The Last Leftist

The late Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, puts today’s lefties to shame

Howard Zinn: A Life on the Left, by Martin Duberman, The New Press, 344 pages, $26.95

There was once a radical left in the United States. Back then, it was common to hear on college campuses and in respectable left-wing publications that liberals and the Democratic Party were the enemies of freedom, justice, and the people. Democratic politicians who expanded welfare programs and championed legislation that aided labor unions were nonetheless regarded as racists, totalitarians, and mass murderers for their reluctance to defend the civil rights of African Americans, for their collusion with capitalists, for their use of police powers to repress dissent, and for their imperialist, war-making policies. There was widespread left-wing rejection of the liberal claim that government was good, and many leftists spoke of and stood for a thing they called liberty.

There was no better exemplar of that thoroughgoing, anti-statist left than Howard Zinn, the author of A People’s History of the United States, whose death in 2010 was preceded by a life of activism and scholarship devoted to what could be called libertarian socialism. It is difficult to read Martin Duberman’s sympathetic but thoughtful biography, Howard Zinn: A Life on the Left, without lamenting how different Zinn and his ilk were from what now passes for an alternative political movement in this country. And for those of us with an interest in bridging the left and libertarianism, the book will also serve as a painful reminder of what once seemed possible. Howard Zinn’s life was a repudiation of the politics of the age of Obama.

At the age of 21, Zinn eagerly enlisted in the Army Air Forces to serve in World War II, but soon became one of very few Americans who questioned “the good war.” Thereafter, Zinn accumulated impeccable anti-war credentials, capped by his characterization of Obama’s foreign policy as “nationalist, expansionist, imperial and warlike.”

Following his service as a bombardier on B-17 Flying Fortresses, Zinn found out that what he had dropped on French towns were 100-pound canisters filled with a new invention called “jellied gasoline,” later known as napalm. By the end of the war he had come to believe that “modern warfare, being massive, indiscriminate killing of people, is a means so horrendous that no end”—not even the destruction of fascism—“can justify it.” Though he never considered himself to be a pacifist, the 60 million deaths caused by the war against the Axis caused him to see that “to retaliate against violence with more violence [is] to multiply the cruelties which you set out to stop.” Hiroshima and Nagasaki confirmed for him that, in Duberman’s words, “there was no such thing as a ‘good’ war.” On his way home from Europe, Zinn wrote on the box containing his Air Force medals and insignia, “NEVER AGAIN.”

Zinn was deeply influenced by anarchists, and this anti-statism kept him from doing what most of the left has been doing of late—identifying with the holders of state power. Some of Zinn’s friends, Duberman writes, resented his “never speaking well of any politician.” When many considered John F. Kennedy to be a champion of black civil rights, Zinn declared that the president had done only enough for the movement “to keep his image from collapsing in the eyes of twenty million Negroes.” Going farther, Zinn argued that African Americans should eschew involvement with any state power, and even counseled against a campaign for voting rights. “When Negroes vote, they will achieve as much power as the rest of us have—which is very little.” Instead, they should create “centers of power” outside government agencies from which to pressure authorities.

Much of today’s American left identifies with a black authority figure who criticizes blacks for eating fried chicken, wearing baggy jeans, and “acting like boys instead of men,” and who has remained astonishingly mute on civil rights. (The political scientist Daniel Q. Gillion found that Obama, in his first two years in office, spoke about race less than any Democratic president had since 1961.) In contrast, Zinn’s first political battle was with the black president of Spelman College—Zinn’s first academic employer—over the college’s mission to produce, amid a burgeoning civil rights movement, “sedate, quiet, careful” black women who were, as Duberman puts it, carbon copies “of a genteel finishing school for young white ladies.” Zinn unreservedly attacked the Spelman president in a letter to the college’s board of trustees for acting “like a colonial administrator in a country burning with nationalistic fervor,” for demonstrating “the sincere moralizing of the true Puritan,” and for creating a “warped” program of accommodation to segregation and assimilation into white bourgeois culture that was worse for blacks than the deeds of racists.

Looking at Zinn’s career from a time when formerly antiwar lefties are calling for a “responsible” gradual withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and defending the mass murder of civilians with unmanned aircraft, one can only marvel at the uncompromising ferocity of his attacks on liberal warmongers. In 1966 he wrote of Democratic leaders what now could be said of the current inhabitant of the White House: “American statesmen who are ‘liberals’ at home will sustain a state of terror abroad by surrounding it with the promise of change.” To liberals who declared their affinity for government, Zinn asked, “Are not governments the greatest murderers of all?”

At times, Zinn could have been confused with Murray Rothbard. Though always favorable toward socialism, Zinn consistently demonstrated what Duberman calls a “considerable attraction to the anarchists’ antiauthoritarian stance.” He called for the elimination of all national borders, and he even acknowledged that capitalism had “developed the economy in an enormously impressive way” by increasing “geometrically the number of goods available.” He admired many of the New Deal’s accomplishments but saw its legacy, in Duberman’s words, as one where “big business and big government had joined forces, becoming allies more concerned with their own prestige and power than with the multiple needs of the people.”

Sadly, Zinn was not without lapses into authoritarian thinking. Presaging the politically correct assault on intellectual freedom in higher education, in 1969 he argued that the university should discourage scholarship that does not advance the cause of “eliminating war, poverty, race, and national hatred [or] governmental restrictions on individual freedom.” Deriding free intellectual exchange as “endless academic discussion” of “trivial or esoteric inquiry” that goes “nowhere into the real world,” Zinn insisted that academics apply their work only to causes he supported. “Let the economists work out a plan for free food, instead of advising the Federal Reserve Board on interest rates,” he wrote. “Let the political scientists work out insurgency tactics for the poor, rather than counter-insurgency tactics for the military.” 

Zinn was in some ways a product of the conservatism of his era. “Though sympathetic to the New Left,” Duberman writes, “Howard was late in acknowledging feminism or ethnicity as primary aspects of identity, and even later in regard to sexual orientation.” Indeed, the first edition of A People’s History, published in 1980, contained only a brief recounting of feminism in the 20th century and no mention of Latinos or gays.

Despite its important omissions, Zinn’s opus was a liberatory corrective to traditional American historiography. Until the publication of A People’s History, textbooks that narrated the march of time from Columbus to the modern era were peopled almost exclusively with presidents, senators, generals, inventors, and capitalists. Those “great men” were solely credited with creating the institutions and cultural norms of the United States. Zinn inverted the perspective. The old heroes were cast as oppressors while Indians, slaves, workers, radicals, and Third World peasants took center stage as noble protagonists. As one reviewer put it, “The book bears the same relation to traditional texts as a photographic negative does to print: the areas of darkness and light have been reversed.” 

Though it presented material that had already been made available by New Left historians in narrow monographs, Zinn’s book was the first reconception of the whole story of the country. By breaking the lock of tradition and patriotic loyalism on the historical profession, A People’s History, which has now sold more than 2 million copies, made possible the very act of radical, comprehensive revision.

Duberman rightly criticizes Zinn for ignoring or downplaying modern-day women’s activists, non-black racial minorities, and gays, and also for presenting a Manichean view of the world. A People’s History often “lacks nuance, with the world divided into oppressors and oppressed, villains or heroes; the history of the U.S. is treated as mainly the story of relentless exploitation and deceit.” Nothing positive is said about the “great men” and, perhaps more troubling, the masses are portrayed as either powerless victims or thoroughly political creatures wholly devoted to struggle against their oppressors. 

In fact, as Duberman reminds us, “the workers in this country haven’t been in a state of constant agitation.” An uninformed reader of A People’s History would likely come away from it with the impression that most ordinary Americans were left-wing activists. Yet even at its height, in the 1910s, 1930s, and 1960s, radicalism never achieved anything approaching majority support in the U.S. The largest left-wing organization in American history, the Communist Party U.S.A. of the 1930s, had at its peak approximately 100,000 members and another 100,000 “fellow travelers.”

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  • tarran||

    /pops open a soda, puts his feet up and starts refreshing the page every two minutes.

  • ||

    Indeed. Popcorn, tarran?

    **offers kettle corn popcorn**

  • Ted S.||

    Tarran is a troglodyte who only eats deep-dish popcorn.

  • Raven Nation||

    Happy with what the refresh is bringing you?

  • GILMORE||

    I have not read the comments... but I've read Howard Zinn... and my personal opinion is - whatever his 'anti-statist stance' - is that he's the scum of the earth, and his principal complaint about Government is that *its not communist enough*.

    He pretty much invented the whole "blame white people"-ethos for progressive white people. self hatred is a moral virtue.

  • Badger||

    Bingo; this is just the comment that was brewing in my head as I read this article. Anti-statism may be admirable, but advocating the destruction of a culture that you disagree with-in this case the culture of White middle-America-is morally repugnant no matter who its coming from.

  • John||

    By the end of the war he had come to believe that “modern warfare, being massive, indiscriminate killing of people, is a means so horrendous that no end”—not even the destruction of fascism—“can justify it.”

    I think if Zinn had been a Pole or a Jew living in Europe rather than an American who could always go home, he would have thought a bit differently. Strict pacifism has always been the coward's approach to the world.

  • Liberty||

    +1

  • R C Dean||

    If no end, not even resistance to aggression, can justify war, then this is no more than a call for preemptive surrender to the first invader.

  • Tman||

    That's the thing about leftists. They have a disconnect between their ideals and reality that is caused by a complete ignorance of history.

    Preemptively surrendering seems like the easy way out to them, thus the correct choice. What they fail to realize (or purposefully choose to ignore) is that that choice is neither easy nor correct when you examine it through the lens of history.

    There are plenty of examples throughout history where appeasement and surrender seemed to many as the best possible outcome.

    Then they started putting people on cattle cars.

  • Raven Nation||

    Depends on the war. I saw an interview with Mike Farrell once during the Kosovo crisis in which he was advocating for intervention. The interviewer asked him about his opposition to Vietnam & he replied that there were good wars & bad wars citing WWII as a good war (not saying he was correct, just making the point).

    Of course, the cynic could point out he was too young to fight in WWII & too old for Kosovo but the right age for Vietnam.

  • Tman||

    That is more of a mask slip than anything.

    Most leftists and pacifists have a hard time arguing that, say, the Jews should have remained pacifists. Or the Armenians should've just kept walking. Or the Rwandans should've just let them rape all their women.

    But the point is that the pretend to start from the morally superior high ground but eventually the harsh truth begins to force the mask to slip.

    That's what I mean about ignorance to history. Some are doing it on purpose, some are really that stupid.

  • Badger||

    "They have a disconnect between their ideals and reality that is caused by a complete ignorance of history."

    Or a denial of history. And this "disconnect" is exactly why radical leftists have always felt so at home in acadamia, where their crackpot ideas are never really tested by reality. That's the whole genesis of phrase "it's academic."

  • mtrueman||

    But war did not save the European Jews. Before the war, the destruction of the Jews was not taken seriously as an option. It was only with the outbreak of total war that the extermination became conceivable and possible.

    It's not clear how one can be pro-war but anti-state. The two go together hand in hand.

  • John||

    But war did not save the European Jews. Before the war, the destruction of the Jews was not taken seriously as an option.

    Bullshit. Hitler planned that all along. He said in his book that his plan was to take over Eastern Europe and Russia, kill and enslave its populations and use the land as living space for the Germans. The plan all along was to kill and enslave the lesser races for the benefit of the German people.

    And the Germans started the war. The reason why was they had to. They were running out of money. After they were done looting the Jews in Germany and Austria, they needed more. They were always going to be aggressive and always going to invade new countries because it was the only way they had to fund their country.

  • mtrueman||

    Jews died in their millions during the war. Pre-war, Jews weren't disposed of in nearly the same numbers. The 'final solution' was only arrived at in mid-war. Before the war there were other solutions considered, including the transport of Jews to various other parts of the world. I don't know how you can dispute this.

  • John||

    I can deny this by looking at the actual record of murder and atrocities compiled by the Germans from the beginning of the war. Look at the way the Germans treated the populations of Poland and occupied Russia and then come back and tell me they intended to do anything but murder and enslave the inferior races. At best you are left with the argument, but if we just hadn't resisted maybe the Germans, who we know now actually did murder 13 million people, would have just enslaved and or deported millions.

    That is your justification for doing nothing?

  • mtrueman||

    I don't understand your point. You don't seem to be following my argument. Maybe you are writing in haste. I'm considering here the best way for Germany's Jews to have prevented the holocaust.

  • Redmanfms||

    I'm considering here the best way for Germany's Jews to have prevented the holocaust.

    Fight back.

    The Holocaust was an inevitability once Hitler became Chancellor because it was his publicly and frequently stated goal to rid the world of "International Jewry" from the very beginning. It's not like he hadn't been talking about for nearly 20 fucking years.

  • mtrueman||

    Passive resistance is a way for an unarmed people to fight back.

    I'm not sure that the holocaust was an inevitablility. The final solution was a relative late-comer, and other possibilities were explored. Adolf Eichmann was visiting Palestine in 1937 exploring the possibility of population transfer there. They rejected the idea, but it indicates that the holocaust was not inevitable.

  • ||

    I'm confused as to what you expected the people of the invaded countries to do?

    Was Europe supposed to just roll over to Germany's aggression?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Passive resistance is a way for an unarmed people to fight back.

    DERP DERP

  • mtrueman||

    You needn't be confused as to what I expected the people of the invaded countries to do. I have not written of this here. None of my comments have addressed their plight.

    In every comment posted here I have been considering the possibility of how the Jew's of Germany should have met with the threat of Nazism.

    How to deal with an enemy occupation is another matter entirely. Armed resistance is obviously an option, but there are also pacifist possibilities. If it's not banned in your country you might want to check the film "I Am Curious (Yellow)." There is a lengthy discussion of non-violent resistance to a Soviet invasion of Sweden.

  • Seanin||

    The reason pre-war deaths of Jews were lower was because Hitler hadn't yet invaded the countries where most of the Jews were. But by 1938 life was impossible for Jews within Germany and Austria; those who hadn't fled already could be killed with impunity and many were already incarcerated in domestic concentration camps, such as Dachau, Buchenwald and Mauthausen. The final solution could not be realised prewar because the Nazis were not yet in control of the bulk of Europe's Jewish population. That only happened in 1942, when the Germans occupied the Pale in Russia. So war was a pre-requisite to the Holocaust, but it wasn't the cause. Resistance sure as hell wasn't either.

  • mtrueman||

    There's nothing here I would disagree with. I'm only commenting here to suggest that an early, open and organized campaign of passive resistance against the Nazi regime on the part of Germany's Jews would have been their best chance of avoiding the holocaust. And adopting these tactics is not cowardly but require great courage and willingness to sacrifice.

    If Germany's Jews had been well armed and trained and willing to hunt down and kill Brown Shirts in the streets, that's another that's another possibility, the only other one I've seen raised here. Trouble is Germany's Jews were not well armed and throughout their hundreds of years of life in Germany, have never displayed a willingness to murder their enemies in the streets. This 'armed resistance' argument is fantasy.

  • GILMORE||

    I'm only commenting here to suggest that an early, open and organized campaign of passive resistance against the Nazi regime on the part of Germany's Jews would have been their best chance of avoiding the holocaust

    How exactly do they 'passively' resist after being numbered, forced into ghettos, and set to work as slave labor... who if 'passively resisted', were shot on the spot?

  • granite state destroyer||

    There simply weren't enough Jews in Germany in 1933 to make an organized campaign of "passive resistance" or "active resistance" worthwhile. That's one reason they were a convenient scapegoat.

  • Robert||

    Couldn't they instead have turned to the next richest domestic group to loot them? And so on, until the last person standing has "eaten" the next-to-last person standing?

  • jafo2me||

    The discussion can “ONLY” be about the hypocrisy, the lying, the scheming, the blackmail of corrupt officials through money, power, greed and sex!!!
    The “EVIL” was the common thread which Zimm was sick of!! Machinations so Machiavellian in nature as to always manipulate both sides in “EVERY” conflict.
    The Khazars were the true power behind the Nazis, the Americans, the Russians, controlling the Unions, the Industries, and every aspect of the Citizens existence while allowing them to think they had some choice in the matter!
    Allow me to make one explicit point!

    “WE” tried the Nazi’s at Nuremberg but “NOT” before we brutalized, “TORTURED” every one of them by smashing their genitals so that death would be a welcome relief!! None of them were capable of mounting any defense!
    At the same time under “Operation Paperclip” we imported “ALL” the top Nazi’s to run our Defense Industries, work in the OSS which would become the CIA and of course, establish our missile and Scientific Black ops programs!!!

    “All” high ranking Nazi Scientist and the true powers behind the evil of the 3rd Reich! Where was Simon Wiesenthal, the Jewish Austrian Holocaust survivor? Didn’t he know of this complicity? LOL!!

    If any of you are looking for sympathy for that BS you are peddling about the left or the right, as Clint Eastwood would say, “Sorry, I’m all out.”

  • mtrueman||

    Whatis the 'non-state' response to fascism and tyranny? Strict pacifism is not the coward's approach, but the only alternative to those who are unarmed. Gandhi-like tactics may well have prevented the worst of the crimes against the European Jews. It's clear in any case that agreeing to wear yellow stars and even volunteering to work in concentration camps like Auschwitz did not guarantee them safety.

    It's the Nazi's who were the cowards. All of their most infamous acts were done under a veil of secrecy. They were not fools; they knew that what they were doing wouldn't bear public scrutiny. Had Germany's Jews and anyone else scapegoated by the regime organized themselves and opposed, even passively, early enough, and openly enough, they may have been able to alter the course of events.

  • John||

    Strict pacifism is not the coward's approach, but the only alternative to those who are unarmed. Gandhi-like tactics may well have prevented the worst of the crimes against the European Jews.

    That is completely laughable and ignorant and a historical. The Nazis gladly put millions of unarmed peaceful people in ovens. They German people were happy to benefit from the stolen assets of those people. They only turned against Hitler when the war went bad and their cities were being bombed.

    Throughout history armed, evil people have murdered and enslaved the peaceful. Those who will not stand up to stop said people are nothing but cowards and abettors to such evil.

  • mtrueman||

    Once the war started, the Jews had lost their chance. I said "early enough." I meant before the war, the earlier the better. The Nazi's made no secret of their anti-semitism, so they were aware of the threat. They were also unarmed, so Gandhi-like tactics of passive resistance were the only option open to protect themselves. It would have certainly had a better chance than complying with the regime's policies.

    Those engaging in passive resistance are not "the peaceful." It was the peaceful who agreed to wear the yellow stars and volunteer to work at Auschwitz. Passive resistance is a way for the weak to resist tyranny. It arises from weakness, not cowardice. Unarmed protestors standing firm against a line of armed police is not an act of cowardice, nor is it abetting tyranny.

  • John||

    You can't passively resist people who are willing to and have the means of murdering you. Gandhi's tactics only worked because the British didn't have the nerve to just murder him and his supporters. The Nazis in contrast did.

  • mtrueman||

    I don't know of any instance of Nazi's murdering large groups of protesting German Jews in public. The British, on the other hand, did have such a history in India. Gandhi's tactics probably wouldn't have worked without such a historical background.

    You are missing something about the Nazis. I said it earlier and I'll say it again. They were cowards and they way to deal with them was early and open resistance. Complying with their policies only led to disaster.

  • John||

    I don't know of any instance of Nazi's murdering large groups of protesting German Jews in public.

    The Germans murdered and arrested dissenters from the very beginning. They came to power primarily by using armed mobs of brownhshirts to murder and terrorize their opponents.

    If you think they wouldn't have murdered protestors, you are either completely ignorant or willfully so.

  • mtrueman||

    Of course they would have murdered protestors. Gandhi-like tactics almost depend on the fact. If I thought that the Nazis would have refrained from violence in the face of protest, I wouldn't be writing here defending passive resistance. I'm not completely or willfully ignorant, but you seem to have little understanding of passive resistance if you think it couldn't work because it would be met by violence. The idea is to use the propensity to resort to violence of the regime against the regime itself. When you are truly weak and up against tyranny, it's the only chance you have. It calls for courage and the self sacrifice. I don't understand how you can call it cowardly. If anything is cowardly, it's those you defend for wearing the yellow stars and working at Auschwitz in hopes of placating the regime.

  • John||

    Step 1, resist
    Step 2, have your oppressor murder you
    Step 3, profit

    In order for the passive resistance to work, at some point the oppressor must lose his will to murder. That is how it works. Given that the Nazis happily murdered millions, they were unlikely to ever tire of it.

  • mtrueman||

    Losing the will to murder is one possibilty and as you say, it's not a good bet. Losing the ability is another, and would have had a better chance. Nazis were only a small percentage of Germany's population. A strategy of passive resistance would have been aimed at those Germans who weren't Nazis. The regime couldn't have functioned without their compliance. Fatalism and resignation in the face of tyranny is never a good bet.

  • Liberty||

    "Nazis were only a small percentage of Germany's population. "
    Stupid comment of the day!

  • Hopfiend||

    We are trusting a self selected sample here. This whole exchange is ridiculous. stopping short of demonizing an entire population the passive resistance argument is unconvincing at best.

  • Redmanfms||

    You ignorance of "Ghandi-ism" is stultifying.

    Ghandi claimed from the very beginning that he had to rely on the decency and civilized nature of the British people or his campaign of nonviolent resistance would have been unsuccessful. Had he not expected the British people to be horrified at what was being done in their name in order to keep India a part of the Empire, he stated that he would have advocated the gun.

    Pacifism and nonviolent resistance relies on the conceit that those being opposed are, at some level, decent. The Soviets and Nazis proved beyond a shadow of a doubt they were morally capable of plumbing any depth. Their inhumanity knew no bounds.

    And the idea that the Jews (and others) would not have been slaughtered by the Nazis were they only docile is fucking ridiculous. With one notable exception they went to the camps to die without any resistance whatsoever, even when they knew what awaited them.

  • mtrueman||

    You have misunderstood me. You are right that Gandhi's tactics were aimed at not moving the heart's of their colonial oppressors but the very decent and civilized British public. Folks like Churchill always dismissed Gandhi and his movement as worthless scum.

    The tactics would work the same way in Germany. Not to move the hearts of the Nazis, but the German public whose compliance the regime relied on.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I understand you perfectly. In your demented moral understanding, you worship non-violence above all else.

  • mtrueman||

    You do not understand me, perfectly, or imperfectly. I don't reject violence. And I don't worship non-violence above all else. That is a ludicrous misunderstanding.

    Non violent tactics are a tool. That's all. Like any other tool, we turn to them when the conditions are appropriate. We're not talking of my morality here, but how a weak and unarmed people can respond to tyranny.

  • Redmanfms||

    The tactics would work the same way in Germany. Not to move the hearts of the Nazis, but the German public whose compliance the regime relied on.

    Holy fucking shit, you are actually comparing a democratic nation to a dictatorship and bringing in the issue of compliance.

    The Nazis knew how to deal with non-compliant people, that's why they had Dachau and Buchenwald you twit. Besides, anti-Semitism was a pretty popular idea in much of Europe, so how exactly would "passive resistance" have swayed the hearts of the German people? The Jews already weren't fighting back, but being abused anyway, what the fuck more "passive" could they have done to convince the German people that what was happening to them was inhumane?

  • mtrueman||

    I'm not the one who introduced Great Britain and their political system which did not allow Indians to vote for their imperial masters, by the way, into the discussion. All along I've been hammering away at one thought: that the best opportunity for German Jews to avoid the holocaust was to engage openly and early on in passive resistance tactics against the Nazi regime.

    You're obviously not understanding the argument, and I probably haven't explained it very clearly. Let me try this:

    Let's think of the confrontation between the German Jews and the Nazi regime as essentially a power struggle or even a military encounter. In any such battle, the side that chooses the field of battle can enjoy an advantage. They will presumably benefit from the choice they make to the disadvantage to the other side. I hope that's clear. Now with the liquidation of the Jews taking place in places like Dachau, and Buchenwald, as you correctly say, it's also clear that this is a field of battle chosen by the Nazis exactly fitting their capabilities and there cowardly penchant for committing their worst atrocities under a veil of secrecy. The Jews of Germany were disadvantaged enough. Ceding the choice to the field of battle to the Nazis and their hidden death camps was a blunder. Instead, by forcing the atrocities out into the open through passive resistance, the Jews could have exploited a Nazi weakness and possibly aroused public sentiment at their plight. No guarantees though.

  • Robert||

    The Nazis gladly put millions of unarmed peaceful people in ovens. They German people were happy to benefit from the stolen assets of those people.


    Well, if people are going to be like that, then there's nothing you can do of benefit. You have to start with some degree of civility before you can get far with liberty. And fighting doesn't do any good because there are people who want to kill you whose numbers and motiv'n are as great as yours is to survive. Your only chance is to deflect them toward easier prey.

    But was it really true that those people who weren't looted benefited on net from the looting? I.e. the costs of doing so were less than the loot? If so, then crime pays not only on an individual basis (which is pretty clear), but even as public policy!

  • Loki||

    But was it really true that those people who weren't looted benefited on net from the looting? I.e. the costs of doing so were less than the loot? If so, then crime pays not only on an individual basis (which is pretty clear), but even as public policy!

    Now I'm confused; I thought we were talking about Nazi Germany, not current US tax policies...

  • ChrisO||

    Gandhi himself admitted that his tactics would not work against a regime like the Nazis.

  • mtrueman||

    Maybe you are right. Maybe the Jew's belief that wearing their yellow stars and putting in a hard day's work at Auschwitz was the right decision, after all.

  • John||

    Or maybe they did what they were told because they were living under the threat of murder. You are basically saying the Jews willingly went to their deaths implying that they somehow share some of the blame. And that is pretty fucking disgusting.

  • mtrueman||

    I'm saying that the German Jew's best opportunity to avoid the holocaust would have been an early and open campaign of passive resistance against the regime.

    If you think there were other strategies Germany's Jews could have adopted that might have been superior, I'm willing to consider them. So far, you've offered nothing.

  • John||

    It is called armed resistance. If the Jews had been armed and stood up the Brown shirts in the 1920s, the holocaust would have never happened. German democracy died on the streets when Nazis were allowed to terrorize Jews.

  • Tman||

    "open campaign of passive resistance against the regime."

    If this comment wasn't real you'd almost have to invent it.

    Go read up on the Nuremberg Laws dummy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Laws

  • mtrueman||

    Maybe it would have worked. Didn't work though for Germany's communists who weren't afraid to meet violence with violence.

  • Tman||

    Maybe?

    Seriously?

  • mtrueman||

    Counterfactuals are never really serious. They are always far more maybe than seriously.

  • Seanin||

    You seem to be ignoring hundreds of years of Jewish experience with European anti-semitism. Maybe - just maybe - prior experience with violent anti-Jewish bigotry had taught the Jews a thing or two. Jews made up 0.5 per cent of the German population when the Nazis came to power. Nobody gave a fuck about them. By 1938 virtually the entire population was either motivated to destroy them, or passively accepted their destruction. There was no window to organize passive resistance. The Jews were in a state of complete disorientations because anti-Jewish action began immediately.

  • mtrueman||

    I think the response of the Jews to the Nazi regime was more or in line with the lessons they drew from European history: "move on if you can, otherwise keep your head down, lie low, and wait for the spasm of anti-semitic violence to pass." This was more or less the Jewish response to the Nazis, and most here will agree that it was inadequate.

    There are all sorts of problems with passive resistance as you point out. The need for time and organization, the need for numbers and the need to arouse concern in the general public. None of this is a given, ever. Still, I think for a weak, unarmed people facing tyranny, passive resistance is the only option available, showing one's neighbours the regime's readiness to resort to senseless brutality by forcing the regime to openly commit atrocities. The Nazis were cowards. They knew they couldn't openly do what they wanted. Their worst acts were done under a veil of secrecy. By lifting the veil early on, the Jews may have been able to arouse general disgust at the Nazi thuggishness. Germans are only slightly less decent and civilized than the English, after all.

  • GILMORE||

    By lifting the veil early on, the Jews may have been able to arouse general disgust at the Nazi thuggishness.

    What context do you base this on? Jews - well prior to the nazis - were a barely tolerated minority by the general German population. They were forced into Ghettos and mistreated for years prior to the death camps - and the general population *shrugged*. Why you think there would be some moral outrage by intransigence by jewry PRIOR to the mass-killings is inconceivable. Most Germans perfectly tolerated "mistreatment". It was only when the wanton slaughter was revealed that... well, they sort of shrugged again.

    Your believe in "passive resistance" as some sort of magical powerful force is absolutely baseless in historical context. Aside from Ghandi's India = where the people 'resisting' WERE the majority races and leadership figures... name one freaking example of where this particular tactic produced results. You are basing your thinking on a case-study of ONE EXAMPLE, and one which bears not even the slightest comparison to the jews in Nazi Germany. Its not even Apples and Oranges. Its Apples and Uranium.

  • mtrueman||

    I know this about Germans. They are a peaceful and tidy people and they don't appreciate a mess. The argument that Germans tolerated everything that happened to the Jews as long as they couldn't see it. This is the point of weakness in the Nazi method. If the Jews of Germany forced the hand of the Nazis and bring down the violence on themselves in an undeniably public way, this may have changed political discourse in Germany, possibly to the favour of the Jews. Like it or not, there's an element of show business in this.

    I like what you say in your first paragraph. I'd like to add the following however. What happened in Germany with the Jews should remind us all to be sharply vigilant about conceding to tyranny. It's not all history. The lessons are just as valid today.

    Your second paragraph, well are you in Alabama or Mississippi? Then you won't have to look far to see the passive resistance played a positive role.

  • granite state destroyer||

    This is just a silly comment, sorry. First of all some Jews did stand up with armed resistance to the Brown shirts in the 1920s - of course they were mostly Communists and Socialists. Second, Jews were less than 1% of the population - 550 thousand out of 67 million people. Any sort of specifically "Jewish" armed resistance in the 1920s against a fringe political party that was getting less than 5% of the vote would have seemed completely insane to contemporary Jews and Germans. You have to remember that almost no one took Hitler seriously in the 1920s or early 1930s - that's why the elites allowed to him to become Chancellor in the first place - they thought he was a clown they could easily control.

  • granite state destroyer||

    There was a much better strategy for Germany's Jews - it was called "emigration", and by and large that was in fact the strategy Germany's Jews followed. In fact 70% of Germany's Jews in 1933 survived the Holocaust because they were already in the US, South America, or Palestine by 1939. If the US and UK had been willing to accept more Jewish emigrants in the 1930s all the Jews of Western Europe could probably have been saved.

    A better question is how could the Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Hungarian and Belarussian Jews have avoided the Holocaust? Neither passive nor active armed resistance was going to be much help by the point the German Army and SS had crushed national military forces and turned local Christian populations against the Jews. I suppose the only answer is the one Jews adopted - get your own country, and make sure it has one of the best militaries in the world.

  • mtrueman||

    Immigration wasn't an option except for a small minority of celebrities because other states were turning them away. Another option that was successful for a few was to bribe one's way to Aryan status. I think the wealthy Wittgenstein family did this. Again this is not an option for most Jews.

    The Jews of Germany were outnumbered and on their own. Other states were not going to help them. Their best hope was to move the greater German public to sympathize with them. I really don't understand why my position meets with such resistance here.

  • Redmanfms||

    I really don't understand why my position meets with such resistance here.

    Because it is idiotic on its very face.

  • Lyle||

    Yep, what happened to the White Rose society is fact.

  • Sam Grove||

    You should look at WWII deeper. The U.S. government became more fascist and allied itself with murdering Uncle Joe.
    Was the world a better place for our intervention?

    The eastern front was 70% of the war in Europe, we managed to relieve the Soviet Union of a portion of the cost of ending the NAZI regime, and so we were left with a stronger USSR.

  • Frank_Carbonni||

    Yes, the world was a better place because of the involvement.

    Hitler WAS worse than Stalin. While it is possible that Stalin killed more people, Stalin ended up ruling for almost thirty years and had an established police state to back him up. Hitler was just getting started and the Holocaust was just the warm up to what he had in store.

    The other scenarios are possibly more frightening. Hitler wins and most of Europe is either under his direct control and the control of his allies. Stalin wins and almost all of Europe is either under his direct control and the control of his allies. Or the war ends in a stalemate and there is both a Nazi Germany and a USSR both of which are actively hostile to liberty.

  • Lyle||

    So the U.S. just lets Nazi Germany occupy Western Europe for how long?

  • Sam Grove||

    I don't see where this statement suggests that people shouldn't defend themselves.

    Actually, one way to reduce modern warfare would be for the people be armed against their government.

    Not so many Jews would have gone to the ovens if they hadn't first given up their guns.

  • Lyle||

    Yep, Zinn wasn't much of a thinker.

  • SugarFree||

    The Last Leftist

    I wish. I work with people who defend Stalin, and dismiss the deaths under Mao as unavoidable.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You can't have perfect societies without killing hundreds of thousands of people who resist perfection.

  • Brett L||

    Try millions. Only Pol Pot fell short of the seven figure mark, though his had to do with total population being too small rather than lack of trying.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I wanted to make a general statement for those miniutopians out there.

  • Ted S.||

    Are you sure Pol Pot fell short of the seven-figure mark?

  • SIV||

    Don't you like omelets?

  • ||

    How? What is there to defend about Stalin?

  • John||

    He brought the USSR into the modern world and defeated Hitler. And it wasn't him that did all of that. It was his henchman who went too far.

  • Pro Libertate||

    He tried to stop them, but absolute power wasn't enough. If only he had been worshiped like a god. Then maybe he could've done something.

  • John||

    And most of the Kulaks got what they deserved. They were standing in the way of progress. What was he supposed to do?

  • Sevo||

    'And most of the *Jews* got what they deserved. They were standing in the way of progress. What was he supposed to do?'
    (not attributing that to you, John)

    Strange how changing one word has such an effect.
    Ad that Stalin's totals were well over 50m murdered, compared to that piker Hitler and you can easily see how those educated lefties defend one and decry the other.
    For educated lefties, "up" always equals "down".

  • SugarFree||

    those educated lefties

    I hate that term being attached to people who reveal in deliberate ignorance. Maybe "academicized lefties" or "thoroughly indoctrinated lefties."

  • Sevo||

    'degreed lefties'?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    they prefer "Lefties of degree."

  • SugarFree||

    Some of them never bothered to graduate.

  • GILMORE||

    Universities are an anachronistic tool of class control by the bourgeoisie

  • SugarFree||

    Yup. And I've heard variations that include flat-out denial of the purges and "Stalin was flawed, but that wasn't real communism."

  • Pro Libertate||

    It wasn't real mass slaughter, because those people all died for a good cause.

  • Michael||

    ...and defeated Hitler.

    *cough*

    LEND LEASE

    *cough*

  • nicole||

    What is there to defend about Stalin?

    Well, he built the Soviet Union into the only effective and sustainable truly equitable socialist society in Europe. Why do you ask?

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Sustainable?! USSR got all kinds of aid from the Skull & Bones folk in the State Dept. Thousands of tons of material, entire factories, etc. The USSR would've (did) collapsed within a couple of years of the cessation of US aid.

  • mtrueman||

    "What is there to defend about Stalin?"

    A good challenge which understandably nobody has taken up seriously. I can think of three good things about Stalin.

    First his ambitions were limited. Not all leaders can say this. When he had the chance to seize eastern europe, he took it. He went no further and generally was content to monkey around in his walled kingdom.

  • mtrueman||

    Second, the arts flourished under Stalin, especially in film at the beginning of the regime. Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov et al were lavishly state funded and were recognized all over the world for their innovations and were widely imitated. This despite Stalin's taste in culture was quite conservative. Under Lenin, Dostoyevski, the notoriously anti socialist writer, was banned. It was Stalin who lifted the ban. Look back at the winners of the Stalin Prize for arts and you will see some pearls that shine still today. It's not all social realist tractor opera and hackwork.

    Of course, this being Stalin, the picture is not all roses. The dark side is about the artists who came afoul of him. I remember reading somewhere about the abominable treatment of Isak Babel, a Jewish writer who was murdered by Soviet secret services as kind of sop to Hitler months before the signing of the pact. I have to add that it wasn't for anything Babel had written; quite the opposite. Babel hadn't published anything significant for some time. That's what made him expendable. This is the communist mindset at work. It's not simple brute force, there's a calculation behind it based on collective ownership. It's very easy to end up owing to the state and you may end up paying with your life. All at the whim of some unknown, unapproachable bureaucrat sitting there a whole continent removed.

  • mtrueman||

    By the way, I think this "defense of Stalin" must be particularly galling to the readers of this site who, 99 to 1, prefer Hitler to Stalin, presumably because of his more 'libertarian' proclivities. On these two points, however, Hitler comes out on the losing side both times. Hitler's ambition knew no bounds, and he was ultimately destroyed by it. And despite having some artistic pretentions, with the exception of one film, Triumph of the Will, artistic production under Nazism was utterly forgetable.

  • granite state destroyer||

    The only real difference between Stalin and Hitler in terms of ambition is that Stalin was a realist who knew his limits and Hitler was a dreamer. It is also true that Stalin already possessed the extensive territory, natural resources and rich agricultural lands that allowed the USSR to be the sort of autarchy that Hitler dreamed of turning Europe into. Stalin's vision was arguably more dangerous because it was supposedly "international", i.e. there was no country anywhere where the USSR couldn't claim to be protecting the working class. Hitler's vision was nasty but parochial - a Greater Germany for Germans. He was more or less content to let the Japanese and the British (until they declared war on him) have their own separate Empires as long as everyone stayed in their own sphere and didn't "interfere" with Germany.

  • mtrueman||

    It was Trotsky's vision that was internationalist. Stalin promoted socialism in one state. Stalin more or less kept his promises to the likes of Hitler and Roosevelt. The threat of the International Working Class was in any case not large. Their failure to take action and stop the first world war is proof enough. Hitler, on the other hand, wanted a war of conquest more than anything else.

    Stalin's meddling in America is more interesting, and I was tempted to add it to his positives. Early in his career he was head of the Comintern, the bureau concerned with foreign communist dealings. He was met with delegation after delegation of disputatious American communists seeking his blessing as THE privileged faction that Moscow recognizes as legitimate. Stalin told them all to unite AND to integrate US negroes into the party. The CPUSA became the first American political party in modern history to become fully racially integrated. It was years later that the bourgeois parties followed suit.

  • ||

    Are you kidding?? Most of the people around here remember when Communism was an active threat to liberty. Very few of them were alive when the Nazis were an active threat to liberty. Had they been alive in the 1930s, they would be part of the popular protests against the horrors engendered by Nazi statism. Just as they would have protested just as vigourously against the horrors that resulted from Soviet statism.

    Moreover, they don't show as hot an animosity towards Naziism because they don't need to. It was Communism, not Naziism, that attracted a long string of apologists until its collapse (and even afterwards.) On the other hand, there are next to no apologists for Naziism. If you sift out the genuinely notorious, there are none at all.

    If you're upset that the people here would rather not jump on the easy bandwagon, at least respect them for sticking their necks out when the pro-liberty position ain't that easy.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Let's talk about socialism. I think it's very important to bring back the idea of socialism into the national discussion to where it was at the turn of the [last] century before the Soviet Union gave it a bad name. Socialism had a good name in this country. Socialism had Eugene Debs. It had Clarence Darrow. It had Mother Jones. It had Emma Goldman. It had several million people reading socialist newspapers around the country. Socialism basically said, hey, let's have a kinder, gentler society. Let's share things. Let's have an economic system that produces things not because they're profitable for some corporation, but produces things that people need. People should not be retreating from the word socialism because you have to go beyond capitalism.

    In short, let us have a political and economic where few command and many obey. Just like the Soviet Union, but without all of those purges and gulags and whatnot.

  • John||

    That excuse is so tired and pathetic. The Soviets resorted to violence because without the profit motive, that was the only way you could get people to work. Socialism will always end in violence and murder because man will never be the "new socialist man" who only works for the collective.

  • robc||

    Yep. Mises pointed our the necessity of violence in Socialism back in those "good ole days".

  • SugarFree||

    Let's have an economic system that produces things not because they're profitable for some corporation, but produces things that people need.

    An assumption so flawed as to be deliberately opaque. Not only does it collapse all understanding of "need" and "want," it also manages to handwave about false consciousness, confabulate a cartoonish power narrative of for-profit business while simultaneously misunderstanding the moral and practical basis of voluntary exchange, and presents an oft-invalidated argument for efficacy of command and control economies.

  • Randian||

    It really is like reading a 15-year-old's English term paper critiquing Atlas Shrugged

  • Pro Libertate||

    You don't need consumer choice. One spaghetti sauce is sufficient, based on the tastes of the Enlightened One, who all mutual citizens desire to emulate, anyway.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    But I'm making homemade bbq baked beans, homemade 3-cheese mac n' cheese, and a big fat ham steak for dinner tonight. I don't want any spaghetti sauce.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm sorry, all that's available today is Ragu and Ramen noodles. Comrade, don't blame me, I just provide what the motherland gives me.

  • ||

    You'd be lucky to get even that under the hey day of Communism. The stories I have heard are heartbreaking, Pro'L Dib.

  • Brett L||

    What's the punch-line? "No, its worse, they are out of bullets."

  • Brett L||

    Even then, how do you determine how much sauce to produce without effective market signalling?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Whatever amount you think the country deserves, of course. And, of course, enough for the party members to enjoy.

  • Mike M.||

    Socialism had a good name in this country. Socialism had Eugene Debs. It had Clarence Darrow. It had Mother Jones. It had Emma Goldman.

    When the hell were those people ever admired by any more than a small subsection of America?

    Socialism NEVER had a good name in this country if you're talking about the entire country. Henry Wallace was too much for even freaking F.D.R. to abide after a while.

  • Hyperion||

    The Last Leftist?

    I missed the war? Damn, I have to stop sleeping so late. I didn't even get to shoot a single commie.

  • iggy||

    It's not your fault. The war didn't really last that long. They'd just keep running around, yelling about our 'latent patriarchal tendencies,' at which point their hemp necklaces would get caught on something and they'd accidentally asphyxiate themselves.

    It was actually kind of sad.

  • Gbob||

    Although, to give them credit, their efforts at passive resistance really did give me pause. It took literally [i]hours[/i] to clean the hippie guts off the treads of my tanks.

  • Liberty||

    It's sad when ever fifth of your comments of a site start with 'what a load of crap!' And a load of crap it is. Cosmatarians endlessly believe that we can and should have "an interest in bridging the left and libertarianism." Why? So we can be the cool kids. So we can join the crusade against Christianity, morality, and white people. The "anti-war" left died because the left was never truly "anti-war." It was against a war that could be defined to be in the interest of America. It has no problem with war if it is for "liberation" or whatever. Is it so surprising that those who would use the force of government at home would not also use it abroad? Whjy should we look up to a man who says that blacks becoming productive,polite, civilized human beings is "worse than the creeds of racists?" Zinn did not "lapse" into authoritarian thinking. Like all liberals he was authoritarian. "Free speech" of the kind of the "Berkeley free speech movement" is about THEIR free speech. Opposing government is about opposing government they don't agree with. And why should libertarians be "anti-authoritarian" in the sense that Howard Zinn defines it? He defines it as opposition to any and all hierarchy, voluntary or involuntary, such as that of employer over employee, parent over child, genus over idiot. The reason is that Russel, Gode, Chapman, and many others on here are cosmatarians, who hold the ideals of equality as high as the hold the ideals of liberty, ignoring when they are incompatible.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Slappy, is that you?

  • Liberty||

    Who is Slappy?

  • Sevo||

    The handle was 'slap the enlightened' or something close.
    The 'enlightened' were those who did not favor white supremacy; s/he didn't find a sympathetic audience here.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Oh, Slapdick McGee, will you EVER learn?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    no

  • Randian||

    tl;dr

    And now you're going in the filter.

  • iggy||

    Shut up, Liberty.

  • ||

    *barf*

  • SIV||

    It's spelled cosmotarian you 'tard.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    So we can be the cool kids. So we can join the crusade against Christianity, morality, and white people.

    It's a shame this blog isn't less-civilized than what it is, or I'd anonbot your every reply with links to Dogfart.

  • Brandon||

    I'm not getting the hate here. Liberty actually makes sense, for the most part.

  • ||

    Liberty actually makes sense, for the most part.


    What part makes sense?

  • Hopfiend||

    That's a joke right.

    liberty is the highest human value.

  • thistle||

    If by sense you mean muddy thinking, then yes 'liberty' does make sense.

  • Harvard||

    "And for those of us with an interest in bridging the left and libertarianism, ....."

    Yeah, I quit reading right after that too. Thaddeaus, you're suddenly Fredo to me.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Yeah! Fuck the left! And fuck the right, too! Fuck 'em all. FUCK 'EM ALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!

  • ||

    Yeah! Fuck the left! And fuck the right, too! Fuck 'em all. FUCK 'EM ALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!


    Not too much disagreement in this corner.

  • Cytotoxic||

    +

  • ||

    How can a person call themselves "Liberty", and be so thoroughly against it?

  • R C Dean||

    Sadly, Zinn was not without lapses into authoritarian thinking.

    No kidding.

    I'm no expert on his ouvre, but it seems to me he had no problem deploying the jackboots to advance his causes, and was mainly complaining when they were deployed to advance other causes.

  • Ryan C||

    Meanwhile libertarians like Ron Paul get a pass in the libertarian community when they support disgusting, racist, total state measures like border fences.

  • ||

    Huh? Paul spoke against border fences in at least one primary debate.

  • Ryan C||

  • ||

    Yeah! Who the fuck needs the damn state keeping shit like nuclear weapons and communicable diseases out of the country. RACIST!

  • fish||

    Though always favorable toward socialism, Zinn consistently demonstrated what Duberman calls a “considerable attraction to the anarchists’ anti-authoritarian stance.”

    Sad to see an intelligent man unable to see that socialism eventually and always winds up abandoning carrot for stick!

  • Brandon||

    Well it's hard to keep carrots in stock when those damn peasants won't make our expertly-selected carrot-growing-ground produce enough!

  • Liberty||

    Let's hate on those horrible puritans, with their beliefs in human decency. Without their relaxed attitudes toward work and sex, the attitudes of black America, where 70% of the children don't have a father. Yes let's destroy the traditional family, then we will all be free to fuck whoever we want and there will be no consequences. Children will raise themselves. STDs will cure themselves. There will never be any emotional consequences to this society, no depression, no anorexia, no murder or domestic violence. And we know in our hearts we are better than those bible thumping hillbillies, we are almost as cool as the liberals.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You know what, you might be even better than Slappy. You don't even pretend to hide it.

  • ||

    I just think it's nice to have someone commenting on this board more hateful then joe.

  • iggy||

    Yeah. I hate coming to Reason and seeing all that 'anti-father' propaganda. It's so dense around here that you can't avoid it.

    Shut up, Liberty.

  • robc||

    filter: activated.

    not you iggy.

  • $park¥||

    Yes let's destroy the traditional family, then we will all be free to fuck whoever we want and there will be no consequences. Children will raise themselves. STDs will cure themselves. There will never be any emotional consequences to this society, no depression, no anorexia, no murder or domestic violence.

    You don't actually know what Liberty is, do you?

  • SugarFree||

    Isn't it the freedom to do as you're told?

  • Killazontherun||

    Freedom is having nothing left to lose, so until it is all taken away from you, via socialist policies, you aren't free.

  • Liberty||

    I do. I'm not advocating social conservatism, I'm simply stating that the only place libertarianism is possible is within the traditional family, so we should at least refrain from insulting it.

  • Timon 19||

    "the only place libertarianism is possible is within the traditional family"

    ...the fuck?

  • Drake||

    I think what he is saying is that if children are raised to be helpless mindless adults, they will not be able to function in a libertarian society. Instead they will vote for Nanny-state types.

    While I too am not a "social conservative" I do not want government programs that actively destroy families.

    Welfare, for example, encourages single mothers to remain single and marry themselves to the state - resulting in a generally worthless next generation.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I do not want government programs that actively destroy families.


    And you call yourself a libertarian? Bah!

  • $park¥||

    You don't actually know what Liberty is, do you?

  • iggy||

    At least refrain from insulting it? When have we ever insulted families on this blog?

    Shut up, Liberty.

  • Brandon||

    You know what, fuck families! We'd all be better off in Warty-style semi-autonomous basement harems.

  • Randian||

    On net, I prefer children be raised in families, yes. But given the choice between a million-dollar-a-year earning single dad and a very poor family in the 'hood, I'm taking the single father.

  • John||

    What if the single dad is Charlie Sheen and the poor family is completely functional? Money is overrated in many ways.

  • $park¥||

    Are you denying that Charlie Sheen's kid would be better off than the kid of a poor yet functional family?

  • John||

    In a heart beat. Money doesn't make up for a dysfunctional family. If you don't believe me, I have a pile of dead or completely fucked up rich kids I can show you that says otherwise.

  • $park¥||

    I'm not sure of the numbers, but I suspect that the pile of dead or completely fucked up kids from poor inner city families might be bigger.

  • John||

    But that is not the comparable piles. How many kids grow up in a functional family, rich or poor and end up fucked up? A few I am sure. But a lot lower of a percentage of those end up fucked up than those who come from dysfunctional families rich or poor.

    I would rather be poor and have a mother and father who look after me as a child than be someone like Drew Berrymore or McKenzie Phillips and have parents who were feeding me coke at age 12. What good does the money do you if you are totally screwed up and unhappy?

  • $park¥||

    What good does the money do you if you are totally screwed up and unhappy?

    Enough money can allow you to overcome the damage your parents did. Drew Barrymore seems to be in good shape and doing well for herself these days.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Isn't Charlie Sheen himself possible proof of that?

  • Brandon||

    Charlie Sheen seems to have done pretty well filling a marketable niche.

  • ||

    "What if the single dad is Charlie Sheen and the poor family is completely functional? Money is overrated in many ways."

    Like in 'Good Times?'

    J.J.

  • John Henry||

    Let's hate on those horrible puritans, with their beliefs in human decency.

    Not a Quaker, are you?

  • SKR||

    i am so mad that the traditional family has been destroyed. i always wanted 10 wives held as chattle. c.c

  • Brandon||

    Chattel.

  • SKR||

    need mor coffee

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Need MOAR coffee.

  • thistle||

    Seriously Utah has this shit figured out.

    You can have the time to craft thinly veiled theocratic nonsense here in the comments while you send all of your sister-wives down to milk the teats of the leviathan welfare office.

    I sometimes wish I was sociopathic enough to be a social conservative. For one thing I wouldn't have to go to work on monday... :(

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    What the fuck are you writing about? Please provide links to articles where Reason (or any commentors) has advocated the disintegration of families, or downplayed the serious problems of depression, anorexia, murder, and domestic violence. You seem to be very concerned about these issues as well, but you are yelling at the wrong people. If you are just venting, please finish your rant with a friendly "just venting". Otherwise, I don't understand how you can repeatedly misinterpret what this site, it's contributors, and commentors stand for: Free Minds and Free Markets. Simple.

  • Rasilio||

    You know, if it wasn't for the use of the word Fuck I'd almost think you were my brother.

    Just curious, how old is the earth?

  • Liberty||

    4.6 billiin years. Im an atheist, and I think that 1/5 of women infected with herpes is a problem.

  • Rasilio||

    Ok so you're not my brother. That's a relief since I have to see too much of his BS on my facebook page.

    That said, 1/5th of women being infected with herpes is not really much of a problem since gohnarreah and syphilus were even more prevalent in much of the Rennaisance period.

  • thistle||

    Good thing you didn't let out the secret that men are also infected with herpes!

  • ||

    Isn't that kind of like saying that AIDS isn't really much of a problem since the plague was more prevalent in the middle ages? What the fuck does one have to do with the other?

  • Randian||

    Regardless of Zinn's far-left bona fides, he basically went full Obama-lefty shill in 2009:

    "It was good that we were cheerleaders while [Obama] was running for office, but it’s not good to be cheerleaders now."

    It's actually really stunning how ignorant and childlike that piece of writing is. I mean, he really said (paraphrase) "Use bomb money to help people not hurt them" I probably thought that when I was 12.

  • John||

    He was a nitwit who said things that other academics wanted to hear. Even the Reason article praises him admits that Zinn was a polemicists who didn't understand the very people he whose history he was writing. Talk about damning with faint praise.

  • Romulus Augustus||

    The progs are certainly cheerleading the ban on "assault rifles." I heard at least two talking heads this morning (Geraldo may have been one) asking why anyone would need a 30 clip magazine and why are "gun lovers" afraid of their government? If they would stop cheerleading long enough, they might realize the 2nd protects them too. Many seem to have forgotten their fear of CheneyBushitler. Do they figure that the fascist rednecks will never again get the upper hand, like after a financial collapse? Will they meekly surrender when progs, gays, lesbians, douchebag Hollywood actors, OWS types, welfare moms and absent fathers, brown skinned Hispanics, etc. are marched off to internment camps? Assault rifles and
    large clips are the friends of anyone who might be targeted by mobs or goons
    of any political persuasion.

  • John||

    You have to remember the progs are silly and ignorant and don't know anything about history. They have no idea that movements like the Communists and Fascists and their ideological grand parents, the Jacobins started out as private mobs terrorizing and killing people.

  • NeonCat||

    Hey! They don't need assault rifles! Any fascist rednecks will be stopped when their consciousness is raised by giant puppets created by evolved liberals who studied puppet making in college!

    Why are glibertarians against defense puppets?!?

  • Romulus Augustus||

    Puppets? Hell, offer the goons jars of artisanal mayonaisse and locally raised radishes. Kumbyaa.

  • Drake||

    Well, the authorities need them - for their authority.
    http://friendsoftibet.org/main/execution.html

  • JWatts||

    "Do they figure that the fascist rednecks will never again get the upper hand, like after a financial collapse?"

    That's why they want to ban guns. They assume their side "the statists" will of course keep control of the states weapons. And the state will deal with any of those uppity hicks. The hicks will be forced to send their kids to attend enlightened educational institutions run by 'smart' people. The hicks disgusting habits such as, smoking, hunting, driving trucks, etc will be taxed and regulated into oblivion. The right wing media will be curtailed by a re-establishment of the 'fairness' doctrine.

    If the hicks have guns and can actively resist then the plan is much harder.

  • ||

    Obama getting voted in caused a lot of lefty-progressives to collectively (no pun intended) lose their shit. While an occasionally amusing spectacle, it's still rather sad.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Reason needs another 1000 comment thread to pay the bills apparently....

  • RPR2||

    I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea of an anti-statist leftist.

  • Randian||

    A voluntaryist and communitarian who didn't believe in violence could very properly be called an anti-state Leftist.

  • John||

    Could you call a utopian socialist a "leftist"? I mean if you are content to live on your own commune and let the rest of the world go about its business, I am not sure you are really a leftist.

    An abbey of monks would fit your definition perfectly. But could we really call them leftists?

  • Free Society||

    I have yet to meet a socialist prepared to acknowledge that other people's life, liberty and property does not exist to be pillaged by others.

  • John||

    Me either. And Monks don't think that, so I am hesitant to call them leftists.

  • sarcasmic||

    I mean if you are content to live on your own commune and let the rest of the world go about its business, I am not sure you are really a leftist.

    If you live on a commune and are content to let the rest of the world go about its business, then you're a dangerous extreme right wing militia gun nut.

    If you live on a commune and want to use government to force everyone else to live like you, then you are a tolerant and inclusive liberal progressive.

  • ||

    Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, I think of the people at places like this.

  • Liberty||

    Not really. Anyone who disagrees with any part of the left is, by it's own definition, a right winger.

  • R C Dean||

    A voluntaryist and communitarian could be called an anti-statist, but I just see no legitimate way to attach the leftist label to anything that does not have a very large role for the state.

    Sure, their goals of radical equality may be the same, but the devil is in the details of how you think those goals should be accomplished. My view is that leftism is fundamentally the use of state power to "offset" other competing social and economic power centers.

  • SugarFree||

    It goes back to the squishy nature of the left-right continuum. If "left" ultimately means "no private property," then even voluntary communtarians are leftists.

  • Randian||

    Well, there's Cultural Leftism and Political Leftism, is the problem you have there.

    I would hazard that anybody who says they are intimately concerned about patterned gender violence and inequality, the lives of lifestock, and engages in polygamy is probably part of what we call the Cultural Left but could still be apathetic or an anarchist.

    We have to divorce our political labels from our cultural ones.

  • R C Dean||

    Yeah, I know, the definitions are hopelessly vague.

    I guess, to my view, any label that encompasses both quasi-anarchy and a totalitarian state is pretty much useless. But, to the extent it has any meaning at all, "leftism" to me signals statism.

  • ||

    Five names worth considering:

    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    Emma Goldman
    Mikhail Bakunin
    Benjamin Tucker
    Lysander Spooner

  • Liberty||

    There is a difference between "anti-state" and "anti-a certain state."

  • ||

    Proudhon attacked Marx for his dictatorship of the proletariat idea, correctly predicting it would continue as a dictatorship.

  • Bradley Strider||

    Forget it, Jersey. Liberty has no idea who those people even are. If he had, he wouldn't have accused them of being statists.

  • Tak Kak||

    Indeed, Benjamin Tucker abandoned "socialism", if only we were all so wise.

  • Azathoth!!||

    That's because there's no such thing.

    Randian's 'voluntaryist and communitarian who didn't believe in violence' isn't a leftist because the left, at it's ends, doesn't allow for 'voluntary'.

  • Randian||

    That's just defining things so that you have a convenient rhetorical hammer.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Not entirely. Voluntaryism or communitarianism eventually runs in to the problem of what you do when people just aren't "cooperative" because it doesn't suit their interests. Either the voluntary has to give or the communitarian does. That either breaks you as a leftist or breaks you as a libertarian.

  • Ryan C||

    Murray Rothbard? Karl Hess?

  • ||

    I think Rothbard would stupefied to find out he was a communitarian friend of the left.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    "I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea of an anti-statist leftist."

    Don't try. It's a contradiction. Like "Bleeding Heart Libertarian," it's using libertarian ideas to support statist ends.

    If you need a physical example to drive the point home, try spraying a steaming pile of cat shit with a ton of Febreeze. If you reach for a spoon afterwards, you're not a libertarian.

  • Proprietist||

    Ever read Bakunin? Proudhon? The concept is not so hard. Many of us do not see a contradiction between increasing freedom and increasing equality. I generally consider myself a left-libertarian (as I support removing the moral hazards of capitalism in favor of free markets, support replacing the tax code with a single land value tax and replacing the welfare state and fixing social problems with communitarian self-organization and voluntarism. However, I disagree with both anarchism and socialism and believe property rights are integral to individual freedom.

  • ||

    Many of us do not see a contradiction between increasing freedom and increasing equality.

    To the extent the equality spontaneously occurs inside a free market, there's no contradiction. The very fact that you suggest "increasing" equality, as if somehow divining it, hints at the inherency of force in your entire worldview though.

  • Proprietist||

    Does "increasing liberty" mean "divining it"? Limiting government focus to consistent enforcement of negative rights would both increase both liberty and equality. The government has created the cycles of poverty, the legal barriers to entry for many occupations, the fiat currency inflation, the perpetual dependency, etc. We can be certain the welfarist solution does not increase equality, nor does the corporatism or the regulatory state.

  • SugarFree||

    "libertarian socialism"

    Can we never put the idea to bed? It's an oxymoron, like "fascist antiauthoritarian" or "bright darkness."

    Socalism is impossible without a state too large for any libertarian to accept. They are communists in the strictest sense: non-voluntary comutarians.

  • Free Society||

    Agreed. A system that relies solely on a monopoly violence to facilitate economic activity is rather unlibertarian by definition.

  • $park¥||

    Sounds like it's time to bring back Socialistic Individualism.

  • ||

    I do kinda miss your Soc Indv Sparky nom du blog.

  • Randian||

    We probably shouldn't just dogpile on the article here. It serves an ostensibly utilitarian purpose: to attempt to shame at least somewhat shame-able leftists into remembering one of their raison d'êtres.

  • iggy||

    I also think it makes a valid point. The left used to, at the very least, be anti-war and anti-authoritarian in certain situations. They totally did away with any anti-authoritarian tendencies years ago. Yet they still have this smug belief that they're somehow radicals.

    Calling them out on that hypocrisy is never a bad thing.

  • Redmanfms||

    The left used to, at the very least, be anti-war and anti-authoritarian in certain situations.

    Yeah, when their guys weren't in charge.

    They totally did away with any anti-authoritarian tendencies years ago.

    They didn't have any in the first place.

  • ||

    Bingo. This is the exact definition of Top Men, and it's been the same since the golden Progressive Era.

  • SugarFree||

    They got most of what they wanted and on track to get the full program... What is there for leftists to complain about?

  • Randian||

    The political left uses the Passionate Left just as much as the political Right uses the Passionate Right. The difference is that at least the Passionate Right stomps its feet once in a while and threatens to go third-party. The Passionate Left hasn't, to my knowledge, done this yet.

  • SugarFree||

    I think it did with Nader, and then they got slapped back into line.

  • NoVAHockey||

    You have to be somewhat humble to have any sense of shame. I don't think you can be leftist and humble. The whole point is lording over others.

  • Liberty||

    The simple fact is that if your goal is social equality, the only logical method of practically attaining that is socialism. Some people re more intelligent and will make more money than others. While racial equality may be possible, it is very hard to attain under our circumstances. At present the "average net worth" of whites is twenty times that of blacks. It's not because they are racially inferior, but because of their "relaxed" culture. How can comsmatarianism fix that? What about single motherhood? For the vast majority of single mothers in the lower classes, it is impossible without government subsidies.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Awesome. Keep going.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yes, 'Liberty', keep going... on over to Stormfront.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It just occurred to me that Liberty could be another of Rectal's personalities, in which case I haz a bored. But I really really hope that Liberty is a pissed off middle-aged white guy with a mustache, a drinking problem, and two kids who no longer speak to him.

  • $park¥||

    You know who else was a middle-aged guy with a mustache?

  • SKR||

    Ron Burgundy?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Ron Swanson

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Magnum, P.I. ?

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Ron Swanson?

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Joe Stalin?

  • Liberty||

    Why do whites make 20 times as much as blacks, in your view , and how does tis not justify socialism?

  • Marshall Gill||

    Collectivist, much? I do not make even half of what Herman Cain makes and I am white. Fuck you collectivist scum!

    Calling yourself "Liberty" is like Nutra-Sweet calling himself Dr. Seuss.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    He didn't say they MADE 20 times as much, just that they KEPT 20 times as much. Obviously. 20x income would be really, really noticeable.

  • ||

    At present the "average net worth" of whites is twenty times that of blacks. It's not because they are racially inferior, but because of their "relaxed" culture.

    Right, it definitely can't have anything to do with several hundred years of slavery followed by another hundred years of apartheid. They're just too relaxed!

  • Randian||

    Can't it be both?

  • SugarFree||

    Both narratives ignore the thriving black middle class in the mid-20th.

    And considering that the bulk of welfare if going to rural whites, it has nothing to do with "black culture."

  • Randian||

    The failure to bloom rate in the black community is a cause of concern, though.

  • SugarFree||

    A agree, but the state building a culture of dependency is a more likely culprit than apartheid because of the black middle class that flourished in a nation exponentially more racist or some unique "flaw" in blacks that is totally not racial, you guys, seriously!

  • Randian||

    Er, well, I did say it could be both. And rather be something inherent within black people due to their skin (which is preposterous), it could be something inherent in black culture, where not all black people are participants.

    Hence the "acting white" accusation.

    I wouldn't say that there is something inherent in Arabs that makes them fatalistically violent misogynists, but I'm willing to say that their culture does it to many of them.

  • SugarFree||

    I agree with that, but it must also mean there is something wrong with rural white "culture," yet it seems to come up far, far less from the usual suspects when these discussions occur.

    There are plenty of toxic cultures, but some seem obsessed with opposing certain ones and defend to death others.

  • Randian||

    I would be more than glad to ruthlessly mock the PWT culture that thinks that the Small Town Factory owes them a 'hot' woman, two babies and a cushy trailer.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    You're assuming the two cultures are different. If I recall correctly, Sowell did some work suggesting otherwise.

  • Liberty||

    "there is something wrong with rural white "culture,"
    There really isn't much compared to the level of blacks. There is a difference between most farmers and the white trailer trash, urban and rural. Even they usually do much better than blacks even with the same income. There is something wrong with their culture, but no one seems to care about them.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I'm married to a beautiful black woman, so I get to peek behind the curtain and see black culture firsthand. The wife's family has two factions. Her father, and two of her uncles have good, steady jobs and enjoy a suburban, upper middle-class lifestyle. Children grow up, go to college, and become accountants, marketing execs, etc.

    The other uncle, and two aunts have families that are Liberty's worst nightmare: kids out of wedlock, people in jail, in trouble in the 'hood, poverty, and taking every government handout they can get.

    I don't think you can say it is a black cultural phenomena. It is simply a culture of poverty. I see this culture perpetuated daily in Long Beach among whites, blacks, latinos, and asians.

  • ||

    It is simply a culture of poverty.

    ^^THIS^^ cannot be repeated enough. You see this so, so much in Euro-landia, especially amoungst those identify as "CHAVS". It's a mindset and a learned helplessness.

    Also, EDG, Mrs. reppin' LBC is quite stunning, if I may be so bold.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Also, EDG, Mrs. reppin' LBC is quite stunning, if I may be so bold.

    You may be so bold. She also has big boobs, so that's good for me, too. I'll tell her that some anonymous commentor on my libertarian website paid her a compliment from halfway around the world. It will make her happy, as she also has quite a bit of vanity.

    Saw your photos of Lady Groovus on the weekend. Nice score, Doc. ;-)

  • $park¥||

    Saw your photos of Lady Groovus on the weekend. Nice score, Doc.

    Meh. I've seen MUCH better. (that one's for you, doc.)

  • ||

    Meh. I've seen MUCH better. (that one's for you, doc.)

    Hopefully for you, that "MUCH better" is Mrs. Sparky.-)

    As for me, while not the most beautiful woman I have seen EVAR, I have absolutely no complaints, as she is both smarter and hotter than I.-D

  • Ted S.||

    as she is both smarter and hotter than I

    That's not saying much.

    (Helen of Troy had the face that launched a thousand ships. I've got the face that broke a thousand cameras.)

  • ||

    That's not saying much.

    Green is not your colour, Theodore.-D

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Honestly, I'd say it's more a culture of government dependence. The social pathologies Liberty alludes to among (non-middle class) blacks were also documented among the non-middle class whites in the "Fishtown" of Murray's "Coming Apart". Interestingly, in both cases, the decline seems to manifest itself in the mid-to-late 1960s, just around the time that the U.S. launched the War on Poverty (although I have yet to see if Murray notes this temporal correlation). If my assessment is right, the War on Poverty was a War on Poor People.

  • Liberty||

    I don't think it is all government policies. Another big change occurred in the 60s, a cultural change. Women stoped caring who they screwed and whether they would make good father material. Men stopped having a sense of responsibility for their offspring. Both sexes embraced a "party like it's '68" ideology. And these are the people who voted for those social programs.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    And these are the people who voted for those social programs.

    Not really. They generally weren't old enough. It would generally be their parents or the generation between their parents and them. Baby Boomers give themselves altogether too much credit.

    I don't deny that the increase in sexual openness/license (depending on your viewpoint) was very real. However, I think the shift was more a consequence of the change in policy than a cause or independent phenomenon. Women "toped caring who they screwed and whether they would make good father material" and men "topped having a sense of responsibility for their offspring" because anti-poverty policy tended to make Uncle Sam the father of choice. This was a pattern observed even by D.P. Moynihan at the time, although he misidentified it as a "Negro" phenomenon. Moreover, it isn't just a sexual phenomenon. You see it in a host of other indicators from diminished work ethic (measured by average hours worked and labor force participation) to diminished civic involvement to diminished interest in education.

  • Sevo||

    Randian| 1.11.13 @ 11:43AM |#
    "And rather be something inherent within black people due to their skin (which is preposterous), it could be something inherent in black culture, where not all black people are participants."

    We'd probably all be better off if we didn't toss black and brown kids in the clink for dope.
    White kids tend to get a pass.

  • iggy||

    I think it's definitely a mixture of the two. A lot of low income, inner city black people see success in school as making a person 'too white.' If you haven't seen it, you should watch the documentary Street Fight.

    It's about a senatorial campaign in 2002 between Cory Booker and Sharp James in Newark, New Jersey. James ends up winning the race, and does so largely by claiming Cory Booker isn't 'black enough' because he went to Harvard and is too well educated. That sure seems like a major cultural problem to me.

  • ||

    Didn't BET not play a video for a Little Brother song because it was "too intelligent"? Can't remember what song.

  • Liberty||

    So lets fix that with socialism.

  • iggy||

    I think we should fix single motherhood with firing squads. Then her child could be sent to live with a nice, nuclear and preferably white family for reeducation.

  • thistle||

    preferably? Have you not been paying attention to anything that 'liberty' has taught us? ONLY white people are stable enough to have nuclear families.

    Jesus! ONLY white people can have nuclear anything! Next you cosmotarians will be giving nukes to the arabs of persia!

  • John Henry||

    It's not because they are racially inferior, but because of their "relaxed" culture.

    WTF does this mean?

  • $park¥||

    I think it means everything went to shit when the blacks were given their freedom. Or something.

  • Randian||

    Some peoples have different cultures than others. Or were you not aware?

  • John Henry||

    Some peoples have different cultures than others. Or were you not aware?

    But is that because of race, or because of where they live? I am sure a black man in Chicago has a different culture than a black man in Memphis. And what does the "relaxed" part mean? Is this a euphemism for lazy?

  • Randian||

    You know what they say about hearing dog whistles.

    Anyway, if you want to view it through a certain values-system, then yes I suppose you could call it such a euphemism, but you would be wildly missing the point, which that certain cultures value certain attributes differently.

  • John Henry||

    You know what they say about hearing dog whistles.

    No dog whistles heard. I am asking him to explain what he meant. Do different cultures have different values? Of course they do, that is what makes them different. That is what I am trying to get at, what caused the "relaxed" culture? Race, location, social constructs, government policy, etc?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    ... that certain cultures value certain attributes differently.

    Smells suspiciously collectivist. Come up with something more compelling.

  • BuSab Agent||

    Two words: time preference.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    +1

  • SKR||

    rascism evolved?

  • SKR||

    and this means that I obviously need more coffee. lol

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I think he's saying black culture encourages laziness.

  • $park¥||

    I thought it was the Mexicans what were the lazy ones.

  • BuSab Agent||

    Nope. Blacks are no more or less lazy than any other group. What the poor urban black culture encourages is instant gratification. I want it NOW. High time preference and poverty are inextricably linked. High time preference means no long term planning, no saving, no investment, boatloads of debt. It means doing unpleasant things in the present --like getting an education, or waiting to buy the newest bling until they've got the full price, or taking and holding a crappy joe job until something better comes along-- things that will will pay off later is unthinkable.

  • BuSab Agent||

    Also, you find this same attitude as the cultural norm in all chronically poor cultures. Sometimes, high time preference is the rational choice. Take Haiti or other places where the rule of law is weak or nonexistent: there is no point in saving or investing for future returns, because whatever excess you might accumulate will be stolen from you as soon as you get it.

  • Robert||

    How do you know there couldn't be a biologic-genetic component?

  • Marshall Gill||

    Thomas Sowell

  • UnionBuiltOhioRoads(LAOL)||

    Hahahahahaha

    I anxiously await the cosmotarian offering of peace to "conservatives" such as Sean Hannity, just like this constant bending over for leftists.

  • Ryan C||

    Leftists like Zinn tower over talking heads like Sean Hannity in intellectual capability and in palatable ideas to libertarians. Hannity is just another part of the current political system.

    I'm a left-libertarian, or at least am sympathetic to their ideas, and I can tell you that no left-lib worth his salt is going to deny the contributions from the Right, such as Nock or Mencken.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I'm a left-libertarian,


    Heretic! Burn him! Burn him!

  • Liberty||

    Marx was also an intellectual. Hannity( who I dont particullarly like) is a talk radio host. How is Zinn, whose book has been read by millions of students, not a part of the political system? Abd just a question, do you believe in the traditional family? Does your utopia feature sex without consequences and single motherhood? THAT is why you are a left libertarian, because you accept it's cultural views.

  • Ryan C||

    No, it's not. That's totally still within a libertarian framework, neither left or right. I consider myself to be a left-libertarian because I take issues of social justice seriously and think that libertarian theory is more than capable of handling such issues.

  • Liberty||

    /falling over on the floor laughing
    Libertarian theory would NOT lead to "social justice." Are you oneof those "intelligence is a social construct" people? Do you say "you didn't build that," to business owners? Salon Magazine is that way, because you will NOT get "social justice" in a libertarian society. Women will learn to keep their legs closed because if they fall on their backs for any man they see and then get pregnant, they are screwed. Single parenthood would be as good as dead. And there would be massive inequality. Capitalists BUILT this country, and would be rewarded for it. There would be no affirmative action, fewer good looking minorities in high places. Religious bigots would be free to be religious bigots, no one would care about the feelings of homosexuals. What does "social justice" even mean to you?

  • Ryan C||

    Lol

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    "Leftists like Zinn tower over talking heads like Sean Hannity in intellectual capability and in palatable ideas to libertarians.'

    Silly comparison. Better to compare Zinn to another intellectual (Clarence Thomas? George Will?) than to a talk show host. Leftists do this all the time to enforce their leftists-are-smarter-than-everyone-else meme (John Rawls is compared with Rush Limbaugh, not Thomas Sowell, etc.)

    Very tiresome. And leftists like Zinn don't tower over anyone, except maybe a pile of dead bodies produced by a mob of "oppressed peoples" fighting the good fight that Zinn so admires.

  • Ryan C||

    I didn't make the comparison, the person I replied to did. There are intellectual conservatives, but they still have little to offer me. Folks like Zinn do.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    dismiss the deaths under Mao as unavoidable.

    Those people were unworthy.

  • Randian||

    Boy that filter is getting pretty full.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "There was no better exemplar of that thoroughgoing, anti-statist left than Howard Zinn, the author of A People’s History of the United States, whose death in 2010 was preceded by a life of activism and scholarship devoted to what could be called libertarian socialism"

    One could call it "libertarian socialism" - if one were an idiot.

    It isn't possible for there to ever be any such thing as libertarian socialism.

  • ||

    I disagree. I think a society of small businesses, worker-owned businesses, co-operatives, and mutual societies - with small or no government - would be both libertarian and socialist.

    You can't mix libertarianism and state socialism, but not all socialists are statists (and vice versa).

  • John||

    I disagree. I think a society of small businesses, worker-owned businesses, co-operatives, and mutual societies - with small or no government - would be both libertarian and socialist.

    No it wouldn't. The only way to keep that society full of small worker owned businesses and cooperatives would be to keep people from forming corporations and larger organizations by the force of law. And that would be anything but Libertarian.

  • ||

    A large org could be socialist, if it's owned by the workers or stakeholders, run as a democracy, etc. If 2 million people join the People's Cooperative Health Society it doesn't make it any less socialist.

    As for large corporations, they require massive state subsidies, which wouldn't exist in a libertarian society (capitalist or socialist).

  • Randian||

    As for large corporations, they require massive state subsidies

    No, they *require* no such thing. This is another liberaltarian-peddled fantasy.

  • ||

    No, they *require* no such thing. This is another liberaltarian-peddled fantasy.

    ^^THIS^^

  • Libertarius||

    It's also a Rothbardian theme. What Rothbardians there are seem to have nothing better to do than post on facebook all day, where I constantly see the notion presented that "corporations would not exist without the state", as if the legal definition of a corporation is a magic spell from which all its power is derived, and the power of production doesn't matter.

    Nope, Ford and Rockefeller didn't create anything; their economic power was granted to them by the state. /sarc

  • Randian||

    Ironic that the Rothbardians are always calling us cosmotarians while their acolytes rail against corporations and their eponymous founder rooted for North Vietnam.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Corporations are creatures of the state. They are legal fictions, statutory constructions. All legal aspects of the corporation can be created via contractual, voluntary, non-state methods except one: limited liability. That is the essence of the corporation.

  • John||

    I have a large corporation and I don't want it owned by the workers. I own it. And I will hire the workers. How do you plan to stop me without the force of law?

    And claiming that large corporations would not exist without massive state subsidies is weapons grade stupid. Corporations exist because they are profitable and efficient at doing some things. You can't build big things without lots of capital. And you can't have large accumulations of capital without the ability to spread risk. That is all a corporation is, a mechanism to spread risk among large numbers of investors.

  • KPres||

    Beyond that, the workers themselves would almost certainly begin trading "shares" in the businesses they own. How do you stop them from doing that?

  • Sevo||

    "As for large corporations, they require massive state subsidies, which wouldn't exist in a libertarian society (capitalist or socialist)."

    Lying is bad enough. Lying so transparently really just shows that you're an ignoramus or a fool.

  • Rasilio||

    Actually you are wrong.

    Force of law is the only thing that even allows large corporations to even exist.

    In a stateless society there would be no state to grant corporations limited liability protections. Ergo a companies owners would be responsible for any debts incurred by the company in full, including those arising from torts (ie liability claims)

    This would have the natural effect of ending stock trading and all corporations would either be small collectives or partnerships owned and managed by a small group of indivdual investors (maybe up to a dozen or so). Anything larger than what those hands on owner/managers could personally oversee would be far too great of a risk in a world where an out of line employee could result in your losing your entire net worth and so the size of corporations would be naturally limited

    It is only government interference in the market by granting limited liability protections to investors that allows companies like GE and Microsoft to grow as large as they have.

  • Randian||

    Ergo a companies owners would be responsible for any debts incurred by the company in full, including those arising from torts (ie liability claims)

    For the 100th time, this is completely wrong. At best you could argue that a shareholder owes a ratio of whatever is owed, but mere passive investiture does not justifiably imbue full responsibility onto someone because they own part of a part of a mutual fund.

    Just stop already.

  • John Henry||

    It is only government interference in the market by granting limited liability protections to investors that allows companies like GE and Microsoft to grow as large as they have.

    Didn't Lloyds of London grow very large, even with unlimited liability? I know it is an insurance company, but I think the premise holds that a company could grow very large even without the government.

  • John||

    Limited liability is a 19th Century concept. And Lloyd's go huge long before that. Corporations work because they are a way to split risk.

  • John Henry||

    Limited liability is a 19th Century concept. And Lloyd's go huge long before that. Corporations work because they are a way to split risk.

    Which was my point that companies can grow huge without government interference.

  • Liberty||

    Limited liability dates back to 14th century Italy. Many of the colonies and businesses in them were funded by limited liability corporations.

  • Rasilio||

    By the standards of the time? Sure. By todays standards, not really.

    Further Lloyds is not technically a corporation but an exchange, basically it is a place for underwriters and those seeking insurance type products and go to find each other. Given this it would be possible to have a very high volume of revenue pass through them with a very small staff relatively speaking because pretty much all they are doing is certifying that the underwriters are financially secure and the customers are who they say they are, their potential liability exposure would be limited.

    Note, Lloyds has about $27 billion in assets, Prudential Insurance has over $480 Billion.

    Lloyds has a big name and is a big player in the formerly prestigous market of maritime insurance but relatively speaking they are a fairly small corporation.

  • Tak Kak||

    "In a stateless society there would be no state to grant corporations limited liability protections."

    Correct.

    "Ergo a companies owners would be responsible for any debts incurred by the company in full, including those arising from torts (ie liability claims)"

    Does not follow at all. Why would limited liability simply vanish, is causation really so broad as to view shareholders as responsible for everything?

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Limited liability would vanish because it is only there by the fiat of the State. Of course shareholders are responsible for everything, who else would be? (NOT rhetorical)

  • Tak Kak||

    Employees who commit the tort or managers who direct the employees to commit the tort.

    Why on Earth would shareholders be carte blanche responsible, many of whom have little idea of what the firm even does, let alone how it does it.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "It is only government interference in the market by granting limited liability protections to investors that allows companies like GE and Microsoft to grow as large as they have."

    Unlimited liabilty is every bit as arbitrary a concept created by and enforced by government as it limited liabilty.

    Government mandating an unlimited liabilty concept is just as much government interference in the market as is allowing limited liabilty.

  • Liberty||

    Government does not need to mandate it. People who do deals with the business, loan it money or such, would make contracts that explicitly establish a limited liability.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    But you cannot limit tort liability, absent a State.

  • Rabban||

    How, pray tell, do you have a tort without a state? You could have a beef with a rival clan/gang ect. where you extracted blood vengeance in response to any perceived slight and extended that blood feud to any associates of the other clan/gang, which is pretty much the order of things in lawless states. How and why would this be a net plus?

  • SugarFree||

    That's just playing with definitions. If socialism means anything concrete, it's the state (or otherwise common*) ownership of the means of production.

    What you suggest is voluntary communtarianism. If socialism won't let me build my own factory, that's non-voluntary communtarianism.

    *A council of "workers" deciding the direction of production is a state; mob democracy directing production is a state.

  • John||

    ^^THIS^^

  • ||

    That's just playing with definitions.

    No it isn't. It's recognition of the variety of streams of thought within socialism.

  • SugarFree||

    All the examples you've given are voluntary arraignments. Can you not give a name to non-voluntary macro-communtarianism? or do you think it doesn't exist?

    You want to rehab a word that's had a distinct meaning for a long time into something acceptable to those diametrically opposed to its basic premise. It's pure folly.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    You want to rehab a word that's had a distinct meaning for a long time into something acceptable to those diametrically opposed to its basic premise. It's pure folly.


    SF is right. I've been trying to do the same with "Liberalism" for years. Let's just say I haven't had much luck.

  • Sevo||

    "You can't mix libertarianism and state socialism, but not all socialists are statists (and vice versa)."

    JP, you can imagine all you please, but this statement is not compatible with any reality.
    Socialists must be statists; there is NO Soviet Man. Never was, never will be.

  • ||

    Don't bother, Sevo. He's just a different, slightly less Pinko version of shithead.

  • Tak Kak||

    You're using the word "Socialism" in a way that has been abandoned for over 100 years.

    "I think a society of small businesses, worker-owned businesses, co-operatives, and mutual societies - with small or no government - would be both libertarian and socialist."

    All of those things can be labeled "capitalist" (more correctly, in my opinion) as well. So everyone should just say "market" and move on.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Kevin Carson used to post around here a lot. At least I think that was the same Kevin Carson.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Carson

    I'm not a libertarian socialist by any means, but just becasue I find socialism abhorrent on its face, doesn't mean the position isn't possible.

    I mean, we have more in common with libertarian minded people on the left than we do with statists on the right, and I think I'd rather live in Kevin Carson's world that John Boehner's.

    So, if "libertarian socialism" is an effective way to market libertarian solutions to people who are marginally on the left, then let's put it on some of the marketing brochures. 'cause more libertarians is better.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    If the libertarians in question are deluded into thinking that leftist-statist policies lead to more liberty, I don't see that as fertile ground at all. At least with people on the semi-apathetic right or left, we can claim that our solutions lead to more liberty. We can't do that for people who already think leftist solutions lead to more liberty.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "If the libertarians in question are deluded into thinking that leftist-statist policies lead to more liberty, I don't see that as fertile ground at all."

    The point is that if we want to have more influence than we do, then we're probably gonna have to reach people who don't agree with us on certain aesthetic issues now.

    Some of the biggest differences between anarchists and small state involve disagreements about what would happen in the absence of government. Carson seems to think that market interference by the the government is unavoidable so long as there's a state.

    In other words, you cannot have a government without government interference in the economy. He tends to see our problems against a background of class struggle, which is fine because he also sees the liberating power of markets as the solution to many of our problems.

    It's not that they're opposed to our solutions, necessarily; they just emphasize those solutions as solving different problems than we usually do.

    So, if somebody wants to argue to the left that markets are the solution to problems like racism and sexism, etc., and that's what motivates some people to oppose violating our rights?

    Then where can I send a donation?

  • Liberty||

    "markets are the solution to problems like racism and sexism,"
    But markets are not, and anyone with a brain knows that. We should not support irrational or illogical arguments, it weakens our argument.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, markets do more to assuage the effects of racism and sexism--certainly more so than government.

    Baseball didn't integrate because of a law. Baseball integrated because markets tend to value ability over racism.

    Women, likewise, didn't join the workforce in droves becasue of any legislation; they've made the strides they've made becasue companies were hungry to hire the best workers--even if they were women.

    The black people that have moved into my friend's formerly lily white neighborhood in Las Vegas didn't get there because of the Civil Rights Act. They moved out of the ghetto because landlords were starving for credit tenants, so much so that they started weighing a renter's credit more so than the color of the renter's skin.

    Markets are the solution to things like racism and sexism, and if there are people on the left who realize that, we should encourage them.

  • Liberty||

    "markets are the solution to problems like racism and sexism,"
    But markets are not, and anyone with a brain knows that. We should not support irrational or illogical arguments, it weakens our argument.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Uh, I think ole Kenny just gave you 3 examples of how markets ARE the solution to problems like racism and sexism.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The masses are portrayed as either powerless victims or thoroughly political creatures wholly devoted to struggle against their oppressors."

    Sounds like Marxist class struggle.

    Interesting how unpopular wars radicalize people and how the purists always seem to end up hating the pragmatists.

    During the Vietnam era, nobody hated liberals more than the New Left, and I suppose nobody hated George W. Bush during his reign like right leaning libertarians, who thought Bush sold us short not just on our Constitutional rights but on capitalism as well.

    I guess I hate Bush like the New Left hated liberals--if not for Bush, a lot of this Obama stupidity never would have been possible.

  • Ted S.||

    We would have gotten McCain stupidity instead, which would have been a disaster.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, I wasn't saying that we would have done better with a different president, necessarily. I was trying to say that we would have been better off if Bush hadn't done what he did.

    The prescription drug benefit did not stave off ObamaCare--it paved the way.

    If we don't like what Obama did with TARP (nationalizing GM, regulating the hell out of Wall Street, etc.), then who do we thank for getting that program approved in the first place?

    Whether another candidate would have been better is another question--my point was that we would have been better off if Bush hadn't done what he did.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    A voluntaryist and communitarian who didn't believe in violence could very properly be called an anti-state Leftist.

    You wouldn't need a stadium the size of Nuremburg to hold THAT rally.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I remember that time that Zinn woke up with a horse head in his bed. He knew not to fuck with Johnny and the Don after that, let me tell you.

  • John||

    He wasn't a Sicilian.

  • Tim||

    "So the next day, my father went to see him; only this time with Luca Brasi. An' within an hour, he signed a release, for a certified check for $1000. [Kay: "How'd he do that?"] My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse. [Kay: "What was that?"] Luca Brasi held a gun to his head and my father assured him that either his brains, or his signature, would be on the contract. That's a true story. That's my family, Kay, it's not me."

  • Pro Libertate||

    Women: Never believe that final statement.

  • thom||

    I remember how strange it was for me when I read the book and realized his name was "Luca Brasi", since I had always thought his name was "Lou Cabrazzi".

  • GILMORE||

    Luca Brasi was the name of my college punk-band

  • GILMORE||

    the tshirt we sold was a picture of a fish + bed

  • Liberty||

    I thought the term ' libertarian socialist' was an oxymoron. Then I came to reason. Now I KNOW its an oxymoron.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Socalism is impossible without a state too large for any libertarian to accept.

    Plus, there's that whole subjugation of the individual to the greater good of society thing.

  • Tim||

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

  • $park¥||

    ...Or the one.

    Didn't we go through this mess yesterday?

  • Tim||

    "Winter, slumbering in the open air, wears on its smiling face a dream... of spring. "

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's widely misquoted. What Spock actually said was "Or the nun." Trekkie insiders are still pondering the meaning of that. Who is this nun? What does she mean to Spock?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    My bet is on Julie Andrews or Sally Field.

  • ||

    Sally Field is Bonivafied. Disqualified.

  • Libertymike||

    Norma Rae might have been a heroine of Zinn's; what could she have menat to Spock?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Flying Nun, dude. Flying Nun.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Could be Maria.

    The hills are alive
    With the sound of logic.

  • Ted S.||

    I think he meant either Eric Idle or Robbie Coltrane.

    (Written and directed by the same guy who wrote Yes, Minister, and directed My Cousin Vinny.)

  • Harvard||

    A perfect description and justification for the 30 round magazine.

  • Liberty||

    Howard Zinns book is the ultimate example of ' you didnt build that' attitude. ' If you have industrial civilization, you didn't build that.'

  • $park¥||

    Plus, there's that whole subjugation of the individual to the greater good of society thing.

    Isn't Tulpa a professed Utilitarian? He might beg to differ.

  • SugarFree||

    He can beg all he wants, but the subjugation of the individual to the greater good of society is the very basis of utilitarianism. It is an explicitly anti-individualism credo.

    Killing a million people deliberateness to save a million and one people is a perfectly moral--even laudable act--under utilitarianism.

  • John||

    Of course doing that is often just that. Suppose you kill a a million people in self defense after a murderous foreign power invades you with the intent to kill or enslave the entire country?

    Like all ethical systems, utilitarianism works right up to the point it doesn't anymore.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    True, but you don't need utilitarianism to justify that. The right of self-defense stands pretty firmly without trying to guess utilities.

  • SKR||

    in theory, utilitarianism can justify killing the million for the good of the one if that one's happiness is near infinite.

  • Randian||

    Well, things get a little dicey when you start talking about Rule Utilitarianism, in that you could say "The rule of 'do not subjugate the individual to any perceived greater good' is a rule that produces maximum utility"

  • John||

    The problem with completely rejecting utilitarianism is that everyone engages in it at some point whether they like it or not. By allowing cars on the road we are ensuring the deaths of hundreds of children every year in car accidents. Yet, we do that because the good created by cars is worth the price we pay in lost lives due to car accidents. That is nothing but a utilitarian calculation. But I don't think anyone who made the common sense argument that the lives lost in car accidents is worth the good created by the use of cars could be called immoral for making it.

  • nicole||

    By allowing cars on the road we are ensuring the deaths of hundreds of children every year in car accidents. Yet, we do that because the good created by cars is worth the price we pay in lost lives due to car accidents. That is nothing but a utilitarian calculation.

    That is not the only philosophical reason people can hold for allowing cars on the road despite traffic casualties. That may be why the government hasn't banned them or isn't able to ban them, but I'm sure many of us here have a non-utilitarian reason for thinking driving is okay.

  • John||

    That is not the only philosophical reason people can hold for allowing cars on the road despite traffic casualties.

    Sure it is not the only one. But it is the simplest and certainly a valid one. The point is that utilitarian calculation is not always wrong. There is no one ethical system that always works. If there was, we wouldn't ever need to debate these issues.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    The problem comes in when you try justifying rules, rather than explaining the absence of rules, based on utilitarianism. What if cars didn't do us all that much good? What if people simply liked them for joy rides? Is it okay to ban them then? What about the fact that it's none of the government's business?

  • SugarFree||

    but I'm sure many of us here have a non-utilitarian reason for thinking driving is okay.

    It's the same reason as with all behavior that is unintentionally harmful: Only a completely depopulated planet is one without some risk being posed by another person.

  • John||

    Nicole, SF,

    Let me ask you this. Suppose that one day we found out that cars due to some previously unimagined mechanism were actually unbeknownst to us all of these years killing millions of people and creating all sorts of evil we never knew about.

    Now at some point, if the evil got great enough, we probably would think giving up cars was the thing to do. Right? And if so, what justification is there other than "the harm outweighs the good" or utilitarian calculation.

  • SugarFree||

    I'm not saying there isn't a utilitarian argument to be made for cars, just that it isn't the only argument available.

    Assertion of self-ownership is sufficient for all consensual "crimes" they come up with.

  • John||

    In the end SugarFree, is the "self ownership" argument really anything but a different utilitarian calculation?

    The children who die in car wrecks every year never chose to ride in a car. They were told to. Tell me, what is the difference between saying

    The economic good of cars justifies the death they produce, and

    The good of self ownership and freedom of letting people own cars justifies the death they produce?

    I am not really seeing it. Both are just a calculation, just that one uses money and the other uses moral good, however you define it. They are both at heart exactly the same since neither one is a true categorical imperative. In both cases if cars produced enough death, it would outweigh the good they are supposed to produce and no longer be worth it.

    I think many more people are actually utilitarian and engage in utilitarian calculation than want to admit. They just pretend that as long as they are not using money to calculate the good, they are not being utilitarian. And that is just not true.

  • SugarFree||

    In the end SugarFree, is the "self ownership" argument really anything but a different utilitarian calculation?

    No, because no amount of unintentional suffering my ownership of myself creates means it is moral to take it away from me.

    I don't deny utilitarianism as a calculation of benefit; I deny it as an arbeiter of moral action.

  • John||

    Then you are making self ownership a categorical imperative. And that is true makes it different than utilitarianism. But categorical imperatives lead to just as absurd and immoral results as utilitarian.

    o amount of unintentional suffering my ownership of myself creates means it is moral to take it away from me.

    So if the choice is take your self ownership away to say have mandatory vaccination or watch millions die in an epidemic, you let the millions die?

    To me that is every bit of an absurd result as anything produced by utilitarianism. I am not a utilitarian and am not endorsing it. I am just saying that there is no one perfect ethical system. And that each ethical system can work under the right set of circumstances and result in absurd amorality under other circumstances.

  • $park¥||

    So if the choice is take your self ownership away to say have mandatory vaccination or watch millions die in an epidemic, you let the millions die?

    It is my right to do so, whether or not you agree with it. To argue otherwise gets into the territory of forcing doctors to treat patients, forcing passers-by to help those less fortunate, and forcing the wealthy to give their wealth to those who "need" it more.

  • John||

    So sparky, you would let millions of others die to ensure your right to be a jackass?

    Again, categorical imperatives, when taken to their extreme produce every bit as illogical and immoral results as Utilitarianism does. And that is even assuming you can produce a justification for the rest of us dying for your self ownership beyond, you like it that way.

  • $park¥||

    So sparky, you would let millions of others die to ensure your right to be a jackass?

    I personally wouldn't, but I should have the right to. Otherwise, it can't truly be said that I own myself.

    I'll give you Amoral, but not IMmoral. Morality doesn't exist at an individual level, it's simply meaningless in that case. You, representing society, may consider it IMmoral, but your perception of my (non)action shouldn't be sufficient to force me to do otherwise. It would be perfectly acceptable for society to ostracize me for refusing to give aid to the millions who die, but it is not acceptable for society to use force.

  • ||

    John,

    Here is a conversation about the physician's claim to self-ownership of his or her practice.

    Here is another, since your comments are germane to this conversation from yesterday.

  • ||

    an arbeiter

    A German worker?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    But you see, one nice thing about utilitarianism is that it forces you to justify your "point totals" at all times. Some natural rights devotees try to shoehorn things they don't like into the "coercion" category, and sneakily remove things they do like from it.

    For example, we had an argument over whether installing a hidden camera in a women's bathroom was coercion a few years ago, and there were lots of interesting theories about how one could shoehorn that into a violation of the right to bodily integrity, or violation of right to sell images of one's body, or whatever. Pretty much no one said, damn, there's no libertarian justification for those laws and we should fight them just as much as we fight drug laws. It was just an exercise in, how do we rationalize this?

    Another argument from last year centered around whether it was initiation of force to punch a guy who insulted your wife. Again, lots of theories came out that tried to make insulting a guy's wife into coercion.

    At some point, devotion to natural law/rights has to devolve into question-begging OR admit that there are uncomfortable implications. Just like any ethical system, as John said.

  • SugarFree||

    It was just an exercise in, how do we rationalize this?

    You not accepting an argument is not the same thing as no argument being made. Congratulations, you have completed your transformation into MNG.

    The camera has to have been placed with some sort of trespass, and a right to not be observed when you explicitly take actions not to be is perfectly constant with self-ownership.

    And no, you don't don't have a right to punch the guy.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The camera has to have been placed with some sort of trespass

    Not at all-- think of a gas station/restaurant bathroom or even a bathroom within a person's home that they allow guests at a party to use, for example.

    a right to not be observed when you explicitly take actions not to be

    Does that apply to every situation where someone doesn't want to be observed? Like cops making an arrest? A cheating wife smooching with her paramour on a public street?

    You have to somehow differentiate between exposing oneself in a bathroom and other situations where you don't want to be observed but can legitimately be observed. The common way to do it is to talk about "reasonable expectation of privacy" but that's going to be extremely difficult to shoehorn into natural law.

  • SugarFree||

    The difference between private and public space is well established. Placing a camera in your home is trespass; placing one in a public bathroom or your house's bathroom is not a violation of self-ownership privacy. I'll get around to protesting it as a violation of civil laws right after we get rid of the war on drugs.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Maybe hard to shoehorn into natural law, but certainly not common law.

  • SugarFree||

    Of course, but does it ever look like MNG or Tulpa is following such a rule in their argumentation? MNG endorsed enslaving doctors that refused to treat patients for free on more than on occasion and Tulpa thinks that a police drone following everyone in America whenever they leave the house is perfectly fine (not to mention his continuous disregard--even contempt--for self-ownership.)

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I don't think the drone thing is perfectly fine, but I don't see a constitutional problem with it. A personal drone is going to have a huge impact on the operation of our society that a few scattered drones isn't.

  • SugarFree||

    Only Constitutional under your reading that a human cop following someone everywhere every time they leave a private residence is A-OK. Police harassment has judicial precedence.

    And your complete disregard for the spirit and the letter of the 9th.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I don't know if that would really be utilitarianism anymore. The definition of the utility function has to be independent of its maximization. You can't just define certain things to have maximum utility.

    I would argue that the utility function has to be finite, also, or you don't have utilitarianism anymore.

  • ||

    Which is why Peter Singer is one of the worst people on terra firma.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    the subjugation of the individual to the greater good of society is the very basis of utilitarianism.

    Depends on how you define the utility function. You could pretty easily define it so that you approximate "natural rights" philosophy in ordinary situations; just assign very negative utility to violations of individual rights, and don't just sum up the positive utilities of individuals to determine the positive utility of society. You could do some sort of arctangent conditioning or something.

    Most utilitarians unfortunately embrace a brainless utility function of pleasure vs. pain with the point values for each individual adding up to the point value for society, which leads to the silliness with it being moral to torture someone to death on national TV if 1000 sadist viewers can jack off to it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    A large org could be socialist, if it's owned by the workers or stakeholders, run as a democracy

    Examples of this type of organization are ubiquitous.
    Like when the UAW bought up a controlling interest in General Motors on the open market and turned it into an autonomous collective which steamrollered Toyota right into the history books.

  • Liberty||

    +11

  • Liberty||

    +11

  • Sevo||

    Unlike our resident socialist shithead, Zinn wasn't a hypocrite; he admitted the state was wrong.
    Instead of being a hypocrite, he was just wrong, believing that the socialism was possible without coercion. That is simply not possible; violence is structural to socialism.

  • Drake||

    So he was an honest dumb-ass?

  • Sevo||

    Sort of. Call him a dumb-ass who didn't quite know where his views lead. An ignorant dumb-ass.
    But a dumb-ass nonetheless.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Violence is structural to private property too.

    Violence is part of human nature, and imposing any system is going to require violence. Even anarchy would require violence, the question is just the degree of organization of the violence.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Granting your premise, wouldn't the important question be the amount of this necessary "violence" that a system required, not the degree of its organization?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    That would be an important question... in fact it relates to Stability, the first element of the triad of law and order libertarianism. Stability, Prosperity, Liberty, in that order.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    But more to the point, I suspect there would be a shitload of violence during the 10-14 days an an-cap society endures, before one coercer becomes dominant (and effectively a government), or the territory splits up into pieces each with its own dominant coercer.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Or until the various security companies decide to save their money and agree to adjudicate their disputes in a manner agreed on beforehand.

  • Sevo||

    Tulpa (LAOL-PA)| 1.11.13 @ 12:19PM |#
    "Violence is structural to private property too."

    Nope.
    It is structural to protecting private property in case of evil, but not for obtaining it.
    Socialism cannot exist absent coercion.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    "You walked across an imaginary line, therefore I can forcibly escort you back where you came from" isn't violent?

  • Sevo||

    Tulpa (LAOL-PA)| 1.11.13 @ 12:34PM |#
    "You walked across an imaginary line, therefore I can forcibly escort you back where you came from" isn't violent?"

    That whoosh you heard? That was the point.
    Compare and contrast obtaining vs protecting.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    If you claim to hold a piece of real property, but never use or threaten force against trespassers, and no one is doing so on your behalf, it's hard to say you've really obtained it.

  • SugarFree||

    Wow. Seriously, did MNG take over a Tulpa handle?

    The denial that there is a difference between the initiation of force and using force to retaliate or resist that initiation of force is his lame shtick.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Walking across an imaginary line is only initiation of force if you arbitrarily define it to be.

  • SugarFree||

    Walking across an imaginary line is only initiation of force if you arbitrarily define it to be.

    And? If you want to get metaphysical, the definition of violence is arbitrary as well. The definition of everything is arbitrary.

    If you want to deny the existence of property as a concept, go right ahead. But if we grant it exists, taking or invading it is an initiation of force.

  • Sevo||

    Tulpa (LAOL-PA)| 1.11.13 @ 12:40PM |#
    "If you claim to hold a piece of real property, but never use or threaten force against trespassers, and no one is doing so on your behalf, it's hard to say you've really obtained it."

    So unless I have to injure someone over my property, I own none?
    Oh, I'll give it a courtesy 1.5 on Sophistry.
    Not even a courtesy 1.0 on argument.
    Fail

  • Libertymike||

    "our resident socialist shithead"

    To whom are you referring? Tony, I presume?

  • Sevo||

    Yes. The lying hypocrite.

  • Proprietist||

    Right, because people could never voluntarily choose to live in a socialist community. It's not like they actually exist anywhere. Because I've never heard of one or been to one personally, they must not exist. It certainly can't be because they are living quietly and peacefully and not burning down banks and police stations.

    The problem is that statists throughout history have misused socialism as a tool for control, just like they misuse capitalism, social conservatism and Keynsianism as tools for control. In concept these ideas are not contradictory to libertarianism, but in practice they usually are.

  • Sevo||

    Proprietist| 1.11.13 @ 4:41PM |#
    "Right, because people could never voluntarily choose to live in a socialist community."

    Correct.
    And if you have such a fantasy, why, let's see the evidence.
    The New Soviet Man doesn't and never has existed.

  • Proprietist||

    Here's a long list of voluntary communes. Trust me, they exist. I've been to a few, and I also have many true Left-anarchist friends.

    It's pretty ludicrous to assume such communities don't exist. Do you really believe every single person holding leftist views is both ingenuine and authoritarian, intent on forcing everyone else to accept the total state?

  • Tim||

    "Choke me in the shallow water before I get too deep."

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Suppose that one day we found out that cars due to some previously unimagined mechanism were actually unbeknownst to us all of these years killing millions of people and creating all sorts of evil we never knew about.

    Teh PUHLOOOOSHUNZ!11

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Lead. True story.

  • Sevo||

    So was the government activity a leading or following indicator?
    Was the government activity the optimal method of accomplishing the goal?

  • KevinP||

    Howard Zinn seems to have been a Communist at some point in his life:
    http://spectator.org/archives/.....oward-zinn

    It's hard to reconcile being a Communist with being any kind of advocate for liberty.

  • JeremyR||

    It is to Cosmotarians, because Zinn is "cool" and they want to be.

  • ||

    When did Cosmotarian become an insult? What's so wrong with being smart and worldly?

  • Sevo||

    Audrey the Liberal| 1.11.13 @ 10:49PM |#
    "What's so wrong with being smart and worldly?"

    Care to hint as to what that means? Sounds like bullshit to me.

  • Proprietist||

    Yokeltarians despise intellectualism and worldliness.

    Yokeltarians claim that calling for traditional Christian family values and thinking gays are sick, Latinos are smelly and blacks are all welfare-and-crack-addled thugs holds no contradiction to libertarianism, because they are just expressing their individual views and not calling for the state legislating them.

    So it's always hilarious for me when these same people claim it's impossible to be both a libertarian and a voluntary collectivist who despises capitalism. In a free market, everyone can organize themselves however they choose. That's why a free market isn't a capitalist system - it's a free market. Small scale, voluntary/contractual socialism and cooperatism can exist within a free market just like voluntary/contractual capitalism can.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It's hard to reconcile being a Communist with being any kind of advocate for liberty.

    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

  • The Late P Brooks||

    in theory, utilitarianism can justify killing the million for the good of the one if that one's happiness is near infinite.

    How many people belong to AFSCME?

    Maybe this "utilitarianism" stuff deserves a closer look.

  • Liberty||

    Some of you have argued that a 'libertarian socialist' autonomous commune could exist. While it would not violate any of the laws of physics, it would contradict almost everything we know about human nature. Some humans ar more intelligent than others, and will produce more. Humans almost always put themselves and their families adove others. Only if you are a clueless utopian or a 'you didnt build that' liberal does the dream of a libertarian socialist society seem possible.

  • Proprietist||

    Is a family not a small-scale "libertarian socialist" autonomous commune? You have a parental couple who voluntary chose to live together and pool their resources. Their children (or maybe their elderly parents) are dependent on their benevolence. The family can break up if their contract is broken and trust is violated.

    What exactly is different about the family unit you claim is sacred, and a bunch of housemates sharing their incomes and contracting to one another?

  • An0nB0t||

    What's the difference between the parent/child relationship and a spousal relationship?

    What's the difference between a spousal relationship and a "bunch of housemates" relationship?

    What's the difference between a "bunch of housemates" relationship and a "bunch of strangers I've never seen before" relationship?

  • Proprietist||

    I guess that all depends on how they organize themselves. A spousal relationship could theoretically be about as meaningless as a bunch of strangers with a contract to one another.

    You didn't address the point that the sacred "family unit" is also all about pooling/sharing resources and taking care of the less capable members.

  • Gladstone||

    Didn't Zinn support Castro, Mao and Stalin? Hard to see him as an "anti-state."

    Also the American left wasn't particularily opposed to war and supportive of civil liberties in 1861, 1917 or 1942. The last real "anti-war" Democrats were probably the Copperheads and that is if you don't consider them Confederate sympathizers.

    Not to mention the French Left wasn't particularily opposed to war or supportive of civil liberties in 1792 so I'm not sure if there ever was a left that opposed war and authoritarianism.

  • Proprietist||

    Statism is not integral to socialism (or conservatism, for that matter) in concept. It has merely become that way in practice.

    Likewise, corporatism is not integral to a market system in concept. The corporation itself has little to do with Adam Smith's views on free markets - in fact they were once seen by classical liberals as the contradiction of a free market. They have become that way in practice.

    Infinite spending and debt is not integral to Keynesianism in theory, and anyone claiming it is distorts what Keynes advocated. It has become that way in practice.

    The fact is there are many legitimately and uniformly anti-state people who are also anti-commerce/consumerism and pro-collectivism. A free market and free association means one can organize oneself however one chooses. There are also legitimate libertarians who are anti-state but also anti-drug/sex, racist and pro-traditional family values. That is not a contradiction either, under the same principles.

  • Sevo||

    Proprietist| 1.11.13 @ 4:21PM |#
    ..."Statism is not integral to socialism"...

    Bullshit.
    There never was nor never will be the New Soviet Man and absent that fantasy, statism and coercion is structural to socialism.

  • Gladstone||

    There never was nor never will be the New Soviet Man and absent that fantasy, statism and coercion is structural to socialism

    Socialism is unworkable outside of small groups of people so the whole "socialism is not statism" argument is pretty much wrong. Why are left-libertarians stuck in the Victorian Era? Talk about reactionary!

  • Sevo||

    Gladstone| 1.11.13 @ 11:17PM |#
    There never was nor never will be the New Soviet Man and absent that fantasy, statism and coercion is structural to socialism
    "Socialism is unworkable outside of small groups of people so the whole "socialism is not statism" argument is pretty much wrong. Why are left-libertarians stuck in the Victorian Era? Talk about reactionary!"

    And they claim to be 'progressive'! Progressing to 1917, I'm guessing.

  • Gladstone||

    The thing that really annoys me about that the left-libertarians is their appeal to some mythical Victorian-Edwardian past and use it to justify allying with the Left. Like Obama, Reid and Pelosi give a shit about Jefferson, Jackson or Cleveland. Or that Victorian era debates on socialism and anarchism are "proof" that modern socialists and anarchists aren't a bunch of statists.

    It's not like there are libertarians advocating an alliance with the Right because of Burke, Metternich or Bismark. Or allying with the Republicans because of Calvin Coolidge. Or pointing to some writers in the Twenties and Thirties to prove that facism, nazism, falaganism, etc., didn't intially mean statism.

  • Proprietist||

    Well, the thing that really annoys me about paleolibertarians is how they appeal to to post-colonial America as some golden age of libertarianism when a good percentage of the population were in state enforced slavery. And guess what? I don't give one flying fuck about a slaveholder and Indian murderer, an even more despicable Indian murderer and a corporatist who sent the military to murder several dozen strikers.

    I just want you to answer the question: what about voluntary communalism and shared property is contradictory to a free market? What is wrong or unlibertarian about voluntary self-organization, labor strikes, boycotts, unionization, etc. I agree all of these things can be abused by statists and turned into punitary laws, but that doesn't take away the argument that these actions are all completely consistent with libertarian free markets.

  • MSimon||

    Indians solved inter tribal conflicts over resources with war and murder. It is unfortunate that they came up against a better organized tribe.

    You paint a typical leftist picture of the poor unfortunate Indians.

    Their trouble was - wiping out Custer did not solve their problem as it normally did when dealing with other Indians.

  • Proprietist||

    Most socialists believe that state capitalism has brainwashed human nature and thus they would need a state to brainwash it back towards socialism. But not all - there are also miniarchists and anarchist who support small scale cooperative societies.

    Most capitalists defend statist limited liability and bankruptcy, as well as favorable tax loopholes, competition killing regulations, etc. Does that mean all capitalists are also statists?

  • Libertarius||

    We should be collectivist ghetto welfare zombies like the cool kids.

  • Proprietist||

    Are you accusing someone here of advocating that, or are you swinging blindly in the dark and hoping that you're making some kind of point?

  • ||

    I can see why a libertarian might want to make some common cause with "The Left", and it's important to learn from ones "enemies" Still, I would advise caution, since we wouldn't want to repeat what happened last time (libertarianism nearly swallowed whole by "The Right").

  • An0nB0t||

    Last I checked, Rothbard despised Reagan, everyone hates Nixon, and even small-L libertarians were never kind to Gingrich.

    And, now that "left" and "right" have converged to the point that Obama's rule is little more than an intensification of Bush's, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

  • Gladstone||

    Well I have nothing against making some sort of association with the Left I think the modern Left is too mindlessly statist and in love with Obama for there to any real sort of understanding. I mean how much common ground can there really be with someone that thinks that John Boehner is some sort of anti-government maniac?

  • Steven Smith||

    Does anyone actually have the exact link to the study from the "political scientist" named "Daniel Q. Gillion" which concluded that the President had made fewer references to race than any President since 1961? Not found anything via Google....

  • hskiprob||

    When I hear or read of authors using or discussing the left right spectrum as a socio-economic concept, I cringe as I then have great concern for either their motive or knowledge. Apparently someone hasn't taken the world small political quiz, http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz, which clearly shows how flawed the left right, single line spectrum is. Additionally, a libertarian socialist? Really? What kind of nonsense is that? Zinn was obviously very passionate and articulate but a bit confused. There are only two sides and you can't be on both despite the Keynesians attempt to bamboozle and confuse the masses.

  • Gladstone||

    People have always been complaining that the terms right and left are meaningless. Even in 19th Century France. The fact that the original Radical Left included the Jacobins makes the discussion even more pointless.

  • Proprietist||

    According to the Nolan chart, there certainly are left-libertarians. Perhaps you didn't see the upper-left section?

  • Libertarius||

    The Nolan chart is bunk. It is based on the collapse of modern philosophy, which rejects the axiom of identity and claims that anything can be anything at any time. So why not be a communist and a libertarian at the same time? There is no such thing as identity.

    Fortunately, I reject the bullshit-ism to which modern mainstream philosophy has reduced itself. My contention is that the left-right spectrum is valid, but should be defined in general terms, such as left=collectivism and rule of men and right=individualism and rule of law limited government.

    The frustration with the left/right spectrum (in America) comes from the lefty intellectuals in the 1940's who decided to throw fascism under the bus and rebrand it as a right wing ideology (after spending the 1930's glorifying the rise of fascism in Europe). They did so in order to seal you in: by such estimation, you will encounter wildly different brands of totalitarianism whether you go to the right or left (so you might as well submit to the left). But there is no great ideological gulf between any form of totalitarianism, and modern libertarians and right-wingers had better get to the task of redefining what "right wing" really means.

  • Proprietist||

    Libertarianism advocates minimizing coercion and emphasize freedom, liberty, and voluntary association. Libertarians generally advocate a society with a greatly reduced state or no state at all.

    Communism is a revolutionary socialist movement to create a classless, moneyless and stateless social order structured upon common ownership of the means of production, as well as a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of this social order.

    Nothing in the definition of communism involves inherent state coercion. I am not a communist because I think the concept is idealistic, utopian and ignorant of human nature and economics, but I do believe certain individuals can voluntarily reject capitalism and successfully choose to live under such cooperative social orders when there are clear contractual conditions and obligations to do so. As long as they are not advocating for government to impose this order on society, how are they not libertarian just because they choose to organize themselves a certain way and spend money as you and I would?

  • Proprietist||

    "...and NOT spend money as you and I would."

  • Gladstone||

    Communism is a revolutionary socialist movement to create a classless, moneyless and stateless

    While that is technically true (the state is supposed to whiter away and all) if actually read the Manifesto you would see this:

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.

    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

    5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

    6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

    8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production

  • Gladstone||

    Not to mention the question of who exactly collects taxes, forbids inheritance, decides who is an emigrant or rebel, create "industrial armies", runs the free schools and decides the equitable distribution of the population.

  • Gladstone||

    Nothing in the definition of communism involves inherent state coercion

    Straight from the manifesto:
    The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.

  • Libertarius||

    Yep. Pretty sure Prop is trolling us.

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  • Wester||

    Please bear with me as I will try to go step by step:

    1. "At times, Zinn could have been confused with Murray Rothbard."

    You have got to be kidding. Rothbard was a Copperhead supporter of the secessionist and very racist South in the US Civil War. Zinn's personal record at Spellman and in the Civil Rights movement (not Civil War Movement) speaks for itself.

    2. Deriding free intellectual exchange
    This is an equivocation and a simplification. Zinn's positions at the time of his tenure represented the opinion of about 1% or less of the academic spectrum and was one of very few open anarchists. So he legitimately criticized the other 99% of the BS going on in academia. This could hardly make him some kind of totalitarian fascist demagogue. Zinn's critiques and calls for a saner and more peaceful approach to pedagogy in no way could ever put him next to the likes of David Horowitz, a charlatan who sold his sole for a mess of paper money and thereby achieved a giant megaphone to prostitute for right wing ideology and run McCarthy-ite demonization campaigns all across the American academy.

  • Wester||

    3. RE:Late to Feminism
    As they might say at Wikipedia: CITATIONS PLEASE ??
    People's history covered factory girls in Lowell, Harriet Tubman and the Suffragette movement, in other words, the very foundational pillars of what evolved into modern feminism. And other important books like Naomi Wolff and bell hooks came AFTER the first edition of People's History in 1980. So what is the problem? You wanted to see Howard tied to the bedposts at the behest of Gloria Steinem or Andrea Dworkin? Sorry. This one is a reach.

    4. Fetish for : "The old heroes"
    As they might say at Wikipedia: CITATIONS PLEASE ??
    Who the fuck are you talking about? Andrew Jackson, and George Armstrong Custer - Indian Killers? George Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Slave User? Alexander Hamilton, elitist banker? Jay Gould, Working Class Killer? Ty Cobb, or Abe Lincoln Racists? Fess up, who's your daddy? Again, we're stretching as well as showing a particular bias by disagreeing with Zinn's confessed motivation for writing his book from the perspective he did. As Tito Gerasi said: "Don't talk to me about objectivity. Their objectivity is for them...You want their answer to my diatribes? Read their newspapers...or view their TV so-called news...I will never give you their opinion; if you want them, listen to their loudspeakers. Any loudspeakers. We don't have any."

  • Wester||

    sorry i used a bad word

  • Wester||

    5. You said: Duberman rightly criticizes Zinn for ignoring or downplaying modern-day women’s activists, non-black racial minorities, and gays

    So you are disappointed that the book is not 7000 pages of small print? And therefore is "downplaying"? If you are in fact truly interested in those, you might check the bibliography. I'll be eagerly awaiting your tome o' knowledge that will right the wrongs. Except since it might take 150 years to compile all the information that will satisfy your need for full coverage, I'll likely be dead.

    6. RE: fun, prostitution and crime
    The fact that you think slavery was mitigated by fun and leisure is pure sickness and morally outrageous. The fact that you think wage exploitation is somehow ameliorated by drinking beer and going to the ball game is comedy, right? You can't be serious. And the great liberation of lower class crime? We're all junior capitalists and you gotta get yours anyway you can right? More comedy?
    I will give you prostitution, but that is all. Madame CJ Walker is a personal hero. But this is not enough to hang your hat on.

    And as for the Manichean world view, are you sure that this is not the author's Psychological Projection?

    This article and book are a rather crude and sophomoric attempt to rewrite history in service to a particular ideologically based agenda. If this is the state of what passes for American University standards, y'all have my sympathies.

  • MSimon||

    Si vis pacem, para bellum

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  • David Emami||

    "At times, Zinn could have been confused with Murray Rothbard."

    Oh, absolutely. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Let's see. So far, Allen Ginsberg, Gore Vidal, George McGovern, Howard Zinn. Coming soon to Reason: Noam Chosmky, Michael Moore, Oliver Stone?

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