family that has ever existed. How many of these “free market entities” ever acted like the well-behaved private defense agencies that anarcholibertarian theory claims would always dominate the market for justice? Right around zero.

    The anarcholibertarian theory of defense agencies is one of the most spectacularly unsuccessful predictive theories in the history of empirical social science.

  42. Mr. Holtz, you need to get some sleep. The comments above indicate some sort of psychosis induced by lack of sleep. There is so much that is so wrong with every statement you make.

    In the real world, tyrants manufacture bogus threats and react with war and suppression of liberty. Renunciation of war is certainly not the health of tyrants.

    Give me liberty or give me peace?

    It’s time for you to move into the realm of neoconservative think tanks, Holtz. They would welcome you with open arms. Or are you employed by them already?

    And why would anyone, other than you perhaps, expect street gangs or the mafia to act like well-behaved private defense agencies? Where do you get this stuff?

    Perhaps your hallucinations will stop if you slept more. You’ve truly gone off the deep end.

    As for Mr. Capozzi, yes anything is possible. But, not every possible contingency can ever be dealt with. I would only suggest that nuclear war is more likely with the government we now have than it would be with no government.

    I’d also like to warn you of ever leaving your house again. All sorts of calamities are possible no matter how many precautions are taken. Your neighbors might attack you with no warning. Of course, you could pre-emptively threaten them or maybe beat a few of them senseless just to warn others of what you are capable of. Maybe that would make you safer.

    Here’s a bumper sticker for you:

    The ability to instill fear is the health of the tyrant.

  43. Tom: I would only suggest that nuclear war is more likely with the government we now have than it would be with no government.

    Bob: Thanks for sharing your judgment. Interesting way to frame it…I might actually have the same judgment.

    I frame it differently. A much smaller government with a non-interventionist foreign policy is less likely to trigger nuclear war than a button-pushed no-government regime. Disposing of the existing stockpile or privatizing it seems incomprehensible to me, or more dangerous.

    Thanks for the warning, but it’s my practice to live fear free. Neighbors DO sometimes attack others. Nations DO sometimes attack other nations. I’m dealing with it…you?

  44. Tom, war wasn’t so healthy for Saddam’s neck.

    Thank you for the name-calling; it’s a handy gauge of the intellectual quality of your response to the empirical case against anarchism. I’m especially grateful for your admission that you have zero explanation for why real-world lawless protection rackets never behave like theoretical anarcholibertarian defense agencies.

  45. Brian, I’m not calling you names. In all seriousness I think you have a screw loose. I feel as if you live in an entirely different dimension than I do and I have no idea what your agenda is, why you think the way you do, or why you are even involved in the libertarian movement in the first place.

    Of course war wasn’t so healthy for Saddam’s neck. It also hasn’t been too healthy for the average American. In the absence of coercion, I doubt most Americans would have invested thousands of dollars in a venture to kill Saddam and convert Iraq to democracy at gunpoint if offered in a prospectus.

    You might have, but I don’t think most Americans would have.

    I have a good explanation for why thugs selling “protection” don’t behave like theoretical anarcholibertarian defense agencies. It is because they aren’t theoretical anarcholibertarian defense agencies and they aren’t selling protection. But you already know these things. These thugs are in the business of extortion, much like government.

    Finally, I ridicule your notion that an empirical case against anarchism even exists – just like I ridicule much of what you write. There can be no empirical argument against a preference. I suppose you also have an empirical argument against Coke and for Pepsi.

    The fact is that you wish government to force me to pay for the things you want that I don’t want. It is as simple as that. Once you decide that some service is needed, you are afraid I won’t pay my “fair share” in a market situation, so you want a government to force me to pay my “fair share” for whatever it is that you want.

    This is your argument against anarchy in a nutshell. Dress it up however you wish, distort the language, create bizarre realities, whatever – you wish to force others to pay a share to support the things you want and at the same time, you don’t want to pay for things others want that you feel are unnecessary.

    Well, the winner-take-all form of democracy already exists. It’s not working out so well. You may not like it either, but you do play the little game. When you play a game where you wish to rule others, you implicitly agree to have them rule you if they garner 50.1% of the vote. You must then rely on your dandy little empirical arguments against this or that to get your way using persuasion in the grand collective you envision. This is why I wonder why libertarianism, which is concerned with the individual, has any appeal to you. Why not just become a goo-goo reformer in a major party?

    It seems to me that you are just crazy and you are certainly entitled to feel the same about me. I’m just getting too old to suffer fools and I’m damn tired of smiling clowns insisting that I be forced to pay for their screwed up schemes.

  46. Tom: Of course war wasn’t so healthy for Saddam’s neck. It also hasn’t been too healthy for the average American.

    Me: Tom, I believe you missed Brian’s point about Saddam. The bumper-sticker slogan “War is the health of the State” is not actually true. It didn’t work out for Saddam, who was the State. I say this as a non-interventionist who was and is opposed to the Iraq War. Bourne was directionally correct, but not always, IMO.

    Tom: I have a good explanation for why thugs selling “protection” don’t behave like theoretical anarcholibertarian defense agencies. It is because they aren’t theoretical anarcholibertarian defense agencies and they aren’t selling protection. But you already know these things. These thugs are in the business of extortion, much like government.

    Me: That’s the empirical case, Tom. Our observations of thuggery tell us that, so far at least, private defense and security has a non-good track record. Marx needed the evolution of his Socialist Man. It appears that Rothbard, though he denied it*, requires the evolution of the Anarchist Man. It’s kinda, sorta appealling to me, but in the meantime, what do we do? Me, I advocate lessarchy.

    Tom: The fact is that you wish government to force me to pay for the things you want that I don’t want. It is as simple as that.

    Me: In my case, I don’t. Until the Anarchist Man (and Woman) has evolved, I advocate Nonarchy Pods for those who wish to personally secede. The Pod People can opt out of all coercive government so long as they stay on their property. Pod People can trade through a hole in the fence. Pod People can do anything they want in their Pod, except inherently dangerous things that endanger those outside the Pod. Methodological individualism allows for Nonarchy Pods.
    _____

    *”The second criticism I would like to defuse before beginning the main body of the paper is the common charge that anarchists “assume that all people are good” and that without the state no crime would be committed. In short, that anarchism assumes that with the abolition of the state a New Anarchist Man will emerge, cooperative, humane, and benevolent, so that no problem of crime will then plague the society. I confess that I do not understand the basis for this charge. Whatever other schools of anarchism profess — and I do not believe that they are open to the charge — I certainly do not adopt this view. I assume with most observers that mankind is a mixture of good and evil, of cooperative and criminal tendencies. In my view, the anarchist society is one which maximizes the tendencies for the good and the cooperative, while it minimizes both the opportunity and the moral legitimacy of the evil and the criminal. If the anarchist view is correct and the state is indeed the great legalized and socially legitimated channel for all manner of antisocial crime — theft, oppression, mass murder — on a massive scale, then surely the abolition of such an engine of crime can do nothing but favor the good in man and discourage the bad.” – M.N. Rothbard, The Libertarian Forum, volume 7.1, January 1975.

    Note: Rothbard makes a grandiose, fallacious statement here. “… abolition of such an engine of crime can do nothing but favor the good in man and discourage the bad,” is a subjective assessment with few to no observations. He baldly asserts “surely” and “can do nothing,” yet he does not bother – or cannot – muster justification much less proof of his assertion. Rothbard’s construct falls apart here. Even if the State is viewed as a “criminal enterprise,” it doesn’t necessarily follow that anarchy “favor(s) the good.” For ex., Somalia – the only stateless territory in the modern (and most) era — has been overrun in large measure by Ethiopian troops. Rothbard and his adherents may subjectively believe that the absence of a State inherently “favor(s) the good,” but fair-minded observers would beg to differ. Even (near) anarchoParadise 1st Millenial Iceland – an isolated island tundra – fell.

  47. “War is the health of the state” does not mean it is healthy for all states. It is healthy for the concept of “the state” — i.e. STATISM. Statism has grown as a result of the Iraq War, unquestionably. Jeez. I’d think Mr. Holtz would be smart enough to understand that.

  48. Jason, I’d agree that statism in the US has grown in the past 8 years.

    Statism declined from in the US from 1775 vs. 1782, as monarchical rule was throw off.

    Statism declined from 1860 vs. 1870 in the US, as chattel slavery was abolished.

    War *can* be the health of the State, but it isn’t always, although it’s always a last resort.

    All IMO, as always.

  49. Statism declined from in the US from 1775 vs. 1782, as monarchical rule was throw off.

    Nope. The state’s presence in the colonies was minimal so long as state power was across an ocean. This is what led the colonies to be so prosperous; “benign neglect.”

    Statism declined from 1860 vs. 1870 in the US, as chattel slavery was abolished.

    Wow, not even close to true. This period represented the biggest growth in statism EVER. Who am I talking to here, George Phillies? You might as well say that the Russian Revolution led to a decline in statism.

  50. Jason,

    OK, if you think the American Revolution was not worth fighting, I respect that’s your take. Apparently the Founders and those who fought to be unshackled from the Crown didn’t feel “benignly neglected.” It seems to me that their preferences were revealed. State power was largely across the ocean, but not entirely, sir. British troops and revenuers were in the colonies, last I checked.

    I’d agree that statism temporarily increased from 1860-65, but most of that was reversed post-Confederate Elite Insurrection (Civil War), 1865-70. But 100% statism, 100% coercion – chattel slavery – was ended between 1860-70. Over 10% of the population had 100% coercion removed. Of course, tragically, 600,000 died in the process of undoing the single most statist institution ever devised. Headstrong slavers chose to attack Ft. Sumter rather than negotiate restrictions on the expansion of their sick, peculiar institution.

    I’m not Phillies, but I tend to agree with him more than “Rockbard.” Don’t worry, though, I agree with Rockbard more than Bush and Obama, but I really wish Rockbardians would wake up to the realization that slavery is the worst sort of coercion — much, much worse than tariffs.

  51. No, I think the Revolutionary War was worth fighting, but it did not lead to a decline in statism. The state was more directly oppressive just a few years after the Revolution than it was before. It was worth fighting for the interim years before the Constitutional coup.

    Although chattel slavery could not be sustained without support of the state (i.e., the government installed by the “Revolution”), it’s “abolition” was not a net gain for freedom. Blacks did not have “100% coercion” removed — unless you mean that 100% was removed and replaced with 90%. Meanwhile, the rest of the country went from maybe 10% coercion to 50%, all of which was attributable directly to the state… And the stage was set for much higher levels of state coercion.

    America’s particular type of slavery was indeed worse than tariffs. I don’t know anyone who thinks otherwise (except maybe white racists). Thomas DiLorenzo, author of the Real Lincoln, goes so far as to say that IF abolishing slavery were the actual purpose of the Civil War, it may have been justified. But it wasn’t and it wasn’t. Both tariffs and slavery are evil — it isn’t either/or. But your suggestion that the Civil War was NOT “the health of the state” is absolutely untrue; the biggest untruth I could even imagine.

  52. Jason, yes, war’s cause dislocations for a time. The State’s oppression and coercion was net smaller IMO as a result of the Revolution.

    I’ve not commented on the MOTIVES of any of the constituencies and circumstances that led to the Confederate Elite Insurrection. In my judgement, there was less net coercion in 1870 vs. 1860…that’s all. Putting down the Insurrection led to improvement despite major setbacks during the “war.”

    Statism waxes and wanes, but in my judgement the trend was generally positive from 1775-1928. To me, that improvement was propelled by the American Revolution, and further improved by putting down the Insurrection. Some of the Unionists certainly WERE motivated by the desire to end chattel slavery. DiLorenzo makes an important (if narrow) point that Lincoln wasn’t…at first at least.

    As a strong L, my take is that the ending of chattel slavery is THE single greatest event in human history.

  53. The only problem is that chattel slavery was ended in the United States by a government that imposed unprecedented levels of oppression on the entire country and then the world. This is sort of like throwing off the Shah to be replaced by Ayatollah Khomeni (but worse).

  54. Abolishing the state will be the greatest event in human history.

  55. Jason, the world? That requires profound speculation.

    Yes, I guess, though, that had the SC Elites not fired on Ft. Sumter, perhaps history would be quite different.

    Seriously, the flaw of the Rockbard take on the Civil War is that most of the Statist efforts by the Union were reversed after the Insurrection was put down. As I’m sure you know, the Lincoln Administration was surrounded in 1861…the slaver forces threatened to take the Union down for their sick desires to maintain chattel. It’s no surprise that Lincoln took some temporary, extraordinary steps during a frightening time.

  56. The centralism established by the mercantilist (and white supremacist) Republican regime signified the final abolition of the founder’s republic. The federal government would grow, virtually unchecked, from then on. Nothing was “rolled back,” at least not for long. The evil Republican Party had a monopoly on the White House, save the two glorious Cleveland administrations, all the way until the Democratic Party abandoned its libertarian principles with the ascension of the evil Lincolnian Wilson to the presidency. South Carolina had every right to fire the first shot (even regardless of the fact that they were baited into it, which they were) — the federal government was an occupying force.

    Seriously, I find no common ground whatsoever with “libertarians” who have your take on Lincoln and the “Civil War.”

  57. Jason, sorry you feel that way. I find MUCH common ground with Ls who seem to focus on decentralism as a lynchpin to liberty. I’m sympathetic to decentralism myself, but it’s not my sole basis for historical analysis. (So far as I know, my take on the Insurrection is unique, btw, so I’m not sure what label you’re putting on me.)

    I’m more interested in content than form. There are geographical small states that are relatively totalitarian and geographically large states that are relatively free. I don’t quite get the Rockwell crowd’s apparent fixation on “decentralism” in this light, but if that works for them, more power to ’em.

    Since SC was at the time the population of the state was majority slave, I think all of the actions of that state government’s in 1860-1 were illegitimate.

    I would note that in the early 80s, Rothbard lectured me that the Civil War was about tariffs. DiLorenzo acknowledges it was about slavery, too.

    I’m pleased with this progress.

  58. The importance of decentralism: If Virginia became overly oppressive, I’d have a much better chance of either a) moving to another state, or b) banding together with my fellows and fighting the state, either directly or indirectly. Once state sovereignty was abolished by the cretinous Lincoln, these options were taken off the table. If you’re not against decentralism, then you can’t be against Empire. What’s wrong with the U.S. running Iraq? Nothing that isn’t also wrong with it running Michigan.

  59. The War about slavery? Barely. It was clearly about Lincoln’s desire to install Mercantilism and loot the South through his central-planning regime of protectionism, taxes, fiat money, etc. He (and others in the North) did not want slavery to spread, but they weren’t fighting to abolish it in the South. You know this. The South SAID the North wanted to abolish slavery in order to rile up white racist support for their cause. This was just propaganda, though. You know that Lincoln said he would tolerate slavery in the South and even proposed a 13th amendment that would have forever forbidden the federal government from interfering in the South’s slave state. You also know that the vast majority of opposition to slavery in the North was based on the same Know-Nothingism that inspires opposition to immigrant labor today. Lincoln, of course, was obsessed with shipping freed blacks “back to Africa” and mocked political opponents who supported true equality for blacks. You know all this. I’m confident of that. So how can you say that the war was “about slavery”?

  60. Jason, I’m for decentralism and don’t support empires. Mostly, I’m for reducing the State everywhere and to eventually test just how small it could be while maintaining a modicum (or more) of domestic tranquility.

    The Rockbard model is a form of centralization, too. They think VA should have been centralized unto itself. That apparently meant for Calhounists that if VA wanted to maintain its peculiar institution by force, it could. Slaves couldn’t leave, and could be killed for trying to exit.

    North Korea’s a fairly small land mass, and exiting IT or rising up against that regime hasn’t worked out to well, at least so far.

    Rockwell has described the Articles period as “paradise.” I don’t. Paradise is just a construct, but I’d not describe a situation as paradise that included slavery. I can’t even fathom how one arrives at the paradise conclusion, actually, when such a profound injustice was in force.

  61. JS: So how can you say that the war was “about slavery”?

    Me: Read the transcripts of the Secession Conventions. Confederate Elite after Confederate Elite stated their motivation for seceding. They did that, then they attacked Ft. Sumter, then they tried to get VA and MD to secede, surrounding DC.

    Abolitionists were often moved by their conscience, actually.

    Lincoln was a politician. I’ve not praised him, dude. First, he was trying to save his own bacon, and not be killed by the Insurrectionists. Then he was trying to maintain the Union. I’m not a fan, but the Confederates forced his hand in their mad desire to keep slavery as an institution.

    DiLorenzo himself admits that the Confederates were motivated in part by this desire to the peculiar institution going. Look it up!

  62. [blockquote]They think VA should have been centralized unto itself. That apparently meant for Calhounists that if VA wanted to maintain its peculiar institution by force, it could.[/blockquote]

    This is not true. They were/are anarchists, not small-state centralists, like you’re claiming. I assume you know that, too. Rothbard and Rockwell knew/ know that slavery was evil and were/are great admirers of Lysander Spooner. There is a difference, however, between acknowledging something is evil and wanting to use an Imperialist state to crush it. I think abortion is evil. I do not support using the U.S. government to prohibit abortion in China — nor in Michigan.

    I have not denied that the Confederacy wanted to preserve slavery and was worried (without justification, in my mind) that the North wanted to abolish it. That is NOT the same as saying that the war was about slavery! It was to only a very, very minimal degree. The North had no inclination to abolish slavery in the South, only to prevent its spread (for free white labor!).

    The Articles period was not paradise because under the Articles, there was still a weak central government, and just as bad, lots of small-state governments. Paradise would imply none of that, but that model is infinitely superior to what the Constitution gave us, what Lincoln destroyed in the “Civil War,” and what we have now. Slavery could not have been maintained without the state; without a strong central state, in fact. The Northern states could have simply refused to turn over fugitive slaves. You know this.

  63. Jason, you seem to buy into the Rockwell crowd’s take on the Civil War, and their IMO curious take on how decentralism is the path to anarchy. I have heard their case, and while I think they make some important points, they twist facts to suit their case. Things weren’t nearly as one-dimensional in the pre-war period as they claim.

    For ex., it’s quite true that some Unionists were mercantilists. Some were Know Nothings. Some were Federalists. And, yes, some were Abolitionists. By my reading of history, Lincoln was a politician, trying to keep his coalition together.

    Yes, there were tensions between N and S over tariffs. There were also tensions over slavery. I recommend your doing a Google search on transcripts from the Confederate Secession Conventions. My reading of those transcripts is that the Elites, at least, wished to secede MOSTLY to preserve the peculiar institution. Several Confederate states even put it in their ordnances of secession!

    You keep repeating that “You know this.” What I agree with is that there are a lot of myths and oversimplifications of the Civil War. An example of oversimplification is your statement: “The North had no inclination to abolish slavery in the South, only to prevent its spread (for free white labor!).” There weren’t just two camps, but MANY. Use the DiLorenzo Polarization model if you want, but that does not describe the situation nearly accurately enough for this hombre.

    There were fugitive slave laws then, dude, which was a big bone of contention in the S, as some N states weren’t abiding by it. Yes, Calhounists might argue the N should not have abided by them, but obviously many in the N (and some in the S) were Federalists, not Calhounists.

    Putting all the dysfunction surrounding the Civil War on Lincoln is like putting all the dysfunction of the current era on Bush. The list is much longer in my mind: Cheney, the Cabinet, Congress, the neoCons, and on and on.

    I’m pleased you disagree with Rockwell’s “paradise” characterization.

  64. “I recommend your doing a Google search on transcripts from the Confederate Secession Conventions. My reading of those transcripts is that the Elites, at least, wished to secede MOSTLY to preserve the peculiar institution. ”

    How many times can I NOT deny this before it takes? Just because they wanted to preserve slavery does not mean that the North wanted to abolish it.

    Of course, “all the dysfunction” cannot be blamed on Lincoln. It has its roots in the Constitution itself, in Washington ascending as the first great Tyrant and appointing only Federalists (nationalists) to the bench, etc.

    No one denies that slavery is evil and that America’s brand of it was particularly bad. But that great evil obscures the other issues at hand, which were more prominent in the day. You know that the freedom of all slaves could have been purchased for less than it cost to fight the Civil War. The war was NOT about slavery — it was about conquest. An elitist cabal took conquered the state governments of the South and the North. That you celebrate that and call yourself a “libertarian” is ludicrous!

  65. Celebrate? Where have I celebrated that most unfortunate event?

    There were a lot of cabals, that’s for sure. For me, the Calhounist cabal was the prime mover of this particular event.

    You disagree, and that’s cool. I see you even disagree with Rockwell, that’s also cool.

    I am curious who designated you as L pope?

    Seems like this thread’s more than played….

  66. “I am curious who designated you as L pope?”

    God. Duh.

  67. But this doesn’t read like satire at all? It reads like a great deal of how many anarcholibertarians (there’s a nice word I came up with) have discussed “limited statists” through the years, from Rothbard’s FANL 30 years ago, to LewRockwell.com writing about them today.

    I guess that reinforces David Friedman’s point: (some) libertarans on both sides do it, and only notice it when their own side is the particular target.

  68. ““Mainstream” economics has, and always will, leave some little door open for the knight in shining armor (government) to come charging in…”

    Yes. Because there are, in fact, good economic arguments in favor of government action as well as good economic arguments against. There isn’t any open-and-shut, all reasonable men must agree, proof available on either side.

    It almost sounds as though you are saying that you are not interested in thinking about arguments that might lead to a conclusion you don’t want.

  69. I know it can be time-consuming to update your blog but thank you for keeping me informed and entertained!

  70. Mr. Dance, if minarchists wish to debate anarchists on policy, and to say that anarchists are wrong because X, Y, or Z, that is one thing. But to stereotype us as all being childish is simply not a responsible way to go about things. For a New Liberty, although it rejected minarchism on practical, pragmatic, and ethical grounds, to my memory did not go about saying that all advocates of laissez-faire (if I recall correctly, Rothbard uses “advocates of laissez-faire” to denote minarchists) as childish or not worth listening to. Indeed, FaNL would be less grand if he had.

    Best regards,
    Alex Peak

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